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Gomez leads U.S. standouts in win over Jamaica
by Ridge Mahoney, September 12th, 2012 1:12AM

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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014

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[USA-JAMAICA REPORT CARD] The USA atoned for a 2-1 loss in Kingston Friday by beating Jamaica, 1-0, in Columbus with a Herculez Gomez goal. His impressive performance was matched by several Americans as a U.S.-dominated match stayed close when shots hit the woodwork and/or were spectacularly saved by keeper Dwayne  Miller. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players
 
Starters:
GRADE/PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 81/0.
Sharp save in the final minutes was his only real test yet he also handled a few tricky crosses cleanly. Save gave a perfect example of a keeper staying ready despite long periods of quiet.

7 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/GER) 85/2.
It took only a few minutes for him to provide the threat out of the back and width that was so sorely lacking Friday in Kingston. He hit the chest of Herculez Gomez with a 40-yard crossfield ball that would the envy of any playmaker, and with crosses and clipped balls into the channel he caused a lot of problems. Jamaica got almost nothing offensively down his side of the field.

7 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG) 8/0.
Might have been targeted by Jamaica as the less experienced centerback, but aside from a couple of panicky moments with his passes, he usually blunted the attempts of Lucas Sheldon and others to get past him or behind him, and also showed good sense of where to move with Cherundolo upfield.

6 Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander/SPAIN) 107/13.
Slid left to cover when Fabian Johnson got up the left side, anchored the middle when Jamaica tried, occasionally, to break through the middle. Directed traffic and in the rare nervous moments provided the captain's calm that had been missing in Kingston.

6 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER) 9/0.
Played as much in left midfield as left back to exploit Jamaica's reluctance to attack down his side. Found room out wide to work combinations and get balls into the middle as well as the penalty area. Ranged all the way to the left side to cut off a ball after a rare Cherundolo giveaway. His speed helped contain Dane Richards.

7 Danny Williams (Hoffenheim/GER) 8/0.
Contributed a breakout game playing the position and role he often handles in the Bundesliga. Used the time and space afforded by Jamaica's passiveness to great effect, pressing urgency into the attack despite a dispiriting series of shots off the woodwork, one of which he struck himself with a superb right-footed blast that came off the inner corner of the post. When Jamaica pressed through the middle he kept the play in front of him and squeezed out the space at the top of the penalty arc.

6 Jermaine Jones (Schalke/GER) 24/2.
Jones concentrated on getting into tackles and playing soccer, and only rarely let his combative personality boil over. He kept his touches simple, yet stormed up the left side and charged through the middle in the final minutes to nearly set up chances. Lost track of Rodolfo Austin a couple of times as Jamaica pressed for an equalizer.

7 Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) 4/1.
The best player on the field in the first half, he banged an opportunistic shot off the crossbar and looped an excellent cross that yielded a chance neutralized by a pushing foul on Herculez Gomez. His presence and connections with Cherundolo on the right flank spearheaded the U.S. first-half dominance.

6 Jose Torres (Pachua/MEX) 20/0.
Overcame a jittery start -- a pass scuffed past a wide-open Johnson, a pair of weak crosses -- to get into the game and play several crisp, clever passes. Clipped a nice ball for Dempsey as he found space with an angled run to the byline. Floated into the right channel to take a left-footed shot that cleared the bar by less than a yard. Won a ball with a sprint and challenge from behind that energized the crowd and bemused the Jamaicans.

5 Clint Dempsey (Tottenham/ENG) 89/28.
Posed more of a threat off the ball than in possession as his legs gave out, yet his threat drew attention and opened up space. He sprayed good balls from midfield but didn't have the sharpness to work free in the box. He rose up from the usual allotment of fouls suffered to mockingly berate the Jamaicans.

7 Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna/MEX) 16/5.
Provided the workrate and variety of runs to keep Jamaica's back line off-balance. Lost a scoring chance on a dubious pushing foul while heading a Zusi cross. Scored with a free kick of bend and pace that skimmed off the keeper's gloves. His knack for running the channels is unmatched by any U.S. player except Landon Donovan.
 
Substitutes:
5 Brek Shea (FC Dallas) 15/0.
Drove up the flank without much effect while on the ball but covered a lot of ground and charged into challenges.

