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U.S. player ratings
by Paul Kennedy, June 26th, 2011 2:45AM

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TAGS:  gold cup, men's national team

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[USA-MEXICO REPORT CARD] In his first start for the USA in two years, Freddy Adu was outstanding, but the U.S. defense endured a long evening at the Rose Bowl. Soccer America's Paul Kennedy grades the U.S. players ...

Starters
Rating Player (Club) GP/G
4 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 65/0. Under siege all game but could not pull off big save. Failed to take the ball off the feet of Giovani dos Santos, who then sealed the Mexico victory with a delicate chip.

NR Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER) 72/2.
Chopped down by his own teammate Jermaine Jones less than 200 seconds into the game and had to leave the game with a sprained ankle. Stayed on long enough to help set up corner kick that led to first U.S. goal.

3 Clarence Goodson (Broendby/DEN) 15/3.
Beaten by Javier Hernandez twice early in the game on chances Chicharito put over the bar and off the post. Made clearance on loose ball early in second half

3 Carlos Bocanegra (St. Etienne/FRA) 93/12.
Did little to help shut down Tri on left side. On Pablo Barrera's second goal at the start of the second half he cleared dos Santos' cross right to Andres Guardado and left Barrera wide open. Header went wide shortly thereafter. Had another chance he could have taken better at 3-2 down in the 71st minute.

3 Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa/ENG) 8/0.
Moved from left back to right back -- his favored position in England -- after Cherundolo went off and Bornstein came on. Couldn't clear ball that led to Guardado's tying goal. No factor coming forward.

4 Jermaine Jones (Blackburn Rovers/ENG) 11/1.
Perhaps his greatest contribution to the game was taking out Cherundolo in the 4th minute. Muffed chance at the top of the Mexican penalty area in 63rd but ran full length of field to break up Tri counter.

5 Michael Bradley (Aston Villa/ENG) 59/9.
Had scored last time he played Mexico on U.S. soil -- 2009 World Cup qualifier in Columbus -- and needed less than nine minutes to get another goal with a glancing header off Adu's corner kick. Had a chance at 4-2 in the 80th minute but shot tailed wide with an empty net to shoot at. Lost Chicharito in midfield on play that began with throw-in following Mexico substitution and led to Barrera's first goal.

4 Alejandro Bedoya. (Orebro/SWE) 13/0.
Except for ball to Adu on buildup on second U.S. goal not a factor on the right side like he was in other two starts. Often asked to cut in the middle.

5 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy, 136/46).
Spent much the game up top but moved back to midfield right before Dempsey fed him on second U.S. goal. Otherwise, didn't leave much of an imprint on the game.

5 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 77/22. Split Mexican defense to spring Donovan after being fed by Adu on second U.S. goal. Had chance to equalize on hour mark but hit crossbar with left-footed shot off loose ball.

7 Freddy Adu (Rizespor/TUR) 17/2.
Great work led to corner kick on which he found Bradley for first goal. Teamed with Dempsey to free Donovan on collective move that led to second goal. Very active until he ran out of gas at about the hour mark. Not intimidated by Mexican challenges.

Substitutes
2 Jonathan Bornstein (Tigres/MEX). 38/2. Allowed Barrera far too much room on first Mexico goal. Terrorized by dos Santos all evening. Not the time for first game in more than a month.

3 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) 10/2.
Replaced Bedoya but was disappointing in his 30-minute appearance.

NR Sacha Kljestan. (Anderlecht/BEL) 32/4.
Set up chance for Goodson seconds after coming in late in the game for the exhausted Adu. Then sprung Donovan in stoppage time.

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



0 comments
  1. C. Zee
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 7:54 a.m.
    Ridge - I hope you don't need to use them in the future, but this is one game where "1" ratings applied. There is no way that Bornstein earned a "2" on the day. and both Bradley were just above a "2" on their decision making. In the same breath, Giovanni dos Santos was a "10" Give credit where credit is due.

  1. . Lev
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 9:29 a.m.
    Bradley jr was not a 5.. unless you get 2 points for scoring a goal

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 10:19 a.m.
    Accurate ratings, Ridge. .Lev, I do think you get something like 2 points for scoring a goal; they are important (that's why Donovan and Bradley got 5's; not sure Dempsey did, unless you get the equivalent of a goal for hitting the crossbar and setting up a goal). Bornstein was put in a very tough spot, and unfortunately, did not rise to the occasion. 2 seems fair, since his weakness was really due to the superior skill of his opponents; I'm not sure what other options Bradley had; certainly Spector would have been tormented as well, since his main flaw is a lack of speed and speed is what Mexico had with a vengeance. He could bring in Ream and move Bocanegra wide, but Bocanegra looked weak outside (again because of lack of pace) in earlier games. Losing Cherundolo made it difficult (impossible?) for us to hold that early lead. Both US goals came against the run of play, and it was clear that unless Mexico lost heart, they were going to get their chances. Mexico simply had the better team and showed it.

