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USA 2, Panama 0: SBI Player Grades


Photo by Jane Gershovich/Jane G. Photography


It was easily the best World Cup qualifying performance by the U.S. Men’s National Team during the Jurgen Klinsmann era, and the list of players who stepped up to deliver Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory vs. Panama is a long one.

From the intricate passing all over the field, to Jozy Altidore’s stellar work up top, to Michael Bradley’s dominant work in central midfield, to Fabian Johnson’s breakout game for the national team, Tuesday night was everything Jurgen Klinsmann could hope for.

No, it wasn’t all perfect. Brad Evans had his share of struggles, and Omar Gonzalez continued to work out the kinks as an international centerback, but there was very little to really complain about from the U.S. team against Panama.

Here are SBI’s USMNT Player Grades for the team’s 2-0 victory vs. Panama:

USMNT 2, Panama 0: SBI Player Grades


Quiet night for the U.S. goalkeeper. Panama never really threatened him until the very end, when he stepped up with a quality save to preserve the shutout.


Struggled all night long with speedy Alberto Quintero, but his teammates helped him out and he kept battling before eventually settling down.


Another steady showing from Besler, who made the necessary interventions and provided a consistent passing outlet while circulating the ball well. Remains the best centerback in the pool.


Improved on his passing and made plenty of strong tackles, though at times you do still see nervy moments. Panama playing with one striker made things a bit easier for him, but overall a match to build on for the Galaxy centerback.


Panama generally stayed away from his side of the field, choosing to pick on Brad Evans more often, but Beasley met every defensive challenge and partnered perfectly with Fabian Johnson on the left side of the field. Even flashed his attacking qualities with some well-timed runs. The late yellow card rules him out of the Honduras match, but he has done enough lately to remain a key option for Klinsmann.


Enjoyed his best game in a USMNT uniform. Joined the attack excellently, delivered a perfect cross on Jozy Altidore’s goal, and turned in some good defensive work. A complete effort and the type of quality we’ve been expecting from him since he joined the national team setup.


Another player who arguably enjoyed his best USMNT performance of the year. Cameron was omnipresent in midfield, making tackles all over the field and delivering the pass of the night to set up Eddie Johnson’s goal.


Absolutely dominant, Bradley turned his game up to a new level against Panama, driving the attack and joining with Cameron to not only stifle Panama’s offense, but spark the U.S. attack as well. Bradley completed 78 of 85 passes, just three fewer completed passes than Panama’s three starting central midfielders combined. You can make a strong argument for him being the best midfielder in CONCACAF.


A quiet night by his standards, but he did keep the ball moving and helped put pressure on the Panama defense.


Had a quiet first half, but stepped it up in the second half and scored a beautiful goal to secure the victory and give the Seattle fans in attendance a perfect cap to a dream night.


Continues to erase the memories of his 18-month USMNT goal drought with his third straight game with a goal. More than the goal, Altidore really turned on the aggressiveness and movement and put the Panamanian defense under pressure for the better part of 70 minutes. One of his more complete national team performances.





Picked a perfect lineup, and watched the team play its most impressive match of his tenure as head coach.


Michael Bradley isn’t someone who spends a lot of time spouting hyperbole, and doesn’t give praise easily, so when he calls the atmosphere at CenturyLink Field the best he has ever seen for a U.S. national team game, it says quite a bit. The large and fervent Seattle Sounders fan base not only formed the foundation for an outstanding crowd, the city’s reputation as a great soccer town made this match a must-visit for fans from all over the country. The recipe delivered a night for the ages, and you can rest assured Seattle will be hosting important USMNT matches again in the future.


What did you think of the ratings? Who do you think received too low a great? Who didn’t receive a strong enough grade? Who impressed you the most on Tuesday night?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Nicest thing about this game is that the Jozy and MB critics don’t have much ammunition. I am sure some of the trolls will claim that those players improved due to … But the fact is they are pretty much the same players they were 3 years ago, yes 3 years older and they play a bit smarter now, but not much differently than 3 years ago. MB still breaks up plays, makes simple passes, can hit good serves and score when given the opportunity; Jozy is perhaps a bit stronger, so still can take a pounding and continue to play, lays the ball off well, can truly smash the ball and is a solid aerial threat. All the nonsense about Jozy being lazy was just that nonsense, he simply has become a more clever player in the last few years (would that Adu could find that soccer intelligence).
    The other thing is that EJ has again demonstrated his usefulness in the US attack. There is no question he struggled 7 years ago after his initial splash, partly due to injury and partly due to expectations that were too high, and being called upon to play roles he was not well-suited for, now he is playing within his capabilities and has shown that when he is in a role that calls for his talents he can still deliver.

  2. Sorry Ives but I think you should add a point to everyone. I think you where a little hard on them, and if that was a game against Mexico, you would have made higher ratings.

