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Ten-man USA, Rimando saves hold off Panama
by Ridge Mahoney, January 26th, 2012 1:45AM
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[PANAMA-USA REPORT CARD] A goal in the ninth minute (Graham Zusi), an early substitution (Heath Pearcefor Zach Loyd) and a red card shortly after halftime (Geoff Cameron) brought an intense feel to the Panama-USA friendly the Americans won, 1-0, Wednesday in Panama City. Nick Rimando's goalkeeping stood out. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players ...

U.S. Player Ratings
Starters

GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
7 Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) 6/0. Spectacular saves against Blas Perez and Luis Renteria plus a desperation clearance and several commanding catches blunted Panama during an excellent 45 minutes.

4 A.J. DeLaGarza (Los Angeles Galaxy) 2/0.  Toasted often in final 20 minutes of first half, he came to grips with the game and finished more strongly then he’d started.

4 Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo) 3/0.  Harsh red card ruined his evening, though he’d already been tested a couple of times on balls lobbed into the middle.

6 Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland/DEN) 11/0.
  Forced to scramble several times on balls played over the top, he nevertheless secured the middle for most of the second half. Smart, safe passing out of the back helped USA regain the momentum.

5 Zach Loyd (FC Dallas) 3/0.
Overlapped down the left flank in first stage of match and delivered two dangerous, right-footed balls, one of which produced the USA goal. Replaced late in the first half after being overrun a few times.

5 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC) 2/1.
  Arrived completely unmarked at the back post to hammer home a fortunate ricochet and played some intelligent balls before he lost touch with the game offensively. He also labored at times defensively before being replaced.

3 Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER) 34/3. Very late trying to shut off lanes and put pressure on the ball as Gabriel Gomez raked the U.S. back line with surgical passes, and Panama controlled midfield.

6 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER) 16/1. Took his mandatory caution, this time with a reckless foul rather than a tactical one, and though he and Clark weren’t often in sync he managed to break up plays. Also fired a rocket on goal that the opposing keeper batted away in desperation, and frustrated Panama with a few dominant dribbles.

3 Brek Shea (FC Dallas) 11/0.  Started well enough by tucking inside to play combinations as Loyd overlapped but then disappeared offensively. Put in some resolute defensive work and managed to last the full 90, barely.

5 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) 7/0.  Bottled up two defenders on Loyd cross that led to goal, got his head to rebound of saved Jones’ blast but keeper recovered to swat it away at the last instant.  Came off early in second half to restore fourth defender.

3 Teal Bunbury (Sporting KC) 4/1.  Deflected cross bounced off his foot for Zusi to put away, otherwise he exerted little pressure on the Panama back line. He didn’t adjust well to the lone striker role when Wondolowski departed and the USA went to a 4-4-1 formation.

Substitutes
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
4 Heath Pearce (Chivas USA) 35/0. Emergency replacement for Loyd at left back struggled to ramp up his game, but his errors weren’t punished and he got the job done late.

5 Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) 2/0.  Keeper calmly took over for Rimando in second half and only had a couple of soft shots and routine crosses to deal with.

5 Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders) 1/0.
Misjudged one bouncing ball in dangerous situation but recovered sufficiently to help Johnson kill the threat; played solidly most of the time.

6 Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids) 4/0. Fresh legs helped the USA compensate for being a man down.

6 Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders) 6/0.Shared the central midfield load with Larentowicz to tamp down an opponent losing its will.

5 C.J. Sapong (Sporting KC) 2/0.
Effectively burned clock by holding the ball and dribbling into spaces as opponents chased.

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



4 comments
  1. Stuart d. Warner
    commented on: January 26, 2012 at 9:12 a.m.
    Jones can break up many plays, but Clark can only break one's heart--he's dreadful at this level. However, neither Jones nor Clark can pass the ball accurately and quickly (is this really too much to ask?), and their vision of the field is cyclopsian at best, leading to an offense still-born in the womb. In contrast, Larentowicz played simple soccer, which is what we needed when we were down to ten.
  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: January 26, 2012 at 11 a.m.
    I agree with the idea of searching for players to add or replace players on our current 23 man roster. Its' a process that has to be done.Other than Jones(who I think is already part of the 23)these two matches showed me those players are not among this group.Why not start looking at younger players?
  1. John Soares
    commented on: January 26, 2012 at 1:50 p.m.
    Hey SOCCER AMERICA... Just a reminder. The USA Women are playing in Canada. Games that actually count. Thought you would like to know.... and write about!?
  1. John Foust
    commented on: January 26, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.
    Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful ... U.S. players are very poor at trapping and controlling the first touch, and their pace is simple pathetic. They don't seem to have any sense of anticipation or flow, nor the vision to see beyond the next pass. Very discouraging ... and I agree with look at other young players - this group, and most of those on the "first team" are either getting too old, or simply not up to the international game. Working with some very young players might uncover the raw talent that could then evolve into an international-capable core ...

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