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U.S. Player Ratings: Howard kept game close
by Ridge Mahoney, September 7th, 2011 12:47AM

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[BELGIUM-USA REPORT CARD] Another excellent game by goalie Tim Howard, who earned the highest rating, limited the damage but still Belgium prevailed, 1-0, Tuesday in Brussels. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. performances ...

Starters:
7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), 68/0.
Three excellent saves and generally clean handling in slick, rainy conditions enabled the Americans to defuse all but one serious scoring situation. Nicolas Lombaerts' shot got underneath him but it was drilled through traffic and skipped off a very fast surface. Reflex save on club teammate Marouane Fellaini will be revisited a few times in that locker room.

5 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER), 74/2.
Overcame a rough start to put in another solid shift. His attempts to link up with flank mate Robbie Rogers seldom came to fruition and he didn’t produce crosses until the second half. Belgian winger Dries Mertens' turned him around a few times to find shooting lanes and he also had to deal with Marvin Ogunjimi. Cherundolo’s second-half free kick from the right side of midfield wound up in the Belgian net via Goodson and Edu but the goal was disallowed.

5 Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers/SCO), 96/12.
He won balls in the air and found time to lob passes up the left side. His occasional struggles were due in part to a soft central midfield that plagued the USA at times during the match, and on the ground he scrambled to contain the Belgian forwards. He headed a corner kick that Howard came for but didn’t reach narrowly wide of his own goal.

6 Clarence Goodson (Brondby/DEN), 25/3.
His experience in European play helped him to deal with the opponents and the conditions, and most of the time he held up well. Rescued situations with solid tackles and didn’t get caught dawdling on the ball as the rain lashed down. Jarred Romelu Lukaku with his arm at just the right moment to help steer Lukaku’s header off-frame.

5 Tim Chandler (Nuremberg/GER), 4/0.
Like all of the USA defenders, he ran a gauntlet of tough assignments in his first cap at left back. Eden Hazard and Axel Whitsel tested him with dribbling runs and passing combinations involving Fellaini and others. On the attack he looked for interplay with Torres but he passed up a few opportunities to reach the end line. All in all, a very promising option for a USA problem spot.

5 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO), 27/1.
Whiffed on a shot and lost the mark when the Belgians scored off a throw-in. He occasionally dropped into the back line to help contain their wingers. He battled resiliently for much of the match and passed decently yet nearly disappeared during a period of Belgian dominance in the middle of the park. Bad giveaway in the 80th minute could have been costly if not for Larentowicz.

3 Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), 16/2.
Worked on the ball enough times to draw a couple of free kicks on the right flank, yet rarely showed enough sharpness and guile to create openings. He couldn’t control the ball cleanly nor beat foes on the dribble. He might have been drained by the long trip from Los Angeles to Brussels after a loss to Costa Rica last Friday but he didn’t look very good in that game, either.

6 Brek Shea (FC Dallas), 5/0.
The rangy midfielder showed once again his willingness to run and battle against a tough opponent. Shunted out of the play for much of the first half he picked up his intensity after halftime to drive at opponents and get balls into the goalmouth. A moment of hesitation cost him an opportunity and by the time he shot defenders had closed in to block the attempt. He set up Dempsey for a shot in the final minutes with a determined run down the left and accurate final pass.

5 Jose Torres (Pachuca/MEX), 14/0.
Showed his customary good touch in terrible conditions, spun out of trouble a few times but also lost physical battles when his moves weren’t quick or clever enough. Earned the free kick that Dempsey rattled off the goalie’s face. He did some good work defensively, on one occasion sliding over his own endline to shepherd an errant Belgian pass out of play, but occasionally took up a poor position and fouled trying to recover. Stood up Eden Hazard, who wasn’t happy about it. Late in the first half he inadvertently slowed a USA counter by playing a short pass rather than running the ball at retreating defenders.

6 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG), 78/22.
Deployed in the middle behind a lone striker, Dempsey quickly sized up what to do in the slow, soggy conditions. He kept pressing and running, using his muscle to carve out space. Presented with a free kick in the fifth minute and a beatable defensive wall he skipped a shot that came off the keeper’s face and nearly wound up in the net. In the final minutes he smacked a promising effort that caromed harmlessly off a defender.

