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U.S. Player Ratings
by Ridge Mahoney, June 8th, 2011 1:10AM

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TAGS:  gold cup, men's national team

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[USA-CANADA REPORT CARD] The USA started off its Group C schedule in the Gold Cup by outclassing Canada, 2-0, Tuesday in Detroit with goals in each half from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey. They were two of many players to earn good grades. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the performances of the U.S. players ...

Starters
Rating/Player (Club) GP/G
7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG, 60/0).

Two great saves on Ali Gerba and a few courageous blocks on point-blank scrambles preserved a shutout victory. He also got into his players early and often to keep their heads in the game, and cleaned up the occasional mess quickly.

6 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER, 67/2)
Scrambled to contain the speedy Josh Simpson early and late. Used the ball smartly and victimized Canada often by playing a low-risk pass rather than hitting a deep cross. Lay on the ground in disappointment after over-hitting a cross on a ball rolled perfected to him by Landon Donovan. Stumbled when beaten by Will Johnson early in the second half but Canada couldn’t take advantage.

6 Clarence Goodson (Broendby/DEN, 10/2).
Strong in the air, as expected, yet also dug into tackles sharply and seldom lost his mark or took up a bad position. Showed confidence and accuracy with his passes. Got his head to a free kick but couldn’t generate enough power to test the keeper. Sloppy giveway near his own penalty area offered Canada a possession it squandered.

6 Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls, 5/0).
Survived a scary moment when Simeon Jackson megged him, otherwise blunted Canada repeatedly through shrewd positioning and timing. Chose his moments correctly of when to step and when to drop, and though a couple of his clearances were more hurried then they needed to be, he didn’t scuff anything either. Clipped a nice ball up the line late in the first half.

5 Carlos Bocanegra (St. Etienne/FRA, 88/12).
Not much of a presence offensively, yet stifled several attacks with early tackles and pressure in midfield, a tactic that the Canadians didn’t overcome until late in the match. As usual, repelled several crosses lofted to the back post. Might have gotten away with a foul when he clipped Will Johnson right at the edge of the penalty area.

6 Jermaine Jones (Blackburn/ENG, 6/0)
Balanced out Michael Bradley’s forays forward by holding strong in the middle and exploiting large gaps in the Canadian midfield. Frustrated Dwayne De Rosario and Atiba Hutchinson by tracking back to double-team their possessions and jamming up their passing lanes, which may have persuaded De Ro to play wider as the game unfolded.

7 Michael Bradley (Aston Villa/ENG, 54/8).
Covered acres of ground smoothly and efficiently, switched play with accurate passes, seldom coughed up the ball under pressure or gave it away. Worst moments: Coughed up a ball in the center circle that Canada converted into Gerba’s first right-footed rip, also took a foolish caution. Cracked a couple of shots on frame that were blocked, picked his spots to set up chances. Examples: Looped up the left side midway through the first half to serve an excellent ball from the goal line to Altidore, hit another ball to him after halftime that Altidore badly misjudged.

7 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy, 131/45).
Took a pass from Bradley upfield and slid it through the Canadian back line to set up Altidore’s goal. He constantly dropped back to help defensively with interceptions and blocks, yet always pushed forward in time to join or lead the attack. Used space wisely afforded him when opponent backed off, and worked slick combinations with several teammates in different parts of the field.

7 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG, 72/20).
A few minutes after nearly scoring with an outrageous attempt volleyed from behind his back, he netted a real poacher’s goal by sliding around a defender at the back post and steering a solid shot into the open side. Throughout the game, his mobility and creativity completely flummoxed the opposition, and by occasionally slipping inside –as did Donovan -- he frustrated Canada’s efforts to track him.

6 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls, 6/2).
A bit erratic with his timing and decisions yet drew a lot of attention through his runs and touches. Belted a first-time shot on a ball cut back from the goal line by Altidore; it went over the bar but he was in the right spot. Set up a chance for himself late in the first half by heading a ball to Cherundolo and trapping the return pass to hit a shot on frame, and also hit a long, bouncing shot the keeper lunged to push away. Also helped his team by pressuring the Canadian defenders and checking into spots to receive passes from midfield.

8 Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor/TUR, 36/11).
Took his goal well after cushioning Donovan’s feed with the outside of his right foot; from a sharp angle, he needed to hit the shot quick and hard, which he did. He looked confident and assertive the entire game, and distributed many accurate balls when checking back. From the wing, he served the right cross at the right moment to set up the second goal after winning the initial ball launched out of the back.

