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USA 2, Spain 0: Who was your Man of the Match?

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The above group of eleven Americans just delivered one of the best team performances in U.S. Soccer history, defeating seemingly unbeatable Spain, 2-0, on Wednesday. It took every one of the above players to make it happen, and there were several outstanding performances, but there are sure to be varying opinions on who delivered the best performance.

Who was the U.S. team's Man of the Match? Was it Tim Howard for his countless clutch saves? Landon Donovan for his tireless effort and fearless determination? Oguchi Onyewu for his dominance in the penalty area? Jay DeMerit for his timely challenges against two of the world's best strikers?

My pick is Clint Dempsey. Not just for his pass to Jozy Altidore on the U.S. team's first goal, or his finish on the second goal, but for the work he put in all match long. His defensive effort, passing and overall work rate helped the U.S. team win the battle on his side of the field against the formidable tandem of Albert Riera and Joan Capdevila. While any number of players are worthy of the nod, Dempsey gets SBI's vote (though after watching the second half again, I'm going to say Tim Howard is just as deserving).

Now it is your turn. What U.S. player (and you can only pick one, and hedge like we just did) gets your pick for Man of the Match? Cast your vote after the jump and share your reason for your pick below:


  1. I voted LD over Timmy because of his overall play and work rate for the full 90. I thought he was the best player on the field like Ives said in his commentary even though he voted Clint later…

  2. Nothing more clearly showed that when Landon wants to play, he can be the catalyst for an amazing US team.

    Come on son, learn how to play at that level all the time!

  3. LD was a total beast on the field, but it was truly inspiring to watch the entire team (to a man) step up and make themselves felt.

  4. Here’s the thing: Howard made a ton of saves, but only one truly extraordinary one–the kick save in the first half. He was rock solid and he had some other great saves as well, but there are lots of goalies who could have done what he did.

    Gooch was rock solid, but so was Demerit. Too much scrambling and luck to say those performances were superlative.

    Dempsey played really well, and you could see the look in his eyes change after he scored. The guy was finally engaged. His pass to Altidore was good, but the goal was entirely Altidore’s–he shielded beautifully and finished well enough. Dempsey’s goal was opportunistic, but not better than Davies’ goal vs Egypt.

    My vote is for Donovan. I think he was the lynchpin for the US last night. He was everywhere! When’s the last time you saw a guy cover so much ground? And he was the only US player (prior to Feilhaber’s entry) who could consistently hold the ball and get it somewhere it needed to go. He kept Spain honest on defense and harried them on defense. Our best player was our most active player.

    Howard, Gooch, and Dempsey were all huge last night. I think it’d have been hard or impossible to relace any of them and have the same result. But Donovan was transcendant. There’s no chance that the US wins that game last night without him playing like he did.

  5. To me it was a Team effort and I’m very proud of the way they play and show some balls and heart. But if I have to pick a player it has to be Donovan who has been a consistant player all this time. Now we need this team to bring that back for the August 10 at the Azteca and make another History.

  6. MotM = Donovan.

    Nearly the whole squad played masterfully, but one man who was above and beyond the rest, and it was Landon.

    The guy was everywhere, especially just before and after the second goal when he was finding space on nearly every possession, but his teammates were not finding him. He was already killing the game before the 80th minute—and that’s on top of sprinting box to box to get back and contribute on defense.

    Admittedly, Howard and the whole back line were amazing, but there was one player who was there in defense with them, and also was grinding it out in the middle third, and still completing his runs into our attacking third, and it was Donovan.

    Hopefully (HOPEFULLY!!!!!!!) he has finally earned his ticket out of LA and into some mid-table squad in any of the big four leagues of Europe where he can get even better.

    Donovan takes the #1 spot in yesterday’s perfomance. But if there was a #1 1/2 spot, there’d be about an eight-way tie including Howard, the back line, Dempsey, Boca, and Feilhaber.

    And special mention goes to Gooch’s insane clearance at about the 32nd minute with the scorpion kick thing, the most stunning “Did I actually just see that?” moment I’ve seen in a very long time.

    (*: I said “almost.” Conor Casey, bless his heart, looked like a guy they’d picked out of the stands as some kind of sweepstakes winner who gets handed a jersey and as the winner is allowed to run around on the field, in the game, for the last ten minutes.)

  7. I just hope Bob continues to play the best in form players at game time, and doesn’t revert back to old favorites again (beasley, kljestan) or pick some possible new favorites if they become out of form in a year (Bradley, Clark, Davies, Demerit). These players are the back bone of the team today, but who knows what form they will be in a year? It took Coach Bradley 2 games to work out the kinks. For the world cup, he needs to have his line-up worked out before he gets on the plane for South Africa.

  8. Some in Europe think Bob Bradley: BBC Quote:
    “posted 10 Minutes Ago
    ‘How is american coaching of a higher standard then spain, france, holland etc.’

    You can’t polish a trud, the interest might not be there on a large scale but the infrastructure and coaching is.
    add comment | complain about this comment”

  9. Ives,

    Do you have a clip of the red card ‘foul’ committed by Bradley. I am more interested in seeing that play. Also,…is the US going to contest the red card? Thanks.

  10. Donovan was the man of the match with Howard a very close second. Landon was unstoppable, made no mistakes and was the calming force in midfield. He didn’t let the other guys make mistakes; he kept possession when we needed it most. He was awesome. (And I’m not a Landon fan)

    Let’s put this in some historical context: Was it the greatest win in U.S. soccer history?

