USA v. Honduras, Player Ratings

Once again, this B\C\D squad (or whatever arbitrary algebra you want to use) pulled out a scrappy victory against a team that looked better through most of the game.

Honduras controlled the ball for stretches, but just lacked any ability to take advantage of that possession in the final third.

The US, on the other hand, was mostly poor through the match, but relied on the wonderful set pieces of Stuart Holden – and took advantage of the chances they brought.

With Costa Rica and Mexico both being stronger, right now, than Honduras, it’s going to be an even bigger task for the US to win the final game.

All that said, here’s how I feel the players graded out:

The Starters

  • Troy Perkins8 – I might be alone, but I think he’s clearly a better keeper than Brad Guzan, and I’m not sure it’s much of a contest. Perkins commands his back line with authority, has very sure hands on crosses, and distributes the ball with accuracy. While Guzan might be slightly more athletic and a more natural reactionary shot-stopper, Perkins is the more well-rounded keeper and doesn’t appear to be prone to mistakes at all.
  • Heath Pearce – 6 – Another fairly steady performance from Pearce, but I think it may take quite a few matches at club level before he gets back up to his normal capacity. Against this particular set of CONCACAF opponents though, he’s certainly one of the better players on the field.
  • Clarence Goodson – 8 – I thought Goodson was the MoTM. He was our best player (and the best player on the field overall) the entire night. His positioning is classy and he makes all the necessary plays with no sense of hesitation. While Marshall is more rangy, and more prone to mistakes, Goodson quietly and confidently dominates the backline. His header for the goal was well-taken too.
  • Chad Marshall – 6 – Another good performance from Marshall, as he bodied up Carlos Costly well all night. Again, my only complaint with Marshall is that he doesn’t know his limits on the field, and finds himself in bad positions often. He needs to understand that not every ball has to be won, rather than crashing for every header past midfield.
  • Jay Heaps – 5.5 – I thought Heaps looked much better tonight than he has in past nights. He still dives in at the slightest hint of movement, and it almost cost us a few times, but this was easily his best performance.
  • Kyle Beckerman – 5.5 – I know some are going to fawn over him again, but I’m just buying him as a viable national team player (with a full call-up). Yes, he’s a pretty good “destroyer”, but he’s also leaves his feet too often and displays almost no 1st-touch whatsoever. He’s played well against relative competition, but I don’t think he’s even close to the level of guys like Edu and Clark.
  • Logan Pause – 4.5 – I’m still unsure what Bradley sees in Pause that is warranting time over Sam Cronin. For a central player, Pause is entirely too invisible for long stretches and doesn’t have near the defensive presence needed to play in this “empty bucket” midfield. He plays the occasional good pass, but that’s just not good enough.
  • Robbie Rogers – 4 – It didn’t take long for CONCACAF opponents to figure this kid out. Full-speed, straight ahead, all left foot. Rogers has shown no ability to change his pace or his play, and it’s made him very easy to defend. He does occasionally break past someone (because he is a fast kid), but he struggled mightily when he was asked to do anything but run fast. I thought Quaranta should have been on for him much earlier (and deserves the start over Rogers too). Also, I’m convinced Rogers won’t improve much. Why? His ball-striking technique is terrible. He has this horrible habit of letting himself get well ahead of the ball, then he drags his left foot in an arc to curl in crosses. The problem is that he doesn’t appear to be able to strike a ball in any other way, and anytime he caught balls ahead of his body – he missed badly.
  • Stuart Holden – 7 – It’s pretty clear he’s the most talented American, but I thought he drifted around a bit too much without forcing himself into the picture enough. But, he made up for that with his superb free kick display, putting in countless crosses and corners to great effect.
  • Davy Arnaud – 5 – I thought we saw Arnaud come back down to earth today. Against a faster team, Arnaud’s work-rate didn’t do him much good. He made the occasional good touch and pass, but was largely ineffective against a team that could run with him. Also, I think people need to realize that often Arnaud’s “running” was ineffective because he’s not making runs for purpose. He does a lot of work, but not much of it is purposeful or useful. It was also pretty clear he ran himself quickly out of gas in the 2nd half. Say what you want about Cooper, but he understands what runs to make and what runs not to make. Sometimes (and I’d say most times), that’s more value than the constant work-rate.
  • Brian Ching – 6 – Outside of the backheel (stop drooling all over yourselves Ching fans, it wasn’t that good), I thought Ching was again pretty ineffective. I know people rave about how he defends so hard deep into the field, but why are we so happy about our “striker” defending near the box? Whenever we win the ball, he’s lagging behind the play and is rendered useless. Yes, he missed some looks at goal – but the key word is missed. At some point, our striker has to actually finish some of those setups. The Ching fans want to say he was “dangerous”, but he’s only dangerous if he’s actually a threat to put one in the goal. The futility he shows in front of it right now is far from dangerous.

