USA v. Mexico – The Ratings

I’m warning you now, it’s not pretty. Most of you think I’m harsh on a good day, so this might be NC-17 today.

First of all, the whole “the US played well in the first half and until the PK” mantra is just wrong. We were in the game, but Mexico largely outplayed us from start to finish. Bradley’s decision to play extreme low-pressure gave Mexico a great deal of possession, and they never let the US get in the game. It was apparent from the start that Mexico was going to threaten on goal and the US weren’t.

Anyways, on to the ratings…

The Starters

  • Troy Perkins – 8 – Personally, as a former keeper myself, I feel that he’s quite a bit better than Brad Guzan. The only question about Perkins has been his pure shot-stopping ability, which was abundantly clear today. He’s got the total package as a keeper, only falling short as an athlete (when compared to guys like Howard, etc). I feel that he should get the #2 nod right now.
  • Heath Pearce – 5 – While his runs up field didn’t produce much, he was far more dangerous than Rogers down the left. Unfortunately, Pearce somewhat forgot to defend today. I still think he’s the best leftback behind Bocanegra. Not his best day, but certainly not his worst.
  • Chad Marshall – 3 – Color me unimpressed by Marshall. There are some people raving about his play, but I’ve been consistent in saying that his sense of position is awful. He constantly over-plays balls, electing to win in the air early so as not to face anything on the ground. Today, Mexico played on the floor – and Marshall was exposed. His ability to defend attackers with the ball appears to be nonexistant, and his awareness in the backline was just as bad. Too many people got enamored with his aerial presence through the early stages of this tournament, but they failed to mention his struggles on the floor. I certainly don’t buy Marshall as a better central defender than Califf or Goodson or Conrad.
  • Clarence Goodson – 5 – I think Goodson was a bit unlucky and a bit average. His central partner was all over the board in terms of positioning, and Goodson was left stranded a few too many times. He’s a sound defender, though, and played a relatively solid game. Unfortunately, Marshall left him on an island too often. I think it’s a battle between him and Califf for the 3rd central defender slot.
  • Jay Heaps – 1 – I think he just tried to slide tackle my blog. Seriously though, I hope we don’t see any of him in the USMNT setup again. Poor decisions, poor positioning, and just completely out of his depth. I’ll stop there…
  • Robbie Rogers – 3 – Another game, another stale performance from Rogers. He just can’t seem to do anything but put his head down with the ball and charge straight ahead. Even worse, today he decided to play every cross with his head down, never looking for people in the box. Unless Rogers miraculously develops a boat-load of skill, I just don’t see him turning into more than a poor-man’s Beasley.
  • Kyle Beckerman – 4.5 – Yes, he runs a lot. Yes, he covers quite a bit of ground. However, he turns the ball over at an alarming rate and too often tried to make passes out of his range. I understand he tries to make some great passes, but he tries too often and only came close on about two. Part of the reason Beckerman has never developed beyond a reasonably good MLS midfielder is because his decision-making and understanding of his own abilities has never developed. He’s a good destroyer, but he tries too hard to be a creator. I think he’s pretty far down on the center-mid depth chart.
  • Logan Pause – 2.5 – Was he on the field? Aside from a few decent passes, he was largely invisible. The Mexican speed and quickness sorely overmatched Pause, who looked completely unable to cope with the pace of the game. It’s a bit disappointing that Bradley didn’t realize this early on in the tournament and leave Pause permanently on the bench.
  • Stuart Holden – 4.5 – The golden boy had a rough go of it against Mexico. He failed to really make any impression on the game, constantly turning the ball over and even having a poor day in the set piece department. He’s got talent and is a good player, but a set of Mexican “B” defenders were able to completely keep him out of the game.
  • Davy Arnaud – 4 – The step up in competition was too much for Arnaud, who struggled to do anything with or without the ball. At the end of the day, work-rate and effort only get you so far, and it looks like this game was a step beyond his limits.
  • Brian Ching – 4.5 – Some hard work, but that’s about it…again. Ching was taken out of this game easily, mainly because he doesn’t move well enough to face the quick Mexican back line. We’re going to get beat in Azteca if he starts that game. He just can’t compete at this level.

