Jamaica 1, USMNT 2: SBI Player Grades

USMNTvsJamaica2013 (ISIPhotos.com)

 Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

It wasn’t pretty, and you could argue it was tougher than it needed to be, but the U.S. Men’s National Team still came through with a thrilling last-minute victory that not only gives the team three precious HEX points, but also a major boost of confidence heading into two home qualifiers.

Brad Evans stole the show with his stoppage-time winner, turning in another strong effort at right back to quiet concerns about him being unable to handle the role. Graham Zusi also rewarded Jurgen Klinsmann’s faith another quality outing.

Not all of the U.S. performances were strong though. Fabian Johnson was surprisingly ineffective despite being matched up with Jamaica’s least-experienced defender, while Omar Gonzalez still had some jitters despite finishing the match well and dominating in the air.

Here are the SBI USMNT Player Grades vs. Jamaica:

USMNT PLAYER GRADES (vs. Jamaica)

TIM HOWARD (5)

It can be argued that Howard could have done better on Jamaica’s goal, and there wasn’t much more for Howard to do on the night.

BRAD EVANS (6.5)

Struggled at times with the speed of Garath McCleary, but Evans kept him contained for the most part with the help of Graham Zusi. Capped a steady showing with the game-winning goal to strengthen his hold on the right back spot. Now he’s poised to start in front of his home fans in Seattle on Tuesday.

OMAR GONZALEZ (5.5)

Had some uneasy moments, and looked early on like he still wasn’t completely comfortable, but he eventually became a dominating force, delivering a team-best 14 clearances and seven interceptions. Did enough to keep the job.

MATT BESLER (6.5)

Quietly emerging as the best centerback on the team, Besler delivered several vital interventions and covered well for Gonzalez when necessary. In a back-line that is still finding a rhythm, Besler provides a poise that is sorely needed.

DAMARCUS BEASLEY (6)

Tested by the speedy Jermaine Johnson all night, Beasley had some struggles but never allowed Johnson the freedom to deliver truly dangerous service from the flank.

FABIAN JOHNSON (5.5)

From an offensive standpoint, Johnson’s night was disappointing. He was expected to run wild against Jamaica teenage fullback Alvas Powell, but didn’t have any key contributions to the attack. Where he did help was in tracking back to assist Beasley in containing Jamaica’s speedy wingers.

JERMAINE JONES (6)

Was enjoying a strong outing in central midfield, but was forced to leave in the 59th with a concussion. Before that he partnered with Michael Bradley well in trying to contain Jamaica’s central playmakers.

MICHAEL BRADLEY (7)

Hit the post with a shot just two minutes in the match, then delivered the game-winning assist in second-half stoppage time. In the 90 minutes between those two plays, Bradley covered more ground than any U.S. player and made a case for Man of the Match consideration, particularly with the way he finished the match strongly.

GRAHAM ZUSI (7)

Gave a performance that showed why Klinsmann rates him so highly. Not only did he show off a quick step to free himself and deliver the opening assist, Zusi also turned in a boatload of defensive work to help out Brad Evans.

CLINT DEMPSEY (5.5)

No, Dempsey didn’t find the net this time around, but he turned in plenty of defensive work and also tried to find gaps in the Jamaica defense.

JOZY ALTIDORE (7)

Another strong game from the target striker, who did well to finish Graham Zusi’s perfect cross, while also putting in a respectable amount of off-the-ball work. His confidence keeps growing and he’s poised to continue scoring if the service keeps coming.

GEOFF CAMERON (6)

Not many would have expected Cameron to be the first choice off the bench to deputize in a central midfield role, but those who remember his time in MLS know he has played all over the field and could handle the role. His length and athleticism made him perfectly-suited for the task of trying to break up Jamaica’s central forays.

EDGAR CASTILLO (5.5)

Deployed as a left winger to replace Fabian Johnson, Castillo was effectively active in putting pressure on the Jamaica defense when given the chance. Had one sequence where he could have done better and delivered a pass that could have sparked a scoring chance, but was still much improved from his shaky showing vs. Germany.

EDDIE JOHNSON (NR)

Didn’t get major minutes, but was active and aggressive and he looks like a good bet to start vs. Panama in Seattle on Tuesday. Did appear to lose his mark on Jamaica’s goal, something he will want to improve if he is going to handle set-piece defending assignments.

——-

What did you think of our grades? Who would you have given a higher grade? How about a lower grade? Who impressed you the most vs. Jamaica? Who surprised you? Who disappointed you?

Share your thoughts below.

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179 Responses to Jamaica 1, USMNT 2: SBI Player Grades

  1. Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli says:

    And concerning castillo’s chance, Jozy even acknowledged he should of made the run to the back post.

    Looks as if Klinsman didn’t give him a low evaluation vs his play against Germany either, huh Ives?

    • Hogatroge says:

      Agreed. I thought Castillo did well from the role… he wasn’t amazing, but he harried the Jamaican defense and fought hard for every ball. He tracked back on D to support, which is probably a better role for him (on the Nats) than the dedicated LB spot.

      If his chip had been placed accurately, nobody would be talking about how he should have passed.

    • TomG says:

      Are we thinking of different chances? Wasn’t Edgar in alone v Ricketts and tried to chip him but missed? I don’t remember Jozy anywhere near the play. I think the right play was to chip the keeper there, he just missed.

      • vik says:

        Later on there was a break, Cameron swung the ball out left to Castillo (some feel Cameron should have shot himself), and Castillo laid the ball out for a streaking Altidore; but I think the pass was a bit behind him.

  2. Mike says:

    Had Howard played the ball out wide to the wide open and unmarked RBI, we would have maintained possession verses Howard booting it down field which led to Jamaicas free kick.

    • Travis is Miami says:

      Under JK the long goal kicks have been so few and far between that I actually noticed his kick as well. that was part of trying to kill the game. i think blaming him for the goal is a bit misguided though. Jamaica did have to get the ball back into their attacking half so there were all sorts of places one could point their finger. Not to mention that the marking on the actual goal was poor and also not mentioning Beckford was offside.

