USA v. Mexico – The Ratings

Well, that was certainly a disappointment. With no gameplan and seemingly no will to challenge Mexico, the US walked its way to a 2-1 loss at Azteca.

The coaching was a clear hindrance to the American team, as the lineup and tactics were clearly terrible.

As always, here are the ratings:

  • Tim Howard – 6 – Howard made some good saves and it’s pretty safe to say the goals weren’t his fault. Tough day for the American keep.
  • Steve Cherundolo – 2.5 – His inclusion in the squad is a point of contention, and it definitely went the wrong way for Cherundolo. He was constantly out of position and woefully inept at defending the quicker Mexican attackers. Jonathan Spector should have started.
  • Oguchi Onyewu – 7 – If think someone else is the best player on this team, you need to have your head checked. Onyewu, simply put, is the best we have. Solid in the air and on the ground, he was a man among boys today. Too bad his teammates didn’t show up.
  • Jay DeMerit – 5 – To be honest, this wasn’t a game where DeMerit was going to excel. Mexico uses no target player for him to match up with and he really struggled with the tiny, quick strikers and wings. Cherundolo also managed to constantly put DeMerit in terrible positions, which didn’t help at all. I still think he’s our starting centerback for the WC. He plays well alongside Gooch.
  • Carlos Bocanegra – 4 – He struggled, plain and simple. However, it wasn’t unforeseen. The problem he faced, though, was that he got no help from his wings, whether it was Donovan or Dempsey. Just like against Brazil, the Mexicans overloaded the side to beat Bocanegra, and it worked due to his lack of help.
  • Landon Donovan – 3.5 – Donovan hit one good pass in 90 minutes of play. 1. The other 89+minutes, he did nothing but whine to the ref and watch the play. For someone that many people want to think is our best player, he rarely shows it on the international stage. Today was no different, he was abysmal.
  • Michael Bradley – 6 – I thought Bradley controlled his portion of the midfield quite well. Unfortunately, he spent 60 minutes flanked by the inept Rico Clark, which completely canceled out the work that Bradley was doing. Having Feilhaber alongside him for a full 90 would have been nice.
  • Rico Clark – 2.5 – Rico was bad, just plain bad. He was being turned in circles not by the quick Mexicans, but by Cuahetemoc freakin’ Blanco, the slowest player on the pitch. For a supposed “defensive stopper”, that was just downright unacceptable. He shouldn’t have started ahead of Feilhaber or even Torres.
  • Clint Dempsey – 2.5 – Probably the 2nd-worst US player on the day, Dempsey has reverted to his old pre-Spain form. No desire, no work rate, no defense, no touch. Same ol’ Dempsey. Any coincidence that it coincides with his return to Fulham?
  • Brian Ching – 1 – Easily the worst US player on the field, Ching proved everyone right that he doesn’t belong on the field with almost anyone better than Barbados. All of the magical “hold up” play that everyone talked about was completely invisible today because he can’t hold the ball at all. Maybe now we can stop talking about how well Ching fits into this squad?
  • Charlie Davies – 7 – What a finish from the young one! Great run and fantastic ability to slot it by Ochoa. He worked hard and was a nuisance for the backline all afternoon. He’s turning into one of the top 2-3 strikers in CONCACAF in rapid fashion.

The Subs

  • Stuart Holden – 4 – He played some good passes, but was generally lost on the field. He’s got some talent, but he’s got a boatload of bad habits from his MLS play over the past few years, namely his penchant for leaving his feet at the drop of a hat. He shouldn’t have been thrown into this match and it showed. I know quite a few people are sold on the kid because of a few long passes and his goals in the Gold Cup, but he hasn’t showed any consistency on the field in a US shirt, too prone to turnovers and bad touches.
  • Benny Feilhaber – 5.5 – He made his share of bad plays (no more than anyone else), but at least he was active on the field. He made a concerted effort to challenge for balls, pressure the midfield, and make positive plays on the ball. Frankly, it’s a disgrace that this talented midfielder has to sit the bench behind Ricardo Clark. He should have gotten a full 90 minutes and we could certainly have used his poise on the ball and his vision for passes.
  • Jozy Altidore – N\A – Hard to judge Jozy as he apparently wasn’t going to get time in this game until Davies went down hurt. He came in and made a few runs, but really got no chance to impact the game in his short stint on the pitch.

The Coach

Bob Bradley may have just proved most of his doubters right. Coming off a stunning run through the Confederations Cup, the Americans looked to have a squad ready to win in Azteca. Instead of building on that run, Bradley reverted to his conservative form and started some of his “favorites” – Rico Clark, Brian Ching, and Steve Cherundolo – and it backfired big time. All three decisions turned out to be terrible (remember this same thing against Brazil the first time around in South Africa) as the players were not able to impact the game positively for the US. They were a hindrance to the team, and that has to be put at Bradley’s feet.

