USMNT 4, Cuba 1: SBI Player Grades

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It didn’t start out in the prettiest of fashions, but the U.S. Men’s National Team eventually overcame a slow start to take control of their game against Cuba and post another convincing victory.

The U.S. team’s 4-1 victory served as a good showcase for several players, including Joe Corona, Kyle Beckerman and second-half substitute Chris Wondolowski.

Not everything was perfect though. There was Brek Shea’s horrible 45 minutes of action, and Edgar Castillo’s first half defensive struggles. We also saw yet another right back struggle to make an impact on the attack, and we saw Herculez Gomez struggle to make an impact.

Here are the SBI USMNT Player Grades for their 4-1 win vs. Cuba:



Couldn’t be blamed for the goal, and wasn’t really that busy beyond making one save.


Very active on the right wing, trying to get forward often, but didn’t provide service from the flank. He did draw some fouls, that set up free kicks, but couldn’t really be called a force, and he wasn’t really tested defensively.


Very clean match for him as his passing was stellar (completing 63 of 65 passes) and his timing very good when it came time to step into challenges. He also did well to get involved on attacking set pieces. Looking like a very viable centerback option for the knockout rounds if Klinsmann decides he doesn’t like the Goodson-Onyewu combo.


Beaten on the Cuba goal, and once again looked nervy at times in possession, but he did complete 60 of 64 passes and stepped up to every challenge in the second half.


Beaten badly on the Cuba goal, and a few other times after that, but was significantly better from the 40th minute on, drawing a penalty and setting up a goal with a pass to Chris Wondolowski. Could be the last time we see him start at left back, at least in this tournament barring an injury, but he continues to show he can contribute to the attack.


Handled his job of midfield engine perfectly, circulating the ball well and covering plenty of ground. Converted 96 of 105 passes, including a perfect cross to set up Wondolowski’s first goal. Safe to say he will be starting for the rest of the tournament.


Turned in a strong game from start to finish, and showed a good all-around game. He was willing to do the dirty work defensively, but also could deliver sharp passes. His goal was a thing of beauty as well and you have to wonder if he will just stay in the starting lineup the rest of the way now, or will Klinsmann look to get him some rest against Costa Rica.


It was a tame game for Holden by his recent lofty standards, but he still did everything asked of him. Kept the ball moving, made good recovery runs and made himself available to teammates. Didn’t have as much of an impact in the attack as recent matches.


The worst half of soccer by a USMNT player in recent memory. He was a turnover machine, combining a bad touch with terrible crosses. It was truly painful to watch, and Klinsmann pulled him at halftime. So why not an even lower grade? Well, it’s not like he drew a red card or scored an own goal.


Another strong game for Donovan, who set up the play that drew his penalty kick goal, and had several dangerous attacking passes.


Really struggled in his 58 minutes of action. Managed one shot, and was beaten up by the Cuban defense, but didn’t really get involved in the match.


Had some good moments and was active around the midfield, including the pass that found Castillo for the assist on Wondolowski’s second goal, and just might lock up a starting role after Shea’s terrible showing.


Came off the bench and scored two goals, with a pair of quality finishes. He looks like a player brimming with confidence, and given Gomez’s struggles, Wondolowski looks like a good bet to start vs. Costa Rica on Tuesday.


Came in and played a solid 32 minutes, completing 43 of 45 passes, taking full advantage of Cuba’s lack of second-half pressure. Has looked good each time he’s played and will make Jurgen Klinsmann lineup decisions very tough in midfield for the Costa Rica match.


What did you think of the grades? Who do you feel was graded too harshly? Who do you feel received too generous a grade? What player, if any, surprised you on Saturday?

Share your thoughts below.

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130 Responses to USMNT 4, Cuba 1: SBI Player Grades

  1. Dennis says:

    I think people were kinda hard on Shea. He tried to do what he does well, use his speed and strength to get by defenders; it did not often work, but when it did, he displayed a rather poor ability to make a reliably good cross (1 of 3 doesn’t cut it). The problem is still that he lacks ideas of what do do when his strength and speed are not enough. He did have some bad touches, but most of those were on awkward balls or balls played hard from short range. He remains a player with promise, and not a terrible player, still his teammates seemed more comfortable with Torres (who also shanked a couple crosses).

    • SanFran415 says:

      ESPN gave him a 2 in their player grades.

      That’s how bad he was.

    • TomM says:

      Brek’s look in the team photo tells the whole story.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Shea was one of seven on crosses, and it wasn’t just a case of bad passes, his touch was also horrible. It’s clear he’s off his game and needs work to get back to his best.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I tend to agree with Wynalda that you can’t make the team here but you can miss it. Corona did finally show up, Wondo played well again, Beckerman had a nice cross, Rimando had some saves……but what I got out of the day was Shea is in serious trouble and few of this backline should be around afterwards. Beltran stunk, Castillo got burned again. Castillo may be redefined as a LM for this tourney but I don’t think he’s much more useful there because the position requires defense also.

      People are putting some focus on Holden’s fitness to last games but that’s hopefully a passing concern. It’d be nice to play 90 now but the issue is can he go 30-90 hard in the fall for qualis, or be ready to do so next year. And can he stay healthy. The important thing right now is he’s not coming off limping, just tired.

