USMNT Player Ratings: Average marks across the board in underwhelming win over Azerbaijan
The US national team started its tune-up path to World Cup 2014 with a generally tidy but underwhelming 2-0 victory over friendly visitors Azerbaijan at San Francisco's Candlestick Park.
The starters failed to punish the UEFA mites despite being given large amounts of space on several occasions, leaving Jurgen Klinsmann to rely on late strikes at the end of set pieces by subs Mikkel Diskerud and Aron Jóhannsson.
Tim Howard (6) - The US netminder probably could have chilled in a beanbag chair for much of the night, but he did well to deal with one long drive in with tricky wind conditions.
Fabian Johnson (6) - The right back came out flying at the start of each half, then faded a bit both times. During his raids forward, though, Johnson did supply a couple of dangerous centering feeds.
Geoff Cameron (6) - The Stoke City handyman was given so little work in 45 minutes, it's hard to grade him away from the average rating.
Matt Besler (5.5) - Imagine that! The left center back also had precious little to do on the night. His mark takes a hit for a worrisome giveaway early in the match that led to Azerbaijan's only shot on target.
DaMarcus Beasley (6) - A bit player before departing at the break, Run DMB did find a couple of occasions to motor threateningly into attack.
Jermaine Jones (5) - Yeah, he stayed home, but Bradley was rarely far away and the opponents did not pressure either of them much. Still, Jones had virtually no impact on the ball and committed a sloppy turnover in the US end near time.
Michael Bradley (6) - US metronome worked a decent shift but can definitely make better decisions in the final third. Bradley finally took part in a goal play when his rebound was tucked in by Diskerud for the late winner.
Graham Zusi (6.5) - The Sporting KC man was involved in some good rushes and twice supplied assist-worthy service. However, his impact wanes when switched to the left.
Alejandro Bedoya (6) - The wide attacker played both flanks solidly, but most of his highlight moments came in the opening half hour of a 71-minute shift.
Chris Wondolowski (5.5) - The third "W" suffered a bit of an unlucky night. Wondolowski can certainly find openings, but probably would have done better to hit a downward header on his second free shot at goal. However, his link play is visibly lacking.
Jozy Altidore (6) - The striker remained lively through a pretty good beating across 90 minutes. We'll always take seven restarts from the power forward, but Altidore is capable of more.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (5) - Right off the top, this space says the 4-4-2 diamond formation is ill-advised. And in this match, it was poorly spaced for much of the night, a factor in the team waiting so long for the icebreaker despite 70 percent of possession. We cannot really learn much about the back from a home friendly against such a limited opponent, but one thing seems clear about the attack. If this is all the offensive aggressiveness the team will show in the run of play against Azerbaijan, there may well be a systematic problem where there wasn't one last year.
Brad Davis (6.5) - The Houston Dynamo attacker came to play, showing intensity from his entrance. Of course, the Davis calling card is restarts and two of his found their way into the net.
Omar Gonzalez (6) - See the Cameron comment.
Timmy Chandler (6) - Though his actions were not always precise, the left back sub made the effort necessary to push the attack forward.
DeAndre Yedlin (6) - A smooth but uneventful showing.
Aron Jóhannsson (6.5) - Bada-bing! Unlike with Wondo's two big headers, the AZ Alkmaar hitman left Azerbaijan's goalkeeper no chance at his.
Mikkel Diskerud (6.5) - Burying the winner earned Mix this thumbs-up rating, but he did little else.