Photo by ISIphotos.com
So what exactly did we learn from the U.S. men's national team's 4-0 drubbing of Grenada on Saturday?
While the level of competition ultimately proved to low, there was still plenty to learn from the U.S. team's first Gold Cup match. Grenada offered very little resistance, either with its toothless attack or slow-footed defense, but that doesn't mean we can't come away impressed with the performances of some Americans who still had to play well in front of U.S. coach Bob Bradley and the more than 15,000 who spent their July 4th at Qwest Field.
Robbie Rogers and Stuart Holden came away the winners of the "Players who looked like they could have played at Confederations Cup" competition, while Freddy Adu drew more scrutiny than every other player on the field. He showed some flashes, and some rust, but the fact remains that he is a skilled, yet flawed player who is still developing and still has a bright future, though he is some ways away from being the player some of his biggest supporters already think he is.
Here are the SBI Player Grades for Saturday's match:
USA Player Grades vs. Grenada
Troy Perkins (6)– Could almost have sat in a lawn chair for 90 minutes except for the one clutch save he did have to make. Hopefully he gets at least one or two more starts this tournament to show what he can do.
Steve Cherundolo (6) – Not challenged defensively even once on the day, but showed off his quickness and crossing ability at times. Still has a way to go to regain his old form.
Clarence Goodson (6) – Another defender who faced few serious challenges on the day. Had one blunder that nearly proved costly, but was generally steady, though not as impressive as Marshall.
Chad Marshall (7) – His beautiful diagonal ball to Heath Pearce on Charlie Davies' goal is the type of pass you don't see enough of from American centerbacks. A rock all day.
Heath Pearce (6) – Looked shaky very early on, but quickly composed himself and looked solid throughout, with his service on Davies' goal a welcome sign that maybe he is ready to climb back to respectability.
Stuart Holden (7) – Tireless worker and sharp passer, he did well to get into position for his header goal and he enjoyed one of the better first-cap performances in recent memory.
Logan Pause (6.5) – His beautiful long pass to spring Rogers for his goal was a thing of beauty, and he kept the ball moving in midfield.
Kyle Beckerman (6) – Tried getting forward at times to little effect, but he did well to break up countless Grenada possessions. Moved the ball around, but lacked some creativity and passing vision.
Robbie Rogers (8) – Ran at defenders, crossed well and even finished well. He figured out pretty early on that he was too fast for Grenada and played accordingly. It will be interesting to see if he can keep it going against stronger competition.
Freddy Adu (6.5) – Showed some rust but had a typical Adu game, with some good flashes and some moments where he starts trying unsuccessful tricks and fancy passes. Finished off the first goal and nearly found a second with an audacious chip that hit the crossbar.
Charlie Davies (6) – Was clearly pressing throughout the entire match. Adu isn't the ideal partner for Davies' skill set, but the Hammarby striker did well to deliver a classy finish on the fourth goal. He could probably use a new goal celebration though.
Brad Evans (5.5) – A new right back prospect? Evans delivered the best ball from the right flank of the day, giving us a glimpse of what Bob Bradley had in mind with this position change.
Michael Parkhurst (5)– Had nothing to do.
Davy Arnaud (5)– Showed some hustle, but skill was lacking a bit and could have done better with his one quality chance.
While Rogers was the star, and Holden was also quality, Adu was garnering much of the talk after the game. If anything was clear about Adu's performance it was that his rustiness (due to a lack of playing time this calendar year) is clearly a factor in why he didn't get any minutes at the Confederations Cup. On top of him still being a developing player, he is also out of form due to not seeing time during his Monaco loan spell. He isn't a player who can get by without being sharp, like a Jozy Altidore, who's physical gift and finishing ability always make him a threat whether he's playing regularly or not. I'm sure some would argue that a rusty Adu would still have provided more than an out-of-form Sacha Kljestan in South Africa, but I really don't think playing in the Confederations Cup would have done Adu any justice, not given his lack of sharpness.
A much tougher test awaits on Wednesday against Honduras and while Bob Bradley is likely to plug in several new starters, the match should offer us a better opportunity to see what players like Rogers, Holden and Adu can do.
