[ITALY-USA REPORT CARD] Michael Bradley showed the effects of his move to Serie A with a strong showing against Italy,
which the Americans defeated for the first time in their history, 1-0, with a clinical finish from Clint Dempsey. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S.
RATING PLAYER (CLUB/COUNTRY) GP/G
7 Tim Howard (Fulham/ENG), 73/0. He passed his toughest test early with a solid kick save of a low Alessandro Matri drive and though Italy got a fair number of shots, he didn’t need to bail out his teammates as he’s done several times in the past six months. He covered the other attempts cleanly and only a first-half mixup with his centerbacks clouded his decision-making.
6 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/GER), 79/2. Composed defensively while trying to guide Williams into the right spots as Italy’s combination play and Sebastian Giovinco’s range troubled the USA. Limited Antonio Nocerino to very few dangerous moments as Italy usually chose to attack down the opposite side.
6 Clarence Goodson (Broendby/DEN), 25/3. Scrambled to track Matri during a shaky first half caused mainly by a lack of midfield pressure, but took a firmer grip on the game and cleared dangerous lobs into the box once Italy had fallen behind. Kept his cool as the USA rode out the tense final phase with a one-goal lead.
7 Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers/SCO), 101/12. Cut out several dangerous low crosses in addition to winning a lot of balls in the air, though he and Goodson were bailed out by the offside flag on balls played over their heads. Got a bit fortunate cutting out one driven ball that sailed over the crossbar instead of into the net.
6 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER), 3/0. Outstanding going forward on the attack and played a fine right-footed ball for Altidore to collect and set up for Dempsey’s goal. Breached often in the first half by Thiago Motta and overlapping right back Christian Maggio; played a much more solid second half with the Americans ahead and Italian substitutes struggling.
8 Michael Bradley (Chievo/ITA), 64/9. A strong presence all over the field throughout the match, Bradley served valorously as the midfield hub. The ball he played to Johnson epitomized his accuracy and vision starting attacks, yet his defensive instincts of where to move and when to challenge helped stifle Italy after its good start.
7 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO), 32/1. Timed his covering runs and tackles well, also played a number of accurate passes. Two turnovers in the middle third could have been costly and he allowed Andrea Pirlo too much room in the first half, but helped the Americans lock down the middle once they had the lead.
5 Brek Shea (FC Dallas), 11/0. Did more on the back end than the front; good defensive effort won balls in his own third though he and Johnson needed a half to get onto the same page. Shanked his one attempt at goal and twice was overpowered going for corner kicks lofted to him at the back post. Whipped a good cross through the goalmouth in the second half.
5 Danny Williams (Hoffenheim/GER), 5/0. Not much of an attacking impetus, though he did drive at the Italians a few times to negligible effect. He tracked runners well and usually kept a sound defensive position, and maintained a good level of effort and energy to close out the match.
8 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG), 83/25. Roamed front to back with poise and invention. Clever on the ball and played balls consistently into good spots. Smacked a free kick on frame that forced a save, angled his run away from defensive pressure to steer Altidore’s layoff low into the net. Helped subdue Pirlo in the second half by dropping back to squeeze the space around him.
6 Jozy Altidore (AZ/NED), 46/13. Proved that a one-striker alignment can work if all the pieces are in place. Won a couple of free kicks in the attacking third with his hold-up play and set up the goal by turning away from two defenders to put the ball into Dempsey’s wheelhouse.
RATING PLAYER (CLUB/COUNTRY) GP/G
4 Sasha Kljestan (Anderlecht/BEL), 35/4. Replaced Shea and was immediately beaten by a ball chipped over his head, got into a few tackles but didn’t get much of the ball.
6 Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City/ENG), 34/0. Contributed three vital goalmouth blocks after entering in the 77th minute.
5 Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund/GER), 1/0. Robustly challenged for balls and showed no nerves in earning his first cap.
NR Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), 11/3. Stoppage-time sub for Dempsey.
(1=poor; 5=average; 10=high.)