Top Stories

USA 1, Algeria 0: A Look Back

LandonDonovanAlgeria (

Photo by

Yes America. Yesterday did happen.

The U.S. men's national team did score in stoppage time to beat Algeria. The USA did win Group C, making it the first time (since 1930) an American team won a World Cup group. Landon Donovan did score the biggest goal of his career. The Americans did put themselves in great position to potentially make a run to the World Cup semifinals.

Yes, that all happened.

The United States is waking up today to the fact that its soccer team has become one of the best stories and most inspirational teams of this 2010 World Cup. The work isn't done yet, not with a second round match (and a chance for revenge for a 2006 World Cup loss) against Ghana awaiting on Saturday.

For now, let's look back at Wednesday's thrilling victory. Here is my Fox Soccer column on the match, as well as five things we learned from the match.

For player grades, go to the jump:

USA Player Grades vs. Algeria

Tim Howard (6.5)– Didn't have much to do, but he helped keep the defense organized and his clutch long throw helped start the game-winning sequence.

Jonathan Bornstein (6) – Very solid effort with none of the mistakes that have plagued him in the past. He did get caught forward a few times, but he still did well overall.

Carlos Bocanegra (7) – The defensive leader in the back, Bocanegra was steady throughout and made some key interventions. Will probably move back to left back against Ghana, but he's shown he's still a standout centerback.

Jay DeMerit (6) – Has some serious jitters early, but settled down and proved vital to holding off Algeria's attack.

Steve Cherundolo (7.5) – Defended very well and spent plenty of time in the attack. Won the battle of his flank with Nadir Belhadj.

Landon Donovan (7.5) – Wasn't having one of his best games ever, but he stepped it up late, and his goal won the game, the group and the hearts of fans

Clint Dempsey (5.5) – Was cheated out of a perfectly good goal, and put in a ton of defensive work. He still missed some chances that could have come back to haunt him.

Michael Bradley (7.5) – Was all over the field, breaking up attacks and sparking them for the USA. His work rate was unmatched and he neutralized the middle of the field, leaving Algeria to attack from the flanks.

Maurice Edu (5.5) – Steady, if unspectacular. Good positioning, though his passing still isn't as sharp as it could be.

Jozy Altidore (7) – A handful for Algeria's defense all match long, he was a key figure in the game-winning sequence. Grade would have been a tough higher, but that close-range miss was tough to ignore.

Herculez Gomez (5.5) – Was quick and active and put himself into some good positions, but he didn't finish his best chance.

Benny Feilhaber (6) – Played very well off the bench. His passing was sharp and his aggressiveness led to some good opportunities. He just might have played himself into a start against Ghana.

Edson Buddle (5) – Put himself in some good spots, but his touch was off and he sent his best chance right at the keeper. Didn't do enough to justify starting any time soon.

DaMarcus Beasley (NR) – Didn't do much in a cameo besides draw a yellow card for a handball.

Give the above stories a and share your thoughts on them, the grades, as well as on the USA victory, in the comments section below.


  1. Did you not hear that part about if Gooch is healthy/available? Reading comprehension people.

    Bornstein was anything but a liabilty last night and his problem is not that he necessarily lacks the skills to be a defender, his problem is that he’s just inconsistent. On his day, he can mark Lionel Messi incredibly well, just like he did against Argentina back in the 2007 Copa America, but on an off day, he can have trouble with Vladimir Weiss II. The simple fact is that Bornstein may have off days, but it can’t be nearly as bad as when a centerback pairing doesn’t work well, which is why Bob will sometimes keep Bocanegra in the center. Look at the Australia game and the Turkey game. DeMerit and Goodson were having a torrid time against both teams. Bornstein showed against Turkey he can get beaten, as he did twice, and then showed against Australia he can do good, smart defensive work, as he did.

  2. Bocanegra and DeMerit are a better pairing than DeMerit and Goodson. Bocanegra may be a better left back, but a bad central back pairing is worse than a bad left back.

    Besides, Bornstein showed and has shown before that he is a left back with good potential and while he’s streaky, he’s getting better. Last night was arguably his best performance in the jersey.

  3. yeah it really was fantastic. I believe it was “Goal! Goal! USA!” but the whole call was just crazy. His build-up to the goal call was perfect too.

  4. Um, what? Ian Darke practically had a heart attack during his call on Donovan’s goal. It was incredible. John Harkes knew to shut up and let Ian yell his head off. His call for me is forever ingrained in my head.

  5. Trekker cannot afford to be seen as uncool. His style is based on being the contrarian and it would be uncool to be seen as a band wagon jumper.

    Getting excited about the US team is beneath a media personality like him. Why do you care?

  6. You must understand they are just pundits.. Guys rehashing Olberman and Rome are really nothing new. The anchors on Sportcenter are not journalists.

    The day they see LeBron and Kobe sporting a Nats kit their rhetoric will fade.

    Did you ever notice how these shows will tease the footie fan with a soccer segment during the intro, but they always wait til the end of the hour to show it? That is the sign a loyal fan base is watching. However small…Just say no to ESPN.

  7. Just like you know Bradley knows nothing about tactics

    Just like you know Bradley knows nothing about substitutions

    Just like you know Bradley has no “feel” for the game.

    Just like you know more about the players than Bradley does

    Yes, we’ve heard this all before. It was BS then and it is BS now. Go back to Algeria.

  8. There’s no longer a need to worry about the people who don’t like soccer in the United States. Let them be. As long as there’s a stable pro league and the national team games are on TV, I think we’re fine.

  9. Clarence Goodson is a great defensive player who actually can get up in the attack. Why not give him a shot instead of Bornstein?

