RJ DEMELLO - Thursday, May 30, 2013
The United States limped to a 4-2 loss Wednesday against a strong Belgium team in Cleveland and here are the grades
Let's call the game for what is was, a weak performance almost universally with a somewhat flattering final score. So let's make sure we take off those rose colored glasses and take a look at how the players did shall we?
Tim Howard - 5 - You could argue that Howard should have done better on the first goal by possibly holding on to the ball that found its way out to Kevin Mirallas. To me the blame only goes to the defense around him on that one. Other than that he did what you would ask of him in his 45 minutes.
Geoff Cameron - 5 - The goal makes Cameron look better than he was on the night. He certainly had his difficulties in defense like the rest of them and his performance will continue questions about him playing at right back.
Omar Gonzalez - 3.5 - Hard to argue for Gonzalez on a night that saw him go 90 minutes and be the supposed anchor of a defense that gave up four goals. He was especially at fault on Belgium's first two goals where he was first caught ball watching and second giving the ball away INSIDE HIS OWN PENALTY AREA.
Clarence Goodson - 4 - The tall center back also struggled to cope with this quality Belgian team. There seemed to be poor communication throughout the night and as a veteran in the middle of defense, he has to do better.
DaMarcus Beasley - 5.5 - A performance he can be proud of for his 100th cap. Though he was part of a defense that leaked goals his tireless effort up and down the field can't go unnoticed. The only foot he put wrong all night was losing Christian Benteke on his second goal, though to be fair lack of ball pressure in the midfield directly led to the goal.
Graham Zusi - 5.5 - The tireless midfielder again put in a yeoman's like performance on the wing. He helped out on defense and provided the corner that Dempsey headed back across on the goal. The Sporting Kansas City man did not hurt his stock in this game, though to be fair he didn't exactly sky rocket it either.
Jermaine Jones - 5 - Played his role, nothing more, and nothing less. He helped clog up the middle but still could have done better on the fourth goal, pressuring the ball instead of letting Steven Defour take his time picking out Benteke. Plus, it wouldn't be right if he didn't add a yellow card to his tally.
Sacha Kljestan - 4 - The talk was that this was Kljestan's chance to prove he deserves more of a look in center midfield. Well, he did not take his chance being the weaker partner in the center of a midfield that as a duo underperformed. His passing was off, especially early, and looked to be somewhat nervous for the encounter.
Brad Davis - 5 - Did not look out of place playing against players who all ply their trade overseas. Provided service from the left and looked comfortable and calm on the ball. However, he did turnover the ball that eventually became Belgium's second goal.
Clint Dempsey - 6.5 - While he disappeared a few times throughout the match, a goal and an assist can't be argued with. Dempsey remains the only consistent offensive threat that the stars and stripes have.
Jozy Altidore - 4.5 - Altidore just isn't the forward for this system. It is never a good sign when your striker receives the ball on the left touchline instead of the middle of the park. Yet another below par performance under Klinsmann surely will now lead to more heat on the young forward.
Brad Guzan - 4.5 - Though he was not too much at fault on the goals, hard to give a goalie a good rating when three go past him. Some could argue he could have come out to catch the cross on Marouane Fellaini's goal but as with Tim Howard the bigger breakdowns came farther up the field.
Eddie Johnson - 5.5 - Injected some life into the United States' game. Looked lively up top and out wide, earning the penalty kick, somewhat controversially, the Dempsey went on to convert.
Terrence Boyd - 4.5 - Largely invisible after coming on in the 63rd minute for Davis. The one play he was visible on was unfortunately a bad one. After he failed to fully clear a Belgium corner, the visitors made no mistake crossing in to Fellaini for their third goal.
Brad Evans - 4.5 - Put in a relatively quiet shift in his time on the field. Almost got on the end of a ball from the left but could not get anything on his shot and to add to his frustration crashed into the advertising boards behind the goal.
Matt Besler - 5 - He was not at fault on Belgium's goal after coming on for Clarence Goodson in the 68th minute. Almost got beat trying to jump up and intercept a pass in the 85th minute but recovered to prevent a clear opportunity despite appeals from the Belgians that is was a penalty.
Stu Holden - 4.5 - No one was upset to see Holden get 10 minutes after everything he has been through. Put in a solid shift with only a couple of loose passes.