      My critique on Wondo is I think he’s playing his way into the rotation but if we go back to 433 where does he fit? He’s scoring central striker goals and that’s now Jozy’s spot. Landon, Dempsey, and still IMO Gomez are better soccer players playing off a central striker. Instead of EJ? He’s scoring goals in or near the 6 and I’m not sure you’d stick him there in a serious game. And at the risk of stating the obvious the past three games have seen not one Hex squad.

      • biff says:

        “Castillo may be redefined as a LM for this tourney but I don’t think he’s much more useful there because the position requires defense also.”

        @The Imperative Voice: Actually, I thought Castillo’s defensive efforts at the midfield and higher level were excellent, he made some great tackles and broke up plays around the mid-field levels that could have been dangerous if not stopped early. I think we will see him starting again Tuesday at either LB or LW paired with Beasley. And, actually, the two could interchange throughout the game, confusing Costa Rica, and making things very interesting on attack.

      • Air Jordanz says:

        …if we go back to 433 where does he fit?

        You realize that players in the Starting XI can get injured or have off days, right? That’s what the bench is for, and that’s where Wondo will be for the 1st team if he continues on this form.

        • I just don’t see it. As a striker he’s behind Altidore, Gomez, and Eddie Johnson. If we only bring 4 forwards to World Cup would you rather have a 30 year old Wondolowski or a 22 year old Boyd , 20 year old Agudelo or really any younger player who’s close to Wondo skillwise sitting on the end of the bench soaking in a World Cup?

          • Josh says:

            I think that argument is pointless. You put your best players in. Don’t try to prepare for the future. If Wondo is the best available, you take him.

          • RP says:

            I think Wondo is challenging to EJ or Gomez’ spot. If the WC is today and we’re down 1 with 20 mins to go I’d put him in.

        • biff says:

          If it were only a question of “sitting on the end of the bench soaking in a World Cup” than would not make sense to send Wondow to Brazil next summer. But that would not be the reason to send him. The reason to send him would be to have a savvy experienced striker available should Jozy get hurt or should we be struggling offensively late in a game and in need of a tying goal of a go-ahead goal in order to survive for the next game. And if that happens, as it almost certainly will, no coach in his right mind would trot out Terrence Boyd or Juan Agudelo on the field ahead of Wondow. The USMNT’s goal in a World Cup 2014 will be to win games, not to groom young players for WC 2018. There will be plenty of time (four years of time) after WC 2014 to give young players opportunities to prepare for WC 2018.

      • quozzel says:

        Yup. Utterly agree.

        Wondo is a luxury guy, a pure poacher, and the problem with him is you’re essentially playing with 10 in 95% of the field. He can’t hold the ball up and he can’t make those runs like Donovan (or even EJ) that unlock a defense.

        Still, if you’ve got a team bunkered and defensive, I do think he’s a guy you can bring in in the last 20 minutes when you absolutely, positively have to have that goal. He is America’s best pure finisher, period, right up there with Chicharito. But still…can America get away with a pure poacher against serious European or South American competition? Dunno if he’d ever see the ball. He does what he does at San Jose because they play on a small pitch and the ‘Quakes just lob the ball up the field to looming monsters like Alan Gordon, which in turn allows Wondo to get his chances in the box. He’s been scoring with the USMNT lately because our competition stinks and again…he’s getting a bunch of service in the box. Against Spain, Brazil, Belgium, and the like…he will get no service in the box. Which again, leaves the USA playing with 10…against teams that were better than us from the get-go.

        Still very concerned about our right backs. Beltran was awful and Parkhurst hasn’t been much better…Parkhurst might get us through the Gold Cup but he won’t get us much further and unless ‘Dolo heals up or Timmy Chandler grows up, we’ve got a real problem there.

      • Lost in Space says:

        Your critique on Wondo is spot on. As it stands right now the USNT has the following at the forward position….
        Jozy & Boyd as Target type strikers.
        Dempsey, Donovan, Gomez, Wondo as Withdrawn strikers
        Agudelo & Johannson as possible options as well.
        Over the next 9 months there is going to be a LOT of competition for the 1 or 2 striker positions not locked up. Gomez, Wondo are currently in pole position for these spots….but neither is going to lock them up for months yet.

        • Dennis says:

          Boyd’s last game for the US was less than impressive, while I would not rule him out on that, it certainly left room for someone else to step up. Connor Casey is doing well in Philly and I think it is fair to question his quickness, but his strength, a nice touch and heading ability are all good and he is capable of winning games. For Brazil, JK will take whoever is available, that he feels can contribute to US wins, not young players who might contribute in 4 years, if that means, like for this Gold Cup, no Target type strikers, so be it.

          • Lost in Space says:

            I agree that at the moment Boyd, Agudelo, and other young strikers are not yet performing to the level needed for a WC spot….IMO they will be pushing the older players (Wondo & Gomez) over the next 6 months. A drop in form by either Wondo or Gomez will open the door for others to claim that 22nd spot. Expecially since we have a number of hybrid players (Mid/Striker) who can play up top….and a very deep midfield pool.

