USA 1, Costa Rica 0: SBI Player Grades

USMNTvsCostaRica (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

EAST HARTFORD, Conn.– On a night when the offense was always going to struggle to have success, and the match was always going to come down to one or two special plays, the U.S. Men’s National Team rode a handful of standout performances to their 1-0 win vs. Costa Rica on Tuesday night.

U.S. goalkeeper Sean Johnson turned in an outstanding night in goal, making a match-save stop just before Joe Corona, Landon Donovan and Brek Shea combined for a brilliant sequence on Shea’s game-winning goal.

There were several quality individual USMNT performances on Tuesday night, from those of centerbacks Michael Orozco and Clarence Goodson, and midfielder Stuart Holden, who played 90 minutes for the first time since 2010.

How did the rest of the U.S. players fare vs. Costa Rica? Here are SBI’s USMNT Player Grades for the Match:

USMNT PLAYER GRADES vs. COSTA RICA

SEAN JOHNSON (7.5). Made the key saves, including a crucial one before the U.S. goal, and commanded his penalty area excellently.

MICHAEL PARKHURST (6). Extremely active on the flank, and was kept busy by Costa Rica’s Kenny Cunningham. Wasn’t very effective on the overlap, but handled his defensive duties well.

MICHAEL OROZCO (7). A second straight outstanding match for Orozco, who is playing better than he ever has before for the U.S. He finished with the best passing stats on the team (completing 70 of 76 passes).

CLARENCE GOODSON (7). Was a force in the back defensively, and moved the ball well (completing 64 of 69 passes). A second straight strong outing vs. Costa Rica, which makes you wonder if we might see him get the nod come September.

DAMARCUS BEASLEY (5.5). Had his hands full with Costa Rica’s Rodney Wallace, which limited his impact on the attack. Handled the defensive role well, and shook off a pretty nasty knock to the head to the head.

STUART HOLDEN (6.5). Commanded the midfield in his first 90-minute match since 2010. Moved well all over the field to provide a consistent passing outlet for teammates and held up well amid Costa Rica’s defensive pressure.

MIX DISKERUD (6). Started very well but slowly faded and succumbed to Costa Rica’s constant pressing. Still a solid display in a starting role and very much has established himself as a viable starting option.

JOSE TORRES (6). Another player who enjoyed a strong first half followed by a less impressive second half, Torres was arguably the U.S. team’s best player in the first half. Pulled off some quality individual moves, and nearly scored a goal on a perfectly-struck free kick that produced an outstanding save from Costa Rica’s Patrick Pemberton.

ALEJANDRO BEDOYA (5.5). Didn’t stand out in his first start of the tournament, though he could have had an assist on his best pass of the match if Chris Wondolowski had finished. Seems unlikely to get another start this tournament.

CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI (4.5). Struggled to get involved, and skied his best chance of the match on a perfect pass from Bedoya. Costa Rica’s overloading defense left him little room to operate.

LANDON DONOVAN (6.5). Didn’t have the most active day, but once again he stepped it up in the second half of a Gold Cup match, delivering the vital assist on Brek Shea’s winner. Impressive finish for him after three straight Gold Cup starts.

JOE CORONA (6). Came off the bench to make an instant impact, with his intelligent pass to find Donovan a vital moment in the build-up leading to Shea’s winner.

BREK SHEA (6.5). Came on late and scored the winning goal, making a great run to put himself in position for the chance, and finishing it off. Great rebound after an awful match vs. Cuba.

HERCULEZ GOMEZ (NR). Never did get involved in his cameo.

————-

What do you think of these grades? Which grades do you consider too generous? Who do you feel deserved a better grade?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF Gold Cup, Featured, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

110 Responses to USA 1, Costa Rica 0: SBI Player Grades

  1. SanFran415 says:

    This last game showed that Wondo is simply not ready to face higher level opponents. I know he did not get as many services from the midfield, but we need a forward that creates chances and doesn’t just wait for service.

    • Josh says:

      That’s the most counter productive statement I’ve heard. If he doesn’t get any service, what do you expect him to do. It’s the same thing people used to blame Altidore for. No one on the US squad is going to be the Drogba or Ibra we can expect to do it all. When teams are playing with six guys on defense, it requires us to have good service and not just hope our one forward can take on the whole team.