The Subs

  • Santino Quaranta – 3.5 – No real impact on the game and turned the ball over with seemingly every touch he got. To be fair, he got thrown in after the defense fell apart.
  • Kenny Cooper – 4.5 – He didn’t get much chance to use his finishing ability, but at least he managed to make a few moves and get a cross or two off – more than anyone else on this squad it seems.
  • Sam Cronin – 5.5 – So, let me just say that it’s refreshing to see  a player on this squad that looks to move forward with the ball instead of backward. Cronin came in and immediately started spreading things out with his passing – unfortunately the game was already well out of hand. I like this kid’s potential though.

Coaching

  • Bob Bradley – Personally, I thought this was an abysmal coaching performance. The low-pressure system was terrible from the start, and the offside traps were just terrible. Against a team with speed and technical skill like Mexico, giving them easy possession for 55% of the field isn’t going to be successful, especially with this particular group of players. The complete lack of pressure on the Mexicans doomed the US squad from the kickoff. If we play this way in Azteca, we’ll get beat 8 or 9 nil.
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9 Responses

  1. If there is a bright side to this disaster is that it should dispel any notion that these guys are International quality. Holden (would have been nice to see him in the center to start) and Cooper long term maybe. But the rest of these guys are reserves at best. Hopefully Ching finds himself nowhere near the starting 11 at Azteca. (I single him out because he’s the only one with any shot to) With as good as Davies looked in the Conf. Cup and the two games he played in the Gold Cup, I can’t see any reason Ching gets the nod over him.

    The downside is Bradley just isn’t the coach to take this squad anywhere. I don’t care the quality of the players on our side, a 5-0 loss has to fall on the shoulders of the coach to some degree, especially when all five goals were scored in a single half. Between this game and Brazil, the US has conceded 8 goals (really nine) in the second half of of two tournament finals. When a team can’t stop the bleeding, that has to reflect on the coach somewhat, right?

    • I really agree with your second paragraph. On another forum I read numerous posts by people arguing that this loss was not to be placed on Bradley and the team just quit on him.

      I’m pretty sure it’s the coaches job to make changes when things are not working out on the field – including attitudes. “Going through the motions” has been the MO for several of Bradley’s teams of late (ex: early Confed Cup, at Costa Rica) and that simply is not acceptable at this level and is certainly within his purview as head coach.

      Though a different pool of players versus a different class of opponent, Bradley’s team once again show it can (barely) play a complete game for 30 – 45 minutes before the flood gates fail.

  2. I’m getting too upset right now with all my thoughts brewing to write a coherent post about this game.

    I’ll be back either later, when I’m more drunk, or tomorrow, with my own (hardly) comprehensive analysis of this nightmare.

    • Ok, here are my thoughts/ratings:

      Perkins- 8.5. There is nothing more he could have done. Tim Howard would not have been able to save any of the goals, and may have actually let in a couple of shots that Perkins saved. Brilliant performance. If not for the bloated score, I think I’d give him a 9.
      Heaps- 2. Remind me again why he was even named to the squad? By far the worst on the field; he was probably the cause for 3 (not including the PK0 of Mexico’s goals. He seemed to think that it would be more serviceable to the team to become a 3rd CB. which entirely exposed the right flank and allowed Mexico to do whatever they pleased on that side of the field.
      Marshall- 3.5. Speed kills. In this game, speed was a serial killer. Marshall was just one of its victims.
      Goodson- 3. Another victim of speed. He and Marshall just couldn’t mark Vela and Dos Santos together. They were torched all the second half.
      Pearce- 4.5. Not a bad performance, but he needed to get back a defend more. He kept going forward, and then Mexico would counter and leave Marshall and Goodson stranded back alone.
      Pause- 2. Why was he on the field?! Why couldn’t we have started Sam Cronin, if we needed two D-Mids?! I forgot Pause was on the field until he subbed out. I kept trying to remember who that 11th player was, and could not. He was just not involved in any plays at all.
      Beckerman- 4. He was good up until Mexico scored the first goal. Then he, and everyone else, just fell apart.
      Holden- 4. Tried to carry his team, and could not. Kudos for the efforts, which were tireless, but he was just not sharp.
      Rogers- 4.5. His best performance since Grenada, and that’s not saying much. He looked good early, but then, like everyone else, faded as the game progressed.
      Arnaud- 3. Lost with the pace of the game. Showed why he doesn’t belong with the USMNT, except maybe with the C team.
      Ching- 4. Couldn’t do anything all game. He rarely got the ball at his feet, and when he did, he couldn’t match the Mexican defenders’ speed, and there was no help, so he could only hold the ball for as long as possible- which was usually until he was surrounded by two or three guys and stripped.

