USMNT 2, Belgium 4: SBI Player Grades

Staring eleven moment of silents

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CLEVELAND– When asked to list three bright spots for the U.S. Men’s National Team from Wednesday night’s 4-2 loss to Belgium, Jurgen Klinsmann gave a wry smile that acknowledged just how tough a task that was.

Klinsmann wasn’t quite able to come up with three, and that told you all you needed to know about Wednesday’s match. It was largely forgettable and for some U.S. players, a wasted opportunity to shine. Yes, Belgium came in as the favorite, and boasts one of the most talented teams in Europe, but the way the U.S. team sleepwalked through the match for long stretches made it tough to find consolation in a loss that didn’t play out as closely as the score might suggest.

Defensively, the Americans were ripped to shreds, and none of the cohesiveness and organization that the team boasted in March’s World Cup qualifiers could be found against Belgium. It wasn’t all down to the back four though. The midfield offered little defensive support, leaving gaps for Belgium to exploit, and providing a harsh reminder of just how important Michael Bradley is to the U.S. team.

Offensively, there were more of the same struggles. Yes, the U.S. scored two goals, but neither came in the run of play. It isn’t exactly embarrassing to struggle against a defense boasting the kind of talent Belgium has, but the U.S. quite simply did very little to even trouble Belgium. The wings provided little and Jozy Altidore struggled once again to find chances, lasting just 45 minutes in the process.

So what were the bright spots? There were a few. Clint Dempsey was once again a player who could find success even as his team struggled. DaMarcus Beasley turned in another solid showing at left back, while Jermaine Jones showed his usual determination and bite, even if he once again showed a penchant for poor discipline and organization in midfield.

Here is a closer look at the USMNT player grades for Wednesday night’s match:



Could have done better on first Belgium goal, but made necessary plays throughout first half.


Not perfect defensively by any means, but still another solid showing, and flashed some good attacking qualities in the second half.


Still wins most balls in the air, but in space he looked lost and insecure at times. His timing was off and he looked like a far cry from the dominant force that faced Mexico in March. Won’t be his last chance, but failed to pull away from other centerback contenders in the race for starts in central defense.


Fared only slightly better than Gonzalez. Didn’t exactly play well enough to be considered a lock starter.


Did well to get in position for the goal, but he provided little getting forward and struggled to deal with Belgium’s attackers on the flank. His worst game at right back to date.


Anyone expecting magic from the Dynamo star came away disappointed, but he did have some moments where you could see his soccer brain at work. Didn’t do enough to grab the starting left wing spot and it is unclear whether he will see another chance in the coming weeks.


If you wanted him to be a playmaker you came away disappointed, but if you focused on the defensive work he put in, you saw a reasonable performance. Not enough to be considered a starting option, but enough to keep in the conversation for minutes.


You have to take the good and the bad with Jones. The good is his relentlessness and ability to set a good tone for the U.S. The bad is his penchant for freelancing and running himself out of position, which can often leave teammates in bad spots. Until he shows more discipline, the U.S. defense will continue to struggle with him on the field.


Provided quality set-piece service, and never stopped hustling, but took an inordinate amount of uncharacteristically bad touches that led to far too many turnovers.


Once again, Altidore tried to be the hold-up striker, but only ever seemed to find Dempsey moving off of him and making himself available. Fitness was an issue, as evidenced by him having to leave the match at halftime.


Once again, Dempsey led the way. He provided consistent movement with purpose in the attack and was the only player who didn’t look out of place against the Belgians. Struggled to combine with the midfield, but not for a lack of making himself available.


A very encouraging cameo for Johnson, who just might have moved himself closer to a starting role against Jamaica in the June World Cup qualifier. He was aggressive, fast and contributed at forward as well as on the left wing.


Didn’t have as much success as Johnson at forward, and struggled to find the game. A disappointing out from a player who should be motivated to prove something on Sunday when the USMNT faces Boyd’s native Germany.


Provided some hustle, but did little to help the U.S. threaten in the attack. Looks more like a Gold Cup squad player than someone who will have a role in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.


Saw his goal overrun, and could have done better on at least one of the three goals he surrendered.


Given 21 minutes alongside Omar Gonzalez and didn’t look quite as confident as he did when the two last partnered, against Mexico in March. Provided some good passing, but might seen his defensive sharpness hurt by the recent stretch of matches he missed due to injury. That said, he should still have a chance to start on Sunday vs. Germany.


It was only a cameo, but Holden’s inclusion had considerable significance. He held his own during his nine minutes on the field, connecting on passes and looking aggressive and eager. Tough to say whether Belgium had taken their foot off the pedal by then or not, but Holden definitely looked ready for the challenge. He should see some minutes vs. Germany on Sunday.


What do you think of the grades? Any grades you think are too harsh? Any grades you consider too generous?

Share your thoughts below.


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165 Responses to USMNT 2, Belgium 4: SBI Player Grades

  1. rees says:

    I like Zusi – just have to say that those bad touches weren’t anything new. He’s a good player, but his first touch has always been inconsistent, and it will limit his opportunities to move up the US soccer food chain.

    • Judging Amy says:

      I think that’s a good point. He’s a smart player, but his technique (while not horrible by any means) is limited. He’s a hustle player and mediocre athlete who can surprise you sometimes with his vision and skill because of his intelligence.

      Contrast that with EJ whose great speed and moderate technique often ends up disappointing because EJ doesn’t have the brains to make the most out of his ability. EJ makes a play or gets some space using his speed and the end ball is crappy (see missing Boyd several times with his inaccuracy and even the PK he drew which was a botched cross he blindly thumped into the defender). EJ while useful and a borderline starter will always promise more than he can deliver, whereas Zusi, I think, can surprise you and rise to the occasion.

      • Been There says:

        Good points

        • Matador says:

          In other news, Seems like Ives have a soft spot for Jozy, he deserved 2 at most and where does it say that there was a fitness issue regarding Altidore? After he was subbed he was gone from the bench, nowhere to be found. Probably he was pissed that he was replaced, once again showed very little.

          Is Jozy another Twellman? time will tell but so far seems like is heading that way.

          • Shawn G says:

            Comparing Jozy to Twellman is nonsense on its face. Jozy has already scored more goals for the Nats that Twellman could’ve dreamed of.

            Has he struggled under Klinsmann? Yes. But pinning it all on Jozy simply is nonsense. NO ONE is scoring consistently for this team, outside of Deuce. At some point, that has to go to tactical issues, and possible errors in player handling as well. Could Jozy do better? Yes. But his current issues don’t take away from when he was producing for the Nats even though NO ONE could find club time for him.

          • CroCajun says:

            Let’s quickly dismiss the 23 year old forward who scored more goals this season in Europe than any American in the history of the world. We can do that b/c we have so many adequate replacements.

