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USA 2, Honduras 0: A look back

Heath Pearce 1 ( 

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It didn't start out as the prettiest game, and for long stretches the USA-Honduras match looked capable of being an upset loss for the Americans, but a strong defense and a pair of dangerous substitutes turned last night's Gold Cup match in the U.S. national team's favor.

Charlie Davies and Benny Feilhaber looked every bit like a confident duo enjoying the afterglow of the Confederations Cup, breaking down Honduras' back-line with speed, movement and vision, all things lacking for the American attack before their inclusion.

Honduras had its chances to break through and take the game over, but the U.S. back-line, led by the imposing presence of Chad Marshall and the veteran savvy of Steve Cherundolo, never cracked.

Credit to Bob Bradley, for letting his starting lineup be tested in the second half before inserting Feilhaber and Davies, who changed the game and sparked the late rally.

So how did all the U.S. players do last night? Here are the U.S. player grades for last night's match:

Troy Perkins (6)– Posted the shutout and made a couple of good saves, but his distribution was terrible and is clearly something he needs to work on.

Chad Marshall (8)– Won every battle he engaged in and neutralized Carlos Costly when the dangerous Honduran moved up top looking for a goal. His Gold Cup to date has to move him into the fourth spot on the U.S. centerback depth chart.

Michael Parkhurst (7)– Used his deceptive speed and ability to read the game to thwart several Honduran attacks.

Heath Pearce (6.5) – An improved performance from the struggling fullback. The Gold Cup should definitely help his confidence, which has taken a beating this year.

Steve Cherundolo (7) – Challenged repeatedly, Cherundolo was up to the task each time, and his forays into the attack finally bore fruit with his cross on Ching's goal.

Logan Pause (4) – Looked overwhelmed by the speed of play at times and was far too tentative. Didn't do nearly as well as he did on Saturday in what may be his last start of the tournament.

Kyle Beckerman (7) – Was very confident all match long and delivered countless quality passes. Perhaps was too confident at times, which led to some bad turnovers. Overall, his work rate in midfield was impresive.

Santino Quaranta (7.5) – An inspired performance, it was actually his defensive work that stood out before his well-taken goal.

Robbie Rogers (6.5) – Was the team's most dangerous player in the first half, but lack of movement in the attack left him double-teamed and with few passing options. He forced things in the second half and was far less effective. Still a good overally performance.

Freddy Adu (4.5) – Committed far too many turnovers, but he did put himself in good positions repeatedly. Unfortunately, he couldn't do anything with that, missing a pair of wide-open headers and failing to have much of a positive impact aside from a nice back-heel pass to Rogers on one sequence.

Brian Ching (6) – Not a great game at all before the two U.S. goals. He looked rusty and disappeared for stretches, which should have been expected after having been sideline in recent weeks. Once Davies and Feilhaber came into the match, the subs played to Ching's strengths, which led to a strong finish from the veteran striker.

Benny Feilhaber (7.5) – Was pure class from the moment he took the field. His vision and touch was too much for Honduras to handle and inspired the U.S. attack.

Charlie Davies (7.5) – His speed created space and he capitalized on that with some very good passes. His confidence is sky high and he is developing into a complete forward.

Kenny Cooper (6) – Showed some flashes in limited action and should get a longer look vs. Haiti.


What did you think of last night's performance? What do you think of these grades? Who would you like to see play against Haiti?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. One note about Adu. When you think back to his game against Spain, I thought he looked pretty sharp.

    I think at that time, he had been getting minutes for Benefica as a sub. I think Adu is someone that needs to just play! The more he plays, regardless of club level, the better he will get. I really do hope that he can earn some minutes at Benefica.

  2. Ives, thank you for propping Bradley for letting players work things out and make adjustments in the 2nd half. I’m quite positive that he knew early on that inserting Benny would change the game – but he made the decision based on his LONG-TERM plan for all the players. This, IMO, is Bradley’s biggest strength as a coach – he seems always to be thinking long term in terms of the player pool and player development. Sure, he has weaknesses (like every other coach) but let’s give credit where it’s due.

  3. Do not understand the love for Beckerman, he had a few moments but did not think he was overly impressive.

    Holden needs to back in the lineup Saturday.

  4. oops, missed the note about Adu going to Benefica now.

