Mexico 0, USA 0: SBI Player Grades

USA Starting 11

Photo by John Todd/


MEXICO CITY– On a night when Mexico was far from sharp, and the crowd at Estadio Azteca was not quite as intimidating as in past visits, the U.S. Men’s National Team played a solid overall team game and showed no fear in grabbing a valuable point in Tuesday’s 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw.

The U.S. defense led the way, keeping Mexico’s dynamic attack at bay, as centerbacks Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler turned in star performances despite the fact both still have single-digit appearances totals for the national team. Gonzalez was the star of the show for the Americans, dominating the air and showing incredible growth in his third World Cup qualifying start. Besler was equally impressive, showing well in his very first qualifier.

The American attack didn’t create many chances, in large part to the fact that the U.S. midfield had to help cover the back four, but the defensive contributions of Graham Zusi and Herculez Gomez can’t be overstated.

In goal, Brad Guzan made every big play the U.S. needed, and provided a security blanked in the back for his defense, which showed confidence in sending passes back to him on a regular basis.

It wasn’t a memorable night for Clint Dempsey or Jozy Altidore, but that had as much to do with the U.S. midfield being too busy defending to offer the necessary attacking support.

That was a trade-off Jurgen Klinsmann was more than willing to make if it meant coming away from Estadio Azteca with a point, and while it still wasn’t a victory, Tuesday’s draw still means four points from two matches and another handful of American players who have shown they are capable of stepping up in big matches when called upon.

Here are SBI’s USMNT Player grades for Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw vs. Mexico:

USMNT Player Grades vs. Mexico

Brad Guzan- (7)– Made some big saves late and handled the ball cleanly throughout the match. He showed an ability to relieve pressure for his defense by making himself available for back-passes and getting the ball out of danger.

DaMarcus Beasley- (6)– Was shaky early on, and was clearly targeted by Mexico’s attack, but he eventually settled down and made several quality defensive plays while also drawing countless fouls as he tried to get forward.

Omar Gonzalez- (8)–  The Man of the Match for the USA, Gonzalez was imperious in the air and cut out every Mexican threat that came his way. The kind of game that shows why he’s considered the future (and clearly the present) of the USMNT centerback position.

Matt Besler- (7.5)– Showed some nerves early but promptly settled down and played every bit like a veteran rather than a novice playing just his second U.S. Men’s National Team match. He was strong in the air, confident on the ball and did his best to keep tabs on Chicharito.

Geoff Cameron- (6.5)– On a night when there were questions about his ability to handle Mexican winger Andres Guardado, Cameron showed the athleticism and positioning that has made him a regular starter at right back for Stoke City.

Maurice Edu- (5)– Did little to make people forget about Jermaine Jones. Made several mistakes, particularly in dangerous positions, and committed needless turnovers. Faded out of the game at times, but did settle down and play better in the match’s final 30 minutes, though he very nearly drew a match-deciding penalty.

Michael Bradley- (8)– In the first half, with the rest of the midfield struggling, it was Bradley who helped relieve pressure and cover ground and circulate the ball in order to keep Mexico’s attack from running the U.S. defense into the ground. Thoroughly outplayed his Mexican counterparts in the middle of the park.

Herculez Gomez- (6)– Put in an astounding amount of defensive work to help Beasley from being overrun by the Mexico attack.

Clint Dempsey- (5.5) – Did his best to try and keep the ball and help the U.S. possess, but the lack of midfield support in attack rendered Dempsey largely ineffective. Did his part to pressure the Mexican midfield when they had the ball deep in their end, but never could find a real chance to test Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Graham Zusi- (6)– Known more as a creative finess player in MLS, Zusi showed on Tuesday that he is more than capable of doing the necessary dirty work as a two-way winger. He made some lung-busting runs to help cover for Cameron on the right flank and tried testing Mexico’s defense when he could.

Jozy Altidore (5)– With the U.S. wingers busy tracking back, and Clint Dempsey not involved much in the attack, Altidore had zero attacking impact. Where he had value was in putting defensive pressure on the Mexico defense and central midfield when they had the ball.

Eddie Johnson (4.5)– Gave the team some energy off the bench, even if the team was in full defend mode by the time he came into the match.

Brad Davis (4.5)– Gave up a terrible free kick that nearly gifted Mexico a golden scoring chance late in the second half. Did provide some quality on the ball at times, and tried to send in a few dangerous crosses.

Brek Shea (NA)– Brought in for some speed, and energy, on the left, Shea didn’t have enough time to really make his mark.

Jurgen Klinsmann (7)– Turned to Matt Besler as a starter despite him only having one previous cap. That and the decision to stick with Cameron and Beasley at fullback paid dividends, even if the move to start Edu in central midfield didn’t exactly look like a winner. His substitutions showed a coach who wasn’t trying to completely park the bus, but being able to earn a point at Estadio Azteca earns Klinsmann high marks for the match.


What did you think of the USMNT’s performance on Tuesday night? Which players impressed you the most? Which players do you think struggled and didn’t make the grade against Mexico?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF, Featured, Mexican Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team, World Cup Qualifying. Bookmark the permalink.

321 Responses to Mexico 0, USA 0: SBI Player Grades

  1. Dos a cero says:

    We got away with a huge no call on Edu in the penalty box. Definitely
    Will take the point.

    • Sheriffbart says:

      That certainly was a missed call.

      • Keeping_The_Brek_Shea_Faith says:

        Missed call? How about we call it CONCACAF karma……..

        • Scott says:


        • Felix says:

          That’s my feeling on it. El Tri definitely had the right to be upset on the no-calls, but at the same time, when you think about all the times CONCACAF refereeing has gone against us, or the bad calls in the WC (Edu called off goal in ’10 or the famous Frings handball in ’02), it was some karma coming back our way.

        • supergrandefilms says:

          Yes – whatever goes around comes around. Makes me wonder what Sporting News columnist Brian Straus is reflecting on these days? And what do people think now of his dangerously sensationalist article filled with all those anonymous sources? Hmm.

          • Jay says:

            What was wrong with the argue? As long all quotes were true and nothing was fabricated, which Straus says his editors made sure everything was done the right way professionally…. what is your problem with the story? He’s a reporter that reported what is huge news, that as of last week some members of the USMNT had some issues with the head coach.

            • supergrandefilms says:

              It was a self-serving hatchet job spit out days before a big game. Simple yellow journalism. If that’s good for you… then fine.

            • recoveredamishman says:

              By using anonymous quotes, Straus allowed himself to be manipulated and used as a tool by people who had an obvious agenda. Anonymous quotes make for good copy but they aren’t generally associated with responsible journalism because people can simply lie or criticize with no accountability for their words. If we knew who was saying what, then it would be easier to assess the motives of the person who was making the statements. Criticism made anonymously may be valid or it may simply be a crock of b.s. cooked up by a rival, but since we don’t know who was talking there is no way to know. I would be slow to believe anonymous sources of the sort quoted by Straus for exactly this reason.

          • Riggity says:

            Lmao strauss is sitting at home right now thinking that he was instrumental in the US gaining four points in the last 2 matches. I’ll tell you what most logical people are thinking. They are thinking that that article could be the most important event in this world cup qualifying to the US. That articke forced every single person involved in US soccer to take a long look in the mirror and think about what they needed to do to make the team and themselves better. I am a diehard US fan as I am shre you are as well so answer me one question please. What player came out and said “the comments made about jurgens approach to tactics are completely false? I honestly don’t understand how you can hate the guy so much for doing his job, you should be more disappointed in the players who ran their mouth.

            • supergrandefilms says:

              I agree… you couldn’t have asked for the USMNT to react in a better manner. But Straus wasn’t thinking about the team, he was thinking about himself and getting his name out. There’s a lot of pressure in qualifying so I also understand that it’s always going to be perfect in a locker room. I don’t give Straus any credit for the USMNT success as they make their way to Brazil. If anything… he was an annoying road bump.

              Here are some folks who unified the team after the Straus article..

              Tim Howard –
              link to

              Michael Bradley -

              Bocanegra – link to

          • GW says:


            Did you know who Brian Strauss was before that article came out?

            Yes? No?

            If the answer is no then ,guess what, I’ll bet he’s happy.

            • supergrandefilms says:

              Yes I would love to see that wide pasted BS smile the next time he saunters over to the USMNT training camp and then… as he reaches out with his token handshake… all the players, staff turn around and walk the other way.

              Oh joy.

              • wides says:

                Obviously his sources won’t have that reaction as they are the ones agreed to be quoted. Even anonymous sources have to be agreed to be quoted anonymously.

          • patrick says:

            brian strauss is not only a writer, but a fantastic one who simply did his job. He investigated some unrest/unhappiness in a locker room and reported it. We sometime forget that the entire US soccer world aren’t fans, or people with the goal to make the US better. Brian’s job is to write about soccer, and his piece on the USMNT, was a well researched, in depth piece. Whether you agree with it or not is neither here nor there, but there’s no “karma” in doing you job

            • wides says:

              +1 Honestly, he did the US Soccer setup a favor, by getting people to talk about soccer. And not just the token, one goal highlight on Sportscenter. Anything that gets airtime is good for the sport in the US, even if it’s slightly negative. The US persevered, people spoke their mind, the leaders on the team spoke up and said get on board. 4 points from 2 games.

              I will happily read Strauss’ articles in the future and enjoyed this one (though didn’t enjoy the fact that there was some discontent).

              • FulhamDC says:

                Unfortunately, you won’t read them at The Sporting News, they’ve let 12 people go in a cost cutting move, and Straus was one of them.

    • GOYA-GOYA says:

      I watched it on Televisa, the local Mexican station we get here from TJ. No, it wasn’t a penalty. The Mexican player kicked the ground (dragging the top of his foot across the ground on the way to kicking the ball), kicked the ball out, then was fouled by Edu. By the time he was fouled, the ball was headed out of play. When the defender gets the player in the box after the ball is gone, most times (and rightfully so) the ref will let it go. If it is outside the box, it is a foul every time.

      The Mexicans own replays on Televisa were excellent.

      • The Garrincha says:

        Thank you for that insight, that is somewhat what I thought. Either Edu got some of the ball first or the guy flubbed it a bit. Yes there was contact but exactly as you stated, should only call that outside the box.

        • PD says:

          yes we can analyze the rewind all we want, but watching that live it clearly looked like a penalty. we also dodged a bullet with the Bradley push in the fist half. time was a CONCACAF ref would have called that and carded MB

          • Seriously? says:

            The replays we saw for the Bradley play were terrible though. I couldn’t tell if he actually shoved the guy, or if he put his hands up to basically feel where the player was as he was looking back over his shoulder, and the player just hit the deck looking for a call. ESPN showed one replay of that in slow motion, starting after Bradley’s hands were already touching the player, and you just couldn’t tell what happened.

            • keithbabs79 says:

              I saw this on spanish tv too. They had a live poll where 35% of viewers said it was a non-call. He clearly was going for an oscar in the replays.

            • The Garrincha says:

              He hit the deck went down far to easy and took a dive, albeit yes Bradley lightly corressed his back thats about it.

          • Mason says:

            My problem with that whole incident was the ESPN’s booth complete lack of understanding of the application of the LOTG in that situation.

            Watching it live, the referee had no doubt. He signaled immediately for a corner kick. It seems he believed that Edu had won the ball between Aquino’s legs and cleared it over the goal line. This may have been correct or not, but that’s what he believed. If he’d though Aquino flubbed the shot, it would have been a goal kick. That the crew in the booth was unable to explain that frustrated me.

            • FGB says:

              If you’re waiting for insightful commentary from Taylor Twellman, you’re gonna be there a while.

              He makes the kind of comments a casual fan would make and that’s about it. I think I prefer John Harkes (shudders)

          • Gary Page says:

            That one was a good no call because the ball was 20 yards ;away and was blocked when Dos Santos, I think it was, tried to play it in. So the ball was never getting to Chicharito plus the fact that I think Chicharito was off side when the play occurred.

      • Air Jordanz says:

        This. Watch the replay again in slow-mo. Edu definitely makes contact, but after the ball has been cleanly struck and skied.

        Changes the nature of the foul completely, if it’s called.

      • Gary Page says:

        Thanks for the extra, new info. However, Edu did get him from behind. It was a stupid play since Edu was on his right so all he had to do was cut Aquino off from going right and the left was covered by a defender and Guzan.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The Bradley play is debatable — embellished shove — but it looked to me like Edu won the ball with a between the legs tackle. That may be “frowned upon in this establishment” (a softer era of soccer than mine) but it looked to me like he got ball.