What did you think of Saturday's performance? Who impressed you?
Yes…a number of “Fringe” players gave some decent performances last game. For those in this forum who are calling for Rogers to be the go to reserve for either Donovan or Dempsey on either wing…let’s slow down. Rogers had a good game against…Grenada. I agree…if Rogers play stays quality during this whole Gold cup…great…he’s earned that WC reserve spot. Don’t hand Rogers that back up spot after 1 good game against…Grenada!!!!
“I’m sure some would argue that a rusty Adu would still have provided more than an out-of-form Sacha Kljestan in South Africa,”
Ummm, I would totally agree with that. It clearly didn’t do Sacha any justice.
I do disagree with you rating Pause higher than Beckerman. I felt like Pause was kind of nervous, slipping and falling and missing tackles more than his counterpart. Beckerman did well to break up attacks and then make dangerous chances rarely losing the ball.
I think Bob replaces Pause with Feilhaber in D.C.
If Ching is healthy, I think Bob also replaces Adu with Ching.
Freddy Adu the new whipping boy?
He scored a goal because he put himself into the right space to receive a ball. Yet, the response is, he should have finished it anyway.
I tracked his touches. He made 86% of his passes in the 1st half, yet he is criticized as not doing much. He makes one bad pass to the goalie – that’s bad.
Holden makes a bad pass, he is trying to thread the needle into 2 defenders, when he had Adu to his right.
Bottomline – Adu played well. I will take a player making 86% of his passes any day and scores a goal.
Oh…the majority of his passes were positive, not negative.
He did the job BB told him to do.
Be nice if Coach could figure a way to get Donovan, Demp, Altidore and Rogers on the field at the same time.
Its WHOM does cooper have to bone.
DC Josh saying Donovan and Bradley are interchangeable is less than accurate. One attacks primarily the other defends as a priority. There is a big drop off after Bradley Edu (Jones?). Clark is not at their level. Sure they were OK in the first half… the second with out Bradley…uh oh. Was not the case against Spain. None of the MFs could win a ball and pass to LD Dempsey or a forward. No one defended til the Brazilians were within 22 yds. Compare 2nd half of that game to Spain. We need Defensive Mids who can handle the ball and are not stupid thugs Rico and Sascha.
nice one dave
Replay tonight on FSC at 8 or 9.
Anyone else catch this on Freddy’s Twitter page?
“rustyy.Thanks for all the messages.Game sharpness is not there.felt slow due to heavy legs.legs wouldnt do what i wanted.Good win.important”
Looks like it’s no secret to him either.
In the first 15-20 minutes he appears to fall from contact whether justified or not. After he realized no calls where happening, he didn’t fall as much and played until the whistle was blown.
I don’t think he is USMNT 1st line, but wouldn’t be a bad option when a simple player is needed. We know what he can do: break up attacks and keep simple possession.
Any US fan wants Adu to become a top flight international player. However, as Saturday proved, Adu is not yet there. I ask the Adu-lovers on this blog to acknowledge that fact so we can move on to realistic assessments of the players in the player pool.
BB had a Catch-22 choice when substituting midfielders in SA – put in a young player with insufficient skills and insufficient experience or put in a more experienced player with insufficient skills. He chose the least worst option. Our problem in SA wasn’t BB’s substitutes, but the team’s inadequate player depth at certain positions. If there was any benefit in BB’s subs in SA, I think it’s now clear to the US coaching staff that DMB and SK are no longer competent A team members.
I think at the WC next year when no consideration is given to the effect player call-ups have on MLS teams the US will have a deeper, better team and players who don’t belong will be omitted. If we can keep all the players out of suspension even better.
Tommy – I think the point is taht we are deep at midefield when everyone is healthy. If we had a 1005 healthy squad with the addition of Jones that position is defintely the deepest. Micheal Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Maurice Edu, Jermaine Jones, Ricardo Clark can all handles themselves fine against any competition. After that there’s Pablo, Sacha, Beckerman, etc…
And remember that “comprimised” midfield had the USA up 2-0 against Brazil – one of, if not, the most talented teams on the planet. In fact, I’m of the opinion it wasn’t that comprimised at all considering Clark is probably 5th best of the group above.
