BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, August 16, 2012
The US national team posted a historic victory over Mexico on Wednesday night for their first ever win over El Tri in Mexico City.

Some players were terrific and some did not help their cause. Mexico dominated possession but the US was better in the second half. The backline for the US team was terrific and they played in front of an amazing performance from Tim Howard in net.

The US midfield did struggle in the first half as they did not have much speed on the outside. Even then, players were solid defensively and absorbed pressure well.

The goal will be one that is remembered for a long time because of amazing individual plays from Brek Shea and Terrence Boyd which set up Michael Orozco Fiscal.

This game was just a friendly and sometimes it's tempting to read too much into these games, but this game could give the US a mental edge and a confidence boost for awhile. They were missing many top players including Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Oguchi Onyewu, and perhaps even Timothy Chandler.

The lesson to be learned is that the US team can win great games without many of its top players. That has not always been the case. They played very defensive game with players like Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, and Kyle Beckerman in the midfield. Regardless, it worked and the US got its first ever win at the mighty Azteca after 24 failed attempts.

But here is how I saw the players perform with an average score being [5]

Tim Howard - 9 - Man of the Match It was one of his best ever performances for the United States and he came up with a big save every time he needed

Edgar Castillo - 7 - Castillo has not been very consistent for the US national team but his performance against the country he used to play for could be a breakout game for him. He was solid defensively and did not have many errors. The US all of a sudden looks like it is set at left back.

Maurice Edu - 7.5 - Maurice Edu has been given his chances at central defense but has never looked consistently good there. This game was terrific and it's something he can truly build on. Was it perfect? No. But it must be viewed in context - for someone who is not used to central defense, it was very solid. Currently in a messy club situation with Rangers, hopefully his next club can move him into central defense.

Geoff Cameron - 8- The best field player for the United States. While many were thinking the US team wasn't deep at central defense, Cameron might emerge as a starter the rest of this cycle. I think Stoke City is going to be very happy with him even if they see him as a defensive midfielder.

Fabian Johnson - 7 - Johnson played at right back for the first time in his career with the US team. It should surprise no one that he was successful. He is versatile and naturally right footed. He played as a right midfielder for Germany's U-21 team and at 1860 Munich. He can easily play there.

Jermaine Jones - 6 - Jones struggled to hold possession and move forward in the first half but he was more lively in the second half despite fatiguing in Azteca's grueling altitude. He was good defensively and broke up many Mexican attacks.

Danny Williams - 5 - Once again Danny Williams was moved out wide and it is clearly not his best position. For Hoffenheim he is a central defensive midfielder but he is yet to play there for the US team. Williams is a very, very good defensive player but he struggles offensively out wide.

Jose Torres - 4 - Torres had a largely disappointing game. He is usually asked to hold possession and help the team in its transition from defense to offense. But he turned the ball over too much and did not play much defense.

Kyle Beckerman - 6 - Like Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman was asked to do a lot of the dirty work for the US team. He did that part well. He struggled getting forward but he was a key reason why Mexico did not score. His play eased pressure the pressure on the inexperienced US backline.

Landon Donovan - 5- Donovan was unable to frustrate the Mexicans the way he has in the past tonight. He left the game early with a tight hamstring and he did not appear to be himself. He was also a player that did not thrive on the US lineup. He likes to capitalize on counter attacks and space. Unfortunately with three defensive midfielders plus a deeper midfielder like Torres, he did not have many options in going forward.

Herculez Gomez - 6 - Gomez was crafty for the US team and he looked dangerous in the very few times he was able to get the ball.


Michael Orozco-Fiscal - 7 - Orozco-Fiscal has been much maligned for his play for the US team in the past but he did score the winner. Yes, the goal will be remembered most for the great plays of Terrence Boyd and Brek Shea, but Orozco-Fiscal did a great job of getting into the box and being in the right spot. Defensively, he did not make any noticeable errors.

Graham Zusi - 6 Zusi was an improvement in the US midfield. When he entered into the game, the US was able to hold the ball a little bit more and generate the offense. The team was not on their heels as much when Zusi entered the game. He will push to take Torres' spot in the future.

Terrence Boyd - 7 - Boyd was dangerous ever since he entered the game. His backheel pass to Orozco-Fiscal will be remembered for a long time. He is not just a goal scorer, he also has vision close to the goal to make plays.

Brek Shea - 7.5 - 2012 has been a rough year for Shea for both club and country but is presence turned the tide in this game. On the goal he made a great run into the box to find Boyd on a pass. Shortly after, he sent another dangerous pass into Boyd which he almost was able to head toward goal. He played with confidence. He has the talent to be a very good player. The next step is consistency.

Damarcus Beasley - 5.5 - Beasley was brought into to give the US some much needed speed out wide. While Beasley did provide that, he wasn't good defensively and the Mexican team targeted his side of the field in their second half attacks.

Joe Corona - NR[ - Corona did not play enough to earn a grade.