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U.S. Player Ratings: Subs lead the way
by Ridge Mahoney, October 11th, 2013 10:29PM

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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014

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By Ridge Mahoney

Graham Zusi and Edgar Castillo came off the bench to spark a lethargic U.S. squad past Jamaica, 2-0, Friday night at Sporting Park as the Americans won the Hexagonal again and closed out their home schedule with a perfect 5-0-0 record.

Zusi and Castillo replaced veterans Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley, respectively, and Zusi thrilled his hometown crowd by scoring his second international goal. Castillo’s interception and square ball set up Jozy Altidore for the clincher as the subs strengthened their cases for inclusion on the 2014 World Cup squad.

Starters:
RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G
5 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 94/0. Fumble of a Demar Phillips free kick required a desperation clearance by Evans. Handled the routine stuff cleanly and snuffed a one-v-one situation against Deshorn Brown after a giveaway in the U.S. defensive third. After a long inactive spell he thwarted Tuffy Robinson in the final seconds to preserve the shutout.

5 Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders) 14/1. Hacked a ball out of danger after a free kick landed in the U.S. goal area and repelled a Darren Mattocks attempt with a vital tackle. Mattocks and Deshorn Brown exposed him on occasion but in the second half his solid defending helped free up Bedoya to attack more.

5 Matt Besler (Sporting KC) 17/0. Slid from side to side to shut off lanes and denied a few dangerous situations by dropping when Cameron stepped up. Strong tackle stopped Mattocks on the doorstep but he was beaten on the air on a set play that Jamaica put on frame.

6 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG) 21/1. Overcame some initial confusion playing with Besler to decisively win balls and cut off passes. Hit short passes were accurate but a couple of longer efforts went astray. He stood up tall against Ryan Johnson, Mattocks and Brown bested him a couple of times. In the second half he looked stronger defensively and pushed forward to play a ball that produced a shot.

4 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX) 112/17. Brown knifed past him a couple of times to take shots or drive crosses. He was quiet offensively except for once cutting into the penalty area on the dribble to take a shot that deflected wide for a corner. His overlaps otherwise were few and ineffective. Left the game holding his hamstring.

7 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA) 22/1. Played a very active game on the right flank to hit a few deep crosses and though he struggled with his deliveries from the byline, he led the attack much of the time. In the second half he leaped majestically to head a Castillo cross right to Diskerud, and recovered from a stumble to cut a ball back for Zusi to drive into the net. He wound up to hammer a powerful shot that hit an opponent in the torso.

5 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER) 36/2. Seldom unlocked the Jamaican back line despite playing as the more advanced central mid much of the time, and whiffed on a goal-area chance when Altidore prodded the ball in his direction. Matched in the middle against Rudolph Austin and Je-Vaughn Watson, not until the second half did he win the upper hand.

5 Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/NOR) 13/2. Stifled Jamaica several times with crisp interceptions of through and diagonal balls, yet spent much of his time sorting out responsibilities with Jones and in the second half gave the ball away twice in bad spots. But he improved greatly after the substitutions, cutting several incisive balls that produced chances and trying a shot that was blocked.

4 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) 154/57. Created a good chance for Johannsson with a far-post corner kick and used the ball well on a few other occasions, but overall lacked sharpness and energy.

3 Aron Johansson (AZ/NED) 3/0. Fired a shot wide after neatly trapping Donovan’s corner and failed to get off a shot after cutting past Westley Morgan when Adrian Mariappa got in his sliding block. Tried to turn with a ball played to his feet by Diskerud and lost an opportunity to run at the back line. Despite an honest effort he just didn’t come through.

5 Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG) 63/21. Other than his easy goal for much of the game he was ineffective, although he reached a couple of goal kicks to flick balls into good spots. He laid off a nice ball to set up Jones but the shot was blocked. Some touches in the second half were careless giveaways but he persevered and his hard work paid off when he and Zusi notched the U.S. goals.

Substitutes:
6 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC) 17/2. Flubbed a great crossfield ball from Diskerud with space to operate, set up a good chance for Johannsson, then energized his home stadium by slotting home a deflected ball from Bedoya.

7 Edgar Castillo (Tijuana) 14/0. Overdribbled a couple of times when an early serve was smarter but several times scorched the Jamaican defense to hit threatening crosses, including one that led to the first U.S. goal. Then he snapped up a sloppy Jamaican pass to set up Altidore for a tap-in and nearly scored in the final seconds.

5 Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht/BEL) 42/4. Linked with teammates several times during combination sequences and got far enough upfield' to smack a low shot that the keeper covered. His pressure helped force the giveaway that resulted in the second U.S. goal.

