USA v. Honduras – The Ratings

A 2-0 win in the books and a trip to the quarterfinals is set, now the US just needs to determine is rank in the group. A likely win against Haiti will put them at 3-0 and in 1st place.

After a bit of reflection on tonight’s game, here are the ratings:

  • Troy Perkins – 7 – Solid play between the sticks tonight, even if he didn’t have too many threats. Perkins distributes the ball well from the back and makes some pretty sound decisions. I’m looking forward to seeing Luis Robles on Saturday though.
  • Heath Pearce – 5 – Another shaky performance from the left back. He really struggles to defend against pace and tonight decided to show some more questionable decision-making. He makes some really rash tackles and has reverted into a bit of a kick-baller (though not as much as the 2 center-halves).
  • Michael Parkhurst3 – The worst performance on the night, Parkhurst was abused by the speedy Honduran forwards time and time again. He couldn’t keep up and resorted to fouling constantly to make up for it. He really struggles to play as a defender in a back four, as he’s more comfortable as a “sweeper” in a three-man line. He also seems uncomfortable with the ball and treats it like a hot potato. I came into this game not a big fan and only lost confidence in him.
  • Chad Marshall – 6 – He was pretty bad in the first half, but had a solid outing in the second. His positioning is pretty bad, but it’s hard to tell at times if Parkhurst’s woeful positioning just makes it look worse than it is. Marshall won quite a few aerial challenges, but didn’t appear to be terribly strong when going head-to-head with a forward. Between Parkhurst and Marshall, the US played entirely too many kickballs out of the back.
  • Steve Cherundolo – 6 – Solid outing from Dolo today, though he got beat a bit too often for my liking at the back. His advanced play is good (and his crossing was pretty good too), but he often leaves himself too vulnerable to pace, and it showed a few times tonight.
  • Kyle Beckerman – 7 – Beckerman started off the first 10 minutes or so a bit shaky, but quickly settled in and was a force in the midfield. He made quite a few tackles all across the field, showing his range as a defender. He made some good passes too, though he has some mental lapses that lead to turnovers. I think he could easily play as a lone holding mid in this squad, and definitely should be brought in ahead of guys like Kljestan in the future.
  • Logan Pause – 4 – He’s got a fair amount of skill, especially with his passing and vision, but his decisions are slow. He’s also a pretty weak defender and was constantly being covered by Beckerman. I’d like to see someone else against Haiti, maybe Holden?
  • Robbie Rogers – 7 – A good effort from Rogers, as he was the only one of the starters to put much pressure on the Honduran back line. I’m a bit worried though, because Rogers is proving to be incredibly one-dimensional – he can’t run in anything but a straight line down the field and has no ability to cut his defenders inside to keep them honest. He’s a good crosser and uses his speed well, but better teams are going to easily lock him out of a game.
  • Santino Quaranta – 8 – Good game from Quaranta. His talent shown through for the most part, showing why so many people have had high hopes for him for so long. His finish was absolute quality on his goal. I think he deserves some chances to prove his worth with the “A” team over the next 12 months, provided he keeps his form up at club level.
  • Freddy Adu – 6 – He did what he could, but it was clear that Ching’s inclusion meant we would long ball the entire game. For the most part, we bypassed Freddy with over-the-top balls and made him somewhat an odd man out. Sounds like he’s heading back to Benfica in the next few days – and frankly, I don’t blame him. He deserves chances with the top players, not scrubs like Ching and Pause.
  • Brian Ching – 3 – It would have been a 1, but he “shouldered” in a ball off someone’s back. Yes, the goal counts no matter how you put it in, but it was pure luck that he scored. He completely whiffed on the header. The rest of the game was much of the same for Ching – walk 75%, run 10%, lose the ball 25%. Some writers are defending Ching to the death, but it’s becoming quite obvious to anyone that has played or coached soccer at a high level that Ching’s worth is incredibly low on the field.

Subs

  • Charlie Davies – 8 – He changed the game (along with Feilhaber). Speed, work rate, and skill – all things that he has that the rest of the players on the field didn’t.
  • Benny Feilhaber – 8 – He changed the game too, and was arguably the best player on the pitch from the moment he entered. His natural ability is simply unmatched in the US pool.
  • Kenny Cooper – N\A – He played well, but 5 minutes isn’t enough for a rating. Personally, I hope he puts in about 15 goals against Haiti and sends Ching back to Houston.

