Tuesday, October 11, 2011
USA 1, Honduras 0; Some Quick Thoughts
The United States got their first win of the Jurgen Klinsmann era Saturday night at SunLife Stadium in Miami. A Clint Dempsey bit of magic in the first half was enough to see the US through, in a match that should've finished at least 2-0 (were we not playing in the CONCACAF confederation where the refs are several sandwiches short of a picnic) and easily could've been 4-0 had Brek Shea and Oguchi Onyewu not flubbed chances with the goal mouth beckoning. All that aside, one thing is clear: the US is making clear progress under Klinsmann's system. Now, assuming that against Ecuador we get to see players who deserve to be on the field (aka not Kyle Beckerman or Michael Orozco-Fiscal), then the US faces an Ecuador side who is easily beatable. They've just had to travel some 3,000 miles from their last match, a 2-0 win against Venezuela in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying.
But lets talk quickly about what we saw on Saturday night, having watched the match twice now, I'll give some quick player ratings and later today we'll preview the Ecuador match.
Tim Howard (9)- Howard got back to his old self in this one. His stop early on Bengston was world class. An always calming presence in the back.
Steve Cherundolo (6)- A sturdy night from the savvy veteran. Didn't get forward as often as US fans may be used to. Had some great set piece delivery as well.
Michael Orozco-Fiscal (3.5)- He continues to underwhelm at the international level. Have to think that all the faith that Klinsmann has in him is withering away with each poor performance.
Carlos Bocanegra (5)- An unsteady performance from Captain America. Was that because he was paired with a dismal partner for 45 minutes? Maybe, but he had some poor turnovers in the second half that led to chances for Honduras.
Timothy Chandler (6.5)- Pretty well cemented the left back spot until Steve Cherundolo retires/Eric Lichaj returns from injury. He combined well with Brek Shea and that relationship led to numerous chances created for the US.
Kyle Beckerman (4)-His stats are particularly woeful: 6 tackles, winning possession back on 2 of them, lost possession on 4 of them, conceding 3 fouls in the process. Was tackled himself 4 times, losing possession each time. That says everything I need to know.
Maurice Edu (6)- Strong play from Edu for most of the night. Tough in the tackle and decent in his distribution. Deserves another start vs. Ecuador.
Daniel Williams (6.5)- For his first ever camp, to earn his first ever start, that says a whole lot about him, and he rewarded Klinsmann's trust with a strong performance. Perhaps should've scored on at least one occasion.
Clint Dempsey (8)- Would've been a 9 if not for some poor turnovers that led to chances for Honduras in the first half, but past those, Dempsey had a magical night in the #10 jersey. I think we've finally found his proper spot.
Brek Shea (6.5)- Was all over the field, invading down the left but his assist came from the right side. He has semi-arrived on the international level, lets all remember that was a Honduras B team last night. Let's see what he offers against a full strength Ecuador side.
Jozy Altidore (7)- Jozy is oozing confidence right now and it's just great to see, he's still just 21 and fans are so quick to forget that sort of thing.
Oguchi Onyewu (6.5)- Instant upgrade over Orozco-Fiscal. If he doesn't get the start tonight against Ecuador, it will be shocking.
Michael Bradley (6.5)- Completed every single pass once he entered, he deserves the start against Ecuador.
DaMarcus Beasley (6)- Showed the speed on the flank that we all so desperately missed. I think he has a place in this squad if he continues to do well in Mexico.
Jonathan Spector (6)- Spector is the John O'Shea if the USMNT. Played well enough in his 20 minutes, and showed that when he's given the time, he can serve a deadly cross. Was robbed of an assist.
Juan Agudelo (5.5)- Only on the pitch for 10 minutes, but he was effective running at the backline and in hold up play.