4 Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar/NED), 41/12.
Won a few balls early as the sole striker while trying to find teammates – Dempsey, Torres, Rogers – to play off of, but rather quickly lost steam and didn’t cause Belgium many problems. He got clipped going for a rebound on Dempsey’s free kick. Killed one sequence by simply losing the ball under little pressure.

Substitutes:
5 Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), 13/2.
In addition to his speed he’s getting better at holding the ball and withstanding tackles, which tested the Belgians but didn’t lead to any real opportunities.

5 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), 14/1.
Added his typical bustle and energy as a second-half sub and also slid to the wings to help contain opposing attacks.

5 Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), 2/0.
Came on in the 76th minute and right away bailed out Edu after a dangerous giveaway.



32 comments
  1. David Sirias
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 7:38 a.m.
    The game should have been ended tied. But no matter. It should be clear that Robbie Rogers is not the answer. He harms adjacent players rather than helps. How many hospital balls to Torres ? The game before he removed Chandler from the game. This one Dempsey. Jozy is also not the answer. At least as a lone striker. Feet of stone. Heck cj sapong is better at that role already Too bad we wasted a year with bob. JK only has another ten months to find the right formula.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 7:42 a.m.
    I don't think Dempsey or Goodson deserved 6's, but everything else was about right. Overall, very average performance under difficult conditions against a difficult opponent. Shea and Howard were the only ones who stood out positively.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 8:02 a.m.
    Although I have missed the first 20 minutes of the game due to ESPN than probably another 10 due to the storm (DISH Network) and also the last 10-12 minutes again due to the storm. But I have often commented about Mahoney. I think he was watching the England-Wales game. He shoud have read Mike W. analyzation at least. Dempsey was subpar didn't merit 6 especially when he gave Torres 5. At very least it should have been the other way around. And Goodson was terrible with his passes from the back, lot of giveaways. If that than Bocanegra deserved better rating than Goodson. Shea didn't deserve 6 either, he was running around often aimlessly w/o results. Rogers rating was on the money I think he deserved even less.

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 8:54 a.m.
    Antonio- Of course Ridge didnt' watch the USvBelgium game. He rarely gets the ratings correct and always praises Dempsey (for doing nothing... again) and speak poorly of Torres (our only hope at CAM). How does Larentowicz get a 5 after only plaing 14 minutes? That doesn't make sense Ridge. How does Dempsey merrit a 6? Should we not expect more from him considering his accomplishments in England? Dempsey just can't seem to find a spot to accell at on this team. He acts like a pre madonna when he plays for the US instead of playing with fire and intesity that landed him at Fulham in the first place. Altidore needs to work his but off to be more than a one dementional player. I also think Klinsmann needs to bring Adu back on the team. Agudelo seems to be the only hope for the US FWD at this point. Who else is there?

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 9:17 a.m.
    I did not get into the game, tried, was not on at time supposed to be, finally gave up...bummer...but, I just would like to say, as to Dempsey, he is just part of the team, he has to have help to bring out his best. He is consistent, also, Torres, consistent, Howard, consistent...I believe that Klinsman is still looking for the TEAM of players that use each other on a consistant basis so he can further perfect their performance as a teammmmmmmm. Difficult to do in a short time, I believe in giving the coach time. scores of 1.0 are really games that can go either way....interesting input guys....enjoy comments an articles.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 10:06 a.m.
    I am more in agreement with Andrew's ratings than with Ridge. How does Larentowicz get a 5 playing only 14 min while Torres only gets a 5. Dempsey didn't do enough to earn a 6. Altidore needs to work on his touch and Agudelo right now seems to me to be the more dangerous forward, but I think both would benefit with a strike partner.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.
    Hey Ridge, Mexico has not lost a game in 1 year under new coach in 14 total including impressive wins vs Chile and USA!! Just trying to get you to publish a positive story of a North American country that has much interest in USA. Klins will get it right and Torres is here to stay!!

