USMNT 2, Mexico 0: SBI Player Grades

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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:


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.

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195 Responses to USMNT 2, Mexico 0: SBI Player Grades

  1. Rik says:

    Glad there’s a player rating that finally acknowledged that, while not his best game by a long shot, Clint had a major part in the win. Fully in form or not, he was constantly moving, fighting for balls, making smart decisions once we took the lead. His first touch and speed took a hit with about 30 mins left, but he never stopped working.

    If you watch the celebration after the 2nd half goal, he’s visibly holding/leading on his teammates to catch a breather.

    And yes, he shouldn’t take the PKs.

  2. Gino says:

    How about some Mexican ratings? And what about the ref? The ref was atrocious. The only thing he did consistently was alone clear fouls to go on punished. One example occured late in the second half when Donovan pulled one of the Mexicans down in the US third as he started to build up steam. I thought for sure Donovan was going to get a yellow. Not even a free kick for the Mexicans. I kept waiting for the frustration to boil over on both sides. Surprisingly, it never did. I

  3. hartley says:

    Bedoya did okay. But he didn’t get to the attacking end line enough, nor did he send in any crosses. DMB had to stay put and should be rated higher since he couldn’t get forward and be dangerous being behind Donovan [who doesn’t play defense anymore]. Parkhurst was a steadying force when he came on and should be rated higher. Yeah, he lacks speed but he makes up for that with some pretty good positioning. Sorry, but Dempsey was crap. And he should never take a PK again.

    • Paul says:

      Lol what. LD doesn’t play defense? That’s what makes him even better on the wing. He pushes forward at smart times and is always willing to track down a counter attack. Come on, man.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      If you think Donovan didn’t play defense in that game then I’d suggest you watch the game again.

    • Bac says:

      Have to agree Parkhurst should have been ranked higher, thought he played well.. better than Fabian
      But have to disagree on several other points:
      – Bedoya did get to the end line and worked hard to get a great cross in that EJ should have gotten to
      – LD did cover, he was all over the place
      – Deuce wasn’t crap, but he shouldn’t be taking penalties any more

    • Tony in Quakleand says:

      Donovan didn’t play defense… talk about a swing and a miss. That really is the “just wow” comment of the day….

      • Waximus says:

        I dunno.. The Eddie Johnson being more essential than Bradley or Donovan comment was pretty wow-worthy.

        Not to mention Biff’s die-hard refusal to give Bradley his props… so many to choose from. Donovan not playing defense ranks well on the list though.

  4. Bac says:

    Every article in the last week has said how we were without 4 starters, Bradley due to injury & Jozy Besler & Cameron due to yellow cards…
    Forgotten in all this so quickly has been we were actually without FIVE starters, don’t discount Brad Evans who has surprised everyone and been a solid & steady performer

  5. Eric says:

    Dear Clint,

    Please let Landon start taking all the penalties again.

    Every USMNT fan

  6. Waterlewd says:

    Player grades are only interesting an hour after the game ends or the next morning.

  7. biff says:

    So true, that Donovan’s defense against Mexico was outstanding. The guy is capable of being an good defensive midfilder and probably, as some have been saying, cold be a respectable full back. I think these two key lessons were leaned in the Mexico match.

    1. This team can attack quite well, thank you, without Fabian Johnson as a midfielder. As I’ve said all along, he is a strong left back and plays there for his club and that is where he should be playing for the USMNT. We have better attackers than Fabian. It should be noted that Fabian was weak at right back and time to get the position settled. As long as Cameron is starting at RB for Stoke he should be the USMNT’s number 1 right back and time to bring in Lichaj for an evaluation in October.

    2. Yes, Mikey Bradley is a good midfielder and a key part of this team. But no, he is not essential. Nobody on the team is. It’s called depth and the USMNT can play quite well without MB. We are loaded with good midfielders. So the next time MB misses a game fans don’t need to be wringing their hands and weeping that the sky is falling. His teammates certainly weren’t. They went out and got the job done in excellent style.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      re: michael bradley

      – But no, he is not essential. (against an awful mexican team)
      – It’s called depth and the USMNT can play quite well without MB. (against an awful mexican team)
      – So the next time MB misses a game (against an awful mexican team) fans don’t need to be wringing their hands and weeping that the sky is falling.
      – His teammates certainly weren’t. They went out and got the job done in excellent style. (against an awful mexican team)

      just want to make sure we’re not taking too much from this game that was played by a team in terrible form, who clearly stopped even trying after the first goal was scored. we certainly looked a lot better than the costa rica game, but we were also playing a much worse team.

    • Advocate says:

      Bradley and Donovan are essential. They are essential because they are world-class or near world-class players who are significantly better than anyone we have to replace them. They are guys who can change a game; that’s not true of any of the other “good midfielders” with which we are loaded. Sure, we can field a team without them. Sure, that team (without Bradley and Donovan) can play “quite well.” And sure, a team without Bradley and Donovan will still win or at least be competitive against most of the teams we encounter. But when we’re in Brazil, facing the top teams in the world, those two guys give us a decent chance to move beyond the group stage. Without them we are more likely than not three and out.