      • Lil' Zeke says:

        If by frowned upon you mean usually deemed a penalty, then yes

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Usually deemed a penalty because this generation has gone soft, with the low point being the 2006 WC where you got carded for coughing on someone, resulting in that Holland-Portugal farce.

          He tackled the ball, he was not playing the man. He got ball, the man fell over the tackle.

          The notion of calling all “tackling from behind” is silly. The pertinent aspects remain the same: is the tackler playing the ball or the man? If the ball is tackled then the player falling over the tackle has no real right to complain. If they are playing you, it would be a foul whichever way you slice it.

          Right up there with simulation as one of the” innovations” I think have made things worse. Now every tackle is cause for mutual dramatics, the attacker goes for the call, the “Boswell” can then come over and claim the attacker is faking it, and everything starts to spiral away from just calling dangerous play.

      • Mason says:

        That’s what the ref thought he saw, as well: A between the legs tackle by a defender that results in the ball going over his own goal line.

    • Al_OC says:

      We should’ve had a penalty in the Costa Rica game. So, things evened out at the end.

    • Cconk says:

      The reason the ref didn’t blow his whistle was because of how Mexico played early in the match. Watch how they would tumble once they felt hands on their back and turned towards goal. Chicharito and Dos Santos both tumbled once they felt hands on their back. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a shove but they could have easily stayed on their feet. Once the ref knew it would be a fine line between an actual foul it influenced how he would call the match. All top teams do it to feel out the ref and see how much they can push it and get away. I think it backfired on them when there was an actual foul. Just my 2 cents and I only got about a buck fifty. Cheers.

  2. brad says:

    Agree with these ratings much more than those on Beasley and Bradley in particular. Yes, Beasley looked shaky on defense and got burned a couple of times, but he also stifled a fair number of attacks and perhaps more importantly, was able to retain possession and successfully move the ball up the left side (in contrast to Cameron who mostly just booted the ball aimlessly).

    • biff says:

      Agree with you on DeMarcus Beasley. ratings are often a joke–Beasley flop of the match? Give me a frickin’ break. After his man-of-the-match performance against Costa Rica, Beasley continued last night to play with pure heart. Was not always pretty, but he is not a left back and the fact remains: Mexico did not score on him. Beasley has earned the chance to be given a shot by Klinsmann as an left winger/attacking midfielder. Would love to see Beasley at left wing ahead of either Fabian Johnson or Edgar Castillo. I think that will create some offensive fireworks.

      • Ali says:

        Hey I would agree Beasley never give up and play with heart, but like you said I too would love to see him as a midfielder him and castillo. Both Players are not defenders they almost have the same type of game because of their speed but they would be better use as left midfielders i think.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        They went after him like they thought he was the weak link. He bent quite a bit but didn’t break. Middling effort and perhaps replaceable when the Germans come back, but part of a strong defensive team effort and worthy of being in the pool going forward, because Mexico away is about as hard as it gets.

        • keithbabs79 says:

          For as many times as they went after him, he held his fair share and dispossessed the attacker. Could you imagine Gooch in that role?

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            No, but he’s long gone because he couldn’t even stop Antigua (and he wouldn’t be playing wing anyway). Peter Principle at work: at some point we reach the level of our incompetence. Gooch’s was lower, Beasley was almost to his. But many of the teams we face could be handled with Beasley.

          • GW says:

            How does Gooch come up in this conversation?

            He played left back a couple of time for FC Twente when he was on loan there but I’m pretty sure it was in a three back line.

        • bird says:

          Agree here. He was targeted. He took a lot of knocks but really came through in a tough tough spot. Also Herc gets a lot of credit from me, I dont know that Beas does as well with anyone else as his LW. The amount of work that Herc put in was incredible. All heart.

    • The Garrincha says:

      much agreed Brad, seems people forget Bease filled in admirably and in the end under the worst conditions A mile high blizzard, and then Azteca, and helped the USMNT secure 4 points.

    • Jeff says:

      Agree with you on DMB, but disagree on Cameron. He does tend to boot the ball when in trouble, but what defender doesn’t? He combined decently with Zusi (who looked much better in this game than the last, but I still wish an in-form Lando were there), and pressed forward on multiple occasions. But the best thing about his game was his dominance of Guardado. How often has that guy snuck by and killed us when we were concentrating on Gio and Salcido? He did almost nothing in this game, and couple of hard challenges in the first saw him afraid of Cameron. Guardado did not go at him at all in the second. Looked like he didn’t want to get cleaned out again. What more can you ask from a defender?

      • brad says:

        I agree that Cameron defended well, just think he gave away the ball too easily upon winning it.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          In this particular context I’d let it go. Against Mexico away, clear the ball and worry about possession later. We got the result. But I do think you have a broader point on giveaways because I saw him do the same thing against CR. Dynamo/Stoke backs seem to just love to hoof it. I just think you’re harping on the wrong example to show it.

          • David says:

            I wouldn’t fault him for that in the CR game either. Playing in what looked like 4-6 inches of snow those small passes out of the back with forwards nearby become extremely dangerous. Its too easy for them to hit a footprint or snowdrift and cause a turnover. In those conditions a boot and run on strategy is best.

            Now if he had done that on a clear day against an opponent at home, that is a problem.

            • David says:

              That said the few times he did get to make runs out of the back I thought his service was poor.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              I don’t know if I agree because he had a little bit of a bad habit of hitting interceptable passes either on a diagonal or square across the field, which were getting picked off. That is a way to get in trouble fast because the player stealing the pass is almost past you before you react, with an inside position. Kind of like Edu getting caught on the dribble in his defensive third.

              I’d almost rather you hoof it upfield rather than make one of those type of giveaways. On the relative scale. But I do think he had a bad habit also at the Dynamo of just launching it which Stoke probably has no reason to correct, them being the Dynamo of the EPL.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I also think Cameron played well enough where, like DmB, he earns a pool spot even if maybe the starting job should be open when the Germans return.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        I think Cameron just hears Tony Pulis’ voice in his head yelling “BOOOOT IT!!!!!!” every time it comes to him.

        can’t really blame him for taking the safety first route in Azteca though. He defended well enough, but didn’t impress when going forward.Can’t wait to have the overlapping runs of Cherundolo/Chandler back.

        • GW says:

          You might remember that in the first half of the Frosted Wheat thin game Cameron was taking the ball out of the US half on the deck which resulted in several dangerous giveaways in bad places.

          In the second half he was better at being a little less ambitious, probably after JK burned him a new one.

    • PD says:

      Agreed. It was also clear that part of Mexico’s plan was to overload DMB’s side and often he was faced with either tucking centrally to provide cover closer to goal and allow Aquino room to run and forcing him to recover. Like the rest of the team, Beasley bent but didn’t break when it counted. He was fantastic and I hope he’ll get called in again as a left winger.

      Cherundolo–Omar–Cameron–Fabian J.

      EJ Gomez Agudelo Zusi Shea Kljestan Corona Edu Chandler Besler Castillo Guzan

      • swifty says:

        Add Boyd, possibly drop either EJ or Agudelo. He is in better form than both.

      • JG says:

        I like the combo of Besler and Gonzo. I would love to see more of it. If Stoke is going to play Cameron out right, I say we do the same. Chandler is a joke, never ready to go, always has a conveinent injury, wishy washy, we dont need him

        I love that you included Corona, but I want to see him!!! We have to find some one to help connect the midfield with the attackers

        • antnee78898 says:

          I agree about Chandler, very over rated as a USMT player. Cameron is too good a defender to keep of the field, he was off this go around. He plays good enough offense that Stoke has him at left back, and took Dom long enough to put him at CB in Houston where he was DMid.

    • AcidBurn says:

      One thing to remember is that Aquino was injured and had to come out of the game (for Omar Bravo). Beasley was getting toasted again and again by Aquino, and Aquino getting injured and coming out of the game was a major turning point for the US. It seemed that Beasley was just barely hanging on by the end, and I was holding my breath every time he and Aquino went 1:1. Beasley deserves credit for hanging in there.

      Hey, has anybody seen Andres Guardado? I didn’t last night. Props to Cameron for effectively marking him out of the game.

      Guardado and Aquino are the engine that make el Tri go.

      • fortunate only says:

        Guardado’s game has evolved. He’s not a traditional winger that will hug the touchline and pump in crosses. He often drifts into the middle and looks to combine. I don’t know what game people were watching when they say Cameron marked him out of the game. Guardado simply shifted towards the center, which played in our favor since we had the middle overcrowded.

        The idea was to allow Torres Nilo to exploit that space, which he constantly did.

        I hope people aren’t being too harsh on Demps and Jozy since they generated very little. They are still in Diego Reyes’ back pocket as we speak.

        Overall it was a greatly executed game plan but we need to do better when we have the ball. Defensively we were great but that’s about as much as we can say regarding this particular game.

      • Riggity says:

        I dont know exactly but Aquino was subbed like after the 80th minute, which was pretty much the whole game, I don’t see how that was the turning point when they still manage to create several.chances in thr last 10-12 minutes. But I do agree that I was about to throw up every time they went 1v1

  3. Kosh says:

    I agree with you on the scores and the reasoning behind them, Ives. That’s how I pretty much saw the game – especially the JK subs.

    The Edu gaffs and turnovers – we’ve seen them, many times before, and have been punished for them. I know that there was some luck on our side yesterday but to not get hammered for some of the places he lost the ball, to me that speaks volumes of what Gonzo and Besler did last night.

    • Spectra says:

      I have to give huge props to Klinsman. His best decision over the past two games was to put Gomez on the left in fron of Beasley. Beasley was huge but the Gomez decision was even smarter

      • biff says:

        Agree that Gomez was a key player in both games at the left. But fact is he is more naturally positioned as a forward or as a center-right attacker. I hope as we move forward and true left-side players can start, such as Beasley, Fabian, Castillo, Shea, that Gomez gets playing time as the lone top forward ahead of Jozy and as a center or right attacker.

      • beachbum says:

        he was forced to make these moves positionally because of injuries.

    • PD says:

      one could argue that Cameron and Jones and Bradley committed equally potentially fatal mental mistakes as well. Edu was solid, but not perfect. Like Beasely, he bent but did’t break and got a little lucky when it counted. I still think Jones gets a start over him, but he still makes my match day squad.

    • THomas says:

      Am I the only one who though Besler was the best centerback? Both were great as was the team defense. You don’t give up 17 shots and 15 corners or whatever it was and 0 goals without good defense. It means those corners were well defended and the shots were from positions that would rarely threaten a keeper.

      Besler cut out everything on the ground and Gonzo cut out everything through the air. It was great. It’s going to take a huge flop for me to not support these two as the centerback pairing going forward.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        Besler was fantastic. He and Gonzalez both player really well. We now have a bit of a competition for the CB position. Besler, Cameron, Gonzalez…..I’d be tempted to stick with the successful duo at this point.

        • JG says:

          I agree……Besler and Gonzo in the middle…. If Stoke wants to play Cameron at right back, I say we put him there also.

          Chandler is too unreliable, wish washy, and always is conviently got some problem. He doesnt seem he wants to be here anyways

          I say you round out the back 4 with Fabian Johnson and that is a very athletic, hard working, back 4 that can defend players, space and does well in the air. But it is also a group that can pass out of the back and attack up the wings.

          • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

            Don’t sleep on Cherundolo. I think he could still have a big role to play with the team

          • GW says:

            You lose a lot offensively with Cameron at right back as opposed to Dolo, Chandler, or Fabian.

      • beachbum says:

        Gonzo was MotM with Guzan

      • whoop-whoop says:

        Yes this!

        Best pairing isn’t the best two players, but two very good players whose strengths compliment each other. Besler and Gonzo do just this and they already seem to have a good understanding of each other in a very short time. Besler has the ground, Gonzo the air and both are pretty solid the other way. I am ecstatic that w/ these 2 Goodsen, Cameron, Edu, Johnson, Chandler, Cherundelo even Beas… we are grooming a very versatile group of players with interchangeable parts to choose from on the back-line. Come WC, if all goes well, we could have a very adaptable roster. Coaches dream that.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Edu was getting caught on the dribble late, but to be fair he was probably a “least worst alternative” after Jones went out. This was going to be a defensive struggle, we needed someone with chops to play that spot, and in that context there would have been only so many names considered, including his. He did his defensive job but let down on offense.

      • Lil' Zeke says:


      • OPMG says:

        +1 Edu was a liability going forward and didn’t provide an outlet in the midfield to relieve pressure. That resulted in almost every pass from the back going through Bradley, which isn’t bad, but it did limit us. He defended well for the most part, but his distribution and technical ability needs work.