Substitutes
4 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes, 3/0).
Brought his usual energy for the final 25 minutes but his timing and decisions seemed a bit out of sync. The Canadians did monitor him, however, and that counts, too.

5 Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht/BEL, 27/4).
Confidently joined the midfield to link with teammates and hold the ball under pressure.

5 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO, 23/1).

Shored up a fatigued midfield when he replaced a struggling Jones, and also got into the box to give the flustered Canadians even more to worry about.

(1-low; 5=average; 10=high.)



0 comments
  1. Eric Shinn
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 8:17 a.m.
    Can't really argue much with any of those. I'd probably go a little higher on both Timmy Howard and Jermaine Jones. Howard was his usual brilliant self, and I think your grade is taking that for granted a bit. As for Jones, I felt like he was REALLY solid in the midfield, and did a great job tracking back defensively. He's a big reason why our defense was able to put up the goose egg.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 8:25 a.m.
    Altidore is over rated, He doesn't pressure the defense enough and is caught standing around tooooo much, Agudelo also hasn't been that impressive, I would like to see BB give the Mexican American strickers a shot down the road, alot of talent in Mexican players. Tim Reams mated with C.Goodson was one of the best things BB has done lately, and Congrates to Tim Howard, C. Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley and the other team players for a well played game.

  1. Tito Messi
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 9:13 a.m.
    Expected....Canada is not a STRONG opponent, same goes to all the other CONCACAF opponents USA will be facing this year. Expected to see Altidore, Agudelo, Ream, Goodson, Bradley, etc to succeed...playing weak competition elevates every American players confidence and makes them play better. Unfortunately we must face stronger competition someday (World Cup 2014) and that will be our real test. Luckily for us, CONCACAF competition is weak and for that reason we always qualify for a World Cup....but in reality we (USA) are not as good as we think we are...all of our players, with probably 2-3 exceptions are substitutes (ride the bench) in the international scene...Everyone likes to hammer and critique Giuseppe Rossi (American born) because he decided to play for Italy instead of his native country...to me and most knowledgeable people around the world, Rossi'd decision was a GREAT soccer decision, he is playing for one of the stronger teams in the world and he plays in the strongest league in the world (La Liga in Spain) and on top, he is making millions of dollars playing there. The MLS is incredibly a very weak soccer league, no creative players with finesse, flair or good understanding of the give and go are playing in the MLS at this time....only physical, skilless players, players with no concept on what to do with the ball once they get it, no vision and on top, they all believe they are "good players", because someone told them they were good (someone in youth soccer, college, MLS). Will it get better? I don't think so, while lousy English coaches (by the thousands I may add) are coaching our youth players in America. the USA will still be trailing the best soccer countries in the world, despite investing millions and millions of dollars in the development of youth players in this country!!!!

  1. Carl Hudson
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 10:07 a.m.
    Altidore is a lazy loafer who needs pine time to adjust his attitude.

  1. Marco Sandoval
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 10:07 a.m.
    I am sorry but this game lost my attention after the first goal (I started to channel surf then). As usual the USA lacked any sort of consistent creativity. Oh well it is what it is.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 11:59 a.m.
    >Tito Messi: Thank you for your fine analysis, as I couldn't agree more. I also agree that Altidore is lazy and has a huge railroad-size chip on his shoulder, while Agudelo needs more maturing. The substitute trio didn't show jack diddly, while Ragin' Ridge Mahoney continues to idolize Banality Bradley Junior. As for giving some Latino players a chance, well, it looks like pigs will fly before Banality Bradley Senior gives them a chance. And hey, I thought that Freddy Adu was called in? What happen, is he hurt, had an argument with the coaching staff, what,- que paso???

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.
    Ric and Tito -- total agreement!! When will "homers" like Ridge wake up and realize that blind adulation does nothing to raise the level of players and play. The US played an awful team and beat them. Hurray!! But to give the players such high ratings is crazy. Any "competent" goalie would have stopped Altidore's shot cold. The ball movement was glacial -- I fell asleep between passes. The only competent players were Donovan and Dempsey. ( I don't know how Dempsey is able to psych himself up to play with BB's hackers!!). And finally, US Soccer should be ashamed of itself to have a game played on a "third-world" field. The ridiculous premiss of expanding the exposure of soccer by playing on these jigsaw puzzle fields is ludicrous. Most viewers will be watching it on TV and what they saw was a sport that can't even provide its national team with a reasonable playing surface. Bush league!!

