Tag: Graham Zusi

USA Player Ratings VS Germany

Generally speaking, it’s difficult to assign grades to players who barely touched the ball. The statistics will show that Germany had possession of the ball 60 something percent of the time. It sure felt more like 80 something. The Germans were definitely good value for their win, and with more clinical finishing (or perhaps less heroic defending by the U.S.), they could have won by three or four more goals and sent the United States packing. As it is, the States are through to the knock out stage and here’s how the boys did against Deutschland.

GK – Tim Howard: 6.0 – Mueller’s bullet in the 55th minute was unstoppable, but had Howard simply collected the soft header low to his right rather than try to punch it out through the middle of the box, his score would be higher. Apart from that moment of madness, he was steady and commanding in the box, though nothing overly spectacular was required of him.

D – DaMarcus Beasley: 6.5 – Another solid performance from the veteran. One of the few U.S. players who got forward a little bit, and wasn’t beaten on the defensive end either.

D – Omar Gonzalez: 7.5 – Man of the match for the Americans. Several well-timed tackles to save sure goals and apart from a muffed clearance early, was brilliant. Didn’t support the offense much but when your team doesn’t have the ball, what can you do?

D – Matt Besler: 7.0 – Besler might well be the next American defender to get a contract from an English Premier League side. Few players have been steadier in the group stage. You can add toughness to his resume too, as he’s dealt with a troublesome hamstring.

D – Fabian Johnson: 5.0 – Disappointing performance from the right back. He wasn’t terrible, but completely failed to run at Benedikt Hoewedes after the German left back picked up an early yellow card. Made some timely interceptions, but also gave the Germans too much room in attack.

M – Brad Davis: 4.5 – The MLS veteran appeared out of his depth at the World Cup level. Left Beasley exposed at the back too frequently by failing to fill the gaps. Never got to attempt any free kicks, which is his specialty and the reason he was put in the side to begin with. Subbed out in the second half, probably later than he should have been.

M – Kyle Beckerman: 6.5 – Did what he always does. Provided solid support in front of the back four. Even made a few forays into the German half and didn’t look out of place, nor was he caught in possession like he was against Portugal a couple of times. Nice shift put in by the veteran midfielder.

M – Jermaine Jones: 6.0 – Didn’t show the all-around brilliance he displayed in the first two group games, but certainly wasn’t bad. His touch let him down a few times, but he defended well like he always does, and managed to avoid picking up a yellow card and preserve his eligibility for the round of 16. Fortunate not to be hurt after a gruesome looking collision with sub, Alejandro Bedoya.

M – Michael Bradley: 5.5 – Decent recovery performance by Bradley. After being historically awful against Ghana and Portugal, he can consider himself fortunate to not have been dropped. He wasn’t able to accomplish a ton offensively, but he managed to not give the ball away in bad positions, and was able to distribute well to the wings on the few occasions the U.S. managed to keep possession.

M – Graham Zusi: 4.5 – A bit of a let down from the Sporting Kansas City man. His delivery on corners was poor, and apart from going fairly close with an early effort that Manny Neuer probably would have stopped anyway had it been on target, was anonymous.

F – Clint Dempsey: 5.0 – Was completely shut down by the German defense. Fluffed a glorious chance at a headed equalizer deep into second half stoppage time to put a bow on a thoroughly forgettable offensive day for Deuce. That said, he tracked back and defended well from the front, which against Germany, is key for your forwards to do.

The Substitutes

M – Alejandro Bedoya: 5.0 – Fairly anonymous, apart from colliding with Jones, in the 20 minutes he was given. Had a sight of goal late in the second half, but took slightly too long to let it rip and let Phillip Lahm nip in for a sliding deflection.

M – DeAndre Yedlin: 4.5 – Shocking that he wasn’t introduced earlier with his youth and speed. Wasn’t lacking in energy, but the one chance he had to whip a dangerous cross in resulted in an unsophisticated larrup 25 feet over the goal and end line.

Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann: 5.5 – No magic subs this time, and a head scratcher in starting Davis. Also took too long to introduce fresh legs in Yedlin. That said, if you want to look at the group stage as a whole, he did well to advance the U.S. out of a brutal group.

The Referee: Ravshan Irmatov, Uzbekistan: 5.5 – Botched an advantage call early, and missed a couple of fouls committed by the Americans. Notably, both Bradley and Beckerman were fortunate to avoid early yellows. Reminder, 5.5 is not an awful grade. It’s not a great grade. It’s just there. And Irmatov, like the two refs that officiated the first two games, didn’t make any game-swinging bad decisions. There weren’t any near penalties, but still, he let the players decide the game.