    It was a great game from the USA and I look forward to the Hondoruas game, and I really cant wait for the Mexico game. I wish that one was in Seattle, props to them for making American soccer fans look great.

    GO USA!!

  3. My hat is off to the fans. I have admired foreign fans but last night was awesome because American fans had great songs, profound creativity and classy intensity throughout the game. American fans were on par with the rest of the world. Well done, we have all learned and hopefully, other fans in other cities will reach the bar that was raised by those in Seattle.

  4. Reality Checklist:
    – we played PANAMA! This country is known more for being a great Van Halen song as opposed to a world soccer power
    – Demarcus Beasley has played well at left back and may very well earn his way onto the roster next year but he is not the long term solutionn at lb. A fact we would painfully learn next year if we tempt the fates
    -Graham Zusi is not a better option than Landon Donovan

    I am very optimistic about our play lately but llet’s not get crazy. There is a lot of soccer left to be played.

    • Nuke: That was awesome out there
      Crash: Your fastballs up, your curveball is hanging, in the show they would have crushed u
      Nuke: Can’t you at least let me enjoy the moment?
      Crash: THE MOMENT’S OVER

  5. Altidore is graded too low. His efforts on this night were worth nearly a goal by themselves– most notably, though it won’t show up anywhere in the statbooks, the play in the first half which should have resulted in a penalty. He turned a slightly threatening situation into a likely goal. If you assume that the ref will call a penalty 7 of 10 times and that the team will convert 7 of 10 penalties, that play was worth close to half a goal.

    In addition, he scored on one chance, was instrumental in a second (when Dempsey’s spike-shot hit the crossbar), and was involved in a third (shot that led to a rebound which Beasley put off the post). And he gave good outlet and hold-up play as well. I’m not sure what more you can ask of a guy.

    Evans should be like a 2. He was absolutely atrocious. It’s not just that he was the worst American player on the field, though he was. It’s that the rest of the team played so well, and he played so poorly, that you could be excused for thinking he wasn’t even on the pitch. He added absolutely nothing in attack and his defense was terrifying; four or five times, he was beaten so utterly that he didn’t even slow down the attacker, much less stop him. One clear chance was muffed when the Panama player slipped on the crappy turf. Another could have been called a penalty, and he also yielded several cross opportunities. Just a horrendous performance.

  6. At 33:42 of game Beasley passed a ball deep into Altidore. watch how Altidoe shielded the massive defender to collect this ball. I have not seen this kind of strength and skill from our fordwards in a long time. There was a non foul right after however it is the shielding, maneuvering and power Altidore showed that was impressive……

    • It was reminiscent of his goal against Spain at the 2009 Confederations Cup, where he used his size and strength to shrug off a defender and give himself room for a powerful strike.

    • Yes this was very, very impressive. Jozy is so strong, and the ability to hold off a defender and turn for a shot is a really important element to his game that we too often forget about.

  7. I’m not sold on Jozy just yet and anyways this bothers me more than anything he does, why does he not out his hand over his chest for the national anthem? Even the boys born in Germany do it and he doesn’t. I bet he considers himself more haitian than American. And that’s what grinds my gears. Anyways I won’t be sold on his performances until he plays a big role on dismantling Mexico in Columbus and costa rica in the old saprissa stadium.

    • That also irks me about Jozy. Perhaps its a political statement, which people are entitled to in our free society.

      However, back on the topic of soccer, I was very impressed with Jozy’s performance last night. Furthermore, he showed a progression of improvement over the past 3 games, which is wonderful.

      Now, I am looking for some consistency. Over the past two years he has been consistently poor. Let’s hope that he has now turned the corner and can demonstrate his ability to consistently perform well in the next few games.

    • Patriotism is playing your heart out for the red, white and blue, not holding your hand over your heart or wearing a flag pin.

      Jozy bleeds red, white and blue.

    • What does putting your hand over your heart even suppose to mean? I’ve heard of doing it during the pledge but not really the anthem. I actually find people mouthing along more annoying anyway. Kind of silly thing to pick on.

    • Hey sh!tferbrains… Stop trying to make an issue where none exists. You’re not the arbiter of anyone’s patriotism but your own.

  8. Halfway through the Hex, and Mexico has failed to score a goal at home. For our part, we have failed to deliver a decent playing surface. But 6 points from 2 home games will do.