      • Big Red says:

        I hate to say this but the only player that has been essential the last two years has been Eddie Johnson. Without his goals last year, we may not have qualified for the hex. Without his goals in the Gold Cup, we may not have won it. And without his goal against Mexico, we may not have won the game this week either.

        Without Bradley and Donovan, I don’t think there is that dramatic of a difference.

        • Vic says:

          Donovan assisted the first goal against Mexico and scored the second. Donovan also had many goals and assists in the Gold Cup. Not sure how you came to the conclusion that Donovan didn’t effect these games.

      • biff says:

        Donovan is an exceptional player and probably could have become world-class, or close to it, had he played Europe. And the USMNT is better with him than without him and I really want to see Donovan in Brazil next summer. But the team did fine without him for a long time and if for some reason he is unable to play in the future, then there are some talented younger guys chomping at the bit to get on the field and fill the vacuum and I bet at least one of them would rise to the occasion.

        • Advocate says:

          I agree that there are some talented younger guys who can step up and play competently if Donovan’s not available. But none of them are his equal and, considering the records he is still setting, none are likely ever to be. Nor do I understand why you think it is enough that team “did fine” without him. I don’t think we want the team to do fine; I want it to do the best it possibly can with the talent available. And as you correctly say, “the USMNT is better with him than without him.” Far better, I think.

  8. Bedazzle says:

    Put Bacon in for PKs

  9. Eurosnob says:

    Nice ratings, but Howard deserves a higher grade than 7.5. He made several critical saves and posted a shutout behind a makeshift defensive line in a decisive WCQ game against our biggest rivals, who were desperate to win.

  10. Weston John says:

    These player ratings look right to me. Some sites let a player’s past performance and reputation influence the ratings too much (I’m talking to you,, but I think these are accurate.

    I have to admit that I was very critical of Howard after the CR game and I loved to see him rebound and have a fantastic game.

    • biff says:

      Well, you brought it up. In my opinion ratings generally most accurately reflect the game performances in question. Usually seem fair and not trying to push a personal agenda.

      • Weston John says:

        My qualms with’s grades for this game were as follows:

        They gave Deuce a 7.5 versus SBI giving him a 5.5 HUGE difference. This IMHO is a perfect example of reputation/past performance influencing the rating by

        I also thought under-rated Beodya who they gave a 5.5 (vs. SBI’s 6.5) and LD who they gave a 6.5 (vs. SBI’s 7.5).

        • Hogatroge says:

          Funny how that is. Bedoya contributed heavily to the defensive effort and created several good chances that the forwards flubbed, but he gets a 5.5.

          Dempsey was largely absent, flopped a half dozen times instead of powering through (until the very end of the game), mistimed his slide on the 2nd goal (but lucked out because Donovan was there) and gets a 7.5.

          Seems legit! Bedoya should have taken the chance to return to MLS before re-signing in Sweden.

        • biff says:

          Holy Cow. I had not looked at any other ratings for this game. Agreed, a 7.5 for Clint from MLS is not in line with how I saw Clint’s performance. The 5.5 above is more how I would see it. In the past, I always felt Seltzer’s ratings were among the most objective and, I guess, more in line with how I saw the games. I will say, other than Clint’s and Tim Howard’s inflated rating, I think the other Seltzer’s ratings are about right.

  11. TheFrenchOne says:

    Fabian made me really nervous at RB. except for a couple of forays forward, he just looked painfully awkward during this game. He needs to go back to owning the LB position now that we have a very solid group of wide players to choose from

  12. PD says:

    well, now we just have to get everyone healthy and keep them on form, right? 😉

    other than that, I think we still have a few things on the “to-do” list

    1. Backline cohesion:
    We could do a lot worse than have a back four of Beasely, Gonzalez, Besler and Cherundolo (health and form permitting), with Castillo, Goodson, Cameron, and Parkhurst/Evans providing cover and depth. While it’s important to cap tie John Brooks and to give Guzan match time, your back line and starting keeper need match minutes to gel. Orozco is on the bubble.

    I am worried about speed though. It could be that Besler has it and we just didn’t see it against CR because he was trying to not get a second card, but the clear lack of speed in the center has me worried.

    2: Increased Jones/Bradley understanding:
    I think the argument that these guys are the go to starters is pretty much settled by this point. They need more time to build their understanding.

    3: Increased minutes with Donovan, Altidore, and Dempsey:
    If the WC started tomorrow, these three plus Bradley and Jones will start. I think that depending on your strategy, Zusi, Bedoya, EJ, Beckerman, or Johansson become the final player, but barring injury, these three need to gain a real good understanding of each other (maybe loans to Sunderland?)

    4: keep the bubble players sharp and ready.
    There are great players who aren’t “on the plane” right now that need to have a bag packed. What’s good is that at every position we have a good player who will miss out. That depth serves the team well if those players stay hungry and keep working to get better and push the guys who are ahead of them. Shea, Kljestan, Torres, Boyd, Gomez, Orozco, Brooks, could all get the call.

    • Dave80 says:

      Seems if you are worried about speed in the back you might think of bringing Brooks on more quickly. However, Besler seems to show the solid, experienced play you need in a CB, and Gonzo has shown significant improvement over the spring follies.

      Not so sure about Castillo back there.

