USMNT World Cup Group Stage: Player Grades

Jermaine Jones

Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The U.S. Men’s National Team successfully navigated its way out of the Group of Death, but not without a number of key performances from several players.

Whether it was Jermaine Jones or Tim Howard or the silent-but-steady Kyle Beckerman, the U.S. received plenty of strong outings throughout its three Group G matches against Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Those quality showings helped the Americans not only reach the Round of 16 for the second consecutive World Cup, but they also silenced some critics who did not believe that Jurgen Klinsmann’s side had a shot of advancing into the knockout phase of the tournament.

That is not to say that all the U.S. players have played well. There have been some less-than-stellar showings, including from the likes of midfield ace Michael Bradley. But for the most part, the Americans have performed at a high level and they have a Round of 16 ticket to show for it.

Here are SBI’s U.S. Men’s National Team’s Player Grades for the 2014 World Cup Group Stage:

SBI’s 2014 WORLD CUP GROUP STAGE USMNT PLAYER GRADES

Tim Howard (6.5) – Has made a handful of strong saves and been good at commanding his box. An argument could be made that he could’ve done a little better job of getting bigger on Nani’s goal, but he’s overall been a stout leader at the back.

Fabian Johnson (6.5) – His defending hasn’t been the greatest, but it hasn’t been terrible either. Where Johnson has really excelled is in the attack, providing an outlet for the midfielders and adding width and an ability to send in a dangerous ball from the right flank.

Geoff Cameron (5.5) – His two gaffes in the Portugal game have overshadowed the strong performance he put in vs. Ghana in the opener. Yes, he was at least partially at fault for both of Portugal’s goals in the 2-2 draw but was also stellar playing next to two different center backs in the victory against Ghana.

Matt Besler (6.5) – He’s been a rock at the back for the Americans and was excellent in the 1-0 defeat to Germany. The only real issue he has had is his recurring hamstring tightness issue, which popped up in the matches against Ghana and Portugal.

DaMarcus Beasley (6.5) – No, Beasley has not gotten forward into the attack as well as Johnson on the right. What he has done better than Johnson, however, is defend. Some said he was a weak link vs. Ghana, but he held his own and never really got beat despite oddly slipping a few times.

Alejandro Bedoya (6) – Another blue-collared player whose contributions have been a bit overlooked. Bedoya hasn’t been spectacular on the offensive end, but that’s not his primary objective. The hardworking midfielder has been tasked with covering lots of ground and helping close down space, and he’s held his own in that regard.

Kyle Beckerman (8) – One of the unsung heroes of the Americans’ group stage, Beckerman has been exceptional at doing what is required of him. He’s broken up plays, moved the ball quickly and been very disciplined in his positioning in front of the back four.

Jermaine Jones (9) – The best U.S. player in this tournament. Hands down. He’s been arguably the best American in each of the three group games thanks to Klinsmann’s tactical deployment of him, hustling on both ends of the ball and looking every bit like a player who’s been waiting his entire career to play in a World Cup. His equalizer against Portugal was gorgeous and worth watching over and over again.

Michael Bradley (5.5) – Much has been made of his struggles, but the fact that he is playing further up the field is not being talked about enough. He’s a box-to-box midfielder being asked to play in a more advanced position, which is playing a part in him not living up to his usual high standards. His miss vs. Portugal was a bit surprising, though.

Clint Dempsey (6.5) – His 30-second goal in the 2-1 win over Ghana helped set the tone for the Americans’ successful ride in the group stage. Dempsey has fought hard and through a broken nose to fill in for the injured Jozy Altidore, and he continues to find good spots in the penalty area for teammates to find him.

Jozy Altidore (N/R) – Played only 21 minutes before being sideline with an injury that has kept him out of the tournament

Graham Zusi (5) – From the run of play, Zusi has not had the type of impacts that were expected of him going into the World Cup. He’s struggled to get involved and with a chunk of his set pieces, but has put in lots of work. His grade is helped by his two assists.

DeAndre Yedlin (6) – Yedlin has been a spark plug off the bench, providing some much-needed speed and fearlessness when inserted late in the games vs. Portugal and Germany. He helped set up Dempsey’s go-ahead tally against the Portuguese and also had some decent offensive moments against the Germans.

