U.S. Player Ratings: Altidore and Bradley propel comeback

By Ridge Mahoney

Memorable wins are becoming the norm for the U.S. national team. A Jozy Altidore hat trick erased a 2-0 deficit as the Americans rallied to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina, 4-3, in Sarajevo on Wednesday. Never before had the U.S. senior team come back from a two-goal deficit in Europe to post a victory.

Altidore and midfielder Michael Bradley led the way to run the U.S. winning streak to 12 games, the longest in the program’s history. Defender John Brooks started alongside Geoff Cameron to earn his first U.S. cap, and after a shaky beginning they blunted enough attacks to get the U.S. over the line on top.

Forward Aron Johannsson also debuted for the U.S. after his application to switch allegiance from Iceland was approved by FIFA.

6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), 90/0. Stung on rebounds after making good saves, Howard played solidly and came up with a couple of important stops that kept it close before the USA attack exploded. Repelled Edin Visca in the final minute to preserve the victory after Dzeko’s second goal cut the margin to 4-3.

6 Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders) 13/1. Had he dropped to the goal line more quickly, he would have been in the best position to clear the first Bosnian goal. Most of his defensive work was capable and he pushed forward often enough to earn corners and force defenders to scramble the ball away. He also put in some midfield work before leaving in the 87th minute.

5 John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER) 1/0. Squaring up with Edin Dzeko in your international debut is a defender’s nightmare and Brooks really labored at times. A push in the back from Emir Spahic took him out of the play on the second Bosnian goal, and Dzeko caught him napping on the third. Yet he won a lot of balls in the air and against tough opposition did more than enough to insert himself into the centerback mix.

4 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), 19/1. Just a shade too inexperienced to deny Vedad Ibisevic the header on the second Bosnian goal, Cameron also reacted a bit slow on Dzeko’s opener. He tightened up his partnership with Brooks in the second half and an offside trap that caught Dzeko a half-yard offside annulled a goal.

6 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER) 16/0. Started the match at left back and was a bit slow to close down Zvjezdan Misimovic on the second Bosnian goal. Moved to midfield for the second half, he cracked through the Bosnian defense on a few occasions, and set up the American equalizer by dribbling through the middle and slipping a short through ball that Altidore smashed into the net.

5 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER), 33/2. Much too sloppy on the ball, he wisely left the passing to others as the match unfolded and stayed in the center of the field to break up plays. Stepped into several hard tackles in the second half before Kljestan replaced him in the 69th minute.

8 Michael Bradley (Roma/ITA), 80/11. Il Generale played an amazing array of balls, ranging front to back to drop balls over the back line or knock inviting passes out to the flanks. He gave notice with a good first-half pass that Altidore couldn’t put away, but two of his sharp passes through the middle after halftime yielded goals. He repeatedly found space to start promising sequences while also checking Bosnia through the middle.

4 Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/NOR) 11/2. He started horribly, perhaps the aftermath of a major club match over the weekend, stubbing passes and flubbing touches. He recovered to get in some smart touches and nearly earned a penalty kick with a clever collection and turn that forced a clumsy challenge by Spahic that left him on the ground.

5 Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders) 57/18. Didn’t take to the left flank as he’s done for club and country in the past, and during a forgettable first half lost a ball near his own penalty area that Bosnia turned into its first goal. In the second half he tucked away a touch from Altidore to start the U.S. comeback and won free kicks in good spots as the Bosnian defenders turned to desperate measures.

5 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA) 20/1. He drifted through much of the match ineffectively while maintaining a good level of energy, and dragged a shot wide late in the first half after a partially cleared corner kick. He lifted his game defensively as the Americans rallied from a 2-0 deficit.

9 Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG) 61/20. He set up a goal and then nailed a hat trick to cap perhaps the most incredible 12-month interval for club and country ever produced by a U.S. player. After his cushioned trap set up Eddie Johnson to score the first goal, Altidore struck with three predatory finishes stemming from his shrewd gliding runs into space behind the defenders. His off-the-ball movement and hold-up play were excellent: Man of the Match on this day, and clear choice for U.S. Soccer Player of the Year.

