Top Stories

USA 2, Russia 2: SBI’s Player Grades

Photo by

The U.S. Men’s National Team overcame a poor start and put together a solid second half to come away from Wednesday’s friendly vs. Russia with a 2-2 draw. There were some standout performances, including Man of the Match-caliber efforts from Michael Bradley and Tim Howard, and there were performances that Jurgen Klinsmann would just as soon forget.

The night also provided a good chance for some young players to stake their claims to more regular roles with the national team, and for Josh Gatt, it was a chance to show that Klinsmann was right for bringing him in and handing him his first national team appearance.

Overall, the match wasn’t as ugly as it may have seemed on first blush. Russia were the better side over the course of 90 minutes, but the Americans can take some provide in the fact that over the final hour of the match they were at least as good, if not better than the Russians. To accomplish that, in Russia no less, is an accomplishment.

So how did the U.S. players fare on Wednesday night? Here are the SBI player grades for the USA’s 2-2 vs. Russia (based on the consensus of grades by SBI staffers Ives Galarcep and Franco Panizo):


Tim Howard (7.5): Another outstanding night for the reliable veteran, who made some truly outstanding saves to keep the U.S. in it even as Russia tried to blow the game open in the first half. (IG)

Timmy Chandler (5): Playing in his first U.S. game in a year, Chandler was shaky with the ball at his feet in the opening minutes before settling in and pushing forward. Chandler whipped in some nice crosses, but no one put them away. (FP)

Geoff Cameron (6): Cameron was the best U.S. defender on the night. He put out several fires, including a potential shot on goal from close range in the first half, and was good with his distribution. Did well to hold up the defense once captain Bocanegra was removed due to injury. (FP)

Carlos Bocanegra (NA): Left the match with an injury early in the first half, and didn’t have a chance to make his mark on the game.

Fabian Johnson (4.5): Struggled to start the match and endured one of his shakier national team performances since becoming a regular starter. Was a non-factor getting forward, and struggled against Russia’s dangerous wingers. (IG)

Danny Williams (3.5): Arguably had his worst night in a U.S. jersey. Williams’ quickly-played free kick wound up finding the feet of Alexander Kerzhakov, who then set up the early Russian goal. Williams just never looked comfortable and was poor with his passing and tackling. (FP)

Michael Bradley (8): Took some time to get into the game, but by the end of the first half and into the second half, Bradley began imposing himself and driving the U.S. attack. His goal was a thing of beauty, and it was his perfect long pass into the penalty area that got knocked down for Mix Diskerud’s equalizer. (IG)

Jermaine Jones (5.5): Didn’t start the match that well, but improved as the game went on, and actually did well playing in a more advanced role as the U.S. went chasing the game. He isn’t a natural left winger, but provided some good service. Missed a clear chance set up by Jozy Altidore, but still came away with a solid effort. (IG)

Josh Gatt (5): Looked a bit nervous and his decision-making was a step too slow, but he still showed signs of being a wide player that is capable of contributing down the road. All in all, not a bad first cap for the youngster. (FP)

Herculez Gomez (5): Mostly invisible during the first half of the game, but the struggling U.S. midfield never gave him the necessary service. Per his usual standard, Gomez hustled and harassed opposing players before being subbed off. (FP)

Jozy Altidore (5.5): He did not find the back of the net and he botched a couple of opportunities, but he still put in the type of workmanlike shift that Klinsmann may be asking of him. Altidore would have had an assist in the second half if Jones could finish better. (FP)

Clarence Goodson (4.5): In fairness, it wasn’t easy for him to come in cold in the first half, but in the end he still had a shaky night and his foul on the penalty Russia converted for a second goal was clumsy and unnecessary. Didn’t exactly help his case for becoming Bocanegra’s successor in the starting lineup. (IG)

Juan Agudelo (6): Came in and provided good movement up top, helping set up Bradley’s goal with a header pass. He has the look of a perfect forward off the bench with his combination of speed and strength. (IG)

