USA-Argentina Copa Centenario Player Ratings

The USA fell behind early to Argentina, the top-ranked team in the world, and chased most of the 90 minutes in a convincing 4-0 defeat Tuesday night in Houston.

A couple of good saves by Brad Guzan aside, the U.S. seldom looked up to the task of battling Lionel Messi and an array of excellent players. The Americans failed to put a shot on goal and their defense sprang leaks repeatedly.

The U.S. finishes its Copa America Centenario in the third-place game against either Colombia or Chile on Saturday.
June 21 in Houston
USA 0 Argentina 4. Goals: Lavezzi 3, Messi 32, Higuain 50, 86.
Att.: 70,858.
USA Player Ratings
5 Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ARG), 50/0.
Left himself stranded on first goal by doing nothing as ball dropped to a wide-open Ezequiel Lavezzi. Otherwise, got to the crosses he should have and handled the shots. Excellent save foiled Gonzalo Higuain but rebound wound up in the net. Big save on Messi in the final minutes kept the score respectable.

3 DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland/ENG), 38/0.
Averted a breakaway by chasing down Augusto Fernandez. Worked a nice one-two with Zardes to reach the byline but didn’t deliver a precise cutback. Played a good ball to Pulisic inside the box. Left huge swathes of space near the corner that Argentina exploited.

4 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), 45/4.
Thwarted Higuain from point-blank range with a strong tackle. Cut out a couple of Messi’s passes.

3 John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), 26/3.
Headed a few balls out of danger, often outclassed on and off the ball. Clueless about finding a good position to receive a ball when teammates were under pressure. Let Higuain run free to head in third goal.

4 Fabian Johnson (Borussia M'Gladbach/GER), 48/2.
Raced back after a corner to block a shot from close range. Breached several times and gave away too much space to crosses and dribbles.

3 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), 57/1.
Seldom quick enough or clever enough to cope with Argentina. Lost track of opponents, struggled to connect passes under pressure. What was he doing on first Argentina goal?

3 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 120/15.
Chased shadows and always seemed a step behind the Argentines. One or two set-play deliveries were okay. Needed to be sharper and cleaner and shrewder under pressure and just wasn’t.

4 Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), 30/6.
No shortage of effort on both sides of the ball, but limitations of touch and guile were glaring.

3 Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), 40/5.
Work rate slowed down Argentina a few times. Not effective one-v-one and hit a terrible crossfield ball 30 yards from the nearest teammate.

2 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), 34/10.
No impact offensively, gave away costly free kick with a clumsy foul after horrible pass put U.S. in trouble. Probably Klinsmann’s worst personnel decision of the tournament.

3 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), 130/52.
Did a lot of work off the ball offensively and defensively without troubling Argentina. Very lucky to escape sanction for flagrant elbow to the jaw of Javier Mascherano.
TRIVIA. Messi broke the Argentine all-time goalscoring record by scoring his 55th goal in his 112th international. Gabriel Batistuta scored 54 goals in 78 appearances.
5 Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER), 5/0.
Challenged the Argentine backline a couple of times, won a corner kick. Tried to relay a ball to Zardes but defender intervened.

3 Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), 7/1.
Was doing okay until terrible error opened the door to fourth Argentine goal.

NR Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), 9/1.
Maybe a tuneup to start third-place match?

June 21 in Houston
USA 0 Argentina 4. Goals: Lavezzi 3, Messi 32, Higuain 50, 86.
USA -- Guzan; Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Johnson, Bradley, Beckerman (Nagbe, 78), Zardes, Zusi, Dempsey (Birnbaum,60), Wondolowski (Pulisic, 46).
Argentina -- Romero; Mercado, Otamendi, Funes Mori, Rojo (Cuesta, 85); Fernandez (Biglia, 60), Mascherano, Banega; Messi, Higuain, Lavezzi (Lamela, 66).
Referee: Enrique Caceres (Paraguay).
Att.: 70,858.
49 comments about "USA-Argentina Copa Centenario Player Ratings".
  1. R2 Dad, June 22, 2016 at 1:21 a.m.