  1. Clear the Ball
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 12:08 p.m.
    I really like Torres, but I thought he was poor against Belgium. He was constantly turning the ball over at midfield. For me, the best players were Howard & Shea. Beckerman played his role perfectly for what Klinsi wants. The only major disappointment was Rogers. He shouldn't see the field for quite a while. He's not ready for this level. All in all, a 1-1 game was about what I hoped for which is what the game, in reality, was.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.
    Hey a long time ago, in another century but not too long ago (jk!) the so called "great communicator," RR said to another guy, "There you go again...!) So I'll copy that "great communicator," and say to Ragin' Ridge: "There you go again!!!" But I digress here a bit, and must say that, OMG!!! I party agree with some of Ragin's ratings but am loathe to think that he actually watched the entire game (did he have a live feed to his tv, while we had to resort to calling ESPN?) yet I wonder why he rated Dempsey a 6, Agudelo 5, Beckerman a 5, and Larentowicz also a 5? In my humble opinion as a "Soccer Cognoscenti" wouldn't it be more fair to see a player go the entire 90 minutes to merit a rating as opposed to playing a half or a half of a half a game? Dempsey disappointed, while Jazzy A, did too little, again trying to take on the entire Belgian defense, and where was Clint? I agree that he CD didn't play with the "fire" and "determination" but I'll give him some slack in that he will have to adapt to a new coach, ah!!! then again, he IS a professional, right? So than k you to Antonio and Andrew Post for their more balanced and spot on comments, as well as the others. And hey, Luis, it will be a long time before RR will write anything positive about the North American country, but then again, doesn't hope spring reign eternal?

  1. Clear the Ball
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 12:11 p.m.
    Luis, as a US fan, I pay attention to Mexico's scores. I'll even be rooting for them in international competition. However, I wouldn't read a single in-depth story on them because this is primarily a US soccer site and I don't come here to read about Mexican soccer. Go MLS, three straight against Mexican teams!!

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.
    Oliver, that's you. Its Soccer America. Not Soccer USA. There's a difference. Plenty of people will show interest in an article like that because the soccer culture in USA reflects this interest. These articles are not only for USA fans and should not be. USA has to learn from countries like Mexico if it really wants to progress in Soccer. I guess we'll miss you in that article sunshine!!

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 1:49 p.m.
    Mexico is in America dumby. If you weren't racist you could easily acknowledge this fact. I don't hate anybody. I feel sorry for you and Ridge. You both are limited in facts and in recognizing facts.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
    Generally where? What do you mean Mexico is not in America? Where did you go to school? Is America a continent or a country?? Hmm. Wrong. Its a continent. We are in the United States of "America". Of "America". Its a group of states that belongs to a bigger entity. There is North, Central and South America. Are you that racist that you won't acknowledge the rest of America?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 2:44 p.m.
    I don't use the name America that way. This is a a free country. Is it not? As bad as you think my comments are, they actually have intellectual meaning unlike yours. You have yet to say something smart or state something behind your opinions with substance. Your name saids it all. Mexico soccer is doing tremendously well and it's next door to us and in the American continent. They are taking many USA born players to their national teams and sending many immigrant success stories here where there are now quality players on this very USA team. Saying that we should keep a closer eye on Mexico only helps the overall cause of these articles and its bloggers. To better inform people of how soccer should be played and where they can look to learn more. Few people do not know who the Mexican players are and it could be said that they are better recognized in the USA than USA players. It is what it is ese. Stop being racist and start being open minded.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 3:06 p.m.
    Rogers...'a bit fatigued'...how about telling it like it is...he's not Int'l quality...concrete feet/technically suspect and can't turn the corner...reality check is that heavily capped guys like LD and Dempsey need to be active 80% of the game and not disppear for long stretches...game three for JK, what's to get crazy about, new faces, new style, all need to coagulate.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 3:32 p.m.
    Boys, boys. Though I hesitate to wade in, you both have some valid points and need to at least recognize when your opponent makes a good point, and not just rant past each other. Maybe take the animosity down a bit. Following Ric's lead to use historical references, "can't we all just get along?" (RK). Yes, America is a continent not a country, and Mexico is certainly part of the American continent (even part of North America). On the other hand, people of the United States are called Americans, and certainly, I would guess that when people of Mexico speak of los Americanos, they're not referring to fellow Mexicans (or are people from the US always norteamericanos? Would that include Canadians? It gets complicated...). Soccer America focuses on soccer in the US, which I think is appropriate, since the US needs media focus on soccer (and I'd guess soccer coverage in Mexico is probably adequate). SA should probably cover more Mexican soccer news, but I'm not sure comments on an article about player ratings in a US-Belgium game is the place to make that point. As I tell my players, "focus!"