  1. John Soares
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 1:41 p.m.
    Some of the critic is valid, but.... Falling asleep!? Channel surfing!? Hey guys, lots of Opra reruns available. Watch and send her your critic, no doubt she'll be facinated... No it is not the best soccer in the world. (We don't have a single player in a top 20 team, "world"). But it is the best we have.... Ric, FYI there are a dozen Spanish stations available with many very good Latino players. I watch them often.

  1. Harry Dieterich
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 2:27 p.m.
    I disagree wholeheartedly with some of these rankings... My rankings... Jozy - 6 (at best)... has done nothing (before yesterday) Clint and Landon - 8 (easy) ..they make a difference in games. Tim Howard - 8/9 Best USA goalkeeper Michael Bradley - 6 Can't even crack the lineup at Aston Villa... really?

  1. Gole goal
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
    Who cares about ranking the performance of certain players on the team. We know what we saw and it wasn't much. We should be more concerned about the overall play of the US. The team looked bad! Lets face it, if Canada would actually shoot the ball when they had the chance they could have perhaps tied the game. Overall the performance of the US was sub-par at best. Speed of play going forward was slow. Also, the back line looked very out of place. The back line couldn't keep its shape and the outside backs couldn't decided either to go forward or not. Lets face it, we all demand more out of our US team and thats great. We have players in some of the top leagues in Europe and we are not wet behind the ears anymore. Its not 1990 or 1998 anymore! So what do we do? The US National team and US Soccer needs to find some creative play, fearless play, play with imagination, and they need to promote it. Oh and by the way US, we need players that can finish. We don't have to pass the ball off to an other player. Strikers you can dribble and take a player or players on. In all we lack culture in our national team and in US soccer as a whole. In other words US soccer has no identity in style of play. Its time to decide do we want to play soccer or do we want to Futbol.

  1. John Singer
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 3:31 p.m.
    I'm 51 and play indoor with a bunch of old men once a week. But I do have a Preki-like cutback move that works even if you know it's coming. It's my only move. But that's one more than Jozy Altidore has. I hope that his "goal and assist" performance does not earn him another two years as the #1 striker on USMNT. The goal was due to poor goalkeeping and the assist was all Dempsey's effort. Not flaming Jozy, just frustrated and waiting for the day we can groom a forward with the actual ability to beat someone on the dribble. 8 is high, Ridge.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 4 p.m.
    I agree with maybe 25% of what Tito posted, Spain has also had it's ups and downs this yr, being the World Champions, They were schooled earlier this yr by Argentina and Portugal, and almost lost to Mexico in a friendly from what I heard. The US's biggest problem is the cost of top level training and facilities, the Blue Collar class which is roughly 60 to 75% of the US work force cannot afford the cost of Premier Club's and many excellent athletes are choosing Football, baseball, basketball, etc.... over soccer partcially because of the cost or that they just don't like soccer, which complies the problem. Realistically you have to remember that the MLS Clubs only play half the no.# of games in a yrs. time frame compared to the European clubs and a majority Spains NT players play and practice yr round together ( Barcelona) which no other NT team in the world does or can do, this is Spains big advantage over the rest of the world even. The USMNT loss to Spain wasn't that big of a deal because all the players rarely practice and play together on a regular basis. I hope in time the US can do better and Don't FORGET WHO BEAT SPAIN IN THE CONFEDERATE CUP 2 yrs. ago.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 5:01 p.m.
    How Jozy gets an 8 and the Deuce a 7 is quite mysterious. The Deuce made things happen most of the game while Jozy had his moments even after the gaff by the canadian keeper...Deuce's goal was pure magic.

  1. Gole goal
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 5:23 p.m.
    Kerry Ogden, Spain are World Champions and European Champions what downs are you talking about. The lack of Top level facilities in the US is not the problem Kerry. In parts of South America kids play on dirt fields and many of the kids are poor. Example: Maradona, Pele, Ronaldo from Brazil, Ronaldinho, Messi the list goes on and on. The problem is that US Soccer is geared to having players that have no creativity and a lack of imagination. USMNT selection process is so full of holes that many talented players are left behind both on the womens and mens side. The "selectors" are either college coaches former college coaches that seek out 95% of the time big, strong, athletic players. When you hear big player, you think of skill is out, imagination is out, but they sure can head a ball. As for your comment on the US loss to Spain. Yes, Kerry it was and it is a big deal. It shows how behind we are and how much growth we really need in the sport her state side. The Bora boys days are far and gone, the Reyna days are gone, we are back to the flat soccer. As for your Confederation Cup comment. That was 2 years ago and the US did lose a 2 to 0 lead in the final. Lets face 2 years ago is old old news. Oh and Kerry, its the Confederations Cup not the Confederate Cup.

