USMNT Player Ratings

Player Ratings: USA 2-2 Portugal

I don’t know about you, but my stomach is still in a knot after Portugal stole a point with the final touch of the ball last night in Manaus.

With serious errors book-ending an otherwise complete performance from Jurgen Klinsmann’s men, the US still has a strong chance of advancing from Group G, though the 100 percent probability that would have come from a victory over Portugal would have certainly been ideal.

Declared fully-fit, though clearly not at his flying best, Cristiano Ronaldo chose a more central position against the red, white and blue, looking to drive through the heart of the defense. It was choice, whether by Ronaldo himself or Portuguese manager Paulo Bento, that largely backfired. Deciding to forgo a second striker to play alongside Clint Dempsey, the US flooded the midfield, with both Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones screening the defense.

With space at a premium in the center of the park, it was the US who made the most of the large patches of sandy, painted pitch on offer in wide areas. Both Fabian Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley tried their luck on the counter at every opportunity. Slow to react, as they were against Germany, the Portuguese defense was susceptible to a quick switch of fields and the Americans were unlucky not to find a first half equalizer.

But as they did against Ghana, the US showed the character to keep fighting, even after Jones sent a curling blast into side-netting behind Beto. And of course it was Dempsey to pop up and score the would-have-been winner.

If only.

If only.

Player Ratings

Tim Howard – 6

At his best to deny Portugal from close range more than once, while being blameless on both goals. Howard will not be pleased with the manner in which he twice put himself in bad situations, regardless of how well he did to ultimately handle them.

Fabian Johnson – 7

Proved a constant menace up the right flank and likely could have challenged Raul Meireles even more. With Ronaldo running the central channels, Johnson made the most of his lack of defensive responsibilities.

Geoff Cameron – 4

America’s best defender against Ghana endured a nightmarish evening in Manaus. From his fifth minute gift to Portugal, to a second mistimed clearance off of Matt Besler, to losing Silvestre Varela in the dying seconds, Cameron lacked the consistency and sharpness that have come to define his play in the heart of Klinsmann’s defense.

Matt Besler  – 7

Traded places with Cameron as the top defender for the red, white and blue. Not only covered a lot of ground, but read play very well, arriving in the nick of time for a number of important clearances.

DaMarcus Beasley – 6

Kept the shackles on Nani for the majority of the match and even raided forward when he had the opportunity. The direct running of the Portuguese winner troubled him far less than the jinking, unpredictability of Christian Atsu.

Jermaine Jones – 8

Yet another display in which Jones proved a veteran, savvy leader for the US. Clogged passing lanes and broke up play defensively, while looking comfortable on the ball, whether on the dribble or picking out a pass. When the ball fell to him in the 64th minute, he only had one thing on his mind, and he executed it perfectly.

Kyle Beckerman – 7

The simplicity with which Beckerman continues to play allows all of those around him the freedom to push higher and express themselves. Sitting just above Besler, Beckerman played within himself, winning the ball and sliding side to side quickly, adding an extra man to many defensive situations.

Alejandro Bedoya – 5

Hard working, but unspectacular, Bedoya did well to keep play moving, but was far too quick to send Beasley tearing down the left flank by his lonesome. If he is going to continue seeing minutes in a side missing Jozy Altidore, Bedoya must be more aggressive, both by carrying the ball forward himself, and by getting into the box to provide more options for his teammates.

Michael Bradley – 5

Looked an entirely different player from the match against Ghana, moving the ball with pace and precision. However, being played so far forward, well outside of his comfort zone, clearly weighs heavily on him, as the typically indefatigable Bradley faded badly over the final half hour, culminating in the unfortunate turnover that led to Portugal’s equalizer. Similarly unfortunate not to open the scoring in the second half.

Graham Zusi – 7

Tasked with maintaining possession, pushing play forward and creating chances for a forward core of one, Zusi did all that was asked, while throwing in some critical defending as well. Whether his freshness came from only entering as a second half sub against Ghana, or not, Zusi was seemingly always around the ball when good things were happening for the US.

Clint Dempsey – 7

Captain America showed almost no sign of the broken nose that he suffered against Ghana, save for the blood pooled into a bruise under his right eye. Asked to lead the line alone, Dempsey did just that in the first half, creating space for himself and chances for his teammate. The going got decidedly tougher in the second half, but Dempsey’s determination continued to put him in good spots, before he eventually pounced, scoring the second for the US.

DeAndre Yedlin – 6

Lacking attackers with pure pace, Klinsmann turned to the 20 year old fullback to give his team a boost, and Yedlin did just that. Still likely too raw to feature in his natural position at this tournament, Yedlin’s desire to get forward caused Portugal problems at the back and led to Dempsey’s goal.

Chris Wondolowski – 6

Full of aggression and a complete understanding of his role, Wondo was strong to win the ball and move play forward whenever possible. On pretty much any other day, his efforts probably would have been enough.

Omar Gonzalez – N/A

Brought on to win headers and stiffen the center of the US defense. When Ronaldo’s cross came, he wasn’t there.

