USMNT 1, Czech Republic 0: SBI Player Grades

Joe Gyau

Photo by Thomas Eisenhuth/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

A young U.S. Men’s National Team went into the Czech Republic and came out with a shutout victory, and there were plenty of impressive individual performances along the way.

From veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando to debuting youngster Joe Gyau to midfielder Mix Diskerud, there was no shortage of strong outings from American players in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory in Prague. Efforts like those combined with an Alejandro Bedoya goal in the first half paved the way for a U.S. win on European soil, and Jurgen Klinsmann likely took away many positives from the first match of the new four-year cycle.

It was not all good, however. Brek Shea’s accumulated rust was apparent during his second-half cameo and Joe Corona failed to make his presence felt despite starting the friendly.

Here is a look at how all the Americans fared on Wednesday vs. the Czech Republic:

USMNT 1, Czech Republic 0: SBI PLAYER GRADES

Brad Guzan – 6. Did not have too much to deal with, but was solid when tested from afar.

Fabian Johnson – 6.5. Got forward well to provide an outlet for teammates, pressed high when the U.S. didn’t have the ball and showed his usual silkiness on the ball. Still, there were a couple of occasions where he got away with some casual defending.

Michael Orozco – 5.5. The Puebla centerback put forth a defensively-sturdy 45 minutes in the first half and also helped the U.S. build out of the back with his passing before making way for Tim Ream at halftime.

John Brooks – 7.5. At the front and center of several key defensive plays, Brooks stood out as a cut above the rest of the U.S. defenders. He made a number of timely interventions, showed plenty of composure on the ball and looked confident, even taking an early shot from distance in the first half. He was part of a U.S. back line that surrendered a number of chances in the second half, but the flurry of substitutions played a key role in that.

Timmy Chandler – 5.5. Like Johnson, Chandler did a good job of joining in on the attack and showed some nice ideas in the final third. His final balls from the left flank were a bit of a letdown, however.

Mix Diskerud – 7. Started slowly, but settled into the game and came away with a strong shift that showed he can play deeper and cover for marauding fullbacks if need be. Diskerud came off in the second half, but only after pouncing on a loose ball that helped set up the Americans’ winner and showing he can serve as the link between the back line and the attack.

Joe Corona – 4.5. Had a chance to make a serious claim for more looks going forward, but was not able to capitalize. He looked lost in an ineffective three-man midfield deployed by Klinsmann before being subbed off in the 63rd minute.

Alejandro Bedoya – 6.5. Was in the right place at the right time to score the 39th-minute winner off a rebound, and put forth his usual blue-collared effort by making plenty of runs into space in the opening half.

Joe Gyau – 7. Gyau enjoyed quite a debut. The 21-year-old winger was fearless and not overcome by the moment, using his explosive speed and craft dribbling moves to motor down the right flank. He faded a bit in the second half, but still was one of the better U.S. players in this one.

Julian Green – 4.5. The teenage sensation showed a willingness to go at defenders but was not able to successfully pull off any moves. He looked lost during large stretches of the match, and hit a poor pass in the first half that the Czechs almost capitalized on. Additionally, his corner kicks were not well taken.

Jozy Altidore – 5.5. Serving as the point of the attack, Altidore was forced to hustle and use his hold-up play in order to make an impact. He also used his body well to draw fouls and ward off defenders, but he had no real scoring chances on goal because he was starved of service.

Nick Rimando – 8. The U.S. hero. He came on to start the second half and made a string of stunning saves to thwart several promising Czech Republic attacks. His customary quality distribution was also spot on.

Tim Ream – 5.5. Ream looked good in his return to the U.S. fold, but had a tougher 45 minutes to deal with than Orozco given that the Americans lost their rhythm a bit following the slew of substitutions made by Klinsmann.

Brek Shea – 3. Struggled make an impact after coming off the bench, which is not surprising when considering the lack of playing time he has had this entire year. The sharpness just was not there and neither was his decision-making.