      • Dave says:

        Howard must get that ball. It was 45 yards out. He could see it the entire way into his six yard box. Go get it! Punch it out. If there is contact the keeper will always get the call. For a keeper as experienced as he is, I find it unacceptable that he conceded that goal.

        • PD says:

          I understand why you think his charging the scrum was the better option, but in my experience the majority of free kicks, especially where the line of players recoeving theball set up, from that range, come down to man marking. The higher percentage move is to trust your defender.

          BTW, I know there is a growing “Guzan should be #1″ rumbling in this community, and while I’m a huge fan of Guzan, too, but to assume he’ll be any better than Howard in a given situation is a straw man argument. Guzan does not have as established a track record or match experience, so while one can argue over goals that Howard should or should not make decisions on, to assume that the outcome would be different with a talented but less experienced keeper is specious.

          • GW says:

            PD,

            Guzan is in better club form and did very well in his two qualifiers.
            I have never felt comfortable with Howard anointed as an automatic starter and a god since Keller left the US scene. My fears were realized in the 2010 World Cup.

            Nevertheless I’m fine with JK naming Timmy as #1. Timmy for better or worse has a serious experience advantage over Brad. I am always careful about changing keepers unless it is truly warranted.

            Guzan’s role is to keep the pressure on Timmy and in these last three games, Timmy has played well. I see no reason to believe Guzan could have done any better. Timmy has always been weak on long balls from far out but I’m not sure Guzan would have done any better with that cattle stampede on the Jamaican goal.

            The other reason to start Timmy is that Guzan can handle being a backup and still perform well should something happen to Timmy.

            If the reverse were true, I don’t believe Timmy would handle it as well.

        • kmac014 says:

          definitely agree, how does howard not come out for that, That was the first thing I shouted after they scored. Also beckford was definitely offside but Howard has to do better

        • Peter says:

          Howard rarely comes out to challenge for balls in that situation. Even at Everton he doesn’t do it and allows the attacker to challenge for the ball. He needs to do better on crosses.

      • Gooch13 says:

        I did think Beckford was offside and the way the defenders just seemed to kind of watch the play made me wonder if they thought so too. Nevertheless, Howard needed to be much more aggressive there.

      • Mike says:

        Wasn’t blaming him, but I just remember thinking why is he booting it when playing it wide would be easier. It’s the small details that can make a difference. Who knows had Jamaica not scored they wouldn’t have had a defensive meltdown that led to our second goal and the game would have been 1-0

    • Josh D says:

      Unfortunately the default description next to Howard’s grade is “could of/should of” done better. It’s those moments that define a top keeper and makes or breaks a tournament. Wonder if Guzan gets a game if it continues to show Howard he, like everyone, needs to earn his position.

      • Matt C in Tampa says:

        Spot on Josh. Timmy watches too many balls that should be his. Frozen on the line and the guy heads it on the 6…maybe 7. And the TV commentators and press seem to be reluctant to criticize Timmy. Coby did say last night, however, that Timmy was a statue… SBI’s ratiing’s about right. I’d really like to see Guzan get a shot. Keepers must OWN their area…at least on the edges and inside the box.

        • Ben says:

          And if anyone watched Villa this year, one of the many things Guzan did brilliantly was own the box.

    • divers suck says:

      That doesn’t excuse the traffic cone defense from virtually everyone, so late in a match. Most notably, Tim Howard. that was a high floater from a long ways out that Howard should have easily taken care of!

    • Jbart65 says:

      I agree entirely with the criticism of Howard on the kick down the field before the goal. JK wants the team to play simple and possess. Instead Howard gives it away instead of offloading to a wide open RB. No composure. I actually rewinded the play a few times for my teenage son to point out the mistake. Keep possession at game end with the lead and CONTROL the ball.

  3. Scott e Dio93 says:

    We won 2-1, not 3-0 with those ratings.

    Howard 5- Really had nothing much to do.

    Evans 5.5- Evans was decent, never got destroyed and scored the winner.

    Gonzalez 5- just beaten on the goal (offside) from Jamaica, really Jamaica never put him in any danger.

    Besler 5.5- Good shoulder to shoulder duel and won, never put any real danger.

    Beasley 5.5- His speed was excellent on this game, and broke a couple of attacks.

    Bradley 7- Carried the team, won balls and created attack, great assist in the end.

    Jones 6- Great enforcer, the hot humiditynd physically of game worn him down in the end.

    Zusi 6.5- Great crosses, willing to track back, and a minor mistake on the foul.

    Johnson 5- The heat and humidity got to him, seem pretty average.

    Dempsey 4- Lost and looked tire, Dempsey couldn’t find his rhythm in this game.

    Altidore 6.5- Scored from a great cross, hussle and muscle on this game.

    Cameron 5.5- Perform well in this role.

    Castillo 5- He could done better with shot, or at least pass it. Press and kept the ball a bit.

    Eddie Johnson 5- Eddie looked pretty average, did get fouled in the end and the ref let it go.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      For one, our ratings aren’t all that different, with the exception of Clint Dempsey, which you arbitrarily give a 4. You can’t grade a player on their own curve and punish him for not being amazing every game. He didn’t factor into the attack much but he put in a ton of work all over the field. No chance his game was worthy of a 4 (and giving him a 4 but Eddie Johnson a 5 is pretty silly). I also think Besler was much better than you gave him credit for being. Aside from that though we’re pretty similar.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        Looked to me that Jamaica put in a concerted effort to make sure Dempsey did not beat them. Seems every time we were on the attacking end of the field, he was book-ended with 2 backs draped all over him. In one case, he still managed to put a looping, but dangerous header just off frame. All you can ask of a player in this instance is to keep working in order to make space for others. Demps did a good enough job of this and did pretty well tracking back on D and slowing a few counters as well.

        Player I’ve always liked in MLS, but was unconvinced, lukewarm on with the nats is Zusi. Last 3 games or so have turned me around. Nothing flashy or spectacular, but he has been very professional, steady and worked hard forward and back. His confidence seems to be growing as well w/ much improved play out wide a rapport with JA. A significant boost to our O.