      • SanFran415 says:

        Point still stands, no more Wondo against good teams.

        • Sergio of SF says:

          He was always going to struggle against a defense minded team like Costa Rica. They were playing with 5 defenders!

        • RobsterCraw says:

          no, no it doesn’t still stand. The US only won 1-0 against CR in WCQ. Should be banish all of them from the national team, too? Considering that we already know that Gomez being released from the squad to rejoin his club, that means that JK trust Wondo to at least deputize on this team in the knockout stages.

        • Jason says:

          We get it, you don like Wondo like Biff does not like Chandler. Can you get over it?

        • Gene says:

          ON the basis of one game? Altidore did not score for more than one year precisely because he was not getting service and was stuck as a lone striker.

      • alocksley says:

        In a match like this you are only going to get a few chances. You have to make the most of them, and Wondolowski did not.

        • Twomilerule says:

          Hey man, I agree! Also he did not create any chances on his own. A few times he came to the ball and quickly had a turnover! Dude cannot take defenders on away from goal and has no burst for separation in the box. Performance on the field predicates time on the pitch! US was vanilla on the wings with him making the same run over and over with crosses in front of goal . When the bus is parked what is wrong with finding the always open spot right at the 6 yard line? CR is a good team for the region and execute a very organized gameplan but nowhere near a Euro or S. American team. I know JK is making lemonade out of lemons at various spots

        • Left Wing says:

          I still say in the 70th min .. I bring on Wondo in 14′ over Gomez and I think that’s really the role they r playing for.

      • wandmdave says:

        Altidore got flack for more than just his lack of scoring. For a while he would give lackluster effort when pressuring the opponent’s D when we did not have the ball. His touch and his runs weren’t incredibly sharp either. I feel Wondo is the same way. His touch and his runs when he isn’t inside the 18 is just not that great and we need our forward to be able to do that to open up space.

        • Paul Miller says:

          Altidore’s movement has gotten better. First touch is still pretty much a question. But he seems to be the best striker we have, and it’s not like he’s a joke.

        • Gene says:

          Yes, he got flack, but he also got more than 1 game against quality opposition. And you can’t fault Wondo’s efforts.

          I am not saying he is our best striker. But he may well be a viable option for qualifiers and (may be) for a roster spot next year (assuming we qualify). I don’t think he clinched a roster spot on the basis of the first two games, but he sure as hell did not lose one by not scoring against CRC last night.

        • justin says:

          This

      • M says:

        He’s probably earned a few more looks, but in fairness he needs to expand his came a bit more. CR, if they even make the WC, would be comparable to about as easy as a match as we could expect in the WC. Our forwards will need to be able to more than roam around in the 18 looking to poach.

        • Shawn says:

          People act like CR has not ‘always’ played the US well. They have. Comparing rankings in matchups like that is pointless. It’s a rivalry game, and a game they have circles as much as we do Mexico.

          So no, it’s not comparable to the easiest match in the World Cup, because few teams are going to be as motivated to play us.

    • ATX_Colin says:

      +1

    • Mike E. says:

      Fake SanFran–the real one loves Wondo.

      Seriously though, who steals people’s handles on Internet forums. Are you 12?

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      When will people stop basing opinions off of 1 game?
      1st half hatter and he’s going to Brazil. 1 poor game and he sucks again…..

    • Old School says:

      They played 5 and sometimes 6 in the back. Service quality wasn’t the issue, service attempts certainly didn’t help but not every striker is going to score on a game to game basis.

      I’ve been one of Wondo’s biggest critics for not showing up at this level, while still respecting his quality for club. However, people jumping off the bandwagon this soon after finally getting on are a bit ridiculous.

      That’s not specific to you, SanFran, but I’m already seeing the trend start with SBI posters.

      Let’s be patient, see where we’re at at the completion of this Gold Cup. To this point, we haven’t even faced our toughest competition, presumably Mexico, to see the entire picture.

      He still has a lot to prove but for people to jump on the bandwagon and then to dismiss him based on one game is a joke. It’s the same personality type that’s suddenly praising Shea for 5 minutes of work. Stop living in the moment.