Greg Garza – 5.5. Earned his first cap with the U.S. as a substitute and held his own defensively at left back, though he looked to have some trouble when challenged for pace.

Alfredo Morales – 5.5. Provided some much-needed bite in the midfield and connected his passes. Was shown a late yellow card for a smart foul near the sideline that killed a Czech attack that could’ve proven dangerous.

Emerson Hyndman – 6. Another debuting player who showed promise, the 18-year-old Hyndman showed some of the smoothness on the ball that has seen him start some games for Fulham this season. He had one bad pass at midfield that he shouldn’t have played, but showed tremendous poise to hustle and win the ball back shortly after.

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What did you think of the individual performances in the USMNT’s victory against the Czech Republic? Who impressed you? Who were you disappointed by?

Share your thoughts below.

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58 Responses to USMNT 1, Czech Republic 0: SBI Player Grades

  1. Francois says:

    I think your grade of Green was slightly harsh. He looked good at times with the ball at his feet, and made some nice passes and moves out of tight spaces that gave glimpses of why he is considered a top tier prospect. He, like Gyau, faded horribly after 60 minutes. I think that is partially down to lack of first team minutes for them, as the pace of the international game is much quicker than the lower divisions of Germany.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      agree. i thought green and gyau were about the same, maybe .5 apart from each other.

    • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

      I disagree. Green was lost. He has the athletic skills, you just wonder if he will “get it”

      • Alex H says:

        G and G’s late game fade can also be attributed to the fact that the starting midfield was subbed off after 60′.

      • The Squad says:

        “Get it”

        What? The 18 yo player whose primary reason for seeing the pitch is acclimation..

        This was a glorified scrimmage…

        Perhaps more valuable to the Czechs for a number of reasons but a scrimmage no less…

        Bedoya found space… Mix was aggressive… a goal was scored..

        Rimando made a few stops.. the Czechs miffed some stuff….. the USMNT posts a win on the road

        Green did some things well some not so well..

        Its a scrimmage following the World Cup..

    • CroCajun1003 says:

      I think you’re focusing too much on his time on the ball. On the ball he was alright. Off the ball though, he was a tactical liability.

      Green’s inability to make runs, hold the ball, or threaten on the left forced Altidore to drift left into a CAM role for much of the game. This caused the offense to sputter many times.

      Green did manage one good play where he ran to the endline and put in a cross.

      The kid’s got loads of ability but he’s not quite ready for primetime.

      • Francois says:

        Completely agree with your last sentence, and the overall point. He’s not quite ready for the show, but he has all the tools of a future star, now its just up to him to get more first team minutes and reps to continue his development trajectory.

      • sean357 says:

        One thing I liked was he seems to want to defend. Some kids like him think that isn’t their job but he was pressing people and had a few take aways. Think Bayern has been good training for that (see how Robben started defending the last few years). His defensive liability is trying to put in an offensive ball that can turn into a counter attack instead of being smarter, hopefully with game time he will figure that out.

    • Josh D says:

      Agreed. Green never really lost the ball and played some neat passes. He did lose the plot in the second half, but he was also asked to play a different role, tucking in far more. Giving him such a low score and giving Gyau such a high one is poor.

      As the stats master Armchair Analyst pointed out, Gyau only had THREE forward passes and NONE of them were in the final third. Sure Gyau gets bonus points for confidence, but if we’re looking at pure production, Green wins out.

      • GW says:

        These 11 players have never played together before.

        Under the circumstances most everyone did fairly well.

        Gyau looked nicely aggressive but all that dribbling led to very little that was dangerous. A player like him needs to either end with a dangerous pass or a dangerous shot and there was little of that.

        Green is apparently used to being on teams with more cohesion and it showed. The US goal came off of a serious mistake by Cech and that was likely to be the only way the US was going to score.

        When this bunch of players actually gets a little time together they should all improve markedly.

        • Ali Dia says:

          Agree completely. Getting a win and a clean sheet away from home against a near first-choice European team is a very nice, but at this point in the cycle you want know as much about “where the team can go” as “where the team is”. In this sense, there was plenty of good news, and not too many red flags that could not be attributed to cohension/experience.

