Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
It didn’t start out in the prettiest of fashions, but the U.S. Men’s National Team eventually overcame a slow start to take control of their game against Cuba and post another convincing victory.
The U.S. team’s 4-1 victory served as a good showcase for several players, including Joe Corona, Kyle Beckerman and second-half substitute Chris Wondolowski.
Not everything was perfect though. There was Brek Shea’s horrible 45 minutes of action, and Edgar Castillo’s first half defensive struggles. We also saw yet another right back struggle to make an impact on the attack, and we saw Herculez Gomez struggle to make an impact.
Here are the SBI USMNT Player Grades for their 4-1 win vs. Cuba:
USMNT 4, CUBA 1: SBI PLAYER GRADES
NICK RIMANDO (6)
Couldn’t be blamed for the goal, and wasn’t really that busy beyond making one save.
TONY BELTRAN (5.5)
Very active on the right wing, trying to get forward often, but didn’t provide service from the flank. He did draw some fouls, that set up free kicks, but couldn’t really be called a force, and he wasn’t really tested defensively.
MICHAEL OROZCO (6.5)
Very clean match for him as his passing was stellar (completing 63 of 65 passes) and his timing very good when it came time to step into challenges. He also did well to get involved on attacking set pieces. Looking like a very viable centerback option for the knockout rounds if Klinsmann decides he doesn’t like the Goodson-Onyewu combo.
OGUCHI ONYEWU (5.5)
Beaten on the Cuba goal, and once again looked nervy at times in possession, but he did complete 60 of 64 passes and stepped up to every challenge in the second half.
EDGAR CASTILLO (6)
Beaten badly on the Cuba goal, and a few other times after that, but was significantly better from the 40th minute on, drawing a penalty and setting up a goal with a pass to Chris Wondolowski. Could be the last time we see him start at left back, at least in this tournament barring an injury, but he continues to show he can contribute to the attack.
KYLE BECKERMAN (7)
Handled his job of midfield engine perfectly, circulating the ball well and covering plenty of ground. Converted 96 of 105 passes, including a perfect cross to set up Wondolowski’s first goal. Safe to say he will be starting for the rest of the tournament.
JOE CORONA (7.5)
Turned in a strong game from start to finish, and showed a good all-around game. He was willing to do the dirty work defensively, but also could deliver sharp passes. His goal was a thing of beauty as well and you have to wonder if he will just stay in the starting lineup the rest of the way now, or will Klinsmann look to get him some rest against Costa Rica.
STUART HOLDEN (5.5)
It was a tame game for Holden by his recent lofty standards, but he still did everything asked of him. Kept the ball moving, made good recovery runs and made himself available to teammates. Didn’t have as much of an impact in the attack as recent matches.
BREK SHEA (3)
The worst half of soccer by a USMNT player in recent memory. He was a turnover machine, combining a bad touch with terrible crosses. It was truly painful to watch, and Klinsmann pulled him at halftime. So why not an even lower grade? Well, it’s not like he drew a red card or scored an own goal.
LANDON DONOVAN (7)
Another strong game for Donovan, who set up the play that drew his penalty kick goal, and had several dangerous attacking passes.
HERCULEZ GOMEZ (4)
Really struggled in his 58 minutes of action. Managed one shot, and was beaten up by the Cuban defense, but didn’t really get involved in the match.
JOSE TORRES (6)
Had some good moments and was active around the midfield, including the pass that found Castillo for the assist on Wondolowski’s second goal, and just might lock up a starting role after Shea’s terrible showing.
CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI (7)
Came off the bench and scored two goals, with a pair of quality finishes. He looks like a player brimming with confidence, and given Gomez’s struggles, Wondolowski looks like a good bet to start vs. Costa Rica on Tuesday.
MIX DISKERUD (6.5)
Came in and played a solid 32 minutes, completing 43 of 45 passes, taking full advantage of Cuba’s lack of second-half pressure. Has looked good each time he’s played and will make Jurgen Klinsmann lineup decisions very tough in midfield for the Costa Rica match.
What did you think of the grades? Who do you feel was graded too harshly? Who do you feel received too generous a grade? What player, if any, surprised you on Saturday?
Share your thoughts below.