Jurgen Klinsmann – 7

Pulled all the right strings in pregame and, despite Cameron’s blunder, the US was ready to go with only Dempsey up front and looked the better side in the first half. The addition of Yedlin’s pace and Wondo’s bullishness also stood out as smart, if mildly surprising, decisions. The only choice of Klinsmann’s that can be second-guessed is his choice to bring on Omar Gonzalez to play center field on crosses, rather than replacing visibly out of gas midfielders like Jones or Bradley with a player like Mix Diskerud.

21 Comments

  1. Bradley was mostly disappointing and this team is better without Altidore.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      I just don’t think that’s true. He was one of the best players on the field for the first 45 and started the second well. He did fade badly though, which became a problem.

      • Jeremy Lane says:

        Agreed. The turnover was unfortunate, but hardly the worst I’ve ever seen. If we’re blaming folks, it’s got to be Cameron for failing to track Varela. But let’s get over the blame. In the end, it was a world class cross and finish, and the failure was in the U.S. not scoring a third, if you can believe it.

      • He was one of the best players for any team in 2010 but over two matches in 2014 he has been mostly disappointing and all he needs to do with his last touch is kick it to the beautiful girl in row Z and his team wins

      • I agree here. Having awareness of the time remaining, running towards his own goal, and sensing the 3 or so Portugal defenders closing in on him, booting the ball out of bounds would have been a safe option. Would’ve bought time to get our defensive shape back and likely made the last play of the game a throw-in at midfield. That said, Cameron did get caught ball watching and not tracking his man through the end of the play. Would have also liked to see Gonzalez back in there somewhere, given he was fresh and inserted precisely for moments like that (contesting crosses).

    • The Black Hand says:

      Agree. Bradley’s form and conditioning have been disappointing.
      .
      Eddie Johnson would have been a nice option to have.

    • I disagree about Altidore as well. While there may be games where other players and formations are better suited tactically, he’s a big, strong target forward, who also posseses a pretty good amount of technical skill. He brings something unique to the roster.

      • a big, strong target forward who rarely scores goals and the team is better off without him

      • The Black Hand says:

        Disagree. We got away with Dempsey as a single striker because Cristiano moved central and played zero defense. A club with a defensive presence would plug up the gap, in our advanced midfield, forcing Dempsey to drop back in search of the ball (a la Philadelphia Union). Eddie Johnson would be nice.
        .
        Altidore is a very good player, when in form.

  2. Also surprised JK left Jones in with a yellow. A suspension against Germany would’ve been disastrous.

    • This is a testament to the faith he has in the players. trusted jermaine to not make the second mistake and brooks to play well and yedlin to play smart.
      all this goes a long way in gaining poise under pressure and confidence in a team. way to go klinsi.

  3. Jones goal equaled lionel messi and his left footed strike. if you watch they are almost the exact same strike reversed. Let me just give jermaine jones his due and say he is having the tournament of his life and that will likely be the goal he will remember long into senility. both bent around a well placed defender and goalie to the far post.

  4. Yea! A coach rating! haha

    Agree that Klinsman has been very good. So glad that he was trying to urge the team to continue to push after the equalizer. Bob Bradley or Bruce Arena would have parked the bus and held on for dear life – which would have resulted in a loss.

    Soccer isn’t fair. That worked in our favor with Ghana and against us with Portugal. Such is the game and that’s why we love/hate it so much!

  5. I would like to state publicly that I was wrong in my assessment of Jones. I’m sorry Eli, I will never doubt you again.

  6. Agree with most of the points here. I do question the Gonzalez sub, as he almost just messes with positioning and chemistry.
    .
    Also, did anyone else notice Twellman calling every single move before it happened?

  7. Andy Muenz says:

    Klinsmann and Zusi pretty much have to take the fall for making the Gonzalez sub too soon. The ref was only going to add 4 minutes of stoppage time but then when Zusi sauntered off too slowly, the ref added 5 minutes instead. If Klinsmann had waited or Zusi had gone off faster, there would have been 4 minutes (or maybe 4 minutes 15 seconds) and the game ends with Bradley getting the ball in midfield.
    .
    On a separate note, did anyone else think the US 2nd goal shouldn’t have counted? I only saw one reply but Yedlin looked about half a step offsides when he started the play that led to the goal.

    • jlwlockerbie says:

      First, Dude, it makes up for the horrible call against the U.S in South Africa just ask MR. Edu

      • Andy Muenz says:

        The Edu nongoal ended up being a good thing. Had the goal been allowed, the US would still have won the group and Slovenia still wouldn’t have qualified for the second round. The difference is that no one would have cared about Landon’s game winning goal against Algeria.

  8. jlwlockerbie says:

    Secondly I thought, I was the only one that noticed that. Since everyone has been on Bradley! YOUR Correct Sir, If Zusi had trotted off the field instead of crawling off the field the Game would have been OVER!!

    • Andy Muenz says:

      It was funny since shortly after I posted my comment here, I noticed an article on the Yahoo homepage that echoed the same sentiments.

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