    So the lineup would be:
    Cooper – Quaranta
    Rogers – Holden – Beckerman – Evans
    Heaps – Goodsen – Marshall – Conrad

  5. looks like Adu is joining DMB and Klestjan as players who aren’t going to WC ’10 unless they get regular club minutes and get on form

    And, I’m Adu supporter!

    That said, if BB continues to play Klestjan, then Adu should be part of the squad as well

    I can only hope that some of our bench (Cooper, Robles, etc) get to play against Haiti.

    Here’s my lineup for Haiti:
    Cooper – Quaranta
    Rogers – Adu – Evans
    Heaps – Goodsen – Marshall – Conrad

    with Crpnin & Clark getting minutes as subs

    Also, I think we have a good model for tournaments:
    WC + 1 year: Gold Cup (A team), South American cup (B Team)
    WC + 2 years: Friendlies with Euro tems
    WC + 3 years: Confed Cup (A Team), Gold Cup (B Team)

    Provided we win the Gold Cup giving us entry to the Confed Cup 🙂

  6. Not having seen Adu play in some time, I was disappointed in his work rate. I know he isn’t a hustle player, but I would have like to have seen a player in his position show a 110%.

  7. Aptly put Ives. Marshall, Feilhaber, and Davies played great. Beckerman played very well too although should still be behind Bradley, Edu, Feilhaber, Torres, Jones, and Clark on the depth chart. Doubt if he’ll make it the WC 2010 squad, which is unfortunate, but probably fair.

    Also, I would really like to see Cooper start against Haiti. He only saw the field for a couple of minutes last night, but looked very capable of adding a third goal in that limited time.

  8. lastly, freddy adu. in my humble opinion, this has become a very simple situation with a simple solution. freddy has been given an opportunity with the USMNT in two games now, one game against mediocre competition and he has yet to shine. some might say, including me, that he left a lot to be desired wtih his performance against honduras. yes he scored against grenada, but he did not dominate in that game….and i think we can all agree that grenada is hardly strong competition. the bottom line with freddy is he needs to start producing…..and in order to be able to do that, he needs to be PLAYING REGULARLY. he should receive no more opportunities based on name, potential, or any other factor other than PERFORMANCE…..first and foremost PERFORMANCE with his club team. if he does not produce their, no more call ins. if his current club team is not an ideal situation for him, he needs to move somewhere that is, even if it means a move to mls. the fact of the matter is he needs to be playing….and for those of you that say he is too good or will not develop in mls, again, the bottom line is he needs to be playing to develop… have to crawl before you can walk….you have to walk before you can run. also, if memory serves me right, he did not exactly tear up mls before his move to benfica.

    two very quick last thoughts about freddy, someone metioned being skeptical about his real age based on his lack of physical growth between age 14 and 20…..i am starting to wonder about his age as well. secondly, it is time for all of us to recognize that freddy is NOT FAST, he has QUICK FEET and a QUICK FIRST STEP, but he DOES NOT HAVE TOP END SPEED.

    lastly, for all of you adu worshippers, due note, i am pulling for freddy BIG TIME, but i am first and foremost a realist and call it like i see it.

  9. Beckerman is just average. He will never be in the mix for the World Cup and he slowed a lot toward the end. I ‘d say 6.

    Rogers was the best player for the 1st 45 and not his fault the team didn’t score. He was at least a 7 – don’t fault him because of increased expectations or lack of finishing by his team mates.

    Parkhurst and Pause were definitely the worst players out there. Followed closely by Quaranta for the first 45. His goal wa snice, but I’d give him a 7 at best. Plus Parkhurst deserved a 5.

    Adu at a 4.5? He clearly didn’t finish his chances and didn’t attack as agressively as we would have liked, but he maintained posession and got his team mates involved. I’d say 6.

  10. i shared these same thoughts on the previos blog post from ives that recapped the game against honduras last night. just thought i would share them here as well….

    this is the first of two posts….

    my random thoughts on last nights game and the individuals from this gold cup roster that have a chance to be rostered for the games versus mexico at azteca in a month.

    good showing by the team last night. they were especially adept at being able to continue to grind away at honduras which, along with the subs of feilhaber and davies, contributed to the team being able to unlock the 0-0 score.

    from this gold cup roster, i believe the players, as of this time, that have earned the opportunity to be called in for the next camp (read: training before mexico game) are marshall, rogers, holden, and quaranta. i do not mention feilhaber and davies as they are in based on the confeds cup. dolo and ching are in, as they should not lose an opportunity due to injury and based on their performances in the gold cup, look ready to compete for a spot again.

    be back in a second with post #2.