    • Chief Diversity Officer says:

      Edu just flat out doesn’t belong on this team. How can a player at this level not have basic ball control and dribbling skills. Those are BASIC skills you learn as a kid.

      You’re telling me out of 300 million people, he’s one of the top CDM we can find? Sounds like US Soccer Federation fishiness to me.

      • Gary Page says:

        He starts in Turkey, was a regular at Rangers and when I saw him in the Champions League a couple of years ago with Rangers he held his own in a game against Man U. Maybe the pressure of international football is too much, but you would think that Champions League would prepare him for it. Certainly you figure that Man U is as good or better than any team in CONCACAF.

      • Big Red says:

        I actually think Edu is the best center defensive midfielder in US history. You could tell the calming force he had in the middle. Cut off passing lanes way better than Bradley who was out of position most of the time getting caught trying to keep formation vs following their late attacking mids in the box. Edu actually connected more passes and had more accuracy than Bradley. Edu’s passes contributed very well to the attack. I can remember a couple through balls that Altidore and Dempsey should have gotten. His ability to chip the ball has improved as well. His speed is also underrated. No Mexican player ran past him. It was also easy to tell that Mexico was avoiding him in the midfield. They were either going to the far left touchline (Aquino) or right center mid (Guardado) in the attacks. Edu was mostly playing left center mid. He was also a beast in containing Chicharito on the 14 corner kicks got. Bradley, not so much. I think Edu deserved the 8 and Bradley deserved the 5. After all, Edu pretty much saved a goal no matter how you look at it.

        • DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

          Big Red, Edu does have some defensive stick, but you are dead wrong on the passing accuracy. Bradley was like 56 for 57. He got caught on the dribble a couple times but no more than Edu. Bradley and Jones are both way better than Edu, even with Jones tendency to randomly punch Costa Ricans named Ruiz for no apparent reason…

        • Riggity says:

          I am generally not into name calling, but you must be mentally ill, blind, soaked in sarcasm or all of the above. The first statement on your post has to be a joke. Posts like that are the reason they moderate our comments. Holy moley I seriously don’t think it is possible to accurately state how offbase your statement is. I am assuming you are using the big red name to imply you are Lalas while making fun of him…

          • Johnny says:


            Big Red – what in the world are you talking about?? His passes contributed vey well to our attack??? What attack are you referring? We (the US) had no attack. We had no real shots on goal.

            Edu was awful last night.

        • Xander Crews says:

          I’m with you, Big Red. When you watch the highlights from the match, in nearly every single one for Mexico, Bradley’s at fault in some way, whether it be failing to track his man or being late to make a read. Watch the disputed Edu penalty play again, focusing on those two players. Edu makes the read and sees the man open at the spot and makes his break to cover before the ball is played. Bradley, closer to the play, shows terrible recognition and doesn’t break until after the pass is made.

          Let’s also not forget the most promising US attack of the match, which Bradley was huge in both starting and ending, with an atrocious first touch. I’m totally in agreement with you that Bradley’s grade is too high and Edu’s too low – maybe not an 8 for Maurice, but definitely was better than Bradley was.

      • GW says:


        Every player has games where it seem their “basic ball control and dribbling skills” are not where they should be.

        It was not that long ago that people were saying that about Clint, DMB and MB90.

        With all due respect you are overreacting based on a very limited sample size. Mo would not be getting paid what he gets paid if you
        were right.

      • Johnny says:

        Agree completely.

  4. TC says:

    I disagree with the subs. Don’t get me wrong we earned an incredible point but I just didn’t understand EJ and Davis. The timing of EJ was very curious to me. The only time we had anything going forward was playing the ball to Jozy then running off his hold up. Davis nearly cost us the game with his foul. Overall it was the performance that we needed though. Finally some promise showed by some CB. Been a long time since we could say that.

    • Sheriffbart says:

      At first I questioned Johnson and then Shay comming on. I thought it would be better to go with a more defensive minded player. Yet with 2 guys that can get past the back line on a ball over the top it definitely gave Mexico something to keep their minds on. I think it kept them from getting forward.

      • Jeff says:

        TC – I see your concern about the subs, but I think JK has shown he likes to play the hot hand. Although he could have subbed off a knocked DMB with Morrow or Beltran, the defense was playing well and building chemistry. Why break that up?

        I agree with Ives and Sheriffbart that the idea was to keep his core defense intact, while adding the threat of a more energized counterattack that kept the Mexican defense honest. More about strategy than tactics, but I think we’ve seen that JK is more of a big picture guy then one who is looking at individual match-ups.

      • Jerrod says:

        Agree completely. i was flat out flabbergasted at taking Jozy out. By far the best chances we had came when he linked up with Dempsey or Bradley on some nice give and go play. He was holding up the ball and pressuring their D and keeper. Isn’t that exactly what we want from him in a game where the midfield is focused mostly on defending?

        • ex_sweeper says:

          True, but with the huge gap that opened up between Jozy and the U.S. midfielders as they dropped back to help on defense, Jozy wasn’t going to get more chances like the one with Bradley. It appeared that JK just wanted fresh legs to challenge balls and keep the Mexican defense honest.

        • DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

          No, Jozy was TIRED. It was clear that he just wasn’t making it anymore, and I totally agree to taking him out first. Unfortunately EJ looked worse. Maybe Boyd or Corona would have been better choices, but we will never know now. Can’t blame him for going with EJ, he’d been delivering the goods until Denver, and you can’t really count Denver.

    • Josh D says:

      Agreed. Johnson is not an international central striker, and in a game like that, we needed someone like Boyd. I thought Jozy deserved to get subbed out, however I didn’t feel Johnson ran any harder.

      I understand the logic of putting Davis in – you have a deadball specialist and that was the only way we were going to score. But he was useless out there. I would have preferred Shea.

      Edu did OK, but he all he provided us with was energy. He didn’t really tackle, his passing was suspect, and he couldn’t maintain possession. I hope everyone appreciates Jones now, who while not perfect himself, offers workrate, tackling, and decent forward passing.

      Beasley deserves another half point. He made some incredible last minute tackles and for someone out of possession and seemingly injured for an entire half, he stayed at it.

      I was most disappointed with Dempsey who wasn’t tracking back after losing the ball and couldn’t find the game. And when he had the ball, he didn’t offer an offensive avenue. His only real shot was a horrible miscued left footed shot.

      Bradley, Besler, Gonzo, Zusi, and Gomez held the team together with lung busting plays and heart.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think JK wanted to put some experienced hands on the field to freshen things as we tired. The defense was collapsing into a flat line. We needed to get some legs in to restore shape. You could have maybe put Corona and Boyd in — and I’d have approved — but those are younger, less tested guys. There are other players I’d also have preferred to Davis in particular, but then you have to call them first…..Benny, Mixx, etc.

      I didn’t think the subs were particularly effective either but I also didn’t think he had a ton of choice — his mistake was the selection in the first place — and was glad it wasn’t defenders or the hapless Sacha going in instead.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        Exactly…. I thought the subs were actually pretty good with what was available on the bench. The ohhhh-nooo, groaning exception to me was Davis, who honestly, I think is limited and overmatched on the Int’l level. Really would have preferred to see Corona to assist Bradley with possession after we won the ball. Think this could have helped immensely in relieving the pressure late.

        • DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

          Klejstan would have been a better option than Davis at that stage. Move Dempsey over to the left a bit.

          • whoop-whoop says:

            You may well be right. I’d like to like Sasha as an option… frankly, I haven’t seen Klestjan play since his move to Belgium, and his sparse time w/ the Nats has been out of position, so I have nothing to go on really. I have however, been very impressed w/ Corona whenever he has had an appearance w/ Nats/u23s, Xolos in Mx league play and v Corinthians. He’s definitely not easily rattled, has good vision, technical skills and makes quick decisions w/ the ball.

  5. Sheriffbart says:

    Gonzo was terrific. This will likely be the last time I ever mention Gooch. For so long he was seen as the best CB the US had and it was always just painful to watch him. You always knew he was going to get beat badly 2 to 3 times a game. Wow what a difference in Gonzo. This guy is going to be world class and will certainly start to get big time interest from some major clubs over seas. I bet the rumors will start within a week of who wants him. The University of Maryland must be quite proud to have had 3 players on the pitch last night. It lays ground for a good argument that playing college soccer for a high level program with a good coach might be every bit as good as playing academy football.

    • Riggity says:

      Ya. No it definitely does not.Playing college soccer where you only can train for a limited time per week to me is a huge disadvantage and one of the biggest reasons why the mens national team has struggled to become a really strong side. Every year a college player plays in college is a year he loses in the most crucial developemental stage of his career. If you were discussing womens soccer than I would agree with you, but just because we have players on our national team doesn’t mean that it is everybit as good as academy football.

  6. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    USNT didn’t win 2-0 to those higher grades.

    Guzan (7) Didn’t many saves but knew come out and cut crosses.

    Cameron (6.5) made Guardado his bitch!

    Besler (7) played like he had 100th caps!

    Gonzalez (7.5) knew what where the mexicans were going and cut them off.

    Beasley (4.5) lost majority his duals with Aquino, but knew how slow down the game and some battles.

    Bradley (6.5) what won those ball and control majority of the tempo.

    Edu (4.5) won most the ball in first half, but he looked worn-down and made some horrible mistake in second half.

    Zusi (5) had an amazing tackle on Guardado and gave it defensive header but lack creative spark with his serve.

    Gomez (5) kept posession but his deliveries sucked.

    Dempsey (3) looked fatigue without a clue and that shot was pathetic. Dempsey was in the “Zone” that game.

    Altidore (5) kept posession and created some attack, like Altidore feed Bradley.

    Davis (3) lost in the game and that made foul which mexico kept in the rhymth of attack.

    Johnson (4.5) WTF sub by Klinsmann? Johnson gave some trouble once but did nothing majority of game.

    Shea (NR) not enough time.

    Klinsmann (6) made best what he had, made rookies defenders look like Gods, but subs Altidore so early in the game for Johnson had no impact, sub Davis for Gomez made things worst, but Klinsmann came out with important point.

    • BigRockr says:

      Probably more accurate than Ives…..especially Dempsey. I forgot he was out there except when I noticed a player that never ran. Very weak performance. EJ sub shoulda been for Dempsey NOT Altidore.

      • biff says:

        i also can agree with most these ratings. But come on, MA1 Rodriguez, you don’t really believe Beasley is a 4.5, do ya?

        • MA1 Rodriguez says:

          Just because Aquino was destroying Beasley but our Centrebacks came huge save the Day. Beasley without dealing Aquino would been 6.5.

    • Andy in Chicago says:

      At least EJ challenges for the ball when it comes up the field. That’s more than whatever the hell Jozy was doing out there. (Nothing.)

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Jozy doesn’t have the motor to chase, I was saying this before they played the game. This was going to be a run your tail off game and that’s not his thing. He hustled around for CR but in the snow that was a plodder-type situation, one suited to his skill set. The people who overdrew the meaning of that game don’t seem to register that Jozy has limited value in finesse and work rate type games. He’s good in a slow game where his touch isn’t pressured and he gets time to turn isolated defenders.

        Personally I’d have gone with Dempsey up top and inserted another skill player in midfield like Corona or Davis. Then Boyd or Altidore late. I think EJ is a slightly mythical creature who flourishes against teams below the level we need to beat now. But then some might say the same thing of Jozy, and Boyd is unproven if talented.

        • WG says:

          Jozy doesn’t have the motor to chase,.. This was going to be a run your tail off game and that’s not his thing.

          Do you ever watch any Eredivisie games?

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            I don’t need to. The eredivisie is a one-off
            where the best teams average 2+ GF and the worst average 2+ GA. It does not translate to back to the wall shutout soccer like last night.

            I do atch him play for the US and he lumbers around and has limited speed and fitness. If one of the primary goals was to have him chase and harass, he lacked the attributes to accomplish the goal.

            But I think he was also out there on the odd chance that he might win a header in a rare deadball chance. That is more to his skill set but also might be more efficiently accomplished in terms of the overall portfolio by bringing him off the bench late like EJ was.

        • TomG says:

          Jozy’s motor was excellent v the Ticos on Friday and it’s been much better of late. He just didn’t handle the altitude, smog and short layoff well. Some guys just lose their legs for certain games esp with these conditions, and esp for big guys like Jozy.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            I think he was well suited to that particular game but I don’t think we are going to routinely play in snow where Jozy’s touch issues are negated — or at least more universal because of conditions — and the way the ball is traveling slows everyone down to his speed of play, the defenders have to worry about footing, etc.

            I think he is a useful member of the forward pool, and should be in the eventual 23. But if you paid close attention he was 0-fer the weekend again, and he’s playing a production position.

