By Mike Woitalla
A stubborn defense and a dismally ineffective offense resulted in a 1-0 U.S. loss to
Germany, yet the mission was accomplished.
The Americans, who chased German passes most of the game and often looked like they were playing with nine defenders, prevented a blow-out loss
-- the only result that, as it turned out, would have endangered its passage to the second round. Their much more spirited and entertaining opening performances -- the 2-1 win over Ghana and 2-2 tie
with Portugal -- meant they could still celebrate after slogging to a loss in Recife. Starters: RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G 7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), 103/0.
Securely handled sharp low crosses on wet surface. Blocked Mesut Ozil’s close-range first-half effort. Stole ball off Thomas
Mueller’s feet before beaten by his precise shot into the corner. 5 Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim/GER), 25/1.
Didn’t see the best part of his game today --
attacks down the right flank. 6 Matt Besler (Sporting KC), 20/0.
Positioned well as usual to clear balls sent into the middle. 6 Omar Gonzalez
(LA Galaxy), 22/0.
Slid in successfully to clear balls, as in 7th minute when Jerome Boateng’s low cross beckoned a tap-in. 6 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX),
Left back was one of the few players to bring ball down field -- and get off a shot (albeit a weak one). 5 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) 40/1.
Kept the central defense crowded in sloppy performance that included yellow card. 6 Jermaine Jones (Besiktas/TUR), 45/3.
Nearly latching on to two through balls
down the middle made him USA’s most threatening midfielder – while also a key part of defensive bunker. 4 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), 26/3.
deliver from the wing as he’s supposed to. 4 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 89/12.
Failed to bring rhythm or order to the midfield and his frustration showed
with a foul on Philipp Lahm that could have earned him a caution. Subsequent free kick would lead to corner kick and then Mueller goal. 4 Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo),
Disappointing in a World Cup debut during which he never troubled the Germans.
4 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), 108/39.
Stranded up front, misplayed
balls when he got them. Highlight was his back-heel on the best U.S. sequence, the movement down the right flank that ended with Alejandro Bedoya’s blocked shot on the left.
RATING PLAYER (TEAM) GP/G
4 Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), 31/1.
As soon as he replaced Davis in the 59th
minute, misplayed his first touch and committed a foul. Had best U.S. chance, in stoppage time when his low shot was blocked by Lahm.
NR DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders),
The 84th sub for Zusi over-hit his only cross.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high)