The USMNT's World Cup qualifying campaign officially started Friday night when the Yanks took on Antigua and Barbuda down in Tampa.
It was a game that resulted in three points for the U.S., but ultimately was defined by a number of missed opportunities that could have widened the scoreline even more. Though a little unconvincingly, the USMNT got the job done.
But how did the players do individually? Check out the USMNT player ratings below!
GK: Tim Howard, 6 - Howard was fine for the amount of work he had to do. Letting up a goal against Antigua and Barbuda certainly wasn’t one of the highlights of his career, but after all, it wasn’t really his fault.
D: Jose Torres, 6 - Considering Torres had never before played LB before for the USMNT, he put in a fairly solid hour of work before leaving with an ankle injury. Possibly the best part of his whole performance was the fact that he was always forced to pass forward and push up, rather than slow down play and pass backwards like he had in previous matches.
D: Carlos Bocanegra, 8.5 - Bocanegra put forth his best NT performance of the year Friday night as he consistently broke up A&B attacks. The captain also did a phenomenal job at shutting down Antigua’s biggest threat,Dexter Blackstock, on multiple occasions.
With all the defensive injuries the U.S. has had lately, Bocanegra will need to continue this form throughout qualifiers if the U.S. wants to reach the Hexagonal safely.
D: Clarence Goodson 6.5 - Goodson’s night was defined by his heroic block on Dexter Blackstock’s sure-to-be goal in the first half. He also confirmed his starting spot for weeks to come by simply not having the last name of Onyewu.
D: Steve Cherundolo, 6 - The one word that I would use to describe Cherundolo’s night is "invisible." That is not to say he had a bad night, he was perfectly solid when called upon, but he was rarely ever challenged. With Torres often pushing up the left side, Cherundolo played a much more conservative role in the offense.
M: Maurice Edu, 5 - It was another night where Edu showed off his high-beta style of play. He can show moments of brilliance like his chip pass to Donovan in the first half, but also hold on to the ball far too long or fail to get back on defense.
His inconsistencies make me think Klinsmann might give, dare I say it, Kyle Beckerman another first XI chance.
M Michael Bradley, 6 - For the second game in a row, Bradley was positioned more as defensive midfielder than an offensive playmaker. We didn’t get to see too much of the attacking Michael Bradley that was instrumental in the creating of chances against Brazil just last week.
Hopefully, Klinsmann hears our cries and Bradley is given more of an offensive role against Guatemala on Tuesday night.
M Jermaine Jones, 6.5 - Other than being card-free, Jermaine Jones had a normal, hard-nosed game against Antigua and Barbuda. He was fierce in his challenges, was too optimistic in his passing ability, and was determined to win every 50-50 ball. In the end, it was a good game for Jermaine and a performance that we have gotten fairly used to lately.
F Landon Donovan, 8.0 - And just like that, the Donovan of old was back on our TV screens. Influential in each USMNT goal, Landon’s presence was certainly felt all night and he could have had a few goals to his own name if he had been more selfish in the attacking third. The Donovan-Dempsey duo is looking as dangerous as ever.
F Clint Dempsey, 7.5 - Dempsey had his best game in a USMNT shirt since returning from his groin injury. His confidence in the attacking third intimidates defenders and allows him to have space to create opportunities.
His beautiful one-touch through ball to Donovan set up the penalty which he eventually took very well. Right now, Dempsey is the stud of this offense, and he knows it.
F Herculez Gomez, 7.5 - Simply put, the man just can’t stop scoring. Herculez’s goals are never extraordinary, but that is only because he is always in an excellent position to score the tap-ins that are just as effective. Once again he showed that his hard work and excellent soccer IQ are welcome additions back into the USMNT offense.
SUB Oguchi Onyewu, 3 - Last night just confirmed it is the unfortunate end of era for Oguchi Onyewu. His lack of pace was evident even against one of the weakest of CONCACAF opponents, and he single-handedly left Howard to dry on the one A&B goal.
Please Jurgen, put the man out of his misery and don't invite him back to camp.
SUB Terrence Boyd, 7.5 - Although he didn’t do much on the pitch, the fact that he actually expressed excitement to being cap-tied on his Twitter account after the game made him an immediate candidate for man of the night. Welcome to the USMNT, Terrence! I’m sure there will be many more exciting moments to come.
SUB Jozy Altidore, 6.0 - Jozy did little in his brief 10 minutes to earn back his starting spot from Herculez Gomez. We would all like to see Altidore get a chance to prove himself, but with Gomez playing this way, it might be a summer of super-subbing for Jozy.
The USMNT's next qualifier is Tuesday night against Guatemala at 10 p.m. ET and can be seen on pay-per-view. Cheers!
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