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U.S. player ratings
by Ridge Mahoney, June 19th, 2011 10:52PM

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TAGS:  gold cup, men's national team

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[USA-JAMAICA REPORT CARD] Coach Bob Bradley took Landon Donovan out of the starting lineup and with a few tactical tweaks and goals by Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey the U.S. eliminated Jamaica, 2-0, to clinch a Gold Cup semifinal spot on Wednesday. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players ...

Starters
Rating Player (Club) GP/G
6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 63/0. Crucial one-on-one save in the opening minutes denied Ryan Johnson and avoided yet another bad start. Once the USA took command he handled everything, except for a scary mix-up between him and Goodson just outside the penalty area for which the keeper took the blame. Solid save on Keammar Daley in the final minutes snuffed out Jamaica's final chance.

6 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/GER) 70/2. Ranged up the right flank to deliver several effective balls, also tucked in to protect the back post on the few threatening crosses Jamaica was able to produce. Served up an excellent cross that forced a fantastic save from Donovan Ricketts. Handled Dane Richards competently when the winger changed flanks, and gave little space to anybody else.

6 Clarence Goodson (Broendby/DEN) 13/3. Won his usual allotment of stuff in the air, came forward to cause problems on set plays, and also turned nimbly to kick clear a dangerous ball played through the middle. Clashed repeatedly with Luton Sheldon, who was substituted late in the match.

7 Carlos Bocanegra (St. Etienne/FRA) 91/12. Provided cover for Goodson and Lichaj when needed, and marked up tightly on Ryan Johnson to nullify him almost completely. Headed down a corner kick that struck Agudelo on the foot. Blocked a close-range shot in the second half that might have come off his arm. Headed the ball that Dempsey chested and then biked over the crossbar.

6 Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa/ENG) 6/0. Nearly scored when put through on goal by a ball from Michael Bradley, but didn’t hit low shot hard enough to get past Ricketts. Defended very well both in sync with teammates and one-v-one, though Richards did break clear on a few occasions. Slid over to clear a ball after a Goodson slip opened up a gap

7 Jermaine Jones (Blackburn/ENG) 9/1. Bossed the midfield in another impressive performance and knitted together a five-man alignment with intelligent passes and the occasional supporting run. Twice lucky when his shot deflected off an opponent’s foot into the net and with a flop following minimal contact that produced a red card for Jamaica. Shook off a forearm to the face from Ryan Johnson.

4 Michael Bradley (Aston Villa/ENG) 57/8. First-half giveaways in the middle third could been costly, but he and his teammates usually chased down the turnovers. Too slow to clear the zone when Jamaica nearly scored in opening minutes. Played a shrewd through ball for Lichaj that provided a great chance. Glanced a header from a corner kick that flashed across the goalmouth but nobody could turn it into the net. Cut down on his errors to help manage the game after Jones broke open the deadlock.

7 Alejandro Bedoya. (Orebro/SWE) 11/0. Sharp and clever on the ball, and constantly active away from the play, Bedoya rekindled memories of his promising first few appearances for the U.S. He used both feet to hit crosses from the right flank, and also contributed defensively. He earned applause by tracking back all the way to his own endline to blunt a Jamaican attack late in the first half. Headed down a cross from Kljestan to provide a chance for Dempsey.

7 Sacha Kljestan. (Anderlecht/BEL) 30/4. Slightly less prominent than some of his teammates but no less important as they linked passes and movement to befuddle the Jamaicans in all aspects of play. Took a lot of the set plays in the absence of Donovan and delivered a few effective ones. Nice dribble and cross set up Bedoya for a header he put wide of the post, great through ball sent Donovan clear with a chance he squandered.

6 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 75/21. Regained his finishing sharpness yet was stopped four times by Ricketts, and also hit a bike over the crossbar. He tested the keeper with a bending free kick, an acrobatic volley, a close-range header, and a low shot in the final seconds. His effort and energy, not to mention perseverance, finally earned a reward when he coolly controlled a ball from Agudelo and took it past Ricketts’ desperate lunge to tap home the clinching goal.

NR Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor/TUR) 39/12. Looked strong and confident in the opening minutes, but hobbled off with a strained hamstring trying to chase down a well-hit long ball from Goodson.

Substitutes
7 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) 8/2. Got into the flow fairly quickly after replacing Altidore in the 12th minute. Forced a good save from Ricketts with a hard, low shot with a daring dribble after collecting a pass from Dempsey, and with 10 minutes left ran down a ball on the right flank to center a ball Dempsey tucked away. His work off the ball opened up space for his fellow attackers.

5 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy, 134/45). Dawdled with a through ball from Kljestan a few minutes after replacing Bedoya and was caught offside trying to play a one-two with Dempsey with Ricketts way out of his net. Brought some energy and provided the ball that Agudelo set up for Dempsey.

5 Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers/SCO) 23/1. Closed down space in midfield and won balls to further frustrate the Jamaicans after his entry in the 75th minute.



0 comments
  1. Tito Messi
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 8:01 a.m.
    Jamaica is not a good team by any means....they are terrible!!!! the US better play more "consistent" soccer if they are going to be a "decent" team from now on....have you all noticed, Michael Bradley NER comes out of a game....why? because his daddy thinks he is the "best player" in the WORLD!!!!

  1. C. Zee
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 8:24 a.m.
    Michael Bradley has become a liability. There are several US players that have become "regular starters" without contribution. Some players have the good work ethic - Goodson, Lichaj and Agudelo to name three. However, the complacency of other like Donovan, Dempsey and Bradley is a fatal disease. It is still a curiousity that Maurice Edu, a three time Champion with Rangers cannot find a place over bench-warming Bradley or a mediocre Jones. Until the USA plays with the "joy" and skill and creativity that is abundant in world class sides (see Brazil, Spain and Argentina) they will struggle against the likes of Panama, Guadeloupe and Jamaica. It may be time for a new coach / new philosophy. It has to start with replacing Gulati and a regime that settles for average results.

