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U.S. Player Ratings: Packed defense limits Germans
by Mike Woitalla, June 26th, 2014 4:18PM

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TAGS:  world cup 2014

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By Mike Woitalla
(@MikeWoitalla)

A stubborn defense and a dismally ineffective offense resulted in a 1-0 U.S. loss to Germany, yet the mission was accomplished.

The Americans, who chased German passes most of the game and often looked like they were playing with nine defenders, prevented a blow-out loss -- the only result that, as it turned out, would have endangered its passage to the second round. Their much more spirited and entertaining opening performances -- the 2-1 win over Ghana and 2-2 tie with Portugal -- meant they could still celebrate after slogging to a loss in Recife.

Starters:
RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G
7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), 103/0.
Securely handled sharp low crosses on wet surface. Blocked Mesut Ozil’s close-range first-half effort. Stole ball off Thomas Mueller’s feet before beaten by his precise shot into the corner.

5 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER), 25/1.
Didn’t see the best part of his game today -- attacks down the right flank.

6 Matt Besler (Sporting KC), 20/0.
Positioned well as usual to clear balls sent into the middle.

6 Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), 22/0.
Slid in successfully to clear balls, as in 7th minute when Jerome Boateng’s low cross beckoned a tap-in.

6 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX), 118/17.
Left back was one of the few players to bring ball down field -- and get off a shot (albeit a weak one).

5 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) 40/1.
Kept the central defense crowded in sloppy performance that included yellow card.

6 Jermaine Jones (Besiktas/TUR), 45/3.
Nearly latching on to two through balls down the middle made him USA’s most threatening midfielder – while also a key part of defensive bunker.

4 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), 26/3.
Did not deliver from the wing as he’s supposed to.

4 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 89/12.
Failed to bring rhythm or order to the midfield and his frustration showed with a foul on Philipp Lahm that could have earned him a caution. Subsequent free kick would lead to corner kick and then Mueller goal.

4 Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), 16/0.
Disappointing in a World Cup debut during which he never troubled the Germans.

4 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), 108/39.
Stranded up front, misplayed balls when he got them. Highlight was his back-heel on the best U.S. sequence, the movement down the right flank that ended with Alejandro Bedoya’s blocked shot on the left.

Substitutes:
RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G
4 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), 31/1.
As soon as he replaced Davis in the 59th minute, misplayed his first touch and committed a foul. Had best U.S. chance, in stoppage time when his low shot was blocked by Lahm.

NR DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders), 6/0.
The 84th sub for Zusi over-hit his only cross.

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



42 comments
  1. J david Cepicka
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 4:37 p.m.
    Mike Bradley has continues to disappoint. Another horrific performance. 4 is very generous. Kyle Beckerman continues to be overlooked. He plays holding midfielder so yellow cards are expected and he received on a professional foul.

  1. Greg Morris
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 4:51 p.m.
    Bradley has been a huge disappointment. While I always felt some of the "experts" had gotten carried away calling him world class the fact of the matter is he is better than this. Way too many turnovers, a lack of tactical awareness and the apparent belief that simply moving is a substitute for moving with a purpose. I hope we can get a dynamic performance out of him in the next round because we need it.

  1. Greg Morris
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 4:58 p.m.
    Little harsh on Zusi. While I agree his service was not what was needed, his defensive work was desperately needed. He has shown his willingness to play both sides of the ball. Also cracked a nice shot in 1st half. Certainly much better than Davis who left Beasley on an island. Yedlin had an impact with his speed and aggression. Little unfair to characterize his play only by a cross seconds after stepping on the pitch. Clearly some tired legs out there today. Where would this team be without Jones? Going home.

  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 4:59 p.m.
    We didn't play well and lack creativity in the midfield and the final 3rd of the field. Jones and Johnson have been phenomenal, bradley is showing why he can't be a go to player at the club level in Europe, he needs to be more assertive like muntari or Lahm.

  1. soccer talk
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 5:22 p.m.
    Very lackluster game, especially from the onset. 2nd 1/2 was slightly better. Line up changes affected cohesiveness, but heck we were playing Germany which is a level ahead of Ghana or Portugal. The opponent has a great deal to do with effectiveness for team play.