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 4:08 p.m.
    Kent, Estado Unidenses is the term I have heard more often. Canadienses. These are not only used more often they are the correct term. USA wants or likes to be called American by every one but not everyone calls them by this name. Some like me don't call us Americans simply because its an incorrect term. Not because I am racist. I do think its ingenious to get angry at some one else who chooses to call you by this incorrect term. That's just me

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.
    Well gentleman if you do not like my comments and calls for more Hispanic American auricles then you can simply just ignore it. My belief is that if this Soccer America's sole objective was to report USA specific articles it should have named itself Soccer USA o avoid zero confusions. Since I understand this term differently and logically I will continue to blog of America's overall soccer. Like I said before it helps the USA cause as it has much to learn about soccer from other countries like Mexico. Lets stay positive

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 4:23 p.m.
    Kent, I see your point but my initial comment was directed at no one else but Ridge. Super just hates me.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 4:25 p.m.
    Super, look at Kent's blogs and learn. Intelect and substance and makes good points that way. You remind me of the Cable Guy.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.
    I am not confused and will continue to speak of "America" soccer on Soccer America. It will catch on. You'll see. Just skip my blogs brother and keep up your one liners. Get er done!!!

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.
    Rogers showed in the CR game (and by the sounds of it in the Belgium game as well) that his goal vs Mexico was more of a right place-right time situation. I think his days are numbered although he remains the only American to score in the Klinsman era.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
    I'm not worried about being 0-1-2 or is it 0-2-1 under JK. You may recall that one reason BB was kept on was that he didn't lose a game when he was interim manager. I think he was unbeaten for a year or something like that. Unfortunately, we saw how his era ended, with the loss of the top regional spot and underdevelopment of young talent.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 5:17 p.m.
    I like the attack-minded style of JK. BB demanded a high work-rate from his midfield but seemed to clamp down upon creativity going forward. I'll take some lumps early if JK can find the horses to successfully play this style of football. Guys who seem to fit: Torres, Agudelo, Chandler, Donovan (but he seems like he's showing some age), Dempsey (although not by the sounds of his performance as I read above but he should prove successful with more offensive support and creativity behind him), Shea, Holden (when he's healthy again should fit nicely), perhaps Feilhaber for his technical ability.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 5:25 p.m.
    How's Charlie Davies coming along?

  1. Dannie Whitehouse
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 5:59 p.m.
    if we bring back Adu, we should bring back Mia and Julie, and maybe Akers....All 3 are better, oh wait, they are girls....jk, give JK a chance, no one could build a winner this quick, remember he's starting with a team that looked crappy more times that they looked good when they weren't old. He only had minimal practice to work on this bunch, it could take a couple of years...The powers that be (not JK, but the men behind US soccer)have not shown the ability to recognize talent. So it may be awhile...

  1. ckg beautiful game
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 6:36 p.m.
    i dont believe anybody mentioned another obvious we miss M. Bradley in midfield, he always bust his ass to get into the box and has been rewarded with some nice goals. I like Torres but he needs someone to work with him. Edu sits way to deep because our center backs are scetchy and our pressure on the ball weak.