    • Mike R says:

      +1000000000000000
      Ives says that Costa Rica didn’t give him room but that’s seems like making and excuse for him. The guy had his chances not only did he miss but his chances were weak.He had trouble receiving passes. He is just not good enough against real teams.

      He may be viable if we ever have to play Aruba or Cuba again but otherwise just doesn’t have it.

      • Ives Galarcep says:

        Me stating Costa Rica didn’t give him room isn’t “making an excuse” for Wondolowski. It’s stating a fact. Nowhere did i say he shouldn’t have been able to create space for himself.

        • todd says:

          Ives,

          The US didn’t seem to know how to play a 4-2-3-1 formation that they started out in:

          1) whenever the US had the ball at midfield or in their own third, there were 5 attacking players pressed up against the back line of Costa Rica. CR was playing the offsides trap and the US was playing right into that. The 2nd half was exactly the same. Landon was guilty of it a lot. The attacking players were not checking back to the ball and receiving it in space. To me that’s why the US offense was pitful.

          2) The 2 US center mids (Holden and Diskerud) did not play well together. Defensively they were a mess: running around with their heads cut off, it looked like. It seemed like neither of them knew which one was going to go forward and which was going to stay back ever. They also played way too many balls back to the defense rather than pushing the ball forward or wide. So many times there was a great run made by Parkhurst or Beasley or Landon only to have Diskerud/Holden play with their head down, acquire too much pressure and play the ball back to Goodsen. You want to know why the passing stats were good? They didn’t play attacking football. Both center mids played very deep. Combine this with the likes of Landon et al playing really forward, and you get a lot of crappy backwards passes.

          • Ives Galarcep says:

            Costa Rica had a block of seven at all times, and a wall of five down the middle. Your suggestion that all they needed to do was simply “play attacking soccer” is pretty silly because it doesn’t take the bunkering opponent into consideration at all.

            This isn’t to say the U.S. couldn’t have done better, but your “solution” wasn’t realistic given the circumstances. We can agree to disagree.

          • DCUffda, says:

            I disagree with pt 2. A stagnant front line, no attacking from the right side and a only a few runs from the left with Torres leaning to the middle bogged doen the center – not Disk/Holden.

    • Dan says:

      Wondo is not ready? Wondo is not it period, he won’t be growing much from here on out. Wondo is not good enough for the nats and whoopdeedoo he scored some goals against lower level teams but against good opposition he couldn’t do squat.

    • Joe A. says:

      I think you’re failing to acknowledge the defensive play of costa rica.

      • Paul Miller says:

        So you make space. If things are clogged up top, try out wide or back deeper – anything. Forward is the position in which you can get away with the most, in terms of game plans and positional discipline.

    • jon says:

      I don’t think altidore would have scored a goal in this game either. Any center forward’s going to have a hard time scoring with 5 defenders back. HOWEVER, that was the sort of game where forward can have an impact by drawing defenders, holding up, and then bringing others into the attack, which jozy does much much better than wondo…

      That’s the problem with wondo – if he can’t score, he doesn’t contribute much else.

    • PedroVB13 says:

      Nobody is saying Wondo shouldn’t be on the WCQ roster. And he’s had a stellar ten days. However, taking all of his USMNT efforts into account, it is becoming clear that he doesn’t have the awareness or creativity to compete against the teams we will face in Brazil.

      I think he’s on the final XXIII, as a good 11v11 striker in training, but he’s not going to do the job on the pitch. Jozy, Deuce, LD and even Agudelo (if he extracts his head from his hole in the ground) have it.

      Wondo doesn’t.

      • Twomilerule says:

        Bravo! Although I don’t think he has a spot on the WC roster!
        By the way what was up with the fans pulling out the Brazil chant? Umm isn’t this the Gold Cup!

    • James J. McCormick says:

      One game does not prove anything. Just as a one game hat-trick does not prove Wondo is a superstar, one non-productive game doesn’t prove he doesn’t belong. All forwards need service; ask Jozy about that.

      I think Wondo should be on the team as a ‘sixth man’, i.e. coming in in the second half when US needs a late goal. He is an outstanding poacher, and I don’t mean that as a slight.

    • Mueller says:

      I disagree.. i think it more likely proves that he is better off as a substitute late in games when things tend to “open up” due to score and/or the defense getting tired.

