FIFA World Cup / USMNT / USMNT Player Ratings

Player Ratings: USA 1-2 Belgium

Teams who concede 18 shots on target rarely come out with a result, especially not in a knockout game.

Faced with an aggressive Belgian team boasting a pacy, dangerous group of forwards and a heavyweight backline, the US never found a way to consistently assert themselves. With Vincent Kompany walking his team ever higher up the pitch, and relative off-nights in possession from Jermaine Jones and Geoff Cameron, the US fell into a desperate cycle of emergency defending and punting the ball clear.

Good thing Tim Howard stood on his head, otherwise the match could have been settled by halftime.

Once Belgium found their way through, not once, but twice, the response from the US was valiant. But ultimately, it was too little, too late.

Player Ratings

Tim Howard – 10

It doesn’t matter that they lost, Tim Howard turned in the best goalkeeping performance of this World Cup. If the US doesn’t want Howard to concede any goals, they should probably try to give up fewer shots on target.

Fabian Johnson – 5

Never got into the match before a hamstring injury forced him off midway through the first half.

Omar Gonzalez – 6

Strong in the air and scrambled well, but there was definitely a sense that he could have closed down his man faster on a number of occasions.

Matt Besler – 7

Desperately unlucky to go down in the challenge with Romelu Lukaku, Besler otherwise played a sound defensive game. Over in Europe, forwards like Lukaku stalk the fields in almost every major league, and hopefully Besler will head over there soon to find out what that’s like on a weekly basis. He certainly has the goods.

DaMarcus Beasley – 7

Defended smartly and attacked with passion. The introduction of DeAndre Yedlin saw the US forget a bit about Beasley’s flank, which was a mistaken given his quality going forward.

Geoff Cameron – 5

Used his big body to good effect against Marouane Fellaini and Axel Witsel, but struggled to replace Kyle Beckerman as a composed outlet for his teammates, putting too much pressure on Michael Bradley and Jones.

Jermaine Jones – 4

Struggled to find his shape defensively and lacked sharpness on the ball, a severe drop-off from his performance against Germany.

Graham Zusi – 4

It just wasn’t there for Zusi, as his touch was heavy and his positioning was poor. If he is ever going to become the fulcrum for the US counter, like he so often wants to be, he must raise the tempo of his play significantly.

Michael Bradley – 7

The American’s best player trying to move the ball forward, Bradley looked somewhat like his metronomic self, though he received very little help. Hopefully this experiment is over and he can return to the position that made him in the best player in the US pool.

Alejandro Bedoya – 5

Spent so much time playing defense, and throughout this tournament, that he never truly got to show off his attacking arsenal. Perhaps the player most hurt by Altidore’s injury, Bedoya rarely had balls to run onto and attack.

Clint Dempsey – 5

Gave his all for the cause, but just wasn’t big enough to challenge Vincent Kompany and Daniel Van Buyten in earnest. Though it would have required an impressive piece of skill to find the back of the net with the final chance, Dempsey will certainly look back on it and wish he had kept his first touch closer to his body.

DeAndre Yedlin – 7

Justified his somewhat controversial selection, and then some. Added to the US roster for speed purposes, Yedlin was called on to actually defend against Belgium, which he did with aplomb when he was subbed on to replace the injured Fabian Johnson. Did a good job on Hazzard throughout the second half, though he occasionally got caught too far upfield on overzealous runs. That’s a pretty minor gripe for such a young player who should only improve.

Chris Wondolowski – 3

Did what Wondo does, i.e. pop up in the right places and show passion and energy. Unfortunately, the knock on Wondo at the international level is that he needs too many chances to score, and he will be left ruing his last second miss for quite some time.

Julian Green – 8

Hard to imagine getting much more from an impact sub. Scored with his first touch. Check. Ran at defenders. Check. Increased the energy level and intensity of his side. Check. Not a bad World Cup debut.


  1. I agree with most of your ratings, except that you must have been watching a different Michael Bradley. The US could not keep possession worth a damn. Isn’t that his primary job? Now that pass to Green for the goal was pretty sweet — so add an extra point for that and I’d give him a 5.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      He was the only one working hard at possession in the midfield. He did very well, but Jones had an off night (as did Zusi) and Cameron just was not available often enough.
      I’m not sure how the entirety of the US’ inability to maintain possession you can hang on Bradley. he was all over the place trying to bring people into the game. I stand by the rating I gave him.

