Who was your Man of the Match vs. Italy?


photo by Bernd Feil/ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team earned a historic result on Wednesday, defeating Italy for the first time in 11 tries.

The 1-0 result in Genoa was a hard-earned one for U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his team, but one in which a handful of American players delivered strong performances en route to Klinsmann's fourth consecutive victory and second on European soil.

From Tim Howard's sure-handed saves, to Michael Bradley's industrous and disciplined effort in midfield, to Fabian Johnson's surging runs forward and competent defending as a left back, to Clint Dempsey's game-winning goal, the United States recorded its first win against the Azzurri thanks to a team effort.

While there is much to discuss about the result and the game itself, SBI wants to ask: who do you think was the United States' Man of the Match against Italy? 

Cast your vote after the jump:

Who did you vote for, and why?

Share your thoughts below.

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93 Responses to Who was your Man of the Match vs. Italy?

  1. Bob Bradley says:

    Good job son.

  2. Paul says:

    Easily Bradley. His play made Edu better, hardly missed a pass and was in command the entire game.

  3. Micheal Bradley says:

    Thanks Pa!

  4. nbluck says:

    Bradley rarely put in a wrong foot. Fabian Johnson was also impressive and Jozy showed some massive maturity and improvement in his hold up role.

  5. JB22 says:

    Dempsey had the moment of class that proved the margin of victory, and in the second half he attached himself to Pirlo in the space he had found in front of the back four – exactly the space where he was spraying so many dangerous passes in the first half.

  6. A wise man once said says:

    Um, duh, Bradley…

  7. marco says:

    Xavi like performance. Pep, take a look.

  8. tbrax says:

    Has to be Bradley. He was fantastic. Started the play that led to the goal, was brilliant breaking up attacks, had two superb defensive turns late on and was the calmest and most collected any American has been on the ball since Reyna was in his prime.

    I doubt it will shut up the haters, but a performance like this makes clear who the engine of the next World Cup team should be.

  9. jpc says:

    I voted for Edu. He finally realized that he is at his best when he’s not touching the ball, ever. Great job.

  10. Bradley BOSSED this game.

    And I’m liking the new jerseys. Different, but I don’t mind the sleeves at all. Looks good.

  11. chris says:

    MB90 FTW

  12. Schizzle says:

    Bradley without a doubt, but collectively a lot of guys looked solid for good stretches. Timmy definitely kept us in the game with a few world class saves as well. Dempsey acted like he was the most confident guy on the field. Lots of positives for sure.

  13. JesseMT says:

    Not MOTM, but Fabian Johnson is looking to be the first player that that Jurgen has “discovered,” so to speak. The core of the team that played well today, Bradley/Dempsey/Howard, was the core of the team in the last cycle as well. Johnson is the best performing new face to date.

  14. hulkimania says:

    have to go with the linesmen on this one

  15. chris says:

    Bradley was spectacular, got my vote.

    But Johnson really looked on the left, and Edu played his best game in quite some time.

  16. Bradley's son from the future says:

    Well done dad. I watched the tape..and you did play very well.

  17. Tab says:

    Bradley was magnificent!

    One note on these boards: I’ve criticized Bradley from time to time. Said the sorts of things about him that some people call being a “hater.” (Principally that Bradley is not a particularly penetrating or inventive passer.)

    But color me impressed. More so even than with Bradley’s recent play at Chievo. Tonight Bradley’s positioning was really smart. He moved the ball well. And he showed a much greater composure on the ball — and quite a number of deft touches.

    Really excellent stuff. Great to see him developing.

  18. VA Law says:

    Loved Bradley in this game. Very composed, brilliant little plays here and there to help keep us organized. Held the ball up well when asked too. Rarely, if ever, caught out of position.

    That said, Tim Howard kept out 4 or 5 SOG which would have really troubled other keepers. Even Buffon. Howard’s positioning was impeccable. His hands are first-rate. Understated but monumentally important game from Timmy.

  19. Ryan says:

    Well done. I was worried that either the linesman would miss a call or we would get burned. The linesman did do a great job however as I don’t recall any offsides calls that were wrong

  20. Perterfiney says:

    Falcao with the goal. Col 1 Mex 0

  21. surferdude says:

    Your were a monster today BB!

  22. marco says:

    Playing a high-line and not pressing Pirlo was a huge risk. Klinsmann won this roll of the dice. I wouldn’t want them to play it again.