  10. So Trekker wrote in Foxsoccer that the USMNT game yesterday was “not a vintage performance”. Critiqued the mid field for not controlling, for the team failing to bury Algeria, and for allowing the Algerians to get into our defending third too easily. I suppose he enjoyed the way Spain passed the ball beautifully around those Swiss defenders. And the technically correct Cannavaro tackles today. Geez! The point of the game yesterday is that our team has the heart, hunger, and passion to inspire millions around the world including Americans! For yesterday’s game, I don’t care about who was not able to trap the ball in a technically superior manner. With all due respect Mr. Trekker, you are tone deaf, and dont even recognize the benefit to you, a professional in the soccer world, of what this team is doing for the sport at home.

  11. Coulibaly Isn’t Off The Hook: #1 I do give Bornstein some credit I was surprised as anyone that he did ok against Algeria, which in hindsight he did well against Concacafesque level teams. I just don’t have faith in him beyond that.

    #2 Bradley has improved on his substitution use, and has been more willing to take some risks, which I like. But you have to admit there is something going on with this teams giving up the early goal, and continually needing to come from behind. I am happy so far as how things have gone, but tactically we still lack possession, and overall consistency.

  12. Nathan, yes against lesser teams as we saw in Concacaf, and in this case with Algeria Bornstein is ok. But I think if any team decided to attack the left flank because Bornstein is starting, especially top teams, he would be exposed.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike the guy, he tries, but I think he really serves as an emergency backup. I mean do you feel confident enough in Bornstein to want him as a starter against Ghana? I don’t.

  13. #1: I agree that Bornstein hasn’t suddenly become a reliable starter. Indeed, I would still feel nervous if he started on Saturday. But give the man some credit—Algeria attacked the left side all day long.

    #2: “Decent” substitution decisions? What has been weak about his tactics? Questionable personnel choices? I really can’t agree with any of these.

    His substitions, more than decent, have been spot on. What have we lacked tactically? Against England, for example, our defense nullified Rooney. Against Algeria, the only thing lacking was finishing, not tactics. And his only questionable personnel choice has been to start Clark over Edu in the first game. Otherwise, he has had the right bodies in the game.

  14. I think that bradley has made excellent decisions this world cup. I’m not too sure how people can continue to criticize him.

    As for JB, the key word there is CAN, not is. I believe Ives is saying that Bornstein is capable of being a quality starter, not that he is there yet.

  15. “it’s nice to see the Americas, North and South, doing well”

    Agreed, lets bring the cup back to the AMERICAS! I agree also that its good to have Mexico advance.

    We’ve now been weighed and measured in Group play, and we DESERVE to be in the round of 16. Without a doubt. Now its time to provide the goods v. Ghana. I know the guys will be ready. Lets take it one game at a time, I’m fine with that.

  16. You can tell that this group of guys care about each other and that they aren’t a group of overpriced superstars like some other team that is about to be eliminated by Germany on Saturday.

    Yuo can see in the way they play that they down want to let each other down.

  17. i was thinking the same thing. i thought buddle was less effective. he had a nice header (albeit, right at the keeper, just like gomez’s shot). i’d like to see gomez start again.

  18. Can anyone tell me why Herculez Gomez was subbed out at half time? He had an awesome shot on goal and then a great assist to Dempsey(which was called back).

    He deserves to start against Ghana.

  19. Ives in your 5 things we have learned about the US team I disagree with two of them.

    #1 “That Bornstein can be a reliable starter for the World Cup.” One decent performance does not make him reliable. I would be much more concerned if he was starting, and a team really decided to attack the left side.

    #2 “That Bob Bradley does know what he is doing.” I will give him credit that he has really brought the team together, and given them heart. He has even made some decent substitution decisions, but tactically he is still weak, and his overall personnel choices are questionable.

  20. Isn’t that the US game? Strong, fast and physical? The US may not be the fastest team, but they are physical and strong, we do have speed on the counter.

  21. incase you have not heard, LD’s goal set an internet traffic RECORD (that’s right, RECORD, in the HISTORY of the internet). +190% views-per-minute average for the entire world.

    North America: +197%
    South America: +170%
    Africa: +206%
    Europe: +178%
    Asia: +165%
    Australia: +124%

    11,294,863 were the total number of people who logged on in ONE minute in the entire world. Twitter crashed as a result as well.

  22. Not everyone is going to convert. I’m sure yesterdays match made fans of a lot of people. Who cares about a few of the old and slow radio hosts.

  23. 50/50 chance is just about what I’d expect in the round of 16. There’s gonna be some great match-ups. Ghana are strong, fast, physical. I’ts going to be fun.

  24. One thing we learned yesterday, and probably the ONLY thing the majority of “hardcore US fans” (the ones that bitch about every inconsequential thing) need to learn, as stated by the late Jim Valvano.

    “Don’t give up. Don’t EVER give up.”

    This has long been the mantra of the ACTUAL fans of the US, that live, breath and die with this team, with every player that wears the shirt, regardless of who they are, where they’re from and how they play.

    Don’t EVER f*%$ing give up.

  25. Ives and others who were there, how was the atmosphere at the stadium before and after the goal. It just felt so great to see USA come through and win the group. Now is onto Ghana and USA needs to get revenge for the 2006 performance. It will be a great test for the players to see how they will come out for that game. Do you think Onyewu will play this game? last time he got an incorrect penalty call.

  26. How are we supposed to know Bornstein can’t put together several good performances if we don’t let him? How do we know that what he showed us yesterday is the standard of how he’ll perform when we need him? I’m not saying play him against Ghana(especially if Gooch is healthy), I’m saying he’s improving as a player and if we don’t give him room to make mistakes, we don’t give him room to grow.


Leave a Comment