Maurice Edu (6): Came in a helped stabilize the defensive midfield role, and his pin-point long pass to Juan Agudelo eventually helped set up Michael Bradley’s goal. Given Danny Williams’ struggles, Edu might have helped his chances of taking a bigger role when qualifying begins in February. (IG)

Sacha Kljestan (5.5): The Anderlecht midfielder may be turning into somewhat of a super sub. Kljestan, who helped the Americans beat Antigua & Barbuda last month, played a simple but smart ball back to Edu that eventually led to the first U.S. goal. (FP)

Mix Diskerud (6): Diskerud just loves November friendlies. His strike for the winning goal took a lucky deflection, but he did well to put the bouncing ball on frame with a volley in the final seconds of his first game under Klinsmann. (FP)

Terrence Boyd (NR): Came in late and played his part in the comeback by fighting for position to force a Russian defender to head the ball into Mix Diskerud’s path for the equalizer. (IG)


  1. I am not a Danny Williams fan-boy at all and while others for the past two months have been singing his praises and calling for him to start over Jermaine Jones, I have disagreed. But I can’t stand it when I see someone being picked on unfairly and I think it is totally unfair to blame Danny Williams for the first goal. If you look at the video at the 0:44 mark…

    …Williams pulls his foot back to kick as Jozy is walking very closely past Williams (and, I might add, very leisurely while his teammates are hoping to get a quick start on the free kick). Jozy’s left foot steps between William’s kicking foot and the ball right before Williams pulls the trigger. And when Williams kicks his foot is impeded slightly by Jozy’s foot and Williams does not hit the ball squarely and the ball goes directly to the Russian.

    That goal would have never happened had Jozy moved more quickly, as his teammates were doing, and had he not for some inexplicable reason bumped up against Williams. You look at any top team, Man U, Barcelona and the German National Team come mind, and those teams never slow down and they take there free kicks quickly and that is what Klinsmann is aiming for and I think it is a great strategy. You don’t see Lionel Messi or Wayne Rooney or Miro Klose sauntering leisurely upfield on a free kicks. Those guys sprint up field to get in position to participate in fast breaks.

      • a sure sign of chaos under JK and explains the early goal conceded and overall poor start:
        a real team lines up for a team photo in a classic 5-6;
        the US is clearly in an utterly dysfunctional 4-7.

  2. My thoughts on the game

    1. Danny Williams did have a pretty awful game. Having said that though, I think we need to remember that he is still fairly young (23 I believe) and I think he will be a quality player for us with another season or two under his belt.

    2. I know Jozy flubbed a couple of chances, but I thought overall he had a pretty solid game. He had a couple of nice flicks to oncoming teammates that helped us retain possession, and the balls played to him were often poor. If JK was happy with his performance I see no reason why we shouldn’t be.

    3. For the love of god no more Bradley Jones pairing in the midfield. I don’t think Jones is disciplined enough to play a pure #6 role, so it’s probably going to have to be Bradley paired with someone else like kljestan or zusi.

  3. I’ll have to watch the replay on the second goal…I could have sworn that Boyd headed that ball down to Mix. When I saw that no assist was awarded on the US Soccer scorecard, I was left scratching my head. But, your grade states that Boyd wasn’t the one to head the ball to Mix after all…

    “Terrence Boyd (NR): Came in late and played his part in the comeback by fighting for position to force a Russian defender to head the ball into Mix Diskerud’s path for the equalizer. (IG)”

    On another note, I thought Jermaine Jones had a nice second half…he worked the left wing hard and had some dangerous crosses.

    Michael Bradley is THE MAN. Plain and simple.

  4. Chandler was trying to get up the flank and did send in a couple of quality balls in the box. I was disappointed that Johnson did not either send balls in the box when he had the chance or in those instance try to get down the flank. In the cases that he had the space he simply passed the ball to the closest player towards the middle. In at least 3 cases in the 2nd half, he had Jose and Herc in the box and failed to deliver the cross.

  5. The overall passing yesterday was awful, and even worse when there was no pressure on the ball. Especially in the back, Cameron turned the ball over several times trying to make the thread the needle pass, and instead starting an attack right down the middle. Way too many careless clearances too.

