USA Player Ratings vs. Honduras


By Michael Ligot

SANDY, UTAH — Ratings from the United States’ artless-but-successful 1-0 victory over Honduras in World Cup qualifying Tuesday night.

Tim Howard, GK — 6. Howard cleanly stopped everything that came his way, conceding no rebounds. He made the big save when it counted, particularly late in the first half when Andy Najar could have flopped the game’s momentum. In command of his box.

Fabian Johnson, D — 6. His overly physical play in the first half could have gotten the Americans in trouble with referee Enrico Wijngaarde. He made up for it with the key touch on Jozy Altidore’s goal. Needs to show a bit more consistency in national colors but is useful as a player who can play multiple roles.

Matt Besler, D — 5. There were some early communication failures with central defense partner Omar Gonzalez. Besler’s brutal giveaway to Najar before halftime almost resulted in a 1-0 deficit the US might not have been able to solve. He recovered with three crucial tackles and interceptions in the last ten minutes of the game. A mediaum day at the office for Besler but he is still the man at this position.

Omar Gonzalez, D — 4.5. An off-night. Like Besler, OG was guilty of giveaways Honduras was unfortunate to not cash in. He also hashed up a nice Graham Zusi set piece with a less-than-accurate header on goal.

Brad Evans, D — 5. Serviceable performance as a backline stopgap. He got the job done defensively and provided movement up the right flank, but could have been better on a goal-front header an hour in. Evans was susceptible to getting burned by fast wingers, which means he’ll move back to his midfield comfort zone when Messrs. Beasley, Goodson, Feilhaber et al. are ready.

Michael Bradley, M — 6. Bradley was wasteful on an early set piece when his effort smacked into the wall, and sent Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares’ spill of Clint Dempsey’s shot too high. He gave no quarters on defense and bulldozed more than a few dribbles through the clogged Catracho midfield. His persistence probably stopped the side dipping below an acceptable level of form.

Jermaine Jones, M — 4.5. It’s puzzling why the walking yellow card keeps starting, and not just this game considering he suffered a concussion ten days ago. Had a couple of nice forward runs, but committed a few defensive errors, and earned his usual caution when he carelessly thumped Roger Espinoza. Jones should have been subbed off a lot sooner, or should have been a sub himself.

Graham Zusi, M — 6.5. The Catrachos wouldn’t let him breathe at first, but when he got past his frustrations, Zusi converted. Took control of the Americans’ left-side attacks, delivered incisive free kicks that deserved better finishing, and his key pass to Fabian Johnson made Altidore’s goal possible.

Clint Dempsey, M — 5. Just wasn’t his night. In the first half, he put open shots wide, and in the second, Valladares stoned him. Had the United States not gotten full points, fans would have pointed to his inaccuracy. Strikers have off nights. When the side wins and takes a giant step towards the World Cup Finals, we’ll all get over it.

Eddie Johnson, M — 5.5. Another victim of Honduras’ muck-’em-up midfield strategy, as he saw few opportunities. Did get a couple of great looks, but his lack of goals were more from Valladares’ fine saves than wasted finishes. Showed he can function as an attacking midfielder when Altidore’s the lone striker.

Jozy Altidore, F — 6.5. He’s paid to score goals, and he did just that. Incisive finish on the game decider, and could’ve had another save an offside call. Must be careful to keep focus when jabbed and clutched by abrasive defenders, and not bark at referees who have shown multiple cards in a game. A team not quite stacked at forward can’t afford him sitting out on card accumulation.

Geoff Cameron (sub for Jones at 74′) — 5. More of a default score, as he didn’t contribute much other than one foul. However, with offense no longer the American priority (he entered right after the goal), he didn’t have to contribute much.

Brad Davis (sub for Zusi at 74′) — 5.5. Nice pushes forward shows he’s getting more comfortable wearing national team colors.

Edgar Castillo (sub for E. Johnson at 87′) — N/A. Three minutes.

Jurgen Klnismann, coach — 5. Had the right idea in wanting an up-tempo game against an opponent intent on slow-ball. That said, it’s surprising he didn’t try to mix up the American formation until well into the second half. If not for Altidore’s goal, he’d be criticized for too much patience. Also, his insistence on starting foul liability Jones over Cameron is perplexing, particularly given the latter’s excellent game against Panama. Maybe he’s waiting for qualification before he starts experimenting with his lineup?

Enrico Wijngaarde, referee — 4.5. Erratic at best. Blew some fundamental calls, such as a second-half American corner kick that should’ve been a Honduran goal kick, and ignored some American challenges that should’ve been cautioned.

It’s easy to see how he could have wanted to let the players play, but with heated rivals playing a physical game, the Surinamese’s 28 called fouls seemed a bit low and could’ve resulted in unwanted fireworks. That said, it didn’t so maybe he read the game well.

More USA v Honduras:

USA 1 : 0 Honduras – Match Report

Photo Gallery

Updated Table


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