USMNT 1, Panama 0: SBI Player Grades

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CHICAGO– In a Gold Cup Tournament that saw them destroy opponents with multiple-goal barrages, Sunday’s Gold Cup Final proved to be their toughest test of the tournament, and forced them to show off qualities that have been overlooked in this tournament.

Panama did a good job of being disciplined defensively, and forcing the U.S. to work very hard to try and break through. This required patience and quality on the ball to keep possession, especially in the first half, when Panama was still looking dangerous on the counter.

The U.S. team passed the test, and while they didn’t light up the scoreboard, they came together as a team and contained Panama’s attack while controlling play in the middle of the park and cleaning up the few promising sequences the ‘Canaleros’ were able to put together.

The midfield pairing of Kyle Beckerman and Mix Diskerud did an outstanding job of controlling the middle, while U.S. centerbacks Matt Besler and Clarence Goodson stifled Panamanian forwards Blas Perez and Gabriel Torres.

Here is a rundown of how all U.S. players faired in Sunday’s Gold Cup Final victory vs. Panama:


Nick Rimando (6). Had zero saves to make on his least busy match of the Gold Cup, but did once again show excellent distribution skills out of the back.

Michael Parkhurst (6.5).

Kyle Beckerman (7). Had some uncharacteristic turnovers early on, but eventually settled into his usually steady self, winning the battle in the middle and covering an impressive amount of ground. Even contributed to defending in the penalty area on some occasions.

Matt Besler (7). Another top-class outing from the U.S. team’s best centerback. He snuffed out countless Panamanian attacking sequences, and neutralized Blas Perez in a way no team had before in the Gold Cup.

Clarence Goodson (7). Partnered with Besler in shutting down Panama’s forwards and dominating the penalty area. Another quality passing display suddenly makes Goodson look like a good bet to be starting for the U.S. when World Cup qualifying rolls around in September.

DaMarcus Beasley (6.5). Had an important role in trying to contain Panama’s right wing, and he did that well for the most part. Was pretty quiet from an attacking standpoint, but did have one promising cross that Landon Donovan should have done better with.

Joe Corona (5.5). Started the match very well, and was arguably the U.S. team’s best midfielder through the first 30 minutes, but he slowly began to fade and struggled in the second half before being subbed out.

Stuart Holden (NR). Was off to a promising start before suffering a knee injury 19 minutes into the match.

Alejandro Bedoya (7). Turned in his second straight strong performance and suddenly his national team prospects are on the rise. He kept on pumping in service into the penalty area until he finally broke through with his left-footed cross on the game-winning goal.

Eddie Johnson (5). Had a plethora of chances to try and do something with the ball, but never could get through the Panama defense. He was aggressive, and did keep Panama’s defenders busy with his various step-overs and attempts to run at them, but lacked anything truly dangerous, and missed his best chance badly on an attempt directly in front of goal.

Landon Donovan (6.5). Struggled to get involved in the first half as Panama’s defensive wall proved too tough to overcome, but Donovan found the game in the second half and proved to be much more successful at finding gaps to exploit. He didn’t wind up with an assist on Shea’s goal, but his missed attempt to play Bedoya’s pass ultimately forced Panama’s goalkeeper to commit, thus helping set up the goal.

Mix Diskerud (7). Came into the match cold after Holden’s injury and almost immediately settled into the match. He made a conscious effort to contribute defensively and tied for the team lead in defensive recoveries. His passing was very sharp, with four of his five incomplete passes coming in the final third.

Brek Shea (6). Came in an almost immediately made an impact by finishing off Bedoya’s pass for the game winner. Beyond that he was very aggressive in going after Panama’s defense and put in some hopeful passes while also contributing defensively.

Omar Gonzalez (NR). Came on for the last minute (plus stoppage time) and made three important clearances in that short amount of time.


What do you think of these grades? Which player do you feel deserved a higher grade? Who do you think we were too generous with?

Share your thoughts below.

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100 Responses to USMNT 1, Panama 0: SBI Player Grades

  1. richd3668 says:

    Loved MixD after he came in for Holden. He was all over the pitch breaking up passes and his own passing was very good at the same time. I think he went from under the radar to being close to booking a seat on the plane to Brazil.

