The US national team debuted a new shirt and a new prospect in a 2-2 draw on Wednesday night against archrivals Mexico that featured a standout display from Michael Bradley.
While none of the home side's report cards will be shame-inducing, the midfielder stood well above the class, along with netminder Nick Rimando and opportunistic scorer Chris Wondolowski. While the forward may not have needed the extra "W" tonight, coach Jurgen Klinsmann will bemoaning some second-half breakdowns and a late offside flag call that cost him his.
As a periodic reminder, the grades are handed out on a scale with "6" as an average, least-we-could-expect performance from the player. The grades are also relative to minutes played, meaning a 90-minute "7" is more impressive than one given for 20 minutes on the field.
Nick Rimando (7.5) - There was no shame in the No. 3 netminder's game, as Rimando rang up four saves, a couple of strong punches and a big cross claim in a crowd during Mexico's surge. The Real Salt Lake star was at his best to tip over a tricky header shortly after the break.
Tony Beltran (6.5) - The right back's first-half display was terrific at both ends, including the secondary assist on Wondolowski's goal. However, Beltran was being overrun by the time he departed, including being deftly turned in the area just past the hour mark.
Omar Gonzalez (5.5) - Speaking of two-half tales, Gonzo was as good as Beltran in the opening frame and quite a bit more disastrous after halftime. The Galaxy defender looked downright elegant in the first half, but got picked off on Mexico's first goal and then allowed Alan Pulido to sneak from his back pocket for the equalizer.
Matt Besler (6) - For the most part, Besler was quietly solid. He was not to blame on either El Tri goal and moved the ball along safely with one notable first-half exception.
Michael Parkhurst (6.5) - Though limited from having effect with crosses by playing on the left, the Crew handyman worked a decent two-way shift. Parkhurst was very useful in possession while the US were dominating the first half, and later, the waning moments of the game.
Kyle Beckerman (6.5) - There was an awful lot to like from the RSL midfielder in this contest, especially in the first half. Beckerman ably facilitated Bradley's fine performance for much of the night, but was less vigilant at the gate after intermission and tardy out to pressure the Paul Aguilar shot off the post that allowed Mexico to tie the game.
Michael Bradley (8) - There were definitely stretches of the second half when his influence temporarily waned, but for the lion's share of the night Bradley was flashing his general's stars all over the field. The Toronto FC ace coolly bagged the opener, coolly flicked on for the second and generally did next to whatever he wanted.
Graham Zusi (6.5) - The Sporting KC playmaker faded in and out of the game, and there were a couple of worrisome back passes in the early phase. Then again, he still managed to key plenty of rushes over the night, most notably when his platter service fed Bradley for the opener.
Brad Davis (5.5) - There can't be many major gripes with the Houston Dynamo veteran from this game and he could probably put a dangerous ball in the mix from the parking lot. And yet, there is often this feeling that his overall game just moves one gear too slow for this level.
Clint Dempsey (6.5) - Though Deuce barely showed his face in the Mexico area for about 60 minutes, the Texas tornado turned fierce. Those who say Dempsey can't make the killer pass or feed the wings saw a whole lot of those things in the second half. Sans one highly questionable offside flag, he'd have notched the winning assist with a delicious through ball.
Chris Wondolowski (7) - What more can you ask of the guy than to awkwardly stab home while crawling across a defender with his back partially to the ball? Wondo also managed to put a dangerous cross in, but his limitations at this level were occasionally visible.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (6.5) - This is a tough one to call. There was plenty of good and bad to talk about down at the pub. Obviously, the first period was marvelous, among the cleanest and cleverest halves filed under Klinsmann.
Just as clear was the difference in his team after the pause and before anything could be blamed on friendly subs disturbing the flow. That flow was disturbing and there has to be recognition when an opponent is surely bound to alter the paradigm on you.
Nevertheless, the boss eventually had the situation settled and his boys never lost their fight. Throw in some great experience for certain youngsters and what looked to be a poor offside call, and it's a safe passing grade.
Landon Donovan (6) - For the first portion of his half-hour on the field, Donovan looked oddly dull moving forward. Then, he practically pulled the team on his back and scampered them down the field several times in search of a winner.
Julian Green (6) - An unfortunate slip on the turf aside, the debutant did not look out of place. While he certainly wasn't flawless, Green absolutely should have earned a danger free kick on the edge of the area after slyly duping two defenders toward the middle. More of that, please.
Clarence Goodson (7) - As has become customary in his USMNT outings, things got a lot calmer with the San Jose defender out there. Goodson made three big shot blocks in the late going.
Eddie Johnson (6.5) - The D.C. United striker did not have great impact for much of his shift, having started to drift wide too much. But the unavoidable reality is we should all probably be talking about his sweet finish for the winner right now.
DeAndre Yedlin (6.5) - Perhaps you didn't notice, but this cat can motor down the wing. This time, Yedlin kept it tidy for 19 minutes, a definite step up from his last cap.
Maurice Edu (7) - Though he was beaten a few times by combo running near midfield, Edu managed every time to recover for the steal before Mexico could approach the US area. The Philly Union midfielder also dispensed the ball quickly and cleanly in an 18-minute outing that saw him face pressure. Mo is back, folks.