KYLE SCHNITZER - Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Our own Kyle Schnitzer gives his take on the players performances in Manaus.
Despite dominating most of the second half, including a sensational curving strike from Jermaine Jones and a chest-fueled goal by Clint Dempsey, the US conceded a stoppage-time goal to Portugal's Silvestere Varela to draw 2-2 in Manaus, Brazil. Varela diving head met a tightly spun ball on near side of the field from Cristiano Ronaldo to tie the game in the stoppage time. Even with the disappointment expressed as Tim Howard's hand met his head, the US gained a crucial point and are now tied with Germany, who they face on Thursday.
Tim Howard, G: He had highlight reel saves, ranging from Nani's strike that he batted away to the finger tip flick over the bar from Eder. He cannot be blamed for the Varela header at the end of the game; that's on Michael Bradley and the back line. He deserved a victory. 7.0
Fabian Johnson, D: Johnson answered all questions that lingered after his performance against Ghana. He moved well up field on attack and dropped back when the defense needed him. Johnson impressed with his ball handling and crossing ability. In the first half, he took some long-range shots outside the box when no one else wanted to, which I would like to see more. 7.0
Geoff Cameron, D: His poor clearance created a disaster in the beginning and he was beat by a streaking Varela at the end of the game. Even though he was the one marking Varela, there were a number of white shirts lining the goal box that failed to move. 4.5
Matt Besler, D: He cramped up again in the second half after playing a strong first half. Obviously, there is a concern surrounding his durability and whether he can fight through the cramps to remain at his peak level. But overall, he looked very good again. 6.0
DaMarcus Beasley, D: Beasley played extremely well. At times, he looked like the Energizer Bunny, running up the sidelines, blowing past world-class players time and time again. He did well on offense, getting the ball to the corner of the field and dumping it off to one of the creative midfielders. 6.0
Kyle Beckerman, M: Beckerman looks extremely calm in his first World Cup, which is a good thing. He took his time when the ball was in the US zone and made short passes to the attacking midfielders. He was stout on defense and moved up field when necessary. 5.5
Jermaine Jones, M: What is there to say about Jermaine Jones? Again, he performed at an unbelievable pace, covering both on offense and defense. He scored one of the most impressive goals in the World Cup when the US needed one, on a free ball that he bent to freeze Beto in net. Jones picked up a yellow card, a smart yellow when Portugal was on a break. He is proving time and time again that he can be relied on, whether it is a tackle or a ball in the air. Man of the Match. 7.5
Alejandro Bedoya, M: He failed to make any impact on this game. For most of the game, he floated around the midfield and did not feature at all on offense or defense. At the same time, he did not make any crucial mistakes. 5.0
Michael Bradley, M: Michael Bradley has not performed well in this World Cup. He has not handled the ball well and has failed as a field general that fans have come to expect. His cough up in the 94th minute will be talked about and rightly so. The problem with Bradley is his first touch is not the best when it has to be. Overall, a mistake is a mistake. Perhaps he needs a rest? Could Mix Diskerud start in his place? 5.0
Graham Zusi, M: Zusi started the game at midfield and made his presence known early. The knock against his performance was his inconsistency with his corner kicks. It was either short corners that were headed away from net or long corners that failed to target any Americans. With such little chances in the beginning of the game, he needed to execute corners better. He assisted Dempsey on the chest goal. 5.5
Clint Dempsey, F: He looks completely refreshed from where he was a year ago. He was dangerous with or without the ball, even if he was out of position. Overall, he did extremely well filling in for Jozy Altidore. 6.5
DeAndre Yedlin, D: He came on in the 70th minute and made an immediate impact. One of the less talked about youngsters on the national squad, Yedlin delivered a valiant performance. His speed came crucial when the US needed it most, especially on his sprint down the far sideline that he crossed near the out of bounds line to create the goal-scoring opportunity for Dempsey. Most importantly, Yedlin established himself as a valuable, young substitute who is not afraid of the big moment. 6.0
Chris Wondolowski, F: He did not play enough to register a rating, but he was in to provide fresh legs and to hassle the player with the ball.
Omar Gonzalez, D: Came on in extra time for Graham Zusi. Did not play long enough for a rating.
Jurgen Klinsmann: He made the right moves when he needed to make them. He replaced a nonexistent Bedoya with a flash of lightening in Yedlin. His squad was more prepared, specifically winning the midfield battle, compared to the game against Ghana when they could not control the tempo. There was a shift in momentum and pace during the game in the second half and it started when the US pushed forward. And while people will point to how Michael Bradley was too tired to play or so-and-so defender should have been subbed out after taking a knock, you cannot fault Klinsmann for the late goal. He shows commitment to his players, perhaps too much at times, but he is strategic with his decisions. He's made the right moves at the right time. 7.0