    • divers suck says:

      Zusi looked pretty lost out there. I’m beginning to wonder if there is some sort of tiff between Klesjian (sp?) and Altidore with JK. It continues to puzzle me why these 2 perform at such a high level in Europe but fail to translate it for the NATS. I refuse and can’t buy that it’s the difference in quality of the players. They should be taking the initiative as leaders and not making excuses! J Jones and Beasley were the only ones that didn’t look out of place vs Belgium.

      • divers suck says:

        Again Ives, still awaiting moderation?…..Just what, exactly, is your criteria for “awaiting moderation”???……….I’m confused, this is the second time in this thread that it took so long………

  2. Judging Amy says:

    Can’t argue much with those ratings, although wonder if a first half/second half set of ratings would be markedly different.

    • TomG says:

      I actually thought Sacha was too high at a 5. That’s probably the only one I’d disagree with. I felt like he made a ton of absolutely boneheaded, completely unforced turnovers like old Sacha used to do.

      • MiamiAl says:

        Everybody seems to think Sacha is a good player, but I never see it. The few times I have seen him, he looks very uninspiring. What does he do exactly? What does he bring to the table? Am I not looking at this player correctly?

        • GW says:

          A lot of people here think Sacha sucks.

          Everyone on the USMNT squad is a good player.

          But there is also the fact that this is a team sport and you have to work with the other 10 guys if the team is to do well. The last time I checked it’s still an 11 on 11 game.

          And there is also the fact, in this game, that the Belgians, man for man, all the way down the line, are better soccer players.

    • Josh D says:

      I think Dempsey’s was way too high. He absolutely disappeared the second half. I would love to see how many touches he had on the ball in the final 45. It was especially disappointing because in his central role in a front midfield three, it’s up to him to find the game and unlock defenses. However, he seemed content to wander around and not dig in. Sure he stepped up for the penalty, big deal. It was his lack of drive that got me.

      I think Jones deserves the top mark, above Dempsey. The man was everywhere. And if he did look out of place or did have a bad pass, it was because he was the only one actively look for the game and actively digging in. He was constantly asking for the ball, constantly trying to play the forward pass, and constantly hustling back into defense. Anyone pointing to his yellow card should note that he hasn’t had a card in four games and I don’t blame him for being so frustrated. He was given little support the whole game.

      Everyone else’s I agree with. I was especially disappointed with Boyd who I, admittedly, have been clamoring for. But a few botched kicks, awkward challenges, and inability to hold up the ball prove I know little.

  3. biff says:

    Do we know why Herc Gomez was passed over and spent the full game on the bench?

  4. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Fair grades except for Depsey. He was a non-factor and disappeared for long stretches. Certaily not the type of performance that earns a 6.

    • Mig says:

      I’m still following you around and agreeing with you. don’t be alarmed, I’m not really a stalker.

      The quality header cross might net Dempsey a 6 but his absence for most of the night makes for a 5.5 probably.

      I have to concur with the rating and grade for Jones who had some very good moments (and I am NO Jones fan). Could have tightened up on the Belgian passers to prevent some of those easy assists.

    • ACS says:

      Agreed and when he did have the ball he didn’t look up too often to see the other guys making runs. There was a couple of runs Jozy made where I was yelling at the screen for Dempsey to look up.

    • JC says:

      Agreed. Dempsey was not a 6. Maybe a 5.

      • john says:

        Agree with a 5. He looked tired, but with him pretty much carrying our team as of late, he gets plenty of slack cut for him. I’m always happy when a player has a crappy game but scores and has an assist.

        That was about it, though. Beas looked good going forwards, EJ at least seemed like he might have an idea or two even if they didn’t pan out. Jermaine hustled. Nice to see Holden.

        Everyone else… ugh. You can keep ’em. Fact remains that without Donovan and Bradley we just aren’t very good.

    • David says:

      Agreed. I think his score here and in other places is buoyed by scoring on the PK, but he was a non-factor for much of the match. Around the 70th minute I actually checked to see if I had missed his being subbed out.

    • Jerrod says:

      Definitely agree. The header was nice but that’s just what you do in that situation. He scored on the PK but he didn’t have anything to do with getting it (bad call anyway) and I thought he wasn’t very good at all the rest of the time.

  5. Ken Hirt says:

    For me it was Zusi’s best game so far and earns him another start. Really hoping Fabian gets a start at left wing cause all the other options are terrible. Yes, EJ played fine, but he’s had plenty of chances and we know what he brings to the table. Omar and Besler should be the pairing for the WCQ.

  6. dude says:

    If anyone thinks Jozy came off because of fitness, I’ve got a house with a lake side view on Mars to sell you.

    Jozy came off because he wasn’t contributing in JK’s eyes- even though the coach decided to put out the slowest wingers imaginable, and the fact that the only cross that reached Jozy came from Dempsey. If Eddie Johnson is the best winger we’ve got (with Donovan in the dog house, Shea in limbo, and Fabian Johnson yet to be use there), then play him with Jozy, and give him a chance. That was the most stagnant I’ve seen the offense since we switched to a 4-2-3-1.

    • Shawn G says:

      I agree. Jozy muffed one chance in the opening minutes, and that was enough for him to earn the hook from Klinsi. I don’t know what’s going on with those two right now, but I’d say that player-coach miscommunication is having an issue on the pitch. We can argue who to blame (and I say both).

      But there is also a bull-headedness to Klinsman’s tactics that defies explanation. It’s obvious the empty bucket isn’t producing enough, especially when Bradley isn’t in play and sharp. It’s equally obvious from the statistics that the one National Team player Jozy has chemistry with is Landon Donovan. But of course, LD is being keelhauled, so we can forget about him.

      The logical answer would be to put players on the wings with something of the qualities Donovan has in attack. First and foremost: Pace to threaten flank defenders, some ability to deliver from the flank and quick-counter.

      Instead, we have wingers who are too narrow, too slow, and aren’t terribly accurate with the ball when they do cross. They don’t play balls for Jozy to run onto (which is how he scores the majority of his goals in Holland). And they don’t play killer crosses in the scoring area. As I see it, the best duo would be Johnson and Zusi. That isn’t close to ideal. But that’s the best of what we have.

      Let’s be clear about this: The only kind of goals our forwards are getting right now is grinder goals, rebounds and lucky bounces off bad passes from the defense. Outside of Deuce, there is no consistent scorer in this team. Blaming Jozy ALONE for this is beyond willful ignorance. There is a lack of tactical nous. The staff is either unwilling or unable to put a combination of players together on the pitch who can combine to create ANYTHING but the occasional spark of genius from Dempsey or Bradley. That isn’t enough to win at the level the US ought to be playing at.

  7. Freddie Footballer says:

    If you guys were teachers, you’d be tough graders. I thought Beasley did better than your rating of 5.5 would suggest. He stayed home and defended well when he needed to, and when opportunities arose, he went forward and gave us something in the attack.

    • Judging Amy says:

      I think those ratings are appropriate for the terrible second half. But for the first half, some of those guys deserve better.

    • skyman says:

      Completely agree about DMB. He attacked when he could, and did so successfully. He was the only one to do so!

