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Eddie Johnson rescues USA
by Ridge Mahoney, October 13th, 2012 2:15AM

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TAGS:  men's national team

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[ANTIGUA & BARBUDA-USA REPORT CARD] Eddie Johnson celebrated his return to the U.S. national team after a two-year absence by scoring both goals in a 2-1 defeat of Antigua & Barbuda that greatly boosted the Americans’ chances of advancing to the Hexagonal. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players.
 
Starters
GRADE/PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
5 TIM HOWARD (Everton/ENG) 82/0.
The keeper had very little to do and even less chance to stop a ball tucked away from close range as two defenders stumbled. His one save came on a long-distance hit by Randolph Burton, and a couple of low near-misses would have tested him had they been on-frame.

5 STEVE CHERUNDOLO  (Hannover 96/GER) 86/2.
Defused dangerous situations by racing back to scrape balls away from Peter Byers and Dexter Blackstock as they bore down on goal. He found Eddie Johnson and Graham Zusi with balls up the line a few times but didn’t look to get forward for crosses.

4 CLARENCE GOODSON (Brondby/DEN) 33/3.
Chose the wrong time to stumble, just as Blackstock broke for the ball that was tapped past Howard to tie the game in the 25th minute. He dug out a few balls around the edge of the penalty area during nervous periods and struggled with anything beyond a simple possession pass. Came up on set plays without getting a solid chance.

4 GEOFF CAMERON (Stoke City/ENG) 9/0.
Bad decision to dive in allowed Peter Byers to center ball that Antigua & Barbuda converted for its goal. The rest of the match was fairly solid -- he won balls in the air and hit a few good balls out of the back – though he had a couple of other scary moments dealing with fast, strong attackers and a slippery field.

5 CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Racing Santander/SPA) 108/13.
He slid to left back as cover for the latest insidious run of injuries and might have halted the sequence on A&B’s goal with a stronger intervention in midfield. In the second half he pushed upfield and hit some decent balls into the middle for Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey to take at defenders. He was unable to threaten in the air on set plays but defensively took care of a few messy situations.

4 DANNY WILLIAMS (Hoffenheim/GER) 9/0.
Not much of a factor offensively, which would have been fine except he also didn’t bottle up the center often enough. Played as a screen in front of the back line to varied effect, and never looked to play the type of incisive balls that put the A&B back line under pressure. Whether because of a treacherous surface or helter-skelter opponent he looked out of sorts and was the first player substituted.

7 MICHAEL BRADLEY  (Roma/ITA) 65/9.
Marshaled the midfield well yet like many players occasionally labored on a mushy surface. Sprayed a nice ball wide to free up Graham Zusi for a cross on the first goal, pinged a shot from distance off the base of the post, and from a corner kick glanced a header destined to be the winner until keeper Molvin James tipped it away with a spectacular save. He did a fair share of contesting balls in midfield though he was caught upfield a couple of times as A&B countered. Lost his cool after a crunching tackle and berated the referee longer than was wise but escaped a caution.

6 GRAHAM ZUSI (Sporting Kansas City) 5/1.
Faded after a strong first half while roaming to both sides as well as the middle. Hit a great first-time cross to Eddie Johnson on the first goal, and set up another excellent chance with a crisp delivery. Corner kicks were hit and miss and a couple of poor passes preceded his departure.

5 CLINT DEMPSEY (Tottenham/ENG). 90/28.
Wandered lost through most of the first half as Bradley and Zusi did most of the playmaking. Snapped a header wide during a better second half but also barked at Zusi a couple of times when they missed connections. Often dropped deep in search of the ball and increased his influence in the final half an hour, yet this wasn’t a great night for Deuce.

8 EDDIE JOHNSON (Seattle Sounders) 43/14.
In reality, he enjoyed better service than most of the forwards used this year by the USA, but to his credit he timed and angled his runs shrewdly to turn those crosses into shots. He also handled a wide role quite adeptly, finding the right starting positions to launch dribbles or attempted combinations.  A lung-busting recovery run earned him a vital interception in the U.S. defensive third. His headers scored two of three, and he kept his cool with the game on the line to nail the winner.