      • A-Rock says:

        I’m not a Wondo, but all the naysaying on this site and others is reaching silly proportions. Its true that Wondo isn’t very fast, and his ball handling is average at best. Its certainly true that he’s not going to create many chances on his own. However, despite all of these very true critiques of his game, he scores a lot of goals. In fact I do believe that he’s scored more goals in a three year span than any other MLS player has in a similar span. That’s a stat that should make people pay attention. And how many times has Wondo broken some fan’s heart because just for a second he got free and stole a point or two from their team in waning moment of a match? A lot. No team is perfect, not even Brazil, Germany, Spain, et al. Would Wondo work against them in the 15th minute? probably not. But in the 70th+? I’d rather take my chances on Wondo than Boyd or Herc at this point.
        In a 4-3-3 Wondo isn’t much use its true, but its also true that we’re not going to play every game in a 4-3-3. You need different players for different roles and yes I do believe that there is a role for Wondo if we have to go direct or start forcing set pieces. Plus Wondo has to be marked and any defender(s) he draws away from the rest is as much an asset as actually scoring goal. Lets give credit where credit is due. If Wondo does well in the last four GC games (if we make it all the way) I say he deserves a shot in a WCQ. If he continues his good form there, then by all means why not take him to Brazil? The World Cup is about winning, not developing. Bring the tools you can use now to make that a reality. And every tool kit needs a hammer 😉

    • Ben says:

      There are generally two reasons players struggle when trying to make the national team 1) they are good players but don’t have the talent to compete at the higher level or 2) they have the talent to be at the USMNT level but are not in top form because of injury or inconsistent club playing time.

      Shea is the second type of player. When shea has been healthy and getting playing time consistently he has impressed with the USMNT and looked like the next big thing. Shae has been hurt and not getting minutes. Is it a huge surprise that he looked rusty? I’m sure kilnsman knows shae has the talent for this level and to help the team he just needs to see him getting back to form (this will largely come from this upcoming club season). An example of the first type of player is beckerman and klestjan. Both are good players but are not quite good enough to make it at this higher level.

      • recovered amishman says:

        The only thing Shea has over Beckerman or Klejstan is that he is younger than they are. They’ve at least proven themselves in the leagues where they play. Shea has proven nothing so far at any level other than he is hugely inconsistent.

  2. Old School says:

    I can’t remember the last time Shea impressed.

    Kid has the tools and ability but doesn’t appear to be very intelligent on the pitch.

    • Paul Miller says:

      It’s been a while since that one game with Mexico.

      • Old School says:

        What date is the match you’re referring to?

        • Nate Dollars says:

          not looking up the date (cause f*** that), but i believe he’s referring to our friendly win at the azteca.

          • Paul Miller says:

            Man, forgot you can’t say @ssist…

            Anyway, no, not the win at Azteca. The last time I thought he looked impressive was that 2011 game against Mexico. He was a second half sub, and seemed to energize things – as well as had a highlight reel @ssist.

            • Old School says:

              Got ya.

              Yea, I sincerely don’t remember the last time. It’s been awhile, even considering time missed due to injury.

        • Paul Miller says:

          That was back in late 2011 I think, when he had that one highlight assist. It was an impressive piece of soccer – actually he impresses for his entire time on the field. He was a second half sub, and seemed to energize things.

          But… I’ve thought all along that we need to see more consistency. Last year, when he was struggling for MLS playing time, that’s not what I wanted to see from a national side player.

    • SJ says:

      He looked like a one-trick pony today. The Cubans sat on his left foot and he had no other “move”. I think the kid has potential, but he can’t rely on a flick around the defender and try to beat him with speed. I hope he doesn’t get relegated do the dark abyss of the Stoke bench this year.

      On the plus side, he did have one decent cross that should have been finished.

  3. markwriter says:

    Shea was bad, but I also think that grade is partially so low because of how talented he is. It was a 3 on a scale of Shea performances. Objectively it was a little higher than that, maybe a 4.5.

    Just based on previous form I have to believe he’ll come around eventually, but boy, this is his chance to make a case for Brazil, and so far it ain’t happening.

    • timmytwoshoezzz says:

      4.5? You probably host one of those little leagues where even the team that goes 1-9 gets a little trophy for their trouble?

      Shea was awful. I hope he never plays again until he starts getting regular minutes (and shows much better form) at his club.

    • justin says:

      Kid’s lacking confidence and has rust. Combine that with trying to press the issue against some good athletes and you have a 3 performance. He needs some low-pressure games this year to get his mojo back…good thing he plays in a highly forgiving league with minimal competition for playing time…ehh

    • David M says:

      How talented he is? I see no special talent there. Some physical ability, maybe, but not much of a talent.

  4. Ives Galarcep says:

    Hahahaha. Thanks for the laugh. And hey, it’s late, lots of names.

  5. RB says:

    When do we get to stop having to say things like, “It didn’t start out in the prettiest of fashions…” I mean now that we seem to have some depth and cohesion and all that…

  6. Lorenzo says:

    Our offense is our best defense. I mean we are lucky to have played a toothless Guatemala, tiny Belize, and weak Cuba who basically opened themselves wide up in the second half instead of playing collectively and smart and keeping. He goal differential down.