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      He did state his case for the LB spot and/or left side contribution. But he was also asleep on one of the later goals where they caught the defense pushing up, and a player outside him got the goal.

    • Colin says:

      I think Beasley has to be considered at fault for the fourth goal. The ball was lofted over him because he was tucked in too far, he should have done more considering he was the closest USA defender. Otherwise a strong outing… but being responsible for a goal is always going to knock your score down a point.

      • Shawn G says:

        Actually, I thought Jones was at fault for that goal because he failed to close out the ball 40 yards from goal. Nothing good can happen from letting skilled players have all the time they need to survey the field and pick a pass from the heart of the pitch on the edge of the attacking third.

        • bryan says:

          he should have closed him down, absolutely. but Cameron didn’t step up to where Omar, Goodson, and Beasley were in the line and kept Beasley’s guy onside. he caused the off-side trap to fail which led to a break away.

      • bryan says:

        no, it was lofted over him because Cameron, on the right hand side, was standing 2-3 feet behind the rest of the line. keeping Beasley’s guy onside.

    • Been There says:

      Imagine how great Beasly would be using that speed to harrass defenses down the left wing and helping cover for a more polished LB. I love what DB has provided recently with his work rate. Guy is one of the few you can honestly say is giving it his all out there. Mistakes yes, but has put in a lot of good work. Here’s to a Johnson – Beasly combo on the left side of the field.

  8. OB Rick says:

    Jozy looked lazy out there.

    • Johnny says:

      Agreed. He looks lazy to me a lot when he plays for the Nats. Being a good club player doesn’t always translate to being a good national team player.

  9. Mike says:

    Anyone know the story about why Jozy wasn’t on the bench for the second half? Seems like a big deal (injury or other reason) that hasn’t been explained anywhere I can find.

    • skyman says:

      Jozy is one of my main concerns. He is simply not playing like a stud at all, rather more like an average American striker, at best.

      • Mark says:

        When did he ever play like a “stud” for the Nats??

        Just b/c his physique is impressive, doesn’t mean that he is going to be a tough competitor.

        In fact, I’ve seen him play rather timidly over the myriad opportunities that he’s been granted to prove himself.

        EJ, Herc and Boyd deserve a chance to start a game and prove themselves, possibly against Germany on Sunday.

  10. Kevin_Amold says:

    -Thought Jermaine Jones was our best player last night. Maybe I’m alone.

    -I don’t like the ‘Geoff Cameron at RB’ experiment with the USMNT. Needs a stake driven through its heart.

    -Yet again, very few chances, and almost nothing (that I remember) in the second half. This is what I am beginning to associate the Klinsman era with.

    -There’s no shame in losing to Belgium, but the way the USMNT got buried in the second half was just so bad. Little to no fight back.

    • Kevin_Amold says:

      Wow. Still awaiting moderation. Maybe I’m one of those trolls that is under careful watch.

    • SanFran415 says:

      I thought he was as well. The comment that he was lost and undisciplined in the ratings is just simply not true.

      Soccernet gave Jones a 7 as the best field player.

    • malkin says:

      I don’t think it’s much of an “experiment” putting Cameron at RB. He’s a regular starter at RB in the English Premier League and, when Dolo and Chandler aren’t an option, there’s not much else.

      • Kevin_Amold says:

        He’s only played RB a few times for the USMNT. He is not a RB at the international level in my view.

        I agree that without Dolo or Chandler, it’s a little thin, but I don’t see Cameron as a viable alternative. Maybe I’m in the minority on this point.

      • Bobb says:

        Eric Lichaj.

        At least he’s a RB.

        Cameron is a CB. Play him at ****ing CB.

      • Been There says:

        I think this game was an aboration for Cameron. You’re right that he did play it pretty well for Stoke. However, he did have some pretty strong CBs to support him when he went forward. I thought he was aweful but I believe he is more than capable at RB, especially without any better options.

        With some speed at CB(Besler), Bradley back in the lineup to help hold some posession, I believe or defense will look alot better. Hopefully Cameron and Gonzo have learned from their mistakes last night.

    • Bac says:

      You’re not alone….. JJ played at a 7, with the heart of 9.5. I said last night I didn’t care about the yellow, I meant in the context of last night’s friendly… He’s got his issues that will surface once a game, but the guy gives all heart for 90

      Jozy on the other hand may have had a career year, but he is the laziest guy again… As legitimate as the midfield play and service issue is, it’s no excuse for his continued lack of effort.
      He should look at a 10 year video of DMB… promising start, mixed career, cast aside, reinvented, and last night while drenched in sweat and knocked around he was still hustling after balls the full length of the pitch

  11. Wm. says:

    Thanks for this—missed the game and was looking for a good recap.

  12. Z says:

    Goodson was worse than Gonzalez, IMO. Ball-watching far too much of the time.

    • Chazcar2 says:

      I agree with this. Goodson was completely out of position on the 1st and 4th goals. On the first: when your keeper comes out you cover the goal. If goodson had gone to the goal when howard came out he would have been in position to stop that goal. On the fourth Gonzalez came across and had a bad touch, but the Goodson left the striker completely unmarked.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        I disagree. He was outof position on the second as well

      • downintexas says:

        How was he out of postion on the 1st goal?? That goal came from the right. It was Cam and Gonzo that were ball watching. It is not his job to cover the right side of the defense.

        • MidWest Ref says:

          On the first goal, Goodson was standing in the middle of the penalty area looking for an offside. If he would have run back to cover the goal line, he may have stopped the lob from Mirales. Maybe not, but he just stood in the center doing nothing . . he didn’t give the ball away, but he didn’t do anything to help either

  13. Bean says:

    I’m done with Jozy. Give me Eddie Johnson, or Herculez any day over Altidore.

  14. jim in Atlanta says:

    Hi guys. 3-5-2


    Wings push forward, Jones cdm, Bradley box to box and distributes\controls flow, mixx skill vision and pass ability. Jozy target toward hold up play, give and go with mixx and Clint. Clint poacher and craft.

    Subs. Corona for mixx, Boyd for Jozy, Williams\morales for Jones.

    Job done. Can I be head coach now?

    • Jerrod says:

      Go back to Italy! 😉

    • Been There says:

      I’ll take anything without Jozy. I’ve been a supporter but he’s run out of chances for me.

      • alf says:

        It’s over as far as my support for Jozy. I like player that will honor this country (no matter how flawed it appears). He doesn’t even honor the flag nor anthem. Go to Haiti and have a good time.

    • curva sud says:

      i’m in for this one but sub in Landon for Mixx. too bad it won’t happen

  15. Shane says:

    Gonzalez > Goodsen. Omar had more positives than Goodsen like the clearances mentioned. Goodsen’s ball watching hurt us

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Exactly, Goodson was struggling to stay with people on chances not converted, and on the goal where Gonzo has to step in to try and stop the run, and takes the long dribble that results in the goal, Goodson is chasing the play, and he stops 5 yards behind his man, who gets a wide open pass from the recipient of Gonzo’s dribble. Gonzo messed up but he was also cleaning up a mess; Goodson was chasing the play and didn’t get back.