          Encouraging day for the good guys.

      • Fast Eddie says:

        He ONLY had 3 forward passes and none of them were in the final third. This stat means absolutely nothing for a forward. How in the world is Gyau, when he is the most forward player on the field, going to make a forward pass once he gets the ball?

        The stat only means something for defensive mid field players and backs.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          i do think the stat is overrated, but gyau was rarely the most forward player on the field, especially in the 2nd half.

  2. Nate Dollars says:

    also, one of the things i loved about playing defense is that when you carry the ball up and take a shot–even if it’s 30 yards off-target–it’s rarely referred to negatively. hi, john brooks!

  3. Byrdman says:

    A couple of thoughts:
    1) Green and Gyau both suffered from the midfield’s lack of vision on countless runs they made. We never hit a ball in behind the defense and let Gyau and Green show off how fast they are.
    2) I have been a Jozy supporter from the get go. i try to see every Sunderland game I can,painfully so. But one thing needs to be said concerning the lack of service, Jozy doesn’t make good runs. He drifts, floats, slides, adjusts, but he rarely makes the hard diagonal run behind or across the defense. The kind of run the Diego Costa made for Chelsea’s first goal last week. I love Jozy’s strength, but I don’t think he uses it enough to get across the face of his defender and get ball side. Just one novice’s opinion.

    • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

      It was almost like when Green made the run in the World Cup he was saying, THAT is how you do it Jozy.

    • Todd says:

      What about the fact that Jozy totally whiffed a header for a scoring chance? It’s like he’s afraid to challenge hard for headers.

    • Kwesi Rollins says:

      This is the MOST accurate comments about USMNT. I too watch Sunderland and he does not attack the ball at all. The biggest issue is the midfield. There has NEVER been a creator who expresses himself from the CAM. The run that was made in the world cup by JG had to be made 3 times. And the same with this match. Gyau and JG made many runs and were not seen or acknowledged. ONE NO.10!!!!

  4. bryan says:

    you are wrong, and i will tell you why in 35 posts that are 6 paragraphs each.

  5. matt c in tampa says:

    Shea’s 3 is too high.

    tough to grade all the second 1/2 subs as the subbing lead to massive incohesiveness. …but it did make Rimando look good.

    And it must be said that Rimando is light years better with his feet than young-bald-Brad.

    • Jack says:

      Is Shea the most hated player in the US pool? If you took any average player like Corona, Zusi and they had the exact same performance it wouldn’t get any reaction at all and probably would have got a 5. Maybe it’s because he’s tall and stands, out while other guys just disappear in matches I don’t know.

      • Byrdman says:

        Can’t say I agree with you on this one. I look for Shea to do something good, but he turned the ball over just about every time he had it. I would love to see the stats on his day. In this case, at least, I think it is justified. But maybe we could express our displeasure with his numerous efforts to help the team that are less than effective, in a much more congenial fashion. What do you think?

        • Jack says:

          Yeah I’m not saying he played well he didn’t. However I just think he gets an over reaction other players don’t see. He should be further along then he is so a see judging him harder then other guys and a 3 is fair.
          Maybe its just after being tied down in your own end much of 2nd half, that one run he made still shows a flash of some promise.

        • matt c in tampa says:

          Byrdman, you saw the same thing i saw. Seemed every time he had the ball, he turned it over. Seems (there’s that word again) that he’s been given numerous chances but he just does not produce. He’s had his chance. The difference btw him and Corona is that we have not seen THAT much of Corona to conclude that he’s ineffective at this level.

          Go away for awhile…maybe back to MLS…regain some skill with playing time…maybe he comes back later. For now, waste of space.

          And you know what, he might be unjustly criticized b/c of his looks (read: stupid hair). If you’re going to attract that attention, you’d better be good. NOTE, that’s not the reason i don’t care for him as a player.

        • GW says:

          People hate Brek because, JK likes him and tries to encourage him, he is something of a flake and he is an easy target.

          And there is nothing SBI loves more than an easy target.

