Jozy Altidore looked good and several others Americans performed capably, but the U.S. men's national team lost 3-2 to start its 2015 campaign. Here are Blake Thomsen's player ratings.
January 28, 2015
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: Rimando bailed out Jermaine Jones and Steve Birnbaum with fine saves at various points, and he also made a few other impressive saves. But he should have done better on Chile’s equalizer, guessing that Mark Gonzalez would cross instead of shoot, thus leaving the goal gaping for an easy finish.
: The 3-5-2 was practically invented for wingbacks such as Yedlin, and he did his job well in attack and defense for much of the match. His pace was an asset on both sides of the ball all night, and on a more clinical day he could have added a goal and an assist to his impressive “hockey assist” on Jozy Altidore’s first half goal. The only real knock on Yedlin’s performance was his lack of awareness on Chile’s equalizer, but on the whole, he showed quite well. Hopefully Mauricio Pochettino and the rest of the Tottenham staff were watching.
: For a first cap in a truly frenetic game, Birnbaum acquitted himself quite well. He was perhaps the best U.S. defender in the first half, and a semi-near own goal was his only particularly shaky defensive moment in the game. Like Yedlin, he could have done better on Chile’s equalizer, but so could half the U.S. national team. All told, not a bad start.
: Oh, boy. In theory, the 3-5-2 with Jones as a sort of hybrid center back/center midfielder wasn’t a terrible idea. In practice, it was much uglier. He was disastrous at tracking crosses throughout the first half. First, he was caught in no-man’s land (along with Matt Besler) on Chile’s opener, and then he was beaten badly on a debatable offside goal for Chile that would have tied things up in first-half stoppage time. He also had a shocking giveaway that should have led to a Chile goal in the 37th minute. He wasn’t much better when pushed up into the midfield in the second half. A night to forget.
: Besler didn’t quite look back to his best, but like Birnbaum, he did reasonably well given the frenetic tempo of Chile’s attacks. He had his share of crucial interventions, but he’ll wish he did better tracking the goal-scorer on Chile’s opener.
: If you look hard enough, the 90 minutes of this game can stand as a metaphor for Shea's career to date. The superbly taken early goal is reminiscent of his breakout 2011 MLS campaign, and the wayward 85 minutes that followed represent his past three years at the club (and international) level. In this game, a lot of that was due to his unfamiliar position. Shea is not even close to a defender, and Chile picked on him in his wingback role all game long. His defensive contribution left plenty to be desired, but the excellent goal (and his questionable placement on the field by Klinsmann) keeps his rating decent.
: Diskerud didn’t make a whole lot of decisive contributions, but he did have a very clever assist on Altidore’s goal. His game isn’t quite suited to being a screening midfielder in a 3-5-2, so he didn’t exactly thrive, but it was a dependable enough performance from the newly signed NYCFC midfielder.
: Bradley started slow but came into the game in the second half, where his quality really began to show. His 61st-minute screamer was the width of the crossbar away from future U.S. goal of the year highlight reels, and he delivered his share of incisive passes in the attacking half, setting up Lee Nugyen and Chris Wondolowski with presentable shooting opportunities. Also, while many players looked short of fitness, Bradley still had the energy to make a 60-yard recovery run in the 93rd minute to thwart a late Chilean counter. Rating: 6
: This type of rough-and-tumble, lightning paced game may have suited a younger Dempsey, but these days he doesn’t quite have the athleticism to stand out in this type of contest. He simply didn’t make a big enough attacking influence to justify his lackluster defense as an attacking midfielder, and he didn’t offer much offensively when moved to striker in the second half, either. Rating: 4.5
: This writer thinks that Wood has plenty of potential, but he really didn’t show it tonight. He was unceremoniously yanked at halftime following a poor first half.
: The standout Yank on the evening, Altidore looked delighted to be back in the U.S. shirt that has served him so well. His goal was brilliantly taken, his defensive effort stood out, and his powerful foul draw in the second half was a few feet away from being a possible red card and penalty. This is the Altidore that U.S. fans know and love, and this is also the Altidore that Toronto FC will expect come the beginning of March. Toronto fans nearly had a dream moment when Altidore set up Bradley’s long-range drive off the crossbar.
: It didn’t really happen for Nguyen coming on for Wood at halftime, which is a shame given how well he played in the 2014 MLS season. He couldn’t quite get his passes to connect, but he did nearly score a brilliant curler off a Bradley layoff.
: The game looked a bit too fast at times for the 21-year-old, and he never really settled into his usual rhythmic passing game. It didn’t help that the U.S. midfield was all over the place during his second half spell. Rating: 4.5
: Zardes did a pretty good job on his international debut—which was a true debut, as he has never played for a U.S. youth team, either. His early touches were assured, and he did a nice job of keeping the ball throughout. He nearly got in a shot at goal from a dangerous area via a sharp run, but Trapp’s through ball took him slightly too wide. Rating: 5.5
: Are you wondering why Wondolowski is still with the U.S. team? So am I. To be fair, he delivered a decent header off a nifty Bradley cross, but he hardly got near the ball aside from that, and, well, he’s a 32-year-old with declining skills. Rating: Incomplete
: The game was undeniably exciting, but you’d expect a pretty full strength U.S. side to fare better against a Chile team of exclusively domestically based players. Thumbs up for experimentation, thumbs down for yet another brutal second-half performance.
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