      On a basic level, I don’t think we can expect snow or the odd, indirect crossing tactics of Mexico, which played into the hands of tall but immobile CBs. We need to be concerned teams will come right after us and Goodson has shown in several games he can’t stay with a man, is not fast enough to recover, and often has to foul to try and stop goals.

      I much prefer Besler or Cameron being involved with Gonzo because you have an athlete to balance the stick figure. Two stick figures who can’t run is usually bad if a team comes right at you and you’re playing a high line. Neither guy is fast enough to get back, or can cover for the other. All or nothing and betting against our trap was paying off all night.

      • Been There says:

        Cameron – Gonzales – Besler – Johnson

        Set it and forget it.

        • GW says:

          And when one of them gets hurt?

          Then what? Prep a subsitute at the last minute?

          • Been There says:

            Yes, other guys will need time but some sort of consistency would be nice. Gold cup would be a good opportunity to work out other options.

  16. dan says:

    If Gonzo plays FINE. Let’s just stick with a freaking defensive line now and let them gel already! I understand the injuries at fullback but our centerbacks should be always together. I’d rather see Cameron and Gonzalez together at CB now and let them gel b/c they can be the USA centerbacks for the next 10 years.

    Klejistan was worthless and I pray Holden hits form b/c he is the only chance we have at a creative midfielder now. Bradley really only is a box to box and won’t link the attack as well.

    Why not play Dempsey behind Altidore? Or hell why not give Altidore a partner up front! Johnson, Boyd, Gomez are all good enough to me

    • MLSsnob says:

      Why is nobody calling out Omar? That’s 3 times in 7 caps he’s had a brain fart directly leading to a goal. I agree he’s talented but that’s got to stop. It’s not like its a one off, he has a rep in la as a talented but sometimes has momentary laps in concentration. That can’t happen on this level where the stakes are much higher.

  17. the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

    -Personally, I really don’t think Cameron at right back is a good fit for us. He offers nothing going forward and just generally doesn’t look terribly comfortable there. I’d like to see Parkhurst get a run out vs Germany.

    -Gonzalez is a mistake machine. The guy clearly has talent, but if he can’t cut out the mistakes we can’t trust him to start at center back for us. Consistency is one of the most important qualities a player can have. I’d much rather have a CB that gives me a 7 rating every game than Gonzalez who is a 9-10 or a 3-4.

    -Our toothless attack is just getting to be pathetic. We never look dangerous more than a couple times a game and cannot sustain pressure for even 5 minutes on the opposition. I’m willing to let the 4-2-3-1 continue another couple games to see what we can develop, but if we continue to look this way we need to change it up.

    -we need a response vs Germany. We don’t even have to win the game, but a good solid defensive display coupled with an efficient attack will do us a world of good heading into the qualifiers. Looking for Bradley to be the catalyst behind our response. He is vital to our success.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      another thing I’d like to point out is our static movement in attack. Everyone just seems to float down the field waiting for the ball to come to them. No one really darting into spaces, making runs behind, taking a chance to get forward ect. Everything is completely predictable and easy to defend. We lack the dynamic movement to create gaps in the defense

      • Adam says:

        Best comment by far. The movement on offense is pathetic. Duece is the only guy that gets it and even his movement was sub par vs. Belgium. In the first half i thought zusi and especially brad davis did a good job of hugging the touch line to create space but nobody made runs into that space. Hopefully we took a lesson from Belgiums movement off the ball.

    • bml says:

      Gonzo is still improving quickly as a player and I think he will be the best option for many years to come. He’s still very new to the national team with limited international experience and he’s kind of been thrown into the fire – most players get eased into the team over a long period of time – he joined JK’s camp in January and is now a starter.

      Our attack has been pathetic for a long time and I see no signs it will get better anytime soon. Every batch of games it’s the same. I hope to see improvement and nothing happens. Germany will not be an improvement, but hopefully after getting beaten up by Belgium and Germany we’ll come out strong against Jamaica. Or we’ll be so tired and confused tactically that Jamaica will run circles around us.

  18. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Dempsey get a “4”! Didn’t create any attack and had that BS penalty!

    Beasley get a “4.5” Beasley isn’t a leftback and got burned a couple of times, seem to do better moving more up.

    • Warren says:

      Didn’t create any attack? Aside from dempsey’s header back across the box to set up Cameron, for goal 1, scoring goal 2, setting Jozy up inside of first few minutes for what should have been goal 1, which Jozy flubbed and then sprang Belgium’s counter leading to their 1st goal…and a bunch of half chances and nice one touch passes, sure Dempsey didn’t do anything. duh.

  19. Chris says:

    Pretty fair ratings, what we learned:
    -both keepers i think struggled a bit, and should have done better on the first and last goals
    -the whole backline looked awful, except besler who was formitable in the back
    -neither outside back looked or played like an outside back
    -jones was the best player for the us and kljestan did nothing to warrant another start for the US
    -davis and zusi actually looked alright and did provide some chances, dempsey needs to be a little bit more involved for me
    -altidore struggled with his touch, but he did work very hard
    -boyd and evans both should not be getting time, at least boyd is young, but neither looked even average
    -EJ looked pretty sharp on the wing
    my starting 11 for sunday:
    i would like to see holden, davis, corona, gomez and maybe beasley get some time off the bench.

    • Nick says:

      I like that 11 a lot. Also, I’ve always thought Klinnsy should give EJ a shot up with Jozy…I feel like Jozy was at his best when he had a fast partner up there Ex: when Charlie Davies was around, Altidore was scoring a ton of goals.

      • Chris says:

        Exactly, if youve been watching jozy with the national team the last few years you saw at the beginning he had very nice hold up play but no real reward, which frustrated jozy. I would push EJ up top with jozy and have dempsey move left a bit but can move centrally and have fabian overlapping him and providing width and service. Jones can fill the area fabian leaves defensively.
        Also anybody really bashing our performance last night didnt really pay attention, in the first half we played with them, we just made stupid mistakes at the back and bc they are so clinical in front of goal they were lethal.

    • bold says:

      +1 on zusi/davis

  20. k says:

    why not schedule friendliest against Faroe Islands and Malta and San Marino?

    that way we win 12-0 and Jozy can score and lift their morale

  21. bryan says:

    another loss for the US today. jeez, i can’t take this, even if the games mean nothing.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      The loss was predictable. The performance is what should worry you. They beat us pretty soundly, cut open our defense with ease and were never really troubled by us.

    • Bean says:

      I didn’t expect a result against Belgium, and I won’t expect one against Germany.

      Just support the team, but understand that they are ranked around 33rd in the world. Don’t expect them to beat the top teams in Europe, especially the Belgium A squad.

      • bryan says:

        i was more or less joking around. watching the U-20s this morning was kicking me while i was down. i’m totally ok and we’ll be just fine. i also didn’t expect a result and i don’t against germany either. just hoping for a better display.

