USA 3, Guatemala 1: SBI's Player Grades

USA 3, Guatemala 1: SBI's Player Grades

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USA 3, Guatemala 1: SBI's Player Grades

 Photo by ISIPhotos.com

The U.S. Men’s National Team shook off Guatemala’s early goal and proceeded to dominate the visitors in what was easily their best performance of the 2012 World Cup qualifying round. There were a plethora of standout evenings, particularly in the attack, that should give U.S. fans some hope of better things to come in 2013.

From Eddie Johnson’s continued renaissance to Clint Dempsey’s stellar outing, the Americans put on a good show for the crowd at Livestrong Sporting Park and gave Jurgen Klinsmann plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Here are the SBI player grades for Tuesday night (based on the consensus of grades by SBI staffers Ives Galarcep and Franco Panizo):

SBI PLAYER GRADES

(USA 3, Guatemala 1)

TIM HOWARD (6). His usual reliable self aside from one small hiccup in the second half in which he still impressively kicked a ball away to safety after fumbling a low cross. Nothing he could do on Ruiz’s goal. (Franco Panizo)

STEVE CHERUNDOLO (6.5) He might be 33, but Cherundolo sure is not showing signs of slowing down. He was solid throughout the match and his perfectly-weighted through ball to Johnson was instrumental in helping set up the Americans’ go-ahead goal. (FP)

GEOFF CAMERON (5) Another subpar outing at centerback for Cameron, whose reps at right back with Stoke City may be affecting his sharpness in the middle. Was partially to blame for Ruiz’s goal and the back line’s failure to stay organized on Guatemala counter attacks in the first half. He improved in the second half. (FP)

CARLOS BOCANEGRA (5.5). Had his defensive struggles, looking slow on Guatemala’s goal after being outrun by Carlos Ruiz. Made up for it with the opening goal, but lack of pace raises questions heading into 2013. (Ives Galarcep)

MICHAEL PARKHURST (6) Got forward well at times but was a bit too casual during other instances, allowing Guatemala players to strip him of the ball. Was tested frequently but held up well in his first national team appearance at left back. (FP)

DANNY WILLIAMS (7). Outstanding game for the German-born midfielder, who covered ground well and passed the ball as well as he did in the Jamaica qualifier in Columbus. Should hold on to the starting job for some time. (IG)

MICHAEL BRADLEY (7.5). Didn’t have the best start to the game, but came on strong and closed out the game like one of the best players on the field. His work on the final U.S. goal was outstanding and he remains one of the team’s key figures. (IG)

CLINT DEMPSEY (8). Scored two goals and set up a third. Stayed active in the penalty area, picking his spots while Eddie Johnson and Herculez Gomez provided the movement around him. (IG)

EDDIE JOHNSON (7) The Seattle Sounders forward’s speed and assist on Dempsey’s goal were just part of a solid night in the city where he enjoyed some of the early days of his pro career. His combination play was excellent and he also looked good when his back was to goal. The one black eye on his performance was that he did miss a chance to score in the second half. (IG)

GRAHAM ZUSI (7). Another quality performance from the Sporting KC playmaker. His movement and passing helped the U.S. attack stay fluid, and he provided quality service on corner kicks. (IG)

HERCULEZ GOMEZ (6.5). A rebound performance after a disappointing turn against Antigua & Barbuda. Gomez provided his trademark hustle, earning the corner kick that set up the opening goal and working the give-and-go with Michael Bradley that produced the final goal. (IG)

SACHA KLJESTAN (6) Once again, Kljestan proved to be a useful substitute. The RSC Anderlecht man added some energy, combined well with teammates and even had a hard shot that was saved by Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez. (FP)

MAURICE EDU (5.5) Also provided energy off the bench as a midfielder and covered lots of ground to help stymie a Guatemala team that was trying to come out of its defensive shell. (FP)

JOEY CORONA (NR). Didn’t play enough to earn a grade but the appearance cap ties him to the U.S. (FP)

JURGEN KLINSMANN (7.5). His lineup decisions were impeccable, with Michael Parkhurst holding his own at left back and the trio of Johnson, Gomez and Dempsey working very well together. (IG)

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