      • The Black Hand says:

        The midfield looked far to clogged for the outside mids to possess the ball, with any time to make positive movement. Most passes went to a player with zero space (majority of those coming from Michael Bradley). Belgium did a good job of covering lanes and pressing the ball carrier.
        Belgium played a very strong match!

  2. Oh, one more thing — Tim Howard was stellar, but Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico has had the best goalkeeping performance in this World Cup. (Though I didn’t see the Germany-Algeria game — I hear both keepers there were pretty remarkable.)

  3. John Ling says:

    Hindsight being 20/20, would the US have been better off starting Beckerman instead of Cameron?

  4. The Black Hand says:

    Bradley rating is way high. Yeah, he was playing higher up than he is accustomed to, but way too many excuses made for him. His pass to Green was sublime and he had some nice, floating balls throughout the tournament, but I think he was a weak link…turnover machine…every match. He left gaping holes, forcing Dempsey to play the 10 and leaving us with no striker. Klinsmann called on Bradley to step up…he didn’t.
    Howard’s 10 is too low!!!!!!

    • An 88% pass completion rate isn’t really the definition of a “turnover machine”.

      Who Scored gave Bradley a 7.12 which is in line with what Eli had given him.

      If you want to see a turnover machine, look at Jones’s statline

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        That’s an 88% rate while playing as the second highest player up the field who also completed 70 passes (might have been a couple more)

      • The Black Hand says:

        Tough to go by the numbers. The real Michael Bradley didn’t take the trip to Brazil. The door was open for him to be downright lethal. He wasn’t even close!

      • George H says:

        Sure, it’s tough to go by the numbers when it doesn’t support your point of view. The reality is that the stats keep things more honest as all of our eyes have a bias towards a certain point of view

        For example, I thought that Besler had a better match than Gonzalez as it seemed like Besler was always cleaning up things throughout the match. Yet, when I looked at the stats, Gonzalez had more clearances, blocks & interceptions. Was I wrong about Besler or did I just overvalue his contribution in comparison to Gonzalez? Probably the latter.

        It’s always easy to pooh pooh stats, but they are a more objective metric than our own eyes at times.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I hate when statistics and facts ruin a fine, opinionated argument!!!
        However, I agree with you on Besler. Omar performed very, very well (stepped up to the call), but I felt that Besler was more of an impactful presence defensively.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Can we get the two of them to Europe already? They have the goods, now they need to test themselves at the highest levels. Hopefully they both put themselves in the shop window for some teams with their WC performances.

      • The Black Hand says:

        YES, Eli!!
        Getting our two promising CB’s the experience of playing against class talent would, probably, be the best thing that could happen for the USMNT’s future.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Lateral and back-passes always inflate those percentages. He did look to spring his attackers, but many of those came with a heavy foot.
        “Turnover machine” may have been too harsh. ‘Critical turnover’s too regularly’ would be amore fitting critique.
        Michael Bradley is a much better player, than we saw in Brazil. He was asked, out of desperation, to play the 10 and struggled mightily with that responsibility.
        Shit happens and big-time players step up. I don’t think that Michael Bradley answered the call. Not saying that he is the reason we lost. .
        Belgium is a Big Dog.

    • A lot was already said… Bradley struggled a bit out of position, but I blame a lot on Clint, b/c the dude doesn’t move.
      I don’t care if he’s not a #9… That’s always been his issue b/c no team knows where to play him.
      It also didn’t help having Zusi and Ale. Both are just mediocre. No dynamism at all.