  22. Adam M. says:

    Klinsman isn’t playing Jozy right and its making both of them look terrible. Go look at his 31 goals for AZ this year. Jozy needs to be fed through balls through the central mid and/or to play off another striker or advanced mid closer to the goal. He NEVER gets those kinds of looks with the Nats. He isn’t a hold up striker and isn’t great on crosses below his shoulders. He needs the ball at his feet facing the goal. He needs space, not service.

    • HoboMike says:

      And to change how we play to accommodate one player is probably the dumbest thing you can do. In a normal starting 11, who would you take off to play with Jozy?

      Teams don’t win by changing their entire structure to fit around 1 player. All you need to do is look at Argentina’s lack of success with Messi.

    • SanFran415 says:

      Forwards create space. Other players create service.

      He got the service. He didn’t create more space. That’s on him. And beyond that he was too out of shape to even play in the second half.

      I’d guess he’s close to losing his spot as a starter on the team. There are several defenders with as many or more goals than he has in the past 2 years. I’ve always been split on how I feel about his national team performances, but it’s getting to the point where the “no defense in the dutch league” meme might be a valid retort.

      • Biebs says:

        The “no defense in the dutch league” makes no sense in context. He finished 4th in the league in scoring this year and 7th last year. If you made your argument about the fact that he had 23 league goals (31 total), then I would understand. He has still more goals that all but 3 players in the league, that would be true if he had 8 goals in a very defensive league or 50 goals in a open league.

      • Shawn G says:

        He got service once.

        And Boyd did no better up front. There isn’t a forward who has played well under Klinsman’s “system” for this team.

        So yes, maybe you do change the structure to better accommodate the WHOLE of what you have. Because if you’re going to be honest about it, the structure we say last night wasn’t good enough to compete in the World Cup. Let alone advance from the group.

        Good coaches match their system to their players. They don’t play round peg to square hole.

        • bml says:

          Exactly. We’ve never had any offense under JK. It’s time to face up to the fact that it’s not the forwards that are the problem. We have plenty of forwards that can score for their clubs.

          Bad coaches dictate a system without regard to their players. Good coaches work with what they have. I’ve yet to even figure out what system we’re trying to play.

    • Mark says:

      They should make space for him on the bench.

  23. HoboMike says:

    How did Kljestan manage to get a 5? He stated that his coaches told him before the game to make late runs (which he couldn’t because, in his words, “the service wasn’t there”) and to dictate the tempo.

    If by dictate the tempo, they meant play nothing but sideways and backwards passes, then consider it a job…done.

    The guy simply isn’t cut out for the international game. So many posters have complained that he’s never given a look in his normal position. He was yesterday, and I would give him a 4 at best, simply because he tried to work defensively. We need creativity. He was supposed to supply it. He failed miserably.

  24. Shchors says:

    Agree that Goodson deserves lower grade than Omar. Both are similar players who depend on a smaller more nimble partner to cover their back when they tackle or challenge in the air. However, Omar was aggressive (although not always smart) while Goodson was hesitant or left a large gap (hockey term). On both of the first two goals, he just stood there and reacted after it was way too late. He could have retreated into goal when Howard came out and then was slow to get back into the middle on the second goal when Omar had his unfortunate gaffe. A vintage era Bocanegra would have kept everyone in their proper place. However, I agree with Klinsmann that we need new blood in the center of the defense by next year’s WC. The problem is that no centerback in the US player pool in the nimble covering mold has stepped up (perhaps Beisler will turn out to be the man) Okugo anyone? I know, he is too short.

  25. SanFran415 says:

    I keep seeing this “toothless attack” meme.

    We scored two goals and should have at least one more if Jozy doesn’t flub the perfect ball sent to him inside the 6. 3 goals scored against a team that has conceded only 1 through 6 games of qualifying.

    Yes, that’s right. Belgium have only conceded a single goal through 6 full game of European qualifying.

    A little perspective would be nice. That’s one of the top 5 back lines in world football–easily. And in the first half (generally the only half that matters in a friendly before the large halftime substitution spree) we played pretty well against a team that is frankly much better at every single position on the pitch.

    I predicted a 4-1 loss before the game and I was honestly surprised at how well we possessed the ball and made smart passes in the first half.

    I hope nobody was expecting us to win or even compete end-to-end with them.

    • Bean says:

      Good post. Perspective is needed here.

    • CG says:

      I don’t think you have to have had winning expectations in order to be disappointed with yesterday’s result. I didn’t expect a win and was still disappointed.

      If you’re defending the teeth in our attack on account of a corner kick and penalty, OK. To each their own.

      • downintexas says:

        a weak pk by all means. That does not get called in qual. We did play really well in the first half. I don’t think any one should be shouting the sky is falling on this friendly game. But that said we are lacking attack. Go back to our last few games. We need some one to spark the attack.

    • Mig says:

      SanFran, that is a well stated opinion but I think you are in the small minority on this. Not just commenters but the writers for ESPN, FoxSoccer, and here at SBI all pretty much agree that we created almost nothing. Also, most disagree with your a$sessment that Jozy flubbed a perfect ball…he could have done better but it was hardly a sitter. The Penalty goal was clearly a bad call AND the result of a messed up cross.

      But those are details. My main point is that while you are consistent in supporting the coach and the product, a majority of sources view our attack as being seriously flawed or worse, entirely inept.

      • downintexas says:


      • Bean says:

        Those Belgiums made our players look small, and slow. Omar Gonzales did not even look big out there. We are in a slump right now. We, as a nation are far from being dangerous, and competitive against countries like Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, England, Argentina etc. We don’ even have the mythical American athleticism as an edge.

      • GW says:

        “Not just commenters but the writers for ESPN, FoxSoccer, and here at SBI all pretty much agree that we created almost nothing.”

        That does not mean they are right.

        Two goals, however undeserved or cheap they may be, are something.
        Cameron’s set piece goal was CREATED by good play from the US players. This against a very good team who rarely give up such goals.

        The penalty kick was wrong but many are. They still count.

        There is this persistent notion that offense and defense are separate as if this was the NFL and such things were the results of separate discrete units.

        In fact you can’t have one without the other, The US showed enough to tell me that if they give up that cheap brainfart first goal, this might have been a very different game. And after the US did well to get more or less back into it, a series of defensive blunders killed of the momentum the US had developed.

        You cannot mount a good offense if you are always on your back foot worried about giving up goals especially to a hot team like Belgium.

        It’s defense, defense , defense that is the problem with this team.

    • Ed says:

      Hmm. The toothless attack meme is definitely not limited to this game only, we have looked completely impotent for much of the Klinsmann era. Also I’m not buying your point about how many goals Belgium has conceded.. This was not a WCQ, it’s probably safe to assume Belgium didn’t go full tilt as if this were a game that counted. Also one of our goals was a downright criminal handball call.

