Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
The U.S. Men’s National Team’s first match of 2014 produced a victory, and some goals, but the overall sense after the match was that there were as many question marks as questions answered from the match, which was much closer than the scoreline would indicate.
South Korea gave the U.S. fits on the counter, and poor finishing for the visitors had as much to do with the shutout as the American defense did.
There were clearly bright spots though, including the performances of Graham Zusi, Chris Wondolowski and Kyle Beckerman. The showing by Michael Parkhurst at left back may have been the most encouraging showing of the bunch, especially given the few left back options in the pool.
There were also some forgettable outings, including Brad Evans’ poor outing at right back, which has to have Jurgen Klinsmann reconsidering his options at the position.
Here are the SBI Player Grades for the USMNT win vs. South Korea:
USA 2, SOUTH KOREA 0: SBI Player Grades
NICK RIMANDO- 6. Made some key stops and was active in the area.
BRAD EVANS- 4. Struggled the entire match. Beaten defensively and ineffective getting forward.
OMAR GONZALEZ- 6. Dominant in the air, and was responsible for a heavy amount of distribution. Some passes were sloppy, but overall a solid effort.
MATT BESLER- 5.5. Made some important interventions, but also had some uncharacteristically bad passes and wasn’t as involved as Gonzalez.
MICHAEL PARKHURST- 6.5. Very steady showing for Parkhurst at left back. Defended well and moved the ball well offensively. Encouraging outing.
KYLE BECKERMAN- 7. Really commanded the middle of the park. Circulated the ball well and made some important tackles to slow down South Korea’s dangerous counterattack.
MIX DISKERUD- 5.5. Started the match very well, making some key tackles and passing well, but eventually faded into the background and failed to truly stand out in a game that was tailor-made for him to shine.
BRAD DAVIS- 4.5. No denying that Davis was active, and covered a lot of ground, but he was way too sloppy with the ball, committing some awful turnovers that left the U.S. defense in bad positions.
LANDON DONOVAN- 5.5. Active day for the U.S. captain, helping set up the second goal with a nice layoff touch. Looked comfortable in his playmaking role, and his captain’s role.
GRAHAM ZUSI- 7. Played a key role in both goals, looking very strong on the right wing. Covered ground well and turned in yet another stellar performance.
CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI- 7. Opportunistic on his first goal, clinical on his second goal. Wondolowski wasn’t extremely active beyond those two plays, but you can’t argue with two goals.
EDDIE JOHNSON- 5. Came in and got his share of touches, but couldn’t really put anything on goal.
BENNY FEILHABER- 5. Showed some good quality, but didn’t really threaten.
CLARENCE GOODSON- 5.5. Had more clearances in his cameo than Besler had as a starter. Solid outing in his 28 minutes.
LUIS GIL- NR. First cap for the RSL midfielder. Some decent touches.
DEANDRE YEDLIN- NR. Very active 16 minutes for the Seattle fullback