  1. Kevin Leahy
    commented on: June 8, 2011 at 7:46 p.m.
    The avg. rating of the starters was 6.5. I am convinced you are watching different games from me. Dempsey should be the first choice striker on this squad and not in the midfield. Next time you watch the U.S. play, count the turnovers of each midfielder. The next time you watch Spain play, do the same and do the math. Canada showed me nothing except for maybe two players. The first goal was enough to make you wonder if the fix was in.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: June 9, 2011 at 8:40 a.m.
    Gole Goal, I take it your not from the US otherwise you'd see and understand what I had meantioned about the cost of Premier Club's to the communities and not being able obtain the highest quality Atheltes in the US. Soccer in the US is still in it's infancy compared to most countries in the world, and it seem's that you just don't want to accept this as fact. The Blue collar class in our country, which as I had stated is around 60 to 75% of the countries population, has always been the area where the highest athletic talents have come from, which in other countries would be considered the poor class. The average cost to parents for these club's can and is in the 10's of thousands of dollars per season per child, which is out of reach of most lower middle class families in this country. We can debate these issues till the end of time but in the end, cost is what dictates whether a child playes soccer at a Premier level in this country!

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 9, 2011 at 12:27 p.m.
    >Kerry Ogden, I think your comment that perhaps "Gole Goal, I take it your (sic) not from the US otherwise you'd see and understand...(sic)" is off note, meaning that the now all too common "pay to play" and so-called premier club is way out of reach for inner citiy players, whether they be Latinos, African American, or even Europeans, UNLESS, their parents are somewhat affluent. Case in point, here in the LA area a club my kids played for and for which I paid less than $100 for the season, now charges an exhorbitant amount of money. The reason: some guys with foreign - Euro accents - came along and highjacked the club and saw it as a veritable cash cow enabling the club's head honchos and others, with a pretty hefty salary package and the teams seldom rise from the bronze level, much less to the silver or gold bracket. In fact, the so called "premier club" concept is now being derided in various circles and while I do agree with you the so called "premier clubs" DO NOT always produce top soccer talent, BUT when the talent "rises to the top," the so-called soccer powers that be, whether "premier clubs", 4-year colleges, pro clubs and other national team coaching cadres, turn their backs on them. So for whatever this will mean to you the readers, and K. Ogden, premier clubs only serve one purpose and that is to enrich foreign expats who always seem to purport to know more about the sport than the generation of players - US residents from many parts of the world- I used to coach since 1970. They're the ones who should be deeply involved in the sport, not some has-been guy with a Brit accent, Latino or Italian tilt. Perhaps should this come to pass, then this country will son begin to produce top talent, but you know what, back in the early '70s we used to hear so many times that it would take the US 20 years, i.e. by the '90's to be on par with the rest of the soccer playing world, yt here we are in the second decade of the 21st century and the comments, moans, groans, and just plain good old perpetual *****hing are "reruns" of before.

  1. Gole goal
    commented on: June 9, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
    Kerry Ogden, I am from the US been coaching for well over 13 years from the ODP level, Club level, and I have some International coaching experience as well. Let me say this! The reason why the USMNT has not been and will not be playing with ranks of Spain, Brazil, Argentina, etc in the sense of having the same talent and quality of play,is because of the selection process. US soccer doesnt promote as a whole creativity, imagination play. US soccer promotes kick ball soccer, run and gun soccer, and wants players that are strong and big and fast. The selection process from ODP, College and National team level is very prejudice on race and on style of play. I know this because I have seen this first hand. You can always find out on the college side of statistics on race on the NCAA website. One will see how prejudice the game is on race towards players and ocoaches.

  1. Kevin Leahy
    commented on: June 9, 2011 at 7:24 p.m.
    Funny, I thought this was about Ridge's ratings!

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: June 9, 2011 at 9:15 p.m.
    Thanks for the input Ric and Gole, there is always something new to learn.


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