  11. Adu atleast was hitting good corners and free kicks, just no one that can finish with thier head on the field (just look at that handball/own goal that was credited to Ching).. Adu was absolutly horrible when he tried to make things happen, when he played quickly he was effective. The pairing of Ching and Adu is stupid as well, hey lets put in two fowards who cant score and play with 2 D CM’s. Jesus Bob, THINK!

  12. i didnt think parkhurst played very well, he seemed to be recovering more than he was stopping if that makes sense.

    and im baffled why anyone is high beckerman- i think back to the “ralston line” and put beckermans somewhere between grenada and a honduras b team. feilhaber isnt even a fulltime starter yet, and the gulf in class between him and beckerman is HUGE.

    marshall was very good, and perkins was positionally excellent- hes not a guy ive loved, but i was impressed with him last night.

    bottom line- weve got one more game to humor the beckermans and quarantas before we need to use men 24-30. i hope the staff evaluates the crap out of the haiti game, cause id really like to win this rather than lose while finding the sliver lining to a squad including freaking jay heaps…

  13. @ Jose A V What makes Holden a definate starter. He played well, but that was against a really bad Grenada team. I rate him quite highly, but he is at his best when playing in the center of the park. When he plays in the right he just tucks inside. And Quaranta does a better job in that role imo. I’m not even saying he isn’t a starter, but definate is a little strong to class him at this point after only one cap. To me it is going to be him and Quaranta fighting for that right mid spot, and at this point Quaranta played just as well if not better against a honduran team that is much better than Grenada.

  14. with Feilhaber going back to training the clear choices of attacking mid are Holden (if you want distrubtion more in a Feilhaber mold) or Arnaud (if you want a scorer who will punish other other team if they make mistakes and can phyiscally match or beat anyone in this tourney)

  15. Some quibbles with the ratings

    Parkhurst: often looked vulnerable and the middle looked open to attack. Not one of his better performances, imo.

    Agree on Marshall – very impressive repeatedly shutting down Costly 1v1, very, very, very impressive

    Pearce crossed well at times, but his first touched looked really poor.

    Agree that Beckerman’s workrate was superb – he was constantly around the ball, but many times under pressure, he treated the ball as if someone just threw him a bag of snakes. Simply awful ball skills. I cringed every time the ball was at his feet.

    Santino was good but a little erratic in the first. He made some really howling bad turnovers mixed in with some brilliant plays.

    Cooper looked very, very dangerous in his short stint.

    Adu gets a little extra credit for challenging more balls than he usually does. He was fairly active defensively and in 50/50s (especially for him). He was very passive with space, however, advancing slowly and allowing himself to be stripped from behind instead of running at the defender – confidence issues perhaps, from lack of pt??

  16. Marshall was MOTM totally shutdown Costly who is a pretty darn good forward.

    liked beckermans vision and some of his passing. he needs to be stronger on the pass some of the passes he made were to weak which would then lead to turn overs.

  17. Whoa Army – why does Adu deserve more than a 4.5? If you ask me, he was worse than that.

    I actually think it was Parkhurst who was letting everyone run rampant, and I agree with Kent that he looked a bit shaky.

  18. Which center back kept letting Honduran attackers run free behind them? Whichever one it was (I think it was Marshal) needs to have their ratining dropped a point.

    Beckerman should lose at least a half point and that half point should be given to Adu.

  19. I think the 6.5 for Pearce is too high – I’m in the “thanks for coming camp” with him now and Logan pause just signed up for that as well. I think some of these guys need to be GREAT against these CONCACAF teams and they have been far below average. To me, this Gold Cup is to deepen and strengthen our roster for next summer.

  20. get Davey Arnaud some time, i couldnt help but think that he would have had a couple goals last night on those quick counters we have, thats his scoring bread and butter when hes not hitting 30 yard lasers

  21. Ben,

    Not sure who you think is “drinking the Kool-Aid.” Beckerman did well enough, and he’s got a great work rate, but it’s not like any of us are realistically calling for him to take a WC spot. Just got to give credit bc he played a decent match.