  1. Alex Forand
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 9:01 a.m.
    Bradley didn't come out because Jones cannot go 90 minutes. He was cramping after only 75 minutes. Bradley brings a toughness factor that very few on this team have. He consistently is challenging the ball and always helping in the defense. I am curious to see how Stuart Holden fits into this team. He is fast becoming a dynamic offensive minded midfielder who potentially is the missing piece for this team.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 9:10 a.m.
    Lets' all be happy we won. The "team" looked much better. I hope we will continue to improve with each match as we go forward.Panama will be the test.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.
    It was a decent effort partially ruined by Jones's despicable dive. I would've like to see him suspended for a game or two, but doubt that will happen. FIFA doesn't seem to mind diving.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 10:41 a.m.
    Very accurate ratings Ridge (though I thought Goodson probably deserved more credit for how often he blunted Jamaica's long ball offense). I was not happy to see Kljestan starting, since I've not been particularly impressed with him, and I would have liked to have seen a more offensive player instead of Jones, and I was shocked to see Donovan out of the line-up, but those moves all paid off. BB deserves some credit for mixing things up. Jamaica played poorly, but the US can't be faulted for that (in fact, maybe the US probably deserves some credit for that). MB had a poor game, and had Jones not been injured/fatigued, Edu should probably have replaced him instead. But MB has been very consistent, and has earned the right to have the coach's confidence through a poor performance without it being considered a case of nepotism. Jones' dive was ugly, and the Jamaican player did not deserve to be sent off. In the ref's defense, while I thought Jones embellished the foul when I first saw it, the tackle was very poorly timed (and desperate), and I thought he did clip Jones (and had Jones not had the poor touch, he would have been off to the races so it did look to be an intentional attempt to prevent a break-away), but I thought he could have hedged it by giving a caution (since there was a chance the pursuing outside defenders would have caught him). Overall, not the prettiest game, but the US got it done. One thing BB does well is to use a constant mix of players, which I'm guessing helps with team morale, since bench players have decent hopes to get on the field and field players who get replaced know that that does not necessarily mean they've been banished, never to see the field again.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.
    Bocanegra I feel is a little over rated while Lichaj is slightly underrated. I hope that Wondolowski and Reams can get more playing time down the road, they could have alot to offer. Great game yesterday.

  1. Vince Leone
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 12:33 p.m.
    Jones's dive was an embarrassment. You beat the defender and are going in on goal with the ball at your feet, and then you dive? When you're already a goal up? Stuart Holden, get well. The ratings for Bedoya and Agudelo are too high. I think they had 1 shot between the 2 of them. The other work is good, but we need forwards who can stick the ball in the net. Wondo?

  1. James Madison
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 2:43 p.m.
    Although I wish no harm to anyone, having to take Altidore off early unquestionably helped the team effort. Everyone deserved fives, except for Dempsey and Jones. Dempsey should have had a six for coming off a late plane flight to be the only one to threaten the Jamaica goal except for Jones' "coup de tete" (look it up; it is nothing like "coup de tat"). Jones would have merited a 6 for his shot, except for his caution for early-on persistent infringing. Jones should also get an eight for the quality of his dive, which sold the CR on maybe-not-even-a-foul.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 5:12 p.m.
    Despite all of his missed SOG's, Dempsey is the only MNT player that consistently displays true international level skills. Not surprised that his attitude isn't always great when he has to play with so many hackers and be coached by a "BB". Agudelo, and possibly,Bedoya definitely show promise.

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: June 20, 2011 at 9:02 p.m.
    Great observation C. Zee. Bradley gave away the ball cheaply in the mid field. Also, he look "gassed" halfway through the second half. I thought Edu was coming in to replace him. His lack of pace will cost us if the US gets past Panama and faces Mexico.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 21, 2011 at 10:01 a.m.
    While it's easy, and somewhat trendy, to criticize the team, they played their best game and still should have another level to go to for the next game. I wanted Panama to win their Qfinal so we could get them again. We should be able to make them look as inept as we made Jamaica look (who looked much better in the group stages than Panama did). With the current central defense duo we should not be as vulnerable to Panama's counterattacks as we were the first game.

  1. david caldwell
    commented on: June 21, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
    Let's face it: This was a dominating performance, dangerous in attack and solid in defense. Frustration on the uneven nature of the team is OK. But some are letting that ruin their enjoyment of what was a very good soccer v Jamaica. Were it not for Rickets and some mediocre finishing, this would have been a 3 or 4-goal blowout. Goodson is so strong in the air, and Lichaj is dangerous going forward. This more than covers up for their imperfections. Liked the new shape and lineup a lot - that took courage from B Bradley. This was one of the poorer games from M. Bradley with plenty of giveaways. But his energy and effort are absolutely vital to this team, he's a legit 90-min man, even on a day in which he struggles on the ball. Aguedelo's contribution is valuable. He runs at defenders, but also is good about knowing when to pass and does so sharply. Jones' dive is being taken too seriously. No, it was not a legit red. I wish Jermaine was more comfortable going forward, though. He is very accurate on long balls and a tough tackler.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: June 21, 2011 at 10:52 a.m.
    Biggest eyesore which is a persistent problem with USMNT was the quick counter by Agudelo on the right wing and ONLY ONE US player supporting from the middle, Dempsey, and no one else in sight....that's a major problem. Have to agree with the ratings, especially against a pitiful Jamaica squad which never showed up.


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