  23. dallennole says:

    Anybody have a link for the u-23 game?????

  24. brek shea was disappointment of the match
    lets see what agudelo does tonight at 10!
    against the frijoleros!!!!!!!

  25. Brett says:

    Bradley. Bossed it for 90+, no stupid fouls, no bookings, solid on the ball, solid in the tackle, solid in positioning, involved in the goal.

    Dempsey a very close 2nd. He was everywhere winning balls and made THE difference in the match. Still, I think we allow 3 without Bradley’s performance, and this is coming from a Bradley critic over the later BMG period.

  26. pancholama says:

    I have been more on the side of those who have defended both he and his dad from time to time.
    But regardless – I see the man maturing in our eyes. He does not rest on his laurels – he is clearly determined to continue improving himself, and improved he has over the last 2-3 years. Outstanding performance in the midfield by Michael Bradley – no one, NO ONE can say anymore that he plays because he is the coach’s son.

  27. wildchild says:

    Well said

  28. wildchild says:

    LLOL. We got lucky TWO LOTS.

  29. Perterfiney says:

    Next the U.S.will beat Mexico in Mexico in qualifying

  30. dallennole says:

    Thanks for the response but I do not have telefutura on dtv…just looking for a link!

  31. Michael K says:

    Michael Bradley impressed! Obviously his time in Italy is maturing him (no dumb fouls or cards) and making him a much better, more confident player. A good team effort overall! To go a goal up over a very good and attack-minded Italy side and then defend like hell bodes well for the future!

  32. stellarcaster says:

    so how long before AC Milan makes a bid for bradley?

  33. Steve says:

    I am watching the game for the first time right now….with all the scathing message board comments in the back of my mind. What I take away is four things:

    (1) Johnson is our LB. Chandler is servicable at LB but just not the same player he is out of the RB position.

    (2) Shea’s game was not as bad as advertised. Sure he is raw and turned it over 5-6 times, but they were in the final third. To me, let him and Johnson continue to develop that left flank, and man it for 2 cycles.

    (3) Edu and Bradley should be run out together again next match. They both played very well.

    (4) Cant help but think what this team might look like with Donovan on the right. Ferocious. Same as Donovan added to Everton, just that last element that makes things hum.

    Looking forward to the next match.

  34. john says:

    The whole team was on. However, Bradley showed exceptional sharpness and a sixth sense about how to defend against Italian tactics. I picked hem because I could not pick more. I liked the German=Americans, Dempsey, Johnson, Spector, Tim Howard. It was a very good team effort. Also, they were lucky when the game could have turned against them.

  35. Jon says:

    Clearly MB90, in my mind.

    Hopefully his class performance against the Azzurri (plus good play overall for Chievo) leads to good things for him this summer.

  36. phlub says:

    That dude is unreal. Columbia looks great in general.

  37. Rob says:

    I actually thought that Shea was worthwhile defensively tonight.

  38. Curtis says:

    Personally I would also add Altidore to your 2nd point (notice how I avoided saying “add altidore to your number 2)

    Regardless, I was reading posts about altidore’s play at work, but was able to watch the entire second half; to me it looked like he was doing was was expected of a lone forward. Good holdup play, chasing down attackers, relieving pressure. etc

  39. wilyboy says:

    Bradley showed his brilliant quality, Johnson’s my pick. Think about it. His play showed that Chandler can use his right foot again, and delivered the cross that unlocked the win.

  40. BCC says:

    Bradley was only on the field because his dad is the coach.

  41. pd says:

    easy tiger. he needs another season building on exactly what’s he’s doing now. then the world will be his oyster.

  42. Kev says:

    We did it! I have been waiting a long time for us to take on a Powerhouse in europe and win. Great win!

    One thing I noticed out of Italy – anyone else think they looked lazy and not giving a crap at times?

    Has much been said about Bocanegra? I thought he should be the man of the match. Right spot every time.

    But there are a few man of the matches. Dempsey was the man, of course. I do not recall many mistakes from him in the middle.

    I will admit, I thought Johnson would be better suited in the midfield for us before this game and was skeptical about Shea starting. I was dead wrong on both accounts. They looked like a great tandem. I think we found an LB, guys!

  43. hudson says:

    What struck me with Bradley was how quickly he got rid of the ball where he used to seem indecisive with the ball at this feet. Playing in Serie A has clearly made him into a more poised, crisp passer and playmaker. He also broke up plays calmly when Italy was swarming in the U.S. penalty area.