    Very painful to watch. US play was too slow, 1 touch passing not accurate enough, perpetually reactive. I hope our players are forced to watch tape of this match for the next month to see where our positioning, play and thinking is and where it should be.

  2. Peter Orona, June 22, 2016 at 1:33 a.m.

    To be fair, I would like to see Ridge Mahoney's the player ratings for Argentina.

  3. Wooden Ships replied, June 22, 2016 at 1:37 a.m.

    Ratings are talking points, all you need is eye test.

  4. Ric Fonseca replied, June 22, 2016 at 2:45 a.m.

    Yer kidding, right Peter? Have Ragin Ridge rate Argentina's team? We used to say in them Army way back when, "Never happpen GI!"

  5. Wooden Ships, June 22, 2016 at 1:35 a.m.

    Poor, poor selection of players and positions. And, MB isn't consistent enough to marshal the middle any longer. Nor is he a leader. The suspended players hurt, but if you can't link and possess the ball, its embarrassing. And so was, what appeared was some of our players waiting around trying to trade jerseys. Personally, I would have been so pissed, the thought of exchanging a jersey would have only entered my brain well after leaving the pitch. Within coaching you always have debates about selection, JK and I would disagree often. Who in the hell had the ability to control and transition the ball in the mid and up top.

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, June 22, 2016 at 2:26 a.m.

    Not sure I would say the lineup selection was "poor." I would say using Wondo and Beckerman was unimaginative. I would have tried to use our best players and was surprised that Besler and Nagbe didn't start. Nagbe subbed in late so he was healthy; maybe Besler wasn't. Had Birnbaum ever played a minute with Brooks before today? What happened to consistency?

  7. Ric Fonseca replied, June 22, 2016 at 2:52 a.m.

    Woodie, in answer to your rhetorical question - last sentence: no one. We were several steps too damned slow, not reactive, Wondo was out to lunch, Beckerman thought his dreads would scare the "Gauchos," that JK said after the game press conf we respected them too much, well, pilgrim we did.But know what pilGrim, finishing this tourney either 3rd or 4th is sure as hell better than going home to my Mexico with a score of SIETE A CERO!! Oh and why in hell did they hire that know-nothing Fiore to do color commentating with Lalas and that young lady? Whotta doffus!!!

  8. R2 Dad replied, June 22, 2016 at 5:53 a.m.

    Ric, I thought Fiore has been a good counterpoint to our Ginger Ninja and kept him honest in the booth during the whole tournament. He's Argentinian, and a complete change-up to the Americans. I didn't listen to him this match but throwing him in with Lalas et al changed that dynamic for the better.

  9. Wooden Ships replied, June 22, 2016 at 9:31 a.m.

    R2, I have enjoyed Fiore too.

  10. Kent James replied, June 22, 2016 at 1:54 p.m.

    Bob, I agree completely. Unimaginative, and theoretically the 'safer' options. Oops.

  11. Kent James replied, June 22, 2016 at 1:56 p.m.

    Bob, Aly Wagner pointed out that JK was asking the players not to be afraid of Argentina, but then in his selection demonstrated that he was afraid of them (with Wondo and Beckermann).

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, June 22, 2016 at 2:56 p.m.

    Kent, I didn't watch the post game and didn't think of the irony in that. Adds a new perspective. If JK learns from this match, then he will be the better coach for it. My impression was that the team didn't believe in the game plan and were demoralized by it. But that is just a guess. It could have been something else that happened in the locker room, but they were not all properly focused.

  13. Kevin Sims replied, June 22, 2016 at 3:43 p.m.

    How are you assessing MB's leadership? Wouldn't think the viewing public has any idea on that matter.