    • got to get me and the boys up to Seattle for the next quali. Denver was fun, Rio Tinto is always cool, same with Columbus, but I GOT to get me some of that up there

      • darn it, did it again…wasn’t responding to your post Ali Dia, excuse me

        but funny post you made. We’re like our neighbors now in delivering questionable surfaces and conditions to play in…I like it

  9. People saying that Seattle needs to put in grass have no idea what they are talking about. It is not the same as England at all, yes we both get lots of rain but there is where the similarities end. Have you seen Wembley at the end of one of the American Football games they play there? It is a disaster, now imagine that happening every other weekend in the fall for four months and you’d have the pitch in Seattle. As long as the Sounders share Century Link with the Seahawks there will not be grass, end of story. I would like to see a SSS but it won’t happen anytime soon unless the owners put up some serious private money for it. Public funding won’t happen, Seattle is still paying for the Kingdome which was demolished over a decade ago.

  10. If he’s motivated, Donovan has to be on the World Cup squad, at the very least as a great backup at forward and both wings. Anyone who thinks his game has eroded that far is not paying attention. My honest opinion is that he will eventually regain a starting spot on the left, with Fabian Johnson dropping back to left fullback and Beasley becoming the versatile backup. I think Zusi on the right is here to stay. But anyone who says that a motivated Donovan should not be on the team is, quite frankly. CRAZY!

  11. Great atmosphere. AO and the local supporters seemed very coordinated, and did a great job maintaining the energy. I’m not with AO, but our section (109) was on its feet the entire 90. Well done everyone, including the many that traveled to be there on a weeknight. We drove up from Portland, and encountered many US fans on the way there and back, with plates from OR and beyond.

  12. I’ve been waiting for a”10″ grade, and that might be the first one you’ve given Ives. Well deserved! Thank you Seattle!

  13. Bradley reminds me of Michael Carrick with much more bite. I hope Roma earns a Champions League berth next season. It’d be great to see MB play in that tourney while he’s still in his prime.

  14. Credit to Evans and Altidore (and even EJ), they played well. To me it’s a results business and if they keep playing like this it’s hard to complain.

    • The entire back line and keeper deserve some of that credit, too. They got the most important result a team can get – shutout.

  15. Some observations that haven’t been mentioned:

    – Jozy showed off the incredible strength that makes him a terror to defenders with his back to goal. He received a pass just outside the box, absolutely PINNED his man behind him, turned on a dime and broke into the box, and then was probably fouled and deserved to get a penalty. This is one of Jozy’s supernatural talents (remember Spain in 2009?) and one of the reasons I think he’s always gotta be on the field.

    – Cameron wound up having a great game, but early on I’d say he misplayed 4 or 5 passes that led directly to turnovers. He was a little shaky at first and I think everyone seems to have forgotten that.

    – Loved hearing the crowd chant “Fabian Johnson” when he came off. That’s gotta feel rewarding for him as a German-American and make him confident in his national team allegiance.

    – Best game I’ve seen from the USMNT in a LONG time.

  16. While the crowd and atmosphere were great, Seattle should only be hosting WCQs if they can supply a venue with a permanent, grass field.

    • Speaking as a Seattle fan, if you want our atmosphere and our home field advantage for USMNT games, then perhaps there needs to be a little STFU about the grass.

      The city (and the team) are quite simply not going to build a shiny brand new stadium just so the USMNT can play one game in Seattle every four years. Get real.

      • the grass is an issue, but I like talking about it. Other countries’ players should be thinking about it, it should be in their heads…that now the US plays in a place with that atmosphere that also has that slip-sliding/no bounce/grass over turf field thing to deal with

        no STFU to me

      • the field is an concern, but I like talking about it. Other countries’ players should be thinking about it, it should be in their heads…that now the US plays in a place with that atmosphere that also has that slip-sliding/no bounce/sod over turf field thing to deal with

        no STFU to me

  17. * Loving Evans filling in at RB, but he got skinned repeatedly and doesn’t have the catch-up speed that DMB has on the other side. This could be a problem.

    * Loving Cameron’s versatility. Maybe not the best at RB, but a guy who can competently (and in the case of last night, effectively) play several positions is great for depth (suspensions and injury).

    * Tempo and flow were superb despite a few errant passes in the first 20 minutes. Seems our collective first touch is better, starting with Jozy who has been sublime in hold-up play and distributing to the right areas.

    * Even if he’s just getting his feet wet, so great to see Stuart Holden back in the USA shirt.

    * I think with Jozy maturing to the role, Dempsey, EJ, and a potential return of Donovan (and alternatively better service from Donovan or Zusi and Fabian), we could see a goal-scoring renaissance with the USMNT.

    • Agreed. One of my biggest complaints about the US game forever is the amount of hopeful long balls played and just kicking it. Though we started to lapse into that in the second half for a while, we played fewer of those in my memory. We kept it simple. Lets see if we can do it twice in a row.

  18. Words I can’t type w/o moderation:


    Seriously guys… take @ss off the flagged words list. 1) It’s not that vulgar, and 2) it’s embedded in a lot of soccer-relevant words.

