U.S. Player Ratings: Veteran Dempsey and newbie Brooks spark a winning start

By Mike Woitalla

The 31-year-old Clint Dempsey, playing in his 106th U.S. game and third World Cup, scored 30 seconds after kickoff. The Americans gave up an 82nd minute equalizer, but 21-year-old John Brooks, making his fifth U.S. appearance and first in a competitive game, headed the gamewinner four minutes later in a 2-1 U.S. win over Ghana.

The Americans produced nearly no other offense, but earn high grades for battling to a golden win to start off its 2014 World Cup campaign. In its previous six World Cups, the USA had won only four games.

7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), 101/0.
Came off his line to snatch balls from Asamoah Gyan’s feet. Made a diving save on Gyan effort in 32nd minute -- the only one of Ghana’s many long-range efforts that seriously threatened. Caught all crosses. Andre Ayew’s equalizer on a close-range blast looked unstoppable.

7 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER), 23/1.
The right back prevented the Ghanians from attacking down the left wing. Stayed home most of the game but surged forward in the 78th minute to set up a rare chance for the USA -- Dempsey’s shot that was saved easily by keeper Adam Kwarasey. And then won corner kick that led Brooks' winning goal.

6 Matt Besler (Sporting KC), 18/0.
Had to be subbed at halftime with a muscle injury after a steady first-half performance in central defense.

7 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), 28/1.
Central defender blocked shots and intercepted passes.

7 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX), 117/17.
Left back had his hands full, especially with Christian Atsu, as Ghana chose the right wing to launch most of its attacks, but nothing lethal ever came from his side.

7 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) 38/1.
Shook off a couple knocks he took in first half and swept competently in front of the central defense, leaving Ghana to launch numerous innocuous shots from long distance. Of a night with lots of sloppy U.S. passing, he also came through with lots of clean passes.

8 Jermaine Jones (Besiktas/TUR), 43/2.
Made the pass to Dempsey on the first goal. Covered acres of ground as he partnered with Beasley on the left side. Launched a couple of late-game forays to take Ghana out of its rhythm.

5 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 87/12.
Mis-played far more passes than usual. Didn’t create the offense one expects from a central midfielder. His energy did help stifle Ghana in the waning minutes

7 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), 29/1.
The most active U.S. midfielder in first half offensively. Helped set up a chance for Altidore. Started limping in the second half and lasted until the 77th minute when replaced by Zusi.

7 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 106/38.
Took three smooth touches with his right foot, the second leaving John Boye in the dust, then smoothly finished with his left foot to give the USA a 1-0 lead 34 seconds after kickoff. Got kicked in the face and suffered a broken nose from a kick by Boye in the 33rd minute. Battled on as subs were more desperately needed for others. Became first American to score in three World Cups.

NR Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG), 71/23.
Left the field after 23 minutes with hamstring injury. Had a wide header and shot blocked in penalty area before that.

5 Aron Johannsson (AZ/NED), 9/2.
Barely saw the ball after replacing Altidore in the 23rd minute. But had one deciding pass: through ball to Johnson that won corner before Brooks' goal.

8 John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER) 5/1.
Came in for injured Besler at haltime. After he scored the gamewinner winner with a header off Graham Zusi’s corner kick, blocked with his back a goal-bound header from Michael Essien in an aerial battle.

6 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), 24/3.
Entered in 77th for Bedoya and struck the perfect corner kick, which Brooks headed home.

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

20 comments about "U.S. Player Ratings: Veteran Dempsey and newbie Brooks spark a winning start".
  1. stewart hayes, June 16, 2014 at 10:20 p.m.

    Bradley's effort seem a bit subpar for him offensively with his uncharacteristic giveaways but he won the ball with extremely rapid defensive effort multiple times.

  2. John DiFiore, June 16, 2014 at 10:43 p.m.

    I usually love MB, but tonight he was bad..all around. And Aron needs to get more involved if he is going to fill in.