  14. Bob Ashpole, June 22, 2016 at 2:10 a.m.

    They needed to bring their best game. This was their worst performance at the cup. I was shocked at the defending on the first goal. They were just cold tonight and never got a rhythm going. It looked like they might start to be a threat and I thought they would make it to halftime down 0-1, but then Messi punished us for Wondo's mistake with the fantastic goal. I thought Cameron and Johnson had decent games. The attack is best described as disjointed.

  15. beautiful game replied, June 22, 2016 at 9:38 p.m.

    What attack?

  16. schultz rockne, June 22, 2016 at 2:13 a.m.

    The USMNT axiom: without our very best 11 playing to their maximum, we cannot compete against the very best; though even with Wood, Bedoya, et al, it still would have been 2-1 or 3-1 to Argentina. Alas, a great opportunity was missed--playing on home soil--to give a top-class opponent a hell of a match--in this important tournament. All in all, not that surprising though.----Moving on, I have to wonder if Argentina--who seem to be close to peaking--will be able to uphold their current level of play for another two years and--as the appropriate finale to Messi's mostly-brilliant international career--raise the Tub in Siberia 2018.

  17. Ric Fonseca replied, June 22, 2016 at 2:59 a.m.

    Mr. Rockne, who the hell knows is Argentina will/can "uphold their current level of play for another two years...?"
    As I said above, for the USMNT making this far, yes they did it while playing like a top-notch rec team playing in their first ever National Cup Play against the top team. Accept it, that we just were TOO DANGED AWED facing off against the currently Internationally FIFA ranked team in the world. So I will take a 3rd or 4th place finish this Centenario in the American Continenet as opposed to a score that will ring for years to come of SIETE A CERO.

  18. Thomas Sullivan replied, June 22, 2016 at 7:24 a.m.

    The "awed" by opponent is a line of BS. I can't believe JK would say that or that you would buy it Ric. These guys have been around the block a few times. They have faced the best the world has to offer plenty. They just sucked. JK's personnel decisions sucked, the formation was disastrous and everyone has figured out that you put the US under immediate pressure when losing the ball and they wilt. JK has to go. By the way Ric, I could care less about Mexico's score and no one else but you and 130 Million Mexican's seem to care and I am not a Trumpian I have 2 kids and a wife born in Mexico.

  19. John Kennington, June 22, 2016 at 7:02 a.m.

    JK selects from what he has available.They are mostly players not up to the Argentine skill or type of play-passing around players (not dribbling through defenders), quality first touches, and movement off the ball and into space. These are fundamentals taught early on but unfortunately lost. THIS is why JK chooses OUS players. JK needs to stay and get rid of MB-too slow, bad, bad, bad passes to no one or other team and lack of leadership. This was a poor showing all around

  20. Thomas Sullivan replied, June 22, 2016 at 7:19 a.m.

    John, Don't know what OUS means but Bradley played badly, Beckerman is always a disastrous choice that JK makes, Wondolowski is another JK puzzle and he chooses the players he lives with them. His selection choices seem bad, that's on him and I would like to see JK go. We will suck again in the WC with JK at the helm.

  21. Andrew Kear, June 22, 2016 at 7:14 a.m.

    A Bradley or Arena team would have lost this game 2-1, 2-0.

  22. Bob Ashpole replied, June 22, 2016 at 3:42 p.m.

    The score doesn't matter, however, I believe that Arena and Bradley have both demonstrated that they know how to bring out the best in a US team. At the 2009 Confederations Cup, a Bradley-managed team beat Spain in the semi's and jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Brazil in the finals. That is the US high water mark to date.

  23. Dan Eckert, June 22, 2016 at 7:22 a.m.

    A 5 for Guzan? A 2 would have been generous. Not a leader on the field. The first goal at 3 mins was totally a GK error. Deflated the entire team.

  24. Gerrard Eight replied, June 22, 2016 at 7:37 a.m.


  25. Wooden Ships replied, June 22, 2016 at 8:39 a.m.

    I believe Horvath is better. Would like to see him Saturday. In my mind its not too much of a stretch that 3 of the goals could have been saved. All but the last.

