Monday, June 5, 2017

US U-20 player ratings v. Venezuela

I apologize for the delay on this. I had some interwebs issues that caused me to miss nearly 20 minutes of the action. Now that I've had a chance to fill that viewing gap, here ya go.

Don't get too depressed over the quarterfinal performance of our US Under-20 boys because Venezuela had 1) far more experience, with several key players already well-capped at the senior level & 2) the unfair benefit of nearly two full extra days of rest before the game.

I factored in the first advantage more than the second when filling out these report cards, because let's face it - that's just soccer and ya gotta deal with it.


Jonathan Klinsmann (9) - The netminder became more comfortable as the tournament progressed, culminating in a shot-stopping master class. Klinsmann started early with a huge stop in the 1st minute, and they continued coming until he kept the team alive with a pair of incredible saves in extras. He repeatedly had Venezuela losing their religion.

Justen Glad (4.5) - The converted right back suffered through a wildly shaky start, being beaten for pace twice in the opening moments. He was also caught up a couple times and too often granted too much flank space, but started growing into the game as the first half drew to a close. Glad rallied after the break to provide some fine blocks and emergency defending, but sheesh, he really had to do better on the few late occasions when he found himself in with plenty of time to hit a dangerous cross.

Cameron Carter-Vickers (6.5) - The one US player who didn't lose his head was the Tottenham youngster. It wasn't all great, as Carter-Vickers did lose the odd mark or aerial challenge. However, he came up with several helpful stops when hung out to dry by his teammates.

Erik Palmer-Brown (3.5) - Unlike Glad, the captain started the match brightly, only to get suffer increasing struggles after the opening half hour. He seemed to completely fall asleep in allowing a through ball wander by just past the hour, and it only got worse from there. He was highly cuplable on both Venezuela goals, and then in a final act of abject frustration, agonizingly missed the target when presented with a glorious chance to send the game to spot kicks at the end of the second added session.

Danny Acosta (5) - The left back neither suffered the lows or enjoyed the highlights of his bookend, and he was decent in the opening frame. He surely endured some struggles at the back after intermission, though.

Derrick Jones (5.5) - The Philly Union midfielder won plenty of challenges up the middle, but he was pulled away from the gate too often. Jones clearly has a bright destroying future, but this wasn't his best outing.

Eryk Williamson (5) - If these grades were solely for effort, the U. of Maryland midfielder would get an A+. He made some hearty (and highly needed) tackles and often helped his team scratch together an attack rush. However, a handful of bad giveaways and squandered late chance to fire on goal dropped his rating a good bit.

Tyler Adams (4) - This was easily the Red Bulls prodigy's weakest tourney display. Perhaps he was tired (like a few of his teammates), but so much of his usual defensive pressure, galloping runs and possession hustle went missing on this day.

Brooks Lennon (5.5) - The winger's restarts/crosses can be maddeningly inconsistent, but through volume he did manage to put a decent amount of tempting balls into the Venezuela box. Still, Lennon so often seems too timid when set up to take on flank defenders, regularly leaving us to want more.

Luca De La Torre (4)
- The Fulham attacker clearly did not cotton to the physical nature of Venezuela's play. This caused him to commit bad turnovers in bad places and to come up practically empty in the defensive help department. For better or worse, he largely disappeared after the break.

Josh Sargent (5.5) - It would be hard to ding the kid striker too much, considering he saw so little of the ball. Yes, he hold-up play slumped a little, but nowhere near as much as his service did. Sargent enjoyed a couple of nice gallops on the ball, but little else. He will have many better days ahead.

Coach Tab Ramos (3.5) - The game plan wasn't air tight or anything, but that is a relatively small part of my gripe after this game. No, my beefs are one that have dogged Ramos before: squad selection balance (Marco Farfan? Matthew Olosunde? Jackson Yueill?) , failure to utilize fresh legs in the line-ups hello Jonathan Lewis) and frustratingly tardy turns to the bench when the game/tourney run is precariously hanging in the balance. Even if his side may have been up against the toughest team in the race for the prize, the boss could have done more.

Jeremy Ebobisse (7) - The Portland rookie brought an added physical edge to the work up top, winning some danger free kicks in the process. Of course, he also gave the team a chance to work a late miracle with a perfectly measured header.

Lagos Kunga (5.5) - The kid sure can dangle, which gave his teammates at the back some needed breathers. But at some point, he has to involve his teammates in all these threatening attack postures.

Emmanuel Sabbi (-) - A mere cameo. I'm not sure why he wasn't brought on sooner.

Auston Trusty (-) - See Sabbi.

- Greg Seltzer

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