        • Ali Dia says:

          I’d say he gets slightly less hate than Brad Davis. But that’s another topic that will no doubt resurface in the next few hours.

          I don’t think that many people really dislike Shea so much as the minutes he gets in spite of a lack of club appearances (and the predictably diminished form it produces). It’s a frustrating situation (and Brek has not helped himself).

          He’s not a write-off… he has shown how valuable he can be, but he’s not A-team material (or B team material) on this form. Guy’s gotta find a place where he can play before his prime is behind him.

      • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

        No, I think it’s generous. The difference between Shea and say Green or Gyau is that Shea is four years older and has seemingly regressed since 2011 when he first started laying for the MNT. What do I mean? He makes the same mistakes over and over. Every match he tries to beat players on the dribble. His one speed move rarely works, and constantly tries the same move against two, sometimes three defenders. There was one attack on the wing in the second half where he tried to dribble between two players rather than pass to an open guy. He has to realize his goals are going to come like they did in the Gold Cup: ie where he has time and space against a keeper. The rest of the time he needs to get rid of the ball.

  6. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Why the ratings are so high? The USNT didn’t win 4-0!

  7. Luke says:

    Gyau with a 7? Jeff Carlisle of ESPN rated him a 4. A pretty wide disparity.
    “M Joe Gyau, 4 – Made some quick touches in the middle third, but was lacking end product, be it with a shot or a cross. Was caught ball watching on defense more than once and had some scary giveaways late.”

    • The Squad says:

      Carlisle’s evaluation has nothing to do with this article…

      Joe Gyau showed exceptional lateral quickness with the ball at his feet under pressure..

      Not many players in the senior MNT set up have shown this ability…

      This was a friendly.. and this is the player’s first meaningful time at the senior level..

      The shot on goal was a bit hurried and lack true difficulty for the keeper.. but it was a shot Gyau created in the face of the Czech defense in the final third on his own..

      He was dangerous.. a bit selfish.. but dangerous..

      He did what the coaches asked under the conditions the game provided..

      Good performance from a young player in the very early stages of his national team career

      • GW says:

        “Carlisle’s evaluation has nothing to do with this article…”

        That is ridiculous. Carlisle has been working the USMNT beat a long time and knows the game, the team and these players.

        Evaluating a newbie in his first game, an exhbition at that, depends on what you are looking for.

        Did Gyau show reason to hope that the long national nightmare for a classy, speedy, tough winger is at an end? Sure.

        But if you look at Gyau’s performance for what it was in one game then a 4 makes sense.

        I’ve seen Gyau before and he still likes to dribble down alleys to nowhere. He was better last night but he still needs to learn a lot about being more efficient with his energy and realizing that there is a reason why you drag all these people around with you on those great runs.

        • The Squad says:

          Why didn’t you post a link to Jeff Carlisles official online store with your reply??

          Better than just waving a set of pom poms on soccerbyives.net..

          Objective criticism comes in many forms..

          Not just by way of scoring systems designed to draw emotion and punk acolytes..

          Gyau showed plenty.. in fact.. more than plenty for a player at this stage…

          Sure there was some to be desired..

          I mentioned a few things in my previous post..

          The tone user by the poster earlier seemed to suggest that the article above fails to deliver a proper evaluation of the player..

          Complete with the mention of an outside source as if yo validate the opinion..

          What does Bruce Arena think? How about Marv Albert?

          The fact remains that Joe Gyau seems to represent a distinct upgrade on those who saw big minutes during the last Cup cycle.. several of whom took the field in this game..

          Defensive lapses and all.

          • GW says:

            Forgive me for not realizing that your view on the topic of Gyau’s performance was the only valid one.

            • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

              While he did fade in the second half, I thought he was w/o a doubt not only the most impressive debutant but had a better game than Green. I think a 6 or 6.5 would be about right for Gyau. IDA w/ this 4 rating nonsense. And I could care less about Carlisle, who just gets inside “baseball” tidbits only because he’s there but really doesn’t understand football. I’ve been following the MNT for 35 years so I think I’ve seen enough below 4 rating matches (Jeff Agoos, Steve Tritschuh).

