Thursday, February 08, 2007

US player review and more

A couple of days ago, I posted my list of the pressure all 20 players on the US roster were facing against Mexico. This is how they lived up to that pressure.

Heavy pressure
Jonathan Bornstein (D) - Nailed it. The first half saw a few mistakes, but that second half was near perfect. He has earned himself a few more call ups. Grade: A

Landon Donovan (M) - Finally has a good international game. He proved that he still has the spark in him and that he is good on dead balls, however, the first half was still very disappointing. He is now going in the right direct, but he still has a way to go before he is where he needs to be. Grade: B-

Eddie Johnson (F) - Very little playing time and got very few balls. He didn't really change the game, but he did see the need to push forward. Good news is he did not look bored out there. Grade: C

Justin Mapp (M) - Had a great seat to watch the game. Grade: Bench

Brian Carroll (M) - Came in for Dempsey in the 75th and didn't really do much. No faults but did not stand out. Grade: C

Ricardo Clark (M) - Made some good passes and shutdown a few attacks. Needs to work on his feeds. Grade: B

Medium pressure
Joe Cannon (GK) - Almost got called on when Howard landed on a nail during warm up, but in the end saw no action. Grade: Bench

Chris Albright (D) - Not a good night for Albright. The longer he was in there, the easier he got beat. He was the weakest part of the backline. Grade: D

Bobby Boswell (D) - I think he won the 'sexiest man on the bench' vote. Grade: Bench

Jimmy Conrad (D) - Outstanding night for Conrad. He proved himself a leader and an inspiration for the team. Again and again, the big plays were a result of him. Grade: A+

Bobby Convey (M) - Was rusty and had a weak first half, but woke up and made some awesome runs in the second 45. Was surprised to see him go the full 90, but he looked good doing it. Grade: B+

Chris Rolfe (F) - A sad night for Rolfe. He didn't push the line, he didn't make his runs, his touch was slippery and he never threatened. Sure the midfield wasn't feeding him much, but he didn't make anything close to happen when he had the chance. Grade: F

Taylor Twellman (F) - No time on the field might have raised his stock as his competition didn't look so great. Grade: Bench

Josh Gros (M) - As Albright's sub, he brought some needed calm to the position, but he didn't make anything big happen or not happen. Grade: B-

Low pressure
Pablo Mastroeni (M) - He providing some much needed flair in the second half, but his first 45 were not pretty. He was able to hold the team together as captain, but he should have provided some better balls for Donovan and Rolfe. Grade: B-

Tim Howard (GK) - The first 10 minutes were rough but after that he was alive. He kept placing himself just in the right spot to stop the few shots Mexico got through. Grade: A

Carlos Bocanegra (D) - Although not the best he has ever been, it was still a good outing as he cleared some danger away and kept the first half from becoming real bad. Grade: A-

Clint Dempsey (M) - Mexico did a good job of keeping him off the ball and the few touches he did get were only average. No running at people and an early bit of exhaustion made the Deuce look a little out of place. That said, it seems he is more focused on finding a starting spot at Fulham then worrying about his place with the US and that is the way it should be at the moment. Grade: C

Bob Bradly (Coach) - He did something at halftime to wake the team up, but it still seemed strange that he waited so long to sub out some of the players. I mean Albright and Rolfe should have been gone at halftime. Still, he won and his team looked good doing it so more power to him. Grade: A-

ESPN2 (Broadcasters) - So much better. It is amazing what calling the game instead of talking about endless asides can do for a broadcast. It is obvious Dave O'Brien has picked up a few things since the World Cup. He still has room for improvement, but he actually talked about techniques with some knowledge, so I'm happy about that. Also, the pre-game was actually worth watching. But the best thing of all, just about every time the ball was in the final 1/3 of the pitch, they were actually talking about the action on the field. It really does make the game better. Added bonus for not bringing on Alexi Lalas to talk about Beckham or anything else like that. One last thing, Allen Hopkins was nice but I missed Brandi Chastain. Grade: B+

Sunil Gulati (US Soccer President) - The halftime interview did not look good for him. He keeps pushing back the goalposts on the date of his decision to hire Bradley fulltime or not and he is starting to look mighty foolish. His reason seems to have something to do with possibly hiring the manager of a European club team, but who knows. After months of interviewing and thinking, it appears Gulati is no closer to deciding on the direction of the national team then he was when he fired Bruce Arena last July 14. Grade: C-

I listed Eddie Robertson on my initial list, but he was dropped from the roster. Bryan Namoff took his place, but he did not see any game time.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous J. Michael said...

Very much enjoyed the player ratings.

5:04 PM  

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