ASN Player Ratings: The United States vs. Honduras
The result, a 2-1 Hexagonal defeat to Honduras, is all bad. But what about the individual performances? Did anybody shine? Did anybody play themselves out of a role? Here's our take.
February 06, 2013
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Editor's note: At most soccer sites, you read the analyst's ratings and leave it at that. Not here. American Soccer Now wants to hear what you thought of the player performances, and we've built an interactive Player Rating tool that enables you to do just that. It's fun and easy and we think you should try it now. After that match, it may even make you feel a bit better.
It was a rough time in San Pedro Sula for the United States, with several players struggling in a 2-1 loss to Honduras. It’s a disappointing defeat to open the Hex and it raises a lot of questions. With a home match against Costa Rica and then a crucial trip to Mexico up next for the U.S., the team has a lot of work to do.
Let’s take a look at each player individually.
Tim Howard (ASN #3) – We’ve gotten used to Howard making incredible saves to save the U.S. in the Hex, but there isn’t a man alive who could’ve saved Juan Carlos Garcia’s bicycle kick. The second goal is a different story. It's hard to say exactly what happened, but Howard came out for the ball, the center backs didn’t help, and it was an easy winner for Honduras. Howard had a few good saves, but this is one match he will want to forget. Rating: 4.5Timmy Chandler (ASN #10) – United States fans have long feared Chandler would suit up for the German national team. If he keeps playing like he did Wednesday, they’ll start trembling when he suits up for the Americans. Chandler started poorly, letting in a couple of crosses in the first five minutes, and never really found his footing. While he was able to keep Carlo Costly in check for the first half, he got owned by a flashy play from the forward in the second half. More importantly, Chandler did nothing to help the attack in a game in which the Honduran left side was vulnerable. It would’ve been a huge help to have him push up on the right side. Rating: 3Omar Gonzalez (ASN #14) – It was only Gonzalez’s third cap and it came in a very important game. Gonzalez did more sinking than swimming, especially on the disastrous second goal, when the central defender might’ve had a chance to stop Jerry Bengston from scoring but instead was oblivious. There were times when he and the rest of the back line were successfully able to catch the Hondurans offside, but he gave the ball away far too often and was part of breakdowns way too frequently. Rating: 3.5Geoff Cameron (ASN #5) – Cameron was the veteran portion of the center back pairing, but he didn’t exactly shine. His experience came through at the start of the match, with strong plays in the 8th and 11th minutes while the rest of the team was finding its footing, but he nearly gifted Honduras a goal in the 55th and then essentially did in the 78th with a thoroughly head-scratching play. Cameron has been the steady one for the U.S. back line and his performances at Stoke left everyone expecting a much better game from him than the one he played Wednesday. Rating: 3.5Fabian Johnson (ASN #6) – It was a mixed bag from Johnson, who tried to get forward occasionally but like Chandler wasn’t able to make enough of an attacking impact on the wings. He had a hugely important clearance in the 32nd minute but also quit on the first Honduras goal. And on the second goal, while the blame will rest on Howard and the CBs, he took off running back to his spot rather than trying to clear his line. Johnson played well enough to keep his LB spot, but it was far from an impressive performance. Rating: 4Jermaine Jones (ASN #19) – Jones’ inclusion into the starting line-up will have merited moans (and we’ll get to Klinsmann’s decisions in a moment), but you have to give credit where it’s due. Not only was Jones positive from the whistle, he also delivered an exquisite assist to Clint Dempsey for the only American goal. There were times when he took too many touches and he was beaten badly to spring a Honduras attack in the 52nd minute, but Jones silenced some of his very vocal critics. Bonus points for staying out of the book in the very first match of this round. Rating: 5.5Danny Williams (ASN #9) – It was a surprise to many to see Williams on the field since he hasn’t been getting time with Hoffenheim, his club team. Yet he’s been very good with the U.S. national team in a defensive midfield role (with the most recent match against Russia a notable exception). Williams