        Gonzo. The most upside, ideal pairing w/ Besler. Current situation is working out the best one could hope for. Building a partnership/cohesiveness, ironing out mistakes while still managing to meet team goals. Continued patience will pay off in the long run. Cameron’s adaptability is a detriment to him perhaps, but a huge benefit to the team. Could see him spelling Besler or Omar in a tourney, fill in at fullback or defensive mid. Way the game was trending… I was very worried when Jones went out…. Cameron’s contribution was workmanlike and HUGE last night.

      • mark says:

        Dude that last run by Eddie Johnson right before the final whistle was pathetic.

        He was a fresh sub and the Jamaican defender who had been playing for 90+ minutes beat EJ to the ball and played more physical to win it. I hate that attitude that, “well the games almost over I can take it easy now.”

  4. Dave Nelson says:

    Did not think it was a great match for Bradley. Nice work on the goal, for sure. But he also gave the ball away/got muscled off the ball an awful lot for someone in his role. Also didn’t think Jozy was all that great, first 20 mins and goal aside. He looked really tired to me.

    • CroCajun says:

      Bradley was a maestro from the back. He’d pick up the ball from the CBs and methodically worked it up the field with good, smart passes. He controlled tempo and was at the heart of just about everything we did.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Compared to how he usually plays, it wasn’t a great match.

      He was hardly poor, but he did seem to misplace a few passes and tire. Hard to blame him when he covers so much ground and is playing in 84F, 70%RH weather.

      He did complete 61 of 68 passes (~90%) and have an assist, although he lost the ball over 10 times.

    • SwerveZ says:

      I agree, he looked tired. Passes weren’t as crisp as normal and he got muscled off the ball at times.

    • TomG says:

      I completely disagree. He did all the defensive and organization work from the back, cleaning up for JJ. Once JJ went out, Cam stayed home and assumed th DM role, freeing MB up to range forward where he was extremely dangerous. To sum up: lock down defender who organized the whole team from the back yet also managed to get forward to miss a goal by a half inch and created the winning goal (by beating his man running at him 1v1). Absolutely sick, versatile, all around match. Not many Americans have ever had the breadth of skills to pull off that kind of performance.

      • Jordy says:

        +1

      • GW says:

        Mikey did what you said but you are overstating it.

        He was below his normal standard but in the end did what needed doing.

      • Taylor says:

        people are being a bit hard on MB, he played well overall. one instance in the second half though, i was very surprised when he took a shot from 30 yards out (which he scuffed and missed badly) when we had a good numbers advantage on the counter. i thought for sure he would play it out wide to a completely unmarked zusi and it would have been a pretty easy goal had he then played it across the box. instead he did a very uncharacteristic move from his usual play, where he always plays the smart ball. we would have surely scored a goal

  5. Vic says:

    I haven’t been the biggest Klinnsmann fan since he took over USMNT. However, last night I think he did an excellent job. His starting lineup wouldn’t have been my starting lineup necessarily however, there were no head scratching moves. I was in total agreement with the subs. F.Johnson probably couldn’t gone 90 min so I thought Castillo was a good replacement(instead of Davis or Eddie Johnson on the wing). Cameron was a good replacement for Jones(was worried Klesjtan was going to come in). Eddie Johnson was a good replacement for Johnson for his speed and hold up play at the end of the game.

    • MLSsnob says:

      Did anyone else notice the fact that Klinsmann was yelling constantly for the US to play short passes, move it around? The fact that he had to remind the players to do that is odd. Isn’t that something they should know to do already?

      • Ben says:

        Not necessarily, especially for guys who don’t play that way for their clubs, once they are sapped by the heat and humidity, they might need some reminders.

      • Leonardo says:

        yes, i noticed Klinsmann shouting too – although i couldnt hear what he was saying cuz the bar had music on. i liked that he was pushing his team to be more aggressive. he was even yelling at the refs, calling for a foul that wasnt called. according to four toothed wise soccer man at the bar, Klinsmann is implementing a tempo game, a la Germany, fast paced, high(er) pressure, and endline to endline hustling.

        *great username, btw

        • louis z says:

          The Jamaica game a fast tempo game? hardly. I think it was grind it out type of a game. Jamaica was tired because of only 3 days of rest and us because of the climate.

  6. HoboMike says:

    Jozy looked gassed the entire game. I couldn’t believe how hard he was breathing after 20 mins. Not MB90′s best game, although his poise showed in the last 10 minutes was astonishing.

    Jones was having a monster game before he had to leave. He was spraying passes all over the field like a Chia-Pirlo.

    Who cares if it wasn’t pretty. It was a road victory. Nuff said.

  7. V-8 says:

    Geoff Cameron playing the Mo Edu role.

    Happy to have Cameron coming on in these situations but always wanted Edu to advance enough where he would settle into more playing minutes or hold a starting spot.

    What is Edu’s situation now? Hurt? He’s not even on the GC roster.

    • kmac014 says:

      injured

    • TomG says:

      Cam looked really good to me, and he really freed up MB to get forward.

    • matt says:

      Diagnosed with a sports hernia a few weeks ago when he reported back to Stoke from his loan in Turkey. I guess surgery/recovery will last the whole summer. Unfortunate setback but I’m sure he’ll be back in the mix this fall if he gets playing time again. I have no doubt he would’ve been the sub for Jones last night if healthy and will continue to be the 3rd choice CM when healthy (though I don’t envision him displacing Bradley or Jones when both are healthy.)

      Does anyone with more knowledge of the EPL know if Edu is likely to crack the starting lineup for Stoke after a good loan spell in Turkey?

  8. Travis is Miami says:

    I think the scoring is right on. I also think the relative closeness of the grade range says something about what kind of a team effort this was. there was no one particularly terrible and no one particularly great. If anyone has a real beef with any performance I think it’s most likely they have an agenda against that player – perhaps wanting a different player in their position.

    Ives wrote an article about the parallels of JK’s Germany and US teams at similar points in WC cycles – just before USA/Germany friendlies (link to soccerbyives.net). I think this article foreshadowed very well what is going on with this US team. The chemistry of the team seems to really be coming together. It will be interesting how he integrates those players injured or working their way into the squad like Landon Donavan.

    • HoboMike says:

      Eh, I’m a monster Michael Bradley fan and thought he deserved a 6, but I’m pretty much OK with the rest of the ratings.