    Ives, agree with most of the ratings except for Parkhurst. Thought he should have been rated a bit lower. Looked shaky from my vantage point in RFK.

  22. I thought Beckerman did well–he didn’t have much to work with in the first half, especially with Freddy doing nothing productive. However, he was all over the field, and his passing was pretty crisp. Not sure he’s good enough for the next level, but he’s a nice option to have in qualifying to fill in that role.

    Marshall was phenomenal–he’s playing himself onto the first team roster.

    And am I the only one that didn’t think Santino was all that impressive? Well-taken goal and a great story, blah blah blah. The reality is he had time and space for most of the night, and didn’t do much with it. Service was poor, and he turned the ball over. He didn’t have a bad game by any stretch, but I don’t think he was overly impressive either.

    Freddy offered nothing. Until he starts getting games, there’s no reason for him to be in a US line-up–by this point, everyone knows exactly what he offers (which at this level, is nothing consistent). Until he adds to his game, he’s taking up a spot that someone else could use to prove themselves.

    Don’t think it makes much sense to start Ching and Cooper. I wouldnt play Ching in Foxboro anyways due to the surface.

  23. US Soccer confirms Benny is off to Europe for preseason training. This is going to leave a hole in midfield IMO that is needed for the knockout stages based on what we saw last night. Who is going to step up to fill the hole? I’m not sure who can. Perhaps Holden. Pause seemed overmatched.

  24. The insertion of Feilhaber and Davies was a good choice, and Bradley actually did better with his substitution timing. They came in around the 60 minute mark instead of the 75 minute mark like he usually does. Love Davies hustle up front, which almost paid off with the keeper bouncing his kick off Davies towards goal. Adu has really gone backwards. He needs to seriously get some playing time with his club.

  25. Can I just say how glorious it’s been having this much USMNT soccer to watch. I’m going to ahve serious withdrawl after Aug 12th.

  26. Good ratings. I felt very comfortable with Marshall in the back, he’s been the closest thing to a revelation for me in the tournament. Want to see more of Holden against better opposition.

  27. Barring lots of injuries to our D-mid corps, Beckerman doesn’t make the cut for SA next year. That said, midfielders have the toughest adjustment to international play because the pace of the game requires as much, if not more, of a mental adjustment than a physical one. I don’t blame mids for showing a lack of creativity during their acclimation period, and I don’t think Beckerman’s gotten enough caps to have adjusted to the mental speed the int’l game requires.

    I’m glad the ringers–Benny and Davies–played like ringers. Even if this wasn’t Honduras’ A-team, it’s nice to be able to let the young’uns struggle for a bit and then be able to bring the heavy artillery off the bench.

    Finally, Robbie Rogers needs to get to Europe ASAP. He can get by on his speed and raw talent in MLS, but it’s time to develop the tactical acumen, and that will happen overseas. Even though this wasn’t his best game, you can see that he brings flat-out ability to the table.

  28. Beckerman was a beast, I mean how many tackles did that guy have? I sure the Honduran midfielders had nightmares all night about the white Rastafarian…popping up everywhere 🙂

  29. Yes! So far, no “Adu’s just rusty” comments. I don’t care if you haven’t played in 10 years – you score when you have a header, completely unmarked, from inside the six yard box.

    Freddy seems to have been reading too much of his fan club blog postings recently. His first thought after receiving the ball was always to dance, which equated to a turnover. When he finally created, he was pushed off the ball by the defender simply taking a breath. His play seemed a bit like he didn’t care, in my view. Maybe he was already thinking about Benfica?

    My God, Benny is the real deal. He’s the key to WC2010.

  30. Ben,

    We were drinking “Tropical Punch” Kool Aid — mixes well with grain alcohol — though “Golden Nectar” might have been more a propos given the Gold Cup.

    Beckerman was fine. He kept his head up, made some nice sharp passes and played end to end. Much better these two games than the last time he was called up. He won’t replace Bradley, Edu, Clark and Feilhaber, but certainly has passed Kleijstan on the depth chart.

    Jones might be better than all of them, but we won’t know that for a while.

  31. After two games the defenite Starters for Semis are:

    Davies, Rogers, Beckerman, Benny, Holden, Marshall, Cherundolo, Perkins.