    Williams continues to show that he isn’t ready to be a starter, he is exactly what young players are: inconsistent. Except in his case, we have only seen 1 or 2 good games, and the rest have been forgettable. I think he is going to be great, but at this point he has not earned the lock spot he seems to be given.

    I really wish the lone striker approach would go away, don’t tell me that was a 4-3-3, when no other forward is around Jozy, it’s not a 4-3-3.

  6. I thought that this was one of the most skitzophranic (can’t spell) performances by the team. At times we looked great but the mistakes that were made were bizarre. Early njuries n both sides, just a weird game.

    Danny Williams looked exhausted- they did a close up at one point and his eyes looked bloodshot.
    I heard there were problems at the hotel – power outage? These guys are pros, no excuse but do you think the stay in Russia had an effect?

    Physically, they looked fit but mentally, they were in the clouds at times……

    Wish we had another friendly soon. Long period without USMNT action.

  7. Typical US match – positives and negatives displayed in equal amounts.

    But there were moments, however brief, that stood out –
    it was nice to see the on the ground passing and high pressing. They forced Russia into turnovers in their end , pretty unique for the US. Unfortunately, the US again failed to do anything dangerous with the turnovers, or to create dangerous opportunity with on the ground passing.
    The over the top balls had success , just shouldn’t be the best/only option.

    Moments of professional defense early – Def was able to break up possession before Howard had to make saves, albeit deeper than should be tolerated. this didn’t happen enough and with all the shots later on has probably been forgotten, but there were some good moments, and shouldn’t be dismissed.

    Gatt – regrouped but should be hungrier for goals.
    Johnson and Chandler weren’t special and both had some rough moments, but Chandler’s speed and physicality and Johnson’s control and moments going forward were both good to see.

    link between midfield and front…? what to do…

    ps – I love analyzing and analyzing and analyzing friendlies ad nauseum, because they don’t meant anything in the long run.

  8. And Coach Klinsmann’s rating? I give him a 7.0 because his substitutions were timely and made the difference. for me, it’s a big deal in how you respond to players’ performances and sub accordingly. He did just that.

    • With all due respect, I believe a 7 is generous. Klinsi’s insistence on playing Bradley-Williams-Jones together (or Williams-Jones-Beckerman for that matter) mean that we start from 5.0 and work our way down from there. That combo just doesn’t work. We know this, so let’s try something else.

      There was no reason for Williams to come out for the 2nd half, and Jones should have been subbed as well. I would have liked to see Boyd, Agudelo, and Mix get more minutes on the field, and possibly 10 minutes out of Gyau.

      • you make some good points. i think if a coach gets the desired result he should get at least 5 (a win would be at least 6.0). so far in my book, i round up my points for Klinsmann because he is getting results.

  9. Ives, how bad does a player have to be to earn a “1” or “2?” I’m rooting for Danny Williams, but he was terrible last night. What justifies the 3.5? Were there any positives? This was far and away one of the worst performances by any player in a US jersey since Jonathan Bornstein’s nightmare vs. Mexico in the Gold Cup Final, where he was pretty much responsible for all four goals Mexico scored.

    • I’d say something like an early red card, or maybe an own goal and a red card? Those might get you a 1-2. I gave him a 3, Franco gave him a 4, hence a 3.5. I supposed you get 3 for not getting sent off, kind of like getting the points for spelling your name right on the SAT.

  10. 1.)Goodson was terrible coming in for Boca, dude is weak with possesion, distribution, tackling and marking.
    2.) Gatt showed some great courage with his runs and desrves future call ups going into the hex.
    3.) I am a fan of Jones, Williams and Bradley but they dont work as a unit. Its Bradley is the permanent piece
    4.) I was hoping Jozy would have the type of game where you couldnt wonder why he is not a permamnet fixture up top, he didnt, his touch and movement was off.

  11. I’m interested in knowing why Jermaine Jones gets a full sentence extolling his inability to hit a 1 timer into the upper 90 from 18 yards (this is Jones we’re talking about here), yet Jozy’s even worse blown opportunity when he was played in on goal by Johnson coupled with several times where he stopped a fast break with a bad pass is written as “he botched a couple of opportunities.”