    I think even this mostof the other teams in the Gold Cup are going to expose our back line, even Trinidad could with Daniel and Jones. I hope we call in Gonzalez and Bocanegra.

    • Neruda says:

      That goal by Cuba was pathetic. First Castillo gets burned badly and then two US CB’s can’t cut out the cross? I think it’s becoming clear that Gooch isn’t a top US defender anymore.

      • Ben says:

        His pace is now glacial. Too bad, I think Gooch does a lot of good, but he lost the pace he never had.

  7. SBI TroII says:

    Shea’s issues today remind me somewhat of Fernando Torres and his confidence. Obviously they are not the same but its important for him to break out of this and fix whatever is wrong before he heads to Stoke or this may head in a negative direction. Lets hope Klinsmann and his staff can help him out behind closed doors and in practice before he heads back to England.

    Right back was underwheming again in the attacking half but I’ll cut Beltran some slack since he’s relatively new. Parkhurst will probably be back for CR, after resting. Castillo had the opposite problem on the other side. He’s confident on the ball but his defending can be horrid at times. When Torres came in as a sub it allowed Castillo to play higher up and play to his strengths as more of a wing-back. This probably his best spot.

    I’ve been calling for a Torres-Holden partnership in the middle to experiment for Belize or Cuba but it’s probably past that time now that tougher opponents and the knockout stage approaches. We’ll see if Holden-Diskerud won out or if Beckerman with Mix and Stewy splitting time is Klinsmann’s prefered tandem. It seems like Torres is releagted to playing left.

  8. Paul Miller says:

    Anyone catch the CR game with Belize? I didn’t, but just saw it was 1-0, and the only score was an own goal. I guess Belize’s defenders showed up today.

    • David M says:

      Belize actually almost tied it up in the 93rd minute. Costa Rican goalie flopped at a corner, and a Belize player headed the ball into a wide open goal only to see the ball cleared almost off the goal line acrobatically by a Costa Rican defender.

    • Brian S. says:

      Belize almost tied it up in injury time but Costa Rica defender cleared it off the line

    • Chris says:

      I was watching in the stadium for both matches today. Belize really was impressive (and Costa Rica was pretty horrible) and might just have won that game if a couple things had gone differently. For me, Belize’s keeper was the standout in that game – he kept them in it all day.

    • Djep says:

      Was that CR’s first team playing Belize today or did they make a lot of changes to experiment with and/or rest players before the next game??

      • SJ says:

        First team, from what I saw. They didn’t look that good at all. Belize bothered them with a bit of speed up front.

  9. David M says:

    I wouldn’t blame Onyewu for the Cuba goal. He did all he could considering the situation and forced the Cuban player into a tough shot. Sometimes you just have to give the other team credit — even perfect defense can’t always prevent goals.

    • Ramon says:

      He wasn’t marking his man tight enough. That’s totally on him.

      • Edgar Castillo says:

        Hey, what about me, what about getting burned down the flank and giving up a dangerous cross?
        Don’t I at least get most of the blame here?

        • Chris says:

          In Castillo’s defense, Cuba’s #11 was the fastest guy on the pitch by a wide margin. He was burning everyone all day. Cuba’s goal came on the 3rd or 4th time he ran that same route, burning down the wing and then curling down the endline before crossing in front of goal.

        • wandmdave says:

          I’m not going to excuse Castillo’s defending because it was poor, but I see Beasley give up crosses like that fairly regularly. He has just been bailed out by his CB’s every time. When are we going to hold him to the same standards?

    • SanFran415 says:

      He wasn’t marking him. It’s completely on him.

      They teach you from day 1, one eye on the ball and the other on the man. He let the guy run around him from behind and only watched the ball come in. It was way worse than Castillo getting beat.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        the consequences of gooch’s mistake were way worse, but no, the defending wasn’t.

        castillo was the one caught out of position initially, caught up to him in the box, and then *still* got run around by his man to pull an easy cross back.

        i think the difference is, gooch got beat by a smart run (that he should have followed) and a great volley. castillo got beat by a run the guy probably learned when he was 9 years old.

        • wandmdave says:

          I’d have to watch it again but I question that he was out of position. The D was holding a high line and the Cuban winger made a nicely timed run onto a nice through ball with plenty of space in behind to run onto. Castillo adjusted well to catch up to him and prevent a free breakaway. He made his mistake by pulling up for a half second once he caught up which allowed the guy to resume his sprint for the end line. I’m not sure if Castillo thought the guy was cutting in or just misjudged his speed but I wouldn’t call that a positional error. Thats also something Beasley does regularly as well but he has always been lucky enough to get bailed out by the CB’s which Gooch did not do in this case. No one ever jumps on DMB’s case though. Guess its better to be lucky than good.

          • wandmdave says:

            Just to be clear I’m not saying Castillo should play LB for us but I am saying DMB shouldn’t be either. Fabian should be well above both on the depth chart at LB on the A-team.

