USA-El Salvador Gold Cup Player Ratings

July 19 in Philadelphia
USA 2 El Salvador 0. Goals: Gonzalez 41, Lichaj 47+.
Att.: 31,615.

The USA managed to reach the Gold Cup semifinal while playing the least amount of laudable soccer possible in a 2-0 win. Defenders provided both goals in the victory over El Salvador. Omar Gonzalez hit the net with a header in the 41st minute and right back Eric Lichaj  finished in first-half stoppage time.

USA Player Ratings:
Player (Club) Caps/Goals
6 Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids) 116/0
Made a big save in the third minute when he batted the ball away from Rodolfo Zelaya at the edge of the penalty area.

5 Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG) 13/1
Right back nearly gifted El Salvador an early goal with a weak back pass to Zelaya and struggled with one-on-ones. His best moment came on the other end of the field, scoring the second goal with sharp finish that nutmegged keeper Derby Carrillo.

5 Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX) 43/3
Passed poorly like his teammates, didn’t seem to click with central defense partner Hedges -- but scored a big goal, heading home despite Darwin Ceren climbing up his back.

3 Matt Hedges (FC Dallas) 5/0
Gave El Salvador a dangerous free kick by mugging Zelaya after getting roasted at the edge of the penalty area in the first half. Set up one of El Salvador’s best second-half chances by delivering the ball to Narciso Orellana.

3 Justin Morrow (Toronto FC) 3/0
Beaten on an early El Salvador attack and badly misjudged a long pass from the Salvadoran half that led to a 58th-minute chance.

4 Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) 35/6
Robbed by an offside call in the 16th minute. Forays down the left were a key part to the U.S. attack but proved fruitless.

4 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) 134/17
He delivered the free kick that Gonzalez headed home but, as one of the veteran reinforcements called in for the knockout stage, did not inspire. His rare passes to the front line were off target and mainly he as served fifth defender.

4 Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) 18/1
After the Salvadorans dominated for the first 15 minutes, Nagbe came alive and created some U.S. attacks. Although the best at bringing the play forward, he was never truly dangerous.

4 Paul Arriola (Tijuana/MEX) 9/2
The right midfielder took the first U.S. shot, deflected for a corner in the third minute, and worked hard to make himself available. But was also plagued by a propensity to give the ball away.

3 Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 105/37
Gave away the ball frequently, once under-hitting a pass when Zardes was flying unmarked into the penalty area. Took weak shoots from poor angles. Called for fouls for knocking over markers he couldn’t evade.

4 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 135/56
Too many poor touches, like when he banged Morrow’s throw-in out of bounds. But he nicely set up Lichaj’s goal with a precise pass after spinning past Henry Romero, providing a rare bit of impressive skill in a dismal game.

3 Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), 18/4.
Hardly got near the ball in his 24-minute appearance.

3 Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) 12/1
Failed to bring any cohesion to U.S. midfield after arriving in the 71st minute.

NR Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), 5/0.
Replaced Nagbe with three minutes left.

(Ratings: 1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

TRIVIA: The win gives Coach Bruce Arena a 7-0-5 start in his second stint at the helm -- the longest unbeaten run for a U.S. coach at the beginning of his tenure, exceeding the 11-game unbeaten streak under Bob Bradley in 2007

July 19 in Philadelphia
USA 2 El Salvador 0. Goals: Gonzalez (Bradley) 41, Lichaj (Dempsey) 47+.
USA — Howard, Lichaj, Gonzalez, Hedges, Morrow, Zardes (Acosta, 71), Bradley, Arriola (Morris, 66), Nagbe (Pontius, 87), Altidore, Dempsey.
El Salvador — Carrillo, Romero, Mancia, D.Ceren, Pineda (Sanchez, 78), Bonilla (Alas, 83), Mayen (O.Ceren, 57), Zelaya, Orellana, Larin, Tamacas.
Att.: 31,615
Referee: Drew Fischer (Canada).
Yellow cards: USA -- Nagbe 21; El Salvador -- Mancia 18, Larin 59, Romero 81.
Att.: 31,615.

STATS: USA/El Salvador
Shots: 14/8
Shots on target: 8/1
Saves: 1/6
Corner Kicks: 5/1
Fouls: 19/26
Offside: 1/2

16 comments about "USA-El Salvador Gold Cup Player Ratings ".
  1. Ric Fonseca, July 20, 2017 at 2:45 a.m.

    Goodness gracious me! Wow, some serious ratings here, couldn't agree more, though I only bits and snippets of the game. May I venture a wild guess as to say that it was done purposedly in order to get the guys riled up and "up" for the next foray against the Ticos of Costa Rica? Hmmm?!?!?!