John Brooks (7.5) – Only has 45 minutes to his name in this tournament, but they were a very strong 45 minutes that included some solid defending – especially in the air – and a clutch game-winning goal.

Omar Gonzalez (7) – Stepped in against the talented Germans after receiving much criticism in recent months, and looked a lot like the player who was so sturdy for the U.S. in 2013. He has made a case for a starting spot against Belgium.

Aron Johannsson (5) – Johannsson’s only cameo came when he filled in for Altidore against the Ghanaians. He put in lots of work that night and made some good runs with and without the ball. Still, he never really threatened to find the back of the net.

Chris Wondolowski (5.5) – Made one late appearance against Portugal and was effective in his ability to maintain possession so as to try and kill off the game. He also pulled off a rare move on the dribble to impressively get by a defender near the sideline.

Brad Davis (4) – The veteran midfielder did not leave enough of an imprint as a starter in the Germany match. He helped out defensively at times, but like the rest of the U.S. in that defeat struggled to really find an attacking rhythm.

Timmy Chandler (N/R) - Has not played.

Mix Diskerud (N/R) - Has not played.

Brad Guzan (N/R) - Has not played.

Nick Rimando (N/R) - Has not played.

Julian Green (N/R) - Has not played.

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95 Responses to USMNT World Cup Group Stage: Player Grades

  1. futbolisimo says:

    Gotta agree: been really impressed with Beckerman and Jones. Beckerman has proven to be so shrewd and intelligent. Feels fair to say he’s been the cornerstone of the unit. Reminds me a little bit of Mastroeni. I lament things for Bradley too: being asking to play a role that just doesn’t fit. Has to be said that this illuminates USA’s running problem of producing the varying kinds of midfielders that elite teams have in droves.

    • Vic says:

      I disagree about Bradley. He’s had two turnovers that have led to goals. His passes don’t open much space for other players. If he plays in his traditional role, he is limited who can partner with. He needs a pure defensive midfielder that can stay back, like a Beckerman or Cameron. So then Bradley must play further up front and create. He’s not comfortable staying up and creating apparently nor does he want to stay back all the time.

      • futbolisimo says:

        I’m baffled by your comment. You seem to simultaneously contradict yourself. Can you elaborate a bit? Do you think Bradley should be in the squad? Do you think his play is the product of poor positioning and/or poor performances of those around him?

        • Vic says:

          I think Bradley has lost his confidence. I wasn’t a fan of him a few years ago, but he really raised his game and in the friendlies I thought he was our best player. However, it seems like he’s lost his confidence passing the ball. At this point, I wouldn’t start Bradley. However, I’m sure Klinnsmann will start him.

          • futbolisimo says:

            Agreed. It’s a bummer. He seems to be doing so much over-running. It’s hard for me to tell if that’s “running around like a chicken-with-its-head-cut-off” or covering and applying pressure because of teamates’ deficiencies. Wish I could watch one of the matches in person…

            • Smith says:

              The Bradley grade seems a bit generous. Yes, he’s being asked to play further upfield, but he has not responded well. He has played poorly. He’s a 4 or 4.5

              What is it about the Bradleys that prevents them from ever being criticized????

              • Shawn says:

                No one has covered more ground this World Cup than Bradley. He also completed more passes than anyone vs Portugal, for all the talk of the 1 he missed. So actually, a 5.5 might be cruel, except by his standards.

      • Big Red says:

        This comment makes perfect sense. He can’t be the guy to play with Jones because he isn’t disciplined enough to maintain shape and order in the midfield. As a Roma fan, I was so happy he left because he has no idea where he is on the field and doesn’t feel any responsibility to his teammates. He needs to be the guy who can sneak up on people when they aren’t looking. He can only make a tackle when there is a double team and only score a goal or an assist when he runs into the attack late. He is terrible when he has to be a focal point. His only skill is to play a descent long ball, something Americans love but he can’t now because he is too high up the field. He hasn’t changed a bit. He is predictable. This was how he was always going to play being slotted into attacking mid. And now, we know Beckerman and Jones are a better combo, which only leads to one conclusion: put him on the bench!!!!!!

        • futbolisimo says:

          Good stuff, harsh but very articulate. Like it.

        • Smith says:

          I support Red Bulls/metro, Roma and Ajax. I have seen Bradley play for two of those teams at various points in his career and I agree with you on every point. A very predictable, unimaginative player who is not very good at adapting to game situations or position changes.