    Shay and Williams both turned the ball over too much. It looked like sometimes Shay wasn’t even looking up, just making a bland pass in the direction of the area. I don’t think Klejstan did much to help his standing with Klinsmann even in the short time he was on. But when Donovan is healthy again, and eventually Holden, the midfield is looking solid.

  44. Red Bull Fan says:

    Makes me proud…

  45. HAAA says:

    hey Fishhead Fischy, Mexico sucks. Colombia 2. Mexiculo 0

  46. Dancy says:

    Boca was my man of the match with Bradley likely second. Carlos was everywhere, won just about everything and looked the true team leader on the night.

    Bradley was very good in the second half and his possession in tight spaces and distribution were probably the best I’ve ever seen from him. His tackling was great and his recovering/closing was very good. The last 20 minutes he really shined, maybe so much that people are over-rating his performance.

    Bradley’s first half was average at best and I still worry about his defending positionally. He just always seems to be a bit too far from his mark. Before everyone freaks out and calls me a hater for daring to challenge the greatness of MB check out the highlights of Italy’s best chances (4:00, 43:20 and 79:50) and see how Bradley just doesn’t quite track guys into the box or stay near enough them. He also tripped a guy in the box needlessly. It wasn’t called, but he went in way too desperately against a not that huge threat. He got away with all of these, but no matter how good his other moments were there were too many mistakes for MOTM.

  47. Missoula says:

    Spot on about Howard. His positioning was terrific. Some people probably didn’t notice his play because he didn’t have an spectacular saves. However, those saves weren’t needed due to his ability to read the game and put himself in position.

  48. David says:

    Yes, but what about all the favoritism shown to Heinrich Klinsmann? This nepotism must stop!

  49. Byrdman says:


  50. Byrdman says:


  51. dgoshilla says:

    Bradley was great. His touch was spot on. He was seeing the next play. He read his teammates movements perfectly. His game has elevated. Great to see his progress.
    On the other hand we’re still missing a striker.

  52. mike says:

    i can’t stand altidore. granted, the second half was better but he either loses the ball or takes a dive.

  53. kpugs says:

    Wish I could vote for three or this was the NHL. In my own order, Howard followed by Deuce followed by Bradley.

    They were all brilliant…and I thought Jozy looked great.

    Even more positives…if our team can whether that type of storm in the first half against a true world powerhouse, get the goal and continue the fantastic defending…this is a fantastic thing.

  54. Dennis says:

    LOL, Italy must be wondering how they could be offsides so many times. At least 2 could have been called the other way, but I think on those 2 Howard saved. Pretty disciplined display from the US back 4.

  55. Dennis says:

    Of the starters, I agree Shea was the weakest. I did think that worst of the game has to go to Sasha, I generally like him, but when he should have been covering for Spector who got drawn into the middle, he looked lost and gave away too much room in the corner, then did not have the speed to recover adequately.

    In recent games, the victory over Spain in 2009 and the tie vs Argentina in 2011 were at pretty much the same level.

  56. Dennis says:

    It was not a foul in the box, he played the ball, the Italian tripped and Bradley played the ball away. Only the Italian who went to ground complained and even he did not make much of it (uncharacteristic of the drama the Italians too often display).

    Howard and the central defenders had some much scarier moments in the first several minutes than anything that came about due to Bradley.

  57. Dennis says:

    It was interesting that Klinsmann used the same formation BB used, for example, against Spain in 2009, but Edu where Clark was. And, yes both Bradley and Edu played primarily as defensive mids.

  58. Northzax says:

    I think he’s gone from Chievo this summer, he and Dempsey will vie for the US transfer record. MB is probably worth more, frankly, since Clint pretty obviously wants to stay in England.

  59. H2Oman says:

    I am used to seeing Bradley playing a bit like a mad-man… putting out great effort, but often to his own detriment, running himself out of position. He has matured loads in a short time. Much more in control, head up, knowing where he’s going with the ball before he receives it, passes more crisp. In addition, he has found a nice touch on a little chip pass that he used 5-6 times… never seen him use it before. I’ve always admired his grit and thought he’d be a stalwart, solid guy for years… but I see his ceiling much higher after today.

    I have visons of Chandler screaming up the right side on over lapping runs w/ LD and Johnson up the left with Shea… amazing that we now have the luxury of OPTIONS. Considering how our defense looked a short time ago, I’m freaking thrilled. My feet areon the ground, we’ve still got along ways to go…. but things are coming in focus, and I really like what I see.

