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Player Ratings

U.S. Defeats Turkey, A Few Key Players Step It Up

Fabian Johnson delivered his best-ever performance in a U.S. jersey on Sunday afternoon in Harrison, New Jersey, and a few of his World Cup-bound teammates gave a good showing too.
BY Blake Thomsen Posted
June 01, 2014
8:20 PM


Tim Howard: Despite the Turks' heavy first-half pressure, the visitors didn’t actually do too much to trouble Howard. He made the occasional save and also had a few strong claims on crosses. More clinical sides—say, Ghana and Germany and Portugal, maybe?—will give him more to do, especially if the U.S. is set up in a similar formation in Brazil. Rating: 6.5

Fabian Johnson: Johnson delivered his best performance in a U.S. shirt in a sparkling two-way display. His defense was generally dependable and his attacking was excellent, highlighted by a stunning first-half goal from Michael Bradley’s gorgeous pass. A parting thought: is Johnson’s all-out attacking sustainable in Brazil? Surely he’s under orders from Jurgen Klinsmann to constantly get up the field. But does it make sense to do so in Brazil, especially against prospective left wingers Kwadwo Asamoah, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Marco Reus? Something for Klinsmann to think about, certainly. Rating: 8

Geoff Cameron: Cameron looked like he’d never left the center back position, standing out as the top U.S. performer from a purely defensive standpoint. He made several important clearances and was tidy on the ball as well. All told, Cameron looks to be in excellent form heading into Brazil. Rating: 7

Matt Besler: Besler wasn’t at his best for the second straight game. It must be said that he was starting alongside Timothy Chandler, next to whom he had never played a competitive minute before, so that may have contributed to some of his shaky moments. He did a generally good job of emergency defending, though, and should still feel good about his place heading into the World Cup. Rating: 5.5

Timothy Chandler: Chandler had a very up-and-down performance. We saw the good stuff: elite athleticism, some good tackles, and a goal-creating cross with his supposedly weak left foot. But we also saw some curious positioning and a horrendous error that led to Turkey’s only goal. Will Klinsmann trust that kind of inconsistency in the World Cup? We may learn more after seeing the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against Nigeria. Rating: 5.5

Jermaine Jones: Jones again did a good job of staying disciplined, and it was the formation far more than his positioning that led to so much Turkish pressure in the first half. He loses some points here, though, for defending a bit too ambitiously at times and also giving the ball away cheaply more often than he needed to. Rating: 6

Graham Zusi: Zusi didn’t have his best day, but he’s becoming so consistent that even average days are productive. As usual, he did an excellent job of maintaining possession on the ball, and he picked out two exceptional passes, too. An early chip over the top to Dempsey deserved better, and so did a sweeping cross field ball to Julian Green, who couldn’t control his touch. On the whole, Zusi showed why he’s an automatic starter, but one feels he has even more in the tank. Rating: 6

Brad Davis: Davis got a huge chance on the left side of midfield ahead of Alejandro Bedoya. He responded with a solid but unspectacular performance, generally keeping possession of the ball but also generally not doing too much with it. He did well to draw a few fouls but often looked a step slow against the higher quality opposition provided by Turkey. He also didn’t offer enough help to Chandler down the U.S. left. All in all, he likely did enough to stay in the picture for World Cup minutes. Rating: 5.5

Michael Bradley: Bradley earns his points here for his gorgeous assist and for his tireless defensive work. For the second straight game, he didn’t deliver a consistent 90-minute performance on the ball, as he gave away more passes than usual and wasn’t quite as sharp (assist aside) in the final third as he often is. He was particularly wasteful on an early give-and-go with Jozy Altidore, after which he scuffed his shot. Still, it was a solid game for Bradley. Time will tell if he’ll end up back at the tip of the diamond in future contests. Rating: 6.5

