Player Ratings: USMNT 1-0 Ecuador

IMAGE, USSOCCER.COM

by PATRICK MacDONALD

A tale of two halves…I feel like I write that phrase a lot when it comes to the U.S. National Team.

Nevertheless, it’s a phrase that encapsulates the U.S. under Klinsmann once again after a strong second half performance put the USMNT over Ecuador.

Jurgen Klinsmann started a veteran heavy lineup that struggled against the Ecuador attack while producing little of its own. But when he introduced newer players like Darlington Nagbe, Bobby Wood, and Christian Pulisic, the attack came alive in some of the more exciting displays of offensive prowess in some time.

But enough summarizing of the match, let’s take a look at the individual performances.

Brad Guzan – GK: 7
Had a number of fine moments in the 1st half as the U.S. played on its collective backheel. Did well to keep Ecuador off the board.

DeAndre Yedlin – RB: 7
Looked comfortable once again in his natural position, had a shaky moment or two in the first half, but by and large was solid on defense and dangerous going forward, with his cross leading to the U.S. late winner.

Steve Birnbaum – CB: 5.5
Took a while to get going, looking very shaky early on, but he eventually settled down and established himself as a nice partner alongside Brooks. Should be fine if Cameron can’t get back on the field from injury.

John Brooks – CB: 7
The knock on Brooks in the past has been that he only performs well with an experienced defender alongside him. However tonight he was the elder statesman on the backline and looked like a real cool character. Killed a number of Ecuadorian chances, particularly in the first half when the U.S. was on its back heels. Passed well out of the back too.

Fabian Johnson – LB: 6
Didn’t have his usual impact on the offensive side manning the left back position, but as good as he is on the wing, he might be the best choice at left back for the U.S.

Kyle Beckerman – CDM: 6
Beckerman once again did what was expected of him, hanging in front of the backline and passing well out of the back.

Michael Bradley – CM: 7
Was OK in the first half playing more advanced, but really made a difference when Klinsmann moved him back to the #6. Beckerman’s eventual replacement may have been on the squad the whole time.

Jermaine Jones – CM: 5.5
Jones was fine overall, and even had a nice shot on frame, but didn’t produced the results in an advanced role that he has with Colorado.

Gyassi Zardes – LW: 3
Zardes has all the skill in the world which is why he gets called up to the national team. But his touch is just BRUTAL. Going forward, unless the U.S. needs a late goal, he should remain firmly on the bench for the remainder of the COPA, and back in L.A. for qualifiers until he improves that touch.

Graham Zusi – RW: 5.5
Had a decent look or two going forward, but was by no means a game changer.

Clint Dempsey – F: 5
Not much service, didn’t do much on the few chances he got. He’s better in a more withdrawn role.

Substitutions:

Darlington Nagbe – CM: 8 – EoS MotM
A true difference maker for this squad. The U.S. attack came alive as soon as the Timber midfielder stepped on the field. And of course, he bagged the game winner.

Bobby Wood – LW/F: 7
Usually you expect your forwards to score goals, but assists are also much appreciated. A dangerous cross of his went unrewarded when he was initially on the wing.

Christian Pulisic – LW: 7
Sure he’s 17, but it would seem to be a mistake not to start this kid. He gave the Ecuadorian defense fits the entire time he was on the field.

Alejandro Bedoya – CM: 6
Should have made it 1-0 sooner on a cross, but looked very comfortable in the center of the pitch, and was yet another cog in the improved second half attack.

Matt Besler – CM: N/A
Late cameo without much to do.

Michael Orozco – CB: N/A
See Matt Bessemer

Jurgen Klinsmann: 7
Klinsmann went pragmatic and the results showed. He put his players in position to win and was thusly rewarded. The big question going forward: does he bench vets like Dempsey, Jones, and Beckerman for wunderkinds Wood, Pulisic while shifting Bradley to CDM?

  • DrTruth

    Bessemer?