      Would like to see Beasley moved forward. If that errant touch hadn’t been saved by Timmy, what grade would you have put on him? And letting a header get between him and the post when he has his hand on the post on that corner kick in CR seems a bit shaky to me.

      • PD says:

        He’s not Philip Lahm, that’s true, but based on who else we have in terms of PROVEN players, not just fantasy-based ideas on the flavor of the month, I think that DmB offers what the system wants a pacey, experienced player that is comfortable roving forward and is comfy on the left.

        Now if you want him and Fabian Johnson to switch, that’s something that I think is worth thinking about.

  13. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Both Beckerman and Jones are 5.5, “Chaco” early exit made their jobs easier.

    Beasley was 5.5. Not great but did OK.

    Dempsey deserve a “5”, just average performance.

    Mix needs to be higher like 6.5.

    • JJ says:

      Uhh no jermaine and kyles grades are spot on period. And through all the grades I agree with all except Timmy’s. reason being he didn’t do anything spectacular, he did what any keeper of the international level should do. He was very solid and steady.

      • Scott e Dio93 says:

        USNT had trouble controlling mexico, especially first half. Howard had only two amazing saves and the rest shots were simple weak shots by mexico, an average keeper would do those saves. USNT was never bomber-ed by mexico, I agree with you.

    • downintexas says:

      Maybe they took him out cause Jones and Beckerman was dominating him.

    • panchomiguelmoralesdeconejo says:

      For sure removing Chaco was a surprise tactic…he was their engine at the time and most every potential opportunity came through him. A strange move that may have cost Tena the full-time job with Mexico. …Maybe.

      • Scott e Dio93 says:

        Chaco sub was odd, Jones and Beckerman never had Chaco totally controlled. While Goodson and Gonzalez had Chicharito and Peralta in their pockets, reason why I don’t agree with Howard being MVP, USNT had mexico’s attack- force controlled.

  14. Brain Guy says:

    FJ at LB >> FJ at RB

    Beasley at LM > Beasley at LB

  15. David M says:

    Can’t argue with much of the ratings, but I think Howard and Dempsey deserve to be rated a bit higher. Howard did everything he had to, not a single mistake. Dempsey was actually, I thought, more active than usual and put quite a bit of pressure on the defense.

    One thing that puzzles me: if Goodson is our third CB in the pecking order, why wasn’t he in the original 23?

    • Big Chil says:

      Perhaps by agreement with Goodson’s club, San Jose. When Goodson joined SJE, they had to wait a whole month for him while he was in the Gold Cup.

      Klinsmann had John Anthony Brooks available in Costa Rica, and may have been expecting to have Besler – Gonzo with Orozco as backup v. Mexico, and when Besler got carded, and Brooks returned to his club, he pulled the trigger on his agreement with SJE, “in emergency, break glass, pull out the Goodson action figure.”

    • Marcroi says:

      Agree on higher rating for Howard, What did he do wrong to not get an 8 or a 9? Carlisle had him at 8; Sciaretta had him at 7.5 and Ramsey at gave him 4 out of 5 stars.

  16. kevin says:

    Have never been the biggest Dempsey fan. As a captain, he should have let Donovan resume responsibilities of taking the PKs. I wonder if his Ego of wanting the US goal scoring record got in the way of doing whats best for the team? Or did he miss on purpose? Who knows…

    but with that said, I would LOVE to see a stat that shows:
    a) % of times Dempsey gives the ball away compared to how many times he receives it
    b) % of times the ball is given away within 1 or 2 passes after he keeps he does in fact possession

    Dempsey coming back to the MLS I think will show how badly he needs to be surrounded by good players and why he has done well in Europe.

    I hope I’m proven wrong going into a World Cup Year.

    • dan says:

      I’m so sick of this argument of Dempsey missing the penalty on purpose, no professional would ever do that. He is simply and never has been a terrific penalty taker, Donovan has always been the main man for this and I think Dempsey wanted to prove himself a bit as captain to take the penalty. I don’t wrong him for doing that but after the misses from the spot now I hope he realizes Landon is the better penalty taker.

      He had an awful game and he hasn’t look as good as he was before in the past 2 games. I hope he can turn it around since we need everyone tip top in Brazil

      • EspinDOHla says:

        I also think there is no way he purposely missed the PK to maintain the 2-0 scoreline. The guy has never scored against Mexico, ever, and what USMNT player wouldn’t want to score against our arch-rivals??

        I think it’s as simple as that. I don’t think it’s about trying to prove himself over Donovan or anything like that. I think the dude just wanted to get a tally against El Tri…something he has yet to do in his international career.

        • CJinOC says:

          I think he took the penalty as a way to build his confidence and attempt to regain form. At this point, his teammates and coach probably recognize that it’s been off lately and they’re trying to get him involved.

          Sometimes, a scored penalty can get a player going. Although, on the other hand, a missed one can be devastating.

        • Jason says:

          He missed it on purpose. As the team came back out on to the field to celebrate after the Honduras draw with Panama he danced to the supporters singing how he missed on purpose. Anybody who knows how important the tradition of this scoreline is appreciates his devotion to the fans.

