[USA-POLAND REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades and critiques the U.S. players' performances in their 2-2 tie with Poland on Saturday.
Jermaine Jones debuted impressively for the United States in a 2-2 with Poland Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Bundesliga veteran assisted on the first U.S. goal. Jones, Tim Howard and Stuart Holden were the top contributors against the Euro 2012 co-host.
Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 56/0
Stoned Robert Lewandowski one-v-one with terrific save, controlled the box well, yet didn’t come out to handle dropping ball that Poland eventually turned into its first goal.
6 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER) 65/2
As is often the case, he was smooth and secure on the ball, found time and space to hit good crosses, and held solid on his corner. Also proved his toughness, again, by shaking off a fierce hit he suffered in the fourth minute.
5 Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan/ITALY) 57/6
Powerful header on corner kick produced second U.S. goal, but his tackling and tracking were hit-and-miss, and an atrocious defensive header gave Poland possession to score its first goal. Passes were simple and usually accurate.
5 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO) 17/1
Positioning and decision-making suffered with a move to central defense, and he lost connection to his teammates on occasion. Yet his speed and touch were valuable assets, he marked tightly, and he hit a couple of good balls out of the back. Burned by Lewandowski on through ball but Howard rescued him.
4 Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne/FRA) 84/12
Jakub Blaszczykowski gave him a tough time and while Bocanegra should have done better, the U.S. as a group didn’t move and cover well in certain spots. He didn’t seem assured of what his teammates up the left side and in the middle were doing, and his one-v-one defending has to be sharper.
7 Stuart Holden (BOLTON/ENG) 16/2
Active and dangerous on and off the ball, he slid inside to find space but was also very effective out wide. Started brightly with an early through ball that nearly put Jozy Altidore into the clear. Holden’s corner kick produced the second U.S. goal and he served a few more good balls. A fluffed clearance gave Poland second life on its first goal, and a couple of other gaffes could have been costly.
5 Michael Bradley (Borussia M'Gladbach/GER) 48/8
He didn’t contribute much to the attack and while playing a capable defensive game wasn’t keen enough to disrupt the linking play of Ludovic Obraniak, Adam Matuszczyk , and Blaszczykowski.
7 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER) 1/0
Hit several excellent balls out of the back, including left-footed slice up the middle that produced first U.S. goal. Botched touch led to second Polish goal. Strong presence in the middle, moved smartly, displayed good vision and excellent touch.
4 Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus/DEN) 36/2
Lukewarm performance as a starter belied good performances as a sub during the World Cup. Not much impetus going forward and seldom helpful defensively, he might prefer to play in the middle, but who doesn’t?
6 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 67/19
Clever and creative touches went unrewarded, he also scraped through tackles and double-teams fearlessly. When denied space by the Polish defenders he worked the fringes of the attacking quadrant. He started up front as the second forward in a 4-4-2, and shifted to midfield in the second half.
5 Jozy Altidore (Villarreal/SPAIN) 31/10
Finished off first opportunity with crisp low, shot, and he nearly scored again with rising shot off the crossbar. Squandered a great opportunity when he failed to beat the keeper one-v-one, but if he’s to be the man in 2014, he’s got to play for his, period, full stop.
Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
3 Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro/SWE) 3/0
Stayed tight to the touchline and with his few possessions either lost the ball or failed to sustain momentum.
(Ratings: 1=terrible; 5=average; 10=brilliant.)
How do you feel the U.S. players did against Poland? Agree with our ratings? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.