I would like to start my recap off by saying this is my first article on the Bleacher Report, so comments are more than welcome.
My first thoughts about the lineup was that it was solid. Howard in goal. Spector, DeMerit, Bocanegra and Bornstein in the back. A Midfield of Donovan, Torres, Bradley and Holden. Up top, Altidore and Findley.
I don't need to say anything about Howard. Penalties happen, deflections are unfortunate, but he had a solid break away save against Elia and also had a great save towards the end of the match against Van der Vaart. Howard, in my mind, is one of the top five goalkeepers in the world.
I thought Spector did well being marked up with Elia and Robben all day, as he kept them in check most of the time and it seemed that they worked the other side of the field more often. DeMerit, in my mind, was probably the best US player on the field. He consistently won balls in the air and made life difficult for the Dutch forwards.
Bocanegra was solid like usual (nice aggressive play to grab a goal at the end). Bornstein was really the scapegoat of this game, in my opinion. He made a mistake by grabbing onto Sneijder and the deflection goal could have happened to anyone.
For most of us, if we saw Sneijder flying into space in the 18 we would have done the same exact thing. Give him a break!
Heath Pearce and Clarence Goodson weren't in long enough to really make an impact that I saw. THE GREAT EXCEPTION TO THAT STATEMENT IS if Goodson and scored that volley in extra time that would have been one of the greatest US goals ever (Behind Gaetjens goal vs. England, Paul Caligiuri vs. T&T and Donovan's goal that sealed it against Mexico in the 2002 World Cup, of course).
A side note, I do think that Goodson has solidified his place to be on the 23—man roster for South Africa. He has been solid in the back, in the air and can be dangerous on set pieces.
For the midfield starters, I thought it was a great balance. I thought Holden was a spark plug down the right side. It was unfortunate that he was taken out early which, in a game that mattered, should have been a red. It was a late tackle, his studs were up and he went pretty high.
Donovan looked more dangerous down the right side in the second half. Donovan really didn't do much in this game and it felt like spans of the game where he almost disappeared. Jose Torres had the chance of the first half with his cannon from about 30 yards out.
I for one want to see Torres play more for the US. I feel like his pace and creativity would balance well with Bradley's bullish nature. I was disheartened to see him taken off at half. Bradley was solid in the middle and while most of his distribution was solid, his long balls tended to be off. Overall, it was a good effort considering the ability and quality of the Dutch midfield.
Maurice Edu brought a stronger presence in the middle and had some solid chances. He is another younger prospect that I am intrigued to see play more. Bedoya, other than getting that foul outside the 18 near extra time, was about all he did. But what can you do when you are a sub late in the game?
Beasley I thought made a case for him being on the roster of 23. He showed good pace and moxie that he has been missing recently. Not to mention, he didn't let a simple pass role under his boot and led to a goal. He served up a few good crosses and he had a solid free kick that Bocanegra headed home. I thought he could have done better with the free kick chance towards the end of the match.
For the forwards, Altidore was solid up top. His possession was good, he held the ball well and played it back to the midfield instead of forcing the issue. I think his time in England is paying dividends. His rocket at the end of the game was a solid effort.
Findley had great pace, but I would like to see him have better composure, which will come in time. Johnson wasn't on long enough for me to really give him an honest judgement. To be honest, I didn't even really notice that he came in. If Davies is not ready for the World Cup, I would rather see Findley up there.
Overall, I thought the effort was good, the US had some solid possessions, but overall needs to work on not just lobbing the ball up to the forwards and hoping for the best. There needs to be more of an emphasis on working the ball from the back, up the field, as well as being patient and not forcing the issue.