5 Maurice Edu (Stoke City/ENG) 41/1.
Got right into the flow as a second-half sub and also got a couple of clearances at critical moments.

NR Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar/HOL) 52/13.
Rarely managed to hold the ball, did use a couple of smarter touches in stoppage time.

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









36 comments
  1. David Sirias
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 8:03 a.m.
    All other ratings are suspect after reading the one about Edu. He runs like a soccer player and defends like one but can't pass and has donkey touch Did he even complete half of his passes? Why were we under seige the last 15 minutes ? Guess Edu should be a central defender or dropped from thè team Do a cursory web search. I am not the only one who thinks this His world cup chances ride on whether his club coach sees the same thing

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 8:08 a.m.
    Overrated...the opponent bunkered down and gave up possession for 60 minutes..their defensive marking in the red zone was tepid...then we bunkered down. Impressive performance?

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 8:13 a.m.
    While the US played a good first half I was "scared to death" every time Jamaica took a shot at the goal (in the second half). I feel that Howard is less than secure in the goal and I didn't get the feeling that he was very comfortable. No wonder that the defense was nerveous. I think it is time for change in goal. Furthermore Zusi played a very good game why take him off for Edu? Then moved Williams out of the position that he played quite well. JK upset the apple cart right there. Dempsey (although I do favor him) should have been subbed at second half the team carried him. I am surprised at JK lately and I have second thoughts of him!

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 8:20 a.m.
    Additionally I think We need to look at Eddie Johnson of Seattle, he scores ample goals with his head, which was absent of of the recent games. I am not sure of Altidore in the National Team although he plays and scores for his club. He is non-existent in the US Team. down the line maybe look at Alonso and some untested upcoming young players, asas some of the current (not all)players are "stale"

  1. Kent James
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 8:23 a.m.
    I think the Jamaicans made a strategic error to bunker down in the first half. Their lack of pressure allowed us to knock the ball around pretty easily, which we did. After we scored, and Jamaica started to play, they looked much more dangerous (and we looked much less assured). David, I'm not sure how you wanted Edu rated (or why his rating makes the others suspect): Ridge gave him the lowest rating he gave any US player. I like Edu, but his touch and passing were off yesterday (but not horribly so). But I agree, I think he's better as a relatively skilled center back than a defensive oriented midfielder (his defensive skills are much better than his offensive skills). Dempsey's touch let him down on numerous occasions, though he always has the potential to be dangerous. Cherundolo, Williams and Zusi had great games, as did Gomez (I love the way Gomez is constantly making short diagonal runs behind the defense). I thought the ratings were pretty accurate; most people played pretty well; no one was spectacular and no one was awful. Most importantly, we got the job done.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 9:04 a.m.
    Bad judgement by Jamaica. USA dominance was due more to Jamaica bunker. Jamaica is terrible at this defensive style of play and were lucky to not go down 3-0 in first half. That said, USA looked extremely nervous once Jamaica started to play, because they had to, and the subs Klins made could have cost him the win. Edu instantly gave up some turnovers that could have been costly. Torres and Hercules showed their quality. Hercules stepped after he was astonishingly given the responsability of taking the free kicks which he di well. His first shit was better but the 2nd went in. That's soccer. Torres deserved a 7 in my book at least with his creativity and dangerous crisp passes. Cherundolo is a stud. I like Jozy but he looks extremely nervous and uncomfortable. Hercules is our new starting forward and Torres will probably be a starter as well. USA has got to close out these home games much better if it wants to qualify and I hope Klins stays true to this style and keeps the players that are fit for it. The game in Jamaica was a disaster that should never be repeated with that style or lineup.

  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 9:07 a.m.
    USA looked like the USA we've all been waiting for. Klinsmann put in attacking minded players such as zusi, Torres, and what a performance from Williams. the back line looked fairly solid, however the last 20 minutes we lacked ball possession.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.
    Great win USA. Should have been as easy in Jamaica. We still have a ways to go, but team looked much better.Addition of Cherundolo,Susi and Torrres made a big difference.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 10:44 a.m.
    Am I the only one to think that beating Jamaica at home by a single lucky goal is no great accomplishment? That the US team continued to play terribly? Jamaica bunkered down as completely as I've ever seen a team -- sure it was easy for the US team to play attacking soccer and put some passes together. However, as soon as the goal was scored, the US team looked again completely lost and not sure of what it should be doing. I was expecting they would try to score again (after all, the goal difference might be important at the end), but once Jamaica had to go forward, the US team looked clueless. I think this is the worst US team (based on the four qualifying games so far) I've seen in 20 years.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
    Had Jamaica played with the intensity it showed after going down a goal for the whole game, I think the US would have struggled to create any chances (as they showed in the last quarter of the game). Fortunately, they are not that tactically smart and let us dictate the first 60 minutes of the game.....