3 HERCULEZ GOMEZ (Santos/MEX) 16/5.
A miserable night all around. Seldom touched the ball or unsettled A&B through an anonymous first half, and twice botched opportunities in the second half with ponderous touches. He seemed to be one of several players off-balanced by the opposition and rainy conditions.

Substitutes
4 JERMAINE JONES (Schalke 04/GER) 25/2.
Picked up the caution that will suspend him for the Guatemala match Tuesday in Kansas City by blatantly swatting down a ball floating over his head, and nearly got another by squabbling.

6 ALAN GORDON (San Jose Earthquakes) 1/0.
Borrowed some of his club-team mojo to hit a great cross to the back post for Johnson to head in a stoppage-time winner. Not bad for a debut at age 30; will cap number two come Tuesday, on his birthday?

6 SACHA KLJESTAN (Anderlecht/BEL) 35/4.
Jumped right into the attack to take a shot a few minutes after coming on, and relayed Cherundolo’s throw-in for Gordon to cross.

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



18 comments
  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 7:35 a.m.
    All I can say is that Jermaine Jones did exactly what we all expected him to do.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 8:05 a.m.
    Agreed. And it's a good thing. Why does everyone talk about Goodson stumbling on the Antigua goal? He was clearly pulled down by Blackstock -- it should've been a foul and the goal should've been disallowed.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 10:16 a.m.
    A fortunate victory in horrible conditions...Dempsey was a no show and Zusi showed little.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.
    Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. And the soccer wasn't that crisp either. Bradley was solid, thank goodness. Typical defensive blunder gave up the goal. Props to EJ for putting his shots on frame. Other players got their head to crosses and the ball ended up no where near the frame (Dempsey x2, Goodson). Jermaine Jones is a head case. Coming in on a yellow card and blatantly handling a ball in the air. Dumb. Williams was way better than Beckerman, hopefully Klinsman won't revert back to his favorite, inept midfielder. Finally, that field was a joke. Seemed about half the size of a typical field. Great call by Klinsi to bring in Gordon and Johnson for some aerial prowess. Had no idea how productive Gordon is statistically. More goals per minute than Wondo and more assists per minute than Brad Davis. He promptly got an assist in 20 minutes of work. I take back any negative statements I wrote about him; my ignorance.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 11:49 a.m.
    I know this is not Fair Play but I prefer the prospect of playing Guatemala in the hex over Jamaica. I just don't think we match up well with Jamaica's speed and intensity. Guatemala is easier to handle for us and will upset some other teams in the hex. Jamaica could challenge for the 4th spot, Guatemala not so much. The US and Guatemala could just kick it around a bit on Tuesday and both go through. Even a 1-0, 0-1 game would require Jamaica to beat A&B by 3 goals to leapfrog. No sense playing for anything but a clean sheet on Tuesday, honestly. The US and Guatemala have earned their points they really don't need to kill themselves Tuesday, not much of a show for the fans at Livestrong but let's get to the next round.

  1. Chester Grant
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 1:34 p.m.
    Too bad we couldnt watch this game.

  1. Doug Broadie
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 1:43 p.m.
    We cannot play simiply for a clean sheet. The last time we needed to do that, we lost by 3 goals. I really wonder why no one is talking about the complete takedown of Goodson on the goal. It is still illegal to grab the back of a jersey and pull a player down.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 1:43 p.m.
    Ragin' Ridge must now sleep well now that his favorite player Bradley is the only one to get a 7! Yeah, Dempsey was playing? Wow, I never even saw the guy, ooops, sorry I did when he was fouled and sat on his duff, and then when he seemed to cuss out Zusi, who looked pathetically awful. Herculez, did not receive a 3 - for other than the fact that Ragin' Ridge doesn't care for him - Goodson and Cameron were simply undeserving of a 4 and Cherundulo should've gotten a 7. Then again, Ragin Ridge seems to have watched another game as his biases are very obvious...One last thing, to give a rating for the subs, since they entered late, should their rating be in proportion to the amount of time they spent on the pitch? We were very l-u-c-k-y to get away with a W, not it remains to be seen who really shows up for the next game, but buena suerte muchachitos!