  3. Charles Stamos, June 16, 2014 at 11:46 p.m.

    Best result possible so take the three points and move on to the next game/challenge. We will have to play better to stay with Portugal. Too bad about Altidore. No real player on the squad to take his place, so starting Wondo over Johannsson next game would be my choice. Besler and Bedoya need to play if healthy, but at least we know who can start in their places. I have to give credit to Dempsey for the first goal, and he did play well for the 90 minutes in tough conditions. Bradley made plays and mistakes, it's OK when he is forward , but troublesome when it leads to quick counters. Jones was outstanding and the rest of the team hung on for the victory. This game can be something to build upon. We needed to play games like this for the past 6 months to get WC ready. Good luck USA.

  4. Chris Sapien , June 16, 2014 at 11:49 p.m.

    Seriously think most need to rethink criticism of Gen Bradley since it was obvious Ghana made every effort to dispossess him at all cost ! His work rate at regaining possession was uncomparable and key to eliminating several counter attack chances! Still, the USA is peaking at the right time and all I can say is bring on Portugal!!

  5. Chris Sapien , June 16, 2014 at 11:54 p.m.

    BTW, where are all those JJones critics now?? Since he virtually was the heart of the US side and showed he has the tenacity to lead a USA midfield to glory?! Klinn's said we needed nasty. Enter Jermaine.

  6. Thomas Brannan, June 16, 2014 at 11:56 p.m.

    Need to drop Beckerman in between the CDs coming out of the back not Bradley. Get MB further up field. Beckerman can pass the ball coming out the back. Jones did pass to Dempsey. However, he is not a LWHB something or other. He is a HMF. Never seen a team play so bad and still win a World Cup game. Winning masks all the problems that have to be dealt with in the long run.

  7. Thomas Brannan, June 16, 2014 at 11:56 p.m.

    Nasty only takes you so far.

  8. charles davenport, June 16, 2014 at 11:57 p.m.

    Either Zusi or Brad Davis needs to be on the field to deliver free kicks.

  9. David Mont, June 17, 2014 at 12:03 a.m.

    That was more of a bunker ball than anything seen under Bradley. How come no one ever calls Klinsmann "bunker Jurgen"?

  10. Rene Guerra, June 17, 2014 at 12:15 a.m.

    Except for Howard, NONE in the MNT played well; they played from mediocre to bad.

    Bradley was laggard, imprecise and most of the time played the Beasley way: in the negative direction.

    By the way, Klingsman, being politically correct, included Beasley in the MNT, but had the brilliant idea of using him as a defender, where Beasley cannot play negative, lest he makes a goal on our own goal.

    Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones were equally disastrous; absolutely nothing good can be said of how they played.

    As for Altidore's hamstring injury putting him out of the World Cup, good ridden; he is lazy, waiting all the time for the ball to fall at his feet; he never defends, for it is beneath him. He is a mediocre player politically-correctly over-rated by the domestic "critics".

    If the MNT won, it was just by a miracle and because the Ghanaians had a very bad luck in the game, for, despite having played relatively good football, having possession of the ball most of the time, and relentlessly attacking incisively, they weren't able to put the ball in the net.

    Rarely they lost the ball to our men, who, in turn, lost it the vast majority of times. Our team's passing was disastrous. Beasley could make just one or two good throw ins, most of the time giving away the ball to the Ghanaians.

    Play like that against Portugal --that not to mention Germany-- and will receive a deluge of goals.

    Timothy Chandler and Fabian Johnson are disastrous defenders; they will be the gates for the cart-load of goals that Portugal and Germany will flog us with.

  11. Zoe Willet, June 17, 2014 at 12:34 a.m.

    You're really happy tonight- you gave out seven 7's, even two 8's! I disagree with Jones' though (ok,he didn't get carded). He played very well indeed, but not - I think - better than all those to whom you gave the 7's. And lighten up on Bradley- I don't know what was his problem today, but 5? No, give him a 6- he kept getting better. As for Rene- what game were you watching? Your longwinded comments are just a bunch of bla bla bla.

  12. R2 Dad, June 17, 2014 at 12:44 a.m.

    great effort from all, so a surprise to all of those who thought we lost all our grit when bob bradley left. jermaine jones was a beast and was in the heads of ghanans all day--what do all of you jones whiners have to say now? while i love michael bradley, he proved today why he is a dmid--hopefully he'll develop into a pirlo-esque defender for the MNT, but in the mean time the altidore injury might force JK into plan c/d/e. not sure which formation that will be but for portugal 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 w wondo? without eddie (bad calculation, jk) maybe even a 3-5-2? we'll need more possession after everyone saw us struggle like a crappy concacaf team in the second half.