  2. BFBS says:

    No write-up on Parkhurst?

    • Ken Salazar says:

      Nuff said!

    • SBI TroIl says:

      He’s been that forgettable, even Ives forget to write about him.

      • MiamiAl says:

        I though Parkhurst’s run into the box was essential to pulling that defender away allowing Bedoya to slot that ball towards Donovan. That run might have been the play of the game IMHO.

    • REVS says:

      Guy just keeps getting it down, simply and effectively, at every level, yet no one gives him any respect. Easy to blame Ives for his non-man crush, because after all, he has to appeal to all you idiots… Ultimately, I place the blame on rap music.

      • Vic says:

        I agree 100%.

        We are lucky that JK sees more than the uninformed poster on these boards that has made Mike the whipping boy of each game. For all you Negative Nancy’s, news flash, Mike will be in Brazil. Wondo won’t

      • Joamiq says:

        … rap music?

    • TomG says:

      Best game of the tournament for MP. He shut down dangerous Quintero and got forward much better than he did early in the tournament. He missed a few chances to overlap but his run on the goal was essential to open up space for Bedoya.

      • Vic says:

        Hard to overlap when every time he looked up, Donovan or somebody else was already parked in the overlap space

  3. kmac014 says:

    Although that miss probably drops eddie johnson a lot I didn’t really think he was that bad the rest of the night. Thought he had some great hold-up play and was able to draw some fouls. Was very active all over the field

    MOTM was easily Diskerud in my opinion

    • KGB says:

      Agreed. I feel terrible for Holden, and hope that he sees a speedy recovery, but subbming Mix in may have been the best thing for the US team yesterday. Very very strong outing tonight and an overall solid tournament.

    • RobsterCraw says:

      The problem with EJ was that there was too much hold-up to his hold-up play. He certainly did a good job of keeping the ball when it came to him, but he dwelt on the ball, often killing off good plays. He was also way too eager to take the ball wide and dribble from there. He only made a few weak attempts to make runs behind the defense.

      Panama defended resolutely, but they were not completely bunkered-in; there were many times where the Panamanian back line moved up the pitch, but EJ made precious little effort to exploit any space behind them.

      • Luke says:

        Exactly my thoughts, he’s not a quick enough thinker in buildup like Herc or Wondo. His one advantage is speed and all he could do with that was run balls down to the corner flag so he could lose it again.

        • Chef says:

          Quick enough thinker in buildup!?!? That absolutely wreaks. Did you not see his goal from build up in the Honduras match? Made a brilliant dummy run, spun off received a great pass from Donovan, blew by the defenders and hit a well placed shot in to the back of the net. You seriously need to check your paradigm about who is/isn’t a “quick thinker.” Your logo isn’t a good enough mask.

          I suppose Wondo, Goodson, Zusi, Mix, Holden, Beckerman, Besler, Parkhurst, Bradley, Cameron, Evans, Davis and Guzan are real “cerebral” players.

          • divers suck says:

            Sometimes folks need to give credit where it’s due. EJ and Donovan both missed easy chances against a planned smothering defense from Panama designed to not let them beat them. Bedoya, Mix, Goodsen were all the best on the pitch….

            • DCUffda! says:

              Donovan missed a header he needed to turn 145degrees to put on frame. EJohnson missed a sitter – badly. not apples to apples , friend.
              EJohnson had a very good Gold Cup, but he looked dead tired at the end of the match, and was begging for Wondo to come in and spell him before his mishit.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        “too much hold-up to his hold-up play.”

        Well said.

      • +1 you must have heard me yelling ‘do something’ when EJ started his step over, step over, step over, step over (and over and over) play.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Like the bleached hair, Eddie is simply pulling out all the greatest moves of 2001.

          • JoshW says:

            what a difference a miss makes. where were you guys after the Honduras game? EJ beat his man down the sideline on the build up that led to the goal and unsettled Panama’s defense with a dangerous ball into the box, which may explain why Bedoya’s seemingly innocuous pass made it all the way to the back post. EJ’s run down the left is arguably the reason why Shea is in the box in the first place. Jeez.

          • JoshW says:

            what a difference a miss makes. where were you guys after the Honduras game? EJ beat his man down the sideline on the build up that led to the goal and unsettled Panama’s defense with a dangerous ball into the box, which may explain why Bedoya’s seemingly innocuous pass made it all the way to the back post. EJ’s run down the left is the reason why Shea is in the box in the first place.

