Thursday, October 18, 2007

US 1-0 Switzerland - Player grades

US MNT 1-0 Switzerland
Was this match a sign of things to come for the US? The way the young guard rolled into their positions has got to make even the most skeptically fan at least a little happy. Yes, it was just a friendly, but it was obvious Switzerland did not want to lose it.

But as much fun as it was to watch the youth make their debut, the thing I liked best is the way the team adjusted to the Swiss backline. In the past, Team America has been easy to frustrate because they would just keep attacking in the same way even when the results were nothing. Last night, their style of attack shifted as the young players took the field. There was a sense of the unexpected and that allowed them to knock the Swiss off their stride just enough to get a goal.

The US still has some weaknesses such as their free kicks. None of the four people that took meaningful kicks (in the final third) really did much with them. The playing surface could have something to do with that, but Switzerland was able to send in some good balls, so I'm not sure.

Overall, a very balanced match that showed the US can play and win in Europe. So here are my player grades:
Starting XI
Marcus Hahnemann (GK) - He was not really tested much in his half, but when he was needed he was there. A-
Steve Cherundolo (D) - Steve did what was needed but did not spend a lot of time around the ball. He did miss his mark on a couple corners. B
Oguchi Onyewu (D) - It is good to try and get in the head of your mark but not when it distracts you from the rest of the match. The yellow wasn't justified, but it is no surprise. He did hold his own and disrupted the push forward. B+
Carlos Bocanegra (D) - Providing cover in the back and pushing forward when needed. He was everywhere and showing strong leadership as captain. A
Eddie Lewis (D/M) - He didn't have much time in the back but he did break up a couple balls. It took him some time to click into the midfield role when Beasley went out, but he did get a flow going. B
Benny Feilhaber (M) - Not an outstanding performance but was doing some of the little things to win balls. His touch was a bit off on the passes. B
Maurice Edu (M) - Excellent first game for Edu. He adjusted well and found holes. Also, he seemed to keep his feet better then anyone else on the slick pitch. A-
Michael Bradley (M) - Bradley has a way of causing something to happen in the 80+ minute range, but normally it is a hard foul that results in a red card. This game's big moment was much better then that. Not a great game but still really good. A-
DaMarcus Beasley (M) - Early injury means no grade for Beasley.
Taylor Twellman (F) - Sadly, a big weak point on the pitch for the US. He was not finding space and was absent. He did pull back into the midfield a few times to get the ball, but with the Swiss defense what it was, there was little chance of taking it all the way. C
Clint Dempsey (F) - He was out of step for much of the first half, but started pulling it together in the second (it actually started after Beasley went off, so one has to wonder if more fault lies with his teammates). His willingness to muscle the opposition is something the US needs and his passing is spot on. Also, loved the 'hard charging' run when he was subbed out. A-

Heath Pearce (D, on for Beasley in 31') - Handled the side wonderfully. Got beat a few times but recovered. Overall, a great outing. A
Brad Guzan (GK, on for Hahnemann in 46') - Was a bit shaky at times but with all the work taking place in front of him, he held together well. A-
Dan Califf (D, on for Onyewu in 46') - Held up in the middle and didn't make a fuss. A-
Freddy Adu (F, on for Twellman in 77') - It might just have been 15-minutes, but it was still a great showing. His passing and ability to force his way into space (while staying on his feet) was wonderful. However, when golden chances come for goals, you need to finish. A
Danny Szetela (D, on for Lewis in 84') - Not on for long, but did excite in the attack. Will be fun to watch him develop. Gentleman’s B
Robbie Findley (F, on for Dempsey in 90') - Not on long enough to get a grade.

It is always nice to see so much goodness coming off the bench.

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger Emmett said...

Since Szetela had the nice cross that set up the goal, I think he'd deserve a bit better than a B.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Emmett, it was wonderful, but he really wasn't on the pitch enough for me to give him a grade, thus the reason for the 'gentleman’s B'.

11:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home