      When fully on, I still think Donovan brings a bit more to the table, if only because of his awesome understanding with Dolo down the right hand side. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the exact lineup we trot out in Brazil (with Dolo or Chandler in place of Evans).

      • Twomilerule says:

        Hobo I pretty much agree but Beasley is not in the starting lineup! Dude is a liability against a fast physical team. Easily gets taken of the ball and constantly relies on his speed to recover. However, his speed in small space and bodying up gets voided. He plays hot potato when he gets the ball in the defensive end offering no distribution but rather a loss of possession through giving the opponents a throw in. I wonder what Beasley’s passing percentage was?

      • SwerveZ says:

        Who’s better right now? Zusi or Donovan????

  9. HoboMike says:

    I give up with this ridiculous “moderation.” My comment has nothing inflammatory or negative, yet someone on another post wrote the full word of “d-bag” and it gets through.

    Would love a reason as to why this happens.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Pretty simple. You write “Jozy looked gassed.” Unfortunately for us, the moderation system catches a certain three-letter combination that is a bad word. I’ve tried to adjust it but have had no luck, so we wind up with random comments being moderated despite having nothing bad in them. All I can say is watch out for words that contain that three-letter combination and you will generally avoid moderation.

  10. Paul Miller says:

    I know F. Johnson has played some wing for club, but he’s one of the better LBs if not the best LB the USMNT has had. Johnson also may be serviceable but he’s really not all that good at wing. Beasley is Beasley – constantly looks like his performances are held together with duct tape, and while he can play he also has he share of boneheaded mistakes at critical times (over a long USMNT career). I have a hard time understanding why they played where they did.

    But this wasn’t a line-up article and the grades look mostly fine to me. Altidore and Zusi I could argue should be marked a little lower. But I will add that Zusi is showing he belongs, which is the first time I’ve typed that out loud.

    • Roy says:

      Is this one of those moments when a coach over-thinks the obvious?

      Beasley is a LW first, and LB second. Johnson is a LB first, and LW second. I’ve been a Beasley supporter ever since his first year in Chicago, but I cringe whenever he defends in his own box. He’s fine providing support to a LB and serving as an emergency LB. None of these guys playing at LW instead of him will get as many goals and assists as Beasley has at that spot. There is a reason why, Klinsy!

    • Kingly Alexander says:

      Which is why Johnson and Beas should just swap positions on the left.

      Beas looked better in the opponents half then Johnson. I’d even go as far to say that Castillo looked more promising there at times.

      • Big Red says:

        Like times 1,000,000. Beasley looked good this year in Mexico playing left mid. If Johnson is now healthy enough then let’s put him back in there since he plays the position.

    • ableton says:

      You play Johnson at lb and Donovan in the middle and keep Zuzi wherevhe is problem solved

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      May be too early to base FJ’s fit at midfield off just one or two performances. Plus it seems he usually does not play well when it is very hot. He is probably not use to that type of weather.

      • Kingly Alexander says:

        And ur basing his one good game for the nats he had in cold weather vs Slovakia or Slovenia or whichever

      • twewlife says:

        lol, because brazil has such a cool climate…

        • louis z says:

          actually our summer is their winter. So it won’t be as hot specially the further south our venue might be.

          • beachbum says:

            hey louis, nice to see you. haven’t heard from you much with Clint scoring goals and LD playing well :)

            hey, my Galaxy lost another one late just now…misery, company, all that

            cheers man ;)

            • louis z says:

              I been around. Yeah, Clint went against the grain when he scored in the second half of the Germany game. Good for him and for all of us. Well, is LD really playing well? If you look at the posts most people think he is still struggling, true he is missing players but he needs to be the man. I thought he did very well in the first half of the LAG vs SLC game but as always, he faded in the second half.

  11. matt says:

    How many times did Bradley give up possession too easily??? Definitely not man of the match, disappointing peformance. His touch looked off as well. Bad game from the high standards he normally sets!

    • BigRockr says:

      Have to disagree. Bradley seemed to be one of the few to keep his composure when all Jamaica really showed was an amazing ability to apply pressure. Consistently passed early & moved to space for support or return balls. After 30 mins he was rarely pressured effectively. Essentially refused to play Jamaica game. Provided the spark for late push and goal. Probably real captain. Dempsey too moody. This group is becoming designed for WC play rather than CONCACAF. Hallelujah!

    • Hogatroge says:

      According to the stats, he was tackled and lost possession 11 times. He did, however, complete 61 of 68 passes, win 3 tackles, make 2 interceptions, and have an assist at a crucial point.

    • Grubbsbl says:

      We have now reached the point where 2 or 3 turnovers from Bradley equals a bad game for some fans. The truth is Bradley quitely dictated the pace of the match in the midfield. He kept it from becoming a track meet sweeping up numerous broken plays with clever touches and misdirections to keep possession, and when needed, drove forward to set up the game winning goal. Hard to say that’s a bad game…

      • Matt C in Tampa says:

        Totally agree. True pro. YOu can see the seasoning and experience he’s picked up over the last 3 years. Unflappable. He had a lot to do with that 2nd goal. Made a late game run down the left and provided an option…which lead to a corner. Then his experience took over. Saw the Jam defense tired and not ready and played the quick corner. Nice (with a little luck) pass to Evans. Bradley’s class.

      • beachbum says:

        +1

    • TomG says:

      Completely disagree. I am sure once the stats come out that MB will be at the top of passing completion.

      • atd says:

        A shade below Cameron and Jozy in percentage terms, tops in total passes completed. He mostly looked bad in comparison to his usual standard — the seven passes he missed last night were seven more than he missed at the Azteca.

        The thing that sticks out in last night’s passing stats is that Gonzalez and Evans were a lot looser with the ball than Besler and Beasley — 71% and 64% completed vs. 85% and 80%, respectively.

  12. Paul Miller says:

    The Jones concussion is huge. The simple reason why this defense is looking better is because of the two-DM set-up, and Jones/Bradley work together nicely. They complement one another – one reckless and almost bullying, the other disciplined and calculating. They seem to understand what the other is doing most of the time, and it really is a formidable pairing.