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              JoshW: I guess your point is that because EJ had several great games, he cannot also have erred or done poorly in some regard?

              • JoshW says:

                My point is that he played the same as he did against Honduras, the only difference being that he missed the chance against Panama. Solid performance otherwise, including the build up to the only goal of the game. Arguably had a better game than Donovan. Tough for both of them to shine, given the field, the opponent and how they chose to play.

              • Joamiq says:

                He absolutely did not play the same as he did against Honduras. Against Honduras he played through the middle and made himself a target in the area. Yesterday he kept drifting over to the wing, getting in Corona’s way, failing to attack or to make himself a target. All he did was backpass. He was the prime culprit for our failure to generate anything in the first half. EJ has a habit of doing this when he starts to gain some confidence. He’s unreliable.

  4. Jurgen Klinnsmann says:

    Clarence Goodson’s grade is super important hence the larger font.

    • Bob Saget says:

      Wow! A post from Jurgs! Thanks for commenting, and we’re so glad you’ve been freed from CONCACAF prison.

    • Bonghits says:

      A “7” is a bit too generous. While Goodson was solid and brought a lot of energy to shoring up the defense, his succession of long balls from the backline contributed nothing to the attack.

      If we expect to perform reasonably well next summer in Brazil, we’ll need good distribution out of the back.

      I like the guy and hope to see him established with Besler as the starting tandem, but I’d say he was a “6” at best.

      • BFBS says:

        But he completely shut down arguably the best player in the tournament not on USMNT – Gabriel Torres. To boot, he moved up to deliver the pass to Bedoya, so could be credited with an NHL assist.

  5. Jim says:

    Sorry but Brek’s contribution on the goal was merely to take the goal away from Bedoya. As shown on the replay the ball was already going in. Credit for being there though. A solid ‘5’ only.

    • Chris says:

      I don’t know about that. Brek kicking it in made the goal a sure thing. If he didn’t attack it like that, yeah the ball was still heading towards goal, but there would have been a possibility for a defender to clear. Brek made it certain.

      • louisz says:

        there was no defender that close to Shea. Took the goal from Bedoya, although I’m not so sure LD didn’t touch it but we’ll take it.

    • Jesse D says:

      If you are going to take away Brek’s credit for scoring the goal, because it was too easy. Then give him credit for the EJ goal that should have been. That was also and easy goal and Brek set that one up.

  6. Doug says:

    Giving Eddie Johnson a 5 is a bit too generous. Each time he had a chance with the ball he spent time doing step-overs and dribbling his way into trouble rather than pressing and making something – anything – happen. As a result, the Panamanian defense was able to rush back as many players behind the ball as possible – ruining the small window of opportunity to take a chance. The most frustrating aspect was that he did this nearly every time he received the ball – he was missing the point. We don’t need him to hold the ball when we have 70% of the possession. His ultimate misstep was blowing the open chance in front of goal. I think both E.J. and Herc are at risk of being left off of the World Cup roster in favor of a more stacked midfield (where we have significant depth) and a younger striker corps if/when Boyd, McInerney, Agudelo, Johannsson step up over the next year. I would bet that one of E.J. and Herc will be on the roster – but not both.

    How can Bedoya be left off of the World Cup roster at this point?

    • Lost in Space says:

      I agree in part that EJ and Herc (as well as Wondo) are on the fringe of the 23 for the WC.
      There are a number of players who are making strong cases for themselves for those attacking spots, and for a change we have significant depth across all positions, and players who are flexable enough to play at a high level in multiple spots.
      The players/depth at the Wide & Withdrawn forward/Wing Midfielder is growing:
      Dempsey, Donovan, EJ, Gomez, Corona, Bedoya, Johannson, Agudelo, Wood, Shea
      Players playing the central Striker role (Target) is a little thinner, but still good:
      Jozy, Boyd, EJ, Gomez, Agudelo, Wondo
      I think at the moment EJ makes the team (so long as he keeps his form), but Gomez & Wondo are going to miss the WC.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      How can Bedoya be left off the WC roster at this point?…..We’re still 10 months from making a decision on the roster and Bedoya is absolutely on the fringes. A lot can happen in that time. He certainly helped his chances though

      I disagree about EJ for the most part. He was ineffective in this game. That was easy to see. However, his directness and versatility still have him as first attacking option off the bench. His ability to play anywhere across the front line is what will get him his ticket to Brazil. I actually think he will fare better in that role than as a starter. We won’t be pinning teams back in the World Cup and his energy and ability on the counter will be useful if looking for a goal.