Coaching

  • Bob Bradley – 2  – Everyone is going to give him credit for the subs, but why? Cooper, Davies, and Feilhaber all should have probably started this game. Bradley loses credit for not starting them in the first place. If I held Kaka out of a game until the 60th minute, I’d look like a genius for bringing him in too. Bradley loses more credit for his clear affinity for Brian Ching.

Feel free to leave me your comments and ratings below!

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16 Responses

  1. I’ve never been impressed with Ching and it blows my mind that:

    a) people refer to him as if he’s the USA’s offensive solution (how many times was he mentioned during the Confed Cup?)

    b) time that could be used to give promising players like Adu, Davies, and Altidore more opportunities to improve, polish off their games, and build chemistry is being wasted on him.

    He’s up there with Eddie Johnson for me. Someone who supports him PLEASE explain to me how – exactly – he is a “difference maker” and starting XI material.

    I don’t have anything against the guy other than I don’t think he’s sophisticated enough to provide us any offensive action vs. legit opponents.

  2. Ryan and CSC,
    I couldn’t agree more with the whole B. Ching analysis. I am baffled as to why BB continues to use the “holding attacker” strategy. Especially against CONCACAF teams. We should be looking to open things up and play creative, free flowing futbol in this tourney instead of crappy, kick-ball soccer. Frankly, I have been impressed w/ Beck as CM. I would love to see a midfiled of Holden, Beck, Benny, and Rogers. Also w/ davies and Cooper up top (since Adu is no longer an option). What do you all think?

  3. Well, it looks now like Benny went back to Europe today too.

    I’d like to see Rogers, Holden, Beckerman, and Quaranta start across the middle.

  4. I’m not a huge fan of Ching either, but you guys are really not giving him is due. He was involved in both goals last night, and that feed to Quaranta in space was brilliant.

    While io liked the combo of Davies and Altidore in the Confed, after tonight I’m wondering if Davies should come off the bench, added huge speed against tired legs. The one thing Ching does well is the one thing that Davies can’t do, and the one thing Altidore needs desperately: playing well with your back to goal.

    Its also pretty obvious that you are sold on Adu. As a DC United fan, I got to see him do nothing for a quite a few years, even though they tried him at just about every Mid field and attacking slot possible. I can tell you this though, there is a reason why he doesn’t get playing time at Benefica, Monoco, and why he never did much in the MLS. The reason? He really isn’t that good. He may develop into something if he gets more time in Europe, but signing him into the MLS at 14 instead of letting him go to europe severely retarded his development. He may never reach his potential.

    • Chris, thanks for the discussion.

      I think the Ching “involvement” last night is getting a bit overplayed by a lot of people (not necessarily you) who want to support him and support Bradley’s affinity for him.

      Sure, he made a nice touch on Feilhaber’s run, but it’s not something every forward in our pool couldn’t have done. It was a simple 1-2 play with Feilhaber where Ching acted as the wall. It was Davies that made the feed to Quaranta.

      Obviously he deserves some credit for his goal, but he also completely missed that header, only then catching it with his shoulder.

      I’m not sure what you mean about Ching doing something Davies can’t do?
      Right now, Davies should be starting every single game as a Nat. Sure, his speed is great off the bench, but why does that mean he can’t play a full 90? His speed in the first 30 minutes of the Spain game is what put La Roja on its heels.
      Same with Brazil.

      We’re not the type of team that can afford to hold out for “super subs”, at least not currently. Maybe 10-12 years down the road, but not now. We need our best players on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.

      As for Adu, I’m far from sold him as a player, but I love him as a prospect. My biggest issue is that too many people are holding him to an impossible standard. The insane hype that ESPN laid on him really colored the perception of him across the country.

      He’s got a wealth of talent, but he’s still a kid. He’ll keep moving up the ranks, but I still think he needs to be given time to develop.

      At the same time, he certainly deserves more of a chance with the “A” team than guys like Conor Casey and Sacha Kljestan.