    If you want to make the argument that he was dangerous in his movement during the game, that’s fine. It’s a valid argument. But to overlook his failure to do what is essentially his only job–score, is a bit odd.

  12. Juan Agudelo up top as the target forward? I never would have believed it. Good job up top. Now why wasn’t I seeing any nice pass-backs from jozy? He had a couple of decent chances, but other than that was invisible (maybe he was supposed to be to draw defense attaention elsewhere?). Herculez I think deserves a higher rating. Yes, set piece foot failed him but he was doing a good job keeping hold of the ball and buying time to being other players forward. Good play for a man without much speed. I’d raise him to a 5.5. 6 if he had hit the post or crossbar a couple of times from set-pieces or the run play.

      • If you go back and look at other games, Agudelo actually seems to have some pretty good natural instincts as a hold up forward. Sometimes he looks better than Jozy. He positioning is good and seems comfortable with the ball at his feet. Plus, when he is on, which admittedly has not been that frequent recently, he looks like he is having fun out there.

      • I distinctly remember seeing Agudelo play in high school, he played for a year or two at St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey. They came to our tournament and he was used exclusively as a target man, he is 6’1 after all. I realize it’s a totally different level but I believe that was his role as a youth player, explains the instincts.

  13. “Danny Williams’ arguably his worse night in a US jersey”… I’d say Antigua was worse. When he falls behind the game he is out! Seems to be day and night with him, no just average games with all of the best games being at home and all of the terrible games on the road.

    Also, maybe i need to re-watch it, but i didn’t think the fullbacks were that bad. Certainly ineffective most of the game but they were not falling behind or getting beat consistently like the US’ FBs have a history of doing…

    • I agree about the Fullbacks, especially Johnson. I thought he had a better night than Cameron and Chandler. Also, where is the rating for Goodson?

      I would give Howard a .5 rating better than Bradley. Bradley had too many poor passes, especially in the first half where if it were not for Howard’s great saves, the US would have let in 4, maybe more.

  14. was the formation not allowing our outside backs to get forward or what? I was licking my chops thinking of having Chandler and Johnson getting forward.

    Either way i am excited about these two future with the USMNT (Assuming Chandler plays for us)

  15. What is the standard for a “great save”? How many saves did Howard make that we’re really athletic and outstanding? I think the dive to his right on the shot from distance was good. However, how many other saves did he make that Guzan, Rimando, or Hamid would not? Often, we compare his saves to having no one in goal and say he kept us in it. He was beaten near post on the first goal and while I’m not an expert, I believe the goalie’s job is to defend near post and make them pass back across goal, allowing your defense a chance to stop it. I’m not sure what constitutes “world class goal keeping, but it seemed like the Rusdisns fired a lot of shots directly at him. Am I missing something?

    • No, you aren’t missing something. I went back and watched the part of the match I’d missed, expecting to see something spectacular. It wasn’t there. Howard positioned himself well, swallowed up hard shots that came directly at him and made a couple of diving saves that probably any high-caliber goalkeeper would make. He did great, in my view, but wasn’t spectacular.

      • A great keeper positions himself so that any shots that get through the defense are “routine” looking saves.

        The more “spectacular” the save, the more likely it is that the keeper made a positioning mistake in the first place.

        Think of wide receivers catching passes. If the QB makes a good throw and the receiver has run a great route, he catches the pass in stride and is more likely to be able to make more yardage after the catch. But if he is a little slow, or the ball is a litle too long, he may have to make a diving catch, which may be more “spectacular” but ends up being less productive.

  16. Yes Altidore woulda had an assist had jones finished his chances… But he also woulda had some goals if he had not mistouched balls ESP that through ball by Johnson.

  17. Grades seem fair.

    Danny Williams was off on so many plays. He was mentally off in space, and physically struggled as well. That 80 yard backpass to Howard still stands out to me.

