BRIAN SCIARETTA - Sunday, October 9, 2011
The US national team defeated Honduras on Saturday night by a narrow 1-0 scoreline for Jurgen Klinsmann's first win as their coach.

The game had positive moments but it further highlighted that the US national team is still a work in progress.

For the positives, left back is not a weakness at the moment as Chandler was significantly improved from the Belgium game at his new position. Also Jozy Altidore was constantly dangerous and Clint Dempsey shined as the number 10.

Brek Shea has earned the right to be in the starting 11 for the national team and Danny Williams played out of position on the right but he clearly has talent to be a big part of the team moving forward.

As for the weaknesses, the most obvious right now is in central defense. Michael Orozco Fiscal looked lost again and it should only be a matter of time before Klinsmann explores other options like Omar Gonzalez and George John. Oguchi Onyewu's return was promising but he still needs more games before he is back to his old self.

There was also problems in central midfield as Maurice Edu's passing game was ineffective and Beckerman struggled with containing Honduran attackers.

From central midfield to central defense, the entire middle of the field was a problem for the US team and most of the offense had to come from the wings. The best solution for the upcoming game against Ecuador would be to start Michael Bradley in the middle of the field along with Danny Williams who is naturally a central midfielder.

USMNT player ratings


Tim Howard - 8 - Man of the Match Outstanding performance. He made four impressive saves that kept the US in the game. His best was a one on one against Jerry Bengston in the 19th minute.

Steve Cherundolo - 6 - A solid performance from the long time vet as he continues to show why he is still the team's right back.

Michael Orozco Fiscal - 4 - This game was an important test for Orozco as he needed a strong performance to show he belongs on the US national team. Unfortunately he came up short and was beaten numerous times by Honduras.

Carlos Bocanegra - 5 - It wasn't the best game for the US national team captain. He was better than Orozco positionally but his distribution out of the back was lacking.

Timothy Chandler - 6.5 - Chandler's second game at left back was much better than his first last month against Belgium. His combination play with Brek Shea created numerous opportunities. Still, he must improve his passing with his left foot.

Kyle Beckerman - 5 - Beckerman had a decent game in defensive midfield against Honduras but he will struggle as the competition gets stronger.

Danny Williams - 6 - It was a very solid debut for the German-born Williams who was not at all familiar with the US national team prior to camp. He was comfortable on the ball and his defense was also effective. Normally a central midfielder, Williams was out of position at right midfield but he looked like he will help the team moving forward.

Maurice Edu - 4.5 - Edu had an off night for the US team against Honduras as he struggled with his passing game and was not effective moving the ball forward into the final third.

Brek Shea - 7 - Shea was a handful for the Honduran defense all night on the left and he was a key part of the scoring opportunities for the US team. He missed a sitter in the second half but he still had a very strong performance and his combination play with Chandler is developing well.

Clint Dempsey - 7.5 - Dempsey showed that he is the probably the best US player at the moment as Honduras struggled to contain him all game. His goal showed an incredible amount of skill and he should have had a second but the goal was called back after he was incorrectly whistled for a foul.

Jozy Altidore - 6.5 - After a disappointing performance against Belgium in the last US game, Altidore played with more purpose and had his hand in numerous scoring opportunities. It's only a matter of time before he breaks out under Klinsmann's system.


Oguchi Onyewu - 5.5 - It was Onyewu's first cap under Klinsmann and he improved the defense in the second half. He still has a way to go to return to the level he was at before his knee injury two years ago but he now appears to be on the right track.

DaMarcus Beasley - 6.5 - Beasley's speed and craftiness helped the US regain control of the match after Honduras was pressing for an equalizer. He stretched the defense and was part of several scoring chances.

Michael Bradley - 6 - After missing last two US games, Bradley showed that he is still an important part of the US team as his minutes. He was calm on the ball and in control of the midfield. He should clearly start for the US team.

Jonathan Spector - 6 - When Spector came on for Timothy Chandler he had a positive impact on the match. While he has struggled the past few years with the US national team, Spector looked comfortable and he had a beautiful cross that found Dempsey. Dempsey scored but the goal was incorrectly disallowed for a phantom foul.

Juan Agudelo -5.5 - Agudelo did not have much of an opportunity to make an impact but he looked decent in his performance. He has talent but is still a work in progress.
Tuesday October 11, 2011 1:44 pm
Decent ratings.
Edu just isn't quite good enough to be on the team. He won't be there next WC. We have some depth at center mid.
Beckerman just isn't good enough for this level. And he's just got know chance - again, our depth at center mid.
Bradley is a WC player. Maybe won't start because of our depth here, but I think if he does end up starting next WC this is not a reason to panic. It's impressive to be able to immediately jump in and become a starter in Italy. Ask Gooch.
LD is always the best guy on the field for the US. I don't think he's lost a step yet, although he will by next WC. He will still start though.
Monday October 10, 2011 5:45 pm
Mostly agree with the ratings aside from Beckerman. Not only did he play well in this game, he has already played against stronger opposition (Mexico) and done well.

Being a good defensive midfielder does not mean you are the biggest, strongest player on the field.
Monday October 10, 2011 4:55 pm
LOL anti-edu is realy very hard but you play at a club like rangers for a reason. the market dont lie

anyway i think the ratings are okay
Mark WNY
Monday October 10, 2011 10:51 am
I think the team plays better without Donovan. I am a Donovan fan and supported him since his first days in the Bundesliga. He lost a few steps - maybe injuries - maybe his personal life - who knows. His passing is not there - he has no defense - no finishing and even more important - the team did not missed any of his set pieces - Dolo did a better job. Now, I see why Bradley, Sr. was playing him out of the bench in the gold cup.

Overall, a good win for the US - close - but a win is a win.
Monday October 10, 2011 10:30 am
Bradley is good enough to start for the USNT and is a better option than Edu, Beckerman or Jones. I cant wait for Holden and Torres to get back to give us more options though.

I would like to put Williams in the center of the pitch for the upcoming game v. Ecuador as well.
Leo Perez
Monday October 10, 2011 1:46 am
I also agree with most of your ratings, except for your tepid rating of Boca. What you call an "off-night" for Bocanegra was really a disaster-in-the-making---I mean, with all the bad passes he made last night, any one of them could have been turned into a score by Honduras if they had their first team strikers. I think Bocanegra is losing his "touch"--maybe it's time to put John or Gonzalez in his place. And, I believe that Dolo really should be the USMNT Captain. Dolo is lot better player.
eurofan not man!
Monday October 10, 2011 12:37 am
really bradley should stay on the team? wow i disagree..more like a 4 michael, spector a 5, and beckerman a 3
Sunday October 9, 2011 9:47 pm
I definitely agree with these ratings. I think Edu is another one of those guys whose time on the national team is ticking. I think if he weren't at such a well-known club like Rangers I doubt he would even be in the pool. He has gotten unlucky with his two goals being null but his passing continuously is suspect. He puts no weight on the pass therefore allow the marker to close in on the his target. He really has no good position. He is a constantly in no-man's land, which we don't yet have the talent to have a guy who doesn't know his position.
Sunday October 9, 2011 9:15 pm
Spot on with these rankings...very good.
Sunday October 9, 2011 8:02 pm
A fair assessment with my only nitpick being that Timmy Chandler looked great going forward but not so much getting back. Even so, his performance was much more positive than negative. Still not the best 11 players available on the pitch, but we seem to be crawling in that direction. We have a new coach but the same player pool and the same problems, including a slow start to the match, a tendency to lose concentration and miss match-ups in the defensive third, and poor finishing.

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