The US national team got by doing the bare acceptable minimum in a 1-0 Friday night victory over Haiti that clinched their place in the Gold Cup knockout phase.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann's made a list of changes to the team and game plan, causing a lot of episodes of disorganization. However, his halftime nod to Gyasi Zardes quickly paid off on Clint Dempsey's winner and Brad Guzan held down a sometimes shaky fort to book the USMNT's 50th Gold Cup win.
Brad Guzan (7.5) - After an early dipper hitting the top of the goal gave him a startle, Guzan responded with an alert all-around outing. The Aston Villa backstop stonewalled Duckens Nazon near the hour, distributed well and commanded his area.
Brad Evans (5.5) - While the Sounders defender was decent but not deadly on the ball throughout, his defensive work formed a tale of two halves. Evans was the steadiest US back liner before the break, but committed a few troubling errors in the second period.
Omar Gonzalez (6) - The right center back wasn't directly confronted much in the first half, but was among the guilty on a late breakdown that could have proved costly. He performed well after intermission, with a big help tackle and a shrewd line hold among his best battle victories.
Tim Ream (5.5) - It was an roller coaster showing from the Bolton ace, who committed an uncharacteristic bad giveaway in the US end and was burnt on the aforementioned Nazon chance. However, he also came up with a smart cover play on the quarter hour and a big shot block 10 minutes from time.
Gregory Garza (5) - Right off the top, full kudos for picking up an assist with a terrific lob feed to Zardes on the winning play. That duly noted, let's now talk about his string of defensive lapses and some unnerving giveaways. It's a concern that Garza is not growing more consistent in his own end.
Michael Bradley (6.5) - It was another decent but unspectacular outing from the captain, who is now apparently working every midfield role except the one he's best equipped to play.
Graham Zusi (4.5) - There were plenty of workhorse qualities to admire from Zusi, including a couple of big backtrack plays. However, he was nearly invisible in the final third, which eventually ceded Haiti advanced field positions to attack down that flank.
Mikkel Diskerud (6) - It was not a great start to the night for Mix, who gave up a pair of danger free kicks in the opening half-hour, including one facilitated by his own turnover. But he gathered his game on the ball, completing 50 of 55 passes, and eventually his defensive involvement rose.
Clint Dempsey (7) - Of course, we'll start with his make-no-mistake winner. Other than that, Deuce didn't have the busiest game, but he generally bulled the team forward when given the chance.
Aron Jóhannsson (7) - This was the most comfortable US performance to date from the AZ Alkmaar forward, who deserved the goal that was wrongly waved off by the linesman's flag. Jóhannsson stayed aggressive all night and routinely opened space with his running.
Jozy Altidore (3.5) - On the other hand, Altidore struggled through his worst half in a US shirt in memory. It was disheartening to see him shy away from firing with a left foot that he regularly used to score with at AZ. After fumbling a sweet entry feed near the interval, he got the early shower.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (4) - With eight line-up changes and a head-scratcher of an opening formation to consider, one can't help but think the coaching staff is either a) being too cute for its own good, or b) has somehow not settled on a Plan A yet. Switching to the diamond midfield was only mildly helpful... and this was Haiti, folks. It should not take so long to see when the tactics aren't working.
Gyasi Zardes (7) - The halftime entrant had immediate effect with a smooth cutback assist and remained a handful to the Haiti back until the final whistle. Even though he completed 24 of 27 passes, his grade was knocked down a half-point for a pair of bad turnovers.
Fabian Johnson (5.5) - Brought on midway through the second frame to play left back, Johnson was predictably helpful on the ball and worrisome guarding the back post.
Kyle Beckerman (5.5) - It was a nice and tidy late shift until the midfielder coughed up a bad giveaway at the side door of the US area in stoppage time.