              • GW says:

                “I’ve seen enough below 4 rating matches (Jeff Agoos, Steve Tritschuh).”

                Perhaps you missed Ramiro Corrales, the worst performance at left back by anyone for the USMNT perhaps ever.

    • Darwin says:

      No matter how you try to avoid it, players are rated relative to their teammates and opponents. It is always a subjective opinion. Don’t go comparing players’ grades with other sites, they will be different. Was the best performer the same? Yes. Was the worst the same? YES!

    • Lost in Space says:

      Did you read the comments section on the Jeff Carlisle article. Most believed that Carlisle’s rating of Gyau was too harsh (4). If you believe that Franco’s rating is too generous (7). would suggest you watch the game and provide your own evaluation.
      IMO Gyau was considerably better than a 4….but maybe not a as good as a 7. Would rate his performance as more of a 5.5 or 6. Much better in the 1st half….(tired in the 2nd), but was nowhere near as bad a Shea (who Carlisle ranked as a 4 as well).

  8. Btown says:

    from what I saw from Julian Green was constantly making good runs but the midfield isn’t creative enough to find him. He had a couple turnovers but I liked his vision and willingness to go forward. Just needs to build more chemistry with the guys in order to find some open space and have the ball passed to him. Would have been a delight to watch Green and Donovan work together, both have similar vision and would have combined for some nice one-twos i bet.

  9. Cylo says:

    How does Garza and Chandler have the same score? All the attacks in the 2nd half were on Garza side? Garza part of those subs that helped in the struggle in the 2nd half. Duh!

    • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

      Chandler played well in the first half. I agree that the Czech’s exploited his absence in the second half.

  10. duckie says:

    In general, almost all of the scores are too high. We only got a goal do to a turnover and a lucky rebound. Other than that we had no chances while the Czech’s had many. We were poor on attack… period.

    My biggest complaint is that once again, people are propping up yet another poor Altadore outing. Why are so many being so accepting to his play. He’s the damn CF. One that doesnt score or even get any shots. It’s not service… its the fact that he is never in position to get service. Hold up play… gets fouled… brilliant. Doesn’t win games. I saw one play where is was in the penalty area and a lucky bounce put the ball on his feet. For once he controlled it and had a clear lane to the goal. Does he shoot, does he drive….nooooo he passes square to his left and of course… it was picked off. A CF tries to score…thats his job and he failed.

    JK has to start looking for other options. Jozy is and always will be a bust… no matter how much JK wants him to succeed. He has had enough time and is not getting any better.

    Im afraid we are going to see JA part 2 with Green. JK will push him into positions long before his skill is good enough for him to succeed. He did not look good in this game

    OK so let the JA fanboys jump all over me now. I just cant wait to hear how he is defended this time

    • Del Griffin says:

      Poor service…
      Plays poorly in September games…
      Hard to play with the collared shirt…
      Blame klinsmann…

    • Villan-from-Texas says:

      Who are these “other options” Klinsmann needs to consider?

      • GW says:

        EJ, Will Bruin, Juan Agudelo, CJ Sapong, Omar Salgado, Alan Gordon, Lenhart.

        Put those guys on Sunderland and let’s see how they do.

    • Nate says:

      do I need to defend two goals against a world cup team in his last full USMNt game? Or 5 goals in 2013 as USMNT player of the year? Are you suggesting that Klinsmann is unfairly preventing some BETTER us player from scoring goals for the nats? i’d love to hear your conspiracy theory…

  11. Brett says:

    Jozy’s hold up play has improved, but at the expense of his scoring instincts. He spoiled a perfect cross by failing to get in position and wasted another chance to shoot because of indecisiveness.

  12. Turd Bradley says:

    Jozy really struggles at soccer, bc he is not a soccer player. He is an athlete that happens to play soccer.

  13. fantz says:

    Klismann should have taken Gyau to Brasil. I really like what I see with that boy.