      Lets not overreact to the young strikers in the pool. JackMac is clearly a ways away from the 23. Agudelo was left out of the Gold Cup for a reason. I’m sure Johannsson is talented, but lets see him play before we start mentioning him in the World Cup team. Like I said before, the WC roster selection is 10 months away and a lot can happen before then. We clearly have more options than ever before though. It will be very tough for Klinsmann to select the correct players for his roster.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      “How can Bedoya be left off of the World Cup roster at this point?”

      Because while he was good, he also missed some excellent opportunities to take a shot or make a difficult and daring pass.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      “How can Bedoya be left off of the World Cup roster at this point?”

      Because while he was good, he also missed some excellent opportunities to take a shot or make a difficult and daring p@ss.

  7. Travis in Miami says:

    Looking forward to Ives’ 2014 WC roster prediction for August after this group played so well.

    • Smacking says:

      Yes! JK accomplished exactly what he needed to do during the Gold Cup. He elevated the competition for the best 23 and collected the trophy. Assuming we qualify, it’s going to be a fun countdown to Brazil. Some quality players are going to be left off the plane and that’s, unfortunately, a good thing.

  8. David says:

    I’ll never be a huge Beckerman fan, but he threw his body in the way of two or three shots during the last quarter hour and really stuffed a lot of Panama’s attempts to work through the middle. That was as good a destroyer’s game as anyone could have wanted.

    I thought EJ got tired the last 30 minutes. His effort on that great cross by Shea was lacking and that’s why it went horribly wrong.

    Omar Gonzalez did dominate in the air when he came in with three towering defensive headers.

    Bedoya isn’t a lock for Brazil as some people might think. It could be a numbers game with Zusi, Donovan, and Corona at least able to play the right midfield spot.

    Overall, this team steamrolled the tournament. Only Costa Rica really pushed them. Panama looked like they wanted to play for penalties with the whole team parked at the 18. At least the Ticos tried to play a bit more. Klinsmann coached this Gold Cup perfectly, six straight wins, all convincing.

    Amid my own euphoria at claiming the title, I really was sad to see Holden come off. I’ve seen the replay numerous times from a bunch of angles and it just doesn’t look good. I hope the MRI is negative, but having had serious knee trouble myself, it really looked bad for him. He’s a good kid and could really use positive news on the injury front.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      Strongly agree about the ‘numbers game’ with regards to the 23. We not only have more depth/options than ever before, but we also have a very versatile team. Seems like at least 1/2 the team can play multiple positions well. Versatility is so important in a WC roster. Klinsmann has some very tough decisions to make regarding the last 3/4 roster spots next summer.

  9. Luke says:

    EJ’s grade should be a 3/10 tops. His “hold up” play killed off many an attacking move and he was barely trying to make an effort on balls that didn’t drop perfectly to his feet. People in my section were chanting for Wondo to come on. Plus his attitude was poor all game and he just looked so disinterested. Anyone else see Damarcus have to knock him down a notch after he lost his cool with a panama defender? Until he learns to play with the team and gets his attitude in check, I don’t think he deserves another call up.

    • chris says:

      Hahaha attitude problem? Its painfully obvious you never played the game

      • MidWest Ref says:

        That is such a bullsh#t response. I am so sick of posters who say “you never played the game.” Neither did Mourinho and he seems to know the game pretty well. I know plenty of players who don’t understand the technical laws of the game. I would bet that there are plenty of athletes who play who don’t really understand the strategic intracacies either. However, it was clear that EJ was frustrated. I agree that he didn’t need to start an off the ball incident with the Panamanians, and good for Beasley in being a good captain and telling him off.