      • Barrett says:

        I think it’s truly funny the way no one ever conceives of the coach deciding who takes penalties. There is a very good reason that JK would want to have someone other than LD take PKs – depth. Who takes them if LD is not on the field?

    • James says:

      Yea, all those superstars at Fulham really made Dempsey what he is today…..

    • hi says:

      careful u can get banned for dissing dempsey. thought it was a fair grade for him this time around. sure he moved around but hardly got touches and when he did he had stinkers. also I said Donovan>>Dempsey and somehow im a eurosnob. even Dempsey said he was going to have more freedom when he signed with the sounders, idk if he just lazy or what because he seems unfit still after many weeks.

    • Dave80 says:

      I hope Deuce hears and takes to heart some strong words from JK in re:

      1. Go back to Seattle and force yourself into two-a-days and wind sprints. We need you match fit for 121 minutes.
      2. In between your two-a-days, 100 shots from the spot for lunch. You’re not taking PKs for the USMNT until the next penalty shoot-out.
      3. Every day except match days until June 2014. Grind it out, Captain.

    • THE REAL NAPSTER says:

      careful u can get banned for dissing dempsey. thought it was a fair grade for him this time around. sure he moved around but hardly got touches and when he did he had stinkers. also I said Donovan>>Dempsey and somehow im a eurosnob. even Dempsey said he was going to have more freedom when he signed with the sounders, idk if he just lazy or what because he seems unfit still after many weeks.

    • Creige says:

      So Dempsey’s success was because of other players? Then I guess all of those other players should have lead their team in scoring and often in assists year after year since they were surrounded by the same players. Truth is Seattle players are very close to the talent he was surrounded by at Fulham. It’s like so many other players that come over here from Europe and suddenly look average (or worse), it’s because the MLS has the talent to compete.

      • SoundersOff says:

        Yeah, no.

        Fulham would beat Seattle by 5 or 6 in a real match. No team in MLS would compete against an actual EPL squad. It’s generally understood that the best MLS team–the LA Galaxy is about equal to a decent championship side.

        To put it in financial perspective–

        The average MLS player makes about 140-150k a year.
        The average EPL player makes 220K a month.

      • solles says:

        “Truth is Seattle players are very close to the talent he was surrounded by at Fulham”

        pffft no theyre not

      • HyperboleAside says:

        Maybe when Fredy Montero was there…

    • Yusef says:

      Hmm. No American has scored as many important goals as Dempsey. To note a few:
      Against Liverpool to keep Fulham up in his first year in the Prem, that ill chip against Juventus to get Fulham in the Europa Final, at Manu last season, at home to Manu last season, against England in friendlies and the World Cup, against Spain and Brazil in the Confederations Cup, etc. Oh yeah, he is the only American to score in both of the last two World Cups too. No one dominates every game, but c’mon.

      • Dave80 says:

        Exactly why I’d like to see him get up to full speed (and practice his PKs).

        He’s awesome when 100%, and I don’t see him there these last two WCQs. He’s got to be 100% for Brasil.

      • solles says:

        “No American has scored as many important goals as Dempsey.”

        c’ept all the players that have, starting with Donovan, Caligiuri, Wynalda, Murray, McBride …. but dont let reality get in the way of some good old fashioned excessive hyperbole.

  17. A.S. says:

    Neither Dempsey nor Fabian Johnson should be over 5. I’ll give Johnson the benefit of the doubt due to his injury and playing out of position. But Dempsey had no excuse. He had maybe one decent play the entire game. The rest of thete he spent trying todribble through Mexican defenders and falling down. And then whining for a call when it clearly was not justified.

  18. Chicago Josh says:

    I re-watched the 2nd half and removing the fantastic atmosphere created by AO, and the thrill of qualifying for the WC against our arch-rival, it was simply bad soccer that was difficult to watch. The US did not by any means play well, and had trouble stringing more than a few passes together. Mexico was sheit.

    …and I need the ooh-ing and ah-ing of Tim Howard’s performance to stop. The saves he made are saves he’s supposed to make. They were very good saves, but not spectacular.

    • Left Wing says:

      Agreed.Awesome atmosphere.
      Nothing dangerous created by either side.
      Standard EPL saves by Howard. And yes its a luxury that we have high quality EPL keepers.

    • Ooh Klinsi you shouldn't have says:

      Thank you. Its not taking anything away from the accomplishment, but honestly it wasnt a GREAT performance

    • joshw says:

      I think Howard could have chest-trapped Gio’s shot, and yet he kicked his legs up so dramatically he nearly landed on his head. Every goalie knows how to make an easy save look spectacular.

  19. SoundersOff says:

    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.

    That is entirely contradictory. How did he keep them on their toes if they just took the ball away from him. By that logic, I’ll suit up and run myself into the ground in front of their backline. They’ll take the ball every time, but hey I ran around and kept them on their toes.

    • SoundersOff says:

      VIa MLS Soccer:

      Clint Dempsey only completed 15 passes total to Bedoya, Mix, Johnson, and Donovan combined.

