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Player Ratings

Performance Review: ASN Rates All 17 U.S. Players

It wasn't the most exciting dos a cero victory in U.S. soccer history, but at this stage of the World Cup cycle, every performance matters. Here is Blake Thomsen's take.
BY Blake Thomsen Posted
May 28, 2014
1:07 AM


Tim Howard: Barring an early Azerbaijani strike off of a Matt Besler giveaway, Tim Howard had absolutely nothing to do. He saw less action in 90 minutes than he likely will in most 10-minute stretches in Brazil. Rating: 6

Fabian Johnson: Restored to the right back position he plays at Hoffenheim, Fabian Johnson had a strong performance. He showed flashes of the type of offensive contribution he may be able to provide in Brazil, getting forward aggressively and linking up well with midfielders and strikers alike. A solid showing from one of the first names on Klinsmann’s team sheet. Rating: 6.5

Geoff Cameron: Geoff Cameron showed well in his first U.S. appearance at center back in a while. Granted, he was comically untested defensively, but he did well with the occasional tackle he had to make and also showcased his crisp passing abilities before being replaced by Omar Gonzalez at the break. For now, he looks like a first-choice center back, and this will do nothing to change that status quo. Rating: 6.5


    Matt Besler: Matt Besler was uncharacteristically shaky early, giving the ball away cheaply once or twice. He wasn’t punished against Azerbaijan, but he might not be so lucky against the U.S.’s Group G opponents in the World Cup. Still, he steadied himself over the remaining 80 minutes, and this should not threaten his starting position. Rating: 5.5

    DaMarcus Beasley: For a player with well over 100 caps, this was a strangely nervous showing from DaMarcus Beasley. Perhaps he feels Timothy Chandler breathing down his neck. Aside from a few nice passes in the attacking third, Beasley was very poor on the ball, showing a heavy first touch that often led to rushed passes or lost possession. Rating: 5

    Jermaine Jones: Once the formation was revealed to be a diamond, U.S. supporters naturally wondered if Jermaine Jones would be able to maintain the requisite discipline to play as a No. 6. He answered the critics resoundingly, turning in a disciplined performance while also showing his usual bite and tenacity. This was a rare occasion when Jones legitimately outshined his central midfield mate Michael Bradley. Rating: 6.5

    Graham Zusi: Graham Zusi was heavily involved in the U.S.’s buildups in his half of action, providing composure and quality as he picked up the ball in a wide variety of areas. He also provided his standard excellent set piece delivery—Chris Wondolowski really should have scored from his fourth-minute beauty. The omission of Landon Donovan from the squad made Zusi an all-but-certain starter in Brazil—this performance will not change that. Rating: 6.5

    Alejandro Bedoya: Alejandro Bedoya was given a big chance on the left side of the midfield, and he was perhaps the brightest player in a drab first-half U.S. performance. As usual, the Nantes midfielder was one of the hardest workers on the pitch, and he also had some nice attacking moments. His delicious cross to Wondolowski nearly brought the Americans’ opener. Rating: 7

    Michael Bradley: Michael Bradley wasn’t bad—by most players' standards. He does too many things well for that to ever really be the case. But this performance was certainly not his best. Given an advanced role at the tip of the U.S. diamond midfield, Bradley wasn’t as sharp as he often is. One too many passes went unconnected, and his decision making wasn’t quite as standout as usual. Regardless, Bradley still offered plenty offensively and defensively. It will be interesting to see if Klinsmann sticks with the diamond against Turkey. Rating: 6

    Chris Wondolowski: Thrust into the starting lineup after Clint Dempsey’s late withdrawal, Chris Wondolowski didn’t have his best game. He did nearly score twice, but that wasn’t enough to hide a relatively anonymous performance in terms of contributing to U.S. attacks. At times, the Earthquakes striker looked a bit overmatched physically, which is bad news considering the improving quality of defenders he’ll soon be facing. Still, it’s highly unlikely Wondo will be asked to start in Brazil. In limited action, he’ll always be a threat to snatch a goal. Rating: 5.5

    Jozy Altidore: It wasn’t the dynamic, goal-scoring performance that so many supporters and doubtless Jurgen Klinsmann was hoping for. Against opposition as weak as Azerbaijan, many hoped that Jozy Altidore would grab a goal or two and generally dominate proceedings. That didn’t happen. Altidore did some things well, though, adding some very nice holdup play and a few tidy touches in the buildup. A bigger contribution against Turkey seems possible on the back of this performance. Rating: 5.5


    Omar Gonzalez: Omar Gonzalez was even less tested than the man he replaced at halftime. This performance gave us little to no indication about the health of Gonzalez’s knee. Klinsmann says it’s fine, but some media members who have attended U.S. training sessions have suggested otherwise. This didn’t tell us much—perhaps the game against Turkey on Sunday will. Rating: 6

    Brad Davis: Brad Davis came on at halftime for Zusi and was one of the brighter players for the U.S. in a snooze-inducing second half. His game will never be marked by moments of jaw-dropping quality, but he had some nice moments in this game. He should have drawn a penalty and also whipped in a trademark set piece for Aron Johannsson’s goal. Will he have a part to play in Brazil? It’s becoming more possible with each passing day. Rating: 7

    Timothy Chandler: Chandler did his best to get forward, but he couldn’t get too much to come off in terms of quality passing. As ASN’s Brian Sciaretta noted on Twitter during the contest, Chandler is “very right footed”, and it remains strange to see him on the left while the very two footed Fabian Johnson plays on the right. We may see some tinkering in the next game, especially given Beasley’s iffy showing tonight. Rating: 6

    Aron Johannsson: Aron Johannsson was lively as ever, running hard and trying to take defenders on. Few deserved a goal more than him, and he took his free 81st-minute header with aplomb, clinically planting it in the top corner. Does this move him ahead of Wondolowski in the U.S. striker sweepstakes? Who knows, but it certainly won’t hurt his cause. Rating: 7

    DeAndre Yedlin: Like all U.S. defenders, DeAndre Yedlin had virtually nothing to do in terms of containing Azerbaijani attacks. He didn’t get too much time to show off what he can do going forward, either, aside from the occasional swift run. He’s not going anywhere near the starting lineup, but a role off the bench isn’t entirely out of the question. Rating: 6

    Mix Diskerud: Mix Diskerud claims the ASN man of the match by default, primarily because he was at least willing to try to generate attacks. He looked like the American player best suited to picking apart the disciplined Azerbaijan defensive unit, and his efforts were rewarded with an opportunistic goal off a Bradley rebound. He only grew in confidence after the goal and was involved in most of the U.S.’s good attacking moments in his 20 minutes on the pitch. Rating: 7.5


    Jurgen Klinsmann: U.S. performances don’t get much more drab than that, so perhaps Klinsmann deserves some of the blame. The decision to play Johnson on the right and Chandler on the left still seems confusing, but on the whole, he seemed to get most of the decisions right. His Davis substitution proved to be far wiser than most in-game observers speculated. Still, U.S. fans will be hoping for more in the next two send-off games. Rating: 5.5

    OK, these are our ratings. Now we want to see yours. It's easy with our interactive Player Ratings tool. Do it. Blake Thomsen is a frequent ASN contributor. Follow him on Twitter.
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