U.S. Player Ratings: Bad night for U.S. backline

By Ridge Mahoney

The value of Michael Bradley to the U.S. national team was proven yet again by his absence.

Forced to the sidelines when he turned his ankle during pregame warmups, Bradley sat out a 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica Friday night at the National Stadium in San Jose. Replacement Geoff Cameron did reasonably well, but the Americans paid the price of a horrible start during which the home team scored twice in the opening 10 minutes.

6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 92/-. Save on scuffed shot in opening minutes only temporarily bailed out the U.S. No chance on the first two goals, came up with one-v-one save on Joel Campbell with the score 2-0. Third goal nicked off inside of his right heel after he’d closed down the angle.

3 Michael Orozco (Puebla/MEX) 10/2. He labored to secure the right side and was caught upfield numerous times in the first half. He lost contact with his teammates on the defensive side too often, couldn’t contain Raul Oviedo, and though he looked more secure in the second half he didn’t contribute much getting balls forward.

5 Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy) 13/0. Gonzalez survived a few shaky moments and bailed out his floundering teammates on occasion. He crashed the near post contest a Donovan corner kick and won many balls in his own penalty area.

3 Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) 11/0. Howard bailed him out in first half when beaten by ball played over the top to Campbell but he couldn’t even get a touch on the ball when Campbell broke free again in the final minutes to ice the win. Bryan Ruiz caused him a few problems as well. Sharpened his passing after the Americans’ rocky beginning but will sit out the Mexico game after picking up a rather dubious caution.

3 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX) 110/17. This was a game to forget. Cristian Bolanos glided past him several times, the first Costa Rican goal bounced off his head as he guarded the near post on a corner kick, and Celso Borges overpowered him to head home the second. Like many players, he improved in the second half and did more offensively but simply couldn’t cope at critical moments.

6 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER) 34/2. His workrate and ruggedness dragged the Americans back into the game after their terrible start. Once he and Cameron sorted out their assignments, the central midfield took shape, and his short passing led to some promising attacks through the middle. However he didn’t do much to thwart Ruiz.

5 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG) 20/1. Forced into emergency duty to replace Bradley, Cameron struggled for most of the first half as the Americans gradually gained a foothold in midfield. In the second half, his role was more clearly defined and he dropped deeper to screen the back line and deliver balls out of the back, one of which freed Orozco down the right flank to hit a cross that was blocked.

5 Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) 15/1. Quickly taken free kick caught Costa Rica by surprise and produced penalty kick that Clint Dempsey converted. He delivered a few good crosses but combination play was spotty and defensively he seemed completely lost trying to deal with a five-man midfield.

6 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER) 17/0. A searing shot forced an excellent save by Keylor Navas and he burst into the penalty area to draw a foul by the Costa Rican keeper. His tough tackling and hard work helped the Americans come back into the match yet there times that he, too, scrambled to close down the opposition. There will be calls for him to play left back after a rough night defensively for the U.S.

6 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) 152/56. His creative work opened up the Costa Rican back line though none of his touches led to a goal. He floated to the left wing to drill a diagonal ball for Dempsey that yielded a good shot and he nearly slipped Dempsey clear with a through ball that Michael Umana desperately cleared. His serves on set plays were reasonably good.

6 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 100/36. He thumped home a penalty kick to celebrate his 100th cap with a goal but might have cost the team a goal when he lost the mark on goalscorer Johnny Acosta in the second minute. Slickly set himself up for a shot from near the penalty arc but his curling left-footed effort rang off the upright. He’s not fully fit yet played all but the final few minutes and if he recovers quickly should be sharp against Mexico.

5 Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders) 58/18. He effectively checked back to find the ball and work a few combinations but seemed to have no interest in running at people and threatening the goal.

4 Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG) 62/20. Worked himself into a good spot to get a shot but picked up a lamebrain caution in the final seconds by bumping into Michael Umana that will keep him out of the Mexico match.

NR Aron Johannsson (AZ/NED) 2/0. Made first competitive appearance for USA.

(Ratings: 1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)
12 comments about "U.S. Player Ratings: Bad night for U.S. backline".
  1. Bob Escobar, September 7, 2013 at 2:13 a.m.

    incredible to see everyone from midfield up getting high ratings, to me, the only one that did anything in the first half was Fabian Johnson...the second half the rest did better, but not much better...I also think DaMarcus Beasley is terrible, he can't mark, he is weak and is out of position often, but the rest of the defense didn't do much either, the score could've been 5 or 6 to 1....the team needs Bradley, he is the best player in the team!

  2. Walt Pericciuoli, September 7, 2013 at 9:10 a.m.

    No one deserved better than a 5. I thought as bad as Besler looked, he was way ahead of Gonzalez. Donovan/Dempsey seemed as if they were playing one position. They did not compliment each other. Players of their experience, should have been the leaders out there, but were sadly missing most of the match.

