[USA-PARAGUAY REPORT CARD] Solid games by several players while amassing a 13-5 edge in shots weren’t enough for the USA against Paraguay in Nashville. Tim Ream, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Juan Agudelo earned the highest marks. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players' performances.
Rating Player (Club/Country) Caps/Goals
5 Marcus Hahnemann (Wolves/England) 9/0
Came up with a double save late in the first half, blocking a fierce low shot and then catching a long-range follow-up. Otherwise, he handled mostly routine stuff cleanly.
6 Tim Chandler (FC Nuremberg/Germany) 2/0
Showed attacking chops at right back and right mid while going the full 90 minutes. Zipped past opponents on several occasions and served an excellent cross that Dempsey headed over the bar. Drew foul just outside the box with aggressive dribble. Before moving up to midfield he was burned twice in the second half, thus repeating occasional positional glitches that marred his debut against Argentina.
7 Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls) 2/0
Manned his centerback slot well and absolutely pinged accurate balls out of the back. Appears rugged enough to handle the demands of international attackers, yet was jostled off-balance and couldn’t make the play when Paraguay scored on a corner kick. Gives the USA a left-footed option on free kicks. Oh, and he’s got good wheels, too.
5 Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps) 25/0
Slowed by a groin strain that forced him off just before halftime. Might have got his head to the corner kick that produced the goal but didn’t react quickly enough. Played a reasonably solid game and made himself available as a safe passing option with the U.S. in possession. Headed a Donovan free kick over the bar and came up limping.
5 Jonathan Bornstein (Tigres) 37/2
Overpowered by Hernan Perez on an early cross that the Paraguayan headed wide, and utterly botched excellent crossing opportunity a few minutes later. Stopped Hernan Perez one-v-one with a poke tackle to concede the corner on which Paraguay scored. Hit low cross from a good position in the second half that the goalkeeper easily smothered.
7 Michael Bradley (Aston Villa/England) 52/8
Glided diagonally through the middle to play a left-wing ball that Bornstein crossed low into the box, and smashed a 25-yard shot in the final minutes that forced a top-class, top-corner save by Ricardo Villar. Played out of pressure with more aplomb than against Argentina, moved the ball smartly, held his position defensively.
5 Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers/Scotland) 21/1
Played as a pivot off Bradley as Dempsey and Donovan slid often into the middle, and did some effective work as a decoy until Paraguay figured out he wasn’t likely to get the ball. He closed down Paraguay’s attempts to play through midfield and while not getting possession made space for others.
6 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) 130/45
Bad touch under slight pressure gave away early free kick that Paraguay squandered and he gave away a few balls in bad spots.. On the other hand, he knifed through the middle to play incisive passes and beat opponents often on the dribble. Lofted a threatening free kick to the back post that DeMerit headed over the top. Squandered his best scoring chance when a long throw reached him at the back post and he blasted a shot off the back support of the goal.
7 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/England) 70/19
Busy, active, and dangerous for most of the match but betrayed by uncharacteristically tepid shooting. In the first half, he headed over the bar, hit a looping shot from distance that was saved, and triggered a promising attacks with penetrating central balls to Donovan and Agudelo. He evaded tackles fluidly and operated efficiently in the middle but tired perceptibly near the end.
4 Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor/Turkey) 34/10
Didn’t have the strength and stamina to withstand challenges and win free kicks as he had against Argentina, and touch was worse than usual. Yes, he and Agudelo are newly acquainted but of the two, the latter looked far more poised and confident. Altidore didn’t link up well with his other teammates, either.
7 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) 4/2
Sharp, quick and lively, he led the Paraguayans on a futile chase for much of the game. First touches were usually crisp, he’s not shy about dribbling in tight spaces, and he can cut on a peso. Tried an early shot from distance that was blocked yet kept pressing and tormented the opposition. Occasional over-dribbles can be corrected.
5 Carlos Bocanegra (St. Etienne/France) 87/12
Reasonably solid defensive play, yet gave away a corner kick and throw-win with powerful but careless headed clearances. Played on the right side of central defense rather than his customary left slot.
5 David Yelldell (MSV Duisburg/Germany) 1/0
Played a quiet second half, collecting a few crosses and coming out to collect aimless balls without pressure. Stretched full-length to no avail for Marcelo Estigarribia’s 30-yard blast that clanged off the outside of the post.
6 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/Germany) 4/0
Raised the level of pace and intensity as a halftime sub for Edu. Very strong in the tackle, quick to close down opponents, and only a few ragged passes marred his performance.
6 Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa/England) 3/0
Replaced Chandler at right back and while not as fast, is at this point a smarter and safer defender. Hurled a few long throws that caused Paraguay problems and also surprised the opponent by overlapping the quicker Chandler to test the back line.
5 Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht/Belgium) 26/4
Drifted to the left wing as a 77th minute sub and played a few nice short balls. Delivered a right-footed cross that Donovan couldn’t quite head on frame.
NR Jonathan Spector (West Ham United/England) 29/0
Played the final 10 minutes in midfield as the Americans finished the game with three in the back.
(1-low; 5=average; 10=high.)