  26. Andy Cap replied, June 22, 2016 at 10:47 a.m.

    The first goal fooled the entire US team. That came from something Argentina saw on how the USA handles situation like that.
    The player that scored was turned around looking for that ball back in even before it was played.

  27. Bob Ashpole replied, June 22, 2016 at 3:09 p.m.

    Andy, you give too much credit to Argentina. It was a simple give and go, beautifully executed. The US invited the play by poor defending; the back door was left wide open. Regardless of who you blame, the coach is ultimately responsible.

  28. Gerrard Eight, June 22, 2016 at 7:42 a.m.

    How in the world does Bradley and Dempsey get the same rating?
    Dempsey got no service. When coming back on defense he was the only one with the pace and quick touch needed. However no one matched this. How is Bradley not ranked lower?
    Bradley was constantly on the ball or should have been in the middle and was lost.

  29. Paul Curtis replied, June 22, 2016 at 12:48 p.m.


    When Nagbe subbed in he at least looked like he could be a threat. Bradley continued to mostly plod about.

    Pulisic looked ... well, 17.

    Johnson consistently turned the ball over, which for me outweighs almost everything he did defensively.

  30. Andy Wagner, June 22, 2016 at 8:28 a.m.

    US and Mexico, the two top teams in CONCACAF. Until we get the competition, we will always be second rate. We always get a big win here and there but it always reverts back to where it has always been. The US needs to revamp how it develops talent and it cannot copy models from other countries. We have a vastly different country and you have to develop in a way that works for a country like no other.

    Our four panelists all picked Mexico to move to the next round, HMMMMM. They actually thought we had a chance against Argentina, HMMMMMM. Nothing is changing on the soccer front in this country and it looks it never will in our lifetime. We have a professional league that provides and great opportunity for all the top leagues (players) to come over and play out their careers. Our league is nothing more than a retirement home for all of the stars around the world.

  31. j bapper, June 22, 2016 at 8:32 a.m.

    I knew as soon as I saw the line-up from Klinsmann this game would be a disaster. Argentina has some of the quickest players in the world and yet we put our slowest player Beckerman in the middle of the field. You pair him with Bradley, who's clearly not the same player he used to be, and it was a recipe for disaster. Wondoloski, Zusi and Beckerman need to go back to MLS and should never wear the U.S. shirt again. Unfortunately, we are stuck with Klinsmann through this WC cycle and nothing is going to change until he's gone.

  32. Eric Dibella replied, June 22, 2016 at 1:07 p.m.

    I felt the same when I saw the lineup. My first question was, who is going to play any type of possession in the midfield? Who is going to handle the pressure and make a pass out of it? I have my ideas of what the lineup should have been, but this lineup made me recall Ricardo Clark...

    It was great to see how effective triangle passing can demoralize a team though. Argentina plays a beautiful game. Messi is just fantastic, and a pleasure to watch.

  33. F B, June 22, 2016 at 10:23 a.m.

    Mr. Fonseca, you at times bring in some insightful commentary, but at present, you are falling prey to the "at least we're not as bad as the other guy" syndrome. Comparing our team's pitiful performance last night based solely on the final scoreboard against the MEX v CHI game is well beneath what we should use as our standard. MEX played a CHI team on fire, fighting for every ball, never slowing down for the 90+. ARG was COASTING through most of the game, and SCHOOLED us in the astute and artful style that ignorants in our country derogatorily like to moniker "ticky tacky" football! As usual, we resorted to the brute force approach to try to overcome this flagrant deficit in ability. Mr. Mahoney was harsh on "Wondo". I think he deserved at least one more rating point for making possible the MAGIC that was Messi's record breaking golazo. To Mr. Mahoney's detriment and as a sad testament to what passes for fair play these days, he referred to Wondolowski's flagrantly deliberate infraction as a "clumsy foul". No, until the USMNT can boast it's own defeat of MEX "siete a cero", we need to keep our mouths shut, face forward, and focus on our own deficiencies. You needn't feel so ashamed for MEX going home in defeat. They at least took the high road and in heartfelt apologized apologized publicly for their shortcomings to their fans, and they will be back to restore their prior winning streak. We could learn a lesson from that as well and stop making excuses and baseless rationalizations.