      • Twomilerule says:

        How is Wondo a good second half sub? He has no pace to spring on a counter and if losing or tied the offense is already struggling? Also, he is not a target guy to hold the ball at the end of games. Most of his succes at SJ comes from running off of exceptional MLS target guys (Lenhart and Gordon) with glancing headers. His outstanding poaching skills would need to come from a number of shots on goal. When has the USMNT had the talent to get more than 10 shots on frame in a WC?
        Even Gomez with all his hustle and touch has struggled against quality opponents.

  2. bizzy says:

    Beasley has more than a 5.5 in my opinion, more like a 6.5…… “which limited his impact on the attack”? He shouldn’t be attacking, thats not his role. Beside he made some good/dangerous overlapping runnings on the left flank, while passing smoothly out the back and holding down his end of the field

    • Left Wing says:

      Agree. Beasley had some dangerous early runs/crosses. And didn’t really fail defensively. At least a 6

  3. ATX_Colin says:

    I was really impressed with Orozco, he was composed on the ball, great with distribution and solid marking and tackling . I like his sense of calmness. Not sure where he fits in the CB pecking order but would like to see more of him with the first team. Joe Corona is also impressing me, he brings something a ltille different to the table then our other attacking players.

    • SBl TroIl says:

      Hmmm you beat me to it, Colin.

    • Old School says:

      Orozco’s patience, athleticism and distribution is exactly why Klinsmann has routinely called him up, in favor of the brute force from yesteryear in Onyewu who continues to be awkward on the ball and with his distribution.

      It’d be really entertaining to go back and review all of the (negative) comments about JK’s roster selections and compare it to how well they’re starting to work out.

    • Joe A. says:

      A while back I was hoping orozco would get another chance with team. It’s nice to be proven right haha.

    • todd says:

      Orozco seemed like the only person on the US squad with energy for most of the game. It was really a lackluster effort by most of the US squad I think. I can’t believe Ives gave so many “high” grades.

    • Left Wing says:

      Yep. I’m glad to see another option entering into the CB mix. Orozco looks calm and solid. Goodson not looking like a baby deer. Gonzo might be 4 or 5 at this minute.

      It’s getting real tight 1-5 at CB. That might be why Klinsman brought the A group back in. Added chance for a side by side comparison.

  4. SBl TroIl says:

    Orozco’s been very steady at centerback. In fact, he might be a dark horse player not just to go to Brazil but perhaps even start. However, before that happens he needs to finish this tournament strong against teams that will pose an offensive threat.

    Also, it looks like Herculez Gomez is heading back to his club via Twitter. This could mean Alan Gordon or EJ come into camp as a target forward type.

    • Mike R says:

      If you said this a month ago I woulda said your nuts.
      But I’d rather see him now than Omar Gonz.

      Omar fails on the natl stage time and again and like Wondo still gets chances then they have one good game and everyone is like “I told you so” then they play against better competition and their weakness shows.

    • Beto says:

      Orozco has been excelent, but dont get ahead of yourself.. Besler and Gonzo havent been perfect but are both doing very well for first year national teamers. It will be interesting if one or both get called in for the qf’s

      Personally i think a dmb-besler-gonzo-orozco back line could do very well in the gold cup and maybe even qualifying

      • Twomilerule says:

        Beto, right on! Gonzo in the air is a factor against anyone on the planet. He does struggle with focus and with speedy players running at him. Although no Beasley! I put this on another Ives page “Beasley when he eventually played his way out of a roster spot on the USMNT. How can anybody forget when he messed up that corner agaisnt Brasil! Beasley is slight, poor balance, and overmatched against players with equal or greater speed, also stronger frames. At LB he is a temporary fix and a good reserve being able to play left wing. Also his offensive interchange on that side is valuable. However, stronger faster generally excels at winning time and Beasley is lacking. Two maybe three times Beasley lost Wallace on wide open unmarked runs but did not get service last night.”
        In short not a fan of Beasley but appreciate his sticktoitiveness.

  5. Beto says:

    Wondo had a good but ineffective game. Still makes a lot of great runs and positions well but just didnt have any room to do anything.. I agree he isnt my top pick vs top opposition but i think he should have more than a 4.5 and will likely continue to start in the cup run

  6. jlm says:

    where can you find statistics for the game? I see the stat about Goodson’s passing ratio.