  5. Good ratings, Eli. It was almost unfair that Belgium brings on Lukaku with his power after the US had to deal with Origi’s pace. It was like Besler ran into a brick wall when he tried to close down Lukaku in midfield on the 1st goal.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Can’t believe that Jose thinks so little of Lukaku!!! Why break the bank (I know it’s endless) on a guy like Costa, when you are sitting on a guy like Lukaku? Effing Chelsea…

  6. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a 10 in this rating section before, but that was well deserved

    Have to agree with The Black Hand and Scottso. Bradley was 5. He was responsible for much of the pressure we found ourselves in especially during the first 45 minutes. He had terrible ball control and a penchant for making the quick back pass as soon as he got it which put the defenders immediately back under pressure and usually resulted in a long ball by either Howard or the backs thus surrendering possesion.

    Towards the end he for some reason dribbled back into the defenders at the tip of the box with two US players open to his left. He just never looked comfortable. some of that was his teammates spacing, but there were multiple occassions where he had acres of space to move in and still choose to get rid of it quickly to guys who were well covered and couldn’t do anything with it.

  7. The Black Hand says:

    Critical analysis aside, our USMNT had a GREAT tournament and the future is bright!

  8. philsoc8 says:

    Way too generous with your ratings of Besler and Gonzalez.

    There is more to being a center back at this level than blocking shots. They rarely disrupted plays before they got to the forwards and their distribution (and Cameron’s) was terrible. You can’t count the number of times they missed midfielders or put them in positions where they couldn’t receive the ball cleanly.

    Plus, never a threat on set pieces.

    I know it’s fashionable to covet Belgium’s attacking players, but I’ll take Kompany first every time.

    • Great One says:

      This is a little harsh, they were under siege for 120 mins.

    • George H says:

      Cameron completed 81% of his passes while Besler and Gonzalez each completed 89% of theirs.

      Was always going to be tough to beat Belgium in the air with Kompany, van Buyten, Vertonghen and Fellani back there…especially when we didn’t serve up anything really good from corners or set pieces. To be fair, they didn’t do anything against us either.

      Totally agree on Kompany…great player.

    • Considering that Dempsey doesn’t make himself available, and Cameron was pretty poor all around, not sure who exactly you wanted them to pass to better.
      You try distributing out of the back when BEL was dropping their front line deep and only MB was making himself available.
      And on defense, the space was obviously in the gap Cameron left. Beckerman and a real fwd change that game completely

      Oh. And Origi is sick. Then they bring on the Beast Mode of European Football to wear them down.
      Position by Position, all 23 spots, BEL is best team when they show up.
      They showed up.

  9. Great One says:

    I think some of the Bradley criticism is a little harsh. A couple of the other games I might have agreed, but he was the only one who looked like he belonged in the midfield this game. Jones was okay but off compared to the rest of the WC. Cameron was average. But most importantly Bedoya and moreso Zusi really just didn’t belong. Bedoya ran his heart out, but when you look realistically either one provided any offense or any kind of an outlet. With that as a given, you could almost guarantee we would have no offense.
    The bigger problem lay with the mids overall. Bradley, Jones, Beckerman, and even Cameron all played solid in the tournament, and Mix is a good player. (Why he didn’t play is beyond me). Here’s the thing, they’re all interior and mostly deep lying mids.
    Our outside mids on the team were a major major Achilles heel. I like Zusi but he really was poor the whole tournament. Bedoya never quite makes that next step for the US. Davis is a joke at this level, and Green is 19 (although in hindsight I wish he played more). Klinnsmans biggest mistake will be not including anyone to make an impact on the edge. Whether it was Donovan or EJ or Shea or whoever, we were lacking there. Look at our games overall and the wide players we faced, they were light years ahead of their counterparts.
    Finally, in Howard we trust.

    • I agree.
      I despise BBs style, but JKs was/is even worse.
      Zusi and Bedoya were selected because they had the legs to defend.
      If he wanted to have numbers defending and attack w/ the backs, he should have played a defensive 3-5-2.
      The roster was freaking perfect for it. Beasley and Johnson are the epitome of wing backs. Cameroon is a slow RB for stoke, so RCB is perfect. Besler has the speed for LCB, and Omar is the perfect sweeper. Beckerman IS a stopper and w/ out Jozy , we’re a 2-fwd team.
      JK did a lot right with positivity and subs, but I’m thinking Lahm was right about JK.

  10. Is this the first “10” ever on PSP ratings? If so, it is very fitting, and this should be the measuring stick for giving a 10 in the future.

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