was just OK Wednesday. He was the first player subbed off, and he didn’t do too much in the first half. Rating: 4Michael Bradley (ASN #1) – Is it wrong to hold Bradley to a higher standard? His game was fine. He keyed the attack a few times, had a pair of great passes in the 76th and 77th minutes, and was generally solid. He’s also the No. 1 player in the ASN 100, and the United States needed more from him this match. Bradley usually provides that. He didn’t on Wednesday. His 90th minute free kick was also particularly bad given the scenario. Rating: 4.5Eddie Johnson (ASN #22) – Johnson made a nice cross in the 29th minute and was clever at the end of the first half with the U.S. trying to build a scoring opportunity. But there was a need for better wing play in the second half after the squad neglected to exploit Honduras there in the first half. In the 57th minute it looked like Johnson was getting into his element there, but then was substituted out of the game by Klinsmann. We’ll never know if he would’ve kept up his positive play or been invisible as he was in the first half-hour, but unless there was an issue of fitness, it would’ve been nice to see which Johnson we’d get. Rating: 5Clint Dempsey (ASN #2) – We’ve come to expect great finishes from Dempsey, so much that his goal might be getting a little underplayed. At the very least, the stunning bike from Juan Carlos Garcia for los Catrachos’ first goal is rightfully overshadowing it. Dempsey started slow, with a giveaway in the 6th minute and a few bad efforts on goal in the first half. He was better in the second half, though, and like most attacking players he didn’t see much of the ball and had to pop up in the midfield or his own third too often to seriously threaten Honduras. Like Bradley, Dempsey has been so good in past matches that you were expecting moments of brilliance from him as the minutes ticked by, but they never came. At least a second one never did. Rating: 5Jozy Altidore (ASN #3) – One the one hand, Altidore wasn’t relevant to the match and didn’t appear on the screen too often except when he tracked back (which he did well most of the game). On the other, nobody really got the ball to Altidore, and when he did get it, he looked good. His choice to hold up the ball on what eventually led to Dempsey’s goal was a wise one and something we wouldn’t have seen Altidore do even a year ago. It’s good to see that progress. Maybe we can see even more of it if the ball gets to his feet more often. Rating: 5.5
Maurice Edu (ASN #29) – Edu came on for Danny Williams and did what he was asked to do, with the exception of one pretty bad decision when defending a counter attack in the 65th minute that could’ve been disaster for the Americans. Other than that, Edu was the player Klinsmann has come to expect, providing fresh legs to keep clogging things up in the midfield. Rating: 5Sacha Kljestan (ASN #13) - Kljestan came on and gave the impression that he desperately wanted to make a positive impact, but unfortunately for the Anderlecht man, he wasn’t able to do so. On multiple occasions he won the ball from Honduras but promptly gave it away and on a mildly inspiring build-up in stoppage time he put in a poor cross that killed off the chance. Rating: 3.5Graham Zusi (ASN #11) – Widely expected to start and give the team some width, the Sporting Kansas City midfielder instead was the final sub. He had a few solid deliveries, including one in the 71st minute that looked promising, but also made a few poor passes and got whistled for a handball in the 75th when the ball hopped up on him just outside the 18. Ultimately, there wasn’t much happening for Zusi, and unlike his 2011 January camp performances, he did nothing to entice Klinsmann into giving him a starting role. Rating: 4Coach Jurgen Klinsmann: Klinsmann inspired no confidence today. The lineup indicated he was playing for a draw and his substitutions did nothing to disprove that theory. In fact, we’re left to wonder if his substitutions were planned in advance or if he was employing some other strategy. Eddie Johnson showed some sparks in the second half and was promptly replaced. Graham Zusi came into the match as the final substitute in the 66th minute, meaning when Honduras went ahead 12 minutes later, there was no option to bring on Herculez Gomez or any other fresh player to chase the match. Both the starters and subs are curious decisions that left a lot wanting. Rating: 2.5OK, your turn. Visit our interactive Player Ratings tool and give a numerical rating to each Yank. Then, submit and share. We want to hear what you think—really.