Bruce Arena Mixed It Up & Geoff Cameron Stepped Up
June 11, 2017
THE UNITED STATES men's national team put forth a team effort and walked away from Azteca with a hard-fought point from a 1-1 draw. There were individual moments of brilliance but it was a strong collective performance.
There are just so many positives—most notably the team is buying into Bruce Arena’s system. Michael Bradley’s long-range goal will be talked about for a long time. Kellyn Acosta might have forced himself into the starting lineup with his consistent effort. DaMarcus Beasley still has it. And a three-man backline seems intriguing.
Here's my take on the individual performances.
The Starting Lineup
Brad Guzan: Making a surprise start over Tim Howard, Guzan was a step slow on Mexico’s goal but it likely wouldn’t have mattered. He didn’t have to make any great saves but was generally steady and worked well with a backline playing a new formation. Rating: 5.5
DaMarcus Beasley: No other player has given as much to the U.S. national team than Beasley and tonight he played the role of senior statesman very, very well. While he couldn't keep up with Carlos Vela on Mexico’s goal, Beasley was not completely at fault as most of his teammates were left in the dust on the counterattack. In the second half he was playing great defense and helped shut down El Tri. Rating: 6.5
Tim Ream: Ream was by far the quietest of the American backline but he also had a steady game as Mexico pushed forward in the second half. Rating: 7
Omar Gonzalez: The Pachuca defender was just what the team needed after struggling with crosses on Friday. He was an aerial beast and his physicality helped as Mexico racked up corner kicks but could do nothing with them. Rating: 7
Geoff Cameron: The best American player Sunday night. Could he have tracked back on Mexico’s goal? Possibly but that was one of the best counterattacks you’ll ever see. Cameron broke up more of Mexico’s dangerous chances than anyone. Rating: 8
DeAndre Yedlin: Arena asked an awful lot from Yedlin—the Newcastle United fullback started all three games of this run, including a 90-minute effort on Thursday. On only two days of rest, Yedlin should have been gassed. At times he looked like he was. But he responded very well and gave a lot to his team against Mexico. In the first half, Mexico wanted to attack down his side and Yedlin would bend but not break. In the second half he was a rock. Rating: 7
Kellyn Acosta: Acosta made a statement that he not only has a very bright future but also a very solid present. He might have done enough to convince Arena he should be a starter in central midfield. Mexico still had most of the play in the midfield but Acosta looked very much in place when he had the ball. Rating: 6.5
Michael Bradley: Even if you didn’t factor in his amazing goal, it was a good game from Bradley. Surrounded by younger players all new to the team within the past year, Bradley was the glue that held everything together. He was smart defensively and his passing was solid. He nearly won the game for the U.S. team only to have his 30-yard shot smack the goalpost. Rating: 7.5
Paul Arriola: Arriola looked active and lively and his effectiveness will come. His speed was an asset, and while he did not shine he didn’t hurt his case either. Rating: 5.5
Christian Pulisic: He showed glimpses of his talent but overall struggled to get going the way he normally does. He had a chance to win the game for the Yanks but missed a shot badly. Even in off games, his heart and swagger are admirable. Rating: 5.5
Bobby Wood: The Hamburg stalwart badly missed a point-blank shot that led to Mexico’s lethal counterattack. Beyond that sequence, he was mostly invisible. It was a tough game for him to get going. Rating: 5
Darlington Nagbe: The Portland Timbers midfielder did not play up to the performance he showed against Trinidad & Tobago. He looked lost in the moment and his passing was not as crisp as it has been in recent games. Rating: 4.5
Jozy Altidore: Altidore was not much of an upgrade from Bobby Wood, who struggled to get involved. It was always going to be hard for Altidore to put his stamp on the game, and he didn't manage to do so. Rating: 4.5
Graham Zusi: Just a cameo. Rating: NR
Bruce Arena: Arena came into the game in a tough situation: His team was on short rest and had to travel to Mexico to play a tough team at altitude. Arena trotted out a team with heavy turnover in a new formation—and it worked. The U.S. was in a position to win this game, and nearly did. The team bought into what Arena was trying to do and that was clear in the team’s hard-fought effort. The only question here was his decision to go with Brad Guzan over Tim Howard in goal, which seemed unnecessary. That said, this was just a great job by the coach. Rating: 8.5