6 Edgar Castillo (Tijuana/MEX) 13/0. Burst into the middle third to hit good passes, as usual, yet also used his quickness to cut off passes and snag second balls.

5 Joe Corona (Club Tijuana/MEX) 11/2. He wasn’t much of a factor offensively but held down a spot in midfield to support his teammates.

7 Aron Johannsson (AZ/NED) 1/0. Put a pair of shots on goal after smartly working himself into good spots, and his off-the-ball mobility disrupted the Bosnian defense sufficiently to open up room for Altidore.

6 Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht/BEL) 41/4. Kljestan got right into the flow after his entry in the 69th minute and poked a ball to Bradley that was slipped through for Altidore to score the winning goal.

5 Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg/GER) 22/0. Took over at right back for the last 10 minutes and kept that corner secure.

NR Bobby Wood (1860 Munich/GER) 1/0. Third debutant played the final few minutes.

(1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)
12 comments about "U.S. Player Ratings: Altidore and Bradley propel comeback".
  1. David Huff, August 14, 2013 at 11:56 p.m.

    Great win by the U.S. in Europe, anybody still missing Banal Bob Bradley??

  2. Stuart d. Warner, August 14, 2013 at 11:59 p.m.

    I still do not understand what I can only call JK's infatuation with Jones. Yes, he's a tough player; yes, he can apply crushing tackles; but he repeatedly holds on to the ball too long, repeatedly loses it, and his passing skills are mediocre on his best day. On the other side of the two nationality ledger, Johannsson was a revelation--he seems to move effortlessly, and his moves are very deceptive. He easily put himself in a position to score two goals, but they will come. I'd be stunned not to see him in Costa Rica. One last item: I usually bash Castillo, but he was dangerous pushing up in the game and he played with more confidence than I've seen from him. It's getting harder and harder for JK to choose the first 18.

  3. Ben Tulchin, August 15, 2013 at 1:09 a.m.

    just watched the game on replay on ESPN3 (what a great invention, btw). another fantastic team effort with a lot of quality soccer. We fell behind early but fought back and then scored a bunch of quality goals, 3 from the run of play. Jozy's 1st goal (drilled into the lower corner) was impressive, only outdone by his golazo of a bend-it-like Beckham free kick from 25 yards out. Amazing! Hey Ridge - a hat trick + an assist w/ 2 golazos deserves a 10. if that doesn't merit a 10, then nothing does and you should change the scale from 1 to 9.

  4. Chris Sapien , August 15, 2013 at 2:53 a.m.

    Wow Stuart, seriously? The Jermaine Jones argument should be over! Even on an off night Jones provides intangibles that if you replace him with Bradley/fill in the blank, we will not come close to having. And as far as Castillo goes, we very rarely need a left back who decides to dribble into three defenders only to lose the ball and watch as the CDs and holding mid have to scramble back to cover the counter. I can do without his obvious attempt to be relevant for Brazil '14. Maybe that's harsh, but he has been a liability at least at left back to this point. Agree Ben, hard to imagine what Jozy could have done to rate a 10 in this instance. Totally unexpected turn of events, but I sat on the couch saying to myself "we definitely have goals in us" from the 30' on!! I love our depth and whatever the future holds.

  5. Paul Stierle, August 15, 2013 at 10:18 a.m.

    Yes, I agree, Altidore a 10, maybe even Bradley, What a 2nd half! It is amazing how Klinsman has used 61 players and so much diversity and has gotten such results. All the goals now. Wow! I wonder what Paul Gardner is going to say? I remember watching Neymar in the Confederations Cup going wow, in each game he scored differently, and dived too much. Alitidore did it all in one game. I think we are going to see some stock rise like Dempsey on american players. Thank you Klinsman you get a 10 in development on the national team!