      • Gunnerstahl says:

        By your own comment positive and negative he should have a 5.

        He’s not creative enough or dribbles well enough to be a playmaker, but you’re saying he shouldn’t play DM.

        Overall he is a box to box player with great long range passing and vision (defense and offense). Nothing more, nothing less.

        Like Jones, we need to figure out how to maximize him. Maybe we can’t maximize everyone using our current set up….

      • Shawn says:

        Bradley’s turnover leading to the Portugal goal is vastly overpubbed. There were 8 players behind the ball, so the team wasn’t ‘caught out’ by the play. CR ought to have been marked tighter. And there was no reason for Cameron to be on walkabout for Varela either. An argument could be made that Timmy should’ve come out for the ball as well.

        In the end, it was a moment of brilliance from CR7. Not the turonover.

        • Dennis says:

          That grade for Bradley is too low. He completed more passes than any other US player by far and is in the top 2 or 3 in pass completion percentage.
          His ability to cover so much ground supporting teammates and even chasing up front in the Germany game when the US was looking for a goal to tie, while it did not pan out, was tactically the smartest thing to do.
          He is the guy everyone else looks to when they are in trouble, without that, every other US player would have had more turnovers.
          I think too many on this site give too much credence to Lalas’ silly comments. After all, when Alexi says something, the opposite is more likely to be true.

    • Birgit Calhoun says:

      With another referee Beckerman might have been given more yellow cards if not a red card. He needs to be careful with his aggression.

    • Dean in Jersey says:

      +1
      I was worried going in with Jones’ occasional errant passes but he makes up for it in hustle and the big goal. At some poinI would like to get the Wondo-Beckerman or Diskerud-Beckerman out there for part of the game and create more offense like in qualifying. Wondo at 100% trumps Altidore at 70% if tey get some service.

      • Dean in Jersey says:

        My +1 was intended for the initial post by Futbolisimo. Impressed with both Beckerman and Jones.

      • Nate says:

        Wondo did not play in any qualifiers. Would definitely take a 70% alitdore over wondo simply for the freeing effect it will have for Bradley.

  2. Paul Terry says:

    Back pass Beckermann got an 8, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

    • Increase0 says:

      I responded to a later comment of yours. I just noticed that you posted this as well. I’m gunna guess that disagreeing with you is pointless.

      • GW says:

        John Terry’s mentor and role model.

        Paul is his little known older brother who helped mold the character of the man all fans know and love today.

    • PetedeLA says:

      Forward pass Gerrard would probably get a 6, and look where England are.

      He’s done an excellent job of helping out the defenders, and maybe shrewd passes.

      It’s interesting to see how the German press rates our players.

      When I see Beasley’s name they use the word, “uberfordert” (unable to cope). But we have no better alternative.

      • PetedeLA says:

        They also rate Jones very low, as his passing has actually been average at best. And aside from his goal, his technique has looked poor.

        But he’s been a beast on the defensive/covering ground end.

  3. Paul Terry says:

    The only way this team improves offensively in the absence of Altidore, is by taking Beckerman out, moving Bradley back with Jones and inserting Mix in the starting line up.

    • Jesse D says:

      Not the biggest Mix fan, but I do agree that the offense is broken. The games are not pretty to watch. Even the Bob Bradley counter attack approach looked significantly more dangerous.
      Beckerman has played his role well, but tactics using him won’t lead to the US scoring many goals. Essentially playing him amounts to “pray they don’t score” and at some point in time we get lucky on the counter.
      It might be the best strategy we have as we are short on talent compared with teams like Belgium. Just please, for goodness sake, please spare me how far this country has come as a soccer nation in the past 4 years. We aren’t playing the game any prettier and we got 4 points instead of 5 in the group stage.

      • Paul says:

        Four goals in three games isn’t ‘broken.’ And that’s not even taking into account the fact that this was four goals in the group of death.

        I realize we’re not lighting it up, but when did we ever?

        • Jesse D says:

          Of all the teams in the knock out round only Greece and Nigeria scored less goals. There are a number of others that scored 4 as well. It’s the lack of opportunities that worries me. Other than Bradley’s miss, I can think of many solid opportunities that we’ve missed. Usually we have a couple goals and a plethora of opportunities. That gives us hope that we will start to convert some of those. When we are completely dominated and defending all the time, the only hope is to catch teams on the counter, but we don’t have the speed to do so. The offense hasn’t looked good.