  2. David Mont, July 20, 2017 at 7:09 a.m.

    Yes, finally deserving ratings. If it weren't for the goal, Lichaj probably wouldn't have deserved anything higher than a 3. Even with the goal, 5 is too high.

  3. Thomas Cobra, July 20, 2017 at 7:11 a.m.

    We are in troubke! The coach wants the record to be broken for Dempsey. Morris should play more and Juan A. Altidore has not done anything to prove his worth in years. This game shows he has no moves to get by defenders he is lazy and kille the offense every minute he plays.Just can't understand why younger players are not used more often. THe gack line may be the worst in history.

    Can;t win the way they are playing

  4. Jay Wall, July 20, 2017 at 7:40 a.m.

    Cruyff observed "The most difficult thing about playing an easy opponent, is making the easy opponent play bad soccer". And 190 years ago John Quincy Adams, America's 6th President, observed that "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader". > In team sports you need a a coach and one or more players on the field who are leaders who demand respect and excellence in every effort, be it practices, games against lesser opponents or games against the best in the world. It always has to be there and when it is leadership that is lacking you can win from time to time but the foundation is flawed and when the chips are down teams without leadership usually end up failing. > Real champions always play at the highest level and never accept anything less of themselves, their teammates and their team.

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, July 20, 2017 at 9:34 a.m.

    I'm sure glad Bruce is there instead of JK. Even with a B team this performance (poor as it is) is a million times better than that 2015 Gold Cup embarrassment. And that was with our best players.

  6. Thomas Cobra, July 20, 2017 at 8:02 a.m.

    Jay, thanks for the philosophy lesson. Leadership you had our Captain on the field for 90 minutes. He was not inspiring he is not that player. He played well makes very few mistakes but he really is an attacking midfielder but since our Backs and been week for the past 8 years every coach has played him as the defensive midfielder…. McCarthy should be in that role get Bradley more forwards to get the offense moving forward…. Get Altidore off the field and the team would be so much more effective.
    Our Captain is Arena, he has the fire without the same on the field.

  7. Jay Wall replied, July 20, 2017 at 6:05 p.m.

    TC - Interesting observation with a lot of merit. When a player is played out of position does it help a team more or does it do more damage. For example if he was played as an attacking mid, which is more his natural position, might he create so much additional attacking pressure and more shots on goal, that the opponent would be forced to shift players back closer to their own goal to defend. The question being do you give up fewer shots on your own goal by playing a high line and pressing the attack or do you give up more shots on your own goal by pressing the attack. Since human nature is to defend what is yours, moving him to the attacking midfield roll creates more pressure, more chances to score, causes opponents to becomes more defensive and above all saves energy for playing faster because you don't waste calories running back as often to defend your own goal. > But the question is also timing. If you start with him in the Defensive Mid position you fall into your opponents game plan for the first half. If you then change his position to Attacking Mid then the opposing coach is caught flat footed, can't as easily make all the required adjustments and if he tries you usually have at least one ot two players playing the original game plan, not the change made by your opponent made during the second half. (Made this change in a US Soccer Regionals game in the second half of a game and effectively shortened the field to 70 yards from our opponent's goal for almost 25 minutes of the second half, when our opponent's coach finally made all the changes needed to effectively counter our changes.) > In the Netherlands former Ajax player Rinus Michels returned as Manager, made changes to get two more attacking players in the Midfield (one was Johan Cruyff) when he took over at Ajax and with the Netherlands National team. Ajax was saved from relegation and the National Team played in the World Cup Final. > Changing the points of pressure in a game can be an effective tactic to save energy and set opponent's back on their heels as they try to work out how to counter what you have done.

  8. cisco martinez, July 20, 2017 at 8:26 a.m.

    Sometimes winning ugly is a good thing, not with this team. US back line needs to clean up the giveaways, terrible marking on transition, slowing down the first attacker, and Gonzalez was horrible for not attacking a cross and letting it bounce in the box. I dare say if we play against Costa Rica like this, good team will make you pay.

  9. Ginger Peeler, July 20, 2017 at 9:15 a.m.

    Please, can we rate the Canadian referee with his ARs? I'd give him a 1, at best. Jozy, basically, shut down after being, literally, man-parts-handled! All of our guys were being flattened as soon as they received a pass. The referee whistled the plays, but failed to issue cards for egregious fouls throughout the game. We saw actions, that most referees would red or yellow card, that were ignored! Okay, all refs miss stuff now and then...but, even taking that into consideration, this ref was awful. Frankly, our passing was terrible, but I can't help but wonder how the game would have been played with a referee who protected the players. It was one of the nastiest games I've seen! As we got deeper into the second half, I was just hoping that all of our guys could come out of it in one piece, unharmed. Luckily, they all seem to have done so. But let's take that ref out of consideration for anymore CONCACAF and even MLS games.