Robbie Rogers is a god-send for our left-side. I really want him to continue to develop in the MLS, and hopefully move to Europe in a couple years.
Freddy needs to get back on the field, anywehere. Come back home Freddy, stay a while, you are only 19.
Tommy H, midfield depth:
this is where it gets fishy, with Freddy, Sasha, Beas, etc.
I know I forgot a couple guys, but this is how I would rank our midfielders currently. You can also throw Bornstein into the mix in a very defensive winger role. We are deepest in the middle of the midfield, with Bradley, Clark, Jones, and Edu all being very gifted.
Adu had way too many easy giveaways against a team that was not really pressuring. If that is what he shows the european clubs, he won’t be getting any starting role. Paradoxically, he needs that starting role so he will get punished for the giveaways and learn to avoid them. (No one cares if he coughs the ball up in the attacking third while going at someone, but he was losing the ball in the middle of the field where teammates expect the ball keep going forward or at least to be kept Against a better team, those lapses would have been costly.)
“Chad Marshall (7) – His beautiful diagonal ball to Heath Pearce on Charlie Davies’ goal is the type of pass you don’t see enough of from American centerbacks. A rock all day.”
Granted, it wasn’t from the centerbacks, but the diagonal balls from Bocanegra and Spector in the Confederations Cup also seemed to be an improvement in the modes of attack for the U.S. Just sayin’.
Gotta disagree with all you guys who say we are deep at midfield. Midfield was hurting badly when Bradley missed the final. If we are so deep how does one player missing comprimise the whole middle of the field?
We all seem to be torn over Beckerman. To me he is the only player that has the vision to deliver that quick one touch pass under pressure. My gripe is that he didn’t get into the attack very well, falls down too easily, and doesn’t show a tremendous amount of energy. Having said that, I think he is truly primed for a second tier Europe league like the Eredivisie.
Ives, I think these scores are awfully generous considering the level of competition (none) and the clearly lower level of play for this group compared to the confed cup group. Our passing, first touch etc wasn’t great nor was the midfield. The defenders and goalie should all get “N/A” since they never saw the ball!
That being said, the most promising guys were clearly Rogers, Holden and maybe Pause and it will be great to see how they do with the better teams. My gut is none of these players with the exception of Dolo and Davis are world cup caliber but there could be surprises.
Adu has to find playing time – he was ok against a dreadful team. We need to seem him match fit against better competition to be able to assess his abilities. I hope that happens for him – I think he is really trying hard.
I cut guys like Michael Bradley (and Beckerman and Brian Ching) plenty of slack because of their impressive workrate. Plus the fact that Bradley is quite possibly the best player in the entire MNT pool. However I quickly lose patience with players like Adu, EJ, Conor Casey, and even Deuce who jog around the park like they own their position. Guess that’s what bugs me so much about Adu’s performance. I mean, this was his chance to seize a roster spot, and he was underwhelming. These guys are professionals — if they’re rusty, then who’s fault is it really? How many of us would kill to be able to wear that shirt?
As an RSL fan i can say beckerman falls down more then any other player i’ve ever watched its abusrd sometimes the amount he falls down durring games but with that said i thought he did what he was put out there to do.
Let’s see how Freddy does as the tournament progresses. It was his 1st game with meaningful minutes.
You guys cut MB slack all the time. Let Freddy get his games.
And yes, he needs to get into an environment where he is playing all the time.
Angel, I don’t think Beckerman is MNT material either, but perfectly suited to games like this (and who knows in the future?). Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for us) the midfield position’s depth is outrageous: Bradley, Feilhaber, Clark, Jones (if and when) Adu, Edu, Torres….it’s awesome.
One positive to take is that Adu’s (shaky) performance and Rogers’s stud performance means that…if there is a God…we’ve seen the last of Beasley and Kljestan.
