[USA-ARGENTINA REPORT CARD] Goalkeeper Tim Howard and subs Juan Agudelo and Timothy Chandler stood out for the USA its 1-1 tie with Argentina during which Coach Bob Bradley used just two substitutions at halftime, when he changed from a 4-5-1 formation to a 4-4-2. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players' performances.
Rating Player (Club/Country) Caps/Goals
8 Tim Howard (Everton/England) 58/0
Sprawling save on Lionel Messi and right-hand stab block of blast from Ezekiel Lavezzi highlighted a sharp, spirited performance. Leg save stymied Angel Di Maria on doorstep of his goal but he could do nothing on Esteban Cambiasso’s followup shot into the top corner. He didn’t have quite as much to do as in the 0-0 tie with Argentina three years ago yet he again commanded his position.
3 Jonathan Spector (West Ham United/England) 28/0
A tough night all around; bracketed by multiple attackers, seldom able to pass with any time on the ball, completely scalded by Messi on give-and-go with Lavezzi but the shot went wide. Burned by Messi again near the goal line on Argentina’s goal. Wasn’t helped by static teammates when in possession. Replaced by Tim Chandler at halftime.
5 Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps) 24/0
Several strong tackles and some dogged tracking across the penalty area were betrayed by a scuffed clearance that led to Argentina’s goal and a giveaway in the final minutes. Came up to the pace of the match in the second half and brought stability to what had been a very leaky back line but still looked a half-step slow.
3 Oguchi Onyewu (FC Twente/Netherlands) 59/6
Seldom did the U.S. defenders look secure for more than a few minutes at a time with Argentina in possession, but Onyewu’s sluggish reactions and labored movement were glaring weak points. He also gave away balls in bad spots, including a stumble in the early minutes that handed the ball to Di Maria at the edge of the box.
4 Carlos Bocanegra (St. Etienne/France) 86/12
Scrambled to cover his corner at times and allowed Lavezzi a clean run behind him to drill a shot Howard saved, later took out Lavezzi at midfield to earn a caution. Ball-watched to open up huge space for Di Maria, whose shot missed the far post. Got it together defensively in the second half and on a U.S. free kick powered a header on target, the rebound of which produced the goal.
5 Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers/Scotland) 20/1
Floundered offensively while deployed as the attacking mid in a five-man midfield, and often chased the ball blindly trying to apply pressure. Still managed to thwart a few Argentine opportunities, and in the second half came from deep to steer a shot just past the post. Adjusted well when the U.S. changed formations and started playing quicker.
5 Michael Bradley (Aston Villa/England) 51/8
Marooned in the middle often by teammates pulled out of position by Argentina’s movement and passing. Smoked by Messi through the middle in the 40th minute. Played decent balls to attackers and moved up in support to no avail in first half. Tracked back to his own goal line to bail out Onyewu on Di Maria chance. Stretched and slid to block several shots.
6 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy 129/45
Delivered a great free kick to produce the U.S. goal after injecting some guile into his game in the second half. Scythed through Argentina late in the first half to set up a chance for Dempsey. Struggled to connect with midfielders in first half. Muscled off the ball by Messi in the U.S. defensive third, which simply can’t happen.
5 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/England) 69/19
Played both flanks as he and Donovan switched sides in the first half without great effect. Wasn’t incisive enough to use his limited opportunities to cross effectively and except for one shot that was blocked, didn’t hit the ball with power. Seldom found a lot of space and didn’t have a much energy in the second half as momentum swung back and forth.
4 Jermaine Jones (Schalke/Germany) 3/0
Porous defensively in the first half with the U.S. chasing shadows and missing tackles. Often bewildered by Argentina’s array of passing options and one-touch sequences. Scrapped for a ball at midfield that Donovan turned into a scoring chance. Replaced at halftime by Agudelo as Americans switched to 4-4-2.
6 Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor/Turkey) 33/10
Won a few free kicks, including the one that produced the equalizer, and late in the game drifted wide to serve an excellent cross. A back heel nearly put through Agudelo through on another occasion, a header set up Edu for a shot. As usual, looked better with a frontline partner as no one gave him much support in the first 45 minutes.
7 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) 3/2
The kid (18) who can’t stop scoring did it again. He came on halftime to liven up the U.S. attack with sharp, poised runs and clean, confident touches. He scored on the rebound of a saved shot from less than a yard out with a calmly tapped volley after he’d angled a header narrowly wide.
7 Tim Chandler (FC Nuremberg/GER) 1/0
Jumped right into the action as halftime sub and took a caution four minutes into his first cap. He won a few jarring tackles, prompted attacks on the right flank, and served two good balls from the flank that produced shots.