        • chris says:

          haha Mourinho played close to 100 professional games, how are you going to say he never played? I am sick of people who come on here and post uniformed comments because they have never experienced the game first hand. Its the same reason nobody appreciated Michael Bradleys game. They dont notice the simple things Bradley is able to do that makes the other players jobs so much easier. Its the same reason people wanted to drop Jozy when he wasnt scoring instead of seeing the space he created with his hold up play and the defenders he draws. Its the same people that come on here to bash Shea while he continues to produce when it matters. There is a reason a premier league team bought him while he was injured and a reason he impressed Blanc and many scouts.

          EJ did what any player would do. He was hacked and let the defender know about it. He was protecting himself in a game where the referee wasnt. His hold up play wasnt as effective because the movement of the ball was stagnant.

          • Fredo says:

            Jozy, Jr., Brek, Timmay & GAM have all been on my hate list at one time or another. I reserve the right to add more as qualifying continues. Freedom!

    • biff says:

      I like Eddie Johnson, but he was bad yesterday, with the absolute low point missing a wide open shot two yards in front of the goal. It’s a shame that Wondow did not get to see the field. I suppose he would have, had Holden not been injured, using the first substitution.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      1 bad game after being one of our better players for the last 9 months….

      When will we learn to stop overreacting to one good/bad performance. EJ is firmly in the 23 at this point. Obviously, there is plenty more soccer to be played, but lets not throw him off the bus for 1 bad game.

      • Travis in Miami says:

        But we are talking about EJ. He has been one of the biggest punching bags for a big segment of USMNT “fans”. Habits are hard to break for some people.

        EJ h@ters gonna pop up whenever there’s an opportunity. Same with LD and MB h@ters – as absolutely ridiculous as THAT is,

      • Hawk says:


      • Travis says:

        +1 Good point, we need to learn this.

      • Joamiq says:

        We’ve seen this movie before. EJ works his way back into the team, scores some goals against lesser opposition, gains confidence, and then totally changes his style of play and becomes ineffective. It’s not one bad game; it’s the pattern of his career.

        • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

          He hasn’t just scored some goals against lesser opposition as you so dismissively say. He has had complete performances made smart passes, smart runs, worked defensively, ran at defenders, and yes, even scored goals. He has done everything asked of him and more. Like I said, he has been one of our best players over the last 9 months. He isn’t going to be dropped from the roster because of this game.

        • Len says:

          Respectfully disagree on how “bad” EJ was. He controlled various long balls and hard passes very well in this particular game and I don’t think that was a particular feature of his in the past. Recognize that on past performances those balls would have been lost to the other team for counters or their possession. He looks better muscled and I think that’s a part of it. Never been a fan but he has shown well recently. Too bad he missed a sitter.

  10. Josh D says:

    “Brek Shea (6). Came in an almost immediately made an impact by finishing off Bedoya’s pass for the game winner.”

    Disagree there Ives. Getting in the game and scoring the winner is making a big impact, not almost. Though it could just be a typo.

    I thought Johnson played poorly and it’s that inconsistency which will see him at home come June. Big deal you do step overs at the corner flag. Learn to do something with it.

    Thought Mix deserved to start and he showed why. I hope Holden’s injury wasn’t as bad as feared, but Mix proved he’s capable of stepping up.

    Great tournament by everyone involved. Although the competition was as fierce, the team dominated like I’ve never seen a US team do, and so consistently. The “A” team has struggled against worse.

  11. Josh D says:

    “Brek Shea (6). Came in an almost immediately made an impact by finishing off Bedoya’s p@ss for the game winner.” – got moderated for using a quote with the naughty word p@ss. The comments are the best part of this site. Hope they get fixed soon.

    Disagree there Ives. Getting in the game and scoring the winner is making a big impact, not almost. Though it could just be a typo.

    I thought Johnson played poorly and it’s that inconsistency which will see him at home come June. Big deal you do step overs at the corner flag. Learn to do something with it.

    Thought Mix deserved to start and he showed why. I hope Holden’s injury wasn’t as bad as feared, but Mix proved he’s capable of stepping up.

    Great tournament by everyone involved. Although the competition was as fierce, the team dominated like I’ve never seen a US team do, and so consistently. The “A” team has struggled against worse.

    • Matt says:

      Your reading comprehension needs work.