            I think he has useful qualities for certain situations and games, but I think Dempsey, Donovan, Gomez, and Boyd are more along the lines of where this needs to go. Boyd in particular has elements of agility, athleticism, and touch that Jozy is not going to get even if he plays in Holland for a decade successfully. But Boyd has yet to prove himself so Jozy is still in a moment.

            • David says:

              Jozy hustles more than EJ without question since Klinnsman didn’t call him up. I won’t comment on Boyd because I’ve only seen his handful of cameos. If he is a Gomez type of player most of the time then he would have probably been a better choice than Jozy for this game since it was expected offensive possession was going to be limited. Once we have our back line settled and once we have true wingers at 100% health in our pool Jozy should and will be our best forward option out of all of them because he should get much much better service at that point. Chicharito would look like crap on the US team given how poor our service has been.

            • TomG says:

              Jozy doesn’t have touch issues. His touch is among the best on the team. Boyd is the man with the touch issues. Are you sure you aren’t confusing them? It’s an odd statement.

          • SayWhhaaaat? says:

            EJ enters the match and he immediately acts like he’s been running for 90min. If he’s out there to harry the Mexicans then he’s not doing enough

      • MA1 Rodriguez says:

        Altidore was best created player, almost had pair of assists. Johnson isn’t for Top Level International games.

    • Doug says:

      The EJ sub was really strange. If Jozy wasn’t getting service, why put in EJ who, by the way, also did not get service. Further to that point, why sub out a Jozy who has midseason form with 20+ goals for EJ — who just started his season? Jozy was as productive as Chicharito — you didn’t see him get substituted. Unless Jozy had the flu or was calling for it, I am not sure why you make that move.

      Here are the subs, in order, that made more sense to me:

      (1) Kljestan for Zusi
      (2) Shea for Herc
      (3) Boyd or Johnson for Clint — just to stall at the end of the game

      Those giant blue Corona cups the fans were drinking looked fantastic — I wonder how much a giant Corona is at Estadio Azteca.

      • The Garrincha says:

        Much agreed Doug, Ditto…

        • Anthony says:

          Ugh, Kljestan would have been just as bad as Davis. I haven’t seen enough from him to be warranted with first sub.

          • Doug says:

            Kljestan has appeared for the US about 33 more times than Davis. He also has 5 more appearances and 2 more assists in the UEFA Champions League than Davis. So theres that. I would tend to trust him a little more.

            • David says:

              I don’t trust Kljestan’s defensive chops, which is what was needed. He looked awful when he was subbed in at midfield in Honduras and that is if his purpose was simply to babysit our tie. If he was subbed on to help score a second goal then his performance was even worse in that context.

              I didn’t love seeing Davis come in but Kljestan would not have been an improvement.

      • TC says:

        Totally agree Doug. Just dumb timing as well. Twellman is an idiot with his responses. Obviously Ian Darke was suprised by the sub and Twellman says something like no you got to have a higher workrate as the up top striker. Just thought it was a ignorant comment when Gomez and Duece are playing much worse and had no touch the whole game.

      • Seriously? says:

        Isn’t Johnson the fastest forward they have? If so, I can see putting him in, just in the hopes that as Mexico pushes up late, EJ might have a better chance of getting in behind on a quick counter. That was the only reason I could think of. I would rather have left Clint than Jozy, because Clint is better at holding the ball in midfield and working with others, as well as getting some nice, time wasting fouls.

        • TC says:

          Yes. Seriously. I love Duece but he was pretty bad last night.

          • Seriously? says:

            I actually don’t “love” him, there are many players I would say I like more than him, he wasn’t even my favorite player at Fulham in the past couple of seasons. The attitude he shows sometimes annoys me, along with how it appears that he sometimes doesn’t celebrate with the rest of the team if someone else scores, but I appreciate what he can do. Perhaps I should watch the game again, but I don’t remember thinking he was “bad” when watching last night. I was more frustrated with Zusi doing nothing, and with Edu’s giveaways. I guess I wonder if people have set too high a bar for Dempsey or something.

            • David says:

              I’m a big fan of Dempsey myself but last night wasn’t one of his stronger games. Towards the end when it was obvious he were collapsing into a more defensive shell due to Mexico’s desperation pressure Dempsey remained behind the Mexican attackers. You could say he was providing an outlet and that is fair, but when he did get the ball he looked to draw a foul more than he looked to stand his ground and make a hold up play to retain possession and many times the foul wasn’t drawn so he just lost the ball rather easily. Second when that happened he wouldn’t even bother to track the guy who stole possession and put pressure on him. He’d just stand there and let the guy pick out his pass from the top of the center circle which put extra pressure on Bradley and Edu who had dropped deeper by then and couldn’t pressure out that far. That is what used to infuriate me about Jozy; he’d do that all the time. I understand that under normal circumstances that shouldn’t be Dempsey’s (or Jozy’s for that matter) role but he needed to adjust to the game being played in this situation.

              • David says:

                Oh and don’t forget the quality through ball I think Edu played to him which he either gave up on or decided against crossing at the last minute and let roll out as a consequence. I think the cross was covered but he obviously didn’t have enough time to pull it back before it rolled out and by then Mexico would have recovered anyway. Put that across the goal and hope for a deflection. Better than giving up the goal kick immediately. He normally makes those admittedly split second decisions much better.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I thought it was based on the hopeful assumption we might get a deadball or cross late calling for a header. But we didn’t get the ball down the field enough to activate that.

    • Seriously? says:

      I saw a couple of players much differently than you. He wasn’t spectacular, but no way Dempsey was a 3. He didn’t create any chances on goal, but he did ok holding the ball. I actually didn’t like how he was coming back so deep to get the ball from Bradley and Edu, but I obviously don’t know if that was his choice, or if he was told to do that. I wanted to see him stay higher, and let Bradley advance it a little further himself. Maybe Dempsey was coming back for fear of Edu getting the ball at his feet too much.

      And while Beasley did have a period where he struggled which began to make me nervous, he worked out of it. I wouldn’t say he lost most of his battles, I thought he had a number of great tackles and interventions.

      Though I do agree on Zusi, he’s not there to be a defender, and he did nothing with the ball that I remember.

    • Air Jordanz says:

      Agree with all except Beasley.

    • some guy says:

      I agree with you more than Ives save two cahnges:

      Beasley (5.5): he was picked on by their best players all night (not just Aquino) and did fine. How would’ve anyone else held up?

      Dempsey (4): that’s Deuce… he’ll drive you crazy 60% of the time then be CLUTCH!

      Klinsman (8): perfect formation, smart subs keeping defense intact (though Jozy should’ve stayed but I can see putting fresh, fast legs in to keep Mexico honest). He easily could’ve had us park the bus but took the better approach.

  7. Mike says:

    Thought Edu played much better than he is credited for. His non PK is repeated cited and Bradley gets a pass ?? No one questions the entire break down prior to Edu commiting a foul, which the non call was correct. I guess he will always be one of the Goats, fortunately the experts ..i.e coaches see the value in his versitilty and 1 v1 defending.

  8. Ian says:

    Can’t quibble with the ratings with the exception of Davis. He gave the ball away with a terrible touch to go along with his foul. That is the move I don’t get. He provided nothing.

    • PD says:

      he looked out of his depth compared to the other players… wooden first touch, gave his mark waaaaaay to much space, lots of silly mental mistakes.

      • Anthony says:

        AKA, he’s not an international-level player player. Saw it with Canada, saw it with Mexico. Sorry Brad…

        • David says:

          While I agree I’m not sure who else could go in there. Granted I’m running under the assumption that Shea was put on last because he’s still not 100%. If he was then Shea should have gone on before Davis.

  9. CroCajun1003 says:

    Can’t argue with Ives’ ratings. Would love to see this team w/ guys like Donovan and Jones in the mix.

  10. ed - houston says:

    These ratings are way better than what’s on

  11. wilyboy says:

    Jozy actually looked great last night, have no idea why he was subbed off. He was involved in all the best attacking sequences, and his passes were crisp and on target. When Johnson was subbed on, we never once had any period of possession in Mexico’s half, and the holdup play was non existent.

    He didn’t score, but he came very close to assisting Bradley, and had a few more of those Gomez/Dempsey endline crosses reached the box, he likely would have.

    • Francois says:

      This! People just hate on Jozy no matter what! It is unreal, I guess you can’t make people live in reality.

  12. RobsterCraw says:

    Its as predictable as ever. The US lands a clean sheet and the pundits praise the defense. Results have too much bearing on how performances are rated. By the late stages of the second half, the US defense had managed to get a grip on the game, but that doesn’t change the fact that the only reason they didn’t go into the locker room at halftime 3-0 down was the seemingly miraculous ability of the Mexican attack to squander their chances. Gonzalez and Besler did better than I expected considering the makeshift nature of their partnership and the defense as a whole, but the US did not perform well enough to deserve these ratings or half the praise they have gotten.

    Bradley was solid

    • CroCajun1003 says:

      Only the second point we’ve ever gotten in Azteca in the history of earth. Can we praise them a little bit?

      • RobsterCraw says:

        They get credit for nicking a point, but that shouldn’t count toward performance ratings. The fact that results, and not just the actual quality of a player’s performance, is the determinant of whether their performance is rated highly or not is a pet-peev of mine. There are a lot more factors in a cleansheet than the defense’s performance, but that seems to be the only thing that matters one the 90 minutes are up.

    • Mike Lamb says:

      That’s just crazy commentary. Mexico didn’t have that many clear cut chances in the first half. And you simply can’t say that OG and Besler weren’t good to very good the entire game.

    • solles says:

      I suspect you will never be satisfied. Therefore i am going to ignore you.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        haha well said.
        Mexico didn’t really have any clear cut chances. There was never that moment or two during the game where I was expecting a goal only for Tim Howard to save the day like in almost every single game the US has played vs Mexico the last 7 years. A couple Chicharito headers? The rest were speculative shots or crosses that were dealt with by our defense. Edu’s last ditch foul aside of course…

        • beachbum says:

          Hernandez had one excellent chance wehn he slipped by Besler unmarked and drove his shot high as he ended up in the back of the net. That was an amazing miss. I’ll give besler some credit for not giving up on the play and pressuring from behind, but he was beat, so was Guzan, and Hernandez missed

          • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

            We were never going to completely shut down Mexico’s attack, but the point is that we defended really well. They were restricted to mostly speculative shots and crosses that played into our hands. All we gave away were a few half chances that they couldn’t capitalize on. Against Mexico in Azteca, that is great work from the team.

            • beachbum says:

              the chance I described was no half chance, that was a full blooded chance and miss from Hernandez, and the Edu PK was lucky. Considering we had no shots on goal, I’ll stick with my thoughts on this, but appreciate the conversation

      • RobsterCraw says:

        I was absolutely satisfied with the performance in the Costa Rica match. Beside’s satisfaction isn’t really what’s at issue. The US defense (minus Beasly) did better than I expected, and were pretty solid in the second half, but the first half was far from excellent. Mexico’s attack is generally hard to contain, so you’d expect some struggles. There aren’t too many CB’s out there who won’t get burned a few times by Mexico, but that said, an 8 and a 7.5 are ratings reserved for those CBs that make the Mexico attack look impotent, not unlucky. I’m not saying they stunk. They put in a decent shift, but it wasn’t great.

        I actually think that the Cameron, Gonzalez, and Besler trio is probably the long term future of the US central defense.

    • shorembo says:

      We got lucky. Mexico was class. If one of their umpteen chances or corners went in, the whole story would be different.

      If the same difference of play was in an NFL game, Mexico would have won by ten. Such are the vagaries of soccer.

      Lucky us.

    • GW says:

      Mr. Craw,

      Your criteria for judging the team may be different from the criteria that others are using in this situation.

      “that doesn’t change the fact that the only reason they didn’t go into the locker room at halftime 3-0 down was the seemingly miraculous ability of the Mexican attack to squander their chances.”

      You are talking about the classic sports hypothetical cliche’ in other words “ yeah but they didn’t”.

      If David Tyree doesn’t pin that Eli Manning desperation heave to his helmet ( and how lucky was that?) then the Patriots win the Super Bowl, and end the season as unbeaten immortals. Well, “yeah but they didn’t”. Luck will always be a part of sport.

      If you go by an ideal standard of performance, i.e. the defense should do this, the midfield should do that and the offense should do that and, all the while, be pleasing to the eye then sure the USMNT looked like crap.

      I look at it just a little bit differently. I appreciate dogged hard work, teamwork, selflessness, unending desire, a cool appreciation and understanding for just exactly what is needed to get the job done, discipline, a fierce will to win, and so on. This USMNT has these things in great quantities.

