KYLE SCHNITZER - Thursday, June 19, 2014
The most important take from the United States 2-1 victory over Ghana is they secured three points.

Three vital points that places the US in a positive position, where two more points will likely advance them further into the World Cup. But they were exposed. The American counterattack was non-existent and questions again regarding the defense continue to surface, even if they did defeat Ghana. The problem for eighty or so minutes was that the US continued to drop back, trying to secure the win, without pushing the ball further and trying to create something offensively. It took tragedy (Ayew's goal) to motivate them to push forward, when in reality, they should have continued to press with all cylinders.


Tim Howard: Howard was very good, especially coming off his line when he needed to. The lone goal conceded, a beauty from Andre Ayew, caught Howard leaning one way. But he left no questions about his performance. 7.5

Fabian Johnson: The most questionable performances came from the outside backs for the United States. Clearly not Johnson's best performance, but he preserved when he had to. One thing to watch is Johnson on attack and whether he can come back to defend, which he failed to do a few times against Ghana. 4.5

Geoff Cameron: Whether it was Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez or John Brooks, each of these players never played in a World Cup and most are new to the international scene. They were labeled as inexperienced and a liability. But against Ghana, they held their lines as the US continued to drop back. Nothing was being produced up the middle as Cameron and Besler provided a stout wall. Cameron left no questions about his performance. 6.0

Matt Besler: Besler was solid, just as Cameron was. He came up cramping at the end of the first-half and was substituted for John Brooks. This is a growing concern as the tournament proceeds, but he showed promise. 6.0

DeMarcus Beasley: Beasley, who became the first American to play in four World Cups, looked like an aging player who caused more harm than good. He was repeatedly beat down the sidelines by Ghana's aggressive attacking and lost his footing a few times. To his credit, he did not concede anything major, but I question whether he has the physical ability to compete with the best in the world. 4.0

Kyle Beckerman: Possibly the most American player on this team, Beckerman represents everything America: grit, drive and passion. He played as a defensive midfielder and performed extremely well, despite this being his first World Cup at age 32. I have no questions regarding whether he should be in this line up. 6.5

Michael Bradley: For what its worth, a new fan might say Bradley was the worst player on the field after watching his performance on Monday. OK, he failed to do anything spectacular and his passing was off. But he is the most versatile position player for the United States. He grazes from side-to-side, up-and-down like a bull and while it does not show up in the score line, his condition and endurance is the epitome of American soccer. He gave up a few balls on the US's brief attacks, but he made strong tackles in the open field. 5.5

Jermaine Jones: Easily the Man of the Match. Jones assisted Clint Dempsey on the opening goal that up started the US. But more importantly, he played with controlled aggression, playing physically yet carefully, holding down the midfield and moved well up-and-down the field. 8.0

Alejandro Bedoya: Another cramping American, Bedoya showed brief moments of promise, but really did not have an effect on the game. Early in the first-half, he had a shot in space, but his attempt sailed wide right of the net and into the bleachers. Either way, that is a positive as the US has failed to prove them as a threat from outside the box during the warmup matches. 5.0

Clint Dempsey: He dazzled in the opening seconds of the match. A quick flick between his legs, where he then switched from right to left to dodge a defender, Dempsey smacked it off the far post and into the back of the net. His goal created an eruption around America and caught Ghana off guard. What there is to love about Dempsey is his grit. Along with Beckerman, he is the American Dream. Playing with possibly a broken nose the entire match, he looked very strong player at the highest level. 7.0

Jozy Altidore: When Altidore went down, grabbing his right hamstring in the 20th minute, it was as if the lights went out in Times Square during the ball drop. You could sense an change in the atmosphere. He played well in the early stages, using his physicality to his advantage. And the run that Altidore injured himself looked promising. Either way, the potential loss of Altidore is a huge blow. 5.0


Aron Johannsson: He came in with little to no warm up time after the Altidore injury. And I think it is unfair to over analyze his performance since no one could have imagined Altidore going down and being taken off the pitch. He was mostly non-existent during the latter stages of the match, but did well passing. Near the end of the game, there was a chance for Johannsson to kill time and dribble to the corner, but he made a run at the net that showed his inexperience. Overall, this position will be the biggest concern for the US going further. 5.0

John Brooks: The most scrutinized addition to Klinsmann's 23-man roster, Brooks struggled and gave a few supporters heart murmurs on a failed clearance in front of the box. But near the end of the game, he calmed down and became one with the game. His game-winning goal at the end of the game instantly made Brooks a hero. He played defense unconventionally, but he showed he can use his height (6'4") and body to get in-between the ball and player. The more experience he gets, the better he will become.7.0

Graham Zusi: Although this is Zusi's first World Cup, he is a pivotal player coming off the bench for the US. He made an immediate difference after coming on for Bedoya through his pace, dribbling and touching. He took the corner kick that resulted with three points, placing a beautiful ball high above the first barrage of players, to where only Brooks could head the ball into the back of the net. 7.0

[/b] Coach:[/b]

Jurgen Klinsmann: He wanted to play a counterattack style, but they failed to do that. But he made critical substitutions, specifically Brooks and Zusi that changed the game. He got his three points. Now these are the questions that face him, Who will play striker? Can they continue to play at this grinding pace? A remarkable victory that sets the US up well against Portugal on Sunday. 7.0
Sam_San Francisco
Saturday June 21, 2014 7:40 am
Fabian Johnson was able to relieve pressure with overlaps. With Bradley's inability to qb and orchestrate ball possession which placed the defense under intense pressure from Ghana, overlaps like those of Johnson and Beasley did help relieve that by creating some offense. The midfielders were very good defensively though. Johnson may have contributed the single most important play, other than the goals, when he came up and forced pressure on Ghana D which yielded the corner in '84 that led to Zuni corner.

BRADLEY - 4 (he was lost. Didn't hold possession. Poor distribution. Near the end of the game rather than holding the back to kill time, he turned the ball over on benign kicks. He WAS the worst player on the pitch. Watch the replay and rate his performance based on that not his press).
Saturday June 21, 2014 12:16 am
You failed to mention that the reason Johannsson was non existant in the latter stages of the game and actually most of the game was the ineptness of our passing and our ability to serve the ball into our forwards. Lousy, heavily weighted passes shows lack of composure on the big stage and actual lack of technical skills in general. See Andrea Pirlo. Clean it up USA or run the risk of scoring 0 goals the rest of the way.
Friday June 20, 2014 8:34 am
Solid analysis. Outside backs definitely looked weak. Jones definitely player of the match, he was everywhere. Beckerman played very solid defensively, he will be vital to locking up that 18 - 25 yard range area against Portugal where Ronaldo can do damage.
Thursday June 19, 2014 10:52 pm
Bedoya lower than chance
Paul Wal
Thursday June 19, 2014 8:41 pm
Kyle Beckerman is the oppostite of the AMerican dream, he has grit but is a dirty hippie who is a liability. Bradley and Dempsey are the American dream, Bradley who's father went to Princeton and works harder than anyone and Dempsey from Texas nothing more American than that and all the adversity he's faced in his life. His time in Fulham too overcoming being benched working his way back into the team, not too mention doing it in the first placem whether it was to save Fulham from relegation his first year or the goal vs. Juve in the Europe UEFA, he always scores big goals.

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