US Player Ratings: Howard, Bradley heroes in Russia tie
The US national team picked themselves off the mat twice in the final 11 minutes to gain a 2-2 friendly draw away to Russia on Wednesday, largely thanks to the efforts of a few standouts.
The team started poorly, but gradually gained control before Michael Bradley rewarded busy US netminder Tim Howard with a stunning equalizer.
The visitors were soon hurt again by troubles at the oft-messy back, but pulled out the result in stoppage time when Mikkel Diskerud buried their second knockdown goal. Let's take a look at the grades.
Tim Howard (9) - Without three big-time saves in the second half, the US would not have been in position for a share. Howard's gem of an anticipation stop on Alexander Kokorin just after the break kept his side in the match.
Timothy Chandler (6) - It was a decent return for the FC Nürnberg right back, who was key to most of the away attack danger until the hour mark. Chandler, who did well to halt rushes up his flank, also was the most consistently solid US backliner on the night.
Geoff Cameron (5) - The Stoke City handyman was in command much of the night, including a pair of line holds that spared the US trouble. However, Cameron also needed quick cover for a few lost marks in vital areas.
Carlos Bocanegra (N/A) - The captain left after 15 minutes due to a hamstring injury, having made one of the aforementioned key plays to cover for Cameron before doing so.
Fabian Johnson (5) - The left back was fairly effective in the first half, but did get caught up on occasion. That mistake increased after the break, when his average defensive skills were also exposed a few times.
Daniel Williams (4.5) - The gate-keeper rallied to enjoy 28 strong second half minutes, but it could only have gotten better after an opening frame of woe. There was nothing to gain from even attempting the quick free kick that gifted Russia their opener.
Jermaine Jones (5.5) - Though largely frustrating before the break, the Schalke man turned his game into one of two halves. After tidying up his midfield play for a stretch, Jones virtually turned into a left-wing pressure machine.
Michael Bradley (8.5) - The Roma midfielder was good in the first half, but a man possessed after intermission. In addition to a scintillating goal, Bradley repeatedly cut off the hosts to send his team forward.
Josh Gatt (5.5) - There were glimpses of the winger's explosive potential, but most of his top plays actually came tracking back in defense. It was certainly not a bad effort for a debut in Russia.
Herculez Gomez (4.5) - Though he probably didn't see enough of the ball in 65 minutes, the Santos Laguna veteran failed to show much with it. Of course, Gomez also probably had the longest dose of jet-lagging.
Jozy Altidore (5) - The AZ hitman was not on top of his game, with a couple of important touches going astray as too much of his link play happened extra deep. Altidore's movement, however, worked Russia defenders.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (6) - There's a lot to consider here. On the plus side, the boys fought back from both an early wake-up slap and a harsh late episode against a strong host. He also dished out a load of minutes to developing players.
On the other hand, a defense overly populated with natural midfielders is still not working consistently and there were a few more triple-holding-mid frowns to go around. The shape and structure often suffered from these two problems, but Klinsi installed enough fight in the team for them to overcome it ... this time.
Clarence Goodson (4.5) - Everything was going along fine for the center back until he tripped up Artem Dzyuba with an area challenge that probably wasn't even necessary. After that, Goodson had a couple more nervous episodes.
Juan Agudelo (6.5) - The knockdown for Bradley's goal was supremely athletic. Agudelo also complemented Altidore in the troubling movement department.
Sacha Kljestan (5.5) - It was a lukewarm 25-minute shift from the Anderlecht ace, who missed a couple chances to make big plays.
Maurice Edu (5) - Seventeen minutes was just enough time for the midfielder to commit one defensive atrocity and to halt a couple of rushes.
Terrence Boyd (6.5) - Despite the short shift, the Rapid Vienna rookie gets good marks for the second equalizing assist. It was every bit the equal of Agudelo's in accuracy.
Mikkel Diskerud (7) - He comes on in stoppage time, then gets the equalizer. Is there a particular reason Mix doesn't play the waning moments of every USMNT match in which they are tied or trailing?