  1. David Bakke
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 11 a.m.
    I don't get why people are rating Torres that highly. I didn't think he played that well. At best a rating of 5 (personally I think a 4.5). Maybe Klinsi played Deuce up top to conserve him given his fitness, etc. but he should've played as the CAM (role Jones filled) or on the left instead of Torres. We should've had a true striker on the pitch from the get go last night. We are better served with Deuce playing behind, acting as the delayed run into the box / garbage man. The results of these games highlight to me that Klinsi erred in not bringing in SK and Lichaj. Lichaj is a better wing back than Parkhurst. SK is a true CAM. I get we are rich in midfielders / DM's but putting people out of position has exposed us in some games. The primary issues we had in Jamaica were: Beckerman who played poorly and the deployment of personnel out of position in the midfield (3 DM's). In the end, Zusi and Williams had great games. I think we are better served with a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-3-2 (williams or jones in the hole), Bradley when he is back can play in the middle of the MF, with Deuce out left (Shea to back him up) and Donovan out right (Zusi to back him up) and Gomez up top with Altidore / Boyd. I won't even go into the backline because they aren't the problem. The depth is presenting itself (if Klinsi would pick the right personnel).

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 11:11 a.m.
    It's "the chicken and the egg" story again. Did Jamaica buncker down and allow the US to dominate? or did the attacking game the US played push Jamaica to defend and weather the storm? After the goal, did Jamaica's pressing game push the US to defend? or did the tired legs and the need to protect the lead by the US allow Jamaica to go forward? I gues we will never know. It is up to each one and his "half full half empty" glass philosophy. What I can say, in the first 60 minutes, the USA played their best soccer in a long time. and that's more than enough for me.

  1. Bret Newman
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 11:44 a.m.
    Fontanelli must have forgotten to take his medication. Howard is less than secure in goal? Howard didn't look comfortable in goal? I think it is time for a change in goal? Somebody tell him that Howard is one of the best goalkeeper's in the world.

  1. Ramon Creager
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 11:59 a.m.
    For all the Torres doubters, he did just fine. He's like a good foundation: you don't notice its value until it crumbles. Zusi tended to overshadow him on the other side, but keep in mind he was helped by Cherundolo's presence there. (Cherundolo is another good foundation guy. He just keeps getting better.) Klinsmann deserves a lot of credit for putting in Torres and Zusi (maybe he was desperate?) but going forward I think midfield can be a strength and the deepest part of this team. There should never ever be the "we're thin" excuse. To this end we need to see more of Zusi, Torres, and Williams, and also we need to give more looks to fresh young guys like Pontius, Kitchen, etc. Think about it: add in Bradley and Donovan, and the midfield pool looks anything but thin.

  1. John Hooper
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 12:10 p.m.
    I think Zusi was subbed because he had strained his hamstring slightly. He seemed to be limping a little for about 10 mins before he was taken off. I think the team did very well in the first half. I know Jamaica was plying deep--and poorly--but the passing was still excellent and everyone seemed to be making good decisions. The back line looks much better with Cherundolo and (surprisingly, to me--I thought he was starting to lose it) Bocanegra back in. I don't know if Boca will be the starter for the World Cup, but his experience was valuable today. Also, I'd like to reitereate my former statements about Edu. The man's first touch is atrocious for a player at that level of the game.

  1. Daniel Clifton
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 12:14 p.m.
    I thought Torres played pretty well. He still needs to be more aggressive with the ball. He always seems to look to immediately pass the ball. Zusi and Cherundolo really worked together on the right wing. I agree with the comments by David Bakke about positioning. I think Dempsey should be in the midfield. I believe Altidore deserved the start over Dempsey for this game. Altidore is hot with his club team, where he has some obvious chemistry if you watch the replays of his goals. He looks like a different player with the national team, where he seems to rarely get the ball. Dempsey is better coming from behind and attacking. I agree with Ramon Creager about the midfield and the way Klinsi played it this time. Klinsi tends to get too defensive with his midfield selections. He needs to be playing Torres, Donovan, Zusi, and Dempsey, so that we have that possession out of the midfield. That is lost with 3 defensive midfielders. Plus you play Williams in his natural position and he becomes much better with the possession than when he is played wide.

