Thursday, May 29, 2008

US disgraced by England - Players grades

US 0-2 England

Yes, it was only a friendly but it still stings. What the US men showed yesterday at Wembley was one of their worst performances since the World Cup. With the exception of a couple players, no one had a decent night.

So what can we take from this? First of all, no matter how frustrating it can be at times, the US team is based on Donovan. Without him in the lineup, they are missing a huge part of their game. That said, the US should still be far better without Landon then they were yesterday.

Next, we need technical skills. The number of times players missed their runs or just passed the ball directly to an English player was disgusting and don't even get me started on first touches.

Finally, players cannot just stand around waiting for the ball, they need to go make the play happen. The few times that we created any danger in front of the box were a direct result of Eddie Johnson or Clint Dempsey running at defenders.

I can say one positive thing, they didn't go into a full bunker state at any point during the match. They came close for parts of the first half, but they were still looking for a counter to get things going.

So what about grades? Here they are:

Starting XI
Tim Howard (GK) - Made some good saves and really had no change at the goal he let in. A-
Steve Cherundolo (D) - Looked tired and missed his marks. C
Oguchi Onyewu (D) - Best field player by far. Killed threats, held his marks, covered for others and overall, was a quality enforcer. Still needs to work on his speed. A
Carlos Bocanegra (D) - A little rusty and it showed. Didn't cover well and let England turn him a few too many times. C+
Heath Pearce (D) - Was able to hold the left side alright and cut down on the center balls and provided some help in attack. A-
Clint Dempsey (M) - He was the one marking John Terry on the first goal and disappeared for most of the first hour. Late in the second he started showing his skills and causing some trouble for England, but by then his side had given up. B-
Ricardo Clark (M) - I like Clark but he was over matched yesterday and his frustration lead to some stupid fouls including the one that Beckham used to serve up the first goal. C-
Michael Bradley (M) - He was forced to play much more defensively then he likes and it interrupted his game. His passing was not very strong but he did get some good tackles in. Still, if he was suppose to be the provider to the forwards, he failed. C+
DaMarcus Beasley (M) - There were moments but it was obvious that he is not fully recovered from injury. He was the main person moving the ball forward in the first half, but in the end he is not yet match fit. B-
Eddie Johnson (F) - This was EJ's best match in over a year. He was actually getting some great touches, making space, playing the ball well and drawing fouls. His quick turn kick shot in the second half was the highlight of the match for the US (that's not saying much). If only the midfield had provided better service, he might have made something of it. B+
Josh Wolff (F) - Josh, thanks for the time but we are just going in a different direction. C-

Subs
Brad Guzan (GK) (in for Howard 46') - He made some fantastic saves and kept the US from losing by a couple more goals. A
Frankie Hejduk (D) (in for Cherundolo 46') - He's old but he held to England better then Cherundolo. Brought something to the right side. B
Eddie Lewis (M) (in for Beasley in the 68') - Moved the ball better then most in the middle. His center after beating Joe Cole was wonderful. Perhaps his age is not as much of a negative as I thought. B+
Freddy Adu (M) (in for Wolff 68') - Had some creativity but still sent some balls to nowhere land. Should have been in earlier. B
Maurice Edu (M) (in for Clark 78') - He didn't have much time to do anything but he didn't look as out of place as Clark. That said, England was just killing time by the 78'. B
Nate Jaqua (F) (in for Johnson 89') - He came on for the cap. Why Bob Bradley didn't but him in earlier, I'll never know. No Grade

Bob Bradley (Coach) - The late scratch of Donovan threw him a huge curve ball, but still could have done better. With Clark not performing why not give Edu a chance at the half? Also, why did he stick with Wolff for so long? Why not give Jaqua a chance to pair with Johnson for more then just stoppage time? His team was looking flat by the 30' minute but he really didn't bring on the players to change that till after the second goal. C

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3 Comments:

Blogger Starting11 said...

Bravo to the U.S. for finally scheduling world-class opposition, but isn't it time for that to be backed up with world-class management, training methods and strategy? Enough with poor results against good teams.
http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2008/05/england-beats-us-flashback-15-years.html

1:09 PM  
Blogger krus8r said...

Problem you have is US players do not have the skills to keep up. It is not a focus in US training. Can't dribble, passes not accurate, no control, no rhythm, no change of pace, no push forward, etc, etc, etc. Until US says, "Okay, we need to get better and learn and not think we know everything, in other words -- check their ego at the door -- they will not improve enough.

Checkout YouTube videos of US youth who is exception to rule... Do a search for "eurostriker" at YouTube. Watch his videos and follow link to his website www.strikerplanet.com. There is hope for US players to succeed overseas in top leagues. Maybe...

3:40 PM  
Anonymous FxB said...

Only a "C-" for Josh Wolff? Please! His performance was a solid "F" as he produced nothing, absolutely nothing. We more or less played the first 68 minutes with 10 men. Wolff had his chance and should now drop off Bob Bradley's radar.

A "B" for Adu is too generous. As you said, he directed two passes to nowhere, including a free kick. That can't happen at this level. He brought in some needed energy, so let's slap him on the back for that, but a "B" is just too generous.

Finally, Pearce does not deserve an "A-". He was okay, but the performance was not "A" material. He didn't produce enough offensively. As such, he was an asset on only one side of the field.

I agree with a lot of what you've said, don't get me wrong, but I think the marks are a touch inflated. You can play well and still deserve a "B". And if you're out of your league, like Mr. Wolff was, then call a spade a spade.

You can read my reaction to the match at http://somanyballs.blogspot.com/2008/05/england-v-usa-my-complaints.html

9:14 AM  

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