    • While this is true, I was hoping that you might instead @ssert an @ssessment of Cameron’s @ssets, primarily his cl@ssy p@ssing that @ssisted EJ on our second goal.

      • or at least update the filter so it is looking for ” @ss ” a five character string with spaces around the word which ensures only the stand alone word is filtered instead of a three character string that could be embedded in all the words mentioned above.

  19. Good performance but let’s have some perspective, it was Panama at home. Anything but domination would have been disappointing. Let’s see how they follow up vs. Honduras. If they suffer no let down and perform just as well, then I will really start to feel bullish about what’s going on. I still think the current back line is quite suspect.

    • Good point. And even if we control Honduras like that… still a bit different from what we’re likely to see next summer.

  20. The best thing about the night was Dempsey didn’t have his best game, and while I do’t think he played terrible, the rest of the team showed they can excel even without him playing at his best. The Panamanians went after Dempsey by playing physically and the ref did nothing to stop it, favorite call of the night when the defender initiated the contact on Dempsey and yet called the foul on Dempsey.
    The worst part of the night the ref giving the US team 4 yellow cards for nothing. Of the four the only one I really could see was the one to Beasley, but given he didn’t give one to Pananma when they commited a porfessional foul to stop a break.
    I am a Sounder fan and I respect everything Evans has done, but he isn’t a long term answer. He works hard but it was clear he was struggling against the pace of the winger. Beasley isn’t much better, but has the pace to make up ground.
    Jozy was a beast.

  21. Best Showing by the US in a long time….the passing, the vision, players creating space, the quick one touch plays…..Michael Bradley and Jeff Cameron excellent midfield domination, Johnson causing problems on the wing, Beasley’s solid defensive plays and overlapping runs, Altidore aggressiveness and scoring ability of late……Beating the team fielded by the German National Team in convincing fashion, Dominating a team that once proved to be a major threat……OK WHO ARE THESE GUYS AND WHAT THE HELL HAVE THEY DONE WITH THE REAL USMNT.
    Klinsmann sorry for all the bad mouthing and bashing….This team has never looked better. The most impressive thing is creating players in a role, finding an effective pair with Beasley and Evans, and substituting only what needs to be fix (i.e Cameron for Jones, Johnson for Zusi).
    I can honestly say for the first time, in a long time, if we keep this up not only are we going to Brazil but teams are seriously going to have their hands full going up against the stars and stripes

  22. Not sure about the grading standards.

    Bradley raised his game to a new level? Completely dominated the middle? While a 7.5 is certainly a good grade, it seems to me if a player of Bradley’s quality hits an even higher level of play than his norm, he ought to be graded much higher. He is the most important player to this side, and while I know I’m in the minority here, I also think he may just be the best centermid the USMNT ever fielded (yes, I realize who I’m comparing Bradley to here).

    • You know what? I don’t think I agree with you just yet – but in a few years you might be right. If Bradley can control each game like he did last night, he might overtake Clau… I can’t say it. It feels like blasphemy. But someday, maybe. (Probably?)

  23. Evans 4.5- Evans burned so many times.

    Gonzalez 5- He trouble in the second half.

    Altidore 7-

    Everything else I agree with.


  24. The team looked great, I am extremely pleased. However, you could see a few instances in which better teams would’ve taken advantage of mistakes or lack of quality/pace on our players’ part. I’m all about Evans and DMB in the full squad, but I think our best XI has Fabian at left back, and probably still Dolo at right back, assuming he’s got the wheels for next summer. Maybe Chandler or Lichaj will sort themselves out this season and contend for that as well. I think all those options have a higher ceiling than Evans. By the same token, I think the highest ceiling we can get out of outside mids is LD and Zusi, for now. I’m hoping Holden or Shea can pull a recovery year together and force their way into the picture by next summer. Being solid and having enough quality to beat an upstart Panama requires a different set of capabilities than having hope that you can hold your own in the round of 16 (god willing round of 8) on a good day.

    • DMB looks good enough at left back. Remember he is still learning that position too. He’s always working hard and a really scrappy player too. I love what he brings to the team.

      I don’t think we’re going to see Evans on the team next summer. He has done a fantastic job filling in when we need him, but I think he would be exposed by higher level competition. He keeps things really simple, which is exactly what he should be doing, but he gets lost a bit and his 1v1 defending hasn’t been that great either. I’m not trying to bash him, but hes a limited player who is playing solidly for a few games. I don’t think he is a long term option. Cherundolo will take his spot back when the time comes.

  25. Are we afraid that Dempsey will make the Deuce Face™ at us if we give him the real grade? A 6? He was not good; except for his run to the near post on Altidore’s goal, I can’t think of one positive play he made. Turned over the ball regularly; flopped constantly and therefore wasn’t given the foul when it was a foul; had the bad luck to BLOCK a near-certain Bradley goal.