  34. Bob Ashpole replied, June 22, 2016 at 4:23 p.m.

    We should be discussing soccer and the article, not making personal attacks on others. Mr. Fonseca is far from ignorant. Feel free to disagree but attack his comments (or anyone else's including mine) on their merits, not personalities.

  35. Bob Ashpole replied, June 22, 2016 at 4:32 p.m.

    Regarding the merits of your comments, I don't see any basis for saying Argentina was coasting. I saw two players on the ground with cramps and one player injured trying to play a ball. I still saw heavy pressing by Argentina in the final minutes while leading by 4 goals. I did see a relaxed Messi apparently having a good time, but I don't think most people would say that Messi coasted in a soccer match.

  36. Charles Stamos, June 22, 2016 at 10:38 a.m.

    The USA was outclassed - individually and collectively...A horrible game plan or maybe worse, no game plan - how do you leave Messi open by twenty yards in the first three minutes? The USA should have denied him the ball at all times with the game close, notice how he starts out wide or upfield in order to receive the ball in open spaces - Guzan and Beckerman both misplayed the Messi chip, Guzan was not responsible for the other goals - Wondo, Brooks and Birnbaum were - no player shined on this night - Woods was missed badly on offense, Bedoya would have kept Zardes off the field, and Jones would have been strong (and carded) in midfield, something we could have used - we are not in Argentina's league at this time.

  37. Jeffrey Organ, June 22, 2016 at 11:15 a.m.

    FB, the last few sentences of your post are among the best comments I have read on this site. I would add a couple of thoughts:
    1. This was a complete humiliation. Our young players in the pool need to step up and say never again. It is time for them to take over the program and a significant number of this 23 should never be seen again. A young American coach needs to lead them going forward.
    2. Gulati should ask CONMEMBOL for a permanent invitation to future Copa America's like Mexico seems to have. This was the best competition we have seen in a long time. No excuse for us to not bring an A team to this tournament ever again.
    3. I was ar the game last night. It was sad to see the looks on the faces of the many new young US fans who were left to swing in the wind by our scared, pathetic and hopeless performance. Apologies are the least we should expect from our players and coaching staff. That aside, the Messi worship (including the bozo who was allowed on the field to go bow in front of him at the start of the second half) among many Americans was the most depressing thing I saw last night. One day our naive "fans" will learn to respect players like him but despise them when they are playing our country. Until then...just disgusting.

  38. Kent James replied, June 22, 2016 at 2:07 p.m.

    You don't need to despise your opponent to play well. If you respect your opponent, you won't be surprised by their level of play. You cannot be intimidated or overawed by your opponent, which was clearly the case for the US last night. But if you truly respect your opponent, you will bring your A game, because you want to earn his (or her) respect in return.

  39. Jeffrey Organ, June 22, 2016 at 11:43 a.m.

    To your point, I also think it is high time for the post-1994 World Cup generation of Americans to stage a revolution and throw out the thousands of self-serving dinosaurs infesting the board and leadership levels of US Soccer, the NCAA soccer establishment and the State Associations. Their time has come and gone and they need to be escorted to the curb...kicking and screaming if necessary. Enough is enough.

  40. Bob Ashpole replied, June 22, 2016 at 3:26 p.m.

    How to develop players is not a secret. It has been well known for at least 40 years. I disagree with where you place the blame, but then maybe you would attribute that to my age rather than my experience and ability. I agree that there has been a general management failure to execute national plans. This failure, however, does not prevent clubs and coaches from developing great players. So why aren't clubs and coaches developing more great players? It is because at the grass roots level most people (the adults) do not want to develop players. They are obsessed with developing teams to win matches. For many sports has become a spectator event rather than an athletic activity. Parents believe you can develop athletes by playing video games, and they allow kids to indulge in sedentary activities during their free time. So which generation is actually running the clubs and training the players?