  7. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    I think Run DMB should have a higher rating than Parkhurst. He was certainly more threatening throughout the match, and used his speed to great effect to get past defenders and send in some crosses. Parkhurst’s offensive forays were not nearly as effective.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      I rate defenders defense firs. On that criteria, it’s Parkhurst over Besley by a comfortable margin

    • Old School says:

      I think your description of your performance highlights why his rating was low/could have been lower.

      Not a single mention of his defensive responsibilities. I thought he was easily the weakest link on the backline.

  8. bizzy says:

    The game showed what I’ve been saying for the longest time…….wondo is to the USMNT as Chicharito is to Manchester United……a second half poucher, a cherry picker. The man without a whole lot of speed/dribbling ability, yet you can call in because he uses his skills, vision and positional awareness to get open and score goals. You cannot start him when the other team is fresh and full of energy but when they are at half tank or less during the last 20 – 30 mins of the game.

    • Jeff says:

      I agree with this. He is very effective when a defense is not completely organized, or has been moved around a lot by offensive pressure. If the D has other things to think about (or is just lousy or lazy), Wondo has a chance to be a real difference maker. Last night was not one of those games. He would perhaps have been better served to come in later in the game after they had been run a bit ragged by Herc.

    • Beto says:

      Agreed, thats where he should find his niche. Especially if EJ gets called in

    • James J. McCormick says:

      I not only agree, I posted a virtually identical comment just before I read yours, and the similar following comments ;).

  9. Andrew In Tally says:

    Hard to understand giving Parkhurst a better grade than Beas…Parkhurst’s offensive abilities are extremely limited and it showed. While I have been rooting for Wondo given his recent success, last night’s game does highlight his limitations. He’s not a player who can mix it up, take people on and torment a defense outside the box. And against great defenders who can position well, his poaching strength is not nearly as evident. The Shea finish reminds me of the Gold Cup final against Mexico in 2007 when Landon and Bease got a break away and Beas hit the crossbar from point blank range. Donovan does give us that fast break counterattack we have been missing. Still I am not sure I see him as an automatic starter for our next WCQ.

    • edmondo says:

      who would start about Donovan? I am a fan of Zusi, but Donovan is still better. That being said, they are both on the roster barring any unforeseen events.

  10. Jeff says:

    Something I have noticed for awhile, and that I think CR noticed and played on is DMB’s tendency to not trap well. Their right wing was just waiting for a semi-erratic ball to come towards him, and him to blow the trap. Fortunately, DMB has some recovery speed, but this is the sort of thing that leads to scoring opps the other way.

    • MidWest Ref says:

      I don’t think the inability to trap is limited to DMB. The USMNT always seems to have a few passes each game where the ball is passed (with pace) and the receiving player allows the ball to balloon up into the air with his first touch. Most of the time it doesn’t seem to put the player in a bad position, but often it leads to a loss of momentum and allows an opponent to close down space. LDonovan seems to do this a lot.

    • Twomilerule says:

      Spot on! He is a winger with too many oh sh*t moments when he realizes no one is behind him. His tendency to rely on his speed quickly gets negated whenever contact is made and he loses his balance or goes down. Playing LB his speed is constantly challenged by as fast or faster players.

  11. Travis says:

    I think this grade is a bit generous to Holden, I really thought his impact on the game was minimal. Not exactly shocking considering this is the most consistent playing time he has had in a while so his legs may be dragging but 6.5 seemed a bit high. Still have high hopes for him obviously but on the night did not think he was that good at all

  12. Brain Guy says:

    Johnson was in a perfect position to stop the header, but I still can’t tell if (1) he tipped it off the bar, or (2) it simply hit the bar instead of his hand. How did others see the replay?

    Also, what are the odds that CONCACAF will discipline the referee for blowing the red card call on the CR goalkeeper? I thought I heard that a CONCACAF official on TV agreed that it should have been a red, not a yellow, for intentionally handling the ball outside the area.

    • Paul R says:

      I actually went back and watched it frame by frame and he definitely got a touch on it before it hit the bar, however it may have caught the bar anyways.

      I think the ball popped up the way it did due to his touch.