  1. Charles Stamos
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.
    Paul, I generally agree with your ratings, one big issue with the midfield and defense is the USA has a difficult time keeping up with the speed of play against a skilled or quick team, ie Spain and Mexico. Speed kills and we don't have enough of it.

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 10:43 a.m.
    Howard was for sure, off his game..big mistakes...costly..that being said, Santos did make a phenomanol shot, take 10 more, bet none go in..lady luck was with him on that shot. Bradley Jr. was no more than a 5, should have put his midfield shot on goal at least when it was open..no pressure on him...Donovan did a good job with his goal, he does better up top now as he has gotten some age on him...I really think that is a better spot for him than mid..he seems to not be able to make those long runs he used to make, calm under pressure, experience, skill,is what he shows, etc.....to not have backup players in our National pool to pick from surprises me...maybe my FOX CHANNEL shows me a different view of the games?...I saw Mexico all the time having defenders outnumber our attacking players ..what was so great about Adu? He made a corner kick that young Bradley deflected into goal..that is all I saw that was an should be a normal thing that they practice..he just did it right...the rest of game was normal as far as I could see...not OUTSTANDING....I do believe it is time for a change in management of the team..new faces, new decision making, more new players in games before WC..need to find that combination that works...Mexico is a dedicated country of soccer lovers, it is their national sport, I expect them to be tough..they are more about the game, we are more about the money...MHO is that I expect pro players to play above avg., not 5's....especially on our Nat teams. no matter the age group...my congrats to Mexico for an aggressive game, never quit attitude and an excellent demonstration of ball skills an team effort.

  1. lorenzo murillo
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 10:55 a.m.
    @Stamos, why is it that Americans are obsessed with speed? Speed had nothing with stopping the Mexicans. Its the the lack of anticipation, or reading the game as they call it here, that kills the US defense. This is the results of overcoaching and too many static drills at the youth levels.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.
    C. Zee -- it's not Ridge, it's Paul Kennedy!! Evidently, Ridghe wanted to give everyone 6's and the Soccer America staff wouldn't allow it!!

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 11:10 a.m.
    Adu was did some good work, but a 7-rating is a bit overboard...his biggest flaw was trying to beat several defenders instead of laying off the ball...let's face it people, technically, the Tri was one full level above our 'potential' and their interplay was outstanding...LD disappeared again with a few forays to his credit...we need to retool...keep the top players and those that have potential and get rid of those that can't execute and make things happen...ditto for the coaching staff which seems to have lost the confidence of the players.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
    I'm OK with Freddy's 7. In a sea of 2,3, and 4's, Freddy by comparison was the best player on our side of the field. That said, just about every Mexican player would rate at least a 7 if Freddy's performance is taken as the benchmark for that grade. As I commented in another article's section, the only positive from this tournament is the resurrection of Freddy Adu. I pray that this is Bob Bradley's parting gift to the fans of USMNT.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 11:34 a.m.
    The excuse machine this Gold Cup is now going to pin this loss on Cherundolo's injury. Had he stayed in the game we would have managed to hold on. Woe is us. Bad luck again for US Soccer. Translation: There's nothing wrong here. Better luck next time and we'll be lifting the trophy not them. Last Gold Cup it was the "B", "C", or "D" team that got shellacked by Mexico, so it was OK. "We'll show 'em when we bring the 'big guns' back in 2011". Next excuse please....

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 11:40 a.m.
    Did Tim Howard make a significant save the entire game? Beat near post, schooled by Dos Santos, spilled rebound on tying goal, let the ball seemingly go under him on the third goal. We needed a stop on any of those and perhaps we could've made it more interesting... Loss not his fault, but he's supposed to make a couple of those saves.... Position related question: Why did Brad Guzan not get called into the team as back-up?

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.
    Last comment (sorry have a lot of thoughts): I'm OK taking this loss if it leads to some changes that we all see as obvious. We need some hope that someone who can get our momentum back in the right direction will be brought in. If we have to absorb this loss (with the stark reality that we are, at best, a distant second best in our region) and the fact that the powers that be in US Soccer can't see that there is a problem, then our prospects for the next 3 years are pretty bleak. The only thing that rights the ship will then be failing to qualify for Brazil and that is just too much to bear.

