Gold Cup: US player ratings from win over Jamaica
Though they took a load of lumps from a physical Jamaica side, the United States maintained their cool to ease into the CONCACAF Gold Cup final four on Sunday afternoon.
Both Jermaine Jones and Jozy Altidore left with limps, while other Nats repeatedly had to pick themselves up off the ground with a grimace. Nevertheless, the tourney hosts put in their most assured display since the opener by controlling the game with patient possession.
Tim Howard (7.5) - The big early kick save was crucial to the US plan of controlling the game. He also made a good low stop late.
Steve Cherundolo (6.5) - Though he had a few problems with Jamaica bursts down his flank, the Hannover 96 captain again made repeated impact in attack.
Clarence Goodson (6) - The Brøndby cop had a couple of hesitant moments on his beat in the first half, but was beyond tidy after the break. It was Goodson who expertly snuffed Jamaica's best speed move into the area with a precise tackle on the pivot.
Carlos Bocanegra (5) - Though given the least heavy back line workload, the skipper still had a few ups and downs near the ball. Most notably, he made a helpful block, flicked on for Dempsey's acrobatic attempt, was found watching a rebound and served one weak rolling clearance straight to an opponent at the top of the box.
Eric Lichaj (6) - He probably wanted to do a little better on the Bradley-made shot, but just getting there to take the chance is a welcome play not often seen from US left backs. Lichaj made a handful of sturdy defensive plays, including a pair in the goalmouth, but still needs to improve at holding the line.
Michael Bradley (5.5) - While the time keeper showed well, sprayed the ball around and generally avoided getting caught up, he was slack with the offside line and possession on Jamaica's best two chances. It is nice, though, to have a holding midfielder that can make an outside-of-the-boot slap pass to open up a defense.
Jermaine Jones (7) - There were a few occasions in the first half where his energy level boiled over, including the silly card. After intermission, Jones was everywhere, from covering in defense to surging forward like a support striker. While the goal was deflected, give him credit for putting the low, hard shot through traffic.
Alejandro Bedoya (6.5) - Other than a nice cross and a header just wide, Bedoya was not especially a purveyor of end product. However, he may as well sign the plowed road enjoyed by his teammates because that, too, was a work of art. Jamaica's defenders will be glad to see his insistent running gone.
Sacha Kljestan (7) - Forget the Sweden hat trick. Factoring in degree of difficulty and situational importance, this was easily Kljestan's best overall USMNT performance. He did a little bit of everything and always kept the ball moving. The Anderlecht man even defeated his noticeable reluctance to shoot by testing the keeper once from distance.
Clint Dempsey (7.5) - What finishing problems? Setting aside that Deuce should probably asked to be paid by the kick suffered, the attacker moved into a fifth-place tie with Bruce Murray on the all-time US goal chart with a smooth criminal finish. It was fully deserved, as Dempsey put Donovan Ricketts to work on a number of occasions and provided plenty of grunt possession work.
Jozy Altidore (-) - It's a shame his day was cut painfully short because Jozy looked very eager to pounce in the opening moments.
Coach Bob Bradley (8) - Amid growing cries for his job, the boss tweaked formation slightly to own the center of the park and control the game. This is what the US should be trying to do against all regional foes not named Mexico, his charges followed orders and the plan worked. Let's also give some props for pulling the same strings for 75 minutes without his power forward. This time, Bradley's famous tactical stubbornness counts as a gutsy positive.
Juan Agudelo (7) - Though he still holds the ball too long on occasion, the Red Bulls prodigy was extremely lively. Best of all, he drew a save from distance and served a nutmeg assist on the insurance tally.
Landon Donovan (6) - It was a hot and cold 25-minute shift in Donovan's first US sub appearance in over four years. He worked an expert 1-2 to free Agudelo for the insurance set-up, but also made a bad pass in his end that resulted in him conceding a danger free kick.
Maurice Edu (6) - In his quarter hour, the Rangers silver collector did what he does best: disrupting the opponent and moving the ball away quickly.