Monday, June 3, 2013

Some belated ratings

Tim Howard (6) - He was solid as usual. There wasn't much he could do on any of the goals, though the rebound on Germany's third might've been caught. The back line didn't do him many favors, especially in the in the second half.

Brad Evans (7) - He certainly rewarded Klinsmann's faith in him, largely shutting down his defensive flank. Didn't provide much going forward, and that's OK, but I've got him a point or two lower than some because the more heroic tackles were a product of his being beaten for pace and positioning. That said, he's got to be first-choice behind Cherundolo at this point.

Matt Besler (6) - More closely resembled that solid defense we've grown accustomed to out of American back lines. He's still lacking in consistency and a shaky second half from Gonzo hardly helped. Right now, though, he's the team's best center back.

Omar Gonzalez (4.5) - His first half counterbalances some silly second-half mistakes. On Germany's third he was way out on the right flank. There comes a point when, as the anchor of a defense, one has to switch back to the middle. Needless to say, he didn't exactly silence the calls for George John.

DaMarcus Beasley (6) - Still a left midfielder playing left back and it shows. Simply put, he will get manhandled by average-sized internationals, much less Per Mertesacker. Beasley played the pesky kind of defense that makes him a great midfielder in that respect, but just a solid-at-best left back option. Solid he was though. Still hope this isn't the long-term solution for this cycle.

Jermaine Jone (9) - Pretty much did all you can ask of a deep-lying midfielder. Jones broke up attacks when needed, and it was, and he unlocked Germany's defense with booming diagonals. With width in front of him, he got to pull wide in support, rather than out of necessity and it made all the difference. He didn't even get a yellow card.

Michael Bradley (8) - Never ceases to amaze me what a cool influence he has on the U.S. midfield. He tired in the later stages and it showed as Germany got through his portion of midfield a little too easily. Without Bradley, though, there would've been no lead to cling to.

Graham Zusi (7) - I'm starting to think of Zusi as Feilhaber-on-the-wing 2.0. He serves a meaner cross and plays with more pace and about equal marking ability tracking back. The feed, and the run, on Jozy's opener should be widely distributed to the youth of America.

Clint Dempsey (8.5) - Yesterday, he proved that, along with Altidore, the U.S. has two first-class attackers that can rupture any defense on their day -- assuming a certain degree of width. Dempsey's made his name playing like he's no underdog and each touch echoed that yesterday, especially those building up to his 20-yard left-footed curler.

Fabian Johnson (7) - His pace, presence and ability to interchange with the other two attacking midfielders gave the U.S. a real left wing presence. While he was rather quiet, his runs opened up the game from the opening whistle. It's why Altidore had all that space on his first goal. If Klinsmann can find and play a real left back, then Fab should start on the left wing from here on out.

Jozy Altidore (8.5) - Gawrsh. A 30-goal man can do some damage with a modicum of width and service. Altidore's physical presence almost always draws the double team, but if the U.S. continues to open up the space he steamed through yesterday, forget it. He's a player that can only be contained. The man knows his soccer. Just look at the textbook run he made for his first and his assist to Dempsey.

Jurgen Klinsmann (8) - I don't know how he saw this game, but if he was playing to win and establish a blueprint for these kinds of wins, he did a good job. The Eddie Johnson sub after Germany's first goal was easily my favorite. His left back selections are still my biggest complaint.

Brad Davis (5.5) - Unless the U.S. is going to own the ball against a much slower opponent, Davis doesn't do much for me. His crosses are fine, but he's no Eddie Lewis. Maybe that's not fair, but on a team that lives and dies by its ability to stretch the field vertically in wide areas, Davis' ceiling is that of a serviceable sub. That's all he was yesterday, though he did get caught in possession, too.

Eddie Johnson (6) - His pace re-stretched the German defense. And his tactical flexibility -- wow -- merits his inclusion in most any squad. Johnson also fulfills the American stepover quota that's been largely unfulfilled since Hejduk's international career ended.

Edgar Castillo (5) - He's not a left back either. Any winger that weighs more than 160 pounds will give him trouble. Yes, he's fast going forward, but the U.S. has pace like that in plenty of places. His defensive effort was again porous.

Terrence Boyd (NR) - I liked his thirst for goal, but in the context of the game it was misplaced a little.

- Jacob Klinger


Alex said...

Who would you put at left back?

Unknown said...

Lichaj. He got 20-plus games this year for Villa and has done nothing but succeed in a national team jersey.

And while I know he's right-footed, he's played there for us before. I see him as more of a left back than Beasley, Castillo and even Johnson.

I'd have Fab at left mid for the time being.

Of the options on this roster, though, I'd start Fab in Kingston assuming he's healthy.