Compounding the poor starting lineup decisions, Bradley elected to use the green and error-prone Stuart Holden instead of the tried and tested Jozy Altidore as his sub for Brian Ching in the 2nd half. While Holden wasn’t a complete disaster, he struggled to make a difference on the wing and caused some problems with his lack of poise on defense (leaving his feet too often).

At the end of the day, someone has to say it: Bob Bradley has taken this team as far as he can. It’s time for a change and a bigger, better coach. Bradley’s hyper-conservative tactics and heavy favoritism for players is crippling the USMNT’s ability to win in hostile environments and, aside from 5 halves in the Confederations Cup, the play has been poor  for about 6-7 months now.

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24 Responses

  1. what a sh*tty display by the Nats. .what is the status on Jermaine Jones?

  2. This squad will never get out of the group stages in the World Cup with Bradley coaching them. They have the talent to get to the knockout round, but with this guy coaching them they never will. The one thing I will say in his favor is that he certainly values consistency. I mean, who else would let players who are as consistently bad as Brian Ching start ahead of the leading goal scorer on the USMNT. Also, his insistency of making younger, more talented players “earn their playing time” is crippling this teams future. Jonathan Spector is the only defender the U.S has that has any touch, yet even though he competed well against Spain and Brazil Bradley does not believe that he can compete against Mexico. In the end, the only positive thing that Bob Bradley will have done for the USMNT is help create Michael Bradley. He should be fired today.

  3. I disagree a bit on Cherundolo. He wasn’t great but I felt the biggest offender on defense was Bocanegra. He was awful, out of position and lazy on both defense and offense. I thought outside of Ching he was our worst player.

    I was disappointed with Dempsey. He was so good in the Conf. Cup only to lay an egg here. Tried to get involved early and then disappeared. I don’t remember him doing anything after the first 10 minutes.

    Ching. He’ll get excused again by lack of service but Davies also lacked service and yet managed to make an impact. But Ching should be nowhere near the starting 11 again? All we hear about is the intangibles. How he does things that the average fan doesn’t see? How he’s a leader! Well he lead by example today. He didn’t show up and neither did half this squad.

    You’re right about Bradley. But it doesn’t matter. There are only two ways he’s going: the US crashes out of the World Cup or they fall apart before. Neither is an appealing option. I doubt the latter will happen but I fear the former is a definite possibility.

    Mexico just looked like the better squad. At Azteca that’s not a huge shock, it just is a disappointment because of how it started.

    Oh and do I have permission to get really, really excited about Davies?

  4. I’m sorry but your rating of Cherundolo is absurd. Our problems – and those that cost us goals – had NOTHING to do with Dolo. It seems more like your personal issue with Dolo pre-game than anything he did on the field.

    Was he spectacular? No. But no one was really today.

    I’ll rewatch the game – per usual – and pay attention to Dolo but I don’t recall either goal coming from our right side – it was all left.

    • Just because no goals came directly through him doesn’t mean he wasn’t poor. Cherundolo is a good player and is better than he showed today.

      Bias or not, he just didn’t have a good day today and certainly doesn’t look near the form he had in 2007 or 2008.

      At this point, there should be no argument that Spector needs to start.

  5. How disappointing. I was really excited with the early goal, but apparently Bradley likes to turtle up with a lead and pray that no one will score. Against most of our region, it works, but when we play real teams (Mexico, Costa Rica, most of the World Cup) it shows quickly and we usually end up tying or losing. Some of our best players are our attackers, and not letting them do what they excel at is killing us. Something NEEDS to change and soon.

  6. On a completely different note, I have to wonder whether those who were hanging their hat on a “great” Confed and beating Spain have much to say at this point.

    I think you can write off losing to Brazil the way the USA did to some extent (though I don’t) because it’s Brazil; however, similar tactics and ANOTHER lead went down the drain in a statement game.

    All I can truly hope for is that someone at USSF will figure out (and then have the balls to say) what we’re doing right now tactically (long balls, bunker Ds, bizarre midfield) is not working and surely won’t bring us much hope for a strong WC campaign next summer.

    This is another tough loss but I just hope there will actually be lessons learned.

  7. the only good part of this showing is Bradley ultimate demise. i was certain he wouldnt sub until the US went down 1-2 but bradley proved me wrong with some timely subing. still Ching starting, and Bradley’s poor execution of strategy are two decisions a better coach wouldnt have made.

    Mike Bradley’s spark in the second half had potential to turn the game, and i would have given him a 7.

    too many long balls, too many bad passes/touches, poor refereeing…

  8. Come on did you guys see how hard Ching worked and how much running he did!! I am sure that is what the Ching backers will bring up. Ching is holding this team back, a couple times a player would get down the flank with nobody to cross to. That was because slow crappy Ching cant keep up. Drop Ching!!

    Bocanegra needs to be dropped from this team. He was partially to blame for both goals. I dont care if he is the captain drop him.

    Landycakes living up to his nickname. For being supposedly world class he sure does dissapear alot.