    • MidWest Ref says:

      I can defend the ref on the yellow v. red card. Clearly a foul, and clearly warranted more than a free kick. I didn’t think the goalie had to move his hands much to make the “save” as the ball was coming directly toward him. Could he have let the ball hit him? Maybe. Second, there were two defenders in the goal box, and it wasnt a clear goal scoring opportunity. As a result, I think the yellow is defendable.

      • Dave80 says:

        My reaction watching it live on UniMas was RED. I have listened to a number of arguments here and elsewhere that the ball was right at the GK and there were defenders in the box, or that the shot was a long shot to be on goal. None seems to be true in the replays I can see here in the highlights:
        both of the GK’s hands are past his left shoulder, so it could have cleared his body – he had to raise them both and move to the left to block the shot
        the shot is more or less on frame, though the angle is not conclusive
        the one (not two) defender is only just inside the area at the time of the shot, not the goal box, and would not have been in the frame in time to touch the shot by Wondo.

        Therefore there is no way to soften it from a straight red card, IMHO.

  13. Nate Dollars says:

    re: sean johnson — ‘commanded his penalty area excellently’? i just did not see that.

    he seemed pretty shaky to me. he kept coming out for balls he didn’t get to, he fumbled at least one shot he shouldn’t have, and he didn’t seem to have great communication with his back line.

    i’m trying not to seem negative, because i think he’s very promising, he played well last night, and i think the mistakes i listed are to be expected for a young keeper, but i certainly wouldn’t have praised him for that.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      all that said, i would’ve bumped his rating all the way down to 7, and i’m still fine with him as motm.

    • Twomilerule says:

      Johnson has all the tools to be Howard’s replacement. However, can he put them all together on and off the field but most of get ninja at the right moments. Last night was his first big moment!

      • edmondo says:

        He is young which is good, but the US always has a lot of potential goalie contenders. However, I think Howard’s successor is clearly Guzan. Seeing he is only 27-ish. Guzan will be the next US #1 until he is about 35-37.

  14. Steevens says:

    Am I the only one that is concerned that LD simply does not show up in the first half of games since coming back? This has been true in almost all his games for LA and USMNT since returning, and is especially true against quality competition.

    His second half form is the Landon we all know, and many want back in the first team. But I don’t see first half LD as having earned a national team call-up.

    • alocksley says:

      Not buying this. It’s more a function of the entire US team being more of a second half team, making halftime adjustments. I have watched every Galaxy match, and am not seeing this. He has had some very energetic first halves.

      Even without this Gold Cup performance, he should be an automatic selection for the US team. Class players are few and far between.

    • jon says:

      he couldn’t make an impact in the first half as he barely saw any of the ball. once the game opened up, he pounced. if a small part of that is a grizzled vet preserving some juice and biding his time for the right moment, i’m ok with it.

      • Steevens says:

        I could maybe buy that argument if this had been a one-game occurrence. But this has been almost every game.

        First half LD hardly looks the grizzled vet biding his time. Or at least that’s not how I see it.

    • Bac says:

      To me it seems he’s got speed in space, has the legs to go 90, and has delivered quality assists…..has definitely earned his way back in the 23 ….. no doubt..

      He seems to be lacking the killer instinct in front of goal

      He had one nice finish and three penalties… and several wiffs

      If his confidence continues at the pace he’s on, he’ll be fine

  15. the original jb says:

    The rating for Johnson is miles away from what I saw. He made the one great reaction save late, and no doubt that was a pivotal moment in the match. However, I did not see a keeper “commanding” his box. I saw a very tentative and nervous young keeper flapping at crosses and sometimes not coming out at all when he should have been more aggressive. I completely understand because he is young and inexperienced, and its a great game for him to have under his belt. But to call him the man of the match is a stunner for me. And since I’m being a little critical, I will say that my man of the match was Goodson, who I saw leading the back line, being very vocal, and keeping all attacks bottled up before they could challenge Johnson.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Agreed here. A few too many tentative claims, dropped balls, sliced clearances and nervous moments for me to call him Man of the Match, particularly as he didn’t have a whole lot to do outside of one spectacular save. I’m glad he got a game, and hopefully this will help him put the Olympic qualifying debacle further in the rear-view mirror for him. But MOTM is over-the-top. I’d have gone with Goodson, as well.

