Energy. The US Men's National Team finally showed some energy in their dominating 4-0 win over Guatemala. The win saves the USMNT from essentially being mathematically eliminated from World Cup contention. After a complete lackluster performance just four days prior in Guatemala, the US team dominated the game from beginning to end.
Clint Dempsey opened the scoring in the 12th minute when a long ball from Cameron went off a streaking Zardes shoulder and fell perfectly to Dempsey who hammered it home. Geoff Cameron headed home the second goal in the 35th minute on a Michael Bradley free kick. Last minute call-up Graham Zusi gave the US a third goal just after half in the 46th minute and Jozy Altidore added one for good measure in the 89th minute to give the US the 4-0 win.
Much happier grading this game, pretty solid scores all around.
USMNT Player Ratings (out of 10):
Brad Guzan, 8 - Not much to go on as he was not called into action much all night. Made one diving save, securing the ball to not allow a rebound and knocked the ball away on a potentially dangerous cross.
DeAndre Yedlin, 7.5 - Yedlin showed off his speed all night offensively and defensively. Seemed comfortable at right back. Set Zardes free on the lead up to the third goal.
Steve Birnbaum, 7 - Did not have much action but was solid when called upon.
Geoff Cameron, 9 - Great header for the second goal and was a rock in the backline. Knocked away a dangerous cross near the mouth of the goal but mainly was just what the US desperately needed which is stability at the back.
Edgar Castillo, 6 - Shaky at times on the ball and on defense but did disrupt a few counter attacks.
Kyle Beckerman, 8 - The RSL mid was like a fly that will not go away. Beckerman was all over the place. Sure he missed a tackle or two but overall a really solid game.
Michael Bradley, 7 - Jekyll and Hyde performances continue for the captain. Much better for Bradley. Great free kick to set up the second goal by Cameron. The negative has to be his finishing though, just not good enough at all. Still shacking my head on a chip shot from outside the 18 with the keeper still inside the 6 yard box.
Graham Zusi, 7 (off 81) - His free kick expertise was not on target for the night but provided the team with a lot of energy and effort. Nice finish on the loose ball in the box.
Gyasi Zardes, 5.5 (off 71) - Technically had two assists on the night. One was off the shoulder and one was a misdribble off his own but that dropped to Zusi. Provides energy and speed but his first touch is atrocious. At one point a simple trap turned into a 10 yard back pass to a Guatemalan attacker to start a counter.
Clint Dempsey, 8 - Much better from Dempsey. Took the first goal really well and was dangerous all night.
Bobby Wood, 6.5 (off 66) - Tried hard all night but points deducted for not being able to finish at point blank range on a lob pass from Bradley. Still not sure what happened.
Jozy Altidore, 7 (on 66) - Quiet night except for his one shot which turned into the fourth US goal.
Ethan Finlay, 7 (on 71) - Lively action and was robbed of a goal by a faulty offsides call.
Christian Pulisic, 6.5 (on 81) - The 17 year old Borussia Dortmund wing made his USMNT team debut. Not a bad 10 minutes for the teenager. Showed aggressiveness and no fear to take on defenders.
Pathetic. Really the only word for describing a 2-0 defeat in a crucial World Cup Qualifying Match against a team you have not lost to in 21 years. Guatemala scored twice in the first 15 minutes to take the lead and never looked back. Horrible defending from the USMNT and once again extremely questionable lineup and decisions from the coach Jurgen Klinsmann as the US drop to third in their World Cup Qualifying group.
Not fun rating such a horrid performance but here's the player ratings:
USMNT Player Ratings (out of 10):
Tim Howard, 4 - Welcome back Tim. Ok, done with the positives, should not let a ball under his legs on the 2nd goal, understand it was a breakaway but that is a no-no for keepers. Little he could do on the first goal as he stretch but could not reach the ball off Diskerud's butt (more on that soon)
Geoff Cameron, 5.5 - Got the start at RB, gave the ball away in the first half too many times. Moved to CB in the second and performed better.
Omar Gonzalez, 4 (off 66') - Allowed Ruiz to run free and was just poor overall. Probably not as bad as Orozco but that is like comparing a knee replacement to a colonoscopy.
Michael Orozco, 3 (off 59') - What exactly were you doing out there Orozco? Should probably put some blame on Klinsmann for just putting you there but not a CB type performance in a WCQ. I guess it was better in the second half until he was subbed.
Edgar Castillo, 5 - Not a horrible performance from Castillo but nothing completely stood out.
DeAndre Yedlin, 4.5 - Started at wing and moved to RB at half. Tried to use his speed but not much going for him going forward besides one cut back cross that could not be finished.