      My assumption is you use those “ ideal standards” to determine whether you can predict how this team will do going forward, especially in regards to how they might do in Brazil should the US get there.

      That’s all well and good but teams are dynamic and do not stay the same. So your ideal standards aren’t really that useful. This is especially true of national teams who tend to have less depth than club teams and much more limited options when dealing with adversity.

      Look at El Tri.

      They are a team that plays and looks far better than the US and is much closer to the standard of perfection than the USMNT. Any neutral would always pick them rather than “Jermaine’s Boys”.

      Before the Hex Mexico were everyone’s darlings and looked like they might cruise through qualifying. Now it’s more like a Carnival Cruise.

      They’ve just dropped six points (four at home) and more importantly they have lost that aura of invincibility, even at home. They will probably qualify but it will be far from easy.
      Chepo, a decent sort, wishes all he had to worry about was Brian Strauss.

      Meanwhile, the US, which everyone should have known was deeply in transition when JK took over, is slowly emerging. And they have gone through some very tough times, which is excellent for building a team.

      They have a long way to go but look well placed to “survive and advance”. They have 7 games, 4 at home, left to get 13 points.

      17 points should guarantee qualification. It won’t be easy but does look doable.

      And if they can do that then it will buy them the time they need to eventually develop into the kind of team even you might like watching.

      One last thing, if you can, go back and watch JK’s German teams, not the ones he coached but the ones he played on, won a World Cup with. They were more talented than this US team but if you can get a feel for the intangibles, then you’ll understand better what I’m trying to get at.

  13. HoBo says:

    Edu and Davis on the field just make me nervous and both displayed liability. Good showing for our CB pairing. Missing some of our starters showed but I still want to see some more ability to move the ball quickly up top and create more. We have to get more scoring chances if we want to move forward in qualifying and WC.

  14. Andy says:

    Jozy had a much better game than any of the pundits gave him credit for. What few attacks the US were able to muster all came through him. We had NONE after he was erroneously subbed off by JK.

    • WG says:

      That one really mystified the match announcers on UniMas. When they saw EJ waiting to come in, they were sure it was for Zusi. Also, although for understandable reasons, they had an El Tri bias, they felt neither Bradley’s nor Edu’s actions warranted penalties. The studio announcers felt differently, but that’s no surprise.

    • Andy in Chicago says:

      I think it’s because Jozy continued to rarely win, or even challenge for, any balls in the air. And he still seems to think that anything hit long will magically get by the opposition’s defense so he can have a clear run at goal.

      • chris says:

        How dare jozy not win every ball when’s he marked by 3 players

        • Aston Villan says:

          Im sure the defenders marking Jozy breathed a collective sigh of relief when he got subbed off. The guy is a handful and there is never just one guy on him. He is a constant distraction for both centerbacks and it allowed us some possession in the first half because of this.

          • beachbum says:


            plus, as we all know, he’s not a lone striker, just doesn’t play that way, and it showed agian imo

            • WG says:

              Well, you’re right, except he plays the lone striker role for AZ. AZ is better about providing width, link-up and rotation.

              • beachbum says:

                has Never played that role for the US effectively, and I dig Jozy. When paired up top, he’s been dangerous on the other hand. He’s a handful for Mexico though, they always have 2 guys on him

              • WG says:


                Fair enough. We seem to be in agreement that his biggest contribution last night was keeping 2, and sometimes 3, El Tri defenders from coming forward.

        • Andy in Chicago says:

          I saw EJ come on and immediately challenge for balls in the air and even come to the ball when passed to him. Don’t understand why Jozy can rarely do that sort of thing.

      • steveo says:

        as much as I am a fan of Jozy, I must say that his ability to compete for and win headers is lacking- HOWEVER, if that is the reason he is being subbed off then whoever come on should be an upgrade in that catgory, no? And EJ, playing the left winf spot that Jozy had moved to in the 2nd half, was not an upgrade in terms of winnng headers, so why sub him off?

    • Aston Villan says:

      I thought Jozy had a decent game out there. Felt he was pretty active in the first half once the US started getting into the game and created some good opportunities for the US to possess the ball and keep some of the pressure off the back four. After he came off in the second half I don’t think we had any sustained passing and possession the rest of the game. Thought Klinsman made good calls by brining in fresh legs for our wingers later in the game as they were busting up and down the pitch, but really felt he blew the Jozy sub.

  15. Ken says:

    JK pulled the right strings so gets a lot of credit. That said, shots (17-1) and corners (15-2) were lopsided. Still don’t see why Zusi gets the start, but if LD comes back in June that will take care of him. Main thing this game showed to me is USMNT depth has never been better.

  16. David M says:

    It’s interesting to note that the last two results, the best so far during the Klinsmann era, have been achieved virtually without the Germans (only Jones in the Costa Rica game). Is that just a coincidence?

    • Steve says:

      1) Best two results?

      2) …..and without Howard, Cherundolo, Donovan….is that just a coincidence.

      3) The German thing is played out….move on.

      • The Garrincha says:

        @ steve, Hey You have a dog in this fight, or are you being somewhat Homogeneous and Xenophobic?…

        • Son of SBI Troll says:


          I think it’s clear that Steve is being the opposite of those words you said. He’s saying “drop the German thing, it’s not a big deal.” If anything, David was the one who was being the things you said…

          <And this time, to be clear, I'm not even living up to the reputation of my handle)

        • Seriously? says:

          I think you meant to ask if David M was being Xenophobic, Steve was arguing against the idea that we did better without the German born Americans, an effort I agree with.

          • The Garrincha says:

            My bad I certainly meant @ David M.
            My apology Steve.
            David M can go suck it for tying to destroy our teams cohesion and solidarity.

        • Anthony says:

          Can’t teach an old dog new tricks

      • beachbum says:

        no it’s not Steve. And it is interesting that these two gutsy gritty results were without those players

        • Mike Lamb says:

          You mean like without Jones against CR?

          And what’s “interesting” about it? Are you really going to suggest we lost that game if Fabian is playing at LB, for example?

          • beachbum says:

            no, because JJ played. And I like Fabian and always have. Yet it is interesting even if you are uncomfortable with the reality :)

            if anything, these results prove that it’s not played out imo, prove the opposite in fact

            • David says:

              While they weren’t WCQ’s I’d say the wins vs Mexico and Italy last year were pretty significant results and Johnson, Jones, Williams, and Boyd played in one or both of them.

              Also the only games I remember the team really firing on all cylinders offensively under Klinsmann’s reign were the 2011 games against Slovenia and Scotland. Jones, Johnson, Chandler and Boyd played in one or both of those games as well.

              This team has just been up and down due to turnover at key positions and injuries causing constant lineup changes and an overall decrease in experience throughout the team.

          • beachbum says:

            no, not like that since JJ played. And I’ve always liked Fabian

            nvertheless it is still interesting, and if anything the results prove that nothing is played out, in fact proves the opposite imo


      • whoop-whoop says:

        Love what Beas did, very admirable, but…. if you think Beas over Johnson and Edu over JJ is the permanent solution, I don’t even know what to say other than it is crazy talk. That goes for effort as well as quality.

  17. AC says:

    Gonzalez and Besler forming a good tandem. Gonzalez definitely went into BEAST mode in the 2nd half. The guy was on a mission!

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I felt like they were the least exposed of the bunch and basically played well, but I also felt like Mexico’s approach was naive, too much crossing which basically played into ouir hands, when they didn’t have a tall forward to fight for headers.

      • beachbum says:

        even after Gonzo dominates, and he did, only this backhanded stuff from you? hahaha!!!!

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I was responding to someone saying two guys with one game together were forming a good tandem. I did feel like they played well but come June when some different people are healthy/ in offseason, I think a lot of people are going to be having to re-earn positions, so I am leery of giving a pair who had one good initial game together the permanent keys to the car.

          • beachbum says:

            on the keys to the car, I hear you. But the backline could very well be Cameron-Gonzo-Besler-Johnson for the rest of this cycle if all are healthy, don’t you think?

      • AcidBurn says:

        Was De Nigris on the roster? With all that aerial crossing Chepo should have put him in instead of Omar Bravo. Would have been a big target for them.

        • bird says:

          De Nigris is injured I believe and wasnt on the roster. This is Mexico’s style of late, play it out wide and cross in from Guardado or Aquino. They scored both goals against Honduras this way as well. I cant help but think Maza was missed in this match with all the corner kicks. Got lucky he was suspended.

      • AC says:

        I guess I should have clarified a good tandem for this game. Like JK said, the January camp gave them chemistry. Even if crosses played into their hands, you have to give credit for their mental fortitude to play well in Azteca. Obviously competition for spots is always good which I hope happens.

  18. Tony in Quakeland says:

    What struck me was:

    – Did we over rate Mexico? The didn’t look appreciably better than any top in our region. Where they really better than Honduras or CR? Sure didn’t look it last night or the previous two games

    – To me, last night’s game showed why Bradley should be captain. Everyone always looked for him. And he was calm and accurate all night. Not having Jones also gave him free ranges, to the overall benefit of the team. If Jones playing forces Bradley into a smaller role…let’s replace Jones…but clearly not with Edu whose touch was last seen before he left for Scotland.

    – I thought Gonzales deserved MotM consideration last game. I thought he was the clear choice (just ahead of Bradley) last night. I think he is one of the guys I have heard more nonsense about than almost any other player. The guy is our best CB, period. Can we just admit it and move on.

    – Clint was horrible last night. Sometimes I just don’t understand what that dude is thinking.

    – Praising Zusi’s and Gomez work on defense is like praising a blind man’s sense of touch. They sustained no possession, they contributed little in the attack. The did make some nice covering runs, but relieving the pressure once in awhile would have been a better contribution.

    – Bealsey – love the guy and have been calling for him to comeback for a year now. But his performance last night was guts and speed. He doesn’t know how to play the position. He would be far more effective as a left mid, especially late in games.

    – Guzan. Love Howard, but I was not in the least bit concerned about having to go with Guzan. He’s a terrific keeper.

    Overall, I’ll take the point and be happy about our position after three games. But come on – is anyone really happy with the shape of this team right now? It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see us sitting with one point after the first three games…

    • TomG says:

      Hard to say we overrated Mexico when they completely dominated us getting many excellent chances themselves while not allowing us a single sniff except perhaps the Jozy to MB chance in the first half.

      • David M says:

        Well, they didn’t have many excellent chances. No more than two or three. And as far as not allowing us a single sniff — I think we didn’t allow it ourselves.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        I don’t think your points are inconsistent with saying we overrated them. They were not particularly clinical in breaking us down. In fact, they really only had one strategy – out run us on the flanks, cut balls back and complain to the refs about calls. Hey, it’s not a BAD strategy, and in nearly (and should have) worked, but they never found another gear, another tactic.

        Part of the overrating comment is based on their first two games as well.

        Yes, the dominated us. But they should have sliced us to pieces. We overrated them…but we’re astonishingly mediocre ourselves right now.

        • TomG says:

          I see what you’re saying, but El Tri’s problems, to me, basically boiled down to not Chicharito not finishing on plays he normally buries and not getting calls they would normally get. If USA loses 3-nil as they probably should have, would any of us really be talking about how overrated Mexico is?

    • The Garrincha says:

      Well said Tony in Quakeland.

    • biff says:

      @Tony in Quakeland: Interesting comments, and I agree with several of them. But why are you still focusing on the “Bradley should be captain” stuff. The USMNT has a great captain who all the players like and respect and his name is Clint Dempsey. Time to move on to more important things–and that is why I am responding to one of your comments above that I think is a key topic moving forward.

      You say: “Not having Jones also gave him free ranges, to the overall benefit of the team. If Jones playing forces Bradley into a smaller role…let’s replace Jones.”

      In my opinion, MB was indeed rock solid last night. But I thought he was even better against Costa Rica when paired with Jones. To me, Costa Rica was a revelation, showing how strong a Jones-MB pairing can be, with MB deep as distributor/defender and only occasionally joining the attack–with Jones a few steps forward doing more attacking. They worked great together for the first time and the linkage with defense on to the attack was much better than we saw last night. I don’t think we even had a shot on goal against Mexico, did we? I think with MB-Jones we would have had a much better chance of nicking a goal and leaving with three points.

      The problem last night IMO was that Klinsmann left MB mostly in the same deeper position he played against CR, but had Edu trying to play the more forward role that Jones played to perfection against Costa Rica. I would have slotted Edu deep and MB up a few steps in the Jones slot. That said, Klinsmann opted to leave MB in the deeper Six position last night and I see that as a strong indication that this is now MB’s position moving forward and I am excited as heck about it because I think he can really anchor the team in that role.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        Biff: Thanks for the thoughtful response. (Note to the kids at home: this is how intelligent people disagree!)