  16. FINKEL says:

    Is anyone else wondering what the midfield will start looking like in the next round of qualifiers. Now with holden looking more and more fit I’m curious to see if JK will let him have a shot with bradley. i would really like to see a line up like this

    Jozy
    grahm zusi/Ej Dempsey Donovan

    Bradley Holden
    beasley—gonzalez—-besler—-RB(chandler/parkhurst)

    i think this formation would be exciting and defensively sound

    • alocksley says:

      i see Holden as more of a backup to Bradley, should anything happen to him. Bradley works best when paired with Cameron, who will stay deep, allowing MB to get forward in the attack. If paired with Holden, I think it limits both players natural tendency to want to go forward and contribute.

      • FINKEL says:

        Both to me seem to be box-to-box midfielders to me. I think they could compliment each other although i do agree that Cameron is a good addition to have. His game against honduras was fantastic and i did like his ability to really get stuck in but i want to see if bradley and holden could strike up a partnership, and if they could get an understanding i think the pair could be very dynamic. They both also have that fire that can win games and push team mates on in the dying moments of games

      • Big Red says:

        Cameron actually can play defense where Bradley cannot.

        • FINKEL says:

          Bradley can’t play defense? He is a defensive midfielder for Roma and is constantly cleaning up in front of the back four. He has great defensive positioning and gets countless interceptions of passes.

      • Left Wing says:

        I can see Klinsman playing with formations to get them all in.

        I really like Cameron deep. Holden and Bradley in front of him. Maybe Holden in the reverse of what paco does, playing on the right wing but pinching in.

        • FINKEL says:

          Maybe a narrow 4-1-2-1-2 would be worth a try it would look something like this.
          jozy donovan

          clint

          holden bradly

          geoff

          dmb———-gonzalez——–besler———rb

          if we can get dmb to be an effective wing back while still being defensively sound and the other rb to get forward as well at times i think this could be a viable formation. it all depends on how sharp holden is in the future for me and if he is able to beat out players like zusi.

    • James J. McCormick says:

      Agree completely with that lineup. I really want to see Holden play with Bradley rather than subbing for… I suspect we’ll get a peek at that before WC since we should have at least a game or two at the end of qualifying when JK will be free to experiment.

  17. CamRahn Bay says:

    I like it when Beckerman is not on the front line in these pre-match pictures. He looks like he is trying to pull everyone else to the ground and makes everyone else look so uncomfortable.

    link to soccerbyives.net

    Totally unrelated to quality of play, I like Beckerman, and am starting to like Torres now too.

  18. chris thebassplayer says:

    I would have given Wondow at least a 5. He had a near post header that would have been on goal but was blocked. Wondo is not a forward to be played as the point, especially against that stacked D. For him to be effective he needed more teammates in the box, so he can drift and get lost in the shuffle. That game was a worst case scenario for him. We need to see a few more games, possibly coming off the bench as a sub.

  19. Jose from the Bay says:

    much better team photo.

  20. Paul says:

    Ives, mostly in agreement with your grades. Made the trip to steamy Hartford last night, and here’s my thoughts.
    – Heat & humidity sapped the player’s energy. This after a short 2 day rest.
    – No striker in our pool would’ve had much success with CR’s bunker tactics. Wondo did the best with what he got last night. His only glaring miscue was misfiring on Bedoya’s setup.
    – Torres had more room to roam as CR also focused on Beasley’s runs. Torres opened space by a shift to the middle, splitting CR’s coverage. Nice work by Torres and the coaches.
    – Parkhurst was solid on defense. That’s his game. He’s not a threat to move upfield. CR collapsed on Bedoya, probably wary of his shot, and forced lateral passes. My first time seeing Bedoya play in person, and came away mostly positive. Good ball control in tight spaces, played within JK’s one-touch system, made smart passes. Good addition to GC roster, but unlikely to get to WCQ.
    – Orozco made another good impression. May be competing for PT with Goodson. Perhaps an option at outside back?
    – I thought Holden did OK against a quality opponent for 90 minutes. I can see the pairing with Mixx improving.
    – I gave Donovan high marks just for playing the full 90 again, for all three games. Yesterday was on 2 days rest, and he assisted on the goal. He’s earned his keep.
    – While Shea and Corona deserve credit for the goal, they joined the game against a tiring CR side.
    – No grade for JK? How about 8? Another new lineup, good tactics against a bunkering team, and another good showing.