  3. Miguel Dedo, September 7, 2013 at 9:53 a.m.

    Tim Howard did the ordinary things, nothing more, 6 for him is generous.
    Eddie Johnson, not running at people from his position is not doing the ordinary things, 5 is generous.
    Jermaine Jones, nothing better than ordinary on tackling, gave his usually just below ordinary on passing, 6 is generous.
    Landon Donovan, the closest we had to an active, mobile player, 6 sounds more like a reminder of his sitting out the first 2/3 of the hexagon rather than an evaluation of his contribution in this match.

  4. Daniel Clifton, September 7, 2013 at 11:05 a.m.

    The problems with playing both Dempsey and Donovan at forward is they play the same position at forward, a withdrawn forward. That is why one of them needs to be in the midfield. I like the idea of Fabian Johnson at left back with Donovan ahead of him at midfield. It looks to me like Fabian Johnson is getting better and better.

  5. Kent James, September 7, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.

    I usually agree with Ridge's assessments, but not on this one. Howard made some good saves, but I thought he could have done better on two of the goals, so I'd give him a 5. Dempsey was fortunate on the PK, was beaten on the goal, and aside from the nifty juke and shot that hit the post, was non-existent (and seemed disinterested). I expect more leadership from the captain. While Beasley's defense was not stellar, nobody's was, and Beasley was dangerous coming forward. I thought Besler and Gonzales had similar games; both solid in the air, somewhat suspect against the dribble and in their coordination. And Jones a 6? The Costa Rican's had a field day in the first half coming down the middle, and he was the man who didn't mark the goalscorer on the 2nd goal, not Beasley. LD and F Johnson were the only players who deserved 6s.

  6. Scott O'Connor, September 7, 2013 at 11:28 a.m.

    Nobody on the team had a game that I would look back and say, "X had a good game." They were one step slower and two notches less intense than CRC. The top rating should have been 5. Hopefully that was Dempsey's last PK. It was dreadful and lucky to go in. Landon is the man on PKs. Dempsey just powers the ball with no guile and placement. It'll cost us some day if he keeps taking them. As for Howard, even the commentators said, "great keepers are supposed the make the saves they should and also make a few that they shouldn't, this has been average at best for Howard." I agree. The second goal could have been avoided if Howard would get his lazy butt off his line and come out for balls in his box. Even the third goal might have been avoidable had Howard ran out to play the ball before the CRC striker and Besler got to the blindly cleared ball. Altidore's yellow card was warranted but could have been either easily avoided had he not been a lame brain or had Rodriguez just chose to give him a warning. Of course we never saw how Besler got his yellow card since they were showing some replay at the time it happened. I suspect it was some dropping on the ground and squirming crap typical of central american teams. Anyhow, there were a couple instances early on that Marco could have pulled out the card and didn't, so I don't have a huge amount of criticism for the ref. The fact that he gave us a penalty kick on a play that may have been considered by some CONCACAF refs as a 50-50 ball in the box was an indicator of a no-bias approach by the ref. Cameron's yellow was absolutely warranted. All in all the better team won and we just have to suck it up. Win on Tuesday and we're in and Mexico is likely headed to the home and home playoff to get in (which they should against New Zealand).

  7. Chris St. Hilaire, September 7, 2013 at 2:06 p.m.

    Dempsey is out of form and with the exception of his side post shot, played mediocre at best. He mishit the penalty and shot it right down the middle.

  8. John Burns, September 7, 2013 at 4:54 p.m.

    Note the irony in the fact that JK chooses to not start Jozy for fear he will get a yellow but brings him in in the waning moments so Jozy lives up to JK's fear by getting the dumbest yellow possible as if to say: "Here I am, coach, following the plan you envisioned for me!"
    Sorta makes you think perhaps he simply did not want to play Tuesday against Mexico.

  9. James Madison, September 7, 2013 at 10:43 p.m.

    Altidore and E. Johnson should grow up or get out. E Johnson also needs a bit of courage and a first touch. Donovan was the best US player on the field. Give him whatever you want and grade every one else down from there. A more active/agile Howard would have stopped both goals nos. 2 and 3. Move laterally, dude, and get to ground more quickly. Topping everthing, however, was the blow the squad took when they lost Bradley. Those things happen. Pros are expected to suck it up. The US men drooped instead. Most of the first half was devoted to getting it back together. And even in the second there wasn't all that much bite. Both the US and Mexico will show whether they have much of any character when they meet Tuesday.

  10. beautiful game, September 8, 2013 at 3:27 a.m.

    First half was deja-vu of past NT performances when long balls buried the short game of recent outings. Almost every attack by-passed the midfield and was more of a prayer than anything else. It wasn't sloppy, it was a brain seizure. Second half was better, but no one took charge, and that seems to be an achilles heal for the team. This game showed that the players are hardly capable of improvising against an opponent who is hungry.

  11. Millwall America, September 9, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.

    I guess the fairy tale had to end some time. I give credit to the USMNT for their 12 game run and also have to acknowledge that sometimes it's "just not your night". What is clear is how important Bradley is as our midfield general. I remember when Bob Bradley was coach there were sometimes suggestions that the only reason Michael got a call-up was because he was the coach's son. It's very clear now that he makes the team on talent and he's possibly the best we have.

  12. ekozilien lilly, September 15, 2013 at 8:50 p.m.

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