  5. Seriously, thank you for telling it how it is with Ching. I was ranting the whole game to someone that he looked like garbage and was killing the US. Of course he scores and Sullivan was singing his praises as a “box” player. Glad to see other US fans have the same sentiment.

    I feel for Adu. He finally gets to play with another creative player in Davies against Grenada and looks very good. Then he gets stuck with a stiff like Ching and people wonder why he didn’t produce. He had two of the best touches in the game but neither Rogers or Ching could finish.

    Unfortunately, this is why the Conf. Cup success was a mixed blessing. People are using it as a reason why Bradley is a good coach. They see results and miss that the process is lacking. I hope players like Adu play well enough with their clubs to force Bradley’s hand, but I fear that’s unlikely.

    • I thought it was pretty funny that Sullivan and Bretos kept calling Ching’s headers “good efforts on goal”, when in fact most of them were nowhere close.

      As my brother and dad said last night “Is it good if he just gets his head to it?”

      • Considering his goal came when he missed it with his head (or barely touched it) maybe trying to get his head it is part of the problem.

        Do you think the love for players like Ching comes from people wanting to make MLS more of a legit league internationally? Sort of a “if Brian Ching is a key part of a solid International side and is a top goal scorer in MLS then MLS = quality league”. I dunno, I just feel that MLS based players get more breaks and opportunities than ones with foreign clubs. But since it’s just a feeling, I could be wrong.

      • I think the Brian Ching thing stems from everyone wanting a natural successor to Brian McBride. I’m going to try to get a piece together in the next 24-48hrs or so on how McBride’s success has affected soccer strategy in America.

  6. While I agree with some of your ratings, it seems as if you came into the game with preconceived feelings about certain players and stuck to them regardless of how the players actually played last night.

    For instance…giving adu a 6 is generous. He does look comfortable on the ball (something you can’t say about a lot of US players), but he actually did very little that was positive. That said, he also didn’t do anything negative, so I guess that should be considered a positive in some regard.

    Also, it’s obvious that you are no fan of Ching and likely never have been. While I wasn’t extremely impressed with him for much of the game last night, he did have a hand in both goals, and really, that’s what his job is as a forward. You say, “it’s becoming quite obvious to anyone that has played or coached soccer at a high level that Ching’s worth is incredibly low on the field.” So clearly people like Bob Bradley, Bruce Arena, Dominic Kinnear, Frank Yallop and the many players that sing his praises are completely wrong about his abilities?

    Also…the fact that you dislike BB is pretty obvious too. He made the right subs when they needed to be made. You dislike the fact that he didn’t start Feilhaber and Davies (I didn’t like it either when I saw the lineup)…but it’s a relatively weak tournament in which we’re just assessing options. It’s okay to try out new guys.

    Basically, it’s obvious that we disagree on some of the ratings. Others I agree with wholeheartedly. Just got to keep the debate going so that soccer continues to moves forward in this country.

    • First of all bayern, thanks for reading and replying.

      A few thoughts

      -You are right in that I’m not a huge fan of Ching or Bradley, but I’m also not that big of an Adu fan (yet). I love his potential, but he’s just not had much chance to show it yet. I will agree that, looking back again this morning, Adu probably deserved a 5. I hesitate to drop him much lower though because he was given very little opportunity to impact the game with the pairings behind him.

      -On Ching: My comments about him being useless are more aimed specifically at the international level. He’s obviously a class striker for Houston and I wouldn’t debate it for a second.
      However, for this particular player pool, Ching just doesn’t fit (and nor will any “target” player like Casey, etc.). We’ve got this fantastic pool of players with speed and the ability to launch lethal counterattacks, but instead we use Ching and play “route 1” ball.
      Against Spain, we showed what we can do with speed, rather than a “hit and hope” strategy.
      Ching did have a hand in both goals, but it’s foolish to say his hand in the first one was all that great (Feilhaber did the dirty work there and used Ching as a wall, something any of our other strikers could have done just as well), and the second one he completely missed the header, only to have it hit his body and then the Honduran defender’s body and make it past the keep. He was in the right place, sure, but he should be as a striker. He got quite a few other opportunities that he did nothing with though, and that’s the norm for Ching at this level.