    • Raymon says:

      Josh, I think “almost” modifies “immediately”, such that EJ scoring a goal in his first touch after 18 minutes in the quarterfinal game is an “immediate” impact, whilst Shrek Brea scoring after about 2-3 minutes is “almost immediately”. Thats how I parse the verbiage from Ives.

    • SBI TroII says:

      I think you misread that sentence. I thought the last part of Shea’s comment was very conservative from Ives. Shea put in more than some “hopeful passes”. EJ missed frankly a sitter from Shea and I think think Donovan mishit a header sent in by Shea.

  12. Garth says:

    Yeah, EJ did do a lot of useless standing with the ball, but he also won lots of headers and lots of balls flighted into the Panamanian third. I’ve watched too many US forwards have a poor first touch and lose the ball right back into the opponent’s attack to not appreciate EJs good work as a target forward.

  13. biff says:

    Mix Diskerud was absolutely incredible and no doubt in my mind the Man of the Match. The guy is fearless out there, and his defense was outstanding and he was all over the field all the time. I admit, I did not get it when the Mix fanboys were crying for him to be called up all the time the past year but I get it now. I hope to heck a better team in a better league swoops in and takes him and would almost bet that it will happen this summer.

  14. Paul says:

    – With Goodson’s current form, he may have pushed Orozco out of the CB picture for the time being, If he keeps up the form during MLS, he may get the start for the August friendly.
    – Parkhurst was steady and consistent the entire tournament. He’s not flashy, or a big threat to go forward, but was very effective in the back. If he keeps up the form in Germany, I could see him getting on the WCQ team. Orozco might still get an opportunity there, with the status of Cherundolo uncertain.
    – The Panama CBs were the core of their team, and were as solid as we’ll see in CONCAFAF. EJ was not going to get a lot of space or free opportunities up top, not the way he was marked. I do think he has improved and matured a lot in comparison to past years, and expect that improvement to continue.
    – I think Bedoya helped himself a lot in this tournament. He integrated well in JK’s system, which shows good knowledge of tactics, and is a bigger threat for scoring than other wing MFs in the pool. I would think he is only going to improve after moving to this new club in the Netherlands. I think he has a good chance to make the bench for the August friendly.
    – Both Mixx and Holden are competing for the same roster spot, and it’s clear now Mixx will get the opportunity in August and the WCQs with Holden’s unfortunate injury. I give Mixx credit for taking advantage of the opportunity, and stepping up defensively during the tournament. He’s become a more complete two-way player.
    – Beckerman unquestionably deserves a future call-up, but is competing against some stiff competition. He’s behind Bradley and Jones, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cameron positioned more in the CDM role going forward, which will impact Beckerman’s future chances.

    Can we give JK high marks again for a commendable coaching job, even from the stands? His player selection, tactics and game plan were well executed, even if he wasn’t on the bench. But overall, he added depth and competition at nearly every position in the Nat pool. Well done!

    • biff says:

      @Paul: I thought Klinsmann did a great job through the Gold Cup–until the final yesterday. I think it was a mistake to start Corona at left wing and to start Holden. We were stuggling offensively in the first half. The team had been playing great with Torres on left wing. Either Bedoya or Corona could have played right wing, but I would have given the nod to corona. I don’t feel quite as strongly about the decision to start Eddie Johnson, but I would have gone with Wondow.

      In any case, a happy ending. This was a great showing from the USMNT B-team. Truly inspirational and no doubt the A-team players are feeling a bit nervous these days about holding onto their spots on the roster.

      • Mr_A says:

        Definitely some room for subjective disagreement. But when it turns into a win, you kind of have to give the benefit of any doubts to the coach, and give him some credit. If we had to play the game twice, I’d like to see what Wondo would’ve done, perhaps subbing EJ later, but I was OK with Johnson’s performance. And I’m with JK on Bedoya>Corona. But it’s tough to criticize a win.

      • Fredo says:

        Completely agree about Corona, EJ, Torres & Holden. And, completely agree about result.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      -CB picture looks like Besler, Goodson, Gonzalez, Orozco……Cameron is the wild card of that group. He could start at CB, RB or CM at this point or just be a jack of all trades off the bench. Orozco’s future on the team depends on how Klinsmann wants to use Cameron I think.

