Photo by ISIphotos.com
When rating the players for the 2009 Confederations Cup, the newly-created Castrol Player Rating Index has taken into account all aspects of player activity, providing us with what is supposed to be a great way to measure the effectiveness and quality of the players participating. Based on the names at the top of the list you would think the system works pretty well. David Villa, Fernando Torres and Kaka are at the top, and deservedly so.
When you move just a notch below those names, however, you'll find a player whose presence has to be considered at least somewhat surprising. That player is Clint Dempsey.
The U.S. national team midfielder received the second-highest combined score for the tournament to date among midfielders, second only to Kaka. Dempsey's rating is the eighth-highest in the tournament, with Michael Bradley the next highest rated American at No. 10.
This development makes us wonder: Have we been too hard on Clint Dempsey?
I say we because I count myself among the many who thought Dempsey looked sluggish and ineffective for the first 255 or so minutes of the Confederations Cup, right up until he moved up top and delivered the U.S. national team's most important goal, the third score in the 3-0 win against Egypt.
After the U.S. team's 3-0 loss to Brazil I posted saying that it had to be assumed that Clint Dempsey would be benched because of fatigue and there were very few objections to the suggestion. No one has ever questioned Dempsey's qualities. He remains one of the team's top attacking players, and we saw against Egypt that he is still capable of his moments of brilliance, but for long stretches in the tournament he has at least appeared to fade and not have an impact.
I will admit that it isn't always to see all of a player's contributions while watching games on television. You don't see what goes on away from the ball and Dempsey's struggles with making an impact (pre-Egypt goal) had as much to do with teammates not finding him as because of his own failings. That said, I'm still a bit surprised to see his rating in the Castrol Ranking be so high.
It should also be noted that those same Castrol Rankings have Oguchi Onyewu has the fifth-lowest rated player in the tournament, with Jay DeMerit sixth. New York Red Bulls defender Andrew Boyens is the lowest rated player in the tournament, a rating that can't really be argued.
So here is my question to you SBI Readers: What do you think of Clint Dempsey's high player rating and performance in the Confederations Cup? Cast your vote:
What do you think of Dempsey's performance so far in the Confederations Cup? Think he can find some more magic against Spain? Still not convinced that he has played well? Not a fan of the Castrol Player Rating system? Think it's actually pretty accurate?
Share your thoughts below.