    I don’t want to get all psychoanalytical (well, actually, I do), but is this guy having a crisis of confidence? Between the Liverpool-transfer cockup, which makes him look like a petulant prick, to his final transfer to Spurs, to his injury as Gareth Bale becomes the best player in the Premier League making Dempsey’s return to the team sort of irrelevant…and now on the USMNT, where has been overshadowed in this string of WCQ’s — is he overthinking his performance?

    I don’t know what the answer is. I love his play. But he should have been subbed out.

    Heresy, I know.

    • I actually agree that he didn’t look to good this game…I feel like Panama’s two CBs roughed him up a bit in the beginning, and for the rest of the game they were “in his head”. He always seemed to be looking for where the next contact/foul would be coming from, which seemed to throw off his concentration. Additionally, he spent a lot of time trying to draw fouls when he was on the ball…to no avail.

      Nonetheless, I believe this was a one-off, and that we’ll see the normal Dempsey next game.

    • Agreed it wasn’t his night, but I think a lot of that can be attributed to being man marked heavily all night by the best CB in concacaf. And this actually opened things up for Altidore and the others. The rest of the stuff you were talking is nonsense. There is no player with greater confidence than Dempsey and I’m betting he bounces back next week.

      • Well, I don’t know if it’s nonsense, but agreed that it’s impossible for any of us to know what’s inside a professional athlete’s head. (Unless it’s Landon Donovan, whose interior state seems to be plainly visible to many on this board.)
        Also, obviously, this is projection. I loved him on Fulham, and he seems to relish playing with a chip on his shoulder. I do not enjoy watching him on Spurs. He seems out of his game.
        I hope he bounces back.

      • Dempsey is Dempsey. Look at his stats and work rate, passing, leadership over time, but including this match too. And he missed a golazo by the woodwork. Had he not been unlucky, we’d be having a different discussion.

    • Luckily, last night’s match was captured on video so your inability to think of a single positive play can be tested. From the highlights video alone:

      – followed up on fabian’s early volley in case of rebound (important even if you only notice when there actually IS a rebound, see below)
      – layoff to bradley for a volley that fizzes just over
      – cheeky backheel to set up altidore’s drive from range
      – followed up altidore’s drive from range and volleys off the bar
      – cheeky backheel in the buildup to beasley’s shot off the post

      So six positive plays in a four-minute clip. I know, it can be hard to notice things if they aren’t commented on by twellman.

      Also: five goals in the last eight games. Assisted cameron’s goal against belgium. Involved in the buildup to altidore’s goal against germany.

      If this is dempsey suffering a crisis of confidence, let’s get the nation’s mothers-in-law together to keep undermining him at every turn.

    • Luckily, last night’s match was captured on video so your inability to think of a single positive play can be tested. From the highlights video alone:

      – followed up on fabian’s early volley in case of rebound (important even if you only notice when there actually IS a rebound, see below)
      – layoff to bradley for a volley that fizzes just over
      – cheeky backheel to set up altidore’s drive from range
      – followed up altidore’s drive from range and volleys off the bar
      – cheeky backheel in the buildup to beasley’s shot off the post

      So six positive plays in a four-minute clip. I know, it can be hard to notice things if they aren’t commented on by twellman.

      Also: five goals in the last eight games. A$sisted cameron’s goal against belgium. Involved in the buildup to altidore’s goal against germany.

      If this is dempsey suffering a crisis of confidence, let’s get the nation’s mothers-in-law together to keep undermining him at every turn.

      (double posting to avoid the moderation)

    • It’s not heresy, but keep this in mind: Deuce is known as our go to scorer and therefore draws that kind of attention where he gets knocked around a lot..and he’s not gonna get all those calls. CONCACAF knows him as a guy that can lose his temper so he’s getting the extra attention.. that is opening up for the others… The only issue is when he gets space on goal you can tell if he’s pressing too much when he mishits the ball. But he’s always been like that and he always ends up producing… He’ll always be there when it matters

    • You don’t think Clint is the one name every Concacaf team is planing for? Going into this set of games most teams probably would be right to think you keep Clint out you have a good chance at winning because no one else was doing the scoring. Now that Jozy might demand a little more attention I think things could really open up for everyone.

  26. * What impressed me most recently about Altidore is not the 3 game scoring streak. It is the emergence of a good first touch and ball control. That has been missing from his game, and I am impressed at much he has improved in that area.

    * It’s good to know we have a reliable, dependable DM in Cameron who can plug in for Jones when he gets injured or collects too many cards. Cameron was MOTM in my eyes. It was his steady play that allowed Bradley to move up and control midfield distribution. Edu has serious competition for one of those coveted spots next year.

    * It was good to see Corona and Holden get a short run and get the jitters out near the end of this game. It’ll help the confidence level of both players as we progress through WCQ.