      • CJinOC says:

        Dude, deep breath. I know he’s lacking form at the club level right now, and I, for one, think that the missed penalty at the end is a sign in the lack of mental sharpness from which he currently suffers (the poorly taken penalty against CR is another sign). That being said, Deuce is still Deuce, and good movement from him on and off the ball will keep a defense on its toes. I don’t care how bad of form he is in, any defense would still feel the need to keep him marked. That said, the comment is far from contradictory.

  20. Del Griffin says:

    7 for Jones? Turnovers and back passes get you a 7. Hmmm.

    • SoundersOff says:


      Jones had only 2 more turnovers than Donovan and 17 more completed passes.

      • Del Griffin says:

        Stop looking at your stats and watch the game. He had two BAD turnovers in the first ten minutes that led to extremely good chances for Mexico. Most of his passes were sideways or backwards.

        He did nothing to orchestrate the attack, buildups died when he got the ball. The second half they started routing the attacks up the wings and actually got something going. he had a chance to be Bradley with the man himself injured and failed badly.

        He did look good defending, and all of his detractors would be happy if he could stay back and play the role Beckerman played in this game. But he doesn’t he runs up the field taking bad chances, loses the ball and basically kills any chance of an attack.

      • ForeverOrange says:

        I thought overall Jones was pretty solid. However, I think he has a tendency to make really bad decisions, on and off the ball.

        At the very end of the half, he made a rash decision to slide in to win the ball inside of Mexico’s half. The missed tackle meant that Mexico was running at our defense (i.e. when they’re probably the most dangerous) and forced Bedoya to pull down Gimenez and receive a yellow. It also forced Timmy into making a save from the resulting free kick and conceded a corner in stoppage time of a 0-0 first half. He needed to just sit back and finish the half. No need to dive in like that…ever.

        You’d expect a play of Jones’ experience to know better in those situations. Decisions like that in a World Cup can get you knocked out (just ask Ricardo Clark). He seems like a liability from time to time.

        • Chris H says:

          ForeverOrange has it right, massive improvement for Jones overall, but still 2 huge plays where he blew it by being reckless and could have easily cost the USA a goal. That slide was purely a last ditch effort from a tired man. Could be understood if it were in our half near the 30 yard line, but it was past midfield!

    • panchomiguelmoralesdeconejo says:

      well, yeah a 7 when your job is to control the mid-field and you do that. Chicharito had 18 touches in the game – primarily due to the job that Beckerman and Jones did in the midfield. Add to that his cover for FJ (who did not rate above a 5 in my book) at RB, I’m thinking a 7 is deserved.

    • Left Wing says:

      I’m more on your side Del Griffin than the others. The mids might have circulated the ball, but they didn’t create. And the most dangerous chances came when they both wandered or bit too hard in the MF leaving it wide open.

      The US really created very little that was dangerous. And nothing through the middle was dangerous. The Goals came on a set piece and a moment of danger created by a MF the way its supposed to be done. But it wasn’t from Jones or Beckerman.

      Bedoya is under-rated here. He was dangerous and was everywhere. He’s doesn’t get on the end of plays well enough yet, but he sure is a menace all over the place. Good teams need someone like that.

  21. paulwp says:

    23 currently headed to Brazil (with current injuries, and form)

    This is definitely NOT the 23 most talented, or my 23 favorite. It’s 23 players that leave us 3 deep at every position.
    G (8): Howard, Guzan, Rimando
    D (8): Besler, Gonzales, Goodson, Beasley, Evans, Cameron, Castillo, Parkhurst
    M (7): Bradley, F Johnson, Jones, Bedoya, Diskerud, Zusi, Beckerman
    F (5): Donovan, Altidore, Dempsey, E Johnson, Johansson

    Evans, Gonzo, Besler, F Johnson
    —–Bradley, Jones——-
    Zusi, Dempsey, Donovan

    Notes: Yes, I listed F Johnson as a Mid… caus JK does. Zusi over Bedoya because he provides great service to a target Striker like Altidore. However, this switches based on apponent and players available.

    • Dinho says:

      Except for Orozco over Castillo, I have the exact same 23.

      My lineup looks quite different though:

      LD———Bradley—–Disk——- Bedoya

      • THomas says:

        Is that what you’d like? Or what you think JK will do?? I’m assuming it’s what you’d like because there’s no way he keeps Jones out of a starting lineup or starting Guzan over Howard.

        And if we’re keeping track, there’s no way Jones is out of my lineup either. That said, my lineup would be relatively similar…

        LD———Bradley—–Jones——- Bedoya

        • Dinho says:

          Yes, what I’d like. I doubt JK drops Jones or Howard. I should have been more clear. Sorry.

          I can live with Bradley/Jones, I just love the idea of Bradley/Disk, and Jones is so inconsistent. Just a personal preference, I guess.

          By the same token, Beasley scares me defensively. Love the guy, but scares me.

    • Chris H says:

      nicely done and pretty accurate at the moment. I do think you will see 4 outside backs and 4 CBs with tickets to the WC. I don’t count Cameron as a CB at the moment, so that would make him and Beasley and Evans as 3 of the 4, with either Cherundolo, Lichaj, Parkhurst, or Castillo getting a plane ticket. It would also mean adding Brooks to the CBs to have 4.

    • Dinho says:

      Scratch that, I have two differences to your 23 – Brooks over Goodson and Orozco-Fiscal over Castillo.