USA Player Ratings Versus Portugal

Disaster came early and late for the United States.  In a game where they still earned a priceless point, the U.S. will be kicking themselves for not bagging all three and securing passage into the knock out round. 

Without further ado, here’s how the lads graded out.

GK – Tim Howard: 6 – He can’t be blamed for Nani’s opener, though falling flat on your back is probably not the strategy best employed when faced with an opposing forward alone with the ball in front of you. Made a couple of big saves, though to be honest, his own mistakes led to the opportunities that yielded the big saves. The last second equalizer from Portugal was unstoppable.

D – DaMarcus Beasley: 6.5 – For as shaky as he was in the opener against Ghana, he was every bit as steady in this one. Pressed forward, defended responsibly, kept possession. A nice performance from the veteran.

D – Matt Besler: 7.5 – Less regarded than his central defense partner, he was superior today. Portugal’s forwards were a non-factor for the most part, and his commanding performance was a big part of that. If you’re going to nitpick, you’d still like to see more thumping clearances when the situation calls for it, but he was essentially mistake-free today. 

D – Geoff Cameron: 3.5 – My oh my, his whiffed clearance that lead to Nani’s goal was surpassed in incompetence perhaps only by Spanish keeper Iker Casillas’ horrible first touch give-away against Spain. He was also beaten on Portugal’s equalizer at the death, though it was a perfect ball that led to it. Still, when you’re attached to both opposing goals, accountability is a must.  

D – Fabian Johnson: 6.5 – I think he read our review of the Ghana game. Got forward aggressively and caused problems for Portugal’s defense. Unfortunately, none of his efforts really bore fruit, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Defended competently too, which for a fullback should be considered the top priority anyway.

M – Alejandro Bedoya: 4.5 – Well, you rarely heard his name…which if he’s a goalie, that’s good. But he isn’t. He’s a wide midfielder whose role in the offense is…well, to help create offense. And he did little. Subbed off and deservedly so. It’s a surprise it didn’t come earlier. Should probably be dropped for the Germany game. 

M – Michael Bradley: 2.5 – It couldn’t possibly be worse than his performance against Ghana, right? Well, it was equally bad. His unforgiveable turnover in the final seconds led to the equalizing goal, costing the U.S. guaranteed advancement. And it was his THIRD turnover of stoppage time, and we lost count of all the give-aways during regular time. Before the U.S. took the lead, he squandered a practically unmissable scoring chance, a defender deflecting his shot off the line with the entire goal at his mercy. The three or four good passes he made do not even the scales. He’s not fit to wear the shirt.  

M – Kyle Beckerman: 5.5 – Worked hard, as he always does, but was careless in possession at times, taking too much time with the ball. He wasn’t nearly as terrible as Bradley, offering valuable support in front of the back four, but he failed to replicate the quality of his performance against Ghana. 

M – Jermaine Jones: 9.0 – His stunning equalizer will be a finalist for goal of the tournament, but he was miles away the best player on the field before that happened. Tough in the tackle, great in distribution, and just about everything you want from a holding midfielder. The yellow card he was assessed was his first, and came on a bad call too so his legendary temper is in check.

M – Graham Zusi: 6.0 – Zusi was ok. He ran hard, tried to support the defense, but once again, he was the provider on the key goal for the U.S. It was his lone contribution of note, but when you create goals, that’s enough in a supporting role.

F – Clint Dempsey: 8.0 – As the lone striker, he found space difficult to come by up front. That said, he never stopped working and got his deserved goal. He’s the very definition of a leader for this team. Anything said beyond this will just be me man-crushing. 

The Substitutes

M – DeAndre Yedlin: 6.5 – Superb raw talent, showcased excellent skill on the right wing after coming on. His cross started the sequence that led to Dempsey’s go-ahead goal. 

F – Chris Wondolowski: 6.0 – Wasn’t on the field long, but did the right things, holding possession and running time off the clock. If not for Bradley’s disastrous play, the media would probably point to his play in the final minutes as a key factor in protecting the lead. 

D – Omar Gonzalez: N/A – Not on the field long enough to generate a rating.

Coach – Jurgen Klinsmann: 6.0 – His players were not lacking for effort, so he deserves some credit for that. In addition, another bold substitution led to a big goal. But, leaving Bradley on the field for what now amounts to 190 (counting stoppage time) plus minutes of some of the most ruinously bad play in U.S. international soccer history is unexplainable. 

Referee – Nestor Pitana, Argentina: 6.5 – Again, the United States was fortunate to be involved in a game with a solid referee. All the big decisions were correct, though Nani should have been given a yellow for his embarrassing dive in the U.S. box, and the yellow awarded to Jones was not deserved. Still, nobody is perfect, and he did his main job of calling a fair game very well.