Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
EAST HARTFORD, Conn.– On a night when the offense was always going to struggle to have success, and the match was always going to come down to one or two special plays, the U.S. Men’s National Team rode a handful of standout performances to their 1-0 win vs. Costa Rica on Tuesday night.
U.S. goalkeeper Sean Johnson turned in an outstanding night in goal, making a match-save stop just before Joe Corona, Landon Donovan and Brek Shea combined for a brilliant sequence on Shea’s game-winning goal.
There were several quality individual USMNT performances on Tuesday night, from those of centerbacks Michael Orozco and Clarence Goodson, and midfielder Stuart Holden, who played 90 minutes for the first time since 2010.
How did the rest of the U.S. players fare vs. Costa Rica? Here are SBI’s USMNT Player Grades for the Match:
USMNT PLAYER GRADES vs. COSTA RICA
SEAN JOHNSON (7.5). Made the key saves, including a crucial one before the U.S. goal, and commanded his penalty area excellently.
MICHAEL PARKHURST (6). Extremely active on the flank, and was kept busy by Costa Rica’s Kenny Cunningham. Wasn’t very effective on the overlap, but handled his defensive duties well.
MICHAEL OROZCO (7). A second straight outstanding match for Orozco, who is playing better than he ever has before for the U.S. He finished with the best passing stats on the team (completing 70 of 76 passes).
CLARENCE GOODSON (7). Was a force in the back defensively, and moved the ball well (completing 64 of 69 passes). A second straight strong outing vs. Costa Rica, which makes you wonder if we might see him get the nod come September.
DAMARCUS BEASLEY (5.5). Had his hands full with Costa Rica’s Rodney Wallace, which limited his impact on the attack. Handled the defensive role well, and shook off a pretty nasty knock to the head to the head.
STUART HOLDEN (6.5). Commanded the midfield in his first 90-minute match since 2010. Moved well all over the field to provide a consistent passing outlet for teammates and held up well amid Costa Rica’s defensive pressure.
MIX DISKERUD (6). Started very well but slowly faded and succumbed to Costa Rica’s constant pressing. Still a solid display in a starting role and very much has established himself as a viable starting option.
JOSE TORRES (6). Another player who enjoyed a strong first half followed by a less impressive second half, Torres was arguably the U.S. team’s best player in the first half. Pulled off some quality individual moves, and nearly scored a goal on a perfectly-struck free kick that produced an outstanding save from Costa Rica’s Patrick Pemberton.
ALEJANDRO BEDOYA (5.5). Didn’t stand out in his first start of the tournament, though he could have had an assist on his best pass of the match if Chris Wondolowski had finished. Seems unlikely to get another start this tournament.
CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI (4.5). Struggled to get involved, and skied his best chance of the match on a perfect pass from Bedoya. Costa Rica’s overloading defense left him little room to operate.
LANDON DONOVAN (6.5). Didn’t have the most active day, but once again he stepped it up in the second half of a Gold Cup match, delivering the vital assist on Brek Shea’s winner. Impressive finish for him after three straight Gold Cup starts.
JOE CORONA (6). Came off the bench to make an instant impact, with his intelligent pass to find Donovan a vital moment in the build-up leading to Shea’s winner.
BREK SHEA (6.5). Came on late and scored the winning goal, making a great run to put himself in position for the chance, and finishing it off. Great rebound after an awful match vs. Cuba.
HERCULEZ GOMEZ (NR). Never did get involved in his cameo.
What do you think of these grades? Which grades do you consider too generous? Who do you feel deserved a better grade?
Share your thoughts below.