Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
For the fourth time in a row, the U.S. Men’s National Team went to Columbus, Ohio and posted a 2-0 victory against Mexico and the team’s latest triumph is owed to the efforts of several key contributors.
Tim Howard and Landon Donovan were the U.S. team’s top players on Tuesday night, but were far from alone in stepping up to topple Mexico. From front to back, Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad turned in a complete team performance to help book a place at the 2014 World Cup.
Beating Mexico shouldn’t come as a surprise given the history of USA-Mexico in Columbus, but the absence of four key American players made the task that much tougher.
That is where players such as Eddie Johnson, Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones stepped up to help pick up the slack and give the sell-out crowd at Crew Stadium a night to remember.
Here are the SBI USMNT Player Grades for Tuesday’s 2-0 win vs. Mexico:
USA 2, MEXICO 0: SBI USMNT PLAYER GRADES
TIM HOWARD (7.5). Made the vital safes in the first half that kept the U.S. from falling behind early. His leadership in the back, and ability to keep the defense in good positions, played a key part in his fifth shutout of Mexico, the most of any American goalkeeper.
FABIAN JOHNSON (5.5). Given the surprise start at right back and provided a solid presence at the position, even if he did look a bit uncomfortable at times. A hamstring injury forced him out at halftime.
CLARENCE GOODSON (6). Stepped in for suspended Matt Besler and turned in his latest steady effort. His passing was once again a plus, and even though at times his lack of pace showed vulnerability, he avoided any major mistakes.
OMAR GONZALEZ (7). Followed up a strong outing vs. Costa Rica with a stellar effort against Mexico. He was dominant in the air, and also put himself in good positions to cut off Mexican threats. Solidified his standing as a regular starter.
DAMARCUS BEASLEY (6). Rebounded from an awful showing vs. Costa Rica with a better effort on Tuesday. He committed his share of turnovers, but did well to stay in good position and keep Mexico from working the flanks.
JERMAINE JONES (7). He stepped up in Michael Bradley’s absence and provided an imposing force that helped control the middle and did an excellent job of circulating the ball to the wings with some quality passes.
KYLE BECKERMAN (6.5). Did a solid job of breaking up Mexican attacks, while also delivering a good rate of distribution. He completed 46 of 53 passes and stepped up his influence more in the second half as Mexico struggled to find an equalizer.
ALEJANDRO BEDOYA (6.5). Put in the impressive two-way work rate that made him such a force in the Gold Cup. He
CLINT DEMPSEY (5.5). Didn’t have his best match, and committed far too many turnovers, but he still contributed his part to the victory by providing constant movement that kept Mexico’s defense on its toes. He missed the penalty kick at the end, but did play a part in the second U.S. goal.
LANDON DONOVAN (7.5). He will be remembered for his perfect corner kick on Eddie Johnson’s goal, and his perfect back-post run on his own goal, but Donovan’s outstanding overall performance was equally important for the defensive work he put in on the left flank, which helped keep that side of the field neutralized.
EDDIE JOHNSON (6.5). Provided an imposing presence in the penalty area, and his header goal helped the U.S. take complete control of the match.
MICHAEL PARKHURST (6). Played a steady 45 minutes at right back, pressuring Mexican attackers and even getting forward well.
MIX DISKERUD (6). Made an instant impact, setting up the second U.S. goal with a clever move and cross.
GRAHAM ZUSI (NR). Didn’t play enough.