  41. Bob Ashpole replied, June 22, 2016 at 3:55 p.m.

    AA what you said does not contradict my point, but I don't believe it is correct to make distinctions between economic classes or along ethnic lines. What I said is generally true across the nation. I believe generally speaking we did a better job of player development in the past. Donovan and Dempsey both played AYSO and in Hispanic leagues too and better for it. In the past the best women had played and trained against bigger stronger males. What I saw in an East Coast major metropolitan area was affluent clubs monopolizing fields and obtaining local ordinances forbidding unpermitted organized use of public fields, leaving the established Hispanic leagues no where to play while public fields went unused.

  42. don Lamb replied, June 22, 2016 at 4:05 p.m.

    AA - Completely agree with you about the lack of progress that the Klinsmann era has brought. Same as it ever was despite some good "results" over the last few years. The shame is that we showed some promise in the Colombia game. Even though it was a loss, it was a performance, a style to build off of. The last three games, even the wins, were fairly dismal. However, in your comment here, you point to something in that the low-income latinos are the best players in this country while also saying that Mexico is way ahead of us because of training compensation. Wouldn't these comments suggest that development is more of a cultural thing than a financial thing? The poor latinos living in the US are not products of a development system that features solidarity payments. The common denominator is that they grow up in families and neighborhoods that value the game. It's cultural, not economics. These clubs are TRYING to produce pros, but they can't do it alone. The players have to take a lot of the initiative on their own, but in most cases they don't know how to do that because they are rarely surrounded by a proper culture that can support this vision.

  43. Kevin Leahy, June 22, 2016 at 12:22 p.m.

    Guzan's was awful! J.K. must believe that, Nagbe is a defensive liability. That is an old mentality that, gives more credence to work rate over skill. Does that mean Messi does not contribute to the defense because, he is a gifted attacking player? What does it say about our players in the way they deal with pressure on the field? Good luck on getting rid of the politics that, infects our game @ all levels.

  44. Golden Toe, June 22, 2016 at 12:41 p.m.

    Bottom line is Argentina played an MLS all star team. I believe 11 of the 14 players play now or played in the MLS. Few of our choices for any given tournament have experience at any level close to the Argentina's of the world. Our back line maybe is the closest, but if we aren't attacking/pressing and the midfield isn't holding or pushing forward or putting a string of passes together, the back line is/was subject to wave attack after wave attack.
    I am going to stay optimistic for the future though with thoughts of the likes of Nagbe, Pulisic, Wood, Johannson (sp?), Morris, etc. slowly coming on board. We need some of the "older" players for mentoring but we need an injection of bold uninhibited youth for the future (and an athletic 6'5" goalie wouldn't hurt) :)

  45. cisco martinez, June 22, 2016 at 1:21 p.m.

    Guzan deserved a 3, either come out or stay on your line and watch your side of the goal and let the wall do its job, your 6'4.

  46. beautiful game replied, June 22, 2016 at 9:42 p.m.

    The keeper can't make up for the mistakes of the defenders or MFs. Four players charged Messi on the first goal and Beckerman, the closest to Lavezzi left him unguarded.

  47. Terry Lynch, June 22, 2016 at 2:19 p.m.

    Agree, cisco, as I just said in one of the other comment sections, I think all of the first three goals were saveable by a world class keeper. Guzan is average and average doesn't make those saves, as we saw. Time to move on to the next generation of keepers also.

  48. Al Gebra, June 22, 2016 at 3:36 p.m.

    Fonseca: SIETE A CERO. How cute but ignorant.

  49. Goal Goal, June 22, 2016 at 9:05 p.m.

    Someone said the players may not have been happy with JK's game plan. And the game plan was.??????????

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