I disagree Ives, Adu, Torres, or almost anyone would have been an improvement over Kljestan, or Beasley.
Adu needs to say goodbye to Europe and come back to MLS. He is not learning anything by sitting on the bench. Look at Donovan, he decided not to sit and instead came back to MLS.
I was really impressed with Rogers. We’ll see how he plays against a tougher opponent. Overall, USMNT did what they were supposed to do to a weaker team.
I’m surprised people are so amazed at Adu’s “audacious” chip effort which was actually quite poor. I think most quality strikers would have scored a goal from that position, either chipping the keeper or going around him. And yes, I’m solidly in the “Freddy = overrated” camp.
I’d have given Adu a full point less. Too many giveaways, prayer passes, and wasted chances for my tastes. He also seemed to be unable to find his extra gear when chasing balls, which I’ll cross my fingers a hope to chalk up to rust.
Don’t hate on the stanky leg!
adu = enigma
I’m surprised that so many people are down on Beckerman’s performance. I thought he was one of the best players on the field for the US, if not the best. He played smart and tough and was able to keep possession. He may not have much creativity, but c’mon, the US as a whole doesn’t have much of that to begin with (including the starters).
Ives and Mike I got too see the game twice one in Univision and the other on Fox Sport and both time I saw Beckerman falling down given the ball away, I not saying that he is a bad player but I don’t think he is a guy for the National Team. Two guys I like to see in the A team is Holden who should replace Sasha Klestjan, Robbie Rogers and Marshall.
who does cooper have to bone to get on the field?
Steve C- Sullivan is always expressing man-love. It’s made him unlistenable. I’d rather Tommy Smyth.
Yeah, I’m one of those who would take a rusty Adu over an out-of-form right winger playing as a center mid (Kljestan). Kljestan showed absolutely nothing creative (or even effective, for that matter) on the field at the Confederations Cup. His clock should have either gone to Torres or Adu.
Robbie Rogers should be our backup to Landon on the Left. He needs to be there next summer.
I agree with Ives that Beckerman played well & that he lacks creativity and vision. He’s a good player, but his position is one of the strongest in the pool, espcially when you add in Jones. I like him, wish him well, but he won’t be playing next summer in South Africa.
Ives–Did Honduras send their best players to this tournament? How does their team for the Gold Cup compare with the team the US played in qualifying recently? Thanks.
Angel, I thought the same thing. For the bulk of the game I was disappointed with Adu, Pearce & Beckerman. Then near the end of the game, Christopher Sullivan is sounding off like he’s got a chubby for him… I was dumbfounded. Was he watching the same game?
Ives I was also impressed with Rogers and Holden. Let’s see if they keep it up. Davies was unlucky a times in front of goal. He had at least two well struck balls that defenders just got in the way or the goalie made a great save. A bigger kinda hold up (Ching/Jozy/Cooper (maybe))player is better suited to play with Charlie.
Freddy looked ok. The goal was nice and the chip was something that is not in the arsenal of many in the US pool. BUT is he rusty or is he also slow? He seemed to not have that extra gear on a few plays when he could have ran at people. Maybe I am comparing him to what I saw from Ramires and Landon in the Confed Cup. Hope it is rust. His size and being a little slow is not good.
So I really liked Brad Evans experiment at right back. Not that Brad is going to play for the fullteam or anything but here is why. The rest of the world (the better teams) have players that could easily play in midfield playing RB/LB. If we could do that in the coming years I think it will be the next step in our development. It seems like good midfielders are coming out for the US at a good rate so let’s see if those guys could play in the back as well.
Looking forward to the Honduras game as measuring stick.
Anyone have a link to the game for those of us celebrating with our families 🙂
P.S. I forgot about Adu’s header. I don’t care if you haven’t played in a year. You need to finish that chance. He was inside the six yard box.
I thought Beckerman played an excellent game. He rarely gave the ball away, made the most of his tackles, and never tried anything too complicated – just the simple pass, which works 99% of the time.