  1. j bapper
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 5:41 p.m.
    I must say our lack of technical ability is alarming compared to other teams. Why is our first touch so poor? Why can't we string more than five passes together. Bradley was disappointing again. We defended well but at some point we need to keep possession and create some chances. I'm hoping now that the pressure of the group stage is over, they will relax and play a better match in the round of 16.

  1. Andy Sanders
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 5:43 p.m.
    Michael Bradley had another horrible game. This cannot be undersold. If you go count his touches he mishandles his first touch or turns the ball over on the pass well more than he should. He couldn't get a first touch on a couple of beautiful balls near the penalty area. And turned it over repeatedly at mid field. He's so out of it that he missed a touch right in front of him in open space in our defensive 1/3. It's painful to watch. I did notice that he ran a little harder today. Especially on the forward press.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 5:51 p.m.
    If Altidore is ready to go on Tuesday, Klinsmann will pull Bradley back into his more usual defensive posture, rather than this offensive role that he's not used to. Keep your fingers crossed that Jozy will be ready.

  1. Bryan Kempf
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 6:03 p.m.
    I've read comments now for three games talking about Michael Bradley having a horrible World Cup. And I've had enough. I'm not sure what you want out of him. He's been a vital part of almost any attack and, more importantly, has covered more ground defensively than all but one player in the tournament, through the first two games. Did you watch today's game? There wasn't a more active person on the pitch. I'm sorry he isn't Andrea Pirlo on top of that. Rewatch the game. You would be embarrassed. Without his work ethic we would be headed home. I'll take it one more and say this "grind it out" reputation the USA has got, is 100% his work ethic and leadership rubbing off on the rest of the team. Listen to what Klinsman says about him. Oh wait... You guys think JK is an idiot. Good call on that one too.

  1. Richard Weishaupt
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 6:04 p.m.
    I'm a big Michael Bradley fan but he is really playing poorly except for the middle of the Portugal game, and we know how that ended. I kept wondering how we wound up with Zusi and Davis 4's and don't have Landon. Won't someone ask JK why he cut LD when all we get from these guys are these performances. We all know the answer -- doesn't like LD and it had nothing to do with talent. But maybe coaches should be above that!

  1. Bryan Kempf
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 6:11 p.m.
    Did you guys see the news? We advanced from the "Group of Death". Can we forget about Landon Donovan?

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 6:14 p.m.
    Ratings are pretty accurate. Bryan, you're right about the importance of Bradley to this team (and his work rate, which before today's game was the 2nd highest in the entire WC!). Bradley has had some uncharacteristic bad touches, and has made many more bad passes than he normally does (though he's also made some great passes, the pass to Jones over the top, for example). When he plays to his potential (as he did for most of qualifying) he's able to play in the top European leagues. We'll need him to step it up to his normal high standard if we hope to beat Belgium.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 6:25 p.m.
    Klinsmann made a mistake to leave LD home; at this point, he'd be an asset at either outside mid or up top. Given Altidore's injury, unless he recovers, he probably made a mistake cutting EJ (though given EJ's comments, that was a more understandable omission). However, in the first two games, I think JK did very well with his line-ups and subs. This one was tougher; Bedoya coming on for Davis just meant the Davis start was a mistake (and we burned a sub without adding anything). Yedlin added spark, but probably should have come in earlier. Given Dempsey's invisibility, and the fact that Dempsey was isolated up top against four big German defenders, I think it might have made sense to bring in either Johansson (to try to get a goal on a one man break) or Wondo (for his ability to finish ugly balls in the box and pressure the defenders when they had the ball; Wondo's workrate is easily twice Dempsey's). But the bottom line is that we've advanced, and at this point, that's all that matters.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 6:44 p.m.
    Bryan, I'm with you. And, again, Klinsmann has Bradley playing in a more offensive role than he is used to. He's obviously not entirely comfortable with it, but he's managing. Same with Dempsey. Of course he can play the position in a pinch, but it's not the usual role he'd been training for. Klinsmann has done a very good job working with the talent he has to get a good result with his starters and his subs. Against all odds (according to the pundits), we are out of the group stage and going through. If Altidore is ready on Tuesday, we'll get to see the original team that trained to get here.

