By Ridge Mahoney
Improvement after a tepid first half didn’t produce a goal, and the U.S. settled for a 0-0 tie with Scotland Friday night in Glasgow.
The attack obviously suffered without Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, both injured, with Sacha Kljestan playing for the first time in the hole behind striker Jozy Altidore. The back line kept Scotland contained, except for a couple of breakdowns and a superb free kick by Robert Snodgrass that Tim Howard repelled spectacularly.
A game against Austria on Tuesday will close out the 2013 USA schedule.
RATING PLAYER (TEAM GP/G)
6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 95/0. He stonewalled the Scots with a tremendous flying save of a Robert Snodgrass free kick that was arrowing toward the top corner. He kept things tidy and calm for rest of the game, during which he was rarely called upon.
4 Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders) 16/1. Scorched by Snodgrass near the touchline on a couple of occasions, played a poor ball into the middle that led to a Scotland counterattack, which he halted by fouling just outside the U.S. penalty area. Worked up the field a few times to moderate effect. Called for a foul throw, probably incorrectly, but that’s the kind of game it was for him.
6 Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy) 15/0. Carelessly headed a clearance right to Steven Fletcher, who fired high from 15 yards out, but otherwise timed his interventions impeccably while keeping a tight rein on forward Craig Conway. When you can dominate Scotland in the air, you’re doing pretty well, and he also intercepted passes and cleared crosses closer to the ground.
5 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG) 22/1. He blundered past Snodgrass on a throw-in, allowing Fletcher to breach a disjointed back line and find Conway open for a shot that slid wide. Most of his other decisions were solid and he cleaned up his touches and passing in the second half.
6 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX) 113/17. Directed a lot of traffic with the ball on his side, tucked in a few times to deny Scotland at the back post. Drove a couple of balls from near the byline that narrowly missed connections. His cross late in the match triggered a scramble from which the Americans nearly stole a winning goal.
5 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA) 24/1. He brought his usual energy and aggressiveness without much effect. Hustled to win a corner on a ball rolling out of play near the flag and contributed to some promising moves. Decisions on whether to dribble or cross weren’t his best moments. He showed some audacity by winning the ball with a tackle and then back-heeling it to a teammate.
6 Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04/GER) 37/2. Quietly, which is a nice change, broke up Scotland attacks while anchoring the middle in support of Michael Bradley. Switched play once to loft a promising ball for Bedoya on the opposite wing, slipped a through ball through the middle toward the edge of the penalty area that Jozy Altidore should have reached. A missed tackle allowed Steven Whittaker to penetrate the attacking third and win a free kick.
7 Michael Bradley (Roma/ITA) 81/11. A strong presence in the U.S. lineup, as always, Bradley also delivered a few threatening corner kicks his teammates were unable to exploit. His dominance in the middle forced Scotland to use the flanks extensively. On a night of several flat performances, Bradley brought his usual assuredness.
4 Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders) 60/19. He got involved only rarely in combination play and seldom powered past opponents into the attacking third. Nifty twist and turn near the left sideline befuddled Alan Hutton. He brought some energy at times and looked a bit more dangerous sliding inside, but his focus and intensity wavered until he was substituted in the 62nd minute.
6 Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht/BEL) 44/4. Playing an unfamiliar role in the hole behind a lone striker, he played a nice one-two with Altidore that produced a shot and in the first half ranged wide to funnel a ball up the line for Bedoya. In the second half he dropped into good spots to keep possession as teammates flowed forward. He may not find a defined role on this team but it’s clear head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sees value in his game.
5 Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG) 65/21. He put in the work but was a half-step off with his touch and decisions. Started the second half by swapping passes with Kljestan to belt a right-footed shot right at the keeper. Fought through a tangle to create a shot that was saved and nearly stuffed the ensuing clearance into the net but Grant Hanley intervened to knock the ball off Altidore and over the goal.
6 Brek Shea (Stoke City/ENG) 24/2. His energy and drive propelled the U.S. forward, as when his run and pass produced a chance for Aron Johansson.
5 Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/NOR) 15/2. Not quite as dynamic offensively as in past appearances but looked competent in linkup play.
6 Aron Johansson (AZ/NED) 5/1. Moved sharply and intelligently to unhinge Scotland and get two shots: one sharply saved by the keeper, the other sailing a foot wide.
