Monday, June 12, 2006

Player Ratings - USA vs. Czech Republic
By Imtiaz Mussa

Kasey Keller: The goalkeeper had a rough day as his defense was dismantled by the Czech attack. There was not much he could do with any of the shots. Rosicky’s first goal was simply a rocket and with the knuckling action of this ball, no goalkeeper would have stopped it.
Rating: 6

Oguchi Onyewu: This was a very disappointing performance by the young defender who was making his World Cup debut. He looked lost on the opening goal as he was supposed to be marking Koller. On the second goal, it was his poor clearing header that was put right in the path of Rosicky. And finally on the third goal, Onyewu should have tackled Rosicky early instead of trying to get into a foot race with the speedy attacking midfielder. Hopefully, he will learn from this and come back with a good game against Luca Toni and Italy. He is essential to the Americans’ success.
Rating: 3

Eddie Pope: He looked his age out there as he couldn’t keep with the speed of the Czech Republic at times. He was better than his partner in central defense but a better effort can be had. He also got beat on the second Rosicky goal.
Rating: 5

Eddie Lewis: Known as the American David Beckham for his crossing ability, he looked like he didn’t belong at left back. To his credit, he is a midfielder with Leed Unted but he has been playing left back with the national team for over a year. He was getting beat time and time again and he made no meaningful crosses.
Rating: 4

Steve Cherundolo: He only played a half but was also unimpressive. He is smallish and tenacious but the Czechs were able to get their crosses in. He has to be more aggressive.
Rating: 5

Claudio Reyna: When things are not going well, the captain has to take charge and get people in order. Reyna was unable to do that and did not have a good performance. He is known as an efficient central midfielder but we didn’t see that today. If his shot went instead of hitting post, this would have been a different game.
Rating: 4

Pablo Mastroeni: The holding midfielder also only played a half and was put into a tough spot having to deal with Rosicky in the first half. He worked hard but the results just were not there for him.
Rating: 5

Landon Donovan: He was making some runs in the first half but disappeared in the second half. He is hyped as the United States’ best player and should have taken charge in the midfield when it was falling apart. Another poor showing in the nation of Germany for Landon.
Rating: 4

DaMarcus Beasley: The player who plays fast and takes players on in the wings did not show up today. Beasley did not even try to play his game today. He turned the ball over way too many times today. The team needs him to play well if they are going to have a chance.
Rating: 3

Bobby Convey: He excellent form he showed for Reading in helping them get promoted to the Premiership this past season was nowhere to be seen. Just like Beasley, he was extremely tentative and his crosses were off target. He might be headed to the bench for the next game.
Rating: 3

Brian McBride: It is a fact that McBride counts on good service to get his chances on goal. With that being said, it is really impossible to rate him today because the midfield was so poor.
Rating: Unable to rate

Subs
Eddie Johnson: When he got out there, he showed a willingness to take shots on goal. The problem is that he was the only one who didn’t look intimidated when playing out there. He didn’t score but at least he worked hard out there.
Rating: 6

John O’Brien: When he came on, he joined Donovan and Reyna in doing absolutely nothing in the center of midfield. His passes were off target.
Rating: 4

Josh Wolff: He did not get many minutes today but at least he showed some hustle.
Rating: 5

So what does Bruce Arena do ahead of Saturday’s match against Italy? First, this team needs to get focused. Ghana may not have gotten a result but they did show that Italy can be had. There are three different lineups that Arena can go with aside from the one we saw today:

Option One
Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller
Left Back: Eddie Lewis
Central Defenders: Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope
Right Back: Steve Cherundolo
Left Midfield: Landon Donovan
Central Midfield: Claudio Reyna, John O’Brien
Right Midfield: DaMarcus Beasley
Strikers: Brian McBride, Eddie Johnson
The center of this midfield isn’t great for attacking which stresses the need for effective wing play.

Option Two
Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller
Left Back: Eddie Lewis
Central Defenders: Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope
Right Back: Steve Cherundolo
Left Midfield: Bobby Convey
Central Midfield: Claudio Reyna
Right Midfield: DaMarcus Beasley
Wingers: Josh Wolff, Landon Donovan
Striker: Brian McBride
This would be the most offensively minded setup to go with. Arena can only do this if he feels that his defense will hold.

Option Three
Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller
Left Back: Eddie Lewis
Central Defenders: Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope
Right Back: Steve Cherundolo
Left Midfield: Clint Dempsey
Central Midfield: Claudio Reyna
Right Midfield: DaMarcus Beasley
Attacking Midfield: Landon Donovan
Strikers: Brian McBride, Eddie Johnson
One player we didn’t see today was Clint Dempsey who can play anywhere on the field. He has a natural tenacity and hustle that would help Eddie Lewis on defense.

1 Comments:

Blogger Ben Valentine said...

I got to take you to task here with a couple of these ratings here. First, if either Keller deserves less than a six, or Pope and Cherundolo need their ratings dropped. The US surrendered 3 goals today and it could have been more. That says something was either wrong with the defense or goalie. Remember, the US had a ton of possession time, so it isn't as if the defense was trying to stop constant Czech pressure. So, was it poor goalie play or poor defense?

Secondly, McBride deserves a poor score not an unable to rate. Part of a forward's job is to get himself open for service, something no one on the US team seemed to do today. As I said in my post, no one seemed ready or willing to make runs and go towards the goal. McBride's job as a forward is to do that. Unless you saw him making runs repeatedly and the midfielders failed to deliver (which I did not see) then McBride deserves a low rating as well.

Bottom line, in a game where the US had the majority of posession, they lost by 3 goals and got two or three decent chances the entire game. I'm not sure how anyone (except Eddie Johnson, who created most of those chances)deserves anything more than a four.

1:15 AM  

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