  1. Mark Wallis
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 1:19 p.m.
    Ridge's ratings are difficult to comprehend. In the previous Jamaica game, the USA played so poorly that no one other then Dempsey deserved more than a 2. In looking at the ratings for the second game, you'd think that the USA were a wonder team. Regardless of the cause, the team looked excellent in the first half. In the second half they were dreadful. Ridge is a good guy, but he needs to remove his rose colored glasses when rating USA players.

  1. Ramon Creager
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 1:49 p.m.
    About Bocanegra, I expect to see him get better, as he is now out of that dreadful SPL and in La Liga (Racing Santander). So I'd not be surprised to see him on the team come WC time. I disagree with Dempsey in the midfield. I just can't see it. Others can do it better, and you'd be taking him away from the goal, where he excels. I think he'll be good up front with Gomez, like ying and yang.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 1:51 p.m.
    To Daniel Clifton, consider the pre-game instructions on tactics/strategy for Torres to play a "receive, give and go" in order to move into, create, space after passing the ball, something the team did on occasion. As for Dempsey, I was disappointed with his play as he gave the impression that he'd rather not be on the field.... there were times when he didn't press the Jamaican defense when he lost the ball (several times just appearing to shrug his shoulders and half-heartedly jog back, etc.) or even attempt passing the ball into space e.g. to his right when Zusi or even Cherundulo overlapped, etc. Then there was his face making episode caught for the world to see. Overall FELICIDADES TEAM USA

  1. David Huff
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.
    I'm glad to see the win,the shearing off of the dreadlocks was the beginning of the end for the Reggae Boyz. :-)

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 3:22 p.m.
    David B. you nailed it, Gus I concur, and Ramon I believe you are partially right on your first post. Thank you David, someone who finally other than myself has said it, the backline doesn't even rate as a problem defensively. And Howard is going nowhere for a long while Phillipe, so get over it. Ramon's right, it is not about the midfield depth, it is about their collective mindset! Other than Bradley (and Shea off the bench), no one consistently goes forward. We need wing play with courageous abandon, and a desire to create havoc and danger through 1 v 1 variety all the way to the goal line. I counted at least two dozen times our holding mid, or defensive four made a nice crisp pass to the middies who never even looked at where the nearest defender was at before sending it right back or played it square. All that wasted space should be consumed by the ball carrier which forces the defenders to lose their shape and as a result open new pass lanes internally or down the flanks. All we have done lately is give the opponents time to get organized, and watch us pass the triangle with no purpose. We need more attackers who want to go forward, draw fouls and cautions on the opponent, and find glory! Floating crosses from 30 yards out will never amount to that.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 4:10 p.m.
    Newman responding to you: Howard's is not one of the greatest keeper in the world. I liked Howard and expected a lot from him. And he is OK often and sometimes great but he is not consistent. He does make some great saves but than he does some blatant blunders if you recall some of his games. He is also over the hill and has a generic nerve problem that he was diagnosed with. That was the main reason Fergie shipped him off and out of Man U. And even at Everton he makes major doozies, if you watch him and I watch all foreign clubs especially where US Players on the squad. I happened to be a fevered fan of the US Team and development. I am not saying to discard him, but give him the recognition for the service done, but it is time to infuse new and younger blood.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 4:15 p.m.
    Newman; Additionally he was the main reason that the defense so nervous when Jamaica had a shot at goal. The goals received in the previous game was reflecting to them. Actually I was my son was a nervous reck every time Jamaica had a shot at goal. And I bet you a lot of us out there felt the same and don't tell me that you didn't. Because it was only inches away that we were to be at the third place instead of the now occupied first.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 4:34 p.m.
    I like Torres, but I don't think he played his best game last night. I thought he got caught in possession a few times when he had options available that he didn't use. But he is one of the few players who likes to have the ball at his feet, in traffic, and can do something creative with it, so he needs to be an important part of the picture (though I think he's better in the middle). I was not impressed with his defense; he chased back (fair enough), but I thought he lunged a number of times from behind a bit recklessly. I think Ramon is right about Gomez and Dempsey (yin and yan); Gomez looking to get behind the defense, with Dempsey hanging back a bit, looking to be creative and pick up any garbage. But Gomez should have stayed on last night and Dempsey should have come off, Dempsey was just tire at the end. With Donovan running at people from the flank, we could have some potential to score goals.