  1. Bruce Moorhead
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.
    Agree that Davis and Zusi were almost invisible. The lack of LD on the outside left or right is painful to see, but JK just doesn't like his face. It also seems that JK has no confidence in Wondo or Johansson, and Green is obviously not going to see the field. All in all though, the US survived what I feel is the strongest group, and three games in tropical conditions, so I have to give the players and coach much credit. We have a 40% shot against Belgium, maybe more if Altidore can start.

  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 7:29 p.m.
    Bradley's criticism is not unfair. Although I think klinsmann want him to be a more offensive threat, bradley is more of a holding midfielder comparable to john o Brien, Thomas Dooley, or even Claudio Reyna. Bradley's criticism is that he's played in Germany and for Roma and is not playing at the level that he's capable of, but bradley said it in his post game interview, we won!

  1. Mats Wichmann
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 7:33 p.m.
    Okay, we don't demand of Bradley he be quite at Pirlo level, but the number of bad touches/passes is still alarming. I do figure the squad gets a bit of a pass on this match, the oddities of group-stage play means the schedule compresses faster for the later groups, there just wasn't much rest for this one (a day less than Germany), and the conditions in these venues have been tough. Time to step up now.

  1. Xavi Hernandez
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 7:47 p.m.
    Can you be a US soccer fan and feel that Bradley is overrated and is playing especially poorly in this tournament?

  1. Bryan Kempf
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 7:50 p.m.
    If you guys are trying to make the point that although Bradley worked harder and defended well, but failed to pass like beckham, create like modric, finish like van persie, all with the smarts of Phillip lahm... Then you guys are correct in your assessment.

  1. charles davenport
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 8:42 p.m.
    Bradley was all over field, Germans let him play-surprisingly weren't worried about him. Ghana did in by own goal, sloppy play by keeper, Ronaldo. If Altidore returns for Belgium...?

  1. soccer talk
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 9:31 p.m.
    Agree w/ Bryan. Bradley is the reason we are here or at least the leader of this squad, thus the criticism flow. Bottom line is he is involved and works hard with more touches than anyone some good while some uncharacteristically poor for his expectation. It is a given that he can do it and an level we have seen to help the USMNT get to this point. It would be stupid to bench him. Hopefully he snaps dot of his mediocracy. Great players have spells as such, and he will be okay. GO USA! Bring on the Waffles!

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 9:35 p.m.
    Hey Xavi Hernandez, boy oh boy you are spot ON!!! Thank you for you keen assessment and comment!

  1. soccer talk
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.
    Keen assessment? You can be any fan and see That he is playing below his level. It's Overrated since he has carried the team to the The WC. That's reality. Everyone was praising Him during qualifiers. He's playing off his game That's how it goes.

  1. Miguel Dedo
    commented on: June 26, 2014 at 10:28 p.m.
    Yes, Michael Bradley’s passing has been atrocious. Please do not however overlook what he contributes to keeping opposing players off balance – unable to settle into their game. He runs more miles than anyone else on the team and he does it all in 5 or 10 yard spurts – an amazing amount of acceleration and deceleration. It is not pretty, but it leads to inaccurate passes that his teammates can intercept or turn away. Blue collar stuff, do not overlook its value.

  1. Xavi Hernandez
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 12:04 a.m.
    Thank you :) He's become a decent player over the years but he is *not* what US soccer has hyped him up to be - one of the best if not *the* best US players ever, a world-class player that will allow us to impose our will. He's the old-school US soccer dream player, a hard-tackling ball winner that runs and runs. He's covered a lot of miles but a lot of those are a result of his poor trapping and passing - he creates many of the problems he has to chase around the field. The ball should be doing the work, not Michael Bradley.