  10. Brad C says:

    I think Gooch is set up to have a horrible game once the USA faces some better competition…

    And it seems to me that Holden was kind of pinched by the fact the Cubans were playing so compact and the USA had so much possession. I think Holden does best when facing goal and when he’s able to make passes on the break or change in possession…

  11. Ramon says:

    Castillo and Onyewu should get lower grades IMO. Castillo was beaten like a drum quite often. Onyewu is slow footed and slow of mind. They both deserve a 4. I’d rather see Lichaj and Okugo in their place. US got lucky today bc a better team would like Panama or Honduras would have made US pay for mistakes. I hope Wondo keeps scoring. Although I don’t think he belongs on the 23 roster for WC 2014, he’s been an excellent goal scorer. I just think he’s not good at holding the ball w/ back to goal, he doesn’t create opportunities 4 others, and he needs great service to score. We’ll see how well he plays against CR.

    • Neruda says:

      I agree. Onyewu’s gaff is worth a lower grade like a 4.5 or 4. He’s called on as a defender a few times in the games and messes up one of them?

    • Chris says:

      Castillo’s score is salvaged by the fact that his second-half performance was pretty good, when he was consistently attacking down the left flank and crossing balls into the box. Still wasn’t stiff enough in defense, but as Ives said, he was substantially better in the second half.

  12. Old School says:

    Other than not being able to defend, as a defender, providing no threatening service while playing in an advanced role on the wing and having zero ability to be considered a scoring threat, Castillo isn’t all that bad.

    Remind me again: what does he do?

    • RB says:

      Well see above: 5th player graded here. Or watch a replay of the match.

      • Old School says:

        Oh, right. An arbitrary grade. THAT validates him!

        • RB says:

          There is commentary there with it. You don’t seem to be responding to that in your “response” and yet you are asking for the very information that provides…

          • Old School says:

            Oh, the “Could be the last time we see him start at left back”. Yea, I read that…which completely validates what I’ve said.

            As for anyone’s assessment on his ability to attack, I’d ask you to watch his last 5-10 matches with the Nats. I can count on about 2 fingers the amount of impact he’s made from an advanced role.

            I’m not asking for any information, it was a fairly obvious rhetorical question.

    • Eurosnob says:

      I am not fond of Castillo myself and I expect that he may struggle against stronger competition, but he did draw a game tying penalty after a give and go with Donovan and I also thought he assisted on one of the later goals.

    • wandmdave says:

      Dude you weren’t watching the game then. Did you just turn it off at half time? Castillo’s offense was very good on the second half. Jose came in and both pinched in and allowed Castillo to run the sideline and kept possession for more than 2 seconds unlike Shea. As a result Castillo flourished and much of our attacking either started with him or went through him down that side. He drew the penalty with a nice run and I think got an assist if I recall right.

      I can’t defend his defending but come on, what more does the guy have to do on offense.

    • wandmdave says:

      Dude you weren’t watching the game then. Did you just turn it off at half time? Castillo’s offense was very good on the second half. Jose came in and both pinched in and allowed Castillo to run the sideline and kept possession for more than 2 seconds unlike Shea (which is unfortunate, I hope he gets time at Stoke and develops). As a result Castillo flourished and much of our attacking either started with him or went through him down that side. He drew the penalty with a nice run and I think got an assist if I recall right.

      I can’t defend his defending but come on, what more does the guy have to do on offense.

    • wandmdave says:

      Dude you weren’t watching the game then. Did you just turn it off at half time? Castillo’s offense was very good on the second half. Jose came in and both pinched in and allowed Castillo to run the sideline and kept possession for more than 2 seconds unlike Shea. As a result Castillo flourished and much of our attacking either started with him or went through him down that side. He drew the penalty with a nice run and I think got an @ssist if I recall right.

      I can’t defend his defending but come on, what more does the guy have to do on offense.

  13. Lost in Space says:

    So who do people think JK and staff should bring in as part of the re-enforcement come the knockout round? IMO the weakest points are at CB. Gooch has proven that he’s too much of a liability to be considered beyond the group phase. Goodson hasn’t exactly impressed either. Therefore I think JK has to really think about bringing in Boca and possibly Gonzalez or Besler.
    Neither Castillo, Parkhurst or Beltran have impressed either. It’s time to look at other options at wing back….maybe give Evans some more time @ RB (he’s looked better than either Parkhurst or Beltran).

    • Brad C says:

      The players that Klinnsy can add after the group stage have to come from the 35 man preliminary roster. Gonzalez and Besler aren’t on that roster. Bocanegra is but then he hasn’t been playing. Goodson hasn’t had a chance really.

      Zusi is on that list, as are Brad Evans, Brad Davis, Eddie Johnson, Bobby Wood, Will Bruin, and Benny Feilhaber…

      • bryan says:

        DEFENDERS- Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Clarence Goodson, Edgar Castillo, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Parkhurst, Corey Ashe, Tony Beltran, Michael Orozco

      • Zztoppppp says:

        Besler and Gonzalez are on the preliminary roster..

    • Brad C says:

      Besides, the whole point of the Gold Cup is to get a look at players who the coach hasn’t seen yet, replacing them with World Cup Qualifying players wouldn’t help the USMNT depth at all…

      • Chris says:

        Funny, here I was thinking that at least half the point of the Gold Cup was to win it so we have a shot at making the 2017 Confederations Cup…

      • Chris says:

        Funny, here I was thinking that at least half the point of the Gold Cup was to win it so we have a shot at making the 2017 Confederations Cup…

  14. Old Dirty says:

    D Cup 2013! oh yeah!!

