The United States fielded their World Cup hopefuls for tonight’s tune up against the Czech Republic, and while nobody was expecting this team to dominate, nobody was expecting the laughable play either. Moments of mental farts and very sloppy defending led to all four Czech goals and ultimately doomed the Yanks in a game where many fringe players were given their last tryout to make it on the plane to South Africa. It wasn’t a complete disaster on all accounts, but with what was at stake for so many of these players, you would’ve at least expected sharper play and better concentration for 90 minutes from top to bottom.
The few bright spots include Herculez Gomez making the most of his opportunity and scoring a goal, and Clarence Goodson who looked strong and composed in the air. Jose Torres also did well, making himself available and was very tidy and composed on the ball. There is absolutely no reason why these three shouldn’t be taken to South Africa.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10 = best)
Brad Guzan, goalkeeper, 4 — Wasn’t his fault on any of the four goals, but in the same breath, neither was it Kasey Keller’s when he let three in against the Czech’s in the 2006 World Cup opener for the U.S. Bottom line – You need to be better than good at this level to be a starter in the World Cup. Hahnemann will be the No. 2.
Jonathan Bornstein, defense, 2 — Complete garbage. There is absolutely no reason for him to wear the U.S. shirt for a while, if ever again. Poor positioning, poor defending, atrocious passing marred him for the game. Sadly, I still think Bradley will choose him.
Clarence Goodson, defense, 6.5 — Did well in his 90 minutes. Was very composed in the air and delivered very timely defensive headers. Did well to keep a difficult ball alive with his head to set up Gomez’ goal. His poor clearance that led to Martin Fenin’s game-winner was the only blemish to an otherwise very solid game. A lock for South Africa.
Oguchi Onyewu, defense, 4 — If anybody was uncertain that 7 months of injury would play a role in Gooch’s game, just watch how he got 2 inches off the ground on Tomas Sivok’s equalizer. An in form, in shape Gooch would’ve destroyed that ball. Sadly that is not the version of Gooch we’ll have for the World Cup. Will still make the team, but have some serious questions about whether he should make the starting 11.
Steve Cherundolo, defense, 5.5 — Looked promising when joining in on the attack. Didn’t seem to have the delivery for the final ball or on his crosses but at least he linked up well with Holden. Looked gassed by the end of the game but I think he did enough to push Jonathan Spector for the starting right back spot.
DaMarcus Beasley, midfield, 5.5 — Looked involved and active, especially early on. Delivered a wonderful cross into the box early in the game. Bornstein’s complete ineptitude at playing left back forced Beasley to track back and help too much and was rarely involved in the attack. He’ll make the World Cup team.
Jose Torres, midfield, 7.5 — One of the few players who actually looked like he was competing for a World Cup spot. Was very composed and provided good link up play from the defenders to the midfield and forwards. I will be shocked if he doesn’t get a plane ticket.
Maurice Edu, midfield, 4.5 — Scored his first team for the Yanks to put the U.S. ahead. It wasn’t pretty, but scrappy goals is what we’re used to from Edu and his work for the Rangers. His passing left a lot to be desired and his ill fated mistimed aerial challenge led straight to Tomas Necid’s goal.
Stuart Holden, midfield, 6.5 — Did well with his set piece deliveries. Most were dangerous and on target, which is what you hope for. Did very well tracking back and helping defensively. Was very impressed that he had the energy to go a full 90 after his injury but TJ wasn’t taking a liking to his Back Street Boy look. I think I’ll be calling him BSB from here on out. I’ll be surprised if he isn’t one of the starting 11 against England.
Eddie Johnson, forward, 2 — EJ has to be the most incompetent soccer player in the player pool. Looked completely lost with his back towards the goal and did nothing when he was facing it either. Has great physical tools, but his lack of a brain and complete laziness has ultimately doomed him as a complete bust.
Edson Buddle, forward, 5 — Wish he got 90 minutes instead of 45. Showed willingness to do some dirty work and chase the ball but wasn’t really a factor and didn’t create much on the offensive end. Not a bad performance but not enough to play in the World Cup.
Heath Pearce, defense, 3.5 — His introduction into the game was supposed to be a breath of fresh air compared to the stench that Bornstein left on the pitch. Was caught ball watching on Jan Polak’s goal (mental mistake) and while he did do slightly better at the left back spot, I’m not convinced he can handle England’s Theo Walcott or Aaron Lennon on the right wing.
Robbie Rogers, midfield, 6 — Great sub that provided a quick spark into a lethargic U.S. attack. Delivered some good and dangerous crosses and had a blistering shot from distance that forced Petr Cech into a diving save. If it wasn’t Cech in goal, it could have been a goal or at the very least a huge rebound. Did well to be considered for a spot but faded late in the game.
Sacha Kljestan, midfield, 3.5 — As always, Sacha flashed some moments of competence only to be marred by poor touches and passes. Far too inconsistent to be playing in the World Cup.
Brian Ching, 6.5, forward, — Immediately gave the U.S. a better attacking option once he got on the pitch. Outside of pace, he did everything better than Johnson and Buddle up top. Solid passing and hold-up play that clearly injected confidence into the team. Did very well following a broken play and was unlucky when he couldn’t get onto a deflected ball near the goal. He’s going to South Africa.
Herculez Gomez, forward, 6.5 — With several spots open along the forwards, only Gomez really stepped up and showed that one of those belonged to him. There’s no doubt that his guy is a scorer and can use any part of his body to finish the job. Did well to tie the game with his header in the 68th minute. Should absolutely be going to South Africa. I expect Bradley to put him on against England as a super-sub.
Alejandro Bedoya, midfield, 4.5 — Was largely anonymous for most the game. Didn’t do anything to change his World Cup chances.