The Subs

  • Santino Quaranta – 6 – Not a lot of action for him, but he put in some good set pieces late in the game. I’d like to see him start ahead of Rogers in the final.
  • Kenny Cooper – 7 – Despite what the detractors are going to say, Cooper had a major impact in only 8 minutes of play. He won a dangerous free kick (off a sweet move down the line) almost instantly, and then slotted him a well-taken goal to seal off the game. He made a smart run on the goal too, staying behind Stuart Holden so that the pass was considered a backward one, and thus not offside. He deserves to start the final. 4 goals in 8 games (none of which have been more than 65 minutes of playing time) is a good scoring rate.

The Coaching

  • Bob Bradley – I’m going to stop doing the “rating” for Bradley, and instead just give my thoughts. The subs tonight were well-chosen, though seemingly out of necessity. He made the right calls in making straight swaps, rather than trying to shift his lineup around to be conservative. He’s losing points with me for continuing to show faith in Logan Pause, who I feel clearly doesn’t belong on this level. Hopefully he sees that Cooper needs to be on the field next to Ching for the finals.

14 Responses

  1. I can already hear the Ching backers starting up with the ” hard worker” and draws fouls in dangerous areas exscuses. Ching is so damn limited at what he can do. Against a Honduras B team he has one nice backheel pass, draws a couple fouls and misses a wide open header.

    I would say Logan Pause is probably the worst player that took the field for the USA last night. I literally dont even know he is playing sometimes.

    Where is Marvell Wynne? 32 year old Jay Heaps serves no purpose. Never has been good enough and never will.

    Rogers never should have left Heerenveen.

    • Not too be too picky, but I think Rogers left Herenveen due to illness. He had some health issues and chose to deal with it in the states with his family I believe.

      Also, “Where is Marvell Wynne” is the question of the tournament.

  2. Finally, someone doesn’t love Beckerman. I think he’s been decent, nothing more, nothing less. He’s had his good moments and his bad, but all these people saying he’s played his way onto the WC roster make me wonder what game they are watching? And at the expense of who would he make the roster? Thank God I’m not the only one doesn’t love him

  3. My ratings:
    Perkins- 8. Same feelings as you. Forget about Guzan.
    Goodson- 8. Great performance.
    Marshall- 7.5. Another solid performance; clearly 4th on the CB depth chart (behind Gooch, Boca, and DeMerit).
    Pearce- 7. Strong on both sides of the ball. I’d like to see him on the WC roster as a LB backup.
    Heaps- 6. Vast improvement; had two good chances off set pieces. Solid defensively as well.
    Beckerman- 6. Decent performance, but he didn’t have anything special tonight.
    Pause- 4. Total waste of a spot. He basically just clogged up the midfield. I doubt he touched the ball more than 10 times.
    Holden- 6.5. The class of the team, clearly, but he was a little rust tonight.
    Rogers- 4.5 More of the same. Run in a straight line; maybe I’ll fool them this time! Granted, he showed some sign of life, so I’ll up him to a 5.
    Ching- 6. Very solid, had some good chances, and the backheel was very pretty to watch.
    Arnaud- 4.5. Not his best performance. Looked outmatched and slow.

