Bobby Wood & Matt Besler Lead U.S. to Key Road Draw
September 05, 2017
A SHAKY BACKLINE continued to plague the U.S. men's national team but unlike on Friday, the Yanks stepped it up in the second half and secured a result.
Heading into October, Bruce Arena needs to figure out solutions to a wide range of problems. The good news, however, is that qualifying is within sight, the U.S. controls its own fate, and the Yanks have a favorable draw the final two games. While a loss would have had the team in a bad spot, the draw might have provided some confidence.
Here's a look at the individual performances.
The Starting Lineup
Brad Guzan: There was absolutely nothing the Atlanta United keeper could have done on the Honduras goal. He also came up with decent saves behind a disjointed backline. Distribution was lacking a bit. Rating: 6
DaMarcus Beasley: The Houston Dynamo left back had a difficult game once Honduras put its foot on the gas pedal. He was often sent scrambling, was beaten for pace a few times, and never got forward too effectively. The best that could be said is that he wasn’t responsible for a goal. Rating: 4
Matt Besler: The Sporting Kansas City vet was the best defensive starter by a large margin. Generally he was a steady presence and he came up with a bunch of big stops. His distribution was a rare bright spot and he contributed to the equalizing goal. Rating: 6.5
Omar Gonzalez: After a strong first 15 minutes, Gonzalez’s game quickly turned into a nightmare. He was mostly responsible for the Honduras goal and appeared tentative when he needed to be decisive. That said, he settled down a bit in the second half. Rating: 4.5
Graham Zusi: This was Zusi’s worst-ever performance for the national team at right back. Time and time again Costa Rica pressed down his side and created many chances from that area of the field. He lacked awareness for his position and was caught up field too many times. Rating: 3.5
Darlington Nagbe: The Portland Timbers midfielder looked decent to start but gradually tired and didn’t factor into many scoring chances. He still helped with possession at times. Rating: 5
Michael Bradley: The captain had a mixed game. Offensively he struggled but his defense was an asset as he frequently hustled back to help a troubled backline and won a few turnovers. Rating: 5.5
Kellyn Acosta: The FC Dallas midfielder stepped things up in the second half and helped the U.S. battle back into the game. His splendid free kick was the game-changer as it started the equalizing play. Rating: 5.5
Christian Pulisic: The Borussia Dotrmund attacker showed plenty of initiative and created a few nice plays but overall was heavily marked by Honduras. Rating: 6
Clint Dempsey: The national team’s all-time leading scorer never really got going in this game and was rarely part of anything dangerous. Rating: 4.5
Jordan Morris: The Seattle Sounders attacker helped the U.S. team a lot in this game with his mobility in the attacking third. He was able to give the U.S. attack a pulse at times and fought hard to create chances. His header fed Bobby Wood on the game-tying goal. Rating: 6.5
Paul Arriola: The D.C. United winger brought some life into the game and his teammates seemed to feed off his energy and effort. Rating: 6.5
Geoff Cameron: After a poor showing against Costa Rica, Cameron did very well off the bench and helped stabilize the backline. Rating: 6.5
Bobby Wood: The Hamburg forward scored the equalizer, taking his chance well after being in the right place at the right time. Overall the Hawaiian generally added a lot to the attack at a crucial point in the match. Rating: 7
Bruce Arena: This was not the result that the coach wanted after Friday’s loss to Costa Rica. But when viewed in isolation, a draw on the road to Honduras is not bad—especially when played in tough conditions in the heat and humidity. In one sense, Arena gambled and failed with the fullback duo. He Also he opted to go with Gonzalez over Cameron to start and that didn’t work out. Cameron had a bad game on Friday but Arena might have been too quick to bench him. The coach got some things right, however, as he brought mobility to the front line with Morris. He also did not wait too long to make needed substitutions, and it paid off. Still, he has a lot of work to do ahead of October. Rating: 5.5