[USA-COSTA RICA REPORT CARD] Long stretches of inspired play failed to produce a goal, and the USA fell in Jurgen Klinsmann’s second game in charge. Tim Howard, Jose Torres, Brek Shea and Tim Chandler earned the highest USA marks among the starters. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. performances ...
7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), 67/0.
Barely touched the ball in the first half until the last few minutes, when two sharp saves kept the game goalless. Also saved well on Costa Rican scoring sequence by stopping the initial shot and also got a piece of the follow-up attempt that ricocheted into the net. Handled crosses and through balls impeccably but still gets hung with a loss.
6 Tim Chandler (Nuremberg/GER) 3/0.
Very strong and active getting forward, served decent balls in the box and set up Agudelo late in the match with a tenacious push into the penalty area. He tired near the end of the first half and was AWOL when Costa Rica got two good chances on his side of the field. Yet he maintained his energy and ruggedness through the entire 90 minutes.
4 Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis/MEX) 3/0.
Solid and composed for much of the game but very inconsistent with his clearances when under pressure, and didn’t react well when Costa Rica scored and pressed forth in search of a second goal. Alvaro Saborio got the better of him a few times and he mistimed a couple of tackles in risky situations.
5 Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers/SCO) 95/12.
Confusion abounded between him and Fiscal when a ball played over the top stranded both of them and led to the Costa Rican goal. As captain, he must ensure either one of the centerbacks plays sweeper and the other marks up, or that if the offside trap is played it is done so effectively. Otherwise he clogged up a lot of opposing attacks, headed balls out of danger and cut out crosses, but wasn’t able to shore up his side when Castillo got into trouble.
3 Edgar Castillo (Club America/MEX) 3/0.
There are defensive issues that must be addressed. When not pressured in the first half, he probed forward and played a few nice combinations, though he didn’t serve the ball well. Struggled through a rough second half with Costa Rican substitute Daniel Colindres taking the ball down his side and as of now, lacks the defensive instincts to find solutions. Terrible crossfield giveaway typified his nightmare second half.
5 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO) 26/1.
Covered a lot of ground as the deepest, holding central midfielder and most of his passes went to the right person. Lined up a shot late in the game but scuffed it wide. Cautioned for studs-up tackle that screamed of Scotland. Often stranded alone as midfield turnovers provided Costa Rica with a numbers advantage, but regained some of his strength in the final minute to help turn momentum to the USA side.
6 Jose Torres (Pachuca/MEX) 13/0.
Excellent touches for the most part, though rarely did he attempt the killer through ball. Hit a splendid example early in the match but the offside flag went up. Lost duel in midfield triggered one of Costa Rica’s best attacks, and he also took punishing hits that were probably fouls. Switched play nicely on numerous occasions and hit a screamer from distance that forced a flying save. Reluctance to cross first-time with his right foot twice resulted in offside calls when Costa Rica pushed up as he moved the ball to his left foot.
4 Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew) 15/2.
Started poorly and shakily as attacks died on his indecision and poor execution. Improved, ironically, as Costa Rica came more into the game and he contributed a few key defensive plays. But offensively, looked nothing like the livewire who stung Mexico as a sub three weeks ago, and frankly, when he and Chandler attacked together on the flank, Chandler looked the more dangerous.
6 Brek Shea (FC Dallas) 4/0.
A bright spot for most of the game, if also a somewhat puzzling one. Got to the byline to drill crosses of varying height and angle, not quite so confident when veering inside looking to shoot or slip tight diagonal balls. Attacked several crosses and dead balls in the first half and bounced one attempt wide after a courageous challenge earned the opportunity. Put in a creditable effort defensively. Set up the best U.S. chances of the night with deft passes to Altidore and Donovan.
4 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) 138/46.
His glaring miss on a great first-half chance could have been forgiven had he contributed in other areas, but he didn’t. His corners were flaccid, his free kicks – aside from one that dropped just over the crossbar – lacked menace. He rarely scythed past a second and third challenger on the dribble, even in a first half played more passively than any Costa Rican national team in recent memory facing the USA. One good cross provided Shea with a shot that bounced wide.
5 Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar/NED) 40/12.
Did his job as the lone forward by controlling balls with his feet and chest, but didn’t always have good options to use the ball once he’d tamed it. Played a couple of nice combinations with his head that narrowly failed to connect, and powered onto a long ball from Shea to skip a shot wide of the near post. Linked with Shea smoothly to create chance Donovan put wide.
6 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) 12/2.
Sparked the USA attack after replacing Altidore in the 62nd minute. Opened up spaces between the Costa Rican centerbacks, one of whom, Michael Umana, upended him to weaken one his attempts at goal. Forced a brave save from Navas with a pulverizing shot from close range.
5 Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht/BEL) 34/4.
Tidied up things in midfield and played competently if conservatively after his entrance in the 64th minute.