  15. Josh says:

    I didn’t get a chance to watch this game, but it makes me sad to hear Gooch is not stepping up. Its tough to see comments railing against him, although i know thats how it goes. I had faint hopes that he would step up and be the force he once was. Man, at the top of his game he was a monster. Never the most sophisticated defender, but truly scary to the opposition.

    Ah nostalgia.. It never gets you anywhere.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      should probably watch a replay. no, gooch wasn’t back to his old self, but he was strong in the same way he’s always been strong: enforcing the back line. yes, he made an error on the goal, but i’m sure he made the same kind of mistakes when he was ‘at the top of his game’.

      and his strengths have always been more suited for bradley-ball, so even if he was back to his old self, i think, in klinsmann’s setup, he would never look as good as he did before. (think john terry trying to play villas-boas’ high line defense.)

    • beachbum says:

      Gooch had a great 1v1 win that had to happen or else, for example. nice play it was, and others. easy to point fingers when goals get scored, but that one really started with weak giveaway up the opposite corner of the field and players too confident pushed too high across the board

      • chris_thebassplayer says:

        I saw that, I was pleasantly surprised. He was isolated 1 v 1 and came through with a big stop. He definitely helped his cause there.

  16. Georg says:

    What no one talking crap about Beckerman? Had great seats for this match and had perhaps his best match on the national team. Two goals got Wondo motm but Beckerman was right there.

    • Chris says:

      Absolutely. I actually think Beckerman should have been MotM. I know at a glance it’s hard to argue with Wondo’s 2 goal performance, but Wondo was only in for the second half when Cuba was already tired, and he created none of his own chances – Wondo’s always been a poacher who can get in dangerous positions but lives and dies by the service he receives. Beckerman was a monster in the midfield today, winning balls, distributing, maintaining possession…oh, and let’s not forget the beautiful cross (that may actually have gone in the net even without Wondo’s deflection) and the couple of chances that Beckerman nearly scored himself.

    • jadoo says:

      as long as he doesnt play in the world cup, i’m totally cool with him on the gold cup

    • Toadvine says:

      He had his best game of the tournament, despite the US being pretty static in front of him in the first half. I have a couple of thoughts on why that might be, but bottom line is that he was very solid. I’ve been critical of his approach before but I have nothing critical to say about him vs. Cuba.

  17. Chris says:

    Ives, how was Beltran “never tested defensively”? Did you miss in the first half when Cuba was attacking inside the US box, and Beltran singlehandedly shut down the attacker’s angle, played it smart, didn’t bite, stuck with him and forced him to give the ball away?

    • Zztoppppp says:

      I thought he had played well on the defensive side. Maybe I need to rematch the game but I didn’t think he did bad at all today.

    • Shaggie96 says:


    • beachbum says:

      looked to me like the Cubans came out, saw the lineup, and said go after Beltran. but he stood up and held his ground for the most part, responded. Parkhurst probably starts next anyway but good for Beltran

  18. Chris says:

    Rating for Gomez is a bit unfair – while it’s true he was getting slammed by the Cuban defenders, he was also getting shafted by the officials every time he came near the ball. I’ve never seen a player get singled out that way by a referee before and just plain picked on every single time he’s even close to being involved in anything.

    • McQ says:

      Agree on Gomez. What exactly did he do wrong or bad? His job is to play his game, if you get fouled you have to count on the refs to do thier jobs – which replay showed on a few occasions they obviously didn’t. It wasn’t like he was diving and whining for a call he was legitimately being pulled down, tripped and pushed over, he made every effort to continue playing. Then he set up Landon for a goal which was disallowed because Landon was slightly offsides (no fault of Gomez). I would give him a 5 he didn’t have a bad game and wasn’t allowed to have a good game. I don’t think Juergen is naiive enough to not realize that he is our only option behind Josy to play the hold up striker role so I don’t think he is in any trouble.

  19. Andrew says:

    Wow, Shea even looked uninterested in the game before kickoff. Just take a look at the headline photo above.

    • Old School says:


    • John says:

      Everyone wants to read so much into those photos. How one player stands a little taller then another. They literally spend about 2 seconds posing for it.

    • recovered amishman says:

      “Whoa…Have you ever looked at the back of your hand. I mean really looked.” ~ B. Shea

  20. EspinDOHla says:

    MLS players > LigaMX players

  21. zingo says:

    atheltically shea is a beast.. he’s bigger stronger and faster than anyone on the pitch; but he has no idea what he’s doing… soo many bad passes..

  22. biff says:

    I really feel sort of sorry for Brek. That is the type of absolutely awful performance that can destroy the confidence of a young player for a long, long time. I think Klinsmann can be blamed for risking it. Shea looked bad in his 29 minutes against Belize, showed no reason why he should be started against Cuba. On the contrary, he showed why he should not start against Cuba.

