USA vs. Slovenia: Rating the USMNT Players in the International Friendly

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USA vs. Slovenia: Rating the USMNT Players in the International Friendly
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jürgen Klinsmann's side can go home happy after their last round of international friendlies for 2011, having defeated old World Cup adversaries Slovenia 3-2, giving Klinsi his first away win. 

There were plenty of standout performances from veterans and newcomers alike—Edson Buddle, Fabian Johnson—and a few recurring clunkers. 

Here are the player ratings for today's international friendly. 

As always, if you have any more thoughts on today's performances or would rate these guys differently, have at it in the comments. 

Goalkeeper and Defenders

Tim Howard: Howard should get extra credit considering how hard he had to work tonight, courtesy of poor central defending and a potent Slovenia attack.  The goals he allowed were more the results of shoddy defending from the back four than his own misgivings—he did the best he could, all things considered. 6.5

Steve Cherundolo: Like Chandler and Howard, 'Dolo had a lot of work in covering for poor efforts from the central defenders.  He made a few nice plays for the attack and spent a lot of time picking up the slack, but he was still a bit tentative at times. 6.0

Clarence Goodson: Anyone else miss Onyewu already?  With the USMNT's resurgent star centre-back out with injury, Goodson stepped up to the pitch, but could not provide a sufficient substitute for the Gooch.  He lacked pace and had difficulty neutralizing the likes of Matavž and Valter Birsa, and kept giving the ball away.  Might be a while before we see him start again. 4.0 

Carlos Bocanegra: Captain Carlos got his 100th cap for the USMNT, and lucky for him, it was a win (he even got one of Slovenia's Charlie Brown kits as a goodwill congratulations gift), but it's a shame his individual performance wasn't better.  He wasn't nearly as poor as Goodson, but he made some stupid mistakes here and there—most notably that awful late-in-the-game foul which gave Slovenia a free kick and put the lead in jeopardy. 5.0

Timmy Chandler: Timmy, Timmy, Timmy.  The left-back is still getting used to his position, granted, but Chandler struggled defensively against Slovenia.  He gave a good effort, but he spent too much time on the outside and couldn't quite get a flow going with the rest of the defenders.  A lot of this has to do with positioning, and it's an issue that will get better as he gets used to it, but maybe it's worth considering returning him to RB so he can properly excel. 5.5

 

Midfielders

Kyle Beckerman: It was another relatively unimpressive performance for Jürgen Klinsmann's preferred holding midfielder.  He let the midfield get too congested and was generally sluggish, and let the attack get the better of him on a number of occasions.  But in his defense, it wasn't entirely his fault: the lackluster central defending meant he was stretched too thin.  Might be time for a new starting, or a new pattern. 5.0 

Michael Bradley: Bradley was a surprise hit Tuesday, even a Man of the Match contender, starting on the attack right away and creating a few great chances.  He was strong, hard-working, forward-thinking, and picked up the slack when the midfield got too crowded and the attack intense.  Bradley proved he could still be a starter and perhaps even the base of a restructured USMNT central midfield.  Let's hope Klinsmann took notes. 8.5

Fabian Johnson: The TSG Hoffenheim midfielder was slated to make a start much earlier in the season, but had to wait for the go-ahead from FIFA.  He made his starting debut tonight and did quite a lot with it: He gave the midfield some vitality, linked up well with his teammates and created a few superb chances, leading the attack momentum from the get-go, even delivering some MOTM-caliber moments.  A fantastic start, and hopefully an indicator of more great things to come from Johnson. 8.5 

Clint Dempsey: The architect of the USMNT attack had another great night, including an expertly-headed goal to put his side ahead after a nerve-racking equalizer from Slovenia.  He was hungry for the goal and made a number of strong attempts.  His post-game interview sign-off was equally amazing: "Sounds good, y'all.  Take it easy.  Peace." 7.5 

 

Forwards

Edson Buddle: Buddle has improved in strides since his return to the USMNT, marked by a rather disappointing substitute appearance against Ecuador.  Against Slovenia, he was fantastic, creating a number of chances and netting a cracking goal for the USMNT in the first 10 minutes to jump-start the attacking momentum.  Both a great performance and a fantastic personnel decision on the part of Jürgen Klinsmann. 8.5

Jozy Altidore: Altidore looks far better than he did the last time the USA and Slovenia met on the pitch.  He stayed in the thick of the attack and seemed to really benefit from having someone to share the burden up front, still making some strong attempts on his own.  If this formation sticks, he'll be able to exceed his potential on the pitch.  Oh yeah, and he scored the match-winner on a well-taken penalty. 7.0

 

Subs

Brek Shea: It was not the best night for the normally impressive FC Dallas upstart.  He was a relatively quiet presence on the wing tonight and didn't make quite the impact as a sub as Klinsmann would have hoped.  Not exactly the kind of performance you want when Arséne Wenger is looking to maybe recruit you. 5.5 

Maurice Edu: After a disappointing match against France, Edu came on late in the second half as a replacement for Buddle when Klinsmann looked to tighten up the defensive game to hold on to the win.  The experienced Edu served his role well, helping slow down the Slovenian attack that looked ferocious throughout most of the second half.  He would have been a better sub for Beckerman though. 6.0

Danny Williams: Not on quite long enough to rate as he came on just before injury time, but his presence raises some questions.  He came on to replace Timmy Chandler at left-back, but maybe he would have done better coming on for Kyle Beckerman and serving in the role in which he's most experience, as a holding midfielder. N/A 

Jermaine Jones: Jones came in for the last 10 minutes or so for Beckerman.  To his credit, he wasn't Beckerman, but he also didn't play long enough to give him a proper rating. N/A

Robbie Rogers: Rogers came on for Michael Bradley in the last minute of stoppage time for Valter Birsa's free kick.  He was on the winning side, but didn't spend enough time on the pitch for a rating. N/A

 

Men of the Match: Fabian Johnson, Edson Buddle, Michael Bradley, with an honorable mention to Clint Dempsey

Weakest Link: Clarence Goodson


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