  18. Jones has no role in this team. Our midfield looked the best when it was Williams – Bradley.
    Klinsmann needs to iron out this problem fast. And it’s not that hard.
    Bradley = Influential, world class box to box midfielder. Give him the keys.
    Jones/Williams = Plays best when sole job is to sit back and break up attacks, and keeping it simple.
    We cannot afford to play both of those two guys, so Klinsmann needs to pick ONE and tell them to sit back and give the ball to better players. If I see Jones making a run into the final third one more time, I’m going to stop watching.

    • I’m not sure that Jones needs to be taken off the field, but I agree that:

      1) His role needs to be defensive, similar to the role he plays with Schalke. He should not be getting forward so much. Twellman made the same comment last night. My guess is that Jones thinks he is playing with less skilled players on his national team than his club team and therefore needs/deserves to do more offensively. Perhaps Jurgen agrees. I don’t.

      2) He can’t be in the midfield with Williams, whose role should also be defense. Jurgen needs to pick one. I think he will when more midfield options are available.

    • So the guys at Schalke know nothing?? I love how we as fans, who haven’t and CAN’T earn a penny coaching the game, have all the answers and corrections for the professionals. I know the purpose of these message boards is to vent and express your opinions. But it would be wise to remember we are the amateurs, the guys at Schalke and USSOCCER are making a living doing this.

      That being said, my opinion is that, we play better in a 442 alignment. But maybe, just maybe, JK is working for the future and knows that the only way we can compete at the next level is to learn to play another way. So we take our lumps, and qualify a little less comfortably than in the past, with an eye on 2014. I don’t think he is trying to qualify for Brazil or even get out of the group. Done that a few times already, no need to change to keep that level. But to ever move to the next level and compete, not be lucky, but actually take the game to teams on level 2, (behind Germany, Spain, etc…) we have to grow! Thus, we have growing pains.

      For me, I’d rather die trying to move up the ladder than to be satisfied in the middle of the pack.

  19. Let me get it out of the way……Altidore with a 5.5? That’s ludicrous, he sucks, he has no first touch, he’s lazy, etc.

    I thought it was one of his better games.

    The only real issue I have is Howard….shouldn’t he have been at least an 8.5?

      • Getting beat at all is a no-no for keepers. That ‘near post’ thing is a bit of a myth.

        Considering the point blank distance and lack of pressure, howard had to give up room on either side and force the shooter to hit it into one of the narrow windows.

        If howard had taken away the entire near post, the shooter would have had a six foot opening to the far post.

      • “That ‘near post’ thing is a bit of a myth. Considering the point blank distance and lack of pressure, howard had to give up room on either side and force the shooter to hit it into one of the narrow windows.”

        Near post goals should not be given up. That’s not a myth.

        However, in this case, Williams’ unfortunate and wacky miskick took everyone by surprise and the shooter was on goal before anyone, including Howard, had a chance to react.

        If Timmy had had one more second (literally) to cut down the angle he probably smothers that shot or forces it wide.

        I’m not a big fan of Howard but he can hardly be blamed for that goal.

    • I know these grades are subjective an all, but to me, if that performance was not worthy of 8.5 than we must be starting at 8.5 and working down. Howard was incredible. He had no chance on the first goal. Guy walks in all by himself, can pick any corner he wants or pass across to open teammate. He was outstanding!!! Occasionally Tim will give up a goal from distance, but no one is better on reaction saves. His anticipation and reading of the opponents body positioning is amazing.

      On a side note, why is it that when a GK plays a great game we discount him as being part of the overall team. A midfielder can play great and he contributes to the overall quality of the team’s effort. But when the GK does the same, we read, “except for the heroics of Tim Howard, …..” . Isn’t he part of the defense??

      • Tim played great, but that game doesn’t crack his Top Five and maybe not even his Top 10 for best games ever. I gave him an 8 myself. Don’t think I’ve given him more than that since maybe the Spain game at Confederations Cup. That and his Argentina shutout in 2008 standout as games that are clearly above an 8.

      • So because he’s really good we have him on a higher curve? You’d be a tough teacher Ives!

        Tim Howard gets a 95% on his math test, but that’s only a B+ for him!

        Jk..i know where you are going here.