    On the basis of Klinsmann’s wishy-washy dogma that players need to do well at the club level to earn call-ups to the senior team, neither Shea nor Parkhurst should be in this camp, just like several players (such as Daniel Williams) should not have been in the June WCQ camp. Now Shea is going to go back to Stoke totally devastated and it will be even more difficult for him to get back on track. Shea is at a major crossroads now and he needs to man-up and by golly yee-haw grab the bull by the horns and quit playing so many computer games and clear his head and finally focus 100% on soccer. Like a guy up above says, the team photo says it all about Shea. No focus at all and Klinsmann should have recognized that. Sometimes even the best of intentions can turn out to be bad. And that is how I see Shea’s start yesterday. A real shame.

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      Biff, you took the words right out of my mouth. I felt really bad for him. That performance was practically a cry for help. Mentally he’s light years away from where he should be…he’s not ready to compete at Stoke.

  23. biff says:

    As for Holden, I think he was much more deserving of a start than Shea. But I think there are some similarities and I hope Klinsmann will be careful. The last thing Holden needs now is a horrible performance to destroy his growing confidence. And Holden in my mind yesterday was average against Cuba at best, leaning toward below average. I don’t see any reason at all to rush his development and I will be surprised to see Klinsmann risk starting him again this Gold Cup. But I do think he will be a key substitute.

  24. biff says:

    Feel bad for Herc. There was a total disconnect between the midfield and the attack in the first-half against Cuba and almost no service at all (except for bad passes and bad crosses) and he worked hard to create chances. Not really fair to blame him and until I see him play poorly in a better line-up I still see him as a key member of the team.

  25. John says:

    Does Corona get any marks down for a sloppy back p@ss turnover that starts the Cuba counter attack? I mean since every Shea turnover was the worst in history apparently.

    • Eurosnob says:

      Corona got 7.5 rather than 10, didn’t he? Corona played well, controlling the midfield, and his goal was a huge, possibly game-changing, play after which Cuba could not recover. Shea on the other hand did not look like he belonged and played himself out of the starting line up.

  26. Dawnpatrol says:

    Landon is back. He is the leader of this team. Dempsey is good but I just don’t think he gives 100% all the time. Kind of a crybaby.

  27. Paul says:

    – MOTM: Beckerman. This doesn’t always have to go to a goal scorer. Solid game in playing the full 90 minutes.
    – I did not expect Shea to start. Didn’t think he was ready for 90 minutes. He’s not ready.
    – Surprised Bedoya didn’t get a run. Torres is not a winger. If he doesn’t get time against Costa Rica, he’s fallen on the depth chart.
    – Smart subs by JK. Costa Rica on Tuesday. Rested 3 defenders, split time between Holden and Diskerud. Seems Donovan and Beckerman don’t need to rest.
    – Outside of the goal, Onyewu and Orozco played quite well. Onyewu marked their top striker, and was effective again in aerial battles. Orozco continues to impress. Perhaps these two start against Costa Rica?
    – Who to call up for the knockout round? My first thought: no one. Let this group fight it out. Let’s reconsider after the CR match. Maybe a CB, or a MF for Shea.

  28. Dennis says:

    I think Saturday we saw the Gomez who has had streaks of performing badly interspersed with his streaks of performing well. His history with teams is periods of scoring goals, followed by a scoring drought and often getting transferred (he has been with 11 different teams since 2002 including 2 loan spells). Guys who can score consistently don’t move around unless it is to move to better clubs and that has not been the case for Gomez (or if they are poison in the locker room which is not the case for Gomez).

  29. Josh says:

    Rather than reply to each one individually, these people who downgrade Gooch for one gaff are the same people who tout Omar Gonzalez to play in his spot. Gooch got caught up and was a half second slow to recover on a good run. If Castillo plays any defense, the entire play is different. Gonzalez makes this play every game where he completely stops for a few seconds and goals get scored. Gooch isn’t the best but it’s the same Gonzalez type that everybody stains their pants about to replace him.

    • Myett says:

      You also have to realize the difference in teams Gooch and Omar are going against. Gooch got burned vs. Trinidad and Tobago last year on a goal badly and is having a tough time keeping up with players from Cuba and Belize. Omar is having this one mental lapse a game against more superior teams like Honduras or Costa Rica. Thus, Gooch is a liability throughout entire matches, while Omar its just a one instance per game sort of thing. Keep in mind Omar has only been playing CB for a limited amount of time and was probably going to the Bundesliga if it wasn’t for his injury.

  30. Chris H says:

    I know I’m late too the party, but I’d like to add my two cents. I was at the game and honestly I came away very impressed with Beltran at right back and thought Corona was anonymous besides his goal. He was sloppy in possession, gave away the ball that led to their goal, and barely had a positive touch in the first half. Yes, Brek was a turnover machine, but Joe was invisible on the other flank. I would put Castillo more at fault on the goal than Gooch. He could have cut out the initial ball if he hustled but he was completely lackadaisical as his man blew by him. The look on his face as he ran at 80 percent to get back made me think that he was totally checked out mentally on that play. He definitely redeemed himself later and was a completely different player after drawing the pk. Gomez’ defensive work rate was good, but his movement off the ball was uninspired, predictable, and uncharacteristically lazy. Donovan also in the first half was not making the same type of runs and getting into the midfield spaces he was in the second half. In general, we ceded them the center of the pitch in the first half and tried everything down the wings, putting both brek and Joe on an island with few options besides a back pass. Second half we looked like a different team and played inspired and our movement was so much better, giving wide players multiple options which really opened up the game for us.