Clint Dempsey: Dempsey was everywhere in a dynamic first half, making several strong runs and working hard up front. And his spinning nutmeg of a Turkish defender has already become an Internet favorite. His touch was a bit off and he tired in the second half, but it was encouraging to see a lively Dempsey back on the field for the Americans after his groin injury scare. His second-half goal required the simplest of finishes, but credit to Deuce for being in the right place at the right time. Rating: 6.5

Jozy Altidore: It’s cliché to say, but really all Altidore’s performance needed was a goal. He worked incredibly hard for 90 minutes, giving defenders hell all game and drawing high praise from Turkish manager Fatih Terim. Highlights included a nice pass to Bradley that should have resulted in a goal, a clever flick on to Dempsey that in other circumstances may have resulted in a red card and penalty, and a sharp cut in the 80th minute that nearly led to his first goal since December. He drew several fouls and was a nuisance every time the U.S. cleared a ball toward him. Critics will chastise him for passing up a scoring chance and crossing to Mix Diskerud instead, but all in all it was Altidore’s strongest performance since his hat trick in Bosnia last summer. Rating: 7


Brad Guzan: Guzan showed just how strong the U.S. goalkeeping situation is with an impressive performance. He’s a top keeper, and he proved as much with several quality saves. There was absolutely nothing he could do about Selcuk Inan’s perfect penalty—and it's worth noting that Guzan guessed right left and nearly made the stop. Rating: 6.5

John Brooks: After an early nervous moment on a long pass, Brooks recovered to deliver comfortably his best performance in a U.S. shirt. He was strong in the air throughout and showcased his plus athleticism several times, either intercepting passes or shielding off attackers. Could it be enough to give Klinsmann something to think about as far as his starting center back pair? Probably not, but the coach has done crazier things in the past. Rating: 6.5

Kyle Beckerman: Beckerman found himself similarly outnumbered as Jones, but for the most part he did a nice job of shielding the back four. Predictably, his passing was also a bit tidier than Jones’ was, while Beckerman’s lack of athleticism was exploited once or twice. Basically, we didn’t learn anything new. Considering Klinsmann’s long-standing preference of Jones, it’s unlikely that anything will change in that department following today’s game. Rating: 6

DeAndre Yedlin: Yedlin’s performance followed a similar pattern as his previous three for the U.S.: start shaky, then gather himself and show some real quality. His appearances in each of the last two games suggest that Klinsmann rates him highly. Will that lead to minutes in Brazil? Not in the starting XI, but substitute appearances are easy to envision—especially if Klinsmann thinks an overlapping run down the wing is in order. Rating: 6

Julian Green: Green worked hard but looked physically overmatched against the Turks. He had a lot to do on his only attacking moment of note, and his first touch was a bit strong under heavy pressure from two defenders and the Turkish goalie. After this, frustratingly so, it’s difficult to envision Green making any sort of impact (or even appearance) in Brazil. Could the same be said of He Who Must Not Be Named? The comments section is all yours. Rating: 4.5

Mix Diskerud: Diskerud didn’t have quite the same impact as he did against Azerbaijan—it’s quite possible that the Turks are more accustomed to such distractingly beautiful hairstyles and boyish grins. He was his usual sharp self in terms of distribution but needed to do better with Altidore’s cross, instead of chesting it down and losing possession. Rating: 6


Jurgen Klinsmann: Klinsmann seems set on the diamond for now, but today showed its somewhat glaring flaws. Turkey managed eight shots on target and also hit the post, and the U.S. needed several crucial blocks and interceptions to keep the number even that low. Against the more clinical opposition the U.S. will face in Brazil, such numbers will almost certainly result in more than the one goal Turkey scored. The U.S. did have its fair share of attacking joy, but is it worth the risk to try to outscore teams in the World Cup? Klinsmann will have to think long and hard about that in the next two weeks. Rating: 5.5

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Blake Thomsen is a frequent ASN contributor. Follow him on Twitter and let him know what you think about his ratings below. (He's likely to respond to your responses.)

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