  1. Ruben Valencia
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 9:38 p.m.
    Luis, I don't know where you live, but here in El Paso, Texas, the terms used to describe US citizens are alot less glamorous than Estado Unidenses....I do hear Americanos, daily...Ask them what an Americano is, and they point to the nearest Gringo, sometimes it's me, because I'm light complected, and I laugh heartily at the generalization. By the way, I AM a US Citizen too, born and raised, proud of Latino heritage, but an American first and foremost, (even according to 3.5 million Mexicans a stone's throw from me in Ciudad Juarez. *gasp*!!! Imagine that!) As for Mexico...in all my years, I have heard: Republica Mexicana, and recently, Estados Unidos Mexicanos, which may be a move to give Mexico some added cachet in world politics, but no one I've ever met aside from Mexican politicians on campaign trails addresses them as such. I do take issue with your statement about Mexico "not losing a game in a year" does one regard the tie against the US on the 10th of August a victory? Let's not even go to the squandered opportunity of the Copa America...As a supporter of Mexican soccer, what was more embarrassing, the scandal tha gutted the team before the Copa, or their winless showing? Let's be realistic, we may have a bit to learn from Mexican soccer, but in truth, South American Futbol is where we would benefit more from...they are just in a different class than anyone north of Colombia, and that fact is well established. Where I DO agree with you, Sir, is your assertion that we need to look more closely at Latino talent home-grown in the USA, but that is not to say that it would be any better than what we have now...what it DOES is give us a larger pool of talent to choose from...and Herr Klinsmann is very aware of this.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 9:40 p.m.
    JK needs time, and one thing we should all recognize is that success at the international level, unless you are absolutely loaded with talent, is never easy (and even talent doesn't guarantee success; see Maradona's Argentina). I have no problem with JK trying new players, and sometimes learning that a player is not good enough is more important than thinking they still might work. The problem I have with the way the US team has played is the lack of chances on goal. Possession is good, but without attempts on goal, it's wasted. Lack of quality forwards has plagued the US for a number of years (it was one of the primary things that hurt Bradley's tenure). I think Dempsey has to be up top because of his creativity, ability to put strikes on goal, and because he doesn't have the work rate or tactical discipline to play midfield. A fast player (Donovan, Agudelo, or may Davies if he's recovered and has gained a touch) can play off of him. While I think John Roode's comments about 2 def cm being necessary to allow outside mids to get forward may be right, I think we're better off with a conventional 4-4-2, with a diamond in the midfield. M Bradley as def CM (or possibly Edu or Beckerman if we want more consistency on defense but less potential offense), Torres (or maybe Feilhaber) as Offensive CM, and Holden and Donovan outside (maybe Feilhaber (if Torres plays centrally) or Shea), with Adu coming off the bench for more offense. Defense we go with Bocanegra and Ream in the middle (though Ream's spot should be open to challenge), Cherundolo on one side with either Lichaj or Chandler on the other (but this spot is also open to challenge). Bottom line; I think we've got the talent in midfield, its the defense and the forwards that need work (and we need to find the best combination in midfield, but that may vary by opponent and formation, which is okay).

  1. Ruben Valencia
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 9:57 p.m.
    Kent, great post... 4-4-2 would indeed make more sense, but heck, I'd like to even see that evolve into something more agressive... Problem is, we would need to have the likes of Deuce, Adu, Donovan, and Davies spearheading that attack, and as shallow as we are at forward presently, I do not see it happening soon.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 10:27 p.m.
    Ruben, you and Luis are right about the need to cultivate homegrown Latin talent. While I'm not sure they exist right now (though they may), certainly expanding the player pool to include them at all levels will allow us to reap the benefits down the road. Of course an important element of that relationship is that they have the desire to play for the US. That's where I hope a player like Torres can open the floodgates, and be an inspiration for a lot of US- born Hispanics to play with the US, rather than looking to play for the countries of their parents. I'd rather see the US coaching staff put effort into retaining players with immigrant backgrounds that live in the US already (Rossi being the key player like this that got away), rather than looking overseas for players who grow up in different cultures (Germany seems to be the primary place) who can claim US citizenship because of an American parent. But this practice does seem to be growing, so I guess we should do it also.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 7, 2011 at 11:03 p.m.
    Ruben, Mexico is an upcoming soccer power in the world. U17 W.C. champs U20 W.C. 3rd place Gold Cup Champs 2 years in a row. These are results in the past year. No coincidence. No one in all America did better overall. I don't care what has been normal for you or anyone else to call people from the USA. The correct term is Estado Unidense. Mexico - Mexicans Canada - Canadians. All of these in America so all Americans. You guys ever ask yourselves why we have to fill out wether we are a minority or not? Why can't we just check the "American" box? Ruben, you being a proud American only get called that only because you have white skin? That doesn't bother you? The true Americans, the American Indian is not white. My point is that Americans, according to you guys should be used for all USA people and has been. This is not true. This name belongs to mainly white people from USA. If a brown person went to Europe he would be considered Mexican or Hispanic first.


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