        I wouldn’t say I’m “focusing on it”. It’s one of several points I made. But yes, I think he should be captain and I have several reasons. One is that I simply watch the game and look for the other players look for when they are under pressure or need support. More often than not, it’s Bradley – and last night, it was almost exclusively Bradley.

        I also like to look for guys I consider to be “structural” players – guys who are part of the build up and defense, who are necessary for all the other players to succeed. Again, that’s Bradley. (It’s Donovan too, when he is in form, since he does more two way work than he gets credit for.) To me, Dempsey is a Lone Ranger. He most effective when wanders around, finds a spot and creates something. (This is not an insult. He is very good at this.)

        Bradley is fiery, outspoken at times, but when he’s outspoken he sounds like a coach (no surprise there) giving an us against them speech of whipping people into line. Dempsey strikes me as more moody, more of a loner. If they were Mel Gibson characters, Dempsey would be Mad Max while Bradley would be Braveheart. (I would be the one with the puppet, but that’s another story.)

        I don’t think there is any insult to Dempsey here; I think it is more about personality. I think Bradley is cut more from the natural born leader mode.

        I also think he happens to be the best player on the team, but I think it’s close enough that I won’t think you’re a lunatic for saying Dempsey is the best. But that’s not the sole criteria for picking the captain.

        • bird says:

          @ tony, Dempsey has stated he is not a very vocal guy and really keeps to himself typically. He likes to lead by example and let his play do the talking. I have seen him say this in a few interviews. Bradley is certainly the more vocal emotional leader of the group, a co-captaincy I guess. It seems to me the team always plays better when Bradley plays the deep 6 spot and provides the link play between backline and mids. He controls tempo well and doesnt really get caught in possession. I noticed this awhile back and really noticed it when he was out for those few matches when he was settling in at Roma.

        • GW says:

          The problem with this Deuce vs. Bradley for captain business is everyone is talking about how one or the other is a better fit for THEIR criteria of what a captain should be.

          As far as I know JK and the USMNT have never explained in detail what the USMNT captain actually does on and off the field. And the captain’s role can be very different from team to team.

          So until the job description is posted it’s pointless to argue about who should be captain.

          There is no shortage of strong characters and team captains in the US player pool. Dolo and Goodson for example are captains of their clubs. I’m sure Bradley would be a fine captain but he’s being a fine leader whether or not he formally has the title.

    • Mike Lamb says:

      I’m not entirely certain that MB has the right temperament to be captain. The captain has to be able to communicate with the ref and the opposing team without losing his sh!t. I don’t know that MB can do that game in and game out. He was about to rip one of the Mexican player’s head off after the Edu no call.

      • TomG says:

        An interesting (to me anyway) comparison would be the Jeter/Posada tandem for the Yankees championship teams. Jeter was the captain and face of the franchise but he didn’t really lead the team especially when guys needed to be prodded or confronted. Posada was the fiery heart of the team that drove them, while Jeter was the nice guy who played practical jokes, was friends with everyone and kept the team loose. It’s a classic good cop/ bad cop thing and some of the best leadership paradigms have revolved around this. You can also reverse it and make the bad cop in charge as long as you have a charismatic second in command for guys to bond and commiserate with. You see it in schools a lot where the Principal is the hard boss and the Vice Principal is the one you go to for the human touch. MB is the classic fiery, foot up your butt type of leader. He needs a cuddlier friendlier, gregarious type of second to pair up with. Not sure if Deuce is that guy but he’s pretty laid back and well liked. Ultimately a T Boyd would work well there or even Jozy. They both seem to be extremely well liked and are always vocally supporting teammates in the press.

    • Seriously? says:

      I too thought Bradly should be captain, but the fact that everyone looked for Bradley has nothing to do with with that conversation, that’s just the role he’s given in the system.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Mexico as presently formatted is mediocre, they have too many creative perimeter types and not enough finishers to support Chicharito. But they have the talent where if they identify a target striker they could be tough. But as they were, it was a small team trying to beat a taller one by crossing the ball. They controlled the perimeter enough to keep us in check but couldn’t punch one in for themselves.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      have to disagree with a few points here.

      -Bradley should not be captain. Just because he isn’t wearing the armband doesn’t mean he can’t be a leader, which he clearly is. Clint will be a great captain for us. Just leave this issue alone.

      -I don’t think Dempsey was “horrible” but definitely not his best game. His lack of match fitness really showed in the second half and he probably should have been subbed. Just thought “horrible” was a little harsh. He had a some good moments.

      -Praising Gomez and Zusi’s defensive work is great. This is where I have the biggest disagreement with you. Both worked their asses off all night tracking the runs of Mexico’s wingers and played a huge role in us keeping the shutout. Most wingers in the world would not put in the required defensive work that we needed last night. Their performances were exemplary. I’d be willing to bet we lose this game if either of them was not on the field. We didn’t get forward much but I thought both were good when we did. Gomez was making runs in behind the defense (whether he got the ball or not) and Zusi was tidy in possession.

      -We have 4 points though and are through, likely, our 2 toughest games of the HEX. There is still work to be done, but we have a good base to build off of. I have a post below where I go into greater detail on this.

    • beachbum says:

      good stuff Tony, thanks.

      JK and Vasquez’s best tactical move in my opinion last night was having Zusi mark the wing/overlap one on one so Cameron didn’t have to which let him tuck inside more. As Mexico insisted on pushing against Beasley and his early yellow, covering that weakside with Zusi was key, and at times the US looked to be playing a 5 man backline becasue of Zusi’s positioning. He was out there on an island a few times and he came thru

  19. Wilbur says:

    Good write-up and ratings…Davis was useless, but Gonzalez…what a revelation! To think we were lamenting the choice of Klinsmann. I think he has some of our problems—especially in the back—figured out.

  20. TomG says:

    Generallyagree on grades except Davis deserved a zero. There was nothing redeeming about his game last night. He was straight up awful in all aspects, IMO. Not sure how to judge Jozy. On one hand, his legs were clearly not there last night. The altitude and smog and short layoff seemed to take its toll and he didn’t provide any of the defensive pressure JK wants from him. At the same time, he was also the lynchpin of the possession game which saw the US actually out possess the Mexicans in the first half, whereas without him, the advantage to Mexico was about 75-25. I think that without Jozy we get slaughtered bc we wouldn’t have had any possession at all in the final third.

    • Jose says:

      Wow, why the hate on Davis? He was not in for long enough to judge. I think some people must find someone to hate in every situation.

      • TomG says:

        Not hating, just grading.

      • David says:

        Even if you don’t have a lot of time if every time you see him hes making a mistake then that is enough to grade his performance.

        1. An awful touch receiving a fairly short and soft pass without much pressure on him coughed up the ball right to Mex in one of the few stints of possession we had on the 2nd half.

        2. At one point Mex came down their right flank the dribbler was coming towards him while an overlapping Mexican player was coming down the sideline. Beasley stepped over to cover the overlapping player and Davis very obviously hesitated and couldn’t decide between pressuring the dribbler or dropping off to defend the pass (which Beasley had already done!). I think he was fortunate enough that nothing happened but the ball handler had 5 extra yards dribble forward with his head up picking out a pass while Davis was standing there lost.

        3. After getting switched to our right he foolishly gave up that foul and gave Mexico a free cross into the box.

        Other than that I didn’t see him doing much. That’s pretty bad and I feel sure I am forgetting one other glaring incident.

        • TomG says:

          Good list. He also stood and watched as Gio nearly blasted a long range goal instead of closing him out. He was basically a spectator his entire time out there. When passed the ball, he couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

  21. Paul says:

    I think the ratings here are pretty consistent, and agree the MOTM was Gonzales, and consistent with most people’s view. But I think one individual who should now get consistent high marks for the team’s readiness and performance during the WCQ is Klinsmann. He deserves credit for leaving Bocanegra behind for these games, and deploying the defense that shut out two opponents in the snow and Azteca. He deserves credit for using the January camp to evaluate and train the central defense, and preparing them for this very situation. He deserves credit for taking a chance on Beasley and Davis, and for adding even more depth to the growing USMNT pool. I now look forward to seeing what JK has in mind for June and the summer, with strategic choices to make for WCQ and the Gold Cup. It’ll be an interesting spring as the MLS and European based players in the potential pool battling for visibility and inclusion.

    I also wonder if a player or two has attracted interest from more prestigious clubs in Europe, and if JK will make a pitch to advance their careers and again boost the pool. He has that level of credibility. It should be interesting over the next few weeks.

    • chris says:

      JK only played Besler because Goodson was hurt. I don’t see how playing the reigning MLS defender of the year is gutsy especially when JK had no other options

      • Seriously? says:

        Except that he could have played Edu there, who has more international experience. I’m not saying I wanted Edu there, but many coaches would do such a thing, rather than put an inexperienced guy out there. The guy had one cap, and not to knock the league, but I think most would agree that being a good defender in MLS necessarily prepare you for a WC qualifier in Azteca.

        • Seriously? says:

          oops, I seemed to have somehow left out a word, meant to say …I think most would agree that being a good defender in MLS DOESN’T necessarily prepare you for a WC qualifier in Azteca.

      • GW says:


        “JK had no other options”

        Not really.

        He had the option of starting Fiscal at right back and moving Cameron inside next to Gonzo to blanket Chicharito which he did so well in the friendly, which is what I was certain he was going to do.

        Instead he trusted the Matt and Gonzo show. As Paul pointed out and so did Omar and Besler, one reason for the pairing’s success was the time those two spent working out a partnership in January so JK gets credit for that.

    • some guy says:

      Well said, Paul. Klinsi’s formation and game plan was spot on (albeit the Jozy sub is a bit baffling but I’m glad he left the D intact late in the gam).

      The MLS pipeline showed well last night & it will be interesting to see how the players’ stock changes!

      • beachbum says:

        the reason the MLS pipeline showed well is because there were all those injured players! JK gets credit, but come on, his hand was forced away from his usual ideas…and those MLS guys stepped up. But they got the chance because of the injuries, yes?

        • Mason says:

          Ask Wally Pipp his opinion on that, Beachbum.

        • GW says:


          Not necessarily.

          And dealing with injuries tells you how good a manager really is.

          Can you guarantee that the guys who now look so good would not have worked their way up if the others had not gotten hurt?

          You can’t.

          And besides a big part of developing a team player pool is having a philosophy of “next man up”, JK has that philosophy and not everyone does. Some managers would have played Boca, out of form as he was, because of the experience angle.

          And maybe it would have worked out maybe not.

          But the players now know JK will play the guy who is in form. Boca being dumped, however clumsily it was handled, proved that. JK could have played him and did not. Instead he sticks Gonzo out there who has a bad game. He got burned because Gonzo screwed up but Gonzo learned quick and is now as close to “untouchable” as it gets.

          So it was worth losing the three points to find out about your starting star center half for the next few years.

  22. Ryan in Syracuse says:

    I think the ratings are pretty accurate…going forward I will be a bit more confident with the back CB’s with Gonzalez and Besler. Everyone was piling on OG after the Honduras game but sometimes mistakes make you a better player. I think after looking at the first 3 fixtures every US fan was thinking 4 points so we are where we thought we would be. So far the US and Costa Rica have not dropped any home points…big plus…Honduras, Jamaica and Panama have dropped 2 at home and Mexico has dropped 4….it’s going to be tight and you have to win home games to qualify….that has been proven in every past hex.

  23. az18 says:

    Altidore did not have ‘Zero’ impact on the attack, he had like a .5 impact. had a few dangerous passes

  24. danny says:

    Besler-Gonzalez needs to stick.

    I don’t think it can be understated how different styles determine a fine centreback tandem.

    These guys obviously fit as a pair.

    Gonzalez is the braun, Besler is the brain.

    I have faith in Jurgen after making such a bold decision here.

    Great job, USA.

  25. Jags98 says:

    Bradley did some good things last night but to get the same score as the man of the match Gonzalez? Not knocking either one, just saying.

  26. Rahul says:

    Please explain Klinsmann’s subs. Not sure of the reasoning, but it worked.

    • some guy says:

      read above posts…

      ‘like for like’
      – mids were run ragged helping out in D
      – D needed to stay intact despite Beas’ knocks
      – EJ’s Fresher legs up front, as with the mids to keep Mexico honest (though I would’ve kept Jozy on)

    • GW says:

      ” Rahul says:

      Please explain Klinsmann’s subs. Not sure of the reasoning, but it worked.”