    Quaranta- 6.5 I think he brought some flair to the offense, and broke up several plays on defense. More than ever, I’m pulling for Tino to start instead of Pause or Rogers in the next game.
    Cooper-7. SuperSub! Sorry, Benny, but SuperCooper is clearly the better SuperSub. Man, that’s a lot of Supers in one statement.

    Bradley- 4. Too conservative on the lineup, but good subs (thought they should have come earlier, and Cronin should have come in for Pause).

  4. Come on buddy…be real. To say that Honduras “looked better” tonight has to be a joke. This isn’t to say that the U.S. looked good…rather, this squad is fairly boring to watch in my opinion. But to seriously believe that Honduras outplayed our boys is pretty far off the mark.

    Look…I agree that Mexico and Costa Rica look strong right now…and they make me a bit nervous for the final. But just because this U.S. squad looks worse than our A or B team doesn’t mean that we have to act as if Honduras was ever a huge threat tonight.

    As far as your player ratings go, I feel that they’re basically on-target. I established a while back (when I first commented on a post) that I feel that you’re overly harsh on Ching and Bradley because you dislike them…but I think they grades that you gave them tonight are appropriate. I’m not sure I totally agree with your comments about the two of them…but the grades are more or less what I would have given.

    Anyway…enjoy reading your blog. Thanks!

  5. Goodson looks great. I have been impressed with him since he came in last game. I would love to see how this kid stacks up against heftier opponents – well, I guess we will Sunday vs. a decent Mexico side.

    His positioning, heading, really everything is just solid and he plays with confidence, as you said.

    I rarely get excited about new players but this guy definitely should be brought in to more camps, including WCQs.

  6. “What are they doing? They’re just running down and trying to chip it into the box. It looks like what my teams did when I was nine years old”- actual quote from my roommate watching the first half.

    That aside, I was impressed by the effort today. I felt like the US did get the better of the play throughout and dominated, especially the second half. Great goalkeeping is the only thing that kept Honduras in it. After the Panama effort, it was a pleasant surprise.

    You again seem to be the only commentator out there Ryan that is ragging on Ching. To that I salute you because especially in the first half, everything he did seemed to result in a turnover. Compare him on the ball to Cooper where the latter is actually a threat to beat his defender 1v1 or put a quality shot on goal. The US should be playing Cooper and Arnaud together up top. No more of this super sub garbage; the US needs its best players out there in the final for the most minutes possible. That includes Cooper.

  7. For now, Perkins needs to be ahead of Guzan (though neither should be making full team benches, given that Tim Howard and Marcus Hannemann are available). That said, you can learn to distribute the ball well, you cannot learn to be a shot stopper. Guzan is still very young in keeper land and may show us something yet.

    Do we still have call-ups available? I would LOVE to see an Eddie Johnson or Sal Zizzo called in for the title match v. Mexico.

    America. F**k Yeah.
    I hate Mexico
    ::Insert Jingoistic comment pertaining to past US military action against Mexico here::

  8. I like Rogers, but I think he should not start in the title game.

    I do appreciate Ching’s hustle at times, but it drives me nuts how all he wants to do is get fouled.

    I thought as a team we looked a lot better last night than our two previous matches, but still, no one can deny we face a tough opponent in Mexico for the title.

    It going to be a question of who can impose their will. For us, we’ll probably want a slow methodical game, while they will want to use their speed up front. We have to come to compete, take advantage of every set piece we get. We’ll need our striker’s hustle on defense. I love it when we are able to frustrate them by closing down every imaginable space. We’ll have to play that type of game to win.