    * This was the lineup I was expecting JK to roll out, and no question it was effective. Who would’ve guessed Beasley and Evans at the wings before WCQ started? JK has an eye for grooming talent. It was good to see Ives give the coach a high grade for his work. I am in full agreement.

    * I am impressed with the play of F Johnson at outside mid. Fast and skilled. He’s yet another player who brings versatility to the team. H Gomez is another who faces stiff competition when he returns.

    * I understand these games are being scouted by agents looking for talent. I think Altidore’s stock has clearly risen. I for one would like to see both Gonzales and Besler get some serious interest from European clubs this summer.

    • Altidore helped himself a lot. the Dutch league has about a 50% success rate of it’s high goal scorers going to other leagues and being high goal scores. Every time He get’s a goal not in the Dutch league it helps him argue he can produces in games that are not as wide open as his club games.

      Shakle would be a great spot for him. I would also love to see him at Spurs if Bale leaves.

    • JK has been patiently preaching the Beautiful Game, and he’s finally got players listening and expressing themselves. Though the opponent was relatively week, this is as close to playing soccer the way it should be played as we have gotten, at least since the 2002 World Cup, when we played our best match ever in the Torsten Frings loss to Germany.

      Altidore seems to be listening too…didn’t think he was capable of playing team ball. We’ll see, though I’m finally hopeful about him. At least he’s passing more, though not very effectively yet.

      You perform well, you stay on the pitch, period.

      • you’d be saying different is Beasley’s shot had been the other side of the post. Jozy sucked 2 defenders up and made a great layoff into space there.

      • Jozy is thriving in the right SYSTEM

        -no longer on an island, he’s paired up top with Clint so he’s finally got space and not getting hammered by multiple defenders
        -also because of being paired, he has support in defense at the point of attack applying pressure and is not asked to do it alone (obviously not his strength that role of sole pressure applier up top)
        -there is now width provided by the midfield because of the switch instead of relying on the outside backs to do all of that

        those are HUGE changes to the team’s ideas on how to play, all impelemented for the Germany game…and the results are obvious

        add to that the teams’ improved tactical possession approach (Coach gets credit for that too) and the recipe for Jozy’s ‘maturing’ is complete

        Jozy didn’t change in the last 3 games, the TEAM’S approach did to suit him, and he RESPONDED

    • Great point about Jozy. His first touch was really sticking last night and he looked sharp all around. Its becoming cliche to talk about his confidence but he looks like a whole new player since his goal vs Germany. Its awesome to see.

      The competition for places in the starting lineup is incredible. We have developed serious, quality depth at almost every position. There will be some quality players left off the final 23 man roster next year. Can’t wait to see who steps up in the next 12 months to secure their spot.

  27. I thought Bradley and Cameron together were just lights out great. You add Donovan to the mix, sorry guys who don’t want him to succeed, and you are in pretty good shape in the midfield.

    The D still has questions. Evans looks good at RB, but just not good enough. Speed a big part of that.

    I will get flamed probably, but I feel like we need a little more from Dempsey. He will be fine he is Dempsey, but he needs to take over a game at times.

    Great to see Altidore adjust to the Nat team level. I guess that is why guys like Ives just kept saying he is still young. I feel, and I saw it in person last night, the last three games he looks like he belongs…permanently.

    • The one knock I consistently have on Dempsey is that he gives up and looks for a call too easily. I realize if you try to shrug off a hard challenge you’re less likely to get a call but sometimes I think he could keep after it and make more out of the play.

      Other than that and being a little off on his finishing I though he did just fine. He had a lot of cheeky layoffs and back passes in there too.

    • LOL, I thought it was funny. The first time I noticed the chant they were saying “you’re not going”. I noticed later the chant included “we are going”. Maybe a little premature, but fun anyway.

  28. Jozy continues to work hard which is so great to see.
    Fabian was more assertive, but could step it up even one more notch.
    Eddie is often offsides or head down, but he brings so much speed and danger.
    Cameron had a couple passes to no one but was otherwise great.
    MB is the best player we have.
    Beasley is a joy to watch.
    Good game!

  29. One game does not make Bradley better than Guardado. Not that this makes Guardado the better player but it was actually Bradley giving up on the play that allowed Guardado to score the tying goal in the Gold Cup Final we ended up losing in 2011.

      • To the point to where he is playing Champions League ball? Or having a Man of the Match performance against Barcelona? I must have missed that.

      • I was referencing his improvement from what was a rough outing in a tournament 2 years ago – which you were using as a mark to stain his kudos – to where he is now as a player.

        But please, go ahead and tell me how he’s never won 5 WCs. I am sure you have more than enough ammo to knock him down a peg or two.

      • I didn’t realize they had a Champions League for individual players these days. And how dare MB90 not get MotM honors for Roma last time they played Barca back in 2002..