    I guesss those two pin point crosses for 2 goals in the confederations cup by Spector were not good enough.

    Michael Bradley plays attacking midfielder both for Heerenveen and Mochengladbach. Yet Bob Bradley decides to play him as a defensive midfielder.

    When Jones and Edu are healthy it better be the end for Ricardo Clark.

    Stuart Holden is Kljestan part 2.

    Fire Bob Bradley and hire Dick Advocat he would have the guts to get rid of some of these players.

  9. Quick, someone check my “Back Four” post and tell me how many points were spot on?

    I’m thinking I went 4/4.

  10. I’ve now made my peace with another group stage ejection from the WC. Another crashing GS failure will ensure a new coach at USSF.

    BB could not coach Jamaica’s NT. He lacks everything a National Coach requires.

    After the crash out, I pray, someone above Gualiti will take notice, and change things top to bottom. New coach, new President, new everything.

    That aside, what a horrible display of cowardice and ineptitude from Brandley and co (minus Gooch, ChuckD and Tim Howard). I, for the first time in a long time, am ashamed to be a USMNT supporter.

    With the previous generation, I was not always a winner but I was ALWAYS proud. These guys are, like we were saying pre and mid group confed cup gutless.

    I am ashamed.

  11. I know some of us have previously discussed potentially trying Specs out at LB, with mixed feelings.

    Boca’s performance today reaffirmed my thoughts that he isn’t the best LB; I wonder if it would be worthwhile to make use of Spector’s versatility and see how he plays at LB. If, for nothing else, because Bradley seems content to start Dolo over Specs any time they are both in camp.

    • CSC,

      Spector has already played left back for the senior US squad.

      It was in 2007 against Guatemala in Frisco, Texas. Simek was the right back and they both looked not bad. I remember both of them launching a number of British style long balls but I thought they looked good enough to be a long term answer. Unfortunately both have had a number of injuries since. Still, I don’t know why they don’t try Spector at LB again.

  12. So shoot I hope the US succeeds next year, thereby granting Bobo another 4 years to f*ck up all our progress? Or should I hope we crash out in the first round, so we can get a fresh face?

    Actually, I doubt it will make a difference. Unless we get placed in another Group of Death (which isn’t unlikely), I can’t see this team not moving out of the first round. Sh*tty coaching aside, there is some serious talent on the pitch now, and I can’t imagine us not at LEAST making the Round of 16.

  13. That should read, “So SHOULD I hope…”

    Terrible spelling as a result of my post match drinking. Sorry! =)

  14. Wow why is Holden just getting torn apart here? I thought he played well enough as a sub and delivered a beautiful cross that was almost finished. Holden aside, I can’t get over that bullshit offsides call on Davies…

  15. Spot on!!

  16. Any chance Edu could play at LB when healthy? He is good defensively and is more athletic than Bocanegra. But this wouldn’t be as disasterous as Beasley at LB.

  17. Can’t say I agree with much of anything you said.

    If reports coming out now are to be believed, Donovan played with swine flu which explains his performance. You really have it out for Dolo ( cue Short People) but I don’t think he played that badly and I wouldn’t have centered him out as the reason the US lost. He had a wonderful through ball that nearly got Davies a goal.

    If anything, I thought Onyewu was not as steady as normal. He was often out of position and a little out of control with the chippy stuff; he could have easily, with this ref, in this stadium, been red carded. Gooch made me nervous all game.

    It was a total team loss ( as indicated by your low ratings of just about everyone) .I would say the sub par performance of the central pairing contributed mightily to the loss. Mexico have evolved into a team that, to use a basketball term, the US does not match up well with. They seem to have a lot of small, zippy, skilled attacking players while the US has a more traditonal, European style defense. Mexico was very good at finding the spaces between Jay and Gooch and then exploiting them with their quick one twos, as predicted by many before hand. I doubt Spector would have done a whole lot better than Dolo on the night.

    Both the US and Mexico are flawed teams but they are currently evenly matched. Mexico absolutely deserved to win this game, they came out breathing fire and stuck with it all game long. Their two goals were wonderful, and before you talk about the mistakes the US made leading up to those goals just remember that all goals come off of a mistake by someone,

    They pressured the slower US team all night and, to a man, wanted it more. If they did this is in all their games they would have nothing to fear from anyone. So give them a little credit for making the US players and their tactics look bad. That’s what happens when you lose. If Davies jumps a tenth of a second sooner or if he is two-three inches taller, he puts a head on Holden’s cross, the US ties and suddenly the US player ratings look better.

    • Wait wait wait wait….we had tactics? That’s a Bob Bradley first.

    • I find it interesting that you seem to be the only person across the web that thinks Onyewu played poorly.

      Part of the US players “looking bad” comes from the fact that we gave Mexico space and time to play – that’s a conscious decision by our coaching staff, not a difference in player quality. We chose to sit back and watch Mexico, rather than pressuring them throughout.

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