US Player Ratings: Report card in on Klinsmann's debut
Though the US national team waited until the final half hour to come up with answers for arch nemesis Mexico, new manager Jurgen Klinsmann and his subs pulled passing grades late in a 1-1 Philly draw on Wednesday night.
Some of the midfield starters reverted to bad old habits, but the defense generally stood tall to give the hosts a chance to rally on fresh legs.
Tim Howard (6.5) - He had no chance on the goal and little else to do, apart from a few authoritative charges to gobble up crosses. With a green defender in front of him, it was good to see Timmy stay in his ear all night.
Steve Cherundolo (6) - The veteran was only beaten in his corner once, when he took a quick throw-in nap and had to foul. Cherundolo didn't get forward as much as you'd like, but that's mostly due to possession being scarce and/or brief for most of the opening hour.
Michael Orozco Fiscal (6) - For making his first appearance since 2008, the San Luis defender offered a decent blend of poise, pressure and positioning. He does need help with ball movement out of the back, but it was a good showing against some league play foes.
Carlos Bocanegra (5) - He gets a bonus for firing off the team's first shot of the night with textbook restart target form. At the other end, however, the skipper had a few issues. Most notably, Bocanegra was too slow to react back home from his set piece mark on the goal play.
Edgar Castillo (5) - Given his first left back shot with the US, Castillo came out motoring for about 20 minutes. He stopped getting forward, but defended surprisingly well most of the night. However, the one time he didn't get in a shirt, the cross ended up in the net.
Jermaine Jones (4) - Apparently out there in Waldo's hat and glasses, the Schalke man was largely invisible. Of course, when fronting the defense against Mexico, that's not good. When he did get involved, it wasn't much better.
Kyle Beckerman (6) - There were some things about Beckerman's play to like, such as actual positional defending from central midfield. Still, he often lingered on the ball in his own end, which disrupted the US ability to play forward smoothly at times.
Landon Donovan (7) - Though he wrong-pegged Torres on a danger rush, the LA Galaxy star rarely put his own feet in the wrong place. Donovan didn't see the ball enough early, but had the motor running in wait to turn threat.
Michael Bradley (5.5) - It wasn't a bad shift, but Bradley had trouble making an impact in a more advanced position when the US wasn't being patient with the ball. Of course, that was going on most of his shift.
José Francisco Torres (5) - While he played a few nice lead balls after halftime, Torres was church quiet out left before it. There was also a couple of shocking turnover passes in his own end.
Edson Buddle (5) - While consistently positive as an aerial target, Buddle was a bit too unavailable for ground passing. He also tried running at multiple defenders alone, which is a big no-no when the new idea is holding the ball.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (6) - With it being his first game and one where trying out players was part of the plan, it almost doesn't seem fair to grade the coach ... but let's do it anyway. Klinsi didn't blow us all away at the premiere, but he was basically successful on the night. He saw those players, managed the game and got a result when another loss to Mexico would have stung.
Brek Shea (7) - Teeing up a tap-in equalizer with a nifty area play certainly counts as making an impact off the bench. We shall soon see more of his lively gait, to be sure.
Juan Agudelo (7) - Speaking of high-steppers, Agudelo helped set up the goal by stretching the defense on the US throw to allow Shea a set-up lane. He also skipped out of trouble in the US end to unleash Rogers with a sublimely weighted breakaway pass.
Robbie Rogers (7.5) - Not even counting the easy goal, this may have been the best 17 minutes of USMNT play we've seen from Rogers. Not only did he move things along in attack, he tracked back to make two terrific defensive plays.
Ricardo Clark (-) - Though he didn't see enough time for a proper mark, it should be noted that he took a wild shot when he could have slipped Shea in alone as easy as pie.