Aron Johannsson and Mix Diskerud came off the bench to score as the USA started its three-game series of World Cup preparation games with a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan.
RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G
5 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), 98/0.Snagged a deflected that just before it crossed the goal line to avert a corner kick and wasn’t tested on his two saves nor by any threatening crosses.
5 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER), 20/0.Pushed more upfield as the first half unfolded. He escaped pressure to work a nice one-two with Bedoya but the sequence ran aground. A hasty pass late in the first half gave the Azeris an opportunity to counter. He upgraded his game a bit at the start of the second half.
6 Matt Besler (Sporting KC), 15/0.Very composed and confident for the full 90 minutes and usually had the measure of Azeri striker Rufat Dedashov. Seldom bothered to hit a long ball in swirling wind and in the second half found Tim Chandler and Michael Bradley with outlet passes. Contributed a vital block to snuff out a threat caused by careless midfield play.
5 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), 25/1.Recent experience in England enabled him to judge wind-driven balls and he paired up well with Besler during his first-half stint. He showed a good touch and had little trouble winning tackles. Decisions of when to step and when to drop, and side-to-side movement were crisp.
5 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX), 115/17.Hit a couple good balls up the flank for Bedoya, also hit target-man Altidore on a few occasions but seldom was able to follow up to deliver a shot or cross. Worked over once or twice by Vagif Javadov and needed help from Cameron to contain him.
5 Jermaine Jones (Besiktas/TUR), 40/2.He isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but he sat at the foot of the diamond and buttressed the defense reliably. A customary giveaway provided Raul Aliyev with a shot that was deflected by Besler. He also won many balls though not all of his passes went where they should have.
5 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 84/12.Solid in a few departments and poor in others. Careless back pass provided Azerbaijan with a chance, and he killed a counterattack with an over-hit cross. He shot well over the bar after a nice cutback from Davis set him up, but his shot from a Diskerud knockdown did hit the target, and Diskerud banged in the rebound.
4 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), 27/1.Brought his usual mix of energy and effort but aside from one cutback from the byline that found Wondolowski, he didn’t much influence matters in the final third. Usually elected not to run at defenders with the ball and his attempts at combination play often fizzled out. He did work hard defensively and dug into a few solid tackles.
4 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), 21/3.He worked both sides of the field but never looked settled on either side. He couldn’t gauge the wind when he hit balls in the air and like Bedoya wasn’t aggressive on the dribble, though he controlled the ball well enough.
5 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), 20/9.He played well overall and nailed a couple of headers on frame, though one of them went right at the keeper’s knee. Defensively he challenged a near-post corner kick and got enough body on Rasim Ramaldanov that the ensuing header missed the frame.
6 Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG), 68/21.Looked more comfortable in the second half when stationed on the left wing, though in the first half he won a few balls and hit teammates with passes, such as one Bradley took inside. He got to the byline to slip a diagonal ball that Diskerud hit first-time and fired high on a bouncing half-chance.
RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G
6 Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg/GER), 11/0.He injected a lot of life to the left flank during a very solid second half. He and Brad Davis linked up often and he also worked a one-two with Altidore that produced a deflected shot.
7 Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), 15/0.Curled a corner kick that Aron Johannsson headed in for the second goal to highlight a transformation on the left flank for the second half. He won a free kick near the corner of the penalty area and set up Bradley for a shot with a well-weighted cutback. He did what lefties can do.
4 Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), 19/0.Looked hesitant a couple of times and left a huge gap that Rauf Alijev ran into for a shot.
6 Aron Johannsson (AZ/NED), 8/2.Neatly planted Davis’ corner kick into the top corner after narrowly missing the near post minutes after entering the game.
5 DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders), 3/0.Scuffed a few errant passes as he tried to find the pace of the game and soldiered on after Alijev cracked him.
6 Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/NOR), 18/3.Battled to knock down a ball that Bradley fired on goal and got his reward for a good night’s work by smacking home the rebound. Played a sweet reverse pass for Bradley, too.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high)