[USA-COLOMBIA REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades and critiques the U.S. players' performances in their 0-0 tie with Colombia on Tuesday.
What was listed on the lineup sheet as a 4-3-3 formation seldom materialized, as Brek Shea and Stuart Holden played well behind lone striker Jozy Altidore in (very) wide midfield roles. Jermaine Jones lined up as a central attacking mid but so clogged was that part of the field he didn’t get his passing game going until the team made four subs and changed to a 4-4-2 at halftime.
Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
6 Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ENG) 17/0
Stymied Giovanni Moreno in the early minutes with superb reflex save of a close-range shot. He wasn’t tested much after that, but set up his defensive walls fairly well and handled the ball cleanly.
4 Jonathan Spector (West Ham/ENG) 26/0
Won a few duels but was also knocked off the ball twice within a few seconds and lost possession near the corner flag. Lagged with the ball at times and had to clear hastily under pressure.
5 Oguchi Onyewu. (AC Milan/ITALY) 58/6
Not as assured as his central partner Clarence Goodson, but played a reliable and competent game. Got his head to a free kick and couldn’t direct the ball on frame.
7 Clarence Goodson (IK Start/NOR) 15/2
A very solid showing while playing the entire match. Showed excellent judgment of when to step high to cut off passes and timed his tackles expertly. Charged back to block a point-blank shot in the early minutes. Came up for a corner kick and outjumped an opponent to get his head to a ball that was cleared.
6 Heath Pearce (FC Dallas) 33/0
Cut off the dribbles that came down his flank and helped out in the middle when needed. Overlapped a few times and triggered sequences that looked promising but eventually petered out not because of him.
5 Stuart Holden (Bolton/ENG) 17/2
Rather quiet offensively, though he worked hard as always and probed for openings. Struck a swerving free kick from the left flank that Onyewu headed wide of the post.
5 Michael Bradley (Borussia M'Gladbach/GER) 49/8
Paired with Edu as the dual holding midfielders behind what was supposed to be three attackers, Bradley helped throttle the Colombians. In the second half nearly set up a great scoring chance with a clever, re-directed through ball he hit first-time.
4 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO) 18/1
Covered ground while plugging up holes, let a ball from Bradley run past him and Colombia nearly turned the turnover into a goal. Looked a step slower than he did against Poland, though that might have been due to Colombia’s perky Giovanni Moreno.
3 Brek Shea (FC Dallas) 1/0
Hit a foolish ball back into his own half that Colombia turned into an attack early in the match. Seldom provided any offensive impetus, got back a few times to help defensively. Touches were OK but neglected opportunities to run the ball at defenders or get in behind them.
6 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER) 1/0
Played centrally and tried to take the attacking initiative, leaving Edu and Bradley to anchor the middle. Didn’t find much joy in that spot, but floated often enough when the formation changed to 4-4-2 to hit a few testing middle-distance balls, including one that nearly freed Altidore for a chance. His range, touch, and tenacity in the tackle are impressive.
4 Jozy Altidore (Villarreal/SPAIN) 32/10
Very much alone up front in the first half, as the five midfielders labored to link up with him. Nearly ran down a good ball from Jones and headed Lichaj’s cross right to the goalkeeper during an improved second half, during which he also bulled through two fouls that weren’t called. Yet his angry shove of an opponent drew a caution.
Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
6 Eric Lichaj
Nice stuff with the ball including a cross from near the touchline for Altidore. Seldom pressed by Colombian attackers but definitely showed speed and poise.
5 Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland/DEN) 9/0
Misplayed a situation shortly after coming on at halftime, played steadily after that and bailed out his teammates with a vital intervention.
6 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 67/19
Classy and inventive on the ball, he caused Colombia problems. Got whacked a few times, and complained to the ref about it.
4 Eddie Johnson (Fulham/ENG) 42/12
Showed more of a presence than in his pre-World Cup appearances but to call him dangerous would be a stretch. Held the ball near the touchline to win a free kick yet showed no trickery or desire to carve out looks at goal.
5 Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus/DEN) 37/2
Served two effective corner kicks from the left wing, otherwise provided little other than a safe outlet during buildup play.
(Ratings: 1=terrible; 5=average; 10=brilliant.)
How do you feel the U.S. players did against Colombia? Agree with our ratings? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.