  6. Andrew King, August 15, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.

    Chris, I agree with you on Castillo. I thought he made some bad decisions, trying to take on multiple defenders when a simple pass was all that was needed. However, I agree with Stuart on Jones. I understand he puts in a lot of hard work for us, but there were a few instances where Jones lost the ball in the middle of the field, which lead to immediate and dangerous counters. Not only that but on numerous occasions when he lost the ball he would stay on the ground without hustling back. I know there was one occurance where he was hurt and he couldn't run back, but on the other instances he could have. I would like to see Cameron take his spot

  7. Albert Harris, August 15, 2013 at 11:53 a.m.

    Have to agree with Andrew on Cameron for Jones. And it's not so much a criticism of Jones as it is that I think Cameron adds significant passing from deep midfield that Jones is very hit or miss about. Both provide adequate cover for Bradley going forward so I would take Geoff offensive abilities despite Jones being slightly better defensively. Also cuts down our chances for playing a man down.

  8. Tyler Dennis, August 15, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.

    Castillo is a left midfielder.. Beasley is a better left back. Castillo's activity and willingness to take on players is fun to watch and creates lots for problems for the other teams. Those two working together is fun to watch. Cameron is much better than Jones.

  9. Chris Sapien , August 15, 2013 at 1:01 p.m.

    That "Jones is a red card waiting to happen" argument is getting old, and I did say Jones had an off night......but I do agree Cameron should be given a couple more chances at holding/defensive mid. Even more courageously, I would like to see the day Donovan and Bradley can both play centrally in midfield, and not have to discuss a need for a designated #6 anymore. We are seriously jammed-up now at striker and midfield the way the "teams" are playing (A,B,B-, or whatever). Regarding Castillo again, I don't mind an occassional foray forward when he is outnumbered , as long as he stays wide, wide, wide......but too often he cuts inside in the middle third and appears to have no plan other than desperation. I think he knows the writing is on the wall....but I still wish him and all the NATs well.

  10. Stuart d. Warner, August 15, 2013 at 4:56 p.m.

    Chris--I didn't mean to suggest Castillo at left back where, defensively, he is always a liability. However, this game in particular he was dangerous at pushing the ball up into seams. About Jones, as I hope I made clear in my initial post, I understand the point you're making. However, I think what he brings to the pitch is outweighed by things that aren't intangibles--for example, holding onto the ball too long and making poor passes, which, for any #6, are THE kisses of death. Call me mad, but I actually like Cameron in that position. I don't like Cameron at center back--he's not disciplined enough--and I surely don't like him at right back--he is not a good one on one defender--but he is tough and tough minded, and he covers a good deal of ground, and he is generally a better passer of the ball than Jones. Now, my ideal #6 for the US would be Bradley (remember that Modric plays a #6 for Real Madrid), but we have no other player who comes close to doing what he does for the US pushed up more. If only he could be cloned.

  11. Chris Sapien , August 15, 2013 at 6:31 p.m.

    I think we are on the same page, Stuart. I also think Cameron can do the job, and I do remember his passing when he made the one start there. Right now, for me, he would need to prove himself consistent as a #6 before I would hand him the starting role. He has been moved around and because of that, he has the advantage of versatility to make Brazil, but maybe not thought of as a starter yet for any one spot for the very same reason. Guess JK needs to earn his money deciding how the Jones vs. Cameron/Beckerman plays out. Regarding your last statement, I still envision the day where Donovan & Bradley can own the middle of the pitch, drop back & find the ball when necessary, build from there cooperatively and individually. How much gas they could both save by literally switching off in that role throughout a full 90? The team as a whole would benefit greatly!

  12. beautiful game, August 15, 2013 at 7:05 p.m.

    USMNT bloggers will always be dissatisfied with a player or two...the on-going process is to determine who will be on the WC squad. It's the team effort that counts most and the player chemistry that dictates success or failure. Individual players make mistakes, no matter how sensational they may be, it's that other player who comes in to neutralize the threat is more important.

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