    • Bobb says:

      Opponent -> Shots from run of play/goals from these shots
      Canada 4/0
      Honduras 2/1
      Costa Rica 1/1
      Mexico 0/0
      Belgium 0/0

      • SanFran415 says:

        You are aware that your numbers are not even remotely close to accurate, right?

        Seeing as our goal against Costa Rica came from a shot by Jozy that came back to Dempsey for a second shot.

        • Ed says:

          That doesn’t exactly help your case

          • SanFran415 says:

            Sure it does.

            I just had to pick one instance to show the stats are wrong. The shot totals are higher than that of course.

            It says we had 0 shots against Belgium. Obviously that’s not the case. We had several shots blocked or that went wide.

            • twh says:

              I believe Bobb mislabeled his data. If the second column is labeled “Shots ON GOAL from the run of play” the stats are correct. A blocked shot (ie: Jozy’s shot attempt vs Costa Rica that was blocked, which Clint scored on) is not a Shot on Goal.

              We had Two SoG vs Belgium- Cameron’s header from the corner and Clint’s penalty. Neither were from the run of play.

      • Dan M says:

        I was at the Costa Rica game, not surprised we didn’t get many shots off that night. There was so much snow that it didn’t look like a normal soccer game. We were lucky to have scored early before the snow piled up because as the game wore on the offenses were less and less capable of doing anything but kick and chase. As for Mexico, did you think we were going to get a lot of shots off at Azteca? Not defending them, but just pointing out problems with the sample set. I think the passing last night at midfield was sharper and would have led to better chances versus Concacaf.

    • bml says:

      Scoring in a friendly against a disinterested team doesn’t prove much nor do “should haves”. Especially given one goal was a weak PK. You need to look at the games that matter and you’ll see an anemic offense.

  26. SanFran415 says:

    I keep seeing this “toothless attack” meme.

    We scored two goals and should have at least one more if Jozy doesn’t flub the perfect ball sent to him inside the 6. 3 goals scored against a team that has conceded only 1 through 6 games of qualifying.

    Yes, that’s right. Belgium have only conceded a single goal through 6 full game of European qualifying.

    A little perspective would be nice. That’s one of the top 5 back lines in world football–easily. And in the first half (generally the only half that matters in a friendly before the large halftime substitution spree) we played pretty well against a team that is frankly much better at every single position on the pitch.

    I predicted a 4-1 loss before the game and I was honestly surprised at how well we possessed the ball and made smart p@sses in the first half.

    I hope nobody was expecting us to win or even compete end-to-end with them.

    • Dan M says:

      If we make WCup, we better hope we only have one team like them in the group stage and then don’t have to face them until the quarter finals. We will not get a result against them unless their plane crashes over the Atlantic.

  27. HoboMike says:

    How did Kljestan manage to get a 5? He stated that his coaches told him before the game to make late runs (which he couldn’t because, in his words, “the service wasn’t there”) and to dictate the tempo.

    If by dictate the tempo, they meant play nothing but sideways and backwards passes, then consider it a job…done.

    The guy simply isn’t cut out for the international game. So many posters have complained that he’s never given a look in his normal position. He was yesterday, and I would give him a 4 at best, simply because he tried to work defensively. We need creativity. He was supposed to supply it. He failed miserably.

  28. HoboMike says:

    Anyone ever solve the mystery of the “Awaiting moderation” thing?

  29. fischy says:

    Beasley did show some good attacking potential — which is why he should be in the midfield or up top. He’s not a fullback, and he’s certainly not a World Cup-level fullback.Mike Burns was probably a better defender and he may be the worst left back we’ve ever put out there for a World Cup match.

    Although Johnson looked menacing, I think we should at least give Beas a run out at LW.

    Cameron isn’t really a proper fullback, either. Whereas Beasley is too small, Cameron is too big and slow. I’d like to see him get some time at CB to see if he fits there at this level.

    Also, I know Jones has certain qualities, but I’m really hoping Stu can raise his game back up. I”d like to see him and Bradley as our CMs….with Donovan on one wing….and also with Boca and Cherundolo on the back line. The one newcomer that consistently impresses is Besler. That young man has a future. Not too sure about all the others JK is trying out.

    • fischy says:

      My point about Jones — I didn’t really get into it, which makes my comment seem pointless — is that our offense sucks and Jones ain’t helping. If Holden can get back up to speed, he poses more of a challenge for opposing defenses.

      • Mig says:

        Couple of thoughts, Fischy:

        1. Nobody says the B word (that LB from the dark days). Not ever.
        2. Pointless remarks make the internet go round.
        3. I agree about DMB and Cameron regarding their positions.

    • Ed says:

      I’m on board with you with most of this except for 2 things- one, bocanegra– would be nice to see a familiar face back there but I don’t think he’s the answer for this team going forward. Two, jones– I think he provides more to the attack than you credit him for. Jones and Bradley are the only two guys who consistently hold their own in these games. We all know out offense stinks but at least Jones will occasionally make a bold run or try an incisive pass. Even when he’s having a bad game (like @ Honduras) he has the proven quality to pop up with a brilliant play, like the chip he fed Dempse that led to a goal in that Honduras game.

  30. USA fan says:

    The team doesn’t have a true, out-and-out difference maker. Every other national team on the planet seems to have one skillful and speedy/shifty difference-maker that pulls the strings, except us. Dempsey is good but he’s not THAT good where he can consistently make something out of nothing; because he’s not fast or agile. Our players either have skill and no speed or have speed and no skill. We have has so many basic, robotic players, yet they all work very very hard. If ONE explosive yet skillful attacking player was added to this team, it would be VERY tough to beat. This player, plus Dempsey and a bunch of hard workers, would win a lot of more games.

    • DonoFan says:

      I think the only US player who might fit this bill as a difference maker is Landon Donavon. Or a least let’s hope he can still be the player he was before when/if given the chance..

  31. Tony in Quakeland says:

    The comment about Kjlestian points to an ongoing problem under JK. although this time it was a bit more subtle. Namely, JK seems to deploy players with no consideration to where they have been successful in other places or the roles they are suited for. Jozt as a holding forward is a prime example, EJ on the wing is another, Danny Williams out wide, and on and on…

    In the past he put Klestian wide (in his pecular fascination withp plodding wide mids). Slipping him inside seemed like a more natrual spot…but then he is restricted to playing esssential a deep role. He is not a defensive mid, certainly not a destoryer. He is more effective in the middle further up the field. Part of his failure to show well is that he was not asked to do something that meets his skills.

    • HoboMike says:

      I understand where he plays, but my point was that when he did get the ball in advanced positions, where he is theoretically more comfortable, absolutely nothing came of it.

      Recurring theme, for me.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        Wasn’t actually addressing you. And I wasn’t particularly defending Kljestian, who I think can be useful in some situations. Just pointing out a disturbing tendency in JK’s slections. But yes, he didn’t do much when he got forward.