    We should wait against Haiti for the other 3 spots.

  32. Either it was an own goal or it went off Ching’s elbow and should therefore have been disallowed. I’m leaning towards the second.

  33. I think the most disappointing thing about Adu’s performance was that there was so much room between Honduras’ midfield and back 4 that it was almost impossible for him not to have an impact on the game. I mean, it’s really disappointing.

    I don’t think he’s near the WC roster at this point. Hopefully he goes to Benfica or wherever he ends up and gets a bunch of playing time.

    I thought Beckerman was pretty good last night, a good option for the team if 5-6 players get injured…I’m not trying to knock him at all, because I seriously believe he was good last night, but there’s practically no chance that he makes the squad for any meaningful competition.

  34. The weakness in the first half was in the middle between Adu, Beckerman and Pause. Things changed notably when Adu and Pause were subbed out. Then you could clearly see that Beckerman was also slow and turning the ball over. He’s fine against most CONCACAF opposition, but he’s not up for the next level.

  35. I think that the team did very well and now for the Haiti game they should go with something like this.





    I would then see who does better between Ching and Cooper and that one will play along side Davies.

    For the next round I would look at something like this.





    I think that would be a good roster for the next to rounds, though I would even think about swapping Pearce for Bornstein.

    I have tickets to the Final, and if our team can make it this is what I would like to see.





  36. [BIG SIGH]

    I was really hoping that the Gold Cup would be the stage for Adu to show US Soccer fans that he has matured as a professional. I was disappointed that he did not see any playing time in the Confed Cup but clearly that may be explained by what we saw last night. At this point, Adu has got to be on the outer fringes of making the US roster for the World Cup. Ives, what is your take on what is really going on with Adu?

    Beckerman was a workhorse! Benny F. was in a class of his own. Looking forward to seeing who else can step up their game on Sat.

  37. I don’t know what Ives and all the Kool-Aid drinkers here saw last night. Beckerman was weak and showed that he does not have the athleticism or creativity to play at the international level.

  38. I cant believe Adu has left for Benfica, it is a good thing we brought in more players. This will atleast give Cooper more playing time. I would give Davies a rest Saturday. Though I dont know how well Cooper and Ching will do together. I then say who ever has the better game will get to start along side Davies in the next round. I Think Bob Bradley should keep some what the same roster, giving guys who havent played yet a game though.

    I would go with this line up:





    Then for the next round:





    Also depending on how things go add in guys like Guzan and Altidore.

  39. Coming soon to a theater near you:

    Santino! Back From The Brink!

    “It’s the feel good movie of the year!” Ives Galarcep, SoccerbyIvess

  40. good point about BB holding back the subs to see what the starters could do.

    i would get excited whenever freddy got the ball but was continually let down – the sequence where he was 1v1 on the edge of the box and did stepovers for an hour until the 2nd defender came was classic. when he was subbed out the difference in our attack was palpable. hopefully he gets some pt at benfica this season and comes back strong for us.

  41. So, assuming a 442, and Donovan/Dempsey on the wings, which two CMs do we start against England (speculating) in the traditional US group of death? Bradley, Benny, Clark, Edu, Jones? Nice problem to have, as all 5 get the job done.

  42. I agree with your ratings for the most part. I got beat up for posting earlier that I didn’t rate Quaranta highly. It was mostly because there seemed to be space and time to exploit the right side in attack, and comparatively, he was more quite than Rodgers and there were only occasional overlaps with ‘dolo. That could be a lot to do with Pause pulling a casper the ghost as much as anything, leaving a void that Tino had to fill. I hadn’t considered Tino’s D that much either, so I stand corrected. I do stand by that he wasn’t MOTM: That would be Marshall or even Benny off the bench. His insertion (along with Charlie) changed the dynamics of the match. A draw looked likely until the subs, then the match always looked likely to produce a US goal. Nice to see BB get it right with subs for a change.

    I hope BB takes the Haiti opportunity to try out a few additional players, maybe even tweak the formation to not pair two defensive mids! Then again, he probably wants to evaluate players in “his system”….

  43. Feilhaber and Davies looked like men against boys when they came on. They TOTALLY changed that game against a Honduran “B” squad.
    That first goal was a thing of beauty, I love that kind of passing in the final third.


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