      But otherwise, we are on the same page.

    • Pete says:

      Who is Gonzales and where the crap is Wondo???

    • Mike R says:

      Could do without Zusi too slow and one dimensional Bedoya is a better all around choice

  22. AC says:

    With the forward pool looking pretty deep, I’d go with Fabian Johnson at left back and Donovan as the left mid. Donovan can always move up top in dire needed moments. Hopefully Cherundolo, Chandler, Lichaj, Parkhurst, or somebody can fix that right back spot. Really missing the steady presence of Dolo. Always the quiet professional who is a legend at Hannover.

    • AC says:

      Beasley should still make the squad, but he’s pretty fragile when it comes to bigger, stronger opponents, so I’d hesitate to start him in the World Cup. He’s definitely perfect for CONCACAF though.

      • Advocate says:

        If he makes the squad to Brazil, it will be Beasley’s 4th World Cup for the US (2002, 2006, 2010 and (?) 2014). He holds the record for most goals scored by an American in the UEFA Champion’s league. And you think he can’t play with the big boys? Yes, he gets knocked down. But he has always popped right up. He may be small, as soccer players go, but he’s anything but fragile.

        • TheFrenchOne says:

          he gets knocked down, but he gets up again…

        • AC says:

          Absolutely misread the point. He’ll definitely make the squad but should play more in the midfield instead of defense. He held his own in CONCACAF as the left defender, but as you can see, his technical skill was never the greatest. His asset is speed. In these games, I’ve noticed the ball way out in front of him on his first touch. Higher ranked competition would pounce on that in a heartbeat. I’m rooting for him to make the team, as I’ve always been a Beasley supporter, and his renaissance in Mexico has been incredible. Also, his time in Europe was as a midfielder, not a defender. Never said he couldn’t play with higher ranked competition. He probably just shouldn’t as a defender.

          • Advocate says:

            I agree, although I do think you underestimate Beasley’s ability against “higher ranked competition.” I particularly remember him playing for PSV Eindhoven against AC Milan in the Champion’s league and running rings around Jaap Stam, then one of the best defenders in Europe. And he seems to have regained the form he had then. For me, Beasley’s the best left wing on the roster. And I really don’t understand why JK doesn’t play him there with FJ at left back. In any event, I do seem to have misread your original point. Sorry.

      • AC says:

        And of course I forgot to mention Evans who has been a pleasant surprise at the right back position. When everyone is healthy, it can be a good selection problem, if the stars will finally align.

    • Paul says:

      I couldn’t agree more on Cherundolo. The consummate professional.
      I’m sure he’s aware this is his last run at a World Cup. He has several months of work ahead of him to prove he is ready, and then hope for a selection in a friendly next spring. It seems Chandler is astray and Parkhurst needs club minutes. If Lichaj continues the good form, it may be time to pull him in at a future friendly.

      • MiamiAl says:

        Cherundolo is still one of our best players. If he can get back, our defense will look much much better. Fabian slots at LB, Cherundolo at right back and Besler and Gonzalez in the middle. That backline would be solid against any team at World Cup. Cherundolo’s spot at RB is still open and waiting for him!!!

    • Mike R says:

      Yes, also missing Gooch, Boca, JOB, Wynalda
      But their time is passed as has Cherundolos.
      He is too old and slow for the right back since we will be seeing wingers running at Mach 5 from here on out.

      Have to look forward not back

      • AC says:

        Why not continued with a mix of veterans and the continued forwardness? Remember, Italy won the World Cup with an older veteran squad. For Cherundolo to not only be successful, but to captain Hannover in the Bundesliga is an absolute testament. Remember, soccer players in this day and age are playing at high levels well into their 30s now. Why can’t Cherundolo be one? Obviously we’ll have to wait and see, but I don’t see why he can’t return to form.

      • Dennis says:

        Cherundolo is not slow, at least not up to the time of his knee woes. If he can recover physically, he is still the best RB the US has. The problem is his knee has now had multiple surgeries and kept him out of action for months. Will he recover in time to his full capacity is the question.

      • Dennis says:

        Dempsey did not play particularly well. He looked a bit lost out there at times and he while he took the responsibility of trying to make things happen, too often that ended up in him losing possession. I am sure he knows he needs to do better. I suspect that a few weeks of games without the distractions of moving, making commercials and travel for USMNT duty his performances will improve. It is a bit tough to know how things are progressing based on MLS games since the Sounders seem to be able to perform fairly well even without Evans, EJ and Deuce. We will learn more in October.

  23. Chris H says:

    In my opinion the ratings are pretty accurate of the game. Fabian made me nervous at RB although I think with a few weeks training pre-world cup he could do fine, Jones proved me wrong for doubting him (except two moments where he went missing in the first half), and Landy made a huge case for starting at LM.

    I’m a huge fan but II struggle with Clint’s decisions. I had a guy on my college basketball team who liked to be too fancy. You knew when he was looking at you that you would never actually get the ball from him because he ALWAYS tried the no look pass. He made great plays for sure, but also led the team in turnovers and costly mistakes. Clint has tons of skill but I feel he tries to pull out something fancy every time he touches the ball, which ends up usually in turnovers. There’s a time to keep it simple, and a time to add flair. He needs to balance that before the world cup.