  32. Shark says:

    Jones just drives me crazy…..Ives nailed it about him:

    “The bad is his penchant for freelancing and running himself out of position, which can often leave teammates in bad spots. Until he shows more discipline, the U.S. defense will continue to struggle with him on the field.”

    And with Bradley not playing last night it just exposed him even more than usual…..

    • SanFran415 says:

      As our best player? Because he was hands down our best player. I don’t know what game some people on this site were watching.

      • Ed says:

        Agree with that. And the freelancing and running out of position was necessary since nobody else was doing anything.

    • Bobb says:

      Jones was the best player for the US yesterday by default… there were no other options!

  33. HoboMike says:

    I think one thing that we are all missing is the fact that the US had absolutely no speed on the field last night, with the possible exception of Beasley (who is slowing down). That was never going to bode well.

  34. Dc says:

    Ives nailed it. My takeaways exactly.

  35. cencalfooty says:

    Im not sure what any body saw in this guy. I absolutely love the ball he blasted at jones while he was standing 2 feet away just to have the ball ricochet back to him. his touch is decent but his passing was abysmal. So many timed when s player would make runs and he would just putt it back to the defense.

  36. cencalfooty says:

    Ej- 4
    I distinctly remember the play when he had boyd I think open in the middle with one defender and he shanks a left footed cross 15 feet over his head. He doesn’t need to be anywhere near the wing.

    pls god klinsi but Fj and run DMB on the left side

  37. Pat says:

    Not only were we lacking in speed, we didn’t try to play fast. In the first 30 minutes or so our pressure forced some turnovers in midfield–what did we do-look to break quick on the counter in numbers–nope we held the ball, looked for a backpass or sideways pass and then eventually turned the ball over.

    Our conversion rate on shots on goal is fantastic. But we are generating hardly any chances or even half chances. We generated about 2 chances from the run of play last night, maybe 1 half chance against Mexico and a couple against CR.

    The play is just so static and slow. I just dont’ understand the philosophy behind that. The coach claims to want to play an uptempo pressing attacking style, but in over a year we’ve hardly ever seen that style. If we don’t have the players for it, we’ve got to do something else.

  38. Weston John says:

    JK really needs to sort out the CB pairing so that we can get some cohesion and reps there. Not having a right back is screwing up the process as the question should be who is the best pairing out of Cameron, Gonzo and Besler (with Goodson being #4 on the depth chart.

  39. Benny says:

    I think Jones was the best. I want to see him in this position against Germany. With Bradley on the field, the U.S. will be a better side. I rather have the players learn from their mistakes in these friendlies against quality teams than during qualifying. Gonzo and Cameron are probably going to make the 2014 WC team, so might as well throw them out their even if they have to take their lumps. The U.S. will qualify for the 2104 WC. The most important thing is to face quality sides like these in order for the US players to reap the benefits when 2014 rolls around. Take some lumps now, correct mistakes and reap the benefits later on.

  40. Benny says:

    meant to say: 2014

  41. JG says:



    Zusi————Holden (or Jones)—-Beasely


    -Let the CB’s of the future start to gel. Take the growing pains… cant get any worse than last night
    -Parkhurst at RB until Chandler is healthy and Castillo at LB
    -Let Bradley protect the back line, distribute and control the pace
    -Jones is talented but does not have the tactical awareness to play Def CM
    -Lets see what Holden can do for 60 min. We have no other options
    -Beasley at LW because we have no other options right now with F.Johnson and Shea out. Same with Zusi since EJ wont put in the work needed defensively on the flank.
    -Jozy, although talented is one of the laziest players and biggest disappointments to put on a USMT uniform in some time. Bench his arse and bring in someone who wants to work up top, i.e. Gomez with Dempsey up top.

    • Been There says:

      I like it but would only make a few alterations.

      Cameron(ultimately Dolo) – Besler – Gonzo – Johnson(or Castillo)
      Zusi(ultimately Donovan) Bradley Beasley
      Dempsey Gomez

      I think this actually looks dangerous.
      No more Jozy Please!

  42. Hush says:

    Sasha a 5?? Sorry, I completely disagree…. The man is garbage. Defensive work? The guy couldn’t make a decent pass from the back without losing it or a 15yrd pass forward. The guy was garbage. Even Beckerman could have done better,.. and I consider him somewhat wack as well. Evans? Wow. Waste of roster spot. What ticks me off is that JK suppose to want more technical players on the team, but yet keeps calling players that play the exact same way! We have two good players with offensive capabilities that can provide somewhat of an offense or at least keep the ball moving along in Benny & Adu, yet these guy can sniff the team because of players like Evans, Sasha, Zusi, etc. C’mon… Belgium played half gas, and still put a pounding on us. Bring back Boca & Gooch, I believe they can still do a better job in the back.smh The only good thing about this game was Holden hitting the field, other than that, it was simply disgusting to watch. I feel for Duece having to play with this mediocre team… Like I said, JK should bring in Adu & have him play behind Jozy or the left side with Deuce & Donovan on the wings rotating. Holden in the mix as well… I believe we at least keep the ball a little longer and create actual chances. Panama game last gold cup a perfect example.

  43. Tom Meyer says:

    The US has forgotten its roots … years ago, you could count on a US team to play organized and relentless defense. Today, it is rare that we can count on our back line to keeps us in the game. Why has this happen? Because today, kids are discouraged to be defenders … it is the position of least prestige … consequently, the many subtle nuances of defense (which are mastered with experience) are never developed and polish. Let me give you one simple example … running backwards seems like a simple thing … it is not … it is not natural, so unless you have hours upon hours of game experience running backwards and pivoting to cover an offensive player, you never develop this refined defensive movement.

    Bottom line … is that our high schools, club teams and even pro teams need to give defense a serious nod … it should elevated as position to aspire to, not the position you play when you can’t be a skilled goal scorer. In a game when one goal usually determines the outcome … we as a country have lost site of the value of a defender.

    • SanFran415 says:

      As someone who has experience in the ODP system I can attest to how true this is. Throughout the ranks of players by age, the best players always play up top. If you’re the best player on the team, you play forward.

      When a player finally reaches the level where they’re no longer the best they’re moved to a more defensive position.

      • Dan M says:

        What I see is that the fastest non-skilled players are at the back, when they should probably be switched out for forwards. Competitive youth soccer coaches hate seeing their last man get beat, and aren’t thoughtful enough to realize that it is o.k. to get beat once in a while. Rather than put your unbeatable speed freaks at the back, put your best posession player there and let the team feed off of their creativity.

        I see that at U10 and U11, where my boys play. Scared about ODP if it doesn’t change by then.

    • t says:

      Also true is that the game is changing and the best defenders today, the ones a team needs to get through the knock out stages of an important tournament without a small miracle, are good at so much more than defending. They are now the ones initiating attacks, pushing the rest of their players up the field. And the good ones are so calm on the ball, confident, you’d imagine as kids they spent less time practicing running drills after hours and more time juggling while being chased by stray dogs. Though they likely did both.

