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Player Ratings

Dominant Display Leads to Some Strong U.S. Grades

Why are Blake Thomsen's player ratings so high? Because the U.S. men's national team—and its coach—put on a masterful display in its final Send-Off Series match against Nigeria.
BY Blake Thomsen Posted
June 07, 2014
8:42 PM


Tim Howard: With an excellent showing from the back line Howard didn’t have too much to do. A fine late save from Emmanuel Emenike showed how sharp he is with Brazil looming. Rating: 7

Fabian Johnson: A few loose passes aside, Johnson delivered another excellent showing at right back. He defended well and provided a great assist after a surging run on Jozy Altidore’s opener. Given his outstanding two-way contributions, few would disagree that Johnson is one of the U.S.’s most important players. Rating: 7.5


    Geoff Cameron: Cameron looks very ready for his first World Cup. He’s playing within himself and looking borderline dominant in 50-50 challenges. Omar Gonzalez hung him out to dry a little bit on the penalty that led to Nigeria’s goal, but aside from that he played a nearly flawless game. Rating: 7.5

    Matt Besler: Besler bounced back nicely from a few iffy games in a row and did an excellent job of marshaling the U.S. back four. He was useful in possession and strong defensively aside from a late penalty against Victor Moses, which was really more Gonzalez’s fault than Besler’s. Rating: 6.5

    DaMarcus Beasley: Beasley could not have locked down the left back spot more convincingly. He did not play well against Azerbaijan, but this was as strong of a performance as he’s had for the U.S. in a long time. He defended solidly, won several loose balls, and picked his spots to attack very well. A performance that should instill plenty of confidence in Jurgen Klinsmann and U.S. fans alike. Rating: 7

    Kyle Beckerman: In the first half, Beckerman was shaky—too shaky for a player of his limitations—but he bounced back with a strong second half. It’s impossible to deny what his presence did for the U.S., helping solidify the defense while allowing the U.S. attack to thrive on the counter without concerns about being too open. You would have loved to see him make fewer mistakes in that first half, but it’s impossible to not be excited about the potential of this team when Beckerman shares the field with Jermaine Jones as well as Michael Bradley. Rating: 6

    Jermaine Jones: Was this Jones’ best-ever performance in a U.S. shirt? Perhaps. Given the freedom to roam with Beckerman behind him, Jones was able to use his considerable stamina and pace to break up attack after attack. He also had his best attacking game in a while, beating defenders and playing some really nice balls, especially the key through ball to Alejandro Bedoya that helped set up Jozy Altidore’s opener. Rating: 8

    Alejandro Bedoya: Bedoya’s rating could have been even higher had he been slightly more precise in the final third. Still, it was a potentially starting-lineup-sealing showing from the lively midfielder. He did his usual share of defensive work and had some nice moments in attack as well. He fired a great effort off a first-half corner and also played a gorgeous reverse ball to Johnson, who then assisted Altidore. Rating: 7

    Michael Bradley: Especially in the second half, Bradley turned in the type of performance that leads U.S. fans to believe that this team could go places in Brazil. Deployed in his most advanced role yet, Bradley was a little off in the first half. In the second half? Not so much. He hardly misplaced a pass, and his assist on the second goal was nearly as sublime as Altidore’s finish. Rating: 8

    Clint Dempsey: It was another promising game from Dempsey, who contributed his share of quality touches in the buildup but couldn’t quite make a decisive contribution. After a perfect Bradley through ball, he nearly had himself a superb goal after dusting a Nigerian defender, but his near post effort was well saved. Even if not much came off for Dempsey, it was a very confident showing, and one that hints of potentially big things in Brazil. Rating: 6

    Jozy Altidore: Panic. Over. Building off a very strong performance against Turkey, Altidore delivered the goals that U.S. fans craved (and he, in his postgame interviews at least, seemed indifferent about). Regardless of his somewhat apathetic words, this type of performance should do wonders for his confidence ahead of the World Cup. A child would have finished his first goal, but it took a man to score his second. After brilliantly chesting down Bradley’s chip, he cut inside and fired a truly unstoppable shot past Vincent Enyeama. And his combination play was solid for the second straight game. Rating: 8.5


    Graham Zusi: Zusi couldn’t get anything going in a disappointing performance, struggling to deliver the final ball at which he so often excels. Still, his quality has long been established, and he should be fine in Brazil. In the World Cup, look for Klinsmann to replicate the early substitution of Bedoya, who runs tirelessly but will likely fade quickly in the Brazilian heat. That’s when Zusi will enter (or the roles could be flipped) with an opportunity to wreak havoc. Rating: 5.5

    Mix Diskerud: Like Zusi, Diskerud also failed to replicate the quality of his recent performances. He still got a few nice passes in, but he wasn’t nearly as sharp as we’ve been accustomed to seeing. Rating: 5.5

    Timmy Chandler: Chandler is very probably out of the running for a starting spot after Beasley’s excellent performance. He made one nice run down the left in his brief cameo, but didn’t do much else. Rating: 6

    Omar Gonzalez: Gonzalez entered as a late sub to shore up the U.S. defense, but he unfortunately did the opposite. He simply doesn’t look fully fit, and was badly exposed on the sequence that led to Nigeria’s penalty. Rating: 5

    Chris Wondolowski: Entered for Dempsey late and didn’t see much of the ball. Many must be confused as to why it wasn’t Aron Johannsson on instead, who seems perfectly suited to be a late counterattacking weapon. Rating: No Rating


    Jurgen Klinsmann: Klinsmann responded from two questionable showings to set up a team that dominated today and looks completely ready for Brazil. Somewhat humorously, after ranting about how formations don’t matter, he proved exactly that, setting up a somewhat amorphous side that would be very difficult to define in a tidy set of numbers. Full credit for getting the tactics just right, and sending out a team that played a perfect style for the heat of Brazil—conserve energy and defend strongly, then counter at breakneck pace when the opportunity is there. Well done. Rating: 8

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    Blake Thomsen is a frequent ASN contributor. Follow him on Twitter and feel free to disagree with any of his ratings below.
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