  1. Daniel Clifton
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 4:38 p.m.
    To Ric Fonseca, I like what I have seen with Torres since Klinsmann has taken over. I understand what you are saying tactics and strategy. I believe Torres has a great deal of potential for growth on the USMNT. I didn't see much from Dempsey and don't understand why he started and played 90 minutes. Gomez was clearly the more active and dangerous forward out there so why substitute him rather than Dempsey?

  1. Mike Gaire
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 8:16 p.m.
    I didn't read all the comments above in detail but I agree with Daniel that it made no sense to take Gomez off unless he was injured and the problem was compounded by Altidore being awful! I think its time to drop Altidore in favor of Wondolowski and I think Bruin at Houston is worth a look. I would like to see Edu and Jones both dropped and Bradley and Donovan back in and pray for Stuart Holden's rapid recovery as Torres is just nothing like as good.

  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 9:12 p.m.
    This is squabbling about the B+ team. Either we have Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley and Stuart Holden full strength and inclined to play for the next WC, or we are toast. The good news is that Cameron is our center back for years to come, and the back line is slowly getting better. Couple more years experience, and long as Howard is healthy, the defense might actually stand up to pretty good sides. Question is on the attacking end, and that is just all question marks.

  1. Daniel Clifton
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 9:27 p.m.
    I don't know that I would count on Stuart Holden. He has really had a difficult time with injuries over the last two years. Would Klinsmann find a place for him given his preference for defensive oriented midfielders. The backline does look solid with the play of Cameron. He has really come on strong. I would like to see Eddy Johnson get some looks.

  1. Jack vrankovic
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 9:29 p.m.
    @Ramon: I thought Bocanegra had a solid performance. Regardless of his league affiliation, he is 33 and what you see, is what you get. He could be traded to FCB tomorrow and he wouldn't improve all that much.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 9:54 p.m.
    Yes, amici sportivi, time to question JK; but remember what he has to work with...his German side had more talent, more passion, and a much higher team IQ.

  1. John Pepple
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 11:54 p.m.
    How about giving a rating of 10 to those of us who were at the game cheering on the team? There are those saying this was the most pro-USA crowd ever, and the team needed us, yet no one here has mentioned the crowd.

  1. Mike Fink
    commented on: September 13, 2012 at 7:15 a.m.
    Phillippe, regarding you comments about Tim Howard...are you sure you are war hung the right team. Tim Howard is a world class goalkeeper. Far and away the best option for the USMNT. Who would you suggest replace him?? Tim Howard's command presence has been evident for years. The real discussion is if he were hurt and there was a meaningful game who would play.

  1. Carl Grover
    commented on: September 13, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
    Thank you Mike for saying it for me including who would substitute for Howard if injured. Note to Phillippe: you have lost all credibility with me especially your dumb remarks about Howard. You certainly don't know much about soccer.

  1. Jack vrankovic
    commented on: September 13, 2012 at 8:57 p.m.
    Howard is a great keeper. He does make some blunders once in a while. I remember an odd one against Blackburn a couple of seasons ago. For me world class means having the ability to be a consistent starter at a top club in a top league with consistent Champion's League play. Very few players fall into this category. Good/Excellent players are consistent starters at mid table teams in top leagues. IMHO many NTs including the USMNT do not have any "World Class" players.

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: September 15, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
    Please don't bite on Luis', who never played the game, comments - he is about racial and ethnic divide and thinks nobody in the US (and Jamaica) knows anything about soccer unless they are hispanic. Translation of his above post=US sucks and he hopes they will lose; Only the hispanics are good but I will mention Cherundulo so I don't look too racist; I can't believe 'the Man' (white American Americans) let the hispanic take the free kick; Torres rating is low due to the racism in these ratings; The US should never play any other style other than an hispanic style.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: September 17, 2012 at 9:12 a.m.
    Gordon, is that all you can post college grad?


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