[SOUTH AFRICA-USA REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Mike Woitalla grades the U.S. players' performances in their 1-0 win over South Africa on Wednesday in Cape Town.
One of five debutants, 17-year-old Juan Agudelo orchestrated and finished the goal that ends the year on a high note for the USA.
In their brief appearances, Agudelo and Mikkel Diskerud (20 years old) showed glimpses of skill that give American fans -- who might have dozed off before the duo arrived were it not for the vuvuzela noise -- something to look forward to.
Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
6 Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ENG) 19/0
The captain smothered two short-range efforts and handled all but one cross – when he slipped -- securely.
5 Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa/ENG) 2/0
The right back relied too much on fouls. One of his forays up the flank led to a shot on goal (from Robbie Rogers in the 22nd minute).
5 Clarence Goodson (Brondby/DEN) 17/2
Looked shaky early on when he passed to an opponent but settled into a solid performance. Drew a free kick on the other end and served the ball to Juan Agudelo that started the goal sequence.
6 Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls) 1/0
The only of the five debutants who got a start, he handled his central defensive duties smoothly. Made crisp, accurate passes.
5 Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA) 36/2
This squad’s most experienced player, who has shown attacking skills from the left back position, stayed back but for an early venture that ended with an over-hit cross.
7 Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro/Sweden) 6/0
The shining light in a moribund midfield; sparked movements down the right from the get-go.
5 Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew) 8/0
Part of the defensive midfield duo (with Logan Pause) that kept Bafana Bafana from attacking much down the middle, Carroll offered little on the attacking side.
5 Logan Pause (Chicago Fire) 6/0
The other part of that central midfield that failed to find any rhythm or possess the ball for more than fleeting periods.
6 Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew) 13/1
In such a defense-minded lineup, the left-sided midfielder’s efforts stood out a bit – hitting the USA’s first shot and juking two defenders before sending a promising ball across the middle before halftime.
4 Eddie Gaven (Colombus Crew) 8/0
With only one forward, much more was needed from the central attacking midfielder. His one shot went straight to the keeper. Set up Rogers’ shot, but didn’t connect with the striker.
4 Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake) 11/0
Besides Bornstein, the only holdover from last summer’s South Africa trip, Findley went yet another game without scoring. Granted, he was stranded alone up front, but he misplayed balls he shouldn’t have.
Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
5 Teal Bunbury (Kansas City Wizards) 1/0
Hit one of USA’s rare shots on goal.
3 Jonathan Spector (West Ham United) 28/0
Gave away balls the South Africans could have exploited.
8 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) 1/0
A dream debut for the teen, who showed promise when he evaded two South Africans before launching a cross – then scored the winner, which he created with a pass to Mikkel Diskerud and finished nicely.
5 Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake) 3/0
Not troubled by Bafana Bafana’s predictable attack.
7 Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek/NOR) 1/0
The way he controlled and released the ball under pressure to assist on Agudelo's goal was magnificent. Helped out on defense in waning minutes to hold lead.
NR Gale Agbossoumonde (Estoril/POR) 1/0
An 87th minute sub.
(Ratings: 1=terrible; 5=average; 10=brilliant.)
How do you feel the U.S. players did against South Africa? Agree with our ratings? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.