      You’d have to ask JK. Only he and his staff know for sure but my take:

      1. EJ for Jozy: My guess is JK wanted to give the Mexicans more of the kind of threat Charlie Davies provided. EJ is a little better at that than Jozy right now. Basically he was a decoy who might actually steal a late goal.
      2. Davis for Herc: Herc was probably gassed and his dead ball service was not good last night. Davis was there to put one on Gonzo’s head if a set piece chance came up.
      3. Shea for Zusi: Last attempt to stretch Mexico and get a late goal.

      JK was perfectly happy to take the 0-0 draw but Mexico is so good you can’t just put ten guys in front of Guzan. You have to try an hold onto the ball as much as possible, stretch them out as much as possible and play with the ball in their half as much as possible.

      You’ve read elsewhere on this site that the subs had zero effect but that is not true.

      These subs were all made to preserve the tie by increasing the US’ chances of stealing a late goal. These subs threatened Mexico’s goal. It turned out to be an empty threat but Mexico still had to respect it and defend the threat, which lessens your ability to attack.
      If the US had scored it would have been gravy but nevertheless the subs worked because the tie was preserved.

      Mexico was not able to attack as effectively as we all know they can.

  27. ATX_Colin says:

    I think Bradley should be the captain, did anyoine notice his actions during the 2nd uncalled pk for Mexico. As the the ref was getting surronded by Mexico players it was Bradley who stepped in to stop the harassment not duece. Its clear Bradley is a better leader and more willing to do the little things.

    I also see the subbing of Jozy as further proof JK is not as estatic with him as some USMNT fans are.

  28. kimo says:

    Overall … a pretty good assessment of the game.

    -While he had his shaky moments, Beasley had the toughest assignment of the game and was often on an island by himself. He recovered remarkably at times and his ability to dribble out of danger and draw the occasional foul was big. Imagine Heath Pearce in the same situation? Gulp.

    -I was not a fan of the EJ for Jozy switch. It made little sense. EJ is technically weaker, has very little hold up ability and his work rate is less than Jozy’s. He is a faster straight ahead sprinter as well as a better aerial target in the box; however, our best play was when the ball was sent to Jozy’s feet and he could lay it off. Not a good move imho and it really forced us into a shell.

    -The center back duo was fantastic with Omar and Besler each offering a different skill set … Omar the ball winner and Besler offering some savvy. They seemed to work well together and be very much in sync.

    -Edu … hmmm … he’s very good positionally and can recover quickly, but he seems prone to at least 1 very bad foul each game and his service and 1st touch often escapes him. He’s a solid backup and can run with the better offensive players, but he’s too risky in terms of giveaways.

    -Herc and Zusi … unreal work rates out of both players. Neither player is an ideal winger as both lack ideal pace and dribbling creativity, but their selflessness and work rates must be applauded. I’d like to see Beasley get a shot at LW and a mentally fit Donovan back on the right. I think that would add quite a bit to the attack.

  29. THomas says:

    Beasley got burned a few times, but he also made several key interceptions and last minute tackles. Playing most of the game with a yellow, I think that’s good.

    One thing you can’t question, he is committed to the cause and is willing to give everything for the team. As is everyone else. It was never more evident than on this night. Great team effort.

    • MN Footie says:

      Yeah, I mean, I thought Beasley looked the weakest of the Defenders – not to say it wasn’t a good performance! He certainly got beat more often than anyone else, but with very few exceptions (I can’t actually think of any exceptions, actually) he cleaned up after his mistakes every single time. And given the intensity with which Mexico was targeting his area, I think it was a pretty solid performance.

      “Willing to give everything for the team”? Right on the money. For me, the play that exemplifies this idea was the one, maybe 2/3 of the way through the second half, where he got beat, tracked back into the box, and deflected a cross from behind at about the six. Pulled up with an apparent hammy injury afterward, kept playing.

      It was an anxious performance at times, but well done, DMB.

  30. DC Josh says:

    I agree with all of the ratings, although I would rank Edu slightly lower. He had a shocking game. He lost his mark (Chicharito) on a couple set pieces that could have resulted in goals, had the controversial tackle on Aquino in the box, lost the ball in several dangerous areas.

    It was clear how much the team missed Jones, and I feel maybe Kjlestian would have fared better since he is more confident with the ball at his feet.

    I also think the coaching staff did a fantastic job setting up this team to earn a draw. Mexico only had two or three clear opportunities to score.

    • ronniet says:

      ok, we know you despise edu so you can give it a rest now smh!!!!! Edu had some giveaways sure but so did everyone else! He also however sprayed the ball around to our so called attacking players and was gritty in front of the back four. HAd a nice through ball to clint that duece gave up on and was apart of the combining play that saw jozy feed bradley in the box! All in all a ok day from the kid and everyone else! Dempsey though has to do more in these types of matches if we’re going to consider him our best offensive player!

  31. Turd Bradley says:

    Jozy Altidore should get a .5. Cant think fast enough at the international level to even begin to understand what he is doing. The entire first half him and Dempsey are just jogging/walking/trotting around while mexico rotates the ball. Get in a passing lane and start to take away their options bc lord knows you do nothing when we have the ball.

  32. ld says:

    The USA has gotten pretty good at parking the bus all night

    • 2tone says:

      The US didn’t really park the bus until the 80th minute.

      They had more passes completed in the first half than Mexcio did.

      US 243 passes completed in the first half, Mexico 196 passes completed in the first half.

    • Dick Tracy says:


      What else did you expect last night?

    • ronniet says:

      they didn’t park the bus smh….it’s called staying compact and smart defending! European teams do it all the time away from home, which is where the US was!

      • ld says:

        If you dont think the USA parked the bus for most of that game then you dont understand what the term means

        • Anthony says:

          Look at AC Milan with Barcelona. When playing a higher skilled team, its being able to effectively park the bus what gets results. It’s not a negative. It’s playing tactically. Live to play another day.

  33. JJ says:

    Jk is the man and its retarded that people dont like fact of the matter is he has 2 of the 3 greatest results in th azteca and people need to shut up we have the right man lets not ruin it.

  34. Elber Galarga says:

    So is everyone still upset cuz Bocanegra wasn’t included. Klinsman’s trust in Gonzalez really paid of the last two games. I like Bocanegra but he is too slow.

    • Dick Tracy says:

      Don’t forget Besler.

    • beachbum says:

      so Gonzo starting in Honduras made him play well here? Like Besler getting the start in Honduras made him able to play well last night? oh wait…….

      • GW says:


        Gonzo being blooded in Honduras could only have been a positive contribution to his performance in Denver. In turn that helped him play well last night when he was confidently organizing his defense and barking out orders.

        This in turn helped his partner Besler get through his debut. When one centerback is strong and confident it can only help the other one.

        You may not agree with that idea so prove me wrong.

        It seems you believe Gonzo could have made his debut last night alongside Besler and been just as effective.

        How do you propose to prove that?

        Just because Besler did well it doesn’t mean Gonzo would have.

        • beachbum says:

          not true imo. Gonzo overcoming the lousy Honduras experience he was thrust into may have helped him in Denver, but who is to say he wouldn’t have come out and played great in those conditions anyway? Just like Besler came out and played great without being blooded anywhere.

          what we do know is Gonzo and that backline at Honduras looked lost on that day

          I enjoy the conversation with you GW

      • Elber Galarga says:

        Well the question was: Is everyone still upset Bocanegra wasn’t included in the lineup/roster?

        So much heartburn after Gonzalez had a bad game in Honduras and how much we needed Bocanegra. I give him a lot of credit, to put that performance behind him and do well the last two games.

        After Gonzalez the last two performances, I say no. time to move on. I give Klinsman credit for not losing faith in the guy.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          Funny, yeah? The pendulum swings are dizzying! We went from months and months of hysteria over the CB of the future not being called in…. to cries for him to play… to writing him off after a single spotty performance in a game in which the entire team was absolutely horrible. He is now back to hero status. Holy cow can we take a breath? Omar is what he’s been all along. He’ll be out of MLS within 6 mos and I expect him to be a mainstay in the lineup and a thorn in the side of the rest of CONCACAF for years to come. I’m also pretty sure that at some point, he’ll make some mistakes. Welcome to real life where a central defender’s mistakes are highly visible and magnified x10.

          • beachbum says:

            I don’t know who wrote off Gonzo, but it’s silly. In fact, after coach played him in Honduras it was clear he’d go with him in Denver too; why start him at Honduras if the intentions were not to stick with him? I wrote just that after Honduras too

            • whoop-whoop says:

              I read quite a few posts that ranged from: he just isn’t ready, to he is too slow for the international game, but suddenly a common view was that he wasn’t an option. Frankly, “being ready” does not signify plugging in a flawless defender, it means at a point of skill and maturity where you can be thrown into the fire, make quick adjustments to team mates and a faster game… learn/adjust quickly from mistakes within a game and from match to match rather than let them crush your confidence.

              As for you Mr. Bum… my impression is you seem to have a pretty rational,educated and balanced point of view by your posts.

  35. Raymon says:

    Here is the Commentator / Analysis grading thread:

    Ian Darke: 8 He always brings a bit of gravitas to the job. The right balance of passion and English dispassion.
    Taylor Twellman: 5 Some inanity broken up by cloying comments. Biggest faux pas was using the word “ironic” to describe Brek Shea being subbed in again at Azteca. Maybe a coincidence, but not ironic.
    Alejandro Moreno: 7 Some good insight on El Tri and Mexican futbol culture.
    Monica Gonzalez 9 Good access to players and coach during and after the game.
    John Sutcliffe 8 Good sideline reporting.
    What do you think?

  36. hernangeles says:

    I think Jozy got yanked early because he WASN’T putting pressure on the midfield. There were times in the 2nd half when the Mexican midfielders had acres of space and Jozy was just trotting towards their direction.

    • Andy in Chicago says:

      I agree. Jozy’s work rate seems to just be not what Klinsmann is looking for.

    • 2tone says:

      Possibly. Ther were a number of occassions that Moreno trotted the ball right past Altidore. I was screaming at the TV screen for Altidore to put pressure on Moreno.

      Dempsey was culpable of the same things as well.

      Like I have stated in the past; this team really needs to get better at putting defensive pressure higher up the field.

  37. the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

    I think Kasey Keller made a great point in the post game comments. We still don’t know a great deal about this US team. There was the horrible showing in Honduras, the blizzard game, and the defend for a point game in Azteca. We now have a solid base and some confidence moving forward. Likely our 2 toughest games of the HEX are out of the way, and we can now start to put in some impressive performances. Players will be back from injury/vacation and we will, hopefully, see what the US is really made of in the June matches. Belgium, Germany, Jamaica, and Panama should really tell us where this team stands.

    • Smacking says:

      Absolutely agree with this sentiment. I think we did learn that the team can overcome adversity and get the job done. Right or wrong that was in question following the Honduras match. Our tactics, style of play and offensive threats are still to be determined.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        The last two games showed we still have the heart, grit and determination that have become synonymous with American soccer. Some people, myself included, weren’t sure if that was still around with this group of players. Those characteristics are at the core of what it is to be an American player and it is good to see they are as strong as ever. We will always be competitive with those traits, and they a good place to start building from.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Really, I think the is the best one could hope for in WC qualifying with a new manager and a team in transition… gain the necessary points to advance while simultaneously bringing in new players and building depth. It makes for lots of uncertainty and anxiety, but in the long run, we’ll be better for it. The incredible list of injuries has also kind of forced our hand, but been a blessing in disguise in this regard. Think if we continue this process and then settle in and then concentrate on solidifying things and building cohesion by the end of summer, we will be in good shape.

    • David says:

      While I agree with you I’m not holding my breath that injuries and vacations will be over by then. Inconsistent player availability has been the one constant since JK took over.

  38. harry says:

    Davis played fine, gave up one silly foul but defended very well. You guys look for anything you can find to lambast him, He is a good choice on left wing and Klinsman thought so or he wouldn’t have put him in there.

    • Dick Tracy says:

      I at least agree with most of the SBI player grades.’s where laughable to say the least… calling Guzan “flawless” and awarding him a 7. Besler plays with poise and is a 5 while EJ and Davis are ahead of that? Baffling.

  39. 2tone says:

    Lol. I love that grin by Guzan directed at Cheatarito.

    It says not today buddy.

  40. AcidBurn says:

    So how about Zusi’s closing speed? I think he stopped what was the most dangerous attack of the night. Gio and Aquino had toasted beasley and co on the other side and Reyna was wide open, and then at the last second Zusi appears out of nowhere and heads the ball out. I thought that was in the net when the cross left Gio’s foot. Impressive stuff.

