[USA-GUADELOUPE REPORT CARD] A few positional changes and a much more intense and cohesive effort earned the USA a 1-0 win over Guadeloupe Tuesday night in Kansas City that featured solid games by Steve Cherundolo and Jermaine Jones, and a great goal by Jozy Altidore.
Rating Player (Club) GP/G
5 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 62/0.
Not required to make an official save, he came out twice to confidently smother potentially dangerous through balls, and da rted off his line early to snatch a high looping cross with both arms fully extended.
7 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/GER) 69/2.
Waged some fierce duels with Thery Racon, who bested him a couple of times yet far more often came away without the ball and eventually was substituted. Going forward, Cherundolo threatened numerous times by hitting crosses into all sectors of the Guadeloupe penalty area, and maintained his intensity and energy to the final whistle.
5 Clarence Goodson (Broendby/DEN) 12/3.
Paired up smoothly with Bocanegra. He sometimes applied pressure outside the penalty area to break up plays, on other occasions he waited patiently for the right moment to get into a tackle when confronting a dribbler. Got his head to one set piece but was tightly marked and couldn’t put the shot on frame.
6 Carlos Bocanegra (St. Etienne/FRA) 90/12.
Directed traffic and meshed well with his teammates most of the time, despite the fact he’s rarely played with Goodson and Lichaj. Seldom put under pressure when the ball turned over, he played safe, effective passes to Lichaj and occasionally launched a longer ball up the flanks.
6 Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa/ENG) 5/0.
Played well and smartly in the first half, looked tired and thus more cautious after that. Hit a few good crosses when played into space on the left flank and seldom looked overmatched by opponents testing him for power and speed, though Livio Nabab ran at him early and often before being replaced.
7 Jermaine Jones (Blackburn/ENG) 8/0.
He ignored whatever resentment he may have felt after being substituted against Panama to play a very solid game. His passing included a few excellent balls played to the flanks and over middle distances, one of which led to a great chance for Donovan. His range and timing of challenges enabled the USA to bottle up Guadeloupe for most of the match. During one sequence he twice scraped the ball away from opponents and eventually drew a foul for his persistence.
5 Michael Bradley (Aston Villa/ENG) 56/8.
Though he often played a few yards in front of Jones, he didn’t push forward on the dribble very often, relying instead on finding the open man to trigger combination sequences. Defensively he dropped and moved intelligently to collect half-clearances and partial interceptions, and usually found the right outlet. He played a very simple ball into space for Altidore to hammer into the net.
4 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy, 133/45).
Played competently without the imminent threat he often presents, and skied a great chance over the bar in the second half that could have sealed victory. Helped defensively in the second half when assigned mainly to the right flank, needed some direction from Cherundolo during one sequence.
4 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 74/20.
He was active, he was involved, and he gave an honest effort, but was guilty of two egregious misses among myriad chances. On a Cherundolo cross, he rose unmarked at the edge of the goal area for a free header yet somehow missed the far post by a yard, and when served the mother of all sitters from the same range by Bedoya he trapped the ball for a defender to swipe off his feet. He also forced a tip-over save by Franck on a long shot and hit the crossbar with a free kick.
4 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) 5/0.
Forced two excellent saves from keeper Franck Grandel during a bang-bang sequence, and while not as prominent as a few other players worked the spaces behind and around Altidore to good effect. Still not quite sure of where he fits into the scheme of things but he knows his way around the goalmouth.
7 Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor/TUR) 38/12.
His goal, struck from well outside the box, veered so sharply that Grandel didn’t have time to even lunge for it, yet Altidore did a lot more. He muscled through a pair of defenders to get a shot that was deflected wide, and drew a few fouls by frustrated opponents unable to handle him. He carved out a lot of space for Dempsey and other teammates.
6 Alejandro Bedoya. (Orebro/SWE) 10/0. Upon his entrance in the 64th minute for Wondolowski, he contributed immediately with crisp, confident play. Served up the ball that Dempsey squandered during a bright spell of working the left flank. He boldly crashed over a much bigger opponent – which describes all of them actually – to head a cross narrowly wide.
5 Sacha Kljestan. (Anderlecht/BEL) 29/4.
Played another composed, mature quarter of an hour by keeping the ball moving and away from the opposition.
NR Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers/SCO) 22/1.
Chased down a ball right after coming on and got a few other touches in a brief appearance.
(1-low; 5=average; 10=high.)