      • Never said he gets graded higher because he’s had better games. Howard had some nice saves, but it really wasn’t an absurd total. You have to do some jaw-dropping work to get more than an 8 in my opinion. Howard did that against Spain in 09 and Argentina in 08 to name two of his best. The Russia game was great, and I personally gave him an 8. People can give him more of they want. I just wouldn’t agree with it.

      • Love howard but he’s also partially responsible for us getting caught out on the free kick that led to the penalty.

        The entire defense should be alert, but goalkeeper/captain should be quickly organizing there. Might have dropped him a point or two.

      • A keeper is part of the defense, especially a vocal veteran like Howard.

        Remember that a keeper, like the catcher in baseball, is the only player with the whole game in front of him.

        The best keepers are the ones who can “read” the game, just like a quarterback reads defenses in the NFL. The best keepers should be able to communicate to his defenders that the wingers have switched wings, that so and so is constantly open and so on.

        I claim no inside knowledge of how the US defense is set up but if you have a veteran like Timmy, I would think he would have a huge role in directing the defenders but I don’t know. I would have thought that Howard (and Guzan), Gooch and Demerit were all very much on the same page during the Confederations Cup in 2009, for example, at least the last part of it.

        So I wonder just how much, if any, of our recently shaky defense has to do with the communication or lack thereof, between Howard and his defenders. Is it Timmy who sets up the walls near goal during our recent run of crappy set piece defense? How much does Timmy actually participate with setting up the defenses? I don’t know.

        From where we sit it is hard to know who is responsible for what and I’m sure the rotating cast of defenders does not help.

        As for shot stopping ability, Timmy is athletic and acrobatic but really great keepers often go thru games not having to make acrobatic saves because they position themselves so well they are in postion to make the save look “routine”. Guys like Buffon and Van De Sar have/had a lot of “boring” games from the acrobatic standpoint because they anticipated so well. It does help to play with great defenders but like the chicken and egg thing does a great keeper make the defense great or is it vice versa? Probably a little of both.

        It is often said that the more crazy, acrobatic saves a keeper makes the more likely it is he was out of position in the first place.

        This is important because you only get less athletic and acrobatic as you get older and these days good keepers play until they are 40. Obviously, you can only go so far with that but you’d be amazed at how far anticipation and positioning make up for advancing years.

        Look at Friedel and Keller. I rate both better than Howard and I think Guzan can be better but Timmy is playing well now and he has a chance to finish up his USMNT career on a high note in Brazil so we will see.

    • Can JA just go to the back row on the team photos? Either that or hold a roll of toilet paper.

      He is ALWAYS in the first row, ALWAYS on the end, and ALWAYS doing his cr*p squat.

      • I believe this is why JK is upset and not calling Jozy up for games. He wants him to squat and Jozy refuses. I don’t think that he should be called up, again, until he learns to pose.

      • You’ll notice how Jozy is at the end of the front line and how the line gradually drops as you look at it going to Jozy’s left.

        His partial squat is definite evidence of a rift between him and the other players, a defiant unspoken gesture asserting his individuality and unwillingness to conform to the norms set by JK. And let’s not even talk about how he sleeps during the anthem.

        Obviously, these are all vital signals regarding Jozy’s impending exit from the team.

      • Ah… sarcasm.

        JK can call him up, or not, for whatever reasons he chooses.

        But for me, I’m interested in knowing -on something as simple as a team photo- why ten guys are on one program and another is not?

        The first ten or so times it was no big deal: just a consistently random occurance. My curiosity was piqued after twenty or thirty times. After 40, the frail grandma/cr*p pants pose became both humerous and annoying.

        That said, if he starts pumping in goals for the USMNT, he could do a RHCP pose for all I care.

    • A lot of these ratings are very low. Most are around the 5 mark. And there are some 4s and a 3.5. You’d think with those scores we were blown out of the water. The media needs to stop being so hard on this team. They scored two away to Russia with only one practice to pull things together, and they ended up tying 2-2. Saying we “should have lost” is a nonfactor as there are many teams we “should have beat” and came away with nothing. What could of/should of happened isn’t a part of sports. It’s only what happened.