    BTW: Our u23s looked fast and crisp tonight in TX. LOVE what Porter is doing- that was a hell of a move giving him those boys. Nice day for US Soccer.

  60. bearusky says:

    Kljestian turned it over also of the 3 touches he gave away two….wand why should be included on this team again?

  61. Bradley's disfigured dog says:


  62. BrianVT says:

    “He does not rest on his laurels – he is clearly determined to continue improving himself” — million dollar words these. And anyone who has not seen this all along does not follow U.S. soccer very closely.

    That said, I heard a rumor that MB90 only played because he was the coach’s cousin’s girlfriend’s mother’s paperboy from 2005-2007.

  63. BrianVT says:

    Also, I could prolly do the research myself, but I need to get to sleep — I’d love to see a line graph of MB90’s mean-time-to-booking over the past five years.

    He used to be a jermainjones for a card per match, but there is no greater indication of his maturation than his new-found composure.

    I see him eventually wearing the armband, someday.

    That said, Beebs should *not* have played him the full 90 of every flippin’ match, at the expense of not being able to havalook at any other up-and-comers on the depth chart. Props to Klinni for keeping MB90 off the roster for the first few look-see matches.

  64. Bradley's disfigured dog says:

    haha too early for that.

    he’ll be with Chievo for at least one more year, i guarantee it.

    If you look at his team history, he plays for a midtable team for at least one 2 years and then moves up

    Herveenes for 05-07
    BMonchengladbach 07-11
    Chievo 11- probably 13

  65. BrianVT says:

    “MB is probably worth more, frankly,” because he is four years younger.

  66. eman says:

    honestly, in my days of playing, coming on in the second half of a high pressure game, it is always difficult to quickly adjust to the intensity that is already established on the field.

    plus, Italy where already on full fledged attack

    but, i can totally agree that kljestan’s play was not very good. he should of been more composed than what he showed on the pitch.


  67. eman says:

    Good Guy Giovinco

  68. eman says:

    Everyone played well.

  69. Jon says:

    I’m with Timmy H. Clean sheet, in Italy, top class positioning. Banner day for the Yanks.

  70. Jamie Z. says:

    I look forward to the day when we have Jonathan Klinsmann and Brooklyn Beckham playing for the U.S.!

  71. Jon says:

    Bradley signed a two year deal with Chievo. So this summer, Chievo will have to decide whether they cash in on Bradley or offer him a new deal. Any agent worth his salt should be able to get Mikey a decent raise…

  72. Kryptonite says:

    I think US fans are still traumatized by the LB position. I love the work Johnson does at LB, but I hope his appearance at LB is short-lived. Johnson is the only midfielder the US has that has all the attributes Klinsmann wants in a midfielder. He does more for the national squad in the midfield, where is passion desire and skill are greater, than he does at LB. His combo of creativity and possession, and reading the game are sorely missed when he is at LB. This scoring-challenged side needs him on the wing if the US is to take the next step. Take Shea out of the starting lineup and insert Chandler at LB and the US is a better offensive squad immediately. jm2c

  73. biff says:

    GW: Saw your comment on the previous thread from yesterday, as well as some heat I took from a couple of others. I’m not prejudiced against MB, but I’m not on the rah-rah bandwagon either. I’m just a USNMT fan calling it as I see it. The comments I made were mild and constructive, not like the rabid hate-infested and ugly comments I sometimes see on this board directed at Kyle Beckerman and a few other players, usually midfielders. Watching the Italy game, I felt Fabian Johnson was man of the match, with Clint Dempsey a very close second. I was totally surprised after the match to see the board flooded with postings declaring Michael Bradley M.O.M. (although, in retrospect, I should have expected it).

    In any case, I agree that MB had a solid game, despite some defensive lapses and several way off-target corner and free kicks (especially the kick from midfield at the end of the first half that flew way over Goodson, whose head was free high above defenders and poised for a headshot). MB was solid, but I saw Johnson as the driving force of the USMNT, the focal point, the man others were looking to, the man that made the great Mesut Ozil-cross to Jozy. Maurice Edu was surprisingly good and, I think, played at the same level as MB.

    I think a lot of MB supporters (some no doubt posting here under multiple names) are judging his performance more from the heart, relieved that he had a solid game and did not have any major screw-ups rather than from an objective assessment of his game. I saw MB as a contributor — among many — to a great win.