  24. SBI TroII says:

    Wow I pretty much agree with everything on here. Good job, Ives.

  25. Paul says:

    I think the ratings are on par and accurate. It’s important to note that no one played below expectations, which made it a true team effort.

    A lot of credit is due to the wing MFs (Donovan, Bedoya) for the extra hustle on defense, which really helped stifle Mexico’s attack. I sense JK gave the start to Bedoya knowing he would put in the work rate to cover one flank, and wasn’t worried about Donovan doing the same on the other side.

    I hear complaints about our CBs being slow, but it certainly is effective to have a pair of tall CBs who dominate in the air defensively, and can knock in a header on set pieces. Mexico had no chance feeding their strikers aerially, and then had to try to break through an aggressive four-man midfield on the ground. Place an effective CDM in front of the CBs to break up the ground attack, and we can compete with most any team.

    Who gets a chance in the October qualifiers? Let’s see who goes back to their clubs over the next few weeks, earns playing time, and plays well. I sense JK rewards success.

    • NC Jeff says:

      I suspect we’ll primarily see players from North American clubs, while the few European players will be guys that are potential WC roster players but not roster locks. Especially for the Panama game, some will say the US should play their best possible squad. I say no … it’s simply not in the best interests of the US, or for guys coming off a recent injury or with a new team (e.g., Jozy) to bring them across the pond to play in a game that, essentially, doesn’t matter for the USA. If that’s unfair to another squad, that’s just too bad – that’s the spoils of early qualification.

  26. Ulysses says:

    I think we would had majority of the possession if Bradley was playing, because Mexico wasn’t very good. I can’t believe the Mexican team looks really awful despite being backed to the corner and playing for their lives. We are going to Brazil.

  27. Lake says:

    Always makes me laugh how goalkeepers can shut a team out while making some fantastic saves and they are rated at 7.5. What’s a guy got to do to get a 9? A 10?

  28. Bryan says:

    My big worry going into the World Cup are our LB/RB… Compared to the rest of the squad they seem pretty vulnerable.

    • peterprinciple says:

      It went better when the outside mids tracked back more effectively as well as the CM helping mark runners. We have CONCACAF level outside backs, but are developing world quality strikers and mids. (and keepers which we have had for 20 years)

  29. Fahq says:

    Bedoya: He….

    He what??? For the love of God, what did he do?!

  30. Matt says:

    Howard: Over rated, he made saves that were all relatively simple that any single keeper should make
    LD: Also over rated, didnt contribute as much as Jones to warrent being given a higher score
    Dempsey: Severely over rated, he deserves a 4 AT BEST
    Jones: Deserves a Higher score than Gonzales and Howard and Donovan

    • peterprinciple says:

      Let’s not confuse better for good with Jones. Jones didn’t directly lead to multiple goals against, but he still gave the ball away too often and still did not controlt the midfield at large like Donovan did his side of the field, or Gonzalez his area.

      Dempsey’s movement off the ball was still good even if his time spent on the ball was mostly wasted save that nice run late on that nobody accompanied him on.

      As for Howard, what more you want from him? He had total control of the penalty area and allowed zero goals while completing many passes himself. Hater

    • dan says:

      matt, you haven’t watched a lot of soccer have you ?

      • Matt says:

        you dont watch much Everton do you? his missed easy saves all season long

        • Jamie Z. says:

          We’re not talking about his performance at Everton or last month for the national team, we’re talking about the other night against Mexico, where Howard was a stud.

  31. Joamiq says:

    Grades are pretty fair. I would drop Gonzalez to 6.5 – he was good, but he made one bad error misjudging a ball played over the top that would have led to a goal had Jones not been tracking back to pick up Dos Santos. He has to cut those errors out before Brazil. I might drop Jones to 6.5 too just because his first 15 minutes or so were not so good. He was terrific after that though – he needs to play at least that well every time out, like he does for Schalke. Those are my only minor grading quibbles though.

    Also… man, it’s amazing (but obvious) how much more effective Eddie Johnson is when playing alone as a target striker. He’s forced to stay closer to goal and be a threat, while not getting the opportunity to drop back and turn the ball over in midfield. Have to give him props for that backheel pass to Clint to create an opportunity too.

    • Judging Amy says:

      Good points miq. Respect.

    • MidWest Ref says:

      I am not a big fan of Jones usually, but I thought he played admirably. The whole team absorbed pressure during the first 15 minutes, so I would not necessarily count Jones down for that.

      In regard to Eddie, his best position may be as a lone, target striker, but (here is my big but, everyone here has a big but) is he better than Jozy? I don’t think you can realistically say that Eddie should be starting over Jozy. You may not have intended to start that debate, but in the context of the USMNT, that is the question.

      • Joamiq says:

        Oh, definitely not. Jozy does everything EJ does, but he does it better, and he does more. I was just making an observation in terms of how to optimally use EJ when the situation does call for him.

        • DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

          I would not be angry to see both E.J. and Jozy up front, but hopefully JK realizes that’s the only place that EJ is really effective. The wing experiments were mixed at best, and won’t cut it at the next level.

