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U.S. Player Ratings: None look ready for prime time
by Mike Woitalla, March 5th, 2014 5:43PM
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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014

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By Mike Woitalla

If you didn't know which was the World Cup-bound team, you certainly wouldn't have guessed the guys in the shiny new white polo shirts. Lacking spirit, cohesion and a competent backline, the Americans fell, 2-0, to Ukraine in Cyprus on Wednesday.

The bubble players aiming to impress Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t raise their stock while Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey didn’t play like the World Cup roster shoo-ins -- or team leaders -- they’re supposed to be.

The backline looked like a collection of lost boys. The Americans’ rare combination play occurred mainly in their own half and fell apart long before they neared the Ukrainians' goal. A U.S. frontline was nowhere to be found.

Starters:
RATING PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
5 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 97/0
His best saves were deflections the Ukrainians converted into goals.

3 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG) 24/1
Defensively, the right back fared a bit better than his backline mates. But going forward? Of his seven crossing opportunities he mis-hit five.

2 John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER) 3/0
Allowed Denys Garmash to streak straight into the penalty area on the first goal. Saved by offside flag on another bad mark-up. Sloppy header in midfield nearly resulted in long-range goal. No help on the second goal, which also came through the center.

2 Oguchi Onyewu (Sheffield Wednesday/ENG) 69/6
Nearly scored an own goal. Didn’t recover to help on the first goal. Stumbled instead of intercepting a pass that led to Ukraine’s second goal.

2 Edgar Castillo (Tijuana/MEX) 16/0
Saw but ignored Andriy Yarmolenko, allowing him to cruise in to easily stroke home Ukraine’s first goal. Did nothing offensively, which should be his strength.

4 Jermaine Jones (Besiktas/TUR) 39/2
Had more of the ball than any of the midfielders but delivered only one penetrating pass, which Dempsey failed to reach in time.

2 Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht/BEL) 46/4
Posed no danger going forward, often lost the ball, and USA was lucky not to concede a goal when he coughed it up in the 31st minute.

4 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA) 26/1
Alhough the most active of the midfielders offensively his efforts bore no fruit.

2 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 102/36
Invisible for first 20 minutes until he moved deep into midfield, where he failed to orchestrate anything interesting. In the second half, wasted a headed chance and a through ball he let roll to the keeper.

3 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER) 18/0
A non-factor offensively on the left side and struggled along with Castillo on other side of ball.

3 Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG) 67/21
Misplayed rare service he received and headed over crossbar (from Cameron cross) on only chance.

Substitutes:
RATING PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
4 Aron Johannsson (AZ/NED) 6/1
Came closest to scoring: His sharp volley off corner kick was cleared off the line.

3 Brek Shea (Barnsley/ENG) 26/2
Didn’t provide the spark he’s supposed to as a late sub.

NR Danny Williams (Reading/ENG) 13/0
Replaced Jones for final 10 minutes.

NR Juan Agudelo (FC Utrecht/NED) 18/2
Replaced Altidore for last five minutes.

(1=low; 5-medium; 10=high.)



8 comments
  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: March 5, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.
    Way too harsh on Cameron and Jones. They were both solid, and Cameron's two good crosses could have both been put away, and he was our best attacking on wing. And he did not forget who he was marking all night long, and he covered back for others on occasion. Brooks was way out of place, and that led to Ukraine goals, Castillo was lost at times, apart from that we didn't defend that badly. These ratings fluctuate way too much, way too low when we lose. Ukraine's a good side, and this was 2/3rds a B side.
  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: March 5, 2014 at 7:19 p.m.
    I think the squad was also upset with the uninspired Nike kit.........jk........ratings were spot on, minus Cameron
  1. James Madison
    commented on: March 5, 2014 at 7:26 p.m.
    Sluggish,desultory and disconnected. All of which is discouraging. Cameron may have fluffed the majority of crosses, but (a) he got there to make them and (b) he looked better in the back than the other three combined.
  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: March 5, 2014 at 11:55 p.m.
    No need to panic. So, who cares that in the last three games away from home against somewhat decent opposition the US managed to score exactly zero goals creating about as many chances. All we need to do is schedule a few home friendlies against the likes of Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and all will be well again. The team will set some new completely irrelevant yearly record and Klinsmann will be hailed as the savior of the US soccer.
  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: March 6, 2014 at 9:18 a.m.
    All rating were deserve except oneywu, bedoya, Johanson, and Howard, these guys deserved a 5. Oneywu was not at fault for either of those goals and didn't make any mistakes that cost the team, bedoya was attempting to create chances and defended well, johannson a breathe of fresh air, and Howard just did everything possible to keep his team in the game.
  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: March 6, 2014 at 10:12 a.m.
    For once I agree with the ratings.Of the hopefuls, I did not see anyone step up and make claim for a spot on the Brazil roster.Except perhaps Shea, who I thought made a case for himself as someone who could come off the bench and provide a spark.More disappointing to me was the performance of the "regulars" Cameron,(sorry but 1 or 2 half decent crosses out of 8-9 chances, does not make him an offensive threat) Dempsey,Altidore,Jones and Bedoya all just awful.
  1. Dan Phillips
    commented on: March 6, 2014 at 7:36 p.m.
    Bench Jozy and start Aaron Johansson up top. Altidore is a waste! And bring back Timmy Chandler at right back!
  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: March 7, 2014 at 8:12 a.m.
    "Didn't recover to help on firs goal" for Onyewu. This is absurd. Onyewu had to come from too far away. He was covering the near forward tightly to prevent the short ball, which is where he should be. The long ball got played to a streaking forward that Brooks completely turned his turned his back on.

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