The US national team pulled out the win against friendly visitors Iceland on Sunday night at StubHub Center in Carson, California, but that rally did not change the fact that their overall performance left a bit to be desired.
The home side fell behind twice against another January "B side" opponent, but the troubling concessions only seemed to spark reasonably quick replies. In the end, their mistakes were covered up by a second half pair of restart tallies.
MLSsoccer.com USMNT Player Ratings
Luis Robles (5)
The Red Bulls' netminder was the victim of a deflection on Iceland's first goal, but was caught far too married to the near post on Aron Sigurdarson's second strike. Robles logged a single save, on a shot hit straight at him.
Brad Evans (5.5)
The Seattle veteran completed a handful of helpful passes into attack, but also was guilty of allowing too much space on his defensive flank on a few notable occasions.
Michael Orozco (5.5)
Orozco had a decent first half in central defense before switching to right back at the break. Then, not long after his timid defending allowed Sigurdarson space to fire Iceland's second, the Tijuana defender atoned by netting a set-piece equalizer. A couple of passing turnovers in the US end dips his grade below passing.
Matt Besler (5.5)
The Sporting KC man was most guilty on the Iceland opener, with his off-balance attempt to deal with a high ball essentially teeing up the scorer. There were a few other shaky moments from Besler, though he also contributed some positive passes forward and piled up 11 pass picks, including six in or directly in front of the home area.
Kellyn Acosta (5.5)
The FC Dallas debutant was among those caught spectating when Besler's flub created a problem, but he tidied up his defensive game after that. Acosta also eventually was able to get forward, creating real danger on a pair of occasions.
Jermaine Jones (6)
The veteran midfielder made plenty happen with his incisive passing during the first half, including the attack starter that led to the first US equalizer. He was much less involved after the break and made way with 20 minutes remaining. Still, his willingness to stay back helped to unleash Bradley.
Michael Bradley (6.5)
The Toronto FC star was probably the most culpable of the ball-watchers on Sigurdarson's opener, but he soon made up for it with a nifty through-ball assist. Bradley eventually set up the winner from one of his dangerous restart serves. For much of the day, he was the lone USMNT creator in attack, but this space doesn't exactly find that to be a good thing from an overall team standpoint.
Ethan Finlay (5)
The Crew winger had his moments taking on defenders, but underwhelmed during his hour of work. He was a little too eager to sky bad shots and never dropped a dangerous feed into the box.
Lee Nguyen (5.5)
The Revs' ace should have earned an early assist with a fine diagonal cross to the back post, but it ended up being his best set-up moment of the game. It wasn't a bad showing, even if more aggressiveness in the final third could have been useful.
Gyasi Zardes (5.5)
Zardes pitched in with a few strong hold-up plays, including one on the first US goal. However, his most noteworthy moment came when he blew the chance provided by the aforementioned Nguyen set-up.
Jozy Altidore (7)
His day was not only defined by the clever finish and a smart secondary assist – Altidore was easily the most troublesome US attacker, with his runs repeatedly unsettling Iceland.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (5)
Despite the comeback victory, there was plenty to be concerned about. The team struggled thorugh much of the first half, with the "empty bucket" formation breeding an almost total lack of organization. Things were clearly better after the break, but the boss still insists on jamming square pegs into round holes too often. What's more, the defense often looked a mess on the rare occasions it was called to service.
Steve Birnbaum (6.5)
Were it not for his set-piece output, this would have been a very different grade. The halftime sub was quite leaky at the back, despite not having so much to do. That being said, he effectively saved the day with a perfect knockback assist and an even better winning header.
Darlington Nagbe (6.5)
It was another impressive half-hour from Nagbe, even if he didn't particularly feel like staying in a wide position. The MLS Cup champ once again provided link play after link play.
Tony Tchani (5.5)
The Columbus midfielder enjoyed a quiet but serviceable debut.
Jerome Kiesewetter (6.5)
The Stuttgart II winger was certainly not shy. He immediately shipped a pair of dangerous centering feeds, won two corner kicks and constantly opened space by forcing his defender to stay wide.
Jordan Morris (-)
Only a few touches during his late cameo.