US Player Ratings: No one shines in 2-1 loss to Jamaica
It was a tough game to watch and a tougher loss to swallow for the US national team in Jamaica, and the report cards reflect a dour night in World Cup qualifying.
The Reggae Boyz left the stadium feeling irie thanks to an overall breakdown in the US midfield and a pair of converted danger restarts for the 2-1 win. On the plus side, Jurgen Klinsmann should now go back into his chemistry lab for the Columbus return knowing that Friday night's formula definitely does not work.
Tim Howard (6.5) - The goalkeeper was unlucky on the first and helpless on the perfectly struck second. Howard's biggest contributions came with some hearty punches in traffic.
Michael Parkhurst (6.5) - The FC Nordsjælland ace stood up well to all comers down his flank in his most assured US appearance in recent memory. Despite not getting the interplay to move forward often, he did play a pair of dangerous balls in to the area.
Clarence Goodson (5.5) - The Brøndby man started solidly, but had a few issues in the back half of the opening frame.
Geoff Cameron (5.5) - The Stoke City midfielder was not actually asked to do much defensively on the night, but he should be more assertive moving the ball out of the back. Cameron did, though, come close to getting on the end of a dangerous cross on one foray forward.
Fabian Johnson (5.5) - The home side didn't test him too often. Like Parkhurst, Johnson had trouble finding opportunities to spring forward due to US build woes.
Kyle Beckerman (4.5) - The Real Salt Lake d-mid began brightly, but soon started leaving the gate open. On one of these occasions, Beckerman's foul teed up Jamaica's opener – which caromed in off his wall deflection.
Maurice Edu (4.5) - The fresh Stoke catch also started well, including a supporting role in the quick US goal. Miscast away from the midfield stopper position, Edu increasingly struggled until his foul set up Jamaica's winner.
Jermaine Jones (4.5) - Other than a handful of bang-ups, Jones was rather quiet. Like the other two defensive-leaning midfielders, he was largely unable to aid possession or attack.
Clint Dempsey (6) - Deuce made no mistake on a gifted early chance to run his USMNT goal streak to three games, but eventually faded. Of course, this stands to reason, as he had little help and had not played a competitive match since mid-June.
Herculez Gomez (6.5) - It's a shame he rarely saw the ball with space after it was his persistence that facilitated the fast US icebreaker.
Jozy Altidore (5.5) - The AZ Alkmaar hitman was treated to even less of the ball than his partner, but showed some good link touches until near the end of his shift. Still, as with his club, the time has arrived for Altidore to take more attack responsibility with the national team.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (2) - Simply put, the plan was all but a bust. Most glaringly, the fascination with asking defensive midfield types to provide possession and build play needs to die out. To be fair, injuries hampered his selection, but several better time-keepers (Feilhaber, Kljestan, Davis, Diskerud, McCarty) watched the game from home. What's more, clogging all these similar midfielders on the pitch effectively blocks the advance of the capable wingback attackers Klinsmann fielded. This is the type of blueprint problem that multiplies at both ends of the game.
By the time it's all done, the lead striker has been relegated to (by my hand count) 24 touches in 72 minutes and the over-tasked midfielders are giving away fatal danger free kicks because they couldn't properly close a lane having tried unsuccessfully to go forward. Between that whole mess and waiting until 18 minutes were left to have more than three true attackers on the field, the boss essentially signed up for the night's frustration.
Daniel Williams (4.5) - His inclusion did nothing to help the passing game; he was safe with the ball, in every sense of the word. That could be expected, but Williams was also oddly deficient in challenges.
Brek Shea (5) - Aside from one nice chipped cross, the FC Dallas winger seemed a step behind the action.
Terrence Boyd (NR) - Like Altidore before him, the forward sub had precious little sight of the ball.