  1. Charles Stamos
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 1:49 p.m.
    lorenzo - I agree with you that speed is only one attribute that great soccer players can use, quickness and ball control are others. I think speed can help make up for the other deficits that USA players possess, like lack of ball control. dos Santos has all of these skills and showed them at different times in the game. The other way a team can have a solid defense is if it is totally coordinated strategically, which we didn't have especially after Cherundolo left the game. Flipping Lichaj and bringing on Bornstein created a disorganized mess on the back line.

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 2:02 p.m.
    RIDGE- Always smoking the same stuff bob bradley smokes. I will give m. bradley credit for a great goal. But the rest of the game he gave the ball away numerous times and when he wasn't giving the ball away he was dropping the ball back. This is his typical game. Yes M. Edu sits the bench????? I give M. bradley a 4 because he scored a goal, which is worth 3 poinst in my book. Also, the biggest critisism should be laid on bob bradley! Why would you replace Dolo with Bornstein then switch the speedy Lichaj to the right side when he was doing fine on the left? You could tell almost immediately what a bad and unforgivable mistake this was when Mexico score two quick goals from the left side of the defense. Bornstien just insn't ready for the International game. WE HAVE COME TO EXPECT THESE THINGS FROM bob!!!! FEDDY ADU was amazing. He is what the USMNT needs. HE is cool and calm on the ball. Distributes well and forces fouls in dangerous places. His free kick was near perfect only lacking a little pace. All this to say: It makes you wonder why bb left Torres off the roster???? IF the USMNT wants to progress, it is time we expect better talent and experience at the Coaching level first. For crying out loud!!: one of the assistant coaches is Jesse Marsch-the ex thug MLS player with only 2 international caps! What does he bring to the coaching staff? NADDA. Just like BOB.

  1. Richard Leonard
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 2:53 p.m.
    Very disappointing loss,but Mexico was clearly the better TEAM on the pitch last night.

  1. Bryan Kempf
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 4:06 p.m.
    Just out of curiosity... Who could we play (names please) to replace those that "need to be dropped". If you were BB who do you start?

  1. K Lewis
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 4:16 p.m.
    I don't think you can blame the US youth system... how many are Americans coming from that system.. not many. I think the dual citizenship needs to stop. We need to either trust our system and start using more players that comes from it or revamp it. Bradley and the US "decision makers" need to either rethink their direction or go with new movers and shakers.

  1. James Madison
    commented on: June 26, 2011 at 11:30 p.m.
    Speed is a combination of (a) foot speed, (b) technical speed and (c) tactical speed. The US was not far behind Mexico in (a), but trailed in (b) and was woefully in arrears in (c). The basic problem is the 11 on the field were maybe the best we have. 4S or 5s for all, except 2s for Bornstein and Agudelo and a 6 for Adu. For Bradley and Donovan, 5s only because of bonus points for their goals.

  1. Geno Genowicz
    commented on: June 27, 2011 at 1:59 a.m.
    This is a classic avalanche via injury and lack of depth. If Cherundalo isn't injured in a silly collision, we win. Beautiful Mexican dance and chip, while we rattle the timber and miss a wide-open goal. Poor finishing is an American trait, unfortunately. That's why we should appreciate Bradley and Donovan, regardless. Mexico was, is, and will be technically superior to us for now, but there are glimmers... Tim Howard is not Casey or Brad. We were spoiled by their calm magic. Is the next great American keeper somewhere under the radar? We had flashes of brilliance last night....I mean real, futbol brilliance. This brilliance is still just a baby. Patience, Hortence.

  1. Eric Shinn
    commented on: June 27, 2011 at 8:57 a.m.
    The 11 on the field were most certainly NOT the "best we have". Charlie Davies still isn't all the way back. Stu Holden watched the game from the Fox broadcast booth. Even Jozy Altidore would have been a help Saturday night, as he could have pressured Mexico's central defense with his sie and physicality. Add in Gooch still recovering and getting back to form, Tim Chandler not making the trip, and Dolo getting hurt 2 minutes into the game, and there is no way you can say that those 11 on the field during the Mexico onslaught were the "best we have."

  1. Carlos Balnco
    commented on: June 27, 2011 at 1:29 p.m.
    Andrew Post, I strongly believe that BB changed speedy Lichaj to the right side because that's the side Guardado was playing. In the game against Costa Rica, Mexico scored 4 times as well. Guess who scored twice and from what side. I'll tell you. Guardado. I think BB strategy made sense on paper. It just turned out that Barrera was just as dangerous as Guardado.


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