United States 2, Honduras 1: First Impressions and Player Ratings

It was a shaky opening game, but the US got a win that puts them in a strong position at the top of group A getting a win behind two Clint Dempsey goals. On the whole, it was a sloppy game by the US as they had many passes be behind their target, but the timing and connections should improve over the tournament. The more worrying part was the defense which looked quite shaky with a nervy Ventura Alvarado and Timothy Chandler targeted as the weak link in the back. I would not be surprised to see Omar Gonzalez given a chance in the defense next game.

Given the rapid nature of the group stage games with 3 games in 7 days, it is hard to tell whether Klinsmann is rotating people and just trying to get through it, but the midfield struggled a bit. While the wide play of Zardes and Yedlin impressed, this game could have used a more combative outside midfielder who tucks inside like Alejandro Bedoya. He would have helped even things out as Beckerman struggled to cover the defensive space in this game.

Nonetheless, this was arguably their toughest game in the group stage and they got through it fairly comfortably. They key will be improving their performance over the next few games. Here are my player ratings.

Brad Guzan–5.5
He had some shaky handling moments and close calls coming out for balls. However, he didn’t have a chance on the goal.

Timothy Chandler–5.5
He had a tough battle with Andy Najar, who was a strange substitution for Honduras, but could have been more incisive when he pushed forward.

Ventura Alvarado–5
He seemed to get turned far too easily throughout the game and was lucky to not concede a goal late when he was a few yards behind the defense keeping everyone onside.

John Anthony Brooks–6
One of his more sound games as he did well defending and won almost all of his aerial duals. His positioning is not always perfect, but he seems to be growing in comfort.

Fabian Johnson–5.5
His defending was solid, but he was surprisingly subdued in attack to help cover for Zardes who pushed up often.

DeAndre Yedlin–6
He was electric in attack as his pace continues to cause teams problems. He still needs to turn them into a final product more often and missed a great chance when he was setup by Johnson.

Kyle Beckerman–5.5
He worked hard but had trouble stopping service to players pulling off the defenders. On the ball, he was steady and reliable as usual.

Michael Bradley–5.5
He had the great service for the second goal, but seemed to zig when his target zagged. It was not a terrible performance, but it could have been better.

Gyasi Zardes–5.5
He was dynamic but could have valued possession a bit more especially in the second half when they had taken the lead. His willingness to do defensive work was impressive.

Clint Dempsey–7.5
His predatory instinct cannot be questioned as both of his goals were of the right place right time variety. He seemed the best a connecting in a day most people struggled.

Jozy Altidore–5.5
He held up the ball well, and took the shot that setup the first goal. I thought he was taken off early, but it could be conserving energy for future games.

Substitutes:
Chris Wondolowski–5
He was solid in his work rate and he put pressure on the defense. His lack of a threat with over the top speed though did allow Honduras to compress the midfield.

Brad Evans–5.5
He was brought in to shore up the defense, of which he did a good job. He did not offer much of anything in attack though.

Graham Zusi–NR
He came only for the last five minutes and had some nice touches, but can’t really evaluate his performance.

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Posted in CONCACAF, International Soccer, United States Men's National Team Tagged with: , , ,

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