      • Sorry if you didn’t understand the point that I was making. Bradley is not good enough for Champions League ball. Also if you wan’t to be the best (as in the best midfielder in Concacaf) you need to bring it against top competition.

        Panama has improved a lot as a team over the past few years and has a few pretty good players but lets see Bradley have that kind of a performance against Juventus. That was my second point. But hey, maybe he will this coming season, but right now, he is not better than Guardado.

      • Milan were a man down for most of the match and still took the game to Roma. I thought Marquino played better than Bradley as well.

    • Well considering how Mexico has performed in the HEX, his one goal as an attacking winger over the past two years for the Mexic an national team, and that he primarily played fullback this year for Valencia in La Liga, Guardado might not be the overwhelming favorite you seem to be implying as the top MF in CONCACAF, and an argument can certainly be made for Bradley.

      • You make some good points and he may no longer be an “overwhelming” favorite but he still played significant minutes and looked very good in the midfield for Valencia. Playing left back frequently once Mathieu was injured for a team as good as Valencia shows Guardado’s versatility.

        Recently, Guardado has not replicated his Valencia form for Mexico, but he has hardly played poorly. I look forward to watching him in the Confederations Cup. Oh and by the way I am not a Mexico fan.

    • number of games Guardado has disappeared in during this year’s Hex: 5 out of 6

      number of games Bradley has disappeared in during this year’s Hex: 0 out of 6

      • Guardado looked better in all 6 games than Bradley did against Honduras.

        Against Mexico, had the referee not overuled a 50/50 penalty call made by the assistant, Bradley’s night would have gone from pretty good/ solid to poor.

  30. Awesome. Almost leaves me speechless–but not quite. That was an awesome team performance and gives me hope that the guys next summer will be able to beat Germany (the A-Team version) in the knock-out round of WC 2014, which would be a dream come true. Eddie Johnson’s goal (and assist from Cameron) was as good as it gets. Incredible.

    • And there was a report last week that Schalke is considering a move for Jozy and after these performances I bet they pull the trigger soon and I think Schalke would be a perfect fir Jozy playing with Klaus van Huntelaar and Jefferson Farfan and the Wunderkind Julian Draxler–not to mention Jermain Jones.

    • There were some moments when a side with better attackers might have scored or, at least, put Howard to the test. Panama’s finishing was anemic. Cameron offered a more dangerous header from 25 yards than anything the Canaleros served up, but the opportunities were there.

      On the other hand, the USA could have scored more. Dempsey’s touch betrayed him, too. On another day, he might have had a hat-trick of his own. However, he was a big part of the attack. It was a shame he mishit his shots, but the surface might have been a factor.

      We could still hope for a tighter defense, as well as an offense that does more with its chances and maybe create more with build-up instead of just the counter (that one chance by Beasley was a thing of beauty but it stood out also because most of the other chances came off the counter). If we’re gonna make a lot of noise in Brazil, we’ll have to take things up still another notch, but his was certainly the best showing under Klinsmann. and more than enough for CONCACAF. Costa Rica will be tough as they have more talented players than Panama, but the USA is again the top dog after an uncertain start under JK.

      As for the field, who knows what will be possible in four years. or even eight years? A grass field there, or maybe even a soccer stadium.

  31. I thought that Fabian Johnson had a decent game defensively, but was quite poor offensively. Until his assist, which frankly was more difficult to mess up than not, his passing and crossing was very poor. He moved well without the ball and made himself available, but the quality with the ball wasn’t there. After the goal, he basically stuck to his defensive responsibilities and did okay. But he provided no width and little threat on the wing offensively. He doesn’t seem a natural winger; his instincts keep taking him to the middle.

    • FJ’s cross was easier to mess up than not? Wow. He bent the ball in past two Panamian defenders while still keeping it away from the keeper. I’d hate to see what you consider a difficult cross.

    • I think you are being a little harsh on FJ but I agree that he is an average mid fielder. It’s amazing how US fans flock to put players from almost regulated teams as starters out of position for the USMNT. FJ is a very good LB, he’s better than Beasley. He only is playing MF because we have no true left winger (Shea is hurt, Donavan in the Dog house) and Beasley is good enough at LB for CONCACAF.

      Come the WC we will need FJ at LB, and Shea and Donavan playing left Mid.

      • um why not chandler at lb? he seemed to play there for the US often early on.
        just a thought since most US fans seem to want dolo back when hes healthy.
        chandler at lb and fj at lm is a very strong flank

    • I can’t agree with you either. FJ has the best handle on the squad and is dangerous passing, crossing, or running at people. I believe that he is struggling with fitness. That he is chosen while others get sent home for fitness tells me how much he is valued (or how desperate the team is for attacking talent).