      Subs:
      Quaranta- 3.5. Turned the ball over a lot, and couldn’t get anything going offensively, but I attribute that to the fact that he was covering for Jay Heaps’ mistakes all game, so he just could not get forward as often as he wanted.
      Coooper- 4. Cooper tried to spark the offense, but nothing was going the US’s way yesterday.
      Cronin- 5. Came in too late to make much of an impression, but he looked pretty good, and took the only shot the US had in the second half.

      Bradley- 2. I understand his reasons for keeping the same lineup, but his tactics are just ridiculous. The offside trap was a joke against a team he knew had the speed to exploit it, and the fact that Logan Pause kept getting playing time this late in a tournament shows total ineptitude behind the bench. Pause is a decent MLS player, but nothing better than that. He’s turning into what Bruce Arena was towards the end of his tenure here. He has a core group of guys who he values above all else, and has players who constantly underperform but to whom he has taken a personal liking, so he starts these players above guys who actually deserve a look.

  3. Aug 12th..Stadio Azteca… US “A” team…Revenge.

    If BB and the MNT can’t get psyched up for payback after seeing this shit (whether it was our “C” team or not), then something is certainly wrong.

    The good news is…I won’t have to watch any of these scrus again for a LONG time (save Ching, Cooper, Holden and Perkins of course).

    I knew Mexico would win… maybe 3-1 or 2-0, but 5-0? DAMN!

    • People are overselling this “the A squad will have revenge in mind” angle. Perhaps it will help motivate our boys but let’s not forget Mexico gained a lot from this win, as well.

      I don’t think they’ll underestimate a Confed Cup-like squad the USA will bring but they’ll certainly have the confidence to defend their turf.

      I expected a loss but to lose the way we did could be very problematic. Embarrassing for US Soccer.

  4. I don’t think Rogers had a good game, but that’s because no one did. It’s hard to fault him for trying to go forward a lot, that’s his job as a wing midfield. He and Holden have been good at serving balls into the box this whole tournament, and first half they were successful at doing that and creating chances. Let’s not forget that Rogers earned us some corner opportunities in the first half which are a strength of ours.

    And as for this he doesn’t look up when he’s crossing the ball stuff, your supposed to look at the ball when you hit it so you hit it right. You glance up to see where everyone is before, and he did that.

  5. In a earlier post I wrote that the centerbacks for the US in this tournament did not distribute good enough. I think this game showed what happens when all your back four can do is punt the ball up the field bypassing the midfield. Any time Marshall or Heaps won the ball they just booted it up field right back to Mexico.

    This game showed the limits of Brian Ching. He is so slow, not once did he get in behind the defence.

    Also I think it is clear that FMF>MLS. It was essentialy MLS players vs players from the Mexican league. MLS players showed that they are not top international quality. The USA has gotten the advantage over Mexico by more and more players going and playing in Europe.

    Are Bretos and Sullivan the worst announcing team or what? Listening to those two clowns over pronunce names “RRRodRRiiiiguezzz.” I am suprised that they dont say Stuart Holdens name with a scottish accent.

  6. Get rid of Bradley please! his coaching is non-existent. When the team is losing, his changes are sub-par and he hasn’t exhibited any skill in managing the team past the first 45. I think his success is soley based on the Spain win, and that win should have gone to the players. I hope to win in Mexico, but i think a loss could get us a step closer to new coaching… maybe?

    5-0 is a debacle, we had no defensive structure, constant breakaways were something Bradley should have managed.

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