          • The German says:

            And you were counting on the altidore to add goals? Ask Sunderland how that worked out for them !

      • Shawn says:

        I didn’t see a Slovenia or Algeria in this Group Stage for us to attack all-out against, either.

        Figure that into the discussion. Injuries wrecked our gameplan vs Ghana. And we had the game by the scruff of the neck for most of the 2nd half against Portugal. The only match we didn’t go hammer-and-tongs was Germany.

        • Jesse D says:

          There was a very week Ghana defense, and a beat up Portugal defense. There was a German team with no speed on defense.
          If you don’t at least try to create opportunities you can’t win (even the Greeks played more attacking soccer than we did against Germany). I’m generally disappointed with the lack of opportunities created. At least if Jozy was out there he would feel comfortable because we look a lot like Sunderland.
          We made it through. I’m very happy about that. I just think we need to change something if we want to win, and if we want to attract more American’s to the game.

  4. Vic says:

    I think Dempsey deserves a higher grade, he’s had two crucial goals, don’t think we would have advanced without him. Also deserves praise for playing with a broken nose and contributing.

    • J. Thomas says:

      Dempsey should be the second-highest player ranked just behind Jones. The idea that Omar Gonzalez gets a better grade than the guy who had two of our three goals and was involved in just about every positive forward attacking move…it’s just not representative of reality.

      • Jesse D says:

        Dempsey has disappeared for long stretches of games. Too much is being asked of him as the lone attacker, but that doesn’t mean we just give him a good grade. The grade was fair.

  5. Amur says:

    I think klinsmann’s tactics have been pretty spot on, but I also believe he really screwed up the roster selection. Mainly it’s the lack of subs for our CM’s, why bring mix or even green for that matter when it looks like neither one of them is going to play a single minute this World Cup. I would not be surprised if that’s what does us in this tournament.

    • Vic says:

      I agree with that. Against Germany, if you’re going to play counterattack you need some fast wingers. Would be better off to have Castillo and Donovan on the wings, rather than Zusi and Davis who are both slow. Also, we needed a target forward backup for Altidore. Eddie Johnson or Boyd should have been called. I also think Beasley deserves alot of praise. Don’t remember the last time he was resposible for a goal. Also I think people are too hard on Cameron. He had one gaffe, it wasn’t a mental gaffe, the ball simply went off the wrong side of his foot. Fabian Johnson was responsible for the goal against Ghana and Johnson was the closest player to the Portuguese guy who scored.

      • Amru says:

        +1 I think people have been to hard on Beasley and Cameron. Beasley has been solid and people don’t give enough credit to Cameron for his distribution out of the back, he and Besler are a big reason why we were able to keep possession so well against Portugal

        • Jesse D says:

          Beasley has been okay in the last two games, but he really struggled against Ghana.

          • Big Red says:

            +1000000

          • MidWest Ref says:

            everyone struggled against ghana

            germany struggled against ghana

            • Jesse D says:

              Not everyone struggled against Ghana. Several players had very good games. Beasley in my opinion had the worst game of all the US players. He was significantly better against Portugal but did play a role in allowing the final goal.

          • Dennis says:

            You do know that Ghana attacked up their right side dearly 9 times out of 10 in both the US and Germany games. Despite Beasley being attacked mercilessly, he held up vs Ghana and held them to sending in crosses from too far out to beat the central defense. Had he let them get to the goal line and cross back low and hard that would be another thing, but he did not and he scarcely let Ghana get behind him at all.

      • Johnny says:

        Disagree completely regarding Beasley. He got torched against Ghana several times, and both Portugal and Germany seemed to be able to make crosses at will from his side. I would really much rather see Fabian at the LB spot.

    • Paul Terry says:

      No they haven’t. If they have been spot on, we would’ve qualify after Portugal. Don’t you remember the Gonzo sub and the “everybody move up” instructions. Klinsmann has been a 50/50 coach in this WC.

      • Increase0 says:

        “everybody move up” instructions made no difference except to make sure our defensive line wasn’t inside the box which you don’t want.

        Go back and look at that goal. It’s not like people aren’t there to defend.