          • joshw says:

            Aside from the turnover against B-H, EJ has been really effective at holding the ball and being an outlet while playing on the wing. Agree it’s not his best position, and he does take a lot of touches when he gets the ball (which you could argue slows down our speed of play), but EJ doesn’t lose the ball very often, even when he receives it under pressure.

  32. DC Josh says:

    I mostly agree with Ives on how everyone played. I was behind the goal with the media tent where the two goals were scored, and I thought Jermaine Jones was the best player for the USMNT through at least the 1st half. Mexico pressed so high and with such intensity, I remember Jones covering at center back and right back on at least one occasion, and breaking up multiple attacks in the 1st half. He was all over the place covering defensively.

    • DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

      You have a good argument, but Gonzo was equally impressive in my mind. Still, it was definitely one of Goodson’s best efforts.

  33. Rob says:

    You forgot someone:
    The Columbus Crowd (9)

  34. YO says:

    If Dempsey rates a 5.5 then Donovan should have a 10 for a score and an assist. You dont have to be generous because he is the captain –you are as good as your last game and he has been crap the last two.

  35. Adi from Oregon says:

    I give Herr Klinsmann an 8 because all of his choices for players, player motivation and his team strategy of being primarily defensive in the first-half which worked very well. I was against EJ playing with Dempsey at the SAME time but I am glad I was HALF wrong since Eddie scored on a very good and powerful header. Against taller and faster teams like future Jamaica and Panama, Herr K. needs to play the Iceman (at least a half game) to bring more capability to the US offense and prepare him for Brazil.

  36. Bac says:

    On a completely unrelated note..
    Can I just say that the TV lineup for Saturday is just sick…
    Man U->Jozy->Timmy vs Chelsea… into Barca then Real…. all day non stop…
    Throw in some college football…


  37. cps says:

    really looking forward to watching Iceman bag some goals over the next few games. He’s about to prove his worth.

  38. Dennis says:

    I think Dempsey did not play particularly well. He looked a bit lost out there at times and he while he took the responsibility of trying to make things happen, too often that ended up in him losing possession. I am sure he knows he needs to do better. I suspect that with a few weeks of games without the distractions of moving, making commercials and travel for USMNT duty his performances will improve. It is a bit tough to know how things are progressing based on MLS games since the Sounders seem to be able to perform fairly well even without Evans, EJ and Deuce. We will learn more in October.

  39. Adam says:

    This is most likely the rest of the explanation for Bedoya’s score. ALEJANDRO BEDOYA-(6.5)- Put in the impressive two-way work rate that made him such a force in the gold cup. He also looks amazing in womens lingerie so that bumps up his score.

  40. divers suck says:

    Would so much venom being spewed at Clint Dempsey be there if he was still playing for ‘Spurs, while playing exactly the same for the NATS? Even if he was 75 to 80th minute substitute at Tottenham?…I can’t help but to think that the growing negativity (nearly hatred in some circles) has to do with him coming home to the US and signing his (very likely) last big contract as a professional footballer. I hope he goes on loan to a mid/upper EPL team in the MLS off-season.

    • Frank says:

      Nope, he just looked like he didn’t care and went down easily. I didn’t see any hustle from him.

      • divers suck says:

        That has been the modus operandi look of Clint Dempsey his entire career. The whole team looked aweful at Costa Rica and nobody can really argue with the Mexico result in addition to JK playing Deuce the full 90 in both.

      • leftfoot says:

        bingo, CD has been accused of this in the past but it has been even worse as of late. Going down wayyyy too easily and body language in general is even more sluggish/uninspired than normal. I have long been a fan of dempsey but its impossible to deny his poor play as of late.

        • ATX_Colin says:

          I like duece and his creativity but dude was a turn over machine vs Mexico. Seems he was trying to hard for the spectacular but thats duece. I think he wil rebound from these past two performances.

    • Luc says:

      eurosnobbery at its finest

    • AlexH says:

      I am fine with the way Clint played. He always looks lazy and disinterested, especially when he is just about to score. He hit the post in CR and almost got to the 2nd goal before LD. Had either went in everybody would be talking about what an efficient and clutch player he is.

  41. batwact says:

    No grade on Coach JK, Ives?

    The only reason I ask is that I thought his coaching decisions before the Costa Rica game and sudden loss of MB were atrocious. Here, he corrected all of his mistakes. He paired up wingers and backs better, and let the offense flow from these, rather than forcing it through the middle with a more defensive-minded pairing there. He put together a solid combination up front, despite Dempsey’s lack of fitness/form. Most importantly, he reigned in Jermaine Jones and got him to focus on bossing the middle. He may not be the most creative CM, but he can disrupt play and own the central midfield like no one else on the roster, save MB. JJ had a great game, and JK’s gameplan worked perfectly.

  42. beachbum says:

    Looks like many here see what they want to see

    Anyway, Howard’s save on Beasley’s own goal attempt alone rates him way up there. Mexico scores there and who knows what happens. For me that was a great game changing play when desperately needed

    Clint did not play so poorly either, especially on the first half, and Mexico clearly had him as the marked man. Of course he can do better

    Mexico looked bad and like a team lacking belief and in disarray, which they are