5 Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG) 9/0. Hard to tell which was more noticeable; his work rate and commitment, or garish Mohawk.
NR Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) 16/6. Didn’t see much of the ball after his 81s- minute entry.
NR Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna/AUS) 11/0. Sub in the last minute.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)
I don't see where Bradley deserves a 7. He was almost invisible in the second half. I think he was worth a 6, along with the other half dozen 6's. These guys need to take lessons from the Portland Timbers- real live hustlers!
If Jones is a 6, with his obligatory, once-a-game, poorly mistimed tackle leading to a dangerous break, then Bradley is at least a 7. However, on the strength of the overall performance, I don't see how any, but Howard and a couple of subs, can be rated above a 3.
How about rating Mexico's games??
Johansen and Shea were the only sparks for me. I think the rate sheet is alittle high for me this time. But we tied.Kilnsman seixes to amazes me on his guts to try new things with what he has. Lord knows it did not work for Sigi this year. Yeah that Mexico game was exciting.Thta is why Spain and Germany always look so good. When they have players who play together thru the season. Hats off to Club America and gang.
I agree with David one this one.Except I would give Bradley a 5 because he played a half of a game. No one else deserved more than a 4.
The comment is that Evans is playing out of position but it may well be that he is not good enough in any position. Eddie Johnson is a good MLS player but is not creative enough for international play. I think Jozy Altidore is always getting a free pass as a starting striker. He simply does not deliver for the national team. His bulk may cause defenders some concern but his runs are not very dangerous and although he has improved his ball handling is still poor.
The magazine is SoccerAmerica, NOT SoccerMexico! I can't recall ever seeing SoccerAmerica rate the opposition.
Now, commenting on player ratings, unless your at the match "live" very difficult to conduct this process. However, should you be "live" it takes a special "eye" with "playing" experience. Anyway, enough said on "Player Ratings" by SA. Now, regarding Bradley. Good player no doubt...good holding midfielder, outlet, wins balls etc. However, does Bradley really "help" the game? If you watch closely, he runs in "circles" to keep his motion going and to be "available" at all times. This is good! But again I ask? Is he the "destroyer" the United States so desperately need as a holding midfield player? NO! This is the attitude a average to good player possesses in order to keep himself in favor, "don't give it away! Be available and you'll be alright!" You know, "Great" players see beyond "giving it away!" Great players do "much more" than required especially as a "defensive midfield player." Michael Bradley (with an abundance of help) has done well for himself...no doubt. Playing in Seria A as a starter is no small feat. However, he is at his maximum as many US players are due to the domestic structure here in the United States which begins on the Youth Level and upward. That's all for now from this former North American Soccer League and US Youth International.
Altidore's first touch is so bad. Also his movement without bdall is very poor - the biggest reason why he hasn't score at EPL. I would definitely start Johansson ahead of Eddie Johnson. Johansson is clever at finding space. His first touch and movement are way better than Altidore. I understand nobody dares to put Johansson ahead of him. After all, Americans have always been obsessed with physical attribute, which is very dumb
I like Che's idea--would love to see how the Mexicans rate and why...
Professor Fonseca...you're office hours are extremely limited. Can't say I have not been trying...we better hurry up...I'll be leaving (transferring) shortly:) Amor Profesor,Peter
I would take everyone except Howard down a peg. Howard gets a 6 for one outstanding save that kept the Scots from winning. K-man has more patience with Altitude than I do.
The game was tepid, and while we did not lose, neither did we win, so I agree that most ratings are too high on this one. I like Bradley, and don't think that SA generally gives him undue praise, but in this one, they did. He was one of the better players in the first half, and while he did nothing wrong in the 2nd half, he was non-existent. I used to be a critic of Altidore (poor first touch, lazy, not especially fast), but he has improved dramatically in the last 2 years or so (and did score in 6 of the last 7, now 8 games), so I think he's earned his starting position (though he was clearly not effective against Scotland, and should have been subbed). I think it's good that JK is willing to try people out of position, but I don't see EJ as an outside mid; I think he needs to come in as a sub on the front line (especially when we need his prowess in the air). I like Wondo, but outside mid? He's a poacher who needs to be in the box to be effective. Unless JK expects these guys to essentially play a forward position (and not really cover defensively), they should stay on the front line.