      -On Bradley: I just find it a bit foolish to credit Bradley for those subs. It was easy to see that Davies and Feilhaber were immediately the best 2 players on the field, and any coach in MLS or College could have made the same 2 subs.
      The issue is that he didn’t start them in the first place, in favor of Logan Pause and Brian Ching (or Freddy Adu even). While it’s fine to say we’re assessing options, we already know what Ching offers, while most people want to see if Davies can keep his play up through a full tournament. In Pause’s case, he was pretty poor in both games, but it didn’t make sense to bring Feilhaber in to sit the bench.
      As a coach, it’s high time we start expecting Bradley to improve and show that he’s capable of getting more out of his players.
      Most of the media is content with Bradley, but it’s a bit disappointing that all we see is blind praise of the coach, rather than some much-needed criticism.

      I have a brother that was a quality striker and we’ve got quite a few friends who are\were coaches at a pretty high level – and almost every single one is bemused by the praise Bradley gets.
      For the most part, he’s changed very little about the team since WC 2006, except that Onyewu, Donovan, Dempsey, and Bradley have improved (and in Bradley’s case, arrived), while Beasley has regressed mightily.
      He’s made a conscious decision to stick with quite a few players that continually fall on their faces, namely Kljestan, Casey, Ching (ok, not fall on his face, but far from a success), Beasley, Eddie Johnson, Danny Califf (we finally got to see DeMerit instead in the Confed Cup and he was fantastic), etc.

      Unfortunately, I feel that a lot of the mainstream media is holding back on Bradley for one reason or another, and most of them seem to buy into his philosophies hook, line, and sinker.

      I’m going to write a piece soon on the “Myth of the Target Striker” and how Brian McBride’s career has affected the future of American soccer.

      • I look forward to reading that upcoming piece! It seems like we are stuck in the lone “target striker” mode. Why? I have no freaking clue… it clearly is an inferior option to other styles we could use (such as we did in the CC when forced too).

        The main gripe is: why has the USSF stuck with it so darn long?

  7. Just want to give a quick thanks to everyone that has commented so far.

    Please, always feel free to leave me comments and analysis of your own in any of the stories. I receive all the comments by email and am doing my best to discuss each comment with its author.

    -Ryan Noel

  8. over on another board, where most posters think junior is an creative midfielder! and must also be related to the bradleys, santino’s been trashed. Im glad to see you agree hes got a lot of skill and deserves a high rating for this game.

  9. I think you’re right about US fans (and coaches) wanting another McBride. But the truth is, we have PROVEN that we no longer need a McBride. We have speedy, yet strong and technically good, strikers now, and I for one could not be happier. I absolutely loathe the “target striker” style. It is better to let the play build up, leading to strikers, or have fast guys to counter with (Donovan used to be the only one who could do this).

    Another thing, though this point is on another matter, is that Tino Quaranta is only 24. A lot of people on other boards have written him off because they remember him from a few years ago and consider him past his prime. But he entered MLS at age 16, and at 24, he looks poised to play for at least another 8 years or so. Hopefully, he gets a shot at the World Cup next year (imagine him subbing in for Davies in the 65th and having Dempsey move up top, then taking over Dempsey’s position. I would love to see this happen), or at least in 2014 or 2018. I know I’ve been very pro-Quaranta in other comments, because I am a DC United fan, but does anyone disagree with me that he was the best starter last night? His touches and crosses were class, and he only had a couple turnovers. Not to mention the goal that was beautifully set up by Feilhaber and Davies, guys he seems to have good chemistry with (base don post-game comments). I am excited to see more of Tino in “A” team games. Maybe after we’ve qualified for next year (knock on wood), he can get some PT in meaningless qualifiers and the “farewell tour” before the event.

    • I think Santino certainly merits a call-up for Mexico in place of Beasley, but I think he still has a ways to go to put everything together on the international level.

      Like Beckerman, his peaks and valleys during play vary pretty wildly – some good touches and some really bad ones too. But, Tino proved he’s easily one of the 2-3 most talented players in the Gold Cup squad.

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