USMNT Player Ratings: Attack draws high marks, but backline still in need of improvement after lapses
The US national team kept the centenary party going at RFK Stadium on Sunday, mostly drawing high marks for a thrilling 4-3 friendly victory against Germany that was fitting of a 100th anniversary celebration weekend for U.S. Soccer.
Though the defense had its problems, coach Jurgen Klinsmann had already unchained the attack against his native national team. Led by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, the USMNT successfully built a big lead and managed to make it stand up in the end.
GK Tim Howard (6) – The look on the Everton backstop's face after Max Kruse struck inside the near post for Germany's second tells all you'd need to know about whether he thinks the shot should have been stopped. Howard might also wonder if he could have done more with the rebound on Germany's third. Other than that, it was business as usual, with five saves and good area command.
RB Brad Evans (8) – It was a revelatory performance for the Seattle Sounders man, who did not put a wrong foot until neglecting to close down a shooter in the 68th minute. In addition to several sharp plays at the back, Evans provided some pinpoint long-ball service that had Germany on their heels early.
CB Omar Gonzalez (4) – After a fair first half, the Galaxy star suffered through a nightmare second. Culpable in some way on all three Germany goals, Gonzalez made his biggest error abandoning a set-piece mark right in front of goal on Germany's opener. It could have been worse if not for repeated help from Evans.
CB Matt Besler (5) – The Sporting KC defender had some struggles in the opening half hour, but settled down to make some plays at the back. Though not quite ready for 90 spotless minutes at this level defensively, he was tidy with the ball.
LB DaMarcus Beasley (6) – Once again, "Run DMB" got busy putting down tracks in the US attack. However, Beasley's defensive inexperience at left back peeked through at times, such as being undressed to the middle by André Schürrle and trying to shield the giraffe that is Per Mertesacker in the area instead of booting away hastily.
CM Jermaine Jones (9) – Given a gate-keeping partner, Jones enjoyed his most measured and complete game as a US international. Jones' 26th-minute tackle to stop a Germany give-and-go as it was about to "go" was a heist the envy of Danny Ocean. He also moved the ball forward smartly, notching an assist on Dempsey's winner and nearly adding a goal when robbed on a set-piece header.
CM Michael Bradley (7.5) – It's amazing how smooth and composed the US midfield gets when the Roma man is on the field. Bradley didn't star like Jones on Sunday, but he certainly set the stage for him.
RM Graham Zusi (7) – Though he faded after the break, the Sporting KC playmaker was a key to the fast start. His cross for Altidore's opener could not have been more accurate or easy to strike.
LM Fabian Johnson (6) – Though it was a relatively quiet half on his USMNT return to the wing, Johnson caused the Germany defense plenty of headaches solely with his runs.
CAM Clint Dempsey (7.5) – While slightly invisible until the hour, Deuce closed strong with a fine finish from each foot. Before then, Dempsey did contribute some nice defensive work.
FWD Jozy Altidore (8.5) – Lifting the weight off his shoulders, the AZ Alkmaar hitman buried the opener with style – the run to gain space was as good as the volley. Altidore went without the ball for a long stretch before eventually teeing up Dempsey's first with a sublime chip on the cut back.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann (9) – It had to be a special day for the coach, who outfoxed his old team and his old Mannschaft assistant. If anyone wearing red, white and blue deserves credit for the comical Germany own-goal, it's Klinsi, whose high-pressure set-up facilitated the incident.
He also returned Johnson to attack, won out with his most curious starter decision thanks to the showing of Evans and finally figured out how to utilize Altidore to great effect. Even with the backline still in some disarray, the only thing keeping this below a perfect mark is that the win came in a friendly against a "B" side.
LM Brad Davis (6) – It was another professional outing from the Houston Dynamo man.
RM Eddie Johnson (6) – The Sounders forward took a short spell to warm up, but ended up relieving a bit of pressure with patient attack play.
LB Edgar Castillo (4.5) – The Tijuana left back was certainly active in his 34 minutes of play, providing a bit of offensive support and one great hustle clearance in the 86th minute. However, he also had a few rather shocking moments in defense.
FWD Terrence Boyd (-) – Not enough time for impact.