  1. Bryan Kempf
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 2:20 a.m.
    Xavi- I won't argue your take on Bradley being overrated because we are on such polar ends of the discussion. But if you were rating his performance against Germany, who on the team would you rate above him. You could make a case for two or three, but who contributed more to the cause than him? Jones played with tons of heart, but looked like a rag doll by halftime and his touch showed it. Beckerman didn't even defend as well, and that's his role. Zusi? Davis? Dempsey? Not close. The back four? Pretty solid. Some great tackles, but they all gave the ball away too. I

  1. Barry Ulrich
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 8:34 a.m.
    What is our team's reluctance to take the ball down to the goal line? Numerous times the lane was open, yet we pulled up and passed the ball back. Didn't Yedlin take the ball down to the goal line, then pass to the middle and we scored?

  1. Kevin Leahy
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 9:01 a.m.
    Is anyone else bothered about the conditions complaints? We have players in many parts of this country that play in oppressive weather. You are trained for this and the conditions and if your not, that is a problem. The talent JK has to work with are his selections. I think he has done very well with what he chose. The bottom line about MB is, his role. He is too important in the team to be performing @ the level he has. We may need to see Julian Green to throw off Belgium. There has to be something to change things up now and make the team a little less predictable. Belgium is beatable but, not if they spend the entire match on their heels.

  1. Xavi Hernandez
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 9:58 a.m.
    Bryan - he got a 4 on this site so I'll go with that. My point though is the unhealthy coupling of US Soccer and Michael Bradley. I'm not sure where one starts and the other ends. Hyping is what marketing departments do and it's been building for years with Bradley and both US soccer and Michael Bradley have benefited greatly from it. However, saying that Bradley is our most important and our most skilled player *by far* just turns a lot of people off. He is what he is, a good, hard working ball-winner that covers a lot of ground; making him out to be the best US player we've ever produced just makes people question US soccer and the journalists that cover it.

  1. Greg Morris
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 11:31 a.m.
    The criticism of Bradley is largely because we believe he is capable of more and simply not producing. Please Bryan, you go and watch the game again and focus on Bradley. He does cover lots of ground but much of it is unproductive or even counter productive, routinely jogging several steps toward a player who has already released the ball, rounding off his runs and failing to take up good support positions on defense and then running back. Simply moving is not a substitute for smart productive movement. Jones may have covered less ground than Bradley according to stats but can you seriously argue that he has not been far more productive than him? I'm hoping he steps up with the type of performance he is capable of because he can make a big difference for the U.S.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 12:52 p.m.
    We should turn this around to a positive with what we have already witnessed! Beasley and Fabian have been solid, although Gonzo did reasonably well, he wasn't head and shoulders above Cameron. Besler, Jones have been beasts, and drop Bradley back to his more comfortable DM with Jermaine. Sit Bedoya, Becks for Yedlin on the right flank with Zusi on the left, and if Jozy can't go, it's time for Johansson Dempsey pairing up top! You then have either Wondo or Mix to be used as a game changer late for creativity/channel runs. Problem is we wasted three spots with Green, Chandler & Davis, when we should of had WC experienced EJ, LD & Goodson. Beasley, Besler, Cameron, Johnson: Zusi, Jones, Bradley, Yedlin: Dempsey, Johannsson for the Win!!

  1. Matt Stachler
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 12:53 p.m.
    Glad we brought Davis over Landon

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 1:05 p.m.
    I can taste the cynicism from here! Also, please Klinn's, tell me why when we finally earned a corner, Zusi, not Davis took it from the left side??? Would of been perfect timing for that sweet left foot out-swinger he was placed on the team for.

  1. soccer talk
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 2:01 p.m.
    Bradley is overrated in comparison to other Countries, but you cannot be pegged as overrated By what he has done as the top player that has Produced to get the team here at the heralded WC. Correct he has had a subpar performance For his standards because is rarely highly for what he has done and hopefully steps up to go Against Belgism. This team is far closer to the Trophy than any before. Bradley is the main Reason for our collective success. Nobody Else is capable off the bench to step in st this point

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 4:23 p.m.
    > Bryan K. - I've not seen your name here before, unlike many of the others who you are disagreeing with who comment here all the time. I deduce a couple things from that: You're a new soccer fan who doesn't know the game well or you're just so ga-ga over Michael Bradley that you can't be impartial to his performances. Anyone who has watched Bradley over the last 2-3 years bring this team into this World Cup (and notice how poorly we played in his absence when he got hurt) would tell you that this Michael Bradley is massively worse than the other guy we've gotten used to watching. Watch some old games from the last year with him starting then watch his touches and actions in this tournament. He's NOT EVEN FREAKING CLOSE to his typical performances.

