Player Ratings: Belgium 2-1 USMNT

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

By PATRICK MacDONALD
Staff Writer

Let’s face it; were it not for Tim Howard standing on his head, this game could very well have been a massacre.

While many will applaud the various moves of Jurgen Klinsmann (and rightfully so — in some instances), one would be remiss to see how little he believed in his own side. He believed for the three years leading up to Brazil.

Once at the Cup, he took his team into a shell. He was able to get through the Group of Death with the strategy, and admittedly, he should be commended for that. However, 90+ minutes of timid soccer against an underwhelming Belgian side cost the U.S. a date with Argentina in the quarterfinals.

Hopefully he learned his lesson and adapts for 2018.

As for the rest of the team? Here are your ratings:

Tim Howard – GK: 9 (EOS MotM)
When you face as many shots as he did, you’re bound to let in a couple. Heroic performance, particularly in the second half where he faced a barrage of shots for nearly the entire 45 minutes. The only reason the U.S. had any chance in this encounter is because Howard was in net.

Fabian Johnson – RB: 5
Subbed off early due to injury and was not particularly a contributor throughout his time. May have been carrying a hamstring injury into the match.

Omar Gonzalez – CB: 7
Was stellar clearing many Belgian opportunities. He came into the Cup with so many question mark,s but covered himself in glory over the last two matches.

Matt Besler – CB: 5.5
It’s hard to give Besler a low rating as he was tremendous throughout the Cup and through most of the initial 90 minutes, but Lukaku just bossed him in extra time and contributed to the overtime collapse.

DaMarcus Beasley – LB: 7
Tremendous getting forward and defensively stout. Can’t ask much more from someone who is a natural midfielder.

Geoff Cameron – CDM: 4
He was OK defensively, but for a man who’s passing was supposed to be a strength, he was way off. Looked jittery at the start of the match and failed to find a comfort zone.

Jermaine Jones – CDM: 7
Once again, Jones as one of the best players in this encounter as he has been throughout this World Cup. Should have had a game winning assist, but that is another story entirely.

Graham Zusi – RM: 4
No shock he was subbed off. Zusi was supposed to ease the loss of Landon Donovan this World Cup cycle and fell woefully short. May have been his worst match.

Michael Bradley – CAM: 5
Had the nice assist on Green’s goal, but too little too late. The good news is that in four years, he’ll return to his deep lying role with Jones and Beckerman likely out of the international picture. The bad news … that has already happened.

Alejandro Bedoya -LM: 5
Played a little better than Zusi, but also offered very little in terms of offense. Looked gassed late in the match.

Clint Dempsey – F: 5
Had a golden opportunity to tie it late and put it right at Courtois. In context, Dempsey is not a target forward, and had huge shoes to fill in Altidore’s absence. Nevertheless, an ineffectual performance from the team captain.

Substitutions:

DeAndre Yedlin – RB: 7
Brought a ton of energy to an otherwise stagnant U.S. attack, and his defensive game didn’t suffer either. Not bad for a 20-year-old less than two years removed from the college ranks.

Chris Wondolowski – F: 3
It pains me to do this, but Wondolowski is the goat of the match. Did everything he’s known for; getting into a dangerous position, finding the ball in space and winning challenges in his few looks. However, he not only missed the potential game winner, but also shanked a shot in overtime as well.

Julian Green – LM: 7
When Green’s name was called at the half of overtime, many were skeptical of the inclusion — as is usual with many of Klinsmann’s late game substitutes. However, he managed to show in a big way, giving the U.S. a fighting chance when they had none. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come in 2018.

  • Totally agree everything written. Everybody just seemed to be “off” in the match.