Tim Howard Stands Out in a Totally Forgettable Friendly
June 03, 2017
THE U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM tied Venezuela 1-1 in a tune-up friendly ahead of a pair of important World Cup qualifiers next week. The U.S. team started off poorly but gained steam in the second half after a formational switch and a few substitutions.
Tim Howard was the best American player on the day and he bailed the team out on two big occasions in the first half. There was little he could do on Venezuela’s opener as the team fell asleep with reentry into the box after a corner kick.
In the second half, the U.S. took control and Christian Pulisic evened the game with a skillful strike. It was a nice moment in a game that will soon be forgotten.
The Starting Lineup
Tim Howard: The mainstay looks in top form and he came up huge in the first half with multiple top saves. The U.S. had a much better second half but the reason why the team was able to rally is because Howard kept them in it during the first 45 minutes. Rating: 8
Jorge Villafana: The Santos Laguna left back was solid defensively and read the game well. Venezuela generally had little positive play on his side of the field. He knew when to get forward and his crosses were decent. Rating: 6
John Brooks: Fresh off a blockbuster transfer to Wolfsburg, Brooks had a decent game although he might have been able to do better on Venezuela’s goal and help Fabian Johnson. Rating: 5.5
Geoff Cameron: The Stoke City stalwart was an important part of the backline and his distribution was impressive. He hustled and broke up multiple dangerous chances. Rating: 7
DeAndre Yedlin: Fresh after winning promotion back to the Premier League, Yedlin made his first national team appearance of 2017. Overall he was a bit rusty and was not able to use his speed much to get involved. A few times he was able to get into dangerous spots but generally his crossing wasn’t all that effective. Rating: 5
Darlington Nagbe: The Portland Timbers midfielder played well, pushing the ball forward into dangerous areas and while his execution wasn’t always there, his ideas frequently were. He read the game well and kept Venezuela’s defense on its heels. Rating: 6
Michael Bradley: It was a tale of two halves for Bradley who was completely off his game in the first half with too many turnovers while generating little offense. His second half was significantly improved as he helped the U.S. pick up the pace and control the game. Overall, it was mostly a game to forget. Rating: 4.5
Christian Pulisic: The teenager equalized for the U.S. with a nicely taken goal in the second half. Overall he was frequently the best attacking player for the U.S. team and looked in fine form heading into the qualifiers. Rating: 7.5
Fabian Johnson: Despite finally getting a start in his natural midfield position, Johnson struggled in this game on both sides of the ball. His first touch let him down offensively and he also was not able to get involved. Defensively he lost his man on Venezuela’s goal. Rating: 4
Clint Dempsey: After a very impressive pair of games in March, Dempsey looked slow against Venezuela and did not have much of an impact at all on the game. His recent struggles with Seattle looked to have continued into the international arena. Rating: 4.5
Bobby Wood: The Hawaii native ended his season in poor form due to an injury. On Saturday he looked like a player still not at his best. He was rarely dangerous and did not bother the Venezuelan defense at all. Rating: 4.5
Omar Gonzalez: The Pachuca defender came on at the half for Cameron and was steady in the back and did not make any real mistakes. Rating: 6
Matt Hedges: The FC Dallas captain made his long-awaited return to the U.S. and played well in a three-man backline that was able to connect well with the midfield and cover defensively. Rating: 6
Kellyn Acosta: The FC Dallas midfielder played well in the second half and made nice offensive runs that proved to be a problem for Venezuela. His set piece delivery looks like a real weapon. Rating: 6.5
Tim Ream: The Fulham defender played the final 27 minutes and moved the ball well as the U.S. backline shifted higher up the field. It was an improved performance from the March qualifier in Panama. Rating. 5.5
Jordan Morris: Morris came off the bench and had a little bit of rust but was generally more mobile and quick. That was necessary after Wood and Dempsey did not bring enough energy at the start. He could have been more dangerous but he did help. Rating: 5
Graham Zusi: NR
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