  9. I like Ching. I think he has a place on our A squad. That said…watching him this tournament…he’s been flopping a lot more than he has in te past. I also believe the refs are on to this tactic which hurts when there is a “real” fooul committed. He needs to cleant aht up just like Demspey needed to clean it up…and did.

    Beckerman is what he is. He’s like the 5th or 6th string guy. Don’t get all bent out af shape because people are happy with his play. he’s been doing exactly what’s been asked of him. Let’s put it this way – he starts for every team in this tournaments A team accept maybe Mex, Hon and CR. I don’t think there’s anyone saying the guy should start in front of MB, Feilhaber, Edu, Jones. I have seen a few people debating the Clark thing but just a few. So please take it in stride and pull the panties out of you crack.

    If you think Rogers is all speed and will never develop….Wynne??? The same players guys…speed with limited skill at their positions. I’ll be surprised if Wynne makes it to an MLS all star game. A lot of speedy guys never develop because they can get by on their speed alone. They really have to want it. Let’s see if Wynne or Rogers really want it.

    Cooper “looks” slow and cumbersome but the guy scores. Give him more minutes and lets see how much his game helps/hurts US. He deserves and extended look.

    Logan pause has been serviceable but I’d love to Clark called in.

    • Travis,

      As you have noted, Cooper looks ungainly because he is big and rather oddly shaped. When people like that run they cover a lot more ground than some 5’6″ guy, who looks like he is doing more work. Try racing a giraffe or any other big animal sometime and you’d be amazed how much ground they cover in a short space of time.

      Cooper will probably be a goal scoring sub for a while yet. Ths US team is built on discipline and rhythm. Cooper will be saved for a second half change of pace. If you have been covering Arnaud and now you have to cover Cooper, that is quite a change. As for all those people who are upset because Bradley is playing player X too much, well sometimes you like to let a player play themselves off the team. And this is a good tournament to do that in. Besides, Bradley critics seem to be pissed because we are winning but not winning the way they want to, with the players they want to win with. Well guys, in a tournament like this , the more you win the more games and chances you get to experiment. You also want to build so you can peak in South Africa (assuming you qualify of course) so it will be a while before we see the final roster.

      It must really burn up the Bradley critics that he now has reached two tournament finals in a row (with two different teams) . That is pretty good for an idiot. And he has bought himself a lot of time to experiment just when the US needs to. And I don’t even like him as a coach but I believe in giving credit, when it is due.

      • Rhythm? I must be watching a different team. I guess you could consider constantly lobbing balls forward and then having the other team win them only to come right back at us (then we win the ball and start the process over again) a nice rhythm, but if that is rhythm I’ll pass. Boring the other team into submission is not a gameplan.

  10. I give Bob Bradley alot of credit for getting beat 3-1 by Italy, 3-0 by Brazil and then having Brazil beat Italy 3-0.

    I also give Bob Bradley alot of credit for beating power houses like Grenada in a hostile enviornment like Seattle.

    Wynne may never be a international quality right back but we sure as hell no Jay Heaps is not international quality.

    • kyle,

      If you are the US going into 2009 your priorities are:

      1. Qualify for WC 2010
      2. Use Confed and Gold Cup to prep squad for SA, and expand player pool depth

      The most important match for the US is not today’s final but the game in Azteca in August. Win that and qualification is probably a formality. In reaching two cup finals, the US has played the maximum amount of games available to it and therfore has had the maximum amount of time to evaluate players. And, by fielding a B or C team in the Gold Cup, Mexico now has no idea who will show up in Azteca.

      Wynne had a shot but Heaps has played better than Wynne in a US shirt. Both players are likely alternate material, but its good to know where they are right now. True, Heaps is older but we are only talking about 2010 here so one year or so isn’t likely to make a lot of difference.

      Bryce N.

      Yes. Rhythm. It may be boring but I notice that it works. If it puts you to sleep what do you think it does to opposing defenders? It will be a while before the US will ever be described as an artistic purist’s delight but I find them enjoyable to watch. Different strokes and all that.

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