Michael Bradley, 2 - Captain of a poor performance. Shooting could not hit the broad side of a barn. I think he was aiming for the 50th row in the stands. Jekyll and Hyde performances once again.
Mix Diskerud, 1 (off 45') - Docking points because he was manhandled like a rag doll on the first goal that literally came off his butt as he was thrown to the ground off the corner. USMNT version of the Mark Sanchez butt fumble. When is the last time he played CM for the USMNT with Bradley? Huh?
Alejandro Bedoya, 5 - Should have scored twice, Nice runs and effort but poor finishing. Gave the ball away a few times in the attacking half to kill any chance. Like the effort he put in but just not good enough.
Clint Dempsey, 4 - Docking points because he should have finished multiple times but either a step slow or put it right at the keeper. Has to find the back of the net. Really created or was at the end of almost every chance but US needed a goal and he did not get it done.
Bobby Wood, 4 - Only real chance was a sliding effort he just missed. Nicely set up Dempsey for a shot on goal but again, US needed a goal and he could not find the net.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, -10 - I never grade the coach but just horrible. I could not resist. He once again spun the wheel of chance to choose a back line that has never played together. What in the world are you thinking?!?!?!
Darlington Nagbe, 5 (on 45') - Did ok, but nothing special.
Gyasi Zardes, 3 (on 59') - First touch is atrocious. Got caught offsides when there was no reason to be that could have been a great chance. Could not get crosses off when they needed to be.
Jozy Altidore, 5 (on 63') - Had a great chance late but could not put it pas the keepers leg. Would have been great to pull one back in the 83' but was not meant to be.
The USMNT U-23 took on Colombia's U-23 in the first leg of a home-and-away playoff to see who will have the opportunity to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The game was played in Barranquilla, Colombia in over 100 degree temperature.
Luis Gil opened the scoring in the 5th minute on a goal from a cut back cross by Mario Rodriguez. Gil almost made it 2-0 off a deflected Morris cross but the ball wide. Columbia tied it up 1-1 on a Penalty Kick in the 68th minute. The game ended 1-1 with the US really holding on to earn the draw and secure the crucial away goal.
The second leg of the playoff will be held Tuesday, March 29 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas 9:30 PM ET and will air on ESPN 2.
Difficult game to grade for many members because the US had less than 25 percent possession. Colombia really dominated much of the game. The US defense was under constant attack as the team settled deep and went for occasional counters when they could hold onto possession.
US U-23 Player Ratings (out of 10)
Ethan Horvath, 7 (off 45') - Almost got caught coming out too far on a cross but showed well coming out of goal to win a header which lead to an injury and being subbed off before half.
Kellyn Acosta, 5 - Caught ball watching and allow dangerous shot early on, gave up penalty trying to recover from a Miazga miss. Acosta was under constant pressure and handled himself decently but made several mistakes which almost cost the US more than just one goal.
Matt Miazga, 5 - Made a silly mistake by misplaying ball leading to penalty trying to volley the ball over his head.
Tim Parker, 7.5 - Strong challenges and handled himself well. Strong performance by the Whitecaps defender.
Eric Miller, 6 - Strong defensively but some poor dribbling and clearances while on the ball deducted points.
Matt Polster, 5 - His name really never came up during the game which is not a good thing for a midfielder where the US had almost zero possession. Made a nice run in the box late but not really sure what else.
Wil Trapp, 5 - Similar to Polster, did not help with possession at all and was dropped deep in defense for the entire game.
Emerson Hyndman, 6 - Gave up a stupid foul to allow free kick in dangerous area early on but overall thought he was the best midfielder on the field for the US. Had some crucial wins on the ball and held possession. Not great but the best of the bad bunch by far.
Luis Gil, 6 (off 66') - Gave the US the lead by scoring the opening goal on a nice run to finish a Rodriguez cross. He did miss a golden opportunity to put US up 2 on a run by Morris. Gave away the ball time and time again in the midfield.
Mario Rodriguez, 6 (off 72') - Nice hustle and cutback assist on the opening goal. Other than that he was pretty silent having to help out defensively.
Jordan Morris, 6.5 - Tried hard throughout the game, made a nice cross that almost led to a 2-0 lead and then hit a heck of a shot off the outside of his right foot from outside the 18 that unfortunately hit the bar. Did not see much of the ball and can work on his hold up play but good game from the new Seattle Sounder overall.
Cody Cropper, 7 (on 45') - Gave up a PK goal, but other than that was solid in goal and showed nicely on a cross.
Fatai Alashe, 5 (on 66') - Came on for Gil and immediately gave the ball away in the midfield to continue the possession struggle.
Kiesewetter, 5.5 (on 72') - Tried to make his classic runs up the sideline but overall not much impact on the game after coming on for Rodriguez.