    MB no doubt deserves strong consideration from Klinsmann for a starting spot this summer when WCQ rolls around. But after one solid showing, it is way too early to say MB owns a starting midfield slot, especially after very good outings in January from Jermaine Jones and with Jose Torres coming back and probably Stu Holden and when Landon Donovan takes back the right wing what will happen with Danny Williams, who is a great defender, and don’t forget Klinsmann fave Kyle Beckerman and we now have a resurgent Mo Edu and maybe even Fabian Johnson will be vying for a midfield spot and Brek Shea might finally get it together. It’s a battle to win a starting slot on a Klinsmann-coached team and the team will just keep getting better and better as players fight for them.

  74. biff says:

    tough call on Fabian Johnson, he’s a great left defender but also an awesome winger. But I tend to agree with you, his ball-handling and passing skills remind me of Mesut Ozil.

  75. Bradley's disfigured dog's squeaky toy says:

    squeak! squeak!

  76. NotBornstein says:

    Didn’t see the game (work) so I didn’t vote. But the words, “…competent defending as a left back…” made me weep with joy.

  77. Andy in Chicago says:

    Michael Bradly was definitely man of the match.

    I also must say this. For once, I cannot complain about Jozy. He actually played very well and I was impressed for the most part. The one dive to try and draw a penalty was ridiculous, but other than that, he was great in this game.

  78. Andy in Chicago says:


  79. Bradley's sons' son from the future says:

    Guess what you guys… I just got signed by Real Madrid

  80. Kryptonite says:

    If my memory serves me, Johnson was on the youth teams with Ozil and was on pace to be a German national until his hiccup at Wolfsburg, which the US should feel extremely happy about in retrospect. Johnson should be happy about it too as he should be a fixture in the starting XI and likely in multiple World Cups.

  81. beachbum says:

    spin city man, spin city

    your ctitique only reveals your bias, no insight


  82. beachbum says:

    Michael Bradley

    many good performances, but Man of the Match?

    Michael Bradley, and an easy choice it is

  83. beachbum says:

    wrong. Michael barely put a foot wrong. I just rewatched the match. You should too.

  84. Shark says:

    Give it up biff…you were wrong…:)

  85. TrollsWillTroll says:

    The only reason that Michael Bradley is on the team is because his father is the coach.

  86. happyjuggler0 says:

    You might be right, but his stock in Italy just went up with everyone in that country watching his amazing performance.

    If he keeps playing well for Chievo, then “General” Bradley could definitely be transferred to a top Serie A team.

  87. TrollsWillTroll says:


    You beat me to it.

  88. bryan says:

    Bradley and Howard were brilliant. Either one works for me. Johnson looks great, but I think given Shea’s continued disappointing displays, Johnson will be LM once Chandler is back. Sacha didn’t look good at all, which is a shame because I have been saying he deserves a shot. It’s really too bad. While Boca/Goodson did pretty well, there were way to many balls over the top. Gooch would have been nice to have. I think Williams is a good player with good skill on the ball, but it’s obvious he shouldn’t be playing RM.

  89. Did Bob tag Shea? Or are we saying he was an MLS find before Klinsi. Remember how bad Shea looked against Colombia before answering that. I was at the Mexico game for his assist to Rogers that really put him on the map. There was an energy around him at that game that felt like he was just being discovered by a lot of people. Although then again you could say those who were really paying attention knew he was special from his time with Dallas.

  90. Bradley looked great, but this was a real show of force from Johnson. I think he’s earned a starting spot somewhere from this game. Hopefully at LB, he looked miles ahead of Chandler and it would allow Timmy to head back to the right side.

  91. I really feel like we can’t be impressed enough with Tim Howard. I’ve never watched a USMNT game he played where he wasn’t our Man Of The Match. I just naturally assume I’m voting for a Man of The Match not named Tim Howard. For all the talk of Dempsey and Donovan, Howard has been our undeniable best player for years.

  92. because he’s a central player who was forced to play on the wing? That he was forced to play out of position because he was the only midfielder Klinsmann had on the bench for this game? Because he’s had the most impressive stand-out club season this side of Dempsey and Bradley? Because of that silly moustache? Because he had a good Gold Cup the last time he got any real play before he started tearing the roof off in Belgium? Most importantly because two bad passes shouldn’t eliminate him from contention?