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11/23 5:00pm
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11/30 9:00pm
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11/23 1:30pm
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Eastern Conference Championship

Gold Cup: US Player Ratings in Gold Cup final vs. Mexico

Most of the gold stars came in the first half hour and the demerits after, leaving several US players blushing at their grades from a failed Gold Cup final test against Mexico.

It all went so right before it all went so wrong, leaving the US to watch their archrivals celebrate a second successive CONCACAF crown on their turf.

Tim Howard (3.5) - The netminder started the game in his usual strong style, but eventually fell victim to a few shaky moments, including on the equalizer. Pablo Barrera's winner came in rather quickly, but Howard would probably want another swat at it. Finally, on the Mexico capper, Howard was lured out of his net hook, line and sinker by Gio dos Santos.

Steve Cherundolo (N/A) - In what would be a key moment in the match, the right back was pulled with an injury after just 11 minutes. His big contribution in his brief run was earning the corner kick which set up the first US goal.

Clarence Goodson (4) - It was a very unpleasant first half for Goodson, who was beaten off both shoulders and over the top. He largely played better after the break and even tried to make an impact by wandering into attack.

Carlos Bocanegra (4) - The captain's poor clearance helped arrange Mexico's winner and the equalizing assist scooted just past his right boot as he turned to block left. On the plus side, Bocanegra had as many solid plays as the rest of the back line combined and nearly scored on a set piece.

Eric Lichaj (3) - To start with, there was his obvious "oof" on El Tri's second. That went beyond flub straight to perfect centering pass. Lichaj also has the oft-maddening habit of cheating badly from the offside line. The good news is he's a smart kid who just got back from school.

Michael Bradley (5.5) - He rose to the occasion of his first major final with a gorgeous kiss header for the opener. After that, Bradley was given far too much to do. He dropped into the box to help the defense on several occasions, but all the extra work seemed to dull that last level of sharpness when he was on the ball. The 'Gladbach man did nearly set up a grandstand finish with a late snap volley off his weaker left foot.

Jermaine Jones (3) - Despite a laundry list of mistakes made, perhaps the largest single biggest problem the home side had was the sheer ease with which Mexico strolled through Jones' zone nearly all evening long. What's more, Jones killed a few lively US rushes with turnovers.

Freddy Adu (6.5) - After being the best US player in the first half, Adu and his effectiveness were curtailed when Mexico started giving him more company. Still, it was a very encouraging match from Adu, who picked out Bradley for the opener and showed a lot of composure on the ball. He probably needed to see the ball more than he did, and a second half switch to the left may have helped free him up.

Clint Dempsey (5.5) - Deuce was decent in the first half, most notably playing in Donovan for the Nats' second. After intermission, he was mostly frustrated. Dempsey was unlucky to see a cracking potential 3-3 rocket rattle the bar.

Alejandro Bedoya (4) - His powerful running always opens things up for teammates, but Bedoya failed to make much of an impact over 63 minutes. He had a golden opportunity to make it 3-1 just before Mexico tied the game, but whiffed the shot and took a handball foul on the bounce.

Landon Donovan (6.5) - He still looks somehow just a shade off physically, though perhaps it's just his aggressiveness that's in decline. It seems like he would have angrily roofed that late chance last summer. Still, Donovan returned to the lineup with 90 positive minutes and a well-taken goal. 

Coach Bob Bradley (3) - Around the 27th minute, this looked to be the game that would end the twitterati's cries for a boss' pink slip. So much for that. There was no game management with a lead, no adjustments to the obvious problems being caused by Mexico, no magical sub makeover. Instead, we got an ice-cold Bradley favorite inserted for Cherundolo, poor defensive spacing and another cup final collapse after being up 2-0. And all that after his gutsy call to start Adu looked kinda brilliant for a while.

Subs:

Jonathan Bornstein (2) - He came in cold without having played in eons — and he looked it. His marks were given far too much room to run. He should have reacted to cut out the through ball on Mexico's first goal, even with the bad positioning, and he was caught lazily watching on the final two goals when he might have made a difference.

Juan Agudelo (5) - The substitute forward was barely dealt into the game.

Sacha Kljestan (7) - Four minutes, two potential set-ups. So why just four minutes?