  21. Godfrey Ingram says:

    Sean Johnson- didn’t the shot go off the bar? The best save he made was in the dying moments. I thought he was actually pretty shaky on corners.. Did not command his 6 well.

  22. KC says:

    I thought Parkhurst was awful, worse than Beasley…worst US player on the field in all honesty.

  23. FootballisKing says:

    isn’t it slightly early to predict whether Wondo goes to the World Cup. He is a strong MLS striker, and a solid B-C National Teamer. I think what happens more than likely is, Altidore, Boyd, Wood, McInerny, and even perhaps Aron Johannson are in the mix.

    A strikers job is to move off the ball, hold up play, and finish whatever chances he gets. Sure, service is important, but, you hear all the time about strikers finishing “half” chances, Wondo, just doesn’t seem to be able to put those away, but, he is improving, which is saying something for someone who is 29 years old

    • Gene says:

      I think this is a pretty reasonably take.

      I would only add that we currently don’t have that many people who can finish “half chances”, or something close to that, against good teams – Clint Dempsey and (lately) Altidore. Everyone else is more “iffy” as a finisher, including Wondo (who, I agree, is improving).

  24. Hush says:

    I agree with the player grades. Although I did see a hustling Bedoya with some strong offensive spark at times. Holden and Mix really couldn’t get anything going offensively, so I can’t put all that on Bedoya since CR did a great job on closing down on space. I take Bedoya over Zusi anyday imo.

    Wondolousy once again proves he can’t deliver when the team we’re are facing is somewhat decent. Mr. Bedoya put the ball into his feet and Wondolousy kicked out to aisle 10, section 22, seat 46!!SMH

    Orozco has been very impressive. I take him over OG and Besler… I would love to see Cameron and Orozco in the back. I believe it would be a fast and mobile combo.

    Shea still needs improvement, soooon! He got lucky that ball got passed the keeper. Just a horrible shot imo! I do hope the goal gives him some confidence going forward. There’s a reason why he plays in the best league in the world,.. now is the time to show us why he does in the next couple of games.

  25. Roberto says:

    I feel like Beasley is a little hard done by in these ratings. In the first half, he was very much involved in the rhythm of the game, I thought. His defensive lapses are something we’ve seen and are all aware of, and none of them led to real dangerous chances last night. Not his best showing, but was he really the second least effective player on the field?

  26. Elliott says:

    Ives. you may have done, but maybe you could do a people’s choice by position on WC squad periodically? list all the real conceivable alternatives and let the mob vote.

    we can argue wondo this or beckean that, but the proof in the pudding is when you, like JK, have to make a choice.

    this board argues analog when it should be arguing digital.

    capische?

    • Left Wing says:

      Haha.. and good idea. Three 23 for Brazil’s and line ups. Fans choice. Ives choice and Ives speculation on Klinsman.

      btw I was stoked to see the lineup yesterday as my fan choice.

  27. Elliott says:

    btw, a bunch our guys (mix, DMB especially) need to hit the weight machines.

  28. Jim says:

    Not feeling any love for my boy Gringo Torres. After Bradley’s departure and JK began giving JT playing time I was thrilled but it seemed that he had lost interest!!!! Too much drifting around, not finding the game. However, the player that I liked has finally returned. Some very nifty one-touch passing, great job of taking on defenders, and very consistent on his free kicks and corner kicks. However, to be most effective he needs a back to interact with and Castillo is better partner than DMB. I do think that Mixx, Holden and Gringo make a really skillful midfield trio. Would love to see moore of that.
    BTW — was everybody else thrilled ??? with Cobi’s commentary??????

  29. Tim F. says:

    Beasley, Diskerud and Torres are graded way to low vis-a-vis teammates.

  30. Shorty says:

    Is anyone else amazed that Beasley got up off the pitch? He took a solid knee, in stride, to the back of the head. After seeing it in replay, MY head hurt for the rest of the night. Hope he is truly OK and not just saying he’s good.

    Glad to see Holden back doing his thing. He will only get better.