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 1:46 p.m.
    Ooopsa, meant to say that Herculez was not deserving of a three - the only one with a low rating while rookie Zusi gets a six as result of his gawd-awuful play and Deuce's constant complaints?

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.
    The field conditions were gawd awful. Also, the dimensions of the field was for a u-13 game. Minimum regulations aside, all games should be played on a 75X120 pitch. Bradley, Cherundulo, and Johnson had very good games. Goodson scares me at center-back. He either underestimated the speed of the A&B forwards or overestimated his own. Cameron is a good player that needs more time to assimilate. Can Hecules Gomez shoot from outside the six? Zuzi appeard overmatched and indecisive. I'm not dissapointed that J. Jones was yellow carded out of next Tuesday's game. Maurice Edu will get an opportunity to help out the backline.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 10:53 p.m.
    So which one is it? Is Ridge bias or just plain dumb? Did Dempsey play better? Has Ridge ever given Bradley less than a 5?

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: October 13, 2012 at 11:48 p.m.
    Gomez had probably his worst game for the US. Three is probably too generous a score for him. There must be a reason why he's sitting on Santos's bench now.

  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: October 14, 2012 at 9:05 a.m.
    Agreed on the foul on Goodson, but understand this is the same way he was beaten by France for the goal he gave up. Obviously his lack of strength should be a concern. How Bradley ranked a 7 is beyond rational thought. What did anyone beyond Eddie Johnson do to deserve more than a 5? On the plus side, the US won and got the points, just as if the score was 7-0, points are points.

  1. Kerry Solomon
    commented on: October 14, 2012 at 10:08 a.m.
    Goodson wss fouled. Team was a bit uninspired with their performance. Thank God, Jones won't be available for next game. His play is out of control most of time and he needs to use his head. Most of the others need to play tougher. Go back, gentlemen, and watch the team that included players like Ramos, Keller, Balboa, Harkes, Lalas to name a few. Those guys understood what it is to play for your country and play like a team.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: October 14, 2012 at 10:43 a.m.
    Problem with Jones being out is that there's now one less guy in the way of keeping Beckerman off the pitch.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: October 14, 2012 at 9:35 p.m.
    Gomez was on Santos bench for most of last season but was extremely efficient scoring when coming in off the bench. So that's not it. Think about it. Gomez has made a name for himself on USmnt and was on Santo's bench while doing that. Wait, he was on Santo's bench even before he got the call up.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: October 14, 2012 at 10:40 p.m.
    Bill, 7-0 and 2-1 are not the same. The 3 points are same but the satisfaction of superiority going into the next round when playing teams like this is heavily favored in a 4-0 dominating score. Also, if USA losea and Jamaica wins by 3 USA is out. Goals matter more than you think. Do you think Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica will be any easier? All of these teams know they can beat USA given their latest results. If USA and Guatemala decide to just call it a tie well, that's very sad.

  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: October 15, 2012 at 1:20 a.m.
    This was a case of our playing our group's Minnow and getting a win by the skin of our teeth at the last minute... NOBODY deserves a high rating in this match... if a "5" is average then nobody out on that field deserved anything over a "6"... But Three points were secured. Now it's a matter of realizing that against Guatemala we will need to play with Bocanegra in the middle with Cameron, bench Goodson, and either play Dolo or Parkhurst over as a wingback on the left. Jones was coming off an ankle injury anr really shouldn't have been playing in the first place, but the fact remains we are undermanned right now... if Johnson is still sick and Castillo, Shea and Donovan are still out that leaves us with 19 bodies, three of whom are goal keepers... I simply can't believe that Eric Lichaj once again has been overlooked at least to be available on our bench... this just makes so little sense. ...(ICE)


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