[CANADA-USA REPORT CARD] A heavy regimen of training in addition to friendlies appeared to slow down the USA against Canada, though over the 90 minutes the Americans had enough of the ball to test Canada’s defense sporadically.
The much-ballyhooed starting debut of the Landon Donovan-Clint Dempsey duo didn’t generate many fireworks as both players played smart, controlled soccer. They did link up directly to produce a point-blank Dempsey shot that was saved and also provided teammates with the occasional opportunity without trying to dominate the opposition.
Both teams open the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying play Friday. The Americans host Antigua & Barbuda, and Canada plays at Cuba.
U.S. PLAYER RATINGS
6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 76/0.
Clutch saves in each half, from attempts by Tosaint Ricketts and Nik Ledgerwood, and confident handling of balls into the box earned the Americans their second straight away shutout.
5 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/GER) 82/2.
Stayed deep more than usual, in part to offer more room for Gomez, Donovan and Dempsey on his side of the field, but also to neutralize Canada’s speed. He cleaned up a lot of stuff at the back post when Canada attacked down the opposite side, and just got his foot to a Dwayne De Rosariodiagonal ball that nearly produced a goal.
6 Clarence Goodson (Broendby/DEN) 29/3.
Powerful header in the final minutes required a spectacular tip-over save by Lars Hirschfeld. He’d earlier scuffed a point-blank chance over the crossbar when a flick by Gomez skipped a foot behind him. Defensively he stepped confidently into tackles and dropped into passing lanes, though Olivier Occean snuck in behind him to stretch futilely for a cross.
5 Carlos Bocanegra (Glasgow Rangers/SCO) 104/13.
He looked a bit out of sorts before and after he took a fierce tumble into the end boards in a tussle with Occean, and like several starters was substituted in the second half. He wasn’t at his best reacting to second balls but put in the necessary work.
4 Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana/MEX) 6/0.
Forced into the lineup when Fabian Johnson suffered a right calf strain during warmups, Castillo started the match with a nicely clipped ball into the box for Gomez, and near the end of the first half belted a dipping volley that required a save. A careless giveaway near his own goal line was one of several glaring errors of the schoolboy variety that offset his attributes on the ball.
5 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) 141/49.
He played a vital role in several good scoring chances, providing Jermaine Jones with a pair of opportunities and working a give-and-go with Dempsey that produced a point-blank save. Obviously conscious of conserving his energy, he didn’t buzz the Canadians at full-go more than a few times, and relied more on subtle touches like the one to Gomez that forced a foul by a befuddled Adrian Hainault.
6 Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona/ITA) 67/10.
Assigned a holding role he’ll probably be handed against Guatemala (unless the USA falls behind), Bradley tightened down the middle and played effective if not spectacular passes. In the final minutes, his corner kick produced Goodson’s sharp header.
5 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER) 19/2.
In the opening minutes he latched onto a lob from Donovan and lashed a shot that was blocked out for a corner, and early in the second half hit another shot from a Donovan feed that was diverted by a defender. He was terribly inconsistent with his switches of play and other passes, one of which killed a U.S. counter when it ran lazily right to an opponent.
5 Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca/MEX) 17/0.
He relayed balls efficiently as usual, and also drifted into the middle at times. Crossed signals with Castillo on occasion, which revealed their lack of time on the field together. He delivered set plays of decent quality that the Canadians, who’d obviously done their scouting, anticipated more often than not.
5 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 85/25.
Roamed wide and dropped deep to find effective positions but was often by smothered by two or three opponents. Worked a clever one-two with Donovan late in the first half to hit a point-blank shot that Hirschfield bravely smothered, but seldom found enough space to shoot otherwise.
5 Herculez Gomez (Santos/MEX) 11/3.
Earned a corner kick in the opening minutes by chasing down a ball from Castillo, and on a subsequent corner got to the near post to flick a very dangerous ball that Goodson skied over the bar. Floated wide right to play the ball Dempsey relayed to Donovan that produced good save by Hirschfeld. His influence waned in the second half.
5 Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon/POR) 65/6.
Better than he was against Brazil, which isn’t saying much, but at least he matched the Canadians’ strength and effort.
4 Jozy Altidore (AZ/NED) 47/13.
Very rusty but diligent, Altidore labored up front without success.
5 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO) 35/1.
Solidified the middle capably though on a couple of set plays he seemed slow to react.
NR Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland/DEN) 13/0.
Given a few openings to display his passing and attacking instincts, Parkhurst didn’t read the situations quickly enough.
NR Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) 8/0.
One or two touches in his 10-minute appearance.
(1=low; 5-average; 10-high.)