US Player Ratings: Another setback for new-look USMNT
BRUSSELS, Belgium — The US national team suffered a mild setback in their renovation project on Tuesday night, often waffling their way through a 1-0 loss at Belgium.
On a nasty, wet night, the Americans stumbled in several areas of their game. Numerous short passes were lazily hit while long balls out of the back made an unwelcome return, and team spacing was regularly a mess.
Through their standard amount of fight, the US nearly rescued a draw — but that result would have been slightly flattering.
Tim Howard (7) — The netminder got away with getting stuck in no man's land on one corner kick and perhaps could have done better on the screen shot that got by him, but huge saves on Timmy Simons and Everton buddy Marouane Fellaini wowed. Howard also did well to handle the wet ball all night.
Steve Cherundolo (5.5) — Though solid defensively for most of the night, the Hannover 96 captain was badly beaten into the area late. He did not get forward as much as usual and misfired to the keeper on one of his two prime crossing chances.
Clarence Goodson (5.5) — Like Cherundolo, Goodson was generally sturdy on the night. However, he was quite fortunate to get away with the late slip that allowed Romelu Lukaku in alone.
Carlos Bocanegra (5) — The captain had a couple of recurring issues on the night. His positioning occasionally left something to be desired and he needs to break the hoofing habit.
Timothy Chandler (5) — For a first time at left back, it wasn't too bad — but we aren't grading on an experience curve. Most notably, Chandler routinely overplayed to the middle, leaving loads of space on his side. Predictably, his attack play up the new flank was a bit tentative.
Maurice Edu (6.5) — While several of his teammates were lacking positional discipline and passing wildly, Edu was busy putting out fires and moving the ball simply. Of course, he was also inexplicably robbed of the equalizing goal by the obviously confused linesman.
José Torres (4) — It was always going to a tougher battle than Saturday considering the size of Belgium's midfielders. The Pachuca man battled, but in doing so, he often either held the ball too long or misfired his passes. Torres also failed to track his opposites into the box on a few occasions and served too many flat restarts.
Clint Dempsey (5) — The fight and drive were there as always, but it showed that Deuce had the least amount of prep time in the new style of anyone. When he was supposedly moved wide at halftime, somebody forgot to tell Dempsey. He barely even looked toward the flank and this caused constant spacing problems.
Robbie Rogers (4.5) — Given a half, the Columbus Crew attacker was most useful by winning a few danger free kicks. Beyond that, he was largely invisible.
Brek Shea (6) — No US player was as dedicated to get balls into the box, even if they weren't all top shelf. Shea also got his wheels turning on occasion, but still needs to make a few more of those moves wide.
Jozy Altidore (5) — The striker held the ball up well enough but didn't get much help during his 45 minutes.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (4) — When the spacing is as bad as it was much of the night, the boss has to fix it. Instead, it only got worse. Another night of limited sub use is a real head-scratcher, especially after the crazy 10-time zone travel between two friendlies in four days.
Kyle Beckerman (6) — The Real Salt Lake man definitely helped stabilize things a bit.
Juan Agudelo (4.5) — It was a tough night for the New York Red Bulls phenom, who still chooses to go it alone too often.
Jeff Larentowicz (N/A) — The late sub was not overly involved in play around the ball, so there's not much to grade.