I was less than impressed by Adu. Even though rust may have played a part, this was the perfect game for him to get back into it. Instead, apart from his positioning on the first goal, his touch was poor, his passing was worse, and his shots went for raw power, not placement (aside from his chip).
Unfortunately, this is not the game to read anything into anyone’s play. I was shocked at how bad Grenada was. Although Adu’s, Davies’, and Rogers’ goals were beautiful, Holden’s goal was ridiculous. The keeper’s clearances were laughable. He punted the ball into the back of a teammate’s head, for godsakes!
Like Angel, I’m not yet sold on Beckerman. (Didn’t he play in the Copa America last time and get toasted there?) I do think Rogers may provide a nice option as a speedy left winger, though I’d like to see more as this tournament progresses. Feilhaber in the center of the midfield with Adu and Davies up top would be a fascinating combination to watch over these next few weeks.
Tweaked some of the grades. Gave some defenders lower grades than they should get in a shutout, and Pause was supposed to have a 6.5, not both he and Beckerman, though I don’t think Beckerman was as bad as you did Angeloz. He had some rough moments early on, but I thought he settled down well later in the match.
Rogers impressed me. I feel for Adu, I truly believe once he gets regular playing time his sharpness will be there. He was great against Spain and Argentina. I really hope he goes back to Benfica. Even if it takes him a year to break in to start so be it. It will be worth it in the long run.
I think the only thing we learned from the Grenada game is the importance of playing week in and week out for these guys.
Of the things you didn’t mention:
*Pearce – looked very good moving up and down the wing, but also looked very rusty with his touches. People have been hard on Pearce, but I think he brings a LOT of ability to the left back spot.
*Beckerman – truly played box to box and was all over the field. If his effort is like that in practice as well, I think Bob would be best served to bring him into all of the camps, even if only as a practice guy. I REALLY liked his effort.
*Adu – looked rustier than Pearce, and VERY out of sync… and still managed to score once, hit the woodwork once, and have a shot and header come within feet. Don’t care if he goes to Vietnam with Lee Nguyen, but he needs to play every week. It also seemed like Bob told him to cut back on the trickiness. It looked like there were opportunities for him to break people down with the dribble and he didn’t.
* Rogers / Holden – WOW. Let’s see if they can do it again vs. Honduras.
The future of this team is SO bright. I really wish “fans” wouldn’t get so bogged down with negativity sometimes.
Thanks for the write up, Ives.
Question for anybody: Do US fans really see Adu as someone for the center of the midfield? For me he can only be a second striker or an attacking midfielder (with a dedicated minder). It’s not that I think he’s too small (although I do), but it’s just his poor decision making/ lack of tactical awareness. For me he’s an instinct player, not a tactician (Perhaps he’s too right brained?).
If someone knows something about Adu that I don’t know in this regard, please inform me. I really only see him as a second forward, or a (completely offensive) winger. Of course, he was rusty. His first touch hadn’t been that poor in recent memory, but as Ives said, his performance had that combination of highs and lows that we’ve come to expect from him.
Encouraging stuff after the first game – I think alot of these guys will replace some of the backups on the Confed Cup team. Rogers could provide what we need – service and speed from the wing…and Marshall is making a case for being a backup on the back line.
If Pearce can get his act together, I think he still has a great shot to start on the left. Probably the most natural fit for that side. A great one touch ball to spring Davies on the fourth as well.
Are u crazy Beckerman a 6.5 rate. WOW that guys should be out in 15min in the first half. He lost the ball too many time and keep falling down. He is not a guy for the International Level but he is good for a MLS team. But Adu, Holden, Rogers, Marshall were really good I rate them 7. And even Davis play good with a rate 6.5 he is becoming too muy of a Selfish player he need too be more of unselfish and a team player.
feilhaber has been called in for honduras game. wonder if this means that adu will not start. i thought he was lazy, and his movement off the ball poor, but i still think its unfair if he doesn’t get a few games in this tourney.
After I saw this game, I could see why Adu didn’t get on the field in SA. That being said, he did well yesterday, even considering the opposition. He’s just got to get playing time.
We could really use the Adu of the Spain and Argentina games of last year…