      Jones deserves a 6.5 – In the first half when Bradley disappeared, he was the only one pushing forward and pressing. And at the end of the game, alongside Bradley, he was the only starter to still push. He also had some great crosses with his left.

      Gatt deserves a 6 – He made a few great runs, had a good shot on goal, and could have had an assist. He outshown Gomez on the wing.

      Johnson was not a 4.5. He was quiet but that doesn’t make him weak. He didn’t get crushed on any 1v1s and was certainly on par with Chandler.

      Danny with only a 3.5? While he was shaky throughout the second half, he was not our worst player. Goodson was. He was a 4.5/5 as he did start digging in toward the end of the first half and into the second half.

      • Josh, you do your ratings, we’ll do ours. You say we’re too harsh. Did you ever consider you’re too generous?

      • I did do mine and I accept they may be too generous – fair enough. But if someone disagreed with me I wouldn’t take it personally and get upset. I said “media” to not get personal and politely explained why I disagreed while agreeing with more than half of your ratings. Sorry I offended you by not agreeing with you.

      • Nothing in Ives’s comment indicates that he’s upset, or that he took your comment personally. Instead of accusing him of those things you should thank him for taking time to comment and discuss with his readers. A healthy debate never hurt anyone.

      • Who is upset Josh? Did I use exclamation points? All caps maybe? I just made a pretty simple statement. Nobody’s offended. Just find it interesting that while “media” in general are giving the team lower ratings you somehow think that, as a consensus, we in the media are the ones grading wrong and you are the one grading properly. If anything I find that pretty hilarious.

        I know you’re a long-time reader Josh, just don’t get the point of the “this group of people are wrong and I’m right” notion, which is why I asked you if it ever crossed your mind that maybe YOU are the one seeing things wrong.

        In the end, grades are pretty subjective, and I’d never expect or want everyone just to agree with our ratings. That’s unrealistic, but part of the reason for doing a consensus of grades from two writers is to try and balance things out and offer a more clear view of things. I appreciate you being confident in your grades, but to not even consider the possibility that you’re predisposed to be overly generous in your grades seems a bit unreasonable. Do I think my grades are perfect? No, but again, that’s why I have chosen to consolidate grades and combine mine with staff writer Franco Panizo.

        In the end, I said what I said because I just found it silly for you to just say “The media needs to stop being so hard on this team.” That’s pretty much you saying “Why can’t everyone grade the team like I do?” And to that I say, you do yours, we’ll do ours.

      • I agree, Bro’(lo), that Chandler struggled defensively, but I think his offense was even worse. I can only remember one good cross from him all game. His first one flew off into space behind the goal and others might have landed in the box but did not come close to hitting their intended (USMNT) targets. Chandler yesterday was wimping out on attack and did not seriously attempt to take on any defenders one-on-one, preferring instead to back pass. A couple of times he tried to dribble past a defender he lost the ball. I detected absolutely no chemistry between him and the other guys.

        Anyone saying Chandler had a good game is infected with wishful thinking. We would have been much better off with Dolo or Parkhurst and probably with Eric Lichaj. Unfortunately, Parkhurst and Lichaj weren’t born in Germany. And before I get attacked for saying that, I am very happy to have the other German-born Americans on the team, especially Jones, Fabian and Terence Boyd. My point is that I think some USMNT fans erroneously believe that any player born in Germany and playing in Germany is automatically entitled for a starting spot on USMNT, along the lines of cap him player X, cap Player Y, cap Player Z.

      • I agree. Lichaj seems to play well when he gets a chance, but never seems to get his time on the field.

      • “Lichaj seems to play well when he gets a chance, but never seems to get his time on the field.”

        There’s a reason for that.

      • Please watch an Aston Villa game from this season.
        Then you can talk.
        Lichaj has looked fairly dreadful this year.

      • Until he pulled his “uncertainty ‘ bit, you were Chandler’s biggest fan.

        Well Chandler is still the same player he was then.

        What was that about the wrath of a woman scorned?

