Grading The United States 2010 World Cup

St. Louis – June 27, 2010
By Jeremy Clements

I’ve always believed it is never smart to grade a players performance on the day of a loss. Simply because when you do that you are quick to be overly harsh because you as a fan will still be feeling the sting of a loss. So the day after our national team was outed by Ghana here are the overall grades for our players from the World Cup.

Goal Keeper – A

Keeper Tim Howard after USA Victory
Image by g55 via Flickr

Tim Howard: A. Keeping was not one of the many problems that plagued our national squad in this tournament. Howard played extremely well and more times than not, kept us in games. He did have one moment of weakness during the game against Ghana but that still wasn’t enough to hurt his overall grade that much.

Defense – C-

Jay DeMerit: C. In this tournament DeMerit’s play on the defensive third didn’t impress me much. Mainly due to his inconsistency he gets a C. He proved that he was strong and smart on occasion, while also showing that he was vulnerable and didn’t seem to have the speed to recover if he was out of position.

Carlos Bocanegra: B. Bocanegra, who wears the captain’s armband for our national squad played well for the most part. I’d argue that he was our strongest defender of the tournament. Sadly for our squad it takes more than one man to defend.

Oguchi Onyewu: C-. This was a hard grade to give. I don’t believe that he was fully fit to play in this tournament so the fact that he went out and played well in the first two matches we played should say something about him. However the fact that he wasn’t in top shape meant that we may have had to go with a weaker line up in terms of defense, possibly costing us in the tournament.

Steve Cherundolo: B+. This grade isn’t based purely on his defense. Cherundolo did play well defensively but I felt that his play on our offensive third was good as well. His ability to bend balls into the area was a great asset for the Americans in the tournament.

Johnathon Bornstein: C. I didn’t see his play as anything special. He didn’t play weak by any means, however he wasn’t a dominant defensive force either. He played well but not great enough to make a real difference on a weak defensive unit.

Midfield – B+

Landon Donovan: B. Donovan provided us with some great play and leadership. He was always the one who brought that “never say die” attitude onto the pitch. However there were moments where he was completely useless and seemed invisible. Those moments may have cost the United States who didn’t have the depth to allow one of their best players the luxury of not showing up.

Clint Dempsey: B+. Dempsey was a real warrior for the United States in this tournament. He always seemed to be in the middle of the action, helping to create offensive opportunities for the team. He was quick to get back and defend as well. Dempsey was in my opinion, possibly the best player on the pitch for the Americans in the tournament.

Ricardo Clark: D-. In my opinion Clark was the worst player on the pitch for the Americans in this tournament. He never demonstrated the ability to control the ball or that he was capable of distributing it to our strikers on our offensive third. I’m not sure why Bob Bradley started him against Ghana after he didn’t play in the final two group games, that decision may be second guessed until 2014.

Michael Bradley: B+. The coaches son proved very quickly that he was the right man to patrol the central midfield for the Americans. His ability to control and distribute the ball under pressure proved invaluable to the United States squad. I would argue that Bradley was one of the top five best players for the Yanks in this tournament.

Benny Feilhaber of the United States is closed down by Anthony Annan of Ghana during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Benny Feilhaber: A-. Feilhaber was a true difference maker for the United States midfield. His excellent distribution of the ball and his ability to move off the ball really helped spread things out for the Americans on their offensive third. His ability to defend was tested as well and he responded well to it. In my opinion, Feilhaber was the best player on the pitch for the United States in this World Cup.

Maurice Edu: B. Edu played very well while he was on the pitch. I thought he had a spectacular match against Slovenia and that he played well against Algeria as well. I thought he should have started against Ghana but he ended up coming in as a substitution in the 3oth minute. Edu helped fortify the midfield for the United States on both sides of the pitch.

DaMarcus Beasley: C. Beasley didn’t see alot of playing time and as a result I don’t think you can give him a higher or lower grade. In fact, the only thing he really managed to do during his time on the pitch was pick up a yellow card. He is a quality player but didn’t really stand out in the little time he saw on the pitch in the tournament.

Strikers – D+

Jozy Altidore of the United States looks dejected during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Jozy Altidore: D+. This grade may be overly harsh, but considering that he has been labeled as the next big thing for American soccer and that he didn’t score a single goal in South Africa result in this grade. He played extremely well in the match against Algeria, but that was really the only match he performed to his potential. He missed so many chances, some with the ball on his foot inside the box. As your nations top striker you have to be able to finish, Altidore didn’t prove he can do that. He is young and raw, which means he still has a tremendous upside, but he let us down this time around.

Edson Buddle: B-. Buddle was used mainly as a substitute during the United States run in this tournament. During his time on the pitch he played well enough to help open things up offensively for the United States but failed to convert the opportunities he had to score. Not a bad performance for Buddle but it certainly wasn’t anything spectacular.

Herculez Gomez: C+. Gomez saw action in three matches for the Americans in this tournament. He created a few scoring chances but wasn’t able to find the back of the net on any of them. His struggles just added to the frustrations for the United States strikers who never scored a goal in this tournament.

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