    I mean, let’s face it – Bessler, Gonzalez, Evans and Beasley aren’t all that great for this level of play, at least not at present. When we have midfielders who understand their primary role is to take pressure off our backline, like we had last night with the DMs (and you can reverse engineer the locker room discussions between Klinsmann and F. Johnson/Zusi based on the way they played), the defenders can get by.

    I like the center backs, but they need time to settle into those roles. Evans is shocking the heck out of everyone. Hopefully that lasts past two matches. Beasley will always be seen as a placeholder LB, in my view. Is this backline even as good as Boca, Cameron, Johnson and Chandler (or whoever)? Probably not right now. So we’re depending on midfielders taking on greater responsibility in defense phase.

    If Jones isn’t paired with Bradley, who is? Cameron? Maybe that works and maybe it doesn’t – it certainly will be a big part of the storyline in the next couple of qualifiers if Jones can’t go.

    • Kingly Alexander says:

      The midfielders are supposed to be able to track back and aid the outside backs, but it only balances out if your outside backs are contributing just as much to the offense. Which is why our left side was dangerous on the attack and our right side, with brad Evans’ non existing runs, looked far less dangerous

      Moving Johnson back to LB and Beas to mid should fix some of the defensive liabilities we have there. And if Timmy chandler or Dolo come in I think our team is looking great.

      • divers suck says:

        Were you watching the same game? Beasley was getting forward with regularity all game long and held his own on defense. Fabian Johnson looked awful. It seems like the knock he got vs Germany was, perhaps, worse than everyone is making it out to be?

        • Kingly Alexander says:

          1v1 Beas was beat a handful of times before Fabian started doubling jermaine Johnson of Jamaica.

          Now if ur asking me if I watched the game, I ask u do u understand soccer?

    • Hogatroge says:

      Cameron’s a better DM than fullback.

      While he was more valuable to Houston as a CB, it’s hard to say definitively where he’s better because once he made the switch, Hoston was able to put a solid midfield tandem in place while keeping Geoff on the pitch.

      That said, he played a good chunk of the early season with Stoke at DM (where he generally got better reviews than at RB) and is certainly capable. He might not have the same bite as Jones, but there’s no cause for panic.

      • Kingly Alexander says:

        Cameron like Evans I fill will be valuable utility players on our WC squad.

        But I’d say neither one will be penciled in for a starting spot

    • Josh D says:

      Absolutely agree. Jones was constantly there to support Evans, especially in the first 20 minutes. He is such a force in midfield that even on his off days, his simple presence disrupts opponents. He constantly digs in them drive forwards than sprints back. He is this team’s biggest lost.

      I would have given Besler and especially Gonzo a half point off for failure to keep possession. It was as though they were playing kickball. Every time, no matter how much space they had, it was smash it up field straight to a Jamaican player. Their passing range makes Gooch look like Scholes. It’s those small moments that Klinsi harps on about. We need possession to kill off games and they weren’t helping the cause.

  13. mug says:

    Is it too soon to start speculating the line-up for the Panama match? I could not watch the game (thanks beIN). Seems like Cameron was a good fit in central midfield. Who starts on the right side of midfield?

  14. Wispy says:

    I agree with Paul Miller: not impressed with FJ as a winger for the Nats. If LD can work his way back in, put him at LW and move FJ back to LB. Use Beasley off the bench at either position as a change of pace or to help kill a game.

  15. Paul says:

    I’m in agreement with the player grades. How about a grade for the coach? More and more JK earns my confidence. He removed my doubts about Evans and Zuzi. Smart move putting Cameron in Jones place – he’ll be there Tuesday. Edu now has competition. I also see Eddie Johnson earning a start Tuesday during Zuzi’s suspension, a position he’s played before due to JK’s foresight. I have to appreciate the depth JK is enabling across all positions, and his vision.
    The midfield should feel less pressure on Tuesday with Panama. Jamaica lacks talent, but closes down space fast. I’m hoping for a big outing from Bradley and Dempsey.

    • atleticodemadridfan says:

      Beg to differ – Panama is a very good team, with a lot of speed and muscle. They pressed Mexico high, all night long and really disrupted the Mexican midfield. Panama will not go quietly.

    • TomG says:

      Good job by JK, but earns some demerits for set piece defense again. That is a facet that can be addressed on training yet remains a problem area.

    • louis z says:

      Panama is way better than Jamaica and Panama likes to work their attack through the middle. Panama is not a pushover, they held Mexico to a scoreless draw. Panama can hurt us if we don’t take them seriously.

  16. dude says:

    I for one was very happy to see Cameron come in instead of Beckerman, Holden, or Klejstan. Normally, I’d roll my eyes at a center back coming in as DM- too defensive. Not in Cameron’s case. His abilities are not limited to defense- if I recall, he was even the point of Houston’s attack at one time.

    We keep fretting about Beasley, but he gets a deserved six rating every single game. Don’t question it, just enjoy.

    • Kelso says:

      Cameron plays dm for stoke

    • divers suck says:

      It’s interesting that 2 defense minded substitutions (Cameron and Castillo) yielded a late equalizer from Jamaica and a fantastic winner from a RB that found himself wide open on the left side of the penalty area…..Hmmmm

  17. David M says:

    I think it’s clear that we have a problem on the left side. Neither Fabian nor Castillo is an answer to whatever the question might be. Need to find someone to play left fullback and possibly move Beasley up. Also, I’m afraid Eddie Johnson’s time with the national team is up. I just don’t see him capable of doing anything meaningful any more.

    • Paul Miller says:

      I’d go with Johnson at LB, Dempsey at win, and SK at CAM.

      Dempsey is dangerous coming toward the center from the left, which he would. Johnson can fill that gap out of his more familiar LB spot. SK is a playmaker, and one of the better we have. For some reason, JK only gives him shots in positions that highlight his deficiencies, like lacking speed. SK in the center can hold the ball and give great feeds to Altidore, or Bradley coming forward, or Dempsey playing that roving left wing/second CAM/second striker role he loves.

      • Kingly Alexander says:

        Sasha Kljestan isn’t a pure 10 and doesn’t have that experience in an advanced role like that.