      It’s all right what you say however it seems that with such a pedagogy we might produce a lot of Marcelo Balboas but not a single Thiago Silva.

  44. Andrew says:

    Would like to see Cameron and Besler together at CB versus Germany. Gonzalez struggles against speed and Goodson struggles against quality. Inexcusable that Lichaj wasn’t called in again with us struggling for depth at RB.

  45. Matt Jackowski says:

    so when can we put Landon in as 2nd striker like Bruce does with Keano? this team can’t score in the run of play against a u-10 ayso team let alone a top 10 Uefa team.

    Germany 5 – USA 1

  46. DonoFan says:

    Yes, we need Landon back!

  47. Dylan says:

    I’d like to see this for the next few months. I wonder how many guys (if any) will play in both WCQ and Gold Cup though…

    WCQ Lineup:

    F. Johnson—-Bradley—-Zusi

    Subs: Altidore— Gomez
    Sacha—– Jones (switch w Bradley)
    Holden— Zusi

    Gold Cup Lineup:

    Boyd—- E. Johnson

    Subs: Mix—– Torres/Holden
    Corona—- Shea
    Johannson— Boyd

  48. matt says:

    I don’t get we everyone bitches about the attack. 1 or 2 goals is fine as long as you don’t allow goals. I like how JK switches the lineup up because you never know who will be playing in Brazil due to injuries and cards.

    The only real problem I have with the game is I don’t like the Altidore/Dempsey pairing. For me, it would be better to drop Altidore for Donovan. Adding more speed would help our counterattack immensely.

    My first choice team would look like this:


    • Dan M says:

      Yeah, or maybe even Deuce gets dropped? O.k., I realize that won’t happe but here is my point. Dempsey is my favorite player, but Jozy is a rising star and I think the lack of chemistry and speed at midfield makes Jozy easier to mark. If we had a faster and more direct offensive midfielder then defenders would have to peel away from Jozy and that would make him more dangerous. That is basically how AZ is organized in Holland. Deuce is creative, gritty and knows where to go, but he is not the ripping downhill kind of midfielder that makes Jozy play at his best. If we could only field 12 players, then there would be room for both! But, as is, I think Jozy needs more speed to be at his best. Would like to get the backstory on why he got yanked. EJ did have a nice run and a good cross.

  49. Cincyred says:

    Gonzo is a calamity. I counted at least 4 poor decisions he made during the 1st half when confronted with either an attacking forward or a requirement of marking space. He seems to be a good tackler of the ball, but his ability to recognize trouble before it happens is very suspect. Biesler seems to have this knack, but is the learning curve too steep to bring him along at CB before WCQ is over? Why, oh Why didn’t JK (Who I support) address his a year ago. Now we are almost out of “trial” dates!!!!

    • Dan M says:

      I think he was very close to where he needed to be. In the long run, “close” doesn’t cut it. Last night, however, I didn’t feel like he was out-gunned, just out of position. With some film and some focus, I think he will figure this out. Give him until Gold Cup and then pile on the negativity.

  50. Dan M says:

    Ives, I think you are a little harsh with your eval scores. Accepting that they lost, how did they do as individuals? I think that you can’t fault a goalie for a rebound goal – with the only exception being where it should have simply been paried out of bounds and such was not the case here. I also think that we can’t judge Jozy when, as usual, he only gets one or two good balls and then he gets yanked at the half. I haven’t seen the possession stats, but until the Belgian’s skill took the wind out of our sails there were fair stretches where the U.S. passed the ball around with accuracy and even a little flair. I have no trouble with Gonzalez learning the ropes, and sincerely believe that some minor adjustments to his approach would have helped prevent some of the mishaps. And, let’s face it, to paraphrase Lando, our team is the best 11 soccer players in the U.S., while their team was the best 11 athletes in Belgium. Except for that little red-head dude, they were imposing physical specimens. That does not make our guys 4.5-5.5’s.

  51. Ed says:

    Jozy has shown he needs two things to be successful on the international stage: 1) competent service (believe the announcers said last night that Donovan assisted in 75% of his goals for the USMNT) and 2) another stretch forward to open up space (Charlie Davies role). Neither of which he has gotten under Klinsmann.

  52. Jeff says:

    After cooling off for a day after last night’s game I think these ratings are pretty fair. Losing to Belgium isn’t anything to be ashamed of, maybe the margin is disappointing, but at least the squad knows where it needs to improve.
    Outside of Jones and Beasley I don’t think anyone really stood out. I do think Kljestan is being a bit unfairly criticized… he hadn’t been paired with Jones before and based on his quotes, he did what was asked of him for the most part. I’m not sure what everyone was expecting out of him and he may not have been great, but I don’t think he did anything to endanger earning a call-up in the near future.

    Thanks for the coverage Ives

  53. alf says:

    Jones is best part of this team. He loves this country and it shows. I hope this doesn’t offend anyone but we need players who love this country. Those will do the deed.

  54. pancholama says:

    I watched only the last 30 minutes or so, on Univision, the Hispanic cable station.
    The Hispanic commentators had generally scathing, and very harsh criticism of the US team as a whole.

    Amongst many things they said: They stated that they thought Klinsmann was still quite a long ways from finding his preferred ideal starting 11. Also that as “we have come to expect” the US attack was without any creativity or teeth, no really incisive player able to unlock a defense and spring openings for the forwards and attacking mids. Too much hesitation and poor touches, too many errant passes (an oft recurring theme for our boys), not to mention the atrocious defending, gaping holes in the back line, giving up three very soft goals to Belgium, who never really seemed to need get it in to 4rth or 5th gear. They said also that the result on the scoreboard put makeup on the ugly face of the US’s dismal showing, showing the US to be a truly mediocre team at best, still not able to realistically aspire to competing with the big boys. Whereas Belgium, yes, has the goods and the team work to perhaps make quite a splash in Brazil at the WC. They commented on the fact that although we are sitting in an OK position in CONCACAF qualifying, and probably will continue to eke out results in CONCACAF where the competition is not as stiff as in Europe, our favorable position has been won only through edgy, hard fought, anxiously won, meager victories, won at hard cost, with out much weight, aplomb or cohesiveness on the field, etc., etc. – they ROASTED the US effort and were clearly disappointed, stating hey had expected more from Klinsmann by now, as far as getting the team together, etc., etc., etc. – same old story.
    Can’t help but wonder what we would look like if Bruce Arena, or someone like Gus Hiddink were at the helm.
    I am suspending judgment for now, and awaiting the actual qualifiers when the rubber really hits the road – to see if this team can start to put it together and really offer something going forward.
    Prayers for the wounded and positive vibrations to those on the mend.
    Hooray for Stuart Holden – welcome back!

  55. HyperboleAside says:

    Your grading for Jozy, and I know it is purely your opinion, but man…..your grade SUCKED. Don’t be one of the legions of ignorant American soccer fans who are hating on Jozy because Klinsi’s system doesn’t fit his style of play…
    Btw…haters are welcome to reply to this.