  13. Chris Sapien , June 17, 2014 at 12:58 a.m.

    what a bunch of F ing whiners! We win, you criiticize, we lose, you criticize!! last time I checked, there are two team on the pitch trying to impose their will on the other!! Get over it! Results are what counts, the rest of you can suck it! Don't give me that S*** Portugal will score on us BS! Even if they do, we will find a way to win regardless!!

  14. Bryan Kempf, June 17, 2014 at 1:40 a.m.

    Great night for US soccer. I don't know what some if you guys were watching, but I saw a team that lost their main striker (huge blow tactically),and in my opinion, most important central defender to injury. Whose captain suffered a broken nose, and played on. A team who, as a result of an early goal, played conservative and defensive minded only to concede a late goal... But amazingly dig deep and score to get their much deserved win. The circumstances produced what some of you think was a flat performance. But your wrong. It was a gutsy hard fought victory and I've never been more proud to be a fan of the usmnt!

  15. John T, June 17, 2014 at 1:49 a.m.

    The ratings are all too high. You want to tell me that was a solid 7 overall performance? 6 at best. Having said that, I do think the conditions were a big factor. I know, I know, the conditions are the same for both teams. But check the weather in Accra, Ghana today (79 degrees and 89% humidity). Weather in Natal today... 80 degrees and 85% humidity. No wonder the Ghanaians were just chugging along while we were laboring. We were very fortunate to get the three points, but we did. MB was not himself. Some of it may have been lack of support and good options but he also made an uncharacteristic number of errors and poor passes. MB is our engine and he has been playing fantastic leading up to the WC. I don't think that he will repeat today's performance against Portugal. Jermaine Jones has to be man of the match for his work rate and defending. Kudos for also managing his emotions and not being reckless while competing HARD for 90. Tim Howard played great as usual except for a couple of very awkward clearances and one or two questionable decisions distributing. The table is set for us. We need to step up and take care of business vs. Portugal.

  16. cisco martinez, June 17, 2014 at 9:29 a.m.

    Ratings are too high, howard, Dempsey, and jones were the only ones that played well. Collectively USA played there hearts out. We need to hold the ball, Ghana dominated in midfield, Beasley was being pressured significantly, 1v1 against our central defenders looked shaky, but we won, that's all that matter.

  17. Woody Woodpecker, June 17, 2014 at 9:55 a.m.

    hate to say it, but we missed LD badly, especially in the middle of the pitch. MB had a target on his back every time he touched the ball.

  18. James Froehlich, June 17, 2014 at 12:34 p.m.

    Thanks for the "dope slap" Chris S -- totally agree! Regarding MB: make no mistake, he is critical to our success! However, he had a poor game and the "5" was well deserved. US soccer fans need to begin to hold their "BEST" accountable just like other countries do. Taylor Twellman is the most egregious offender in this. His failure to note MB's errors was ludicrous. Every other players' mistakes were quickly and pointedly noted, but for Michael, it was silence!! MB is a great player and he will come back with a sterling performance, he doesn't need to be given any special treatment, especially by the T wi T.

  19. gill agee, June 17, 2014 at 5:08 p.m.

    I don't buy all the talk about luck.

    Soccer is a game of moments where small feats of technical superiority win games. USA had 2, maybe 3 if you count a Howard save. Ghana has 1 and what a great back pass it was.

    Dempsey's goal was a world class play. He went around his defender and shot past a goal tender who fully extended. Ball hits far post and goes in. If he had not placed it perfectly, it's a miss or a save.

    Brooks is a young talent who took a big step in proving his addition to our team was a good decision by JK. Because he is young, we have no expectation that he can do that. But that's what young players of talent do--they surprise the hell out of you. If he does it again, it was skill. If not, they you can claim luck. I think he is on his way to stardom.

  20. Bruce Gowan, June 17, 2014 at 8:01 p.m.

    I will repeat a previous statement that just because MB is our best defensive mid that does not make him an offensive player. The team would be better if MB was in front of the defensive back line and a more offensive player was in the attacking mid role. I could see Demsey in the attacking mid role.

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