  11. Man, did Dempsey ever prove me wrong. I just voted for him above. Gooch was a close second, and I may go back and vote for him, too. He certainly was the player of the tournament for the US. He stepped up big time in Bocanegra’s absence and played even better on his return. The back four that was out there yesterday looked awesome.

  12. Howard and the back 4.

    I also think Donovan should not have any critics left this last 10 days. They should all just shut up from now on.

  13. FYI, I looked at Steve Goff’s (gag) player ratings. He gave Clark a 5, Bradley a 6, and Davies a 7. Everyone else was an 8 or 9.

    So, the central midfield that just helped shut down three of the best center mids in the game (Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas) were just AVERAGE??????

    Goff’s a tool, as if we didn’t know that already.

  14. like i said in another post, what a great debate to have “Who is the BEST of the BESTEST?” wonderful to have so many different options/opinions.

    MOTM requires:
    1. Presence – in the right place at the right time all the time.
    2. Pace – controls the pace of the game.
    3. Fortitude – the game is won in the mind first.
    4. Bonus – that game changing factor, that trump card, that one trick up your sleeve. The bonus here is how the player inspires his teammates and strikes fear + respect into his opponents.

    Landon Donovan.

    ^^^”Donovanian” (i like that HomeyBoehme)

    He was downright RIDICULOUS.

    Presence: He was everywhere, forming the attack, heading out lethal crosses on D, back to charging towards goal, and back again. He was in every play, and open on many (that would have resulted in more goals no doubt!). i can’t count how many times he had his hand up waving for the ball – seriously! just feed him the damn ball.

    Pace: Key factor vs Spain. Espana relies on possession, and to deter them from this is to mess up their game. I think this was key. yes they got most of it, but they had no time to recover from their attacking waves. Did you see how exhausted their defenders were? how their midfield would give up balls and not track-back? whenever Donovanian had the ball he manipulated the pace to his preset desires. He slowed it down or picked it up. Spain had no time to catch their breath. (see Pique after the 2nd goal).

    Fortitude: LD face says it all. he is *FIERCE*. his unwavering fortitude is contagious. He out-willed Espana. No one could counter his strong-will (cockiness doesn’t compensate for determination).

    Bonus: game-changer. his timing, precision, intensity, and his vision put him above his peers. he had more influence on the game than anyone else. no one argues that he was just downright *RIDICULOUS* today. WOW.

    Landon Donovan = Man of the Match

  15. I said DeMerit just because he was the more unexpected of the team. I always know Howard is going to make those saves, and Gooch will win everything in the air, and Donovan will be Donovanian, but DeMerit was just incredible.

  16. My first thought was Howard, but eventually I went with Donovan. Even Ives said it during his match commentary: Landon was the best player on the field today.

    It’s easier to say we wouldn’t have won without Howard, which is true. But it’s just as true that without Donovan playing like he did today, this game ends up totally different.

  17. I so hope the Onyewu to Fenerbahce isnt a done deal cuz his stock just crashed through the ceiling! Same can be said for alot Americans today: Bocanegra, DeMerit, Clark, Bradley, Donovan

  18. Who are these people saying Michael Bradley, and which game were they watching???

    Bradley was bad – as usual, he does a ton of running without much effect. And, BTW, did you notice that he got a freaking red card? Spain’s midfield was able to keep possession throughout, and Bradley was lucky that the centerbacks were able to clean up so much, that Landon was a beast, and that Rico played the best game of his career.

    It’s amazing to me that so many US fans think that the sun shines out of Michael Bradley’s behind – that Bradley can do no wrong.

    I thought Landon and Timmy were players of the game. The centerbacks played great defensively, but need to work on their distribution out of the back. There was entirely too much room on the wings – luckily the centerbacks and Rico prevented that space on the wings from leading to goals on crosses. Landon played one of the best games I’ve ever seen him play – he was everywhere, played great defense, and was the best US player with the ball.

    Timmy – 8
    Demerit – 8
    Gooch – 7
    Boca – 4
    Spector – 4
    Clark – 6
    Bradley – 3
    Dempsey – 6
    Donovan – 8
    Jozy – 6
    Davies – 5

    Bob Bradley – 11

  19. For the record, there are quite a few of us who have absolutely no desire to see Adu or Torres right now. Simply put, they aren’t even close to one of the 11 best players.

  20. I just rewatched the game. I’d give the nod to Donovan. Howard and Onyewu would be my next choices. I’d also give consideration to DeMerit and Dempsey. Underrated performance by Spector. I thought Bradley was a bit off this game. Clark defended well, but his passing was bad. Jozy had a goal, but I think he could have had a better game.

  21. I think the entire Confederations CUp has made obvious what I have believed for a long time: Landon Donovan is the best soccer player this country has ever produced. He is at this point easily MVP of the tournament.

  22. Landon Donovan. He gets ripped a lot for being Landycakes (and I’ve joined the fun on many occasions) but the dude showed the heart of a lion today. He was one of the only Americans able to slow down the play, his decision-making was spot on and I’ve never seen him contribute more defensively than he did today. Obviously the whole team was superb, but Donovan gets my vote.

  23. Here’s an indepth look at all 14 U.S. players in their historic upset:

    When it come to man of the match, I think you have to give it to the man between the posts.


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