Unknown said...

At left back, that is.

Matt said...

Is Spector hurt? Or does he just no longer fit into any discussion around our back-line? He has to warrant at least a look, right?

Greg Seltzer said...

Spector is 1) recovering from injury, 2) out of contract in a few weeks weighing options & 3) spent the majority of his last 2-3 seasons playing central midfield.

So yeah, for the US, he's still a defender. Whether Klinsi rates him or not, I do not know.

UnitedDemon said...

Thanks for your comment on Fabian Johnson, it's the first time I've heard someone praise what he brought the attack. We were far more unpredictable with him on the wing, and controlled the ball better thanks to having players who could pass and think at the same time.

Evans, he'll get more minutes. I thought it was insane to start him there, but he proved himself. He managed to find Jozy pretty well over the top, too, which was a new look.

I'm concerned about Gonzalez, but I think he can turn it around. I'm becoming more concerned with Howard- he can't be a normal goal keeper with reasonable reactions to difficult shots. We can't afford it- the US has never been able to afford it. It's hard to say "be more perfect" to a player, but that's what we need. This back line will never be airtight.

Interesting about Beasley, I'm actually OK with him- we've one two games and tied one in Azteca with him at left back. He was manhandled- in fact, he was basically thrown with both arms. He deserves to see more qualifiers.

andrés said...

"That said, he's got to be first-choice behind Cherundolo at this point." And good ole Timmy Chandler?

TrueCrew said...

I must say, I've hardly ever agreed with a set of ratings more.

A couple caveats:

1) A mention of Gonzo's failure on the first goal was probably merited.

2) Agree 100% of Davis, or as in inside CM if we play three in the middle.

3) I'll give Castillo a bit of a break due to his jet-lag.

4) I think the offensive rewards of having FJ at LM are enough to warrant keeping Beasley at LB. Especially for a speedy team like Jamaica. There will be learning issues, and his slight frame scares me in the box, but I'm willing to risk it for now.

Now, once LD is back in the fold, our need for a genuine wide option may not be so great, and maybe FJ could move back against more physical team.

Still, a front six of Bradley, Jones, LD, Deuce, FJ, and Jozy has the potential to be pretty special.

Unknown said...

@UnitedDemon Don't forget running. Fab can think, pass and run all at the same time.

I'd be more worried about Howard if he weren't the least of our concerns, you know what I mean? I see it, but I'm inclined to cut him an extended break too.

Beasley can play in qualifiers and we can win those games, yeah. He'll have some weaknesses exposed, but we'd be OK. But he cannot be out first-choice left back going into Brazil. The oopsies he makes in CONCACAF will be punished in the form of goals at that level.

And Greg's touched on this before, it's insane to bemoan our lack of left backs when we never play actual left backs.

Unknown said...

@andrés Chandler's injured. Then again, I guess 'Dolo is too. The way I look at it though, Evans was much better yesterday than Chandler was in his last outing against what I consider to be better competition, no less.

Aaron said...

The left side really needs to be Fabian Johnson and Castillo (don't think the grade was fair considering he had just played 90 minutes in Brasil on Thursday). Don't care who is the winger and who is the back, but those two are our left side.

WonderKin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WonderKin said...

After the 2011 MLS Championship game I really wanted to see Brad Davis get a call up. I think he earned it.

I really think we have seen enough to drop him completely and give someone else a chance in the next camp. There is a lot of young MLS talent that needs to be "thrown in the cold water".

Given our lack of depth, I find DB's ability to play anywhere on the left side reassuring. Bring Donovan back (though he isn't exactly aw inspiring right now), Make Chandler do some back room loyalty ritual to prove his loyalty, and we are starting to see the beginning of something take form. I am really excited.

dikranovich said...

DMB, could probably slot into positions on the right side of the pitch as well. I fondly remember his loan striker role against Barbados in the second leg last cycle.

it was probably just me, but DMB was more of a threat going forward from LB then Johnson was playing left mid, and if Johnson was LB and DMB was left mid, I bet Johnson would have been more of a threat going forward.

Unknown said...

@Aaron I'd rather have Beasley at left back than Castillo. Just to clarify my left side depth chart would be as follows, with Donovan starting on the right and Dempsey doing Dempsey.

1. Fab
2. Beassley
3. Shea
4. Gatt
5. Davis

1. Lichaj
2. Fab
3. Chandler
3. Beasley
4. Castillo

Thank you.

Beasley could work on the right, sure. I think there are better options though.

I don't remember the lone striker role for Beasley. I do think Johnson's a better option at either position. Hopefully by 2014, DMB's a sub, but as Klinsmann would say, trying Beasley at LM and Fab at LB is cool with me.