The U.S. national team made it through to the Gold Cup Final, and several players made a statement with their individual efforts. Here's a look at how the Yanks performed Wednesday in Arlington.
July 24, 2013
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The U.S. men’s soccer team extended its now-record 10-game winning streak on Wednesday night, defeating Honduras 3-1 in Arlington, Texas, to advance to the finals of the 2013 Gold Cup. The Americans were led by once again by Landon Donovan, who had a hand in all three American tallies. Alejandro Bedoya and Eddie Johnson also put in excellent shifts, with two assists and a goal, respectively.
Here is a look at how the individual players performed, on a ratings scale of 1-10.
: Another serviceable outing from the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper, despite failing once again to register a clean sheet in the tournament. He was hardly tested but was beaten on a set piece for a Honduran goal early in the second half. He was called upon for a strong save late in the game to preserve the 3-1 margin. Rating: 5.5
: Beasley continued to do his Beasley-thing at left back against Los Catrachos. With the Americans controlling the majority of possession, he managed to find the seams but didn’t get forward as much as in previous games. Honduras also looked to be targeting the Puebla man, who took several rough challenges over the course of 90 minutes. He was turned once or twice, but did well in recovery against a largely rudderless Honduran attack. Rating: 6
: With Omar Gonzalez returning to the national team, no one expected Goodson to get the nod over the incumbent center back pairing of Gonzalez and Matt Besler. Lo and behold, Goodson’s good form over the course of the tournament earned him a spot in the starting XI. He responded with another solid performance. His perfectly weighted pass helped break the first U.S. goal. He also cleaned up well defensively when called upon. He had a few nervy moments, but nothing egregious. Rating: 6
: Against El Salvador, Besler had one of his weaker games in a U.S. jersey. He rebounded superbly in Arlington. Unlike in the quarterfinals, he seemed to have his legs under him and was able to cut off the Honduran attack on several occasions thanks to some top-notch positioning. He didn’t face much resistance, but was strong nonetheless. The fact that his name wasn’t called much during the match was a good thing. Rating: 6.5
: His performances have been polarizing for some, this author included, but Parkhurst did exactly what he was supposed to do at Jerry’s World. Parkhurst’s struggles to get forward remain a frustrating reality, but with the dynamic interplay of the midfield his presence wasn’t warranted much in the opposition’s half. He was working hard but some shaky touches and poor crosses sullied his overall performance. Rating: 5.5
: Coming off a particularly strong performance against El Salvador, Beckerman put in another rock-solid shift in the center of the park Wednesday night. Playing his customary No. 6 role, Beckerman provided some biting defensive cover for Goodson and Besler, and served as an outlet for Beasley in possession. He may not have been flashy, but he made very few, if any, mistakes. Rating: 7
: Holden’s tentative return to match-fitness, combined with the atrocious field conditions at Cowboys Stadium, was enough to make anyone’s maternal instincts kick in. Fortunately for those concerned, Holden was no worse for wear. He was fearless with his tackling and not at all hesitant to engage the Honduran midfield. At times he seemed to get forward at will, and had several attempts on goal from distance. He was also unlucky not to draw a penalty after getting brought down in the box in the first half. Rating: 6
: This was a big test for the Helsingborg attacker, an opportunity to show what he had against tougher competition. Slotted in right midfield, Bedoya had some awkward moments in the opening minutes but eventually settled down and delivered what was unquestionably his best match ever for the Stars and Stripes. Bedoya assisted on the second and third goals for the Americans, utilizing his excellent first touch to play in Donovan for both. He was respectable in possession had some good attempts on goal as well. Despite being out-jumped on the Honduran goal, Bedoya put his best foot forward Wednesday night. Rating: 7.5
: Twisting and turning and going wide and cutting in, Torres was a whirling dervish inside Cowboys Stadium. He was clever, elusive with the ball, and helped the U.S. get off to a good start. A hub in midfield possession, El Gringo found open lanes at will and often contributed to the best American sequences. On the other side, he did have some wasteful deliveries on dangerous free kicks. Torres exited in the 67th minute for Brek Shea.Rating: 6.5
: He's back. Playing a hand in all three American goals Wednesday night, Donovan continued his dominance over his team, and the entire tournament. He now has 5 goals and 7 assists across the Gold Cup, as well as another Man of the Match performance. He hardly had a bad touch all night, and his assist on the opening goal was a thing of beauty. With these kinds of performances it is getting harder and harder to argue that Landon Donovan won’t be penciled in for his fourth consecutive World Cup appearance. Rating: 8
: Used as an impact sub against El Salvador, Johnson was active from the opening whistle against Honduras. Combining with Donovan frequently, the duo struck early for the game’s opening goal. After a clever dummy on the ball, Johnson slotted it home a superb Donovan pass with authority. Since being reincorporated into the national team, Johnson has shown remarkable growth in his game. His frenetic clever movements and expertly timed runs have made him a key fixture in the U.S. attackRating: 6.5
: One has to wonder with Brek Shea’s continued inclusion if Jurgen Klinsmann is simply hoping beyond hope that Shea can mature from a raw talent into a serviceable professional. Suffice to say, tonight wasn’t his night. He was beyond disappointing yet again in a late substitute appearance. Bad passes, lost battles, and a poor touch. Nothing positive to note. Rating: 3
: The mop-topped midfielder took a step backward in a substitutes’ role in Arlington. After replacing Beckerman, the midfield became a chaotic mess for the final 20 minutes. Lacking the defensive discipline and instinct that Beckerman provides, Diskerud played nervous and had some poor touches. Shifts like this make you realize the 22-year-old is far from a finished product. Rating: 4.5
: A quiet shift for Wondo. Rating: 5
: Klinsmann embraced the challenge from Los Catrachos but ultimately dispatched them with little anxiety. He has to be given credit for the inclusion of Alejandro Bedoya and Eddie Johnson in the starting lineup. Both put in fantastic shifts, showing they both should merit future consideration. His substitutions, however, left a little to be desired, and the decision to leave Holden on the field for the full 90 minutes was questionable. After some rash challenges on DaMarcus Beasley and some back and forth with the head official, Klinsmann was sent off late in the match, leaving his participation in the final up to the CONCACAF disciplinary committee. Whoever they may face, and regardless of his pressence, Klinsmann has proven that his team will be ready. Rating: 7
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