  1. Alan Cahill
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 6:11 p.m.
    Actually Bradley can/did recently play like Pirlo. Review the friendly against Nigeria and tell me I'm crazy. He has not been anywhere near that level in the current tournament; but we all need to hope he rediscovers the "Green Eagle" touch against Belgium.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 27, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.
    Chris S., good positive comments. I think some people who probably agree on Bradley are splitting hairs; most Bradley supporters (and I count myself as one) believe him to be one of the best, if not the best (probably depending on Dempsey's mood or whether or not you count keepers) player the US has had over the last 2 years. I think most would agree that his performance so far in the WC has been subpar (for him). Now there might be disagreement over whether his performance has been bad enough to consider benching him, but that probably depends on your coaching philosophy (how long you stay with quality players who are having a rough patch) or how you assess contributions (pressuring the opponents, incisive passes, give-aways, etc.). For us to go very far, we'll need the Bradley of qualifications to show up, and we'll need Dempsey to continue to score goals, and we'll need other guys to continue to impress. I'd put our chances against Belgium (who did not look strong in a weak group) optimistically at 50/50. I just hope Bradley shows up before Hazard does!

  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: June 28, 2014 at 12:17 p.m.
    Bradley doesn't look as good against first-rate teams playing for keeps for one reason -- he's playing against better players. Sure he's no Claudio Reyna on the ball, never was, and now in crowded midfield his touches let him down. But all these grown men picking on a kid who works his heart out is sort of pathetic. Reality is that he and Jones are heart of this team, back line is ok, front line sucks. We win, and lose, on heart and work-rate, and w/o Michael Bradley we'd have been lucky to get out of CONCACAF, and would not have gotten out of group. If all you can do is pick on MB, suggest you get a life.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 29, 2014 at 7:44 p.m.
    Ouch, well done! I would add "deal with all the whispers" on his way up, due to dad Bob.

  1. M B
    commented on: June 30, 2014 at 9:18 a.m.
    I saw a pitiful game where no US player looked good. To include Howard. This really needs to be Howard's last tournament. His "sell by" date has long past. Bradley needs to be sent home. I'm not saying he's a bad guy, but he's not mentally in Brasil. Not sure where he is, but he is not mentally there. That said, Bedoya makes my skin crawl. He's a soccer player? Can anyone actually affirm this? Sad that Jones' goal (something he's never done ever before and certainly never will again) makes him a lock. He's a mental piece of fragile tupperware. The only thing that made this game look like a respectable 1 - 0 is what is called manipulation. A 1-1 tie would have not looked good. So a 1 - 0 Germany win appears to make it all look legit and plausible. The Germans weren't much trying. Schweinsteiger's play affirms this. He was purposely flubbing things. Same for Goetze at the end. The USA is only in this tournament at this stage because of money. FIFA knows that the USA fan contingent is the largest, the USA TV market has upward possibilities. Thus it is imperative that the USA will always qualify. So Denver and snow dates for matches can always be booked and the match officials will never call the game off. Get it? This is all about money. Not about actually sporting quality. After again watching the second half against Portugal (and seeing zip, nada of skill, talent, ability) from the US squad and watching them versus Germany, well, send them all packing. Maybe not Diskerud. Have to see. But the starting 11 in each of these games for the USA are guys that need to take up playing putt putt golf, not soccer.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 30, 2014 at 1:24 p.m.
    "mental piece of fragile tupperware"? Let me guess. You're a want-to-be sit-com writer, hoping to be discovered? If you weren't in Denver, don't comment. Ball moved fine, and the Laws of the Game do not address weather. Referees are to make determinations for safety concerns only. Players accepted conditions and wanted to play on. End of story.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 1, 2014 at 6:51 a.m.
    How about a TEAM rating?


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