        Dempsey is the closest thing we have to a advanced playmaker and he’s playing in the best possible position right behind Jozy where he can drop into the midfield and and dictate the tempo or drop it off to the other mids and make shadow runs into the box.

        Service wasn’t there because F. Johnson didn’t attack well. He should be moved into the back and Beas brought up in his place.

        • atleticodemadridfan says:

          A constantly repeated them, that I for one wholeheartedly agree with – put F. Johnson back at L back, and move Beas up to L wing mid – that in my opinion would be a more solid left side.
          Hope Klinsman hears us. And to the Castillo haters / doubters – give him a little more time – he is really good at his position for his club team, and he is possibly as or more versatile than Johnson or Beasley at LB-LWM in the long run. I predict great things for Castillo. Be patient, he will mature and blossom, quickly I hope.

          • Kingly Alexander says:

            Yup

          • MN Footie says:

            I hope you’re right about Castillo. With Beasley, wherever you put him, I hope he stays nothing more than a placeholder. As much as I like Beasley, and as nostalgic as it makes me to see him as a regular again, he gets knocked around too much, and his decision-making is oftentimes frightening. He’s usually able to clean up for his mistakes, but isn’t the steady presence we need out there.

            He was a liability in the second half (after a solid first half, I thought), and though I would like him better at LW than LB, I don’t think he’s the best available player for that position. Especially when LD is received back into the fold – F. Johnson at LB, and LD and Zusi on the wings would increase our stability on the wings and give us very good distribution on the wings.

      • Ben says:

        I’ve not seen evidence that SK can feed anyone the ball going forward.

        • Paul Miller says:

          He’s been an attack phase force to be reckoned with in league play. Granted, it’s not against Bundesliga or Serie A opponents, but still arguably a higher level of play than MLS.

    • Kingly Alexander says:

      No ur completely wrong.

      In fact I’d go as far to say that our left side is totally solitified with Beas, Castillo, and F. Johnson being able to play anywhere there interchangeably basically.

      With more time together that trio will become even stronger as the chemistry grows, but all have undeniable attacking talent and defend, speaking for Beas, at least adequately.

      The only thing in my opinion I would like to see is F. Johnson start at LB and Beas in the midfield.

      • Grubbsbl says:

        It’s pretty obvious F. Johnson isn’t a LW though. He looked terrified to get forward and constantly was ten yards from Beasley when we had good possession. One could argue that this conservative play was necessary in an away match but it regularly trapped the team in its own defensive third. Considering that Jamaica was starting a teenager who got torched by Mexico days earlier, I would have expected some attacking threat down the left. But none came at all. And when Jamaica had their little spell to end the first half everything was coming from their right. Against top level teams that aren’t 90 minutes away from summer vacation it’s going to be a problem. But a las, a certain Landon Donovan has excelled on the left for LA over the years.

    • TomG says:

      If all goes well, I think we eventually see Fanian at LB and LD at LM.

    • louis z says:

      There is still time. And don’t be surprise if Chandler ends up being our starting LB and Dolo our RB for the WC. If no one else grabs the LM position, it is going to be FJs

  18. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Way too generous. Beasley was beaten all night and rescued by a curious Jamaica sub. Zuzi grew less and less effective as the night wore on until giving up a foul that lead to the equalizer – an unnecessary foul made necessary because he was visibly wilting.

    Bradley was the class of the field, but even he couldn’t find the game for long stretches. At least Cameron was used where he should be for a change – he’s a good d-mid.

    .Dempsey’s lack of energy brings up questions about JK using him so heavily in the friendlies

    All in all, nice t get the points, but hardly a confidence inspiring performance from the team. .We remain on the right side of a razor thin margin from disaster in the Hex.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      If Beasley was beaten “all night” where were all the dangerous crosses from his side of the field, or runs into the area by his guy? Yes, Jamaica had some pace, and yes Jermaine Johnson was a handful, but getting a half step on Beasley or turning the corner on him doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t lead to actual threats. The same thing happened in the Mexico match, where Javier Aquino would get a step on Beasley but Beasley would recover enough to keep pressure on him and keep him from delivering effective service.

      In both those games there was plenty of talk from some about how badly Beasley was beaten, yet in those two combined matches, opponents scored ZERO goals that were set up by service from Beasley’s side of the field.

  19. Mig says:

    Interesting preconceptions seem to be at work in the Gonzalez and Besler rankings. OG had a couple of rough goes in the last couple games but last night there was nothing wrong with his performance. Even the descriptions notes that Gonzalez leads in clearances and interceptions and does not mention the Besler giveaway in the box that easily could have gifted Jamaica a goal.

    I’m not saying Besler was bad but to me, the two of them played the same game, whatever number either 5.5, 6, or 6.5.

    • Stever says:

      Agree with most of what you say, but Gonzalez relied way too much on long balls that handed over possession to the J backline or keeper. If he first looks to the mids, we’ll maintain possession much better.

  20. Josh D says:

    Call me disappointed with Dempsey, again. He utterly disappears for huge chunks of the game. Legitamently pulls a Casper and goes invisible. For someone in his role, how do you do that? His role is the center of our attack. Yet I kept seeing Jones doing it, spraying balls out wide and dribbling at the defense.

    I’m jaded with Dempsey there. I wouldn’t mind seeing what a Corona or Zusi could do there, and toss Dempsey out wide with instructions to cut in.

    It’s this kind of play that Spurs complained about. Sure he scored, but that was his only contribution for Spurs. He wasn’t creating, he wasn’t playing defense, he disappeared. Even Jozy made his presence felt. I’d like to see more energy in our attacking midfield role.

    • beachbum says:

      hey Josh, looked to me like Dempsey was paired up top, not in the midfiled as an attacking mid, and his presence alone up there allows Jozy to not have to deal with the defense alone, and gives him space. it also allows for the high pressure D to have a chance since Jozy alone up there initiating high pressure doesn’t work. Clint also draws a lot of interestes from the Jamaica defense

      the link up role in the midfield is MB’s role and the wing play, which was OK last night. Fabian struggled mightily, and since the gameplan was clearly for him to attack the 18 year old, the fact it didn’t work slowed down the entire attack

      • MN Footie says:

        I agree with Josh that Dempsey disappeared, particularly in the second half – but I wonder if that isn’t because our distribution from the left was so lacking. Zusi was solid offensively from the right, and Jozy, his opposite attacking number, looked the better for it. Apart from a couple of good possessions in the first 15 minutes or so, Fabian’s distribution (and Castillo, thereafter) was non-existent, and I wonder if Clint would have been more visible if he had someone to give him some service across the pitch from the left.