      • I admit, GW, I can hardly stand now to look at Timmy Chandler in a USMNT shirt. That said, he was playing very well for the Nats in the autumn of 2011 when I was touting him. But he is not the same player now, has been in very poor form in the Bundesliga the past two months, which is no secret and is widely reported in Germany’s soccer press. And what really bugs me now, is after a year of not accepting a USMNT invitation, the second he does it, he is being anointed as the USMNT’s right back of the future. Why? He has to earn that spot and he certainly did not state his case Wednesday in Russia.

        Michael Parkhurst was the Number 2 right back last summer behind dolo and in September and October. So if dolo could not make it for Russia, why was Timmy Chandler called — after snubbing Klinsmann for over a year and being in poor club form — over Parkhurst for the Russia match. Does not seem fair to me and does not seem to follow Klinsmann’s selection rules.

        And people saying Eric Lichaj should not be given a chance in a US shirt need look no further than Juan Agudelo, who certainly had not done anything at Chivas to win an invitation, but had a good showing anyway against Russia. It could be that Lichaj would perform well in a US shirt and also get inspiration for his club career.

        My point is, if Klinsmann wants Chandler back on the team, then Chandler should have to prove he deserves it and win back that spot like anyone else and, if he would succeed, would have to continue to perform at a high level to hold it.

        And, by the way, the German national team and a fullback emergency for the friendly against the Netherlands Wednesday. Both Jerome Boateng and Marcel Schmelzer had to pull out with club injuries, leaving only Philipp Lahm and Benedict Howedes as fullbacks. So Jogi Low was forced to call in a new right back — drum roll please — and he called in 22-year-old Sebastian Jung of Eintracht Frankfurt for the Holland friendly. In other words, Timmy Chandler probably learned recently that Jung was ahead of him on the depth chart.

      • If you were managing the USMNT then Chandler would be made to jump through your convulted series of hoops to please your sense of justice and revenge.

        You want your pound of flesh.

        However, I think you will find, biff, that very few people would handle the situations you described the same way you would.

        Why? Because you take every situation personally and think only immediate short term.

        Your primary goal is to punish “offenders” like Chandler.

        Lichaj and Parkhurst are just smokescreens. Those two clearly do not have Chandler’s upside and also are already tied to the US.

        So from a strictly business standpoint, you want to waste a lot off time and effort “punishing” someone to make a useless point. You also risk alienating any other dual nationals who are undoubtedly watching.

        You are not thinking long term nor does it ever occur to you that there might be an alternative to your POV.

        During Chandler’s first go around with the USMNT what impressed me the most about him was not his speed or attacking ability. What impressed me was that his fundamental defensive instincts and abilities are immaculate. Right now he is maybe the best defensive player in the pool after Dolo. And he is fast.

        As someone else pointed out, his guy did not score in this game. In the Belgium game, in his first pro game as a left back he shut down Eden fricking Hazard. Not bad.

        And there is no doubt to any neutral party that Chandler has a greater upside than Parkhurst. JK also has more questions about where Chandler is right now than about Parkhurst, so calling Timmy, over Parkhurst if you like, in makes perfect sense.

        As for Agudelo he has the potential to be a far more impactful player for the USMNT than Lichaj.

        Lichaj has a chance to be a solid back. He is better on defense than he is going forward. Unless Fabian, Dolo and Chandler all play far worse than they are doing right now it is very hard to envision Lichaj ever being consistently better than those three. In other words, Eric Lichaj is likely to be, at best a solid backup for the USMNT.

        Agudelo on the other hand has already demonstrated for the US that he has the potential to be a special attacking player.

        That is harder to find than a backup fullback.

        Finally, Sebastian Jung makes my point about Chandler “using ” the USMNT for me.

        In other words did Sebastian Jung have to showcase his talents to Jogi Low by playing for the USMNT?

        No . He did it by playing really well for Eintracht, a club in the BL.

        And guess what Nuremberg is also in the BL. I don’t know what Chandler was thinking but if he wanted to impress Jogi Low, by being the starting right back on a BL team, he was already perfectly situated to impress Jogi.

      • Chandler’s positioning on the defensive end was brilliant. He was easily able to win balls back for the defense. The men he was marking did not score. That is all you can ask out of your fullbacks.

Leave a Comment