USMNT Player Ratings: Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore get top marks as US roll
The US national team will be running home with their report cards after patiently blanking CONCACAF World Cup qualifying guests Panama in Seattle on Tuesday night.
Jurgen Klinsmann's boys finally learned how to pick apart an opponent together, throwing continuous body blows until the roundhouse openings arrived.
GK Tim Howard (7) – The backstop didn't have much to do, but pitched in with one great punch and a fine save to seal the shutout. Howard also distributed well.
RB Brad Evans (5.5) – Playing in his MLS park, the Sounders man had plenty of struggles shutting down crossers and defending 1-v-1, especially in the first half. He eventually settled down and found a couple ways to display how his long throws can be dangerous.
CB Omar Gonzalez (6.5) – It was the Galaxy star's most solid USMNT display in defense, even with the stoppage time demerit for offering Panama their best chance of the night. Gonzo also moved the ball safely.
CB Matt Besler (6.5) – Not given much to do at the back in the first half, Besler mostly stuck to moving the ball simply. His grade came down a bit for badly losing his man at the edge of the six near the hour.
LB DaMarcus Beasley (7.5) – Rarely tested at the back, the natural winger was often busy raiding down the flank. Shortly after making his lone defensive error, Beasley streaked into the area to strike the post.
DM Geoff Cameron (7.5) – The Stoke City handyman definitively announced his candidacy for the defensive midfield spot, constantly interrupting Panama's attempts at flow. He had a few minor slip-ups after the break, but who cares after that delicious assist?
DM Michael Bradley (8) – The Zen-eral was at his best in patrolling central park. With Cameron minding the gate, Bradley took every opportunity to surge into attack, keying the opening goal among his several threatening rushes.
RM Eddie Johnson (7.5) – Panama have seen more than enough of the Seattle ace, who took his fourth career World Cup qualifying goal against them well. It was a deserved goal after a performance filled with good decisions and good touch on the ball.
CAM Clint Dempsey (7) – It was a very sturdy showing from the captain, who battled both physical play and several unfavorable whistles to keep the team moving forward. Dempsey never quite managed to bust the game wide open, coming as close as the wise bounce shot that kissed the crossbar.
LM Fabian Johnson (6) – It was not the best overall night for the left winger, but his assist feed on the opener was picture perfect. Johnson should have had two helpers, but shorted Altidore on a breakaway pass.
FWD Jozy Altidore (8) – If any of us made up a list of all the possible plays we'd want to see from a No. 9 striker on a given day, Altidore would have ticked just about all available boxes. The goal, his third for the US in 10 days, wasn't even near the best of his plays on the night. The AZ Alkmaar hitman could have had more, were it not for having both perfect breakaway runs and a decent penalty complaint ignored.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (10) – What more could you ask for, other than maybe one less time striking the frame? Simply put, it was the best tactical and technical 90-minute outing from the team under Klinsi.
LM Brad Davis (-) – Barely saw the ball.
CM Joe Corona (-) – It was only a cameo, but he should have done better to send Beasley in alone as added time began.
CM Stuart Holden (-) – Welcome back to the real games, Stu.