      -I agree Parkhurst was steady but still wouldn’t be entirely comfortable with him starting next summer. Same story with Evans. They both did a solid job when called upon but seem like limited players to me. RB is starting to worry me.

      -Spot on with EJ. He has improved himself a great deal and is clearly a much more mature player. Off day for him vs Panama but I believe he will be a contributor next summer.

      -Bedoya/Mixx/Holden/Beckerman comments. agreed

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Parkhurst or Evans at RB just don’t seem suitable against tougher competition. Evans is probably the better option of the two simply because he provides excellent service from the wing (“the best defense is a strong offense” and all that). Still, we need a stronger RB to avoid pinning our RM with extra defensive concerns.

        So, is the back line:

        FabJo – Besler – Goodson – Omar
        FabJo – Besler – Goodson/Omar – Cameron
        FabJo – Goodson/Omar – Cameron – Besler

        Or am I forgetting someone?

        • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

          We will never see Omar or Besler at RB. Just not going to happen nor should it.

          Cherundolo and Chandler are the most talented options but have huge question marks to go with them

          Cameron, Parkhurst and Evans are serviceable options on the right but don’t inspire much confidence there.

          I’ve heard Fabian Johnson’s name tossed around a few times as a RB option keeping Beasley at LB. Worth looking in to.


          • Lost in Space says:

            I think ultimately that the RB spot will fall to Chandler or Fabian. Will depend on how the 1st half of the Bundesliga season plays out.
            Wild cards are going to be Dolo & Lichaj. Dolo coming off an injury will have to show that he can regain his fitness and get time on the field with his club. Lichaj is with a new club in the championship…if he gets a starting role with his club and shows consistency he can make a case for himself. If both fail to impress by Dec. we’ll have Evans & Parkhurst fighting it out for that backup role.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            I get no Omar at RB, but why not Besler? Is that based on him being too valuable in the center or not capable of RB?

            Why do you worry about Cameron at RB?

            FabJo would be great at RB, but Beasley really is not great at LB. He’s good, but not great.

            My question @ssumes that we need a strong alternative to Cherundolo—whether he regains form or not.

            I doubt that Lichaj will get much or any time under Klinnsman. I’d like to see it, but I don’t think we will.

            And, in response to Lost in Space, I don’t have any confidence in Chandler’s commitment to playing for the US. If I were betting, I’d expect Yedlin to be more likely that either Lichaj or Chandler.

            Putting my Jurgen “crazy like a fox” Klinnsman hat on, I’d like to test Brek Shea at LB with FabJo at RB.

            • louisz says:

              Yeldin is an exciting attacking fullback, unfortunately, sometimes he forgets to defend. Would he be ready for 2014? is going to be tough.

        • Joamiq says:

          Our best hope is this:

          FJ — Besler — JAB — Cameron

          Tis but a hope for now though.

  15. biff says:

    I have no idea how Brek Shea can look so awful some of the time but somehow has the ability to come in and change the game, like he did twice against Mexico and then in the Gold Cup against Costa Rica and Panama. The guy is carrying a lucky spell or something. I still do not want to see him as a starter, but Shea might be just what we need for emergencies as a late substitution next summer in Brazil. I hope the guy can get his act together and win a starting spot at Stoke and quit doing stupid stuff like posing for a photo in the locker room holding a pig’s head.

    • peterprinciple says:

      I think Shea is the preferred choice at LM for Klinnsman, but he has yet to fully earn it. And yes I am talking about the “A” squad. When right, Shea has a wicked set of skills/athleticism, but he is wrong as often as he is right.
      FabJo LB, Shea LM would be extreemely athletic- extra “e” intended.

  16. Naugles says:

    When Eddie Johnson does his “step over move”, you really can read the paper and have a cup of coffee, wait for him to finish, then position yourself so he passes backwards.

    So happy he has resurrected his career but yesterday it looked like the “old Eddie Johnson” that some him floundering around Europe and moved out of the USMNT picture. The “no move” move, the missed sitter, the easy falling (not diving), the attempted head but, etc. I also liked how after Brek stepped in, protecting him from the big guy (forgot name), EJ decided to get tough with a guy half his size.

    Don’t read the clippings EJ. Keep working!

    • peterprinciple says:

      He’s the #2 striker IMO. Jozy-lite. I am OK with him in any contest, even if I would rather have Jozy in there.