        That said, Clint, as captain, needs to impose himself on the game if the game isn’t coming to him – that’s the type of player he can be, and the type of player we need at the recessed forward position. He’s as versatile an attacking presence as we have, and we can’t afford to have him disappear.

    • TomG says:

      I think there is a segment of fans that simply doesn’t understand what forwards do and unless they score goals, they are being lazy and “disappearing” for long periods of time. Deuce did a lot of good defensive work and moved the ball well. Sometimes as a forward, the ball just doesn’t find you in opportune spots. You cant do anything without service. I think some fans expect forwards to go 1v6 and dribble through the whole defense but it isnt how the game works. The guy has done nothing but carry USA for the past 2 years. I find it borderline crazy that he gets as much flack as he does.

      • CroCajun says:

        Spot on. In fact, I think there is a segment of fans that doesn’t understand what any of the positions do. Or what the coach does. Or the idea that players aren’t robots, they have good days and bad.

        Dempsey has been on a scoring tear for the USMNT lately. He goes scoreless in one game and all of a sudden we should move him to wing and change the entire system?

  21. quozzel says:

    I would agree that the left side looks solidified. Personally I am really liking Run DMB as a left back. He defends surprisingly well and makes those runs and is essentially a very darting, dangerous deep-lying winger when he’s playing back there, and that gives the USA an extra guy in the attack. I wish he was a little more physical, but he’s actually doing a fair impersonation of at least a poor man’s Ashley Cole right now. Castillo isn’t quite as pacy but he’s got decent wheels and he’s SMOOTH…just highly, highly skilled, and the more he settles down the better he looks, and again, he’s very dangerous getting himself into the attack.

    Not ready to give up on Fabian Johnson as a left mid yet. I know he’s got that tweaked hamstring and you wonder if that’s limiting him. Like to keep giving him minutes and see if he’s capable there.

    Right side – who knows? Zusi is complicating the Landon Donovan question…you actually wonder if, when Donovan returns, if Klinsmann might be REALLY cheeky and put Landon at right back to see if he can get out of Donovan on the right side what he’s getting out of DMB on the left – that, or he might be tempted to slide Zusi to right back and see if he can do it. Evans is putting some real pressure on Chandler or Cherundolo but the goal aside, he’s not the threat DMB or Castillo are to come rampaging up the flank and get himself into the attack. My feeling is Timmy Chandler could be the odd man out if Cherundolo can ever get healthy again.

    Regardless, Klinsmann has come up with some interesting answers during the course of his tinkering. This USA team surely looks absolutely nothing like anybody thought it would at this stage – but to have 7 points and be tied atop the group, with our away matches at Mexico, Honduras, and Jamaica in the bag…well. I’ll take it, for sure.

    • Kingly Alexander says:

      I agree with you on every point u made about our left side, but one. Being that Beas has only a handful of experience in the back ans Johnson has that in Spades, I would just place Beas back up forward and Johnson backwards. Johnson’s a stronger 1v1 defender and would be just as effective overlapping with Beas except without the added pressure of starting out in an advanced position, where as Beas hasn’t any trouble getting himself going offensively.

    • Stever says:

      What I noticed during the game was DMB getting torched repeatedly, and we were lucky not to suffer the consequences. I like his work rate, and maybe he moves up to LM, but I’d prefer someone at LB who shuts things down more quickly. Given that F Johnson had to come off again, he may not be healthy enough to play the position.

      Cameron is probably the best choice to replace JJ, really too bad because in the last few games, JJ has made much better decisions with the ball, including several penetrating passes that have led to solid opportunities. Plugging Cameron in should allow Bradley to play in an advance position more consistently.

      Not sure who should go at RM; I don’t have a lot of confidence in E Johnson. Too bad we don’t have Dolo or Chandler, as that would allow us to play Evans up. Maybe B Davis?

    • ableton says:

      I think Klins would need to punish Timmy like he did Landon

    • TomG says:

      I think LD will slide to LM if he regains his form and Fabian will play LB.

  22. Tiny says:

    world cup lineup id like to see Howard
    chrondolo oguchi,cameron, chandler/ f.johnson
    donovan , jones, bradley, adu
    dempsey, altidore

    off the bench E.Johnson, Holden,Edu, Beasley, Bocanegra,Guzan,Torres

    • Kelso says:

      Haha don’t get your hopes up

    • scott47a says:

      Is this serious?
      I can’t tell. I keep thinking it must be a joke.

      I think more likely is
      Howard
      Dolo-Gonzo-Besler-F. Johnson
      Bradley-Jones
      Zusi-Dempsey-Donovan
      Altidore

      • MN Footie says:

        I’ll share your assumption that the original post was a joke, and agree with you on this lineup, though I wouldn’t mind seeing Dempsey more of a recessed forward than an attacking mid. (Though, at some point, that may be a bit of an artificial distinction, given how Clint plays, etc.)

        The only other question I have – and I’m in the minority on this one, I think – I would like to see someone else in J. Jones’ spot. I think that the way he and Bradley play are too similar, in that both are most comfortable the further back they are on the field, and, as a result, we often cede the center of the pitch. It would be nice if we could have one of the CMs playing a little further forward. That said, I don’t know if there’s anyone in the pool with the quality to do that. Holden? I don’t know.

      • DREAM says:

        +1

        perfect

      • beachbum says:

        make it a 4-4-2 with the same players, and you’ve got it I thinkl

    • Captain America says:

      literally that whole backline is a stretch, onyewu isnt what he once was. cameron might end up there

  23. Dos a Cero says:

    The brilliance of JK’s – Evans playing right back- came to light when J Jones went out and Cameron was inserted in to Evans slot,, Leaving B-Rad to roam the opposing penalty box

    • scott47a says:

      Evans is a decent header of the ball and a decent finisher.
      First choice for PKs for his club team.
      He should probably always be in the box on corners.