  31. Addage says:

    Beckerman–I had a polar opposite reaction. I think he hurts the team more than he helps.

    First. He did nothing wrong. Played the defensive aspects of the game well. However, he is so cautious that he handicaps the offense. In the first half, the ball circled around the defenders ad nauseum. No probing passes into the center. No diagonal balls to the wings. I kept waiting for Beckerman top pass back to goal–that’s really safe.

    It wasn’t until Diskerud came in that the offense started to take off. He was my man of the match. The offense really started to fly when he controlled the ball.

  32. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    The one rating I vehemently disagree with by Ives is the one for Mr. Torres. While he was marginally better than Shea’s awful performance, he still gave away at least 6 easy passes that I saw. No Way he was better than Beltran or Holden who got lower marks.

  33. Stracho says:

    I’m not seeing much upside with Torres, Castillo, or Orozco let’s give some others a chance to step up in those positions

    • Paul says:

      Torres is on the outside looking in. He’s not exceptional outside, and he’s not going to break into the stacked CM role easily. Castillo has some versatility, which helps him, but is also behind the depth chart compared to others.

      I disagree on Orozco. Of the three CBs on the roster, I think he may have more upside potential than Goodson. I think he’s done well the last couple of games, and I’d like to see how he does against stronger competition. We will not be facing the likes of Belize and Cuba for the rest of the GC games.

  34. alf says:

    Referee – 3
    AR 1 – 6
    AR 2 – 4

    Referee lacked the courage to make big decisions (Red card just before halftime, and two others)
    AR 1 did OK but still followed referee’s lead.
    AR 2 Donovan’s should have stood (after review).

  35. Myett says:

    IVES: I’m going to give some credit to Beckermen – he played well. However, that was pretty much expected and versus a team that was bunkered in defensively like Cuba was – it’s not that hard to look very good and put up gaudy stats as a CDM. I think Wondo and Beckermen are great versus these lower ranked countries for two reasons. Like another poster noted, Wondo doesn’t have to hold the ball up (which he struggles with compared to Altidore, Gomez, etc.) – he can essentially make run after run after run in the box. Two, there was really no ball pressure on Beckermen, as a CDM versus a packed in opposing defense you don’t really have the toughest of jobs. I think to say Beckermen is a “lock for starting” is very premature with all due respect. Once he goes up against Panama or Mexico – teams that wont bunker in as much you will see the same old Beckermen. I think Stu and especially Mix are the guys you want out there.

  36. chris_thebassplayer says:

    I was shocked and bummed to see Shea’s performance. With his extended time training with all the smarties on the roster, I was hoping we would see a little improvement in his decision making. But he had zero confidence and looked mentally fried. This isn’t just rust, this is a huge red flag. I felt bad for him, something is not quite right. He’s light years away and heading down the wrong path. I fear he won’t be dressing for Stoke anytime soon.

    Beckerman had a nice game. Stu looked leggy, especially defensively. He was a little too deep and too far away from LD. Overall, the continuity suffered with all the new starters. Torres was a breath of fresh air after Shea. I liked Mix’s game.

    I thought Wondo would do well in the tourney due to the quality of the players supporting him. He has the best support he could possible have…really an ideal collect of players for him to be successful. The team chemistry is very good…LD and Wondo are on the same wavelength, playing happy and loose. Corona is steadily improving. I’m looking forward to seeing how the boys do in the tougher games.

  37. Teddy C says:

    Shea was bad. Could’ve done a lot given how often he had the ball on the side, but did nothing. How many times did he send crosses into the first row?

    Gooch looked slow and old. Not keen on seeing him again this tourney. And really not interested in seeing him again for the USMNT. Sad to say, but I think he’s done.

    Holden didn’t have the game that I would’ve like to see from him. But Diskerud looked good when he came in. So who would I like to see out of those two? Both. Dump Beckerman and put Mix and Holden on together.

  38. Capital K says:

    One of the more interesting lineup quandries potentially for Brasil is Wondo. First step, obviously, is see how he performs in nxt rd of this tourney. If he shines in nxt rd…….? There is no way you keep him as THE up top striker….duh, thats Joze. So………..?

  39. Will we see everyone else against costa rica or are we trying to finish 1st? It’d be a shame to not see Bruin, Jack Mcinerney or Joshua Gatt even touch the pitch.

    Looks lIke Shea should have just gone over to Stoke City instead of playing in the gold cup…..

  40. Toadvine says:

    Ives, I think you rated Diskerud a little too low. Every game so far he has changed the tempo when he’s come in. He’s got that CM knack for drifting open in the layers between lines of the defense, and he’s quick and simple with the ball. It’s not coincidence he’s being targeted for so many horrible fouls. Frankly, I think he’s been the biggest positive surprise of the Gold Cup and think he’s shown that he at least has the ability to be this World Cup’s Benny Feilhaber type, a controlling midfielder with touch who can come on late and change the tempo of the game.

    • Lost in Space says:

      One of the most accurate descriptions for MIXX I’ve seen in a while.
      He’s not likely to be a starter with the “A” Team, but he would be a nice sub to change up the tempo, and give players a breather. Looking forward to his continued involvement with the USNT.