        • Paul Terry says:

          Actually, I did want everybody inside the box so that somebody would’ve put a head to that Ronaldo cross, instead of everybody backpedaling like chickens with their heads cut off.

          • DCUPedro says:

            There were people in the box. But if you drop your lines too far back you give that attack too much space to operate in.

            We had the numbers to defend, but Cameron was ball watching. That is the only analysis you need.

            • Shawn says:

              Exactly. Though I don’t know what Omar was doing in the game there. Because he wasn’t marking a player, and he wasn’t clogging the middle. Every time we’ve gone 3 in the back w/ Omar, he gets lost.

              But I think that has more to do with him than Klinsmann. Still, Omar played a man-sized shift vs Germany. And ultimately, Varela was Cameron’s mark. It’s his fault, if anyone’s.

      • Amru says:

        You’re right but I think he only makes that sub because he doesn’t have faith in mix to come in and help kill the game off which begs the question why bring him in the first place? A player like edu or ream would have been a better choice off the bench

  6. squirt-lover says:

    What do you all think JK’s rating is?

    • Paul Terry says:

      5/10

    • futbolisimo says:

      For me higher, I really think that advancement out of the group is the product of tactics, not really player performances, with exception of Beckerman, Jones & Howard, so credit to Klinsmann – 8.5/10

      • Paul says:

        I’d put it at 7. There’s been some solid coaching but also some head scratchers, starting with some player selections. In the end, if the team progresses the coach gets some benefit of doubt with that – and 7 is a generally good grade.

        • Shawn says:

          His player selections were right. Every sub he’s made, except Omar at the end of Portugal, has been spot on. Donovan wouldn’t have added what Yedlin did in the end of the Portugal and Germany games. So we can bury that meme.

          His gameplan against Ghana was good, until the injuries destroyed it. His gameplan against Portugal was just about flawless. And a 1-0 defeat to Germany isn’t shame.

          He’s earned a 8/10. The team has responded to him, and they’ve rallied as a group around who’s there. You can ask ‘who wasn’t there’ from a talent point, but you can’t from a chemistry point. And the second is ultimately more valuable.

          • Bac says:

            Good post Shawn
            Even the late Omar sub is debatable. If JK put him in and told him to stay back then that was on Omar (as far as his positioning)
            If he told him to sit in front of the back line then that was a mistake and it’s on JK.
            We really don’t know because JK doesn’t discuss stuff like that, so we’re left to rely on the commentators or our own assumptions.
            Either way- we’ll said…

            • chris says:

              Its not the fact that Omar didn’t perform. Its the fact that JK removed the LM and left beasley exposed to put on another CB. A like for like replacement for Zusi would have been there to press Ronaldo and thwart the cross

        • Lopper says:

          +1. Agreed to a 7 for Klinsmann

    • squirt-lover says:

      Girls just wanna have fun-uh-huh. Girls just wanna have fun. Dang. Love that song.

  7. Derrick says:

    It’s not easy to defend well when fabian Johnson has to go against gyan, Ronaldo and Ozil then hazard.

    • Paul Terry says:

      Poor excuse; try another one.

    • Paul Terry says:

      See, this is the kind of Hollywood attitude has been plaguing our teams for millennia. In Mexico there would be an outrage of sorts if Aguilar would come out and say that he could not defend because the opposing team player was a world class act playing in a top club in Europe. That’s what you implied, right?

  8. Yusef says:

    No Green, Mix or Chandler during the group stage. Young guys who will be around for a while.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Or maybe they’ll never make another world cup squad. Chandler is an average Bundesliga fullback who can’t be bothered to show up half the time for the USMNT, Mix is a benchwarmer in Norway (though he has played pretty well in his USMNT appearances) and Green has played two minutes above the fourth division and is by no means a sure thing. No need to worry, there’ll be others if these guys don’t make the grade.

  9. Ga1atic0 says:

    If we’re down or up 3-0 with 10 minutes to go I see Green going in just to get some experience and help out those tired legs. Yedlin to me should be given more time on the field based on what he’s shown so far. He’s quick and speedy and creates problems.

  10. mike says:

    Howard gets a 6? This is lame.

  11. espada says:

    I think the loss of Altidore affected Bradley’s game from a tactical standpoint. He’s been running way more than other players in the tournament in those confitions, so that could be why he looks out of it. Kinda worried about that.

