[USA-FRANCE REPORT CARD] Another inept USA offensive performance yielded a 1-0 loss to France in which the Americans spent most of the game defending and managed just five shots. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players ...
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG, 71/0). He was about all that stood between France and a comfortable win, and his spectacular block of a fierce Karim Benzema free kick headed for the top corner exemplified his performance.
5 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER, 77/2). France caused the USA problems on the corners and while often stranded Cherundolo coped, just barely, and in the second half he added some attacking bite to the right flank.
4 Clarence Goodson (Broendby/DEN, 26/3). He spoiled an otherwise decent performance by bouncing off Loic Remy and falling to the grass as Remy collected a bouncing ball and fired home the game-winner.
5 Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers/SCO, 99/12). Came to the rescue a few times with decisive tackles and strong headers, but lost two aerial duels: one that set up Benzema to head a shot off the bar, and a second that led to France’s goal.
4 Tim Chandler (Nuremberg/GER), 7/0). Ineffective going forward and shaky trying to fend off France’s forays on the flanks, this wasn’t a game to promote his left-back candidacy.
4 Danny Williams (Hoffenheim/GER, 3/0). Impressive with his energy but not so much his touch and positioning, he seldom dribbled into or found a good attacking spot, and didn’t deliver an effective cross.
4 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake, 17/1). He helped the USA cause with his busyness in the defensive and middle thirds, but moments like the one where he lost the ball in a bad spot then gave away a free kick with a jersey tug keep cropping up.
5 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO, 30/1). Looked solid defensively except for French flurry early in second half; he escaped pressure from two opponents with spin move that sent a murmur through the crowd. Gave away decisive free kick with overly muscular shoulder charge.
4 Brek Shea (FC Dallas, 8/0). Perhaps he’s not recovered from playoff exhaustion; he was overwhelmed trying to defend and, offensively, poor touches at critical moments hampered his efforts.
6 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG, 81/23). Smacked to the turf numerous times by late, cynical challenges, Dempsey utilized a lot of slick, clever touches to give some sparkle to a dull USA attack.
6 Jozy Altidore (AZ/NED, 44/12). Like Dempsey, Altidore exuded confidence and played to his strengths by holding up the ball and linking with teammates. Probably drew a penalty when he split two defenders, and also shot wide after evading another double-team.
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
5 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER, 13/1). As usual, a bit of hit-and-miss; completely botched a pass that could have sprung an attack down the right flank, yet he also raced back to clear away a ball after Bocanegra slipped.
5 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX, 95/17). His pace and energy might have yielded something if given more time but his entry in the 71st minute didn’t offer him enough situations except for a well-hit corner kick that nobody got to.
4 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER, 1/0). He looked a bit lost as France battened down the midfield with its 1-0 lead.
NR Edson Buddle (FC Ingolstadt/GER, 9/2). Nice dribble into the box evaded two defenders but he couldn’t threaten the goal.
(1-low; 5=average; 10=high.)