    • H-Town says:

      Except that Cameron slipped into Jones spot and Evans stayed at RB.

  24. away goals says:

    Knock JJ down half a grade for not taking a yellow for dissent on his way off the field after the concussion.

  25. Matt says:

    I wonder if any of these MLS guys are attracting attention for themselves overseas.

    • Kingly Alexander says:

      Zusi and Gonzalez I imagine must be. If brad Evans keeps it up I’m sure he could make a jump to a good league. I imagine he isn’t making more then 200 thousand a yr in mls

  26. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    Looks like JK has the US back to a 4-4-2. It looked that way against Germany and now against Jamaica. Glad he’s figured out that we don’t really have the personnel for a 4-3-3. If he’ll bring Donovan back to the A team, we’ll really be set.

  27. Eric Galaxy says:

    My heart skipped a beat when it looked like Sacha was going to replace Jones. Thank God that didn’t happen. We would have lost guaranteed had he replaced Jones.

  28. jbfour says:

    I think the relative grades among the players are fine. But I also think it’s silly to claim you’re rating them on a 1 to 10 scale and then have every single grade between 5 and 7.

  29. AH says:

    Bradley had his worst game in a long long time. He’s still one of the best players on the field for us on an off day, but it was definitely an off day. Hopefully he’ll bounce back strong.

    • TomG says:

      Completely disagree. Man of the match.

      • Bac says:

        Yep, in fact nobody has given him credit for keeping his cool when he caught a few forearm shivers and didn’t retaliate because he’s on a yellow… A younger MB would have gone after someone… he’s our MIP.. most important player

      • GW says:

        You can be Man of the Match and still not be up to your normal standards.

        • beachbum says:

          true. are you agreeing it was his worst match in a long time tho GW?

          • GW says:

            Beachbum,

            Are you more interested in your guy looking good and in a statistic and aesthetic sense ?

            Or do you want your guy to be a big reason why the team wins?

            The two are not necessarily related.

            Mikey has had games where he looks really good yet the US has lost.

            And last night Mikey looked , AT TIMES, just average and even shaky with giveaways and weak shots but wound up being the main reason for the winning goal. It seems to me that can win you a man of the match award as if Mikey gives a rat’s rear end.

            I think everyone forgets this makes two very hot and humid games in short order not to mention the Belgium game. Anyone who expects three perfect perfomances in a row from these guys is delusional.

            Most of this criticism comes from people who want to get to heaven but don’t want to die. Winning ugly is perfectly acceptable.

  30. Good Jeremy says:

    I can’t believe how strong our left side has become.
    I’m perfectly comfortable with either Johnson or DMB at LB, Castillo, Beasley, and Johnson have all looked good at LM/LW (minus Johnson last night), and Eddie Johnson has some serious wheels when Klinsy doesn’t want two interchangeable players. Donovan has been good on the left too but I can’t imagine him going back on that side. I remember the left side being a weakness for us since the beginning of time.

  31. Brian says:

    I give em all a ten… a ten… a freakin ten!

    I’ve still got wood.

  32. jacques says:

    Donovan is a more complete player than Zusi. He is faster and more technical. However, Zusi is giving his all for the USMNT right now and I’m not sure if Donovan is still up for it. If Zusi loses the ball, he will chase it down 100% of the time.

    • DREAM says:

      Play them both.

      —–Jozy——
      LD-Deuce-Zus

      • beachbum says:

        yep. for some reason your post wasn’t there when i posted below or I would have simply agreed with you

    • beachbum says:

      perhaps they can both be on the field at the same time?

      • GW says:

        And then what do you do if Shea gets back to his best?

        Do yourself a favor. Make up a 23 man list for Brazil . Evans’ emergence is making things real tight.

        • beachbum says:

          do yourself a favor and get off your high horse, if you can.

          as so often the case, your comment has nothing ot do with the discussion at hand

          • GW says:

            beachbum,

            Shea is one of the few players who we have not seen lately. Should he come back to anything like his best he directly affects this Zusi – Donovan debate.

            The fact that JK called him in to camp even though he did nothing at Stoke tells you that.

      • louis z says:

        I’ll agree that LD is faster, better at crossing, more experience than Zusi. Zusi is a better defender in the sense of physical play. LD is a finesse player that doesn’t like to mix it up. On paper it should be LD is better than Zusi but here is the problem, LD is not consistent, you really don’t know what you are going to get out of him from one game to another.

  33. Douglas says:

    How you can say Brad Evens had solid performance he got beat twice on the right side and if it wasn’t for Jamaica being so bad offensively the USA might have been down 2-1 going into the last 5 mins of the game. We can’t expect to be going into the WC with Beasley and Evens as our outside backs we will get burn. It might be OK in Concacaf but once we start playing clubs that have qualify for the WC it’ll be another story.

    • Ben says:

      Well, considering Evans is our third choice rightback behind Cherundolo and Chandler, I think he did decently. You go to almost any national team in the World and when they are down to their third choice at a position, they are going to have some struggles.

    • GW says:

      The US won

      Jamaica did not score off of Evans

      He scored the winner

      I don’t agree with MOTM awards. This was a team win.

  34. Joe A. says:

    I know this might sound weird but does anyone think that starting johnson over dempsey might be a feasible option for panama? Dempsey is still our biggest threat but I feel like these paticular games suit johnson better. Just an opinion.

  35. The hatr says:

    Geoff Cameron has ‘length’? What does that even mean in soccer?

  36. bold says:

    Brad Davis > Fabian Johnson

    • louis z says:

      ok? I’m sure you have your reasons, would you like to share it with us or should we just take a extreme wild guess.

  37. Jared says:

    I love love love Bradley but was disappointed with him overall until the assist. He turned the ball over too much. Rewatch the game. There were at least 5 or 6 really bad passes. He just didn’t seem sharp. Even when Bradley is not at his best he is vital for the US. But he does not deserve a 7.

    • louis z says:

      yeah, 7 was a bit generous but off night for MB is better than most other players good games.