    • Shawn says:

      Agreed on both counts. The injuries in the Ghana match especially destroyed attacking chemistry. Portugal statistically, he didn’t play badly at all. But everyone focuses on 1 play 60 yards from his own goal w/ 8 players back.

  12. hawaiinate says:

    I don’t completely understand the rave reviews forJermaine Jones.
    he has been very good to excellent defending, but on the attack he is still trying to run through people and his passing might be the worst on the team. In terms of giveaways he is just as bad if not worse than Bradley. If we are really having a conversation about the team’s ability to hold possession, I believe Jones needs to be held accountable. With that said, he has had some great moments offensively and his defending again has been great, I just think we aren’t being completely honest about what Jones is and what he isn’t.

    • Dennis says:

      The statistics say that Jones is unequivicably worse than Bradley in completing passes.

      Pass completion percentage Bradley Jones
      vs Ghana 75 49(lower than all but Altidore’s 3 out of 7)
      vs Portugal 87 74(lowest on team)
      vs Germany 85 75

      Like you rave reviews are over the top. He has been his usual bulldog self, but he still tries to pull off too many plays that are beyond his skill level, hence the poor pass completion rate.

      • Dennis says:

        Also, Beckerman has let the team in pass completion percentage in each of the three games, usually 2 or 4 % points above Bradley who was either second or third.

        • Dean in Jersey says:

          good reason to allow Beckerman forward more on a rotating basis to work his magic like he did in qualifying and at RSL.

  13. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Beasley is like 4. Beasley got destroy by Ghana and Germany both failed to scored on USNT because Beasley isn’t really leftback (or built like one).

    Bradley is also a 4. Bradley has fail to charge of the midfield,too many bad passes, and that huge mistake against Portugal.

    • Dennis says:

      You do know that Bradley completed more passes than any other US player and is in the top 3 in pass completion % among the starters in each of the 3 games. Please, you are welcome to your own opinion, but not your own fact. For example in the Ghana game, arguably the game in which the opponents defended the hardest, Bradley completed 75% of his passes while Jones completed just 49%.

      Lossing the ball while surrounded by 3 opponents 60 yards from goal and with at least 6 teammates in positions to defend is hardly a big mistake! Really, get it straight or shut up.

      • Dean in Jersey says:

        +1
        Get Badley some relief in the Belgium game with spells of defending duties. When it’s his turn forward, the Bradley we knew in qualifying will retun. Altidore back could help also, but I’d rather use Wondo if Altidore is not 100%.

    • Johnny says:

      +1 regarding Beasley. I’m curious to know how many crosses come from the left vs the right.

  14. Matt says:

    To suggest that John Brooks has been “better” than Fabian Johnson is patently absurd. The entire offense has moved through Fabian. I’m fine with Brooks getting a 7.5, but that means that FB gets at least an 8.5.

    • BrianVT says:

      Yes. It almost seems like they rushed these grades out — like they graded each player on his individual merit, and then forgot to go back and cross-check how they graded them relative to each other. There is no way that a guy who subbed for 45 minutes (even though he scored a goal — HUGE CREDIT for that) gets a higher mark than the guy who has been our offensive focal point for the full 270+.

    • john says:

      Johnson has been great offensively, but a defensive liability. Both Ghana’s and Portugal’s equalizers were due to his lax marking and/or communication.

  15. sethiepoo says:

    John Brooks deserves the “Best Thing Since Sliced Bread” award

  16. PD says:

    Are we forming grades on players based on what we expect them to be doing or on what they’ve been tasked to do? It seems to me that Bradley, Zusi and Bedoya have been tasked with relatively thankless roles that require a lot of running and grinding it out. Beckerman is getting props because we have a clear expectation of what his role is and don’t secretly tern for him to be doing something else… kind of like when Jozy would get flak for playing as the holdup man when that was exactly what JK had been tasking him to do. Anyone who ever expected that Bradley would be given time and space on the ball like he had against Turkey or Nigeria wasn’t giving our opposition enough credit. That said, of all three of the players I mentioned, he is the one that does need to find a way to raise his game and do more when he has space. And Zusi’s corners need to improve a bit as well. SO I guess what I’m saying is that while I don’t think these players deserve 9’s, I think a big part of why they have been underwhelming offensively is because 90% of the game plan has been focused on defending as a team. We and Greece are the teams that represent anti-football in this tournament right now. It’s not what I want stylistically, but it’s getting us where we need to be given the resources we have and what we know the opposition is throwing at us. That in itself merits more than 5’s

  17. Tom says:

    Besler has been better than Omar, despite Omar’s good display vs Germany.
    You are right about Bradley being a b2b asked for playmaking. I’d give him a 6.
    Otherwise, I pretty much agree.

