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Player Ratings: United States 2, South Korea 0

It wasn't one for the time capsule, but the U.S. men's national team put away South Korea, 2-0, in its first match of 2014. ASN contributor Blake Thomsen offers his player ratings here.

BY Blake Thomsen Posted
February 01, 2014
8:07 PM

STARTERS

Nick Rimando: Rimando’s performance served as a reminder of just how much goalkeeping depth the U.S. has. He did everything that was asked of him, comfortably dealing with South Korea’s occasional attacking forays. His best moment was a sharp save from a near post header in the 8th minute. Rating: 6.5

Brad Evans: This may have been Evans’ most disappointing appearance in a U.S. shirt, as he struggled to get anything going offensively and was uncharacteristically shaky defensively. He was bailed out by an excellent Matt Besler intervention after badly losing out on a 50-50 ball near the corner flag. The mounting calls for Geoff Cameron—who has been one of the Premier League’s best right backs all season—will only grow louder. Rating: 5

Omar Gonzalez: Gonzalez was customarily immense in the air in a strong performance. He won nearly every aerial duel, including a brave header on an in-swinging South Korea free kick in the 30th minute. His distribution wasn’t exactly flawless, but on the whole it was an impressive 90 minutes. Rating: 6.5

Matt Besler: Besler’s consistency is a welcome presence in the U.S. backline, and he delivered yet another solid showing. His best moment—which highlighted his underrated pace and excellent anticipation—was a superb sliding clearance that cut out a dangerous cross. He looks as solid as ever for a starting spot in Brazil. Rating: 6.5

Michael Parkhurst: Fielded out of position at left back, Parkhurst looked quite comfortable and delivered the best performance of any U.S. defender. He looked composed defensively, but it was his attacking contribution that really caught the eye. The new Columbus Crew man got forward well throughout the match, rarely if ever giving the ball away and playing several fine passes. This felt like the beginning of a potential push for more minutes at left back moving forward. Rating: 7

Kyle Beckerman: Beckerman didn’t do anything exceptional—he rarely does—but his presence in the center of the pitch was useful in controlling the flow of the game. Jurgen Klinsmann knows what he’s going to get from Beckerman, and it seems like that could very well be enough to get him on the plane to Brazil. Rating: 6

Mix Diskerud: Given the start alongside Beckerman at center mid, Diskerud didn’t have his sharpest match. He failed to deliver any moments of real quality going forward and he looked a bit frail in the middle of the field. Diskerud has always looked best in a more attacking role, and that was further confirmed today. Rating: 6

Graham Zusi: Zusi’s excellent performance proved he is ready to build on a hugely impressive 2013. He had “hockey assists” on both U.S. goals, twice delivering excellent balls into the area. As usual, Zusi also did a fine job defensively, working hard to offer support to Brad Evans on the U.S. right. The question is no longer whether Zusi will make the World Cup roster—it’s whether he’ll start. Rating: 7

Landon Donovan: Donovan was at the heart of most of the U.S.’s attacking moves, consistently carrying the ball into the final third. His clever lay-off teed up Chris Wondolowski for his second goal, while his work rate was commendable as well. After a wildly up and down 2013, Donovan looks like he means business as the World Cup approaches. Rating: 6.5

Brad Davis: It was a tale of two halves for Davis, whose sloppy second half largely overshadowed a good first-half showing. Davis’ well-taken volley delivered the rebound for Wondolowski’s 3rd-minute opener, and he looked assured in possession for the rest of the half. But he had two very poor giveaways in the second half and struggled to make nearly the same attacking impact that he did in the first. Rating: 5.5

Chris Wondolowski: Oh, Wondo. Just when it seemed that he couldn’t possibly be in the conversation for a World Cup roster spot, he delivered a brace on a day when he may not have even started if not for Mike Magee’s food poisoning and Eddie Johnson’s slight abdominal problem. Both goals were taken well, but one still feels he’s got a lot of work to do to make it to Brazil. Still, a performance like today can only help his cause. Rating: 7.5

SUBSTITUTES

Benny Feilhaber: The game had started to die off by the time Feilhaber came on, and he was unable to inject much life into the proceedings. Rating: 5.5

Eddie Johnson: EJ had a few decent moments but on the whole looked like a man who was probably slightly hampered by his abdominal problem. Rating: 5.5

Clarence Goodson: Goodson did well when called upon, which didn’t happen often in the final 30 minutes after he came on for Matt Besler. He seems to have the inside track for a spot in Brazil, and his consistency should see him earn a ticket on the plane. Rating: 6

DeAndre Yedlin: Yedlin looked a bit nervous early in his first-ever USMNT appearance, but he settled down to make a couple nice defensive contributions late on. Rating: 5.5

Luis Gil: The talented Real Salt Lake youngster hardly saw the ball in a day he’ll remember far more for the occasion than for anything he did on the pitch. The first of many caps to come. Rating: 5.5

Eric Alexander: Alexander didn’t make much of an impact in a very brief cameo. Rating: Incomplete

THE COACH

Jurgen Klinsmann: Klinsmann led his men to a business-like win over a mediocre opponent. It wasn’t dazzling stuff, but post-January camp games rarely are. Rating: 6.5

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Blake Thomsen is a freelance writer and ASN contributor. Follow him on Twitter and let him know what you think.

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