  17. Rich says:

    Announced attendance of 57,970 surprised me. All my Mexican friends sold their tickets. Trying to figure out who all went. I still heard classless fans screaming “Puto” on every US goal kick. They must think that’s funny, but IMO it’s a poor example for the children in attendance and poor sportsmanship. When I was in Mexico City I was impressed by the number of families that would go to the park on Sundays to see the sons and fathers play their games. It was a family outing. Didn’t hear anyone screaming bad words. Anyway, I expected more empty seats at Soldier Field. Who did attend?

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      Did you happen to attend any Liga MX games while in Mexico? I’ve been to a few down there it was the entire stadium yelling i on every kick. Part of their soccer culture I guess. Not something we should pick up on though.
      I’m glad to see that ‘you suck a$$hole’ is dying out’

  18. Frank says:

    Is anyone forgetting that Bradley and cameron are still the best combo,
    Even tho jones is still first choice

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      No one is forgetting that Bradley and Cameron played excellently together…what was it, once? or was it twice?

      At any rate, it’s premature to *conclude* that Bradley+Cameron is better than Brandley+Jones.

      The rest of the comments here I think are merely pointing out that even though Bradley/Jones/Cameron’Diskerud are first choice CM, there has to be depth to the roster (especially if Cameron is played on the back line).

      • Naugles says:

        Agree with KGE.

        What is most exciting coming out of the GC -as many have mentioned- is the depth the USMNT now has established. (thanks JK and staff)

        As far as Brazil next year, we could see real formation and player moves to suit the competition: unheard of before. Substitutions could be a real, exciting thing, rather than a thing of dread.

        Ideally, I would like to see the “team” attitude and mutual respect grow to where there is considered a starting XV, rather than just a starting XI.

        • peterprinciple says:

          Jones is an enforcer, too bad he won’t just play the damn #6 role and allow Bradley to run the field. Cameron will though, too bad he doesn’t play with Jones’s edge. All three>than Mix.

  19. rainORshine says:

    not much to draw from this game or this entire B-rated gold cup. sadly, panama decided not to play soccer in the final, withholding what would have been US’s one shot at a decent game against a respectable opponent.

    final produced exactly 1 shot on goal – FOR BOTH TEAMS

    over the entire camp id say bedoya slipped ahead of castillo as the emergency outside mid – 23rd spot on roster

    if diskerud can either produce some offense in norway or (better yet) move from norway, he may get a closer look

    D: beasley, besler, brooks, chandler, dolo, gonzo, goodson, fab johnson
    CM: bradley, edu, jones, kljestan
    A: altidore, bedoya, boyd, dempsey, donovan, johansson, zusi
    ?: cameron (currently starting RB with stoke)

    • Hawk says:

      I think there were atcually 3 shots, but point well taken.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      I think we can draw a lot from this tournament. For example when looking at players like Edu, Sasha, Bedoya and Boyd, there are options that don’t give the team a lot of drop off and could actually be debated are better than the selections in your squad.

      (Not to mention this is assuming that Brooks and Johansson fit in well).

    • Joamiq says:

      Sorry, this tournament taught us a ton about these players.

    • peterprinciple says:

      I swear to God Kleijstan better not be on this team while Brek Shea watches a bunch of right footed players try to lump up the left side.

  20. Hawk says:


    any thought to doing a grade per roster player for the entire tournament? Maybe that’s something that’s just not done but it would be interesting.

  21. Dave80 says:

    Naugles made two good posts on EJ. He can be so brilliant – Honduras, El Salvador. But he can be frustrating, too, watching his work rate appear to go down, seeing him pullthings like that head butt stunt. Do that against Italy in the WC and you’re gone along with your whole team.

    I like talent but not when it is combined with stupidity.

  22. Dave80 says:

    That said, what a Cup! Thoroughly enjoyed it and looking forward to the next game.

    To Bosnia and beyond!

  23. AlexH says:

    I think that the CB’s played well but the gaudy high ratings reflect more on the 70% possession stat that the USA had rather than their play. Also I was a bit concerned that the coaches saw the need to put in Gonzo when Panama just started bombing it in for the last couple of minutes. Our CB should not have needed the help.