  18. The Squad says:

    Love this feature….

    Great idea to rate players following Group stage competition

    But this is the World Cup baby…

    There are individual plays that set the tone and change outcomes…

    Zusi’s scramble pass to Dempsey’s stomach for a game changing goal..

    Dempsey’s early game goal that set the tone and gave the US confidence moving forward..

    Omar Gonzalaz’s quick reaction clearance at the end of the Germany game that essentially sent the US through…

    Countless huge plays by Howard, Beasley and a host of others…

    Its time.. all you have to do is make one play…

  19. Just saying says:

    The wrong one is Yedlin. He should be an 8 the amount of minutes played should not be an high variable in the equation since he’s contribution has been a very very important one. His quality of play outweighed his quantity of minutes played. Omar should be an 8 as well he’s timing was impeccable he’s position was amazing. Other then that I feel like sbi grades are 80 percent correct.

  20. stanson says:

    Why don’t you grade from on a scale of 1-4? You’re not going to use the full range of 1-10 ever.

  21. dan says:

    Sorry but Gonzalez was amazing against Germany and deserves a better grade than given.

  22. Birgit Calhoun says:

    Since Wondo participated only less than 10 per cent of the game he should get a grade of least a 7.5 against Portugal. He did everything he war required to do. Yedlin should be chastised for not centering the ball for Wondo. It is imperative that the team helps to win. Yedlin played well but he played to make himself look impressive. The US game needs to practice playing possession, and that is what Wondo did. He deserves to be given more time to show what he can do.

    • Dean in Jersey says:

      +1
      Wondo is best when the US players around him anticipate his next move. In his own words, when he receives the ball with his back to the goal, he is less apt to turn and shoot like AJ and more likely to dish, cut, and pray for the ball back. Bedoya, Mix, Beckerman and Bradley have all been on his wavelength. So was Donovan … oh well.

  23. Dean in Jersey says:

    Bradley is drawing groups of defenders and isn’t doing as well in tight spaces. By the last 25 minutes he is usually spent. Rotate Jones, Beckerman, and Bradley at least 2x during Belgium to give each of them time for forward playmaking. Let Bradley sit in Beckerman’s spot in front of the back line for about 20% of the game.

    Did you see Beckerman set up Wondo in the Gold Cup for scores off of his head? Did you see him distributing the ball all over the field with wow factor precision for RLS up to the MLS finals? He was doing this in Qualifying leading up to S. Africa with pin point distribution. The fact that he is showing it now from the back isn’t what is surprising. Bradley Sr. blew it by leaving him off of the S. Africa 2010 roster. With him out there, we go past Ghana minimum. Now let him shine more in Bradley’s current role for part of the Belgium game.

    • Dean in Jersey says:

      typo:Real Salt Lake, not RLS

      Concerning the tug on Sweinsteiger’s shirt, I can only hope the referee saw the whole play which started with he German itaking advantage on the break by using his forearm to push Beckerman’s neck back. At that point the shirt pull to slow the German compensated and they were even. No yellow card on either in my opinion. Twellman overreacted in the commentary likely because he didn’t see the 1st foul.

  24. ThaDeuce says:

    Howard should be higher.

    Are we sure chandler hasn’t played? I must have hallucinated that late game sub.

    • Dean in Jersey says:

      There was a shot of Chandler moving around on the sideline in Game 1 as if he were coming in but Beasley is a workhorse and hasn’t left a minute. I’d give Beasley 0.5 higher on the grade.

  25. EastBayGrease says:

    Zusi delivers a driven, pinpoint corner after only being on the field for a few minutes to set up the game winning header vs Ghana. He has the composure to find Clint out of the corner of his eye in the dying minutes to help take the lead vs Portugal. Those assists got us through the group stages. If Zusi was on the finishing end and not the creating end of those two goals, would he still receive a 5.5?