Saturday, January 19, 2008

US 2-0 Sweden - Player grades

The US men got a little home pitch revenge on Sweden tonight as they topped the them 2-0 off of goals by Eddie Robinson and Landon Donovan. Donovan's goal means he is now the all-time leader in goals for the US MNT. Although it would have been a lot more fun to see the goal come from the run of play instead of a penalty kick, a goal is a goal. Congratulations all around, and lets hope for many more.

As far as the game was concerned, overall, it was an okay match for the US. They did well on set pieces but their technical touches left a bit to be desired. Several players did standout while others kind of sunk. With that in mind, here are the grades:

Starting XI
Brad Guzan (GK) - He was near perfect on the night. He was called on to make about four big saves and made them all. I think it is safe to call him the number 2 keeper for the squad. A+
Drew Moor (D) - Did great getting up on the right side, but missed his mark on a couple occasions. B
Jimmy Conrad (D) - Didn't really make himself known, but did some decent work on the first half corner kicks. B-
Eddie Robinson (D) - An excellent first cap. The goal was a great reaction shot and his work on defense was wonderful. He picked up people and covered for other's mistakes. A-
Ramiro Corrales (D) - Moved the ball out well but let a few balls sneak in on the left. Still, a good return to the team. B+
Landon Donovan (M) - He found his spots, directed traffic, made good passes and acted like a captain should. He did slack for a bit after getting the pk, but this was still a great night for Donovan. A
Maurice Edu (M) - He put himself into position and worked the game well, but his distributions were not as accurate as they need to be. B+
Ricardo Clark (M) - Smart on defense but didn't push enough to start attacks. B
Brad Davis (M) - Excellent night for Davis. His free and corner kicks were some of the best I've seen for the US in a while. Kept forcing himself into the play. A
Pat Noonan (F) - Worked well with Twellman, especially in the first 15 minutes, but wasn't really making trouble for Sweden. C+
Taylor Twellman (F) - Caused the defense a few moments of frustration but then disappeared. Should have earned a pk in the first half, but over all, a let down of a night. C

Michael Parkhurst (D) - In for Robinson in the 46'. Made some marking mistakes and didn't clear as well as needed, but kept his mark most of the time. B-
Clarence Goodson (D) - In for Conrad in the 46'. Used his size and distributed well, plus he opened up space for others. B+
Josmer Altidore (F) - In for Twellman in the 46'. Can anyone take the ball away from Altidore? He knows how to hold a ball and force the fouls. His passing can use some sharpening but still a great night. A
Chris Rolfe (F) - In for Noonan in the 63'. His touches were not on the mark and gave up the ball much too easy. He did draw the defense a couple times, but then made bad choices on passes. B-
Sacha Kljestan (M) - In for Davis in the 71'. Needed to play the holding game better. Kind of disappeared. B-
Jeremiah White (M) - In for Donovan in the 81'. Not really on the long to make a mark. Had a couple touches that were okay, but overall, didn't leave much of an impression. No Grade

So overall, the team was lacking up top, did great in the middle and held their own on defense. That seems to be the common thread throughout most US national matches these days. As far as the striker role is concerned, Altidore made a great case for a start against Mexico in February. Put Dempsey behind him and Donovan out on the wing in the middle and see what happens.

Robinson - 15'
Donovan (pk) - 48'

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm, F for Altidore, he's the reason we won a PK anyway. To protect the ball in the box and be forced to be brought down. B+ at the very least.

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

woops, eating some crow now:

I saw Josmer Altidore (F), and stupidly thought you gave him an F. :-( Sorry.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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9:05 PM  

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