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


14 comments
  1. Bruce Gowan
    commented on: October 11, 2013 at 11:21 p.m.
    I don't like the Diskerud and Jones rating because they both failed to hold the ball and distribute effectively. Jones always gives the ball away and makes bad decisions.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 12:39 a.m.
    Honestly, throw-away ratings, for a decisively looking throw-away game.....had hoped for much more "make best of your opportunity" from a half dozen or more players.....

  1. Kent James
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 8:50 a.m.
    Donovan was definitely not the worst player on the field. Altidore was in the first half. Refreshing to see that while Altidore did have the goal and a few nice touches, the ratings are realistic and show that he did not have one of his better games. First time I've seen Aron Johansson; I think a 3 is a bit harsh. Yes, he missed some good opportunities, but at least he was in position to have them. Castillo had a great game; he wasn't really tested offensively, but it's good to know he can provide an offensive spark if we need it. But generally agree with Chris...crowd gets an A+ though, so that's something.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 9:31 a.m.
    I just don't understand the ratings. I don't see how anyone deserved better than a 5. Why was only Johannsson the only one to receive a 3? There were several others just as bad or worse. This was an overall poor performance by the entire team.If you want to give a higher grade for Zusi and Castillo fine, but they both played less than half the game. I would say the entire team was a no better than a 4 and only because they won. While maybe Zusi and Castillo a 5.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 9:34 a.m.
    Jones needs Bradley to be effective himself. Diskerud experiment failed - once the formation changed so did his play. Bedoya cemented his position on the 23. Besler and Cameron defending was 6; their distribution was a 3 Aron got himself open but jitters messed up his debut. Sacha should get a full runout in Panama. Looked good. Landon was not the worst player on the field but from the best, the best is expected. IMO if JK had been his mentor 10 years ago LD would be among the world's elite -- still lacks mental toughness.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 9:58 a.m.
    Walt, I think James' comments are a perfect explanation of the ratings. And since when do you lower someone's ratings because they didn't start and play the whole game? Especially after they definitely made a positive difference upon taking the field! I think James got it exactly right.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 10:17 a.m.
    Ginger, I agree to giving Zusi and Castillo the highest ratings,because they were the most effective players on the night. But they played less than half a match, I would give no more than a 5 for that. Its just that everyone else was that much less on the night.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 10:31 a.m.
    Walt, I see your point. We're each looking at it from a different perspective...kinda like the glass is half full/half empty. My point is, if most of these guys played the whole game without achieving very much and they were rated a 4 or 5, shouldn't the ones who stepped in and managed to make a (big) difference in a very limited amount of time rate at least 2 to 3 points higher than the guys who couldn't get it done for most of the game?

  1. Joe Linzner
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 11:12 a.m.
    Johanssen a 3, you're kidding right, in comparison to Altidore he should have a 6...Altidore totally listless and clueless in the first half and not much better in the second...the tap in goal would have been surely converted by a billy goat. Even his movement off the ball was lackadaisical. off side a time or two. all in all LD was better and more involved than Altidore. The formation switch introduced new life and the subs deserved a higher rating. Playing time should have nothing to do with the ratings...it is game performance.....

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.
    Totally agree with Joe about Johansson and Altidore. Johansson at least tried; Jozy had his probably worst game ever for the national team.

  1. Don Woodman
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 12:28 p.m.
    Ridge has definitely lost the plot. I'm not a big Beasley fan but his runs are useful even if they simply give the defense something to worry about and open up space and options for others. Johansson's finishing was lacking but he was creating actual opportunities. I give a lot more credence to Jeff Carlisle's ratings at ESPN FC.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.
    Rating a player who is inserted partially in a game and rate him a if he/she played the 90 minutes, is somewhat specious. It is assumed that a full rating is for someone having played the full match, right? But to give a player subbed in say at the 70th minute the full rating.... something doesn't seem or add up right....

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: October 12, 2013 at 3:39 p.m.
    Team effort was a D, imagination was a D, simplicity of play was an F, and team IQ was a double F. Jamaica may be quick at shear speed, but they are a fourth rate competitor and offered little if any threat. Too much emphasis is placed on the individual player, when it should be placed on the whole squad. Watching this contest was boring and listening the stupidity of the commentary was overwhelming. If anyone took out anything from this game, it was futility at its worst.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: October 14, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
    WOWZERS!!! I couldn't disagree more with SOME of I w's comment, that "Too much emphasis is placed on the individual player when it should be placed on the whole squadd....(sic)" Yes, indeed, though I may be wrong, it seems that I see more individual ratings for futbol-soccer players, more so than other sports, and still why give a subbed player a full rating, and what if a player played the last five minutes plus some added time.... oh! but wait, I do recall that rating such a players is listed a sub and an "NR" after the name...


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