There were few true standouts for the US national team on a night when the grades reflect a tough 3-2 CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico on Saturday night.
The Nats were never in command of the proceedings and rarely looked like a side up for competing in the Confederations Cup, a berth which went to the evening's winners. In the end, what should have been a hope-renewing overtime strike by sub Bobby Wood ended up overshadowed by a 118th minute wonder strike by Mexico's Paul Aguilar.
Brad Guzan (7.5) – The Aston Villa man can't be faulted much on any of the goals and he nearly got to Aguilar's soul-crushing golazo. Before then, Guzan made about every 'keeper play in the book, from a swashbuckling charge out of the area to a huge 47th-minute save.
Fabian Johnson (5.5) – There weren't any major defensive issues with the 'Gladbach-winger-turned-US-right-back. Johnson also was helpful on the few occasions he got forward, such as when his run opened space for Wood to strike. It just didn't happen near enough, and the failure to mount more attack up the flanks hurt in the overall scheme. The occasion needed a little more.
Geoff Cameron (7) – Though among the culpable on Mexico's opener, Cameron was also the most hung out to dry on the play. Soon thereafter, he broke loose to tie the game with a sure restart header. He was huge in the second half, a highlight his snuffing out an Andres Guardado threat. This space cannot fault him much on the first El Tri goal of the overtime frame.
Matt Besler (6) – Besler was perhaps even more involved in breaking up threats than Cameron, but also had more shaky moments than his central partner. We won't dock him for getting away with what could have easily been a penalty handball late in regulation, but the Sporting KC defender spent a portion of the contest chasing the action and was a primary culprit on the Mexico opener. His grade reaches passing because he also pitched in with a few big blocks and no less than five important clearances between minutes 65 and 90.
DaMarcus Beasley (4) – After a fairly strong opening period, the veteran went on to have some clear troubles. He was bailed out by both a Guzan stop and a Mexico handball in the second half. In extras, Beasley combined with Jones to err on the second away strike and then lost a major gamble to free Aguilar on his winning volley.
Kyle Beckerman (5.5) – The midfielder was badly beaten on the quick Mexico tally and had other hairy moments in the opening phase. When the midfield line flattened out, he proved much more dependable at stopping rushes. Not much to speak of going forward, though.
Jermaine Jones (5) – The effort was certainly there, but when entering the attacking third, Jones handled it with all the ingenuity of a great central midfielder. There were also a couple of late defensive breakdowns, with the lost crosser on Mexico's second sticking out.
Gyasi Zardes (5.5) – The Galaxy attacker started the game pretty well, with a good early cross and plenty of defensive effort, then faded until being removed in the 78th minute.
Michael Bradley (6.5) – There was a bit of early sloppiness on the ball in the US end, but Bradley made amends with dangerous restarts of all kinds, despite precious few chances. His assist to Cameron was served on a platter and he nearly sneaked home a direct free kick. The grade gets dragged down a small amount by a turnover/foul and missed slip pass opportunity in the second half.
Clint Dempsey (4.5) – It's quite rare to see Deuce almost totally unable to find the game, but it happened on the wrong night. Dempsey did not even look threatening until nearly half-time. His best second half raid ended when he failed to make a snappy decision or create a better angle for the play.
Jozy Altidore (5) – The big striker went close with a tough try in the 40th minute, and generally did good hold-up work which went under-utilized much of the night. He even tracked back for a few defensive helps, but was too often missing from the box when the team managed to get forward.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (5) – Let's face it, this was a thoroughly flat performance despite the two equalizers. While flattening the midfield solved the early problems caused by Mexico attacking up the gut, the manager never really addressed his own side's spacing/organization once they crossed midfield.
The offense did almost nothing on the flanks, so everyone rushed to a crowded middle and got stuck in traffic. In the final analysis, though, Klinsi can't really be blamed for Beasley's ill-fated charge out of position two minutes from penalties.
DeAndre Yedlin (6.5) – The first US sub had little impact until extra time. Then, Yedlin set up the second equalizer with a cool through ball.
Bobby Wood (7.5) – The Union Berlin forward ratified his super-sub badge by placing the perfect croquet shot for what looked to be an all-important equalizer. Wood was active throughout his 22 minutes of action.
Brad Evans (6) – It was only nine minutes at right back, but Evans handled it quite well.
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