    I chuckled at Tays’ hyperbole “look at that 40 yd run!” but was some amazing recovery defending.

    • Dick Tracy says:


      Zusi is playing wonderfully in that role, sick of the haters.

      Find me another right winger that works that hard both ways.

      Work-rate all day baby.

    • Jerrod says:

      Ha, yeah, 40 yards is a long way. They measured it on sportscenter and it was a legitimate 30 though.

  41. fan of football says:

    Does anyone know where to find a full quote sheet from post-game interviews for US matches??!! I always enjoy seeing what players had to say, but typically only find a line or two here or there embedded in various articles

    • GW says:

      Don’t have the link but the best place is to go to the USSF (United States Soccer Federation) website.

      They usually have most of the quotes.

  42. NOJazz says:

    I still do not understand the reason why Joe Corona still hasn’t seen any action. This would have been the perfect game to start him in.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      Given the way the game ended, I have to disagree. We will likely see him in the upcoming friendlies against Belgium and Germany, and he will almost certainly play a key role in the Gold Cup team. I think Klinsmann is holding back a few of our young guys to see who stands out in that tournament. If he does well there, expect him to be in the mix competing for minutes.

  43. KenC says:

    Ives, you forgot to give Goodson a 7 for not being able to play!

  44. Dennis says:

    In the first half, it was Bradley who displayed a sense of calm and control that allowed the defense some breathing room. In the second half, Gonzalez did better, but It is never a good sign when your CB is getting lots of attention. It generally means the team is spending way too little time attacking and way too much time defending. Or, it means the defender was poorly positioned and had to make an athletic recovery to stifle an attack. Hence the wide disparity in the grades for Beasley, on the one hand his positioning left something to be desired, on the other he was able to make enough heroic plays to get attention. As a desperate choice for LB, he turned out to be more than capable of recovering from his own errors and added some punch going forward.

    I always prefer it when the defense is scarcely noticed (it means they defused attacks before they became dangerous and played quick simple passes out of the back) andI like the attackers to be more involved. The US attack was nearly invisible last night, all the focus was on the defense. That is not a good thing, a better attack must be forthcoming or the US will struggle in qualifying. (Mexico arguably has a more stingy defense and a better attack, even though they don’t seem to be able to finish well and are near the bottom of the group.) It is hard to make much of the US-CR game but in the other 2 qualifiers, it was clearly the opponents who carried most of the attacking plays in the games.

    This was a good result, but not reason to celebrate like the US is home free.

  45. Juan says:

    I guess I’m a little harsher on some

    Geoff Cameron- (5) Far from the best option outside.
    Maurice Edu- (4) – mostly useless. Almost cost us 2 points and some bad turnovers
    Graham Zusi- (4) – too much time chasing people on his side. We need to upgrade in that position
    Herculez Gomez (3) – I would have yanked him in the first 30 minutes. Totally invisible
    Jozy Altidore (3) -No shots. I don’t totally blame him though. Dempsey is not a AM and he gets no service

    • Kev says:

      I disagree with your Zusi and Gomez assessment.

      Zusi – thought he played his best overall game with us. His first touch was awesome and he played simple – which is what he needed to do in this game. He also played excellent D. I am a big critic and actually was yelling at the TV for him starting. He proved me wrong in Azteca. He was chasing people on the flanks because that is Mexico’s strength. I did not think Cameron was exploited too much because of his play. I agree, I dont see Cameron as a mainstay at RB.

      Gomez – his hard work made this possible. Some of the plays in our own box, tracking back, were awesome.

      I agree with your overall point about Gomez and Zusi – need to attack. But in a game like this, in the lion’s den, not many teams come out of there without giving up a goal and getting a point.

      Edu is really the only guy that I thought stood out as having a bad game.

      I am looking forward to the day that getting points away in Mexico is common and expected. I thought they were a final pass off in terms of being a great counter-attacking team. What was most noticeable to me was our passing out of the back. I was impressed with many of the accurate passes and touches coming out of the back.

      Hey, 4 points from these March qualifiers. I will take that anytime, thank you very much.
      It is nice getting Azteca out of the way early…..

    • Mark says:

      I agree with you that Herc had some shocking poor plays, passes and corner kicks. But, why are you so hard on him when Altidore was very ineffective as well? He was jogging around as usual and didn’t put any pressure on their defense, which causes the opponent to lose the ball.

      • Juan says:

        Herc was an outside mid and saw the ball. Saw was about all he did. He seemed intimidated by the Mexican players and really was mostly invisible. Im the first one to jump on Jozy BUT in this formation, when he is getting almost no service… I can’t get on his case. The problem is that JK has to add a playmaker. Dempsey isn’t it. Bradley is OK but is tood far back to spring the forwards.

        Let Jozy see the ball and do nothing and Im on him.

    • Dick Tracy says:

      I think that Cameron and Zusi’s ratings correlate.

      If Cameron weren’t overlapping then Zusi wouldn’t be chasing down Cameron’s mark, I don’t think you can fault either for playing the 4-3-3 style, overlapping runs are vital and maybe Geoff just isn’t the answer at right back?

      Zusi and Cherundolo have shown great work together in a couple of games before Stevie went down, I think those two positions need chemistry, and obviously it was a little lacking.

      • GW says:

        When Cameron plays right back he does not provide the offensive dimension a Cherundolo with his crosses, for example, provides.

        If Besler -Gonzo stays as is, Cameron may be out of work or may move somewhere else.

  46. Ceez says:

    I wish someone would capture the one Chicharito dive in the middle of the pitch when a USMNT player only merely walked behind him. It was blatant and no caution from the ref.

    I’m serious. I’ve seen Chicharito dive before but this was absurdly blatant. Disgusting.

  47. OB Rick says:

    Zusi was almost flawless. Needs a higher grade.

    • Dick Tracy says:

      His work rate was amazing.

      Can’t wait to see him and Cherundolo on the right side.

    • MiamiAl says:

      I didnt think he was flawless, but in my mind, his play to motor back to head that ball away was the play of the game. He stole 2 points from Mexico with that single heads up play.

  48. Anthony says:


    Please do not change the Center Backs. Gonzales and Besler were unbelievable together. Always on the same wavelength. I think the play that sold me was when Mexico was on a quick counterattack with Chicharito. Besler slowed down to Gonzo’s pace at the right time and caught Mexico offside. That’s two center backs who work awesome in tandem.

  49. Anthony says:

    Hey did anyone notice in stoppage time, when the TV broadcasters focused on the US bench? Klinnsman and two other coaches were on the edge of the technical area screaming out directions for defending, and their tactics specialist Martin Vasquez was hanging out in the dugout looking unsure about what to do… He looked like a 20 year old coach not sure about what to do tactically when the game was on the line…

    There’s our coaching problem.

    • GW says:

      You can read minds?

      If the game is already in stoppage time, just what exactly is it you think a “tactics specialist” is going to do?

      You are confusing this game with the NFL where the D coordinator calls defenses from the sidelines until the last play.This is soccer. The rules are different.

      No time outs. No radio helmet for MB or Gonzo to wear and get signals from the sideline.

      • Anthony says:

        Not even close buddy. Coaches do call out tactically from the bench all the time. Fact is, if you watch closely, Jurgen and two other coaches are making sure position wise the team is compacting and facing their defenders to push them out wide. That’s tactics. Vasquez is hanging out on the bench just watching the game. Don’t need to read minds, just need to have played a bit to understand the gesticulation from the coaches…which it seems you haven’t.

        Matter of fact is that out of the four coaches that were on the bench from what I saw, Vasquez looked the most lost.

        • GW says:

          Right, whatever you the guys on far side of the field are playing real close attention to those coaches.

          Tactics are put in place before the game and are adjusted when necessary, usually at half time or when a sub is brought on. The USMNT are pros. They know what the plan is before the game and they should know how to adjust.

          What makes you think Vasquez is the one who came up with the game plan?

          I’ve never heard JK say that. Maybe JK devised and the others devised last night’s plan. And that’s why they are gesticulating. Maybe Vasquez always looks lost.

          The point is you don’t know.

    • chris says:

      Yeah chris woods our gk coach was giving Brek Shea directions before he went in

  50. Mark says:

    I just don’t agree with Jozy Altidore’s playing style and lack of work rate.

    It irks me to see him jog around up top and not check to wing players coming up the side. He just sits in the middle waiting for someone else to do all the work and somehow miraculously provide him with a perfect ball that he can toe poke in for a goal and act like he’s a star.

    It’s a good thing he’s not a basketball player b/c he has no ability to jump at all! He never tries hard to win headers. I saw him actually step back from 50/50 chances to win header balls.

    Lastly, it bothers me when he does not pressure their defense when the ball is in their defensive third. By pressuring their defense, you force the opponent into making bad passes and you can win the ball back in their half. His work rate is very lacking.

    I want to see Terrence Boyd start instead of Jozy.

    If you disagree with me that is fine and please state your arguments to the contrary (he’s doing good in Holland [where defense is not a strong point], he doesn’t get service, he’s young, etc. etc) but please don’t berate me personally just b/c I have a different opinion than others.

  51. McQ says:

    Where is the fire Klinnsman crowd now? The anonomous quotes? I think we are exactly where most of us would have expected to be at this point with a lot more optimism than I would have expected. Jurgen is a man with a plan and he needs to be given some time to execute on it. The great debate about him seems to be one of style vs. substance. It seemed he was always brought in to alter the style and there are bound to be growing pains along the way. He needs to get “his” guys in and those not his to buy in. It will take some time and we are starting to see the fruits. It looks like we may have discovered our two new starting central backs. Is anyone on the window ledge if forced to contemplate a back line of Cameron, Gonzales, Belser and Chandler (or Johnson) I wouldn’t be too critical of Dempsey’s or Altidore’s performances last night, they were getting virtually no service and the game played out in a way that dictated that they were going to have to essentially create something out of nothing.
    Now we have the core of a backline that can be given some time to gel with upcoming qualifiers and a tournament style competition in the Gold Cup. I woke up today feeling ok and not too worried. Good Stuff!

    • Judging Amy says:

      It was a great result and I, personally, felt reassured about the one area where I had my doubts about Klins: Tactics.

    • beachbum says:

      what I like about Coach the most is his willingness to try other things when original ideas aren’t working whheter in player callups, tactics, subs, etc. And he’s a gambler clearly which is fun but can also be painful, but he brings an excitement to it all.

      I’d say the best part of his plan is it’s flexibility, even if injuries mandated some of that

    • Juan says:

      Well I dont agree. Everybody is focusing on the 4 points but break it down. CR game… 1 goal on a rebound 3-4 shots top… crappy game in the snow. Mexico – 0-0 they out played us, had many more chances and were most likely robbed on a PK or two. We were lucky to get out of there with a point.

      Fast forward to WC…Who are we going to beat playing like this? IDK if JK needs more time or if he needs to wake up and admit we are not setting the world on fire and we need to change course. What he is bringing to the table is not good enough and will get us nowhere

      • GW says:

        Aren’t you getting a little ahead of things?

        First the US needs to qualify for the World Cup.

        Then JK can work on the offense.

        When he took over the team it was in transition and the first order of business was to make the team hard to beat. Once that gets squared away then he can work on the offense. Of course this is all happening at once but the harsh reality of qualifying is first and foremost you can’t give anything away, not with the kind of offensively challenged players the US predominantly has.

        Since 2007, the USMNT has never been particularly good at attacking with anything other than a counter involving Landon. So for JK to turn the US into a smooth attacking side is nothing short of revolutionary. Give the man a little time.

  52. manny rivademar says:

    I don’t think Mexico played badly. I think they were made to look bad by a pretty stout team with tremendous performances by Gonzales, Bessler and Guzan. I think the goalie was superb! This was not your typical USA team. The only thing I found objectionable was the lack of offense. Seems like the whole game we played back and occassionally countered. Beasley was man handled by Aquino but surprisingly held up. The times El Tri threw down U.S. players and were not called for it, was incredible. That play with Edu in the box, could have gone either way. The announcer felt it was a clear P.K. while Twellman felt it was questionable. All things considered, the play last nite gave me hope for the future. Now, if we can just develop an attack, my worries would be over.

    • kimo says:

      “Now, if we can just develop an attack … ” … My sentiments exactly.

      Right now, we simply lack pace / creativity on the wings and that’s allowing teams to pressure us. If Beasley can hold up and Donovan regains some mental fitness, I’d like to see DMB on the left wing and Donovan on the right. Both offer pace and experience and are willing to work back on defense. Defenses that press us too high can be exploited on the counter with their pace.

      Bradley – Jones

      This seems like a solid option that can offer in the attack.