  10. Ric Fonseca replied, July 20, 2017 at 2:22 p.m.

    Hola Ginger: From the bits and snippets I saw of the game, most of the 1st half and the last 20 mins, I told my wife that the opposition would soon resort to their "despicable acts", lots of theatrics, willful fouling, pulling jerseys, etc. I didn't see the Jazzy incident, but it didn't surprise me to first hear about in on the 11:00 sports news, the reporter was besides himself, struggling not to burst out laughing. I did! However, on your comments on the game officials, I agree with you completely, my goodness, I remember my first set of instructions lectured and pounded to me by Toros Kibritjian, back in the day, was to take IMMEDIATE control of the game from the moment you arrive in site and then step on the field. The Center guy seemed overwhelmed, and I don't give a hoot about his FIFA badge - he left a lot to be desired. Interestingly, Tuesday evening I saw a very interesting piece on a Mexican tv channel, and the center of discussion was former FIFA Ref Arturo Brizio (Mex) talk about many of the incidents perpetrated by players from all nationalities, e.g. the theatrical-Oscar-worthy rolling on the pitch, grabbing the imagined injury, yes including the groin area, charging and putting a hand on the officials, surrounding him, etc. The gist of the theme was that the game official can do only so much, PROVIDED he/shes charge of the situation from the git go, still there is a referee assessing group that observes every game, and is supposed to provide the game officiating group committee with his/her report, who then are supposed to address these issues with the refs. While I saw the Spanish language telecast, I was unable to hear the English Fox telecast and I will assume that Dr. Joe Machnik provided some commentary? Is this available? Bottom line, while I have "cautioned" through my comments that the not-so Loyal" opponents will do anything and everything to throw the US off their game plan, apparently it didn't work last night for La Selecta (ES). go figure, but please, por favor PLAY ON!!!

  11. Brian Kraft, July 20, 2017 at 10:41 a.m.

    Winning a very Concacaffy game like that by 2-0 shows quality, although the performance was obviously lacking. Add a point to Jozy's rating for taking the worst of it and not retaliating. Add a point to Gyasi's rating as well because be was better than his teammates and repeatedly showed quality.

  12. beautiful game, July 20, 2017 at 11:48 a.m.

    Cisco; when are u going to admit that the soccer IQ and efficacy goes hand in hand and call a spade a spade. And how long will u guys be satisfied with mediocre performances. The referee in this contest was a perfect selection for adding to the incompetence.

  13. Ben Myers, July 20, 2017 at 12:38 p.m.

    Frighteningly mediocre!

  14. Daniel Clifton, July 20, 2017 at 1:17 p.m.

    I thought Jozy showed remarkable composure with all of the crap he had to put up with. Arena should have subbed him out for Jordan, whose speed would have really caused some problems. I think Nagbe deserves a 5. He kept the ball moving in the right direction consistently in the first half. The sloppy passing is hard to understand. I hope Concacaf issues some suspensions after looking at the replays of some of the ridiculous behavior by the defender covering Altidore. One time it looked like he bit Altidore. WTF?!

  15. Jay Wall, July 20, 2017 at 2:41 p.m.

    Imagine your a creative writer and your publisher asks you to write two articles. One article is on things El Salvadore should do to keep America from playing well so that El Salvadore has the best chance to at least finish a game with the United States in a tie. The other aricle is on things America shouldn't do to help El Salvadore play better. > Obviously if you are El Salvadore you want to have your most physcial player play against the greatest scoring threat who has strength but lacks pure speed to beat your defenders. The other scoring threat you have your best defender on. If your defenders play well you deny shots on goal from the United States attackers and make them depend on players coming from behind for shots on goal, but at best you're playing for a tie. And on the other end you have your most physcial attacking player dishing it out to get in position to get shots on goal for themself or to create space for their teammates to get get shots on goal. > Now think about all the things the United States did to help El Salvadore. List them and then from the roster available for the game make the two line-up changes that would have countered El Salvadore's tactics best. These changes can be either between players on the field or substitutions. Also highlight the two tactical changes that would have best countered El Salvadore.

  16. Brian McLindsay, July 24, 2017 at 12:42 p.m.

    Some things should be handled on the field and what happened to Jozy is two of those things. Great credit to Jozy for not responding early in the game where a red card could cost the U.S. a game, but he would have been completely correct to send some harsh elbows at that guy late in the game. Look, that behavior is not part of the game, rather a person physical and intended attack. If not caught by the officials, then on-field education is in order for such behavior. This is not part of the game, it is not a playing tactic, it is completely improper behavior by a man and should be addressed in a way a man would not consider doing it again. If a man bites someone on the field and it is not addressed by the officials, late in the game an off-ball message should be sent that players way.

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