  32. Thanks, Ives, for giving props to Seattle.

    Leading into this game, it appeared as if we were/are being set up for another 27 years without a WCQ.

    The media coverage was brutal. Ticket sales in our city were being spun as a disappointment, even though sales were all-time top 10. On a Tuesday. At ridiculously high prices. Klinsman has excuse-making about the time difference for European players. There was whining about the long flight from Jamaica, and griping about the surface (which affects both teams equally).

    Look, we’re aware that many of you find us Sounders fans to be insufferable. It has a lot to do with numbers — there are just a lot of us posting, and that gets annoying.

    But regardless, we earned this game, and we delivered for Uncle Sam big-time. On a Tuesday. Three days after 50,000 people watched the Sounders. When USMNT tickets cost a small fortune, and the game was barely advertised. We made a ton of money for Uncle Sam and gave the team a boost.

    Please USMNT, come back next time. And bring us Mexico. You want a home field advantage? Here it is.

    • The fans were great. Absolutely tops. However, you can’t play a WC qualifier on a surface like that. Gotta do something about it.

      • The surface was fine. Players slipped alot in the 1st half but it seemed like a non factor in the 2nd. For that crowd, I would put up with a Gymnasium floor. Seattle, you are freaking awesome. You should get more games.

    • Being from the south we don’t get a whole lot of football broadcasts without getting special cable packages, but I can tell you three things. 1) If the Sounders are playing and if I can watch it I do. 2) That was the best atmosphere I have ever seen for a home USMNT game. 3) I hate to say this but I can almost guarantee that they will put the Mexico game in Columbus, sadly.

    • 206- I don’t think anyone disputes the heart and truly amazing atmosphere that was on display last night, and you and your fellow fans have every right to be proud of the new standard you have set. Furthermore, if the Mariners had not been playing across the street, causing the attendance to be artificially capped, I think we would have see a full sellout.

      But it’s not about that. Never has been. It’s always been about the field, with other points being added in addition to that main point.

    • and griping about the surface (which affects both teams equally).

      …And you accept this excuse where else in life? Poor is OK if it is poor for everyone? How would that work for you with your brakes, next elevator ride, flight, etc. Quit making excuses and put in grass. Or, quit whining about no games. It is no secret why you don’t get the USMNT for the big games, or hardly ever. NO PERMANENT GRASS! I also like how you discount the people who actually do the traveling. No big deal how far they travel as long as they come to you. Nice!

      • Unfortunately it’s not that easy. The constant rainfall makes artificial turf a must. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Portland and Vancouver also have artificial turf?

      • Does the northwest get more rain than England? Just wondering because it seems like grass would not be problem there, but I guess it must be. Still, regardless of the legitimate reasons, no grass means probably very few national games. Shame too, because the atmoshpere and support were stellar. But hey, we are the US of effin’ A, we should be able to solve this – right?

      • I’m fairly certain London and Seattle have similar climates in terms of rainfall per year.

        That said, the average stadium in England doesn’t have two football teams and numerous events (concerts/truck rallys, etc.) being hosted on the same field year round.

      • England gets plenty of the type of rain Seattle does, and they seem to do fine with grass. If you are willing to pay for it, you can put grass in.

      • Cheaper yes, but not sure it is a must as it rains just as much in England I think. The problem isn’t the rain it is the Seahawks.

      • They need to get the Seahawks a new stadium then because it appears the Sounders are the better team. Then grass Clink.

        See yall in Sandy next Tuesday.

    • Being a resident of Seattle the Mexico game belongs in Columbus, until the Mexicans prove they can win there. The prices were ridiculous, go look what they are charging in SLC, not close and there were more seats. Reduce the prices a little bit and get the joke of an organization across the street to back off and they could get 60K there for a game.

    • Seattle did the US proud, but there are a couple factors working against them getting the Mexico game:

      1. Columbus still has the magic juju. Until that’s proven to be gone (i.e. more than 1 consecutive loss there), the game ain’t moving.

      2. Seattle is not centrally located enough for traveling fans (even though the seating capacity is >> Columbus.

      3. Sporting Park is probably the 2nd choice, for centrality.

      4. I hate to say it, especially since it didn’t seem to be a problem last night, but turf/sod. The team played well on the pitch despite the temporary surface, but I’d guarantee every player would prefer a true grass pitch.

      Still, I’d bank on Seattle getting a match every WCQ from now on… at least until someone tears their ACL on the sod (I kid, I kid).

      • Centrality with respect to the the country and with respect to the populace are two different things. The Boston to DC section of the country comprises a huge portion of the population and so do Texas and California. None of these are centrally located, but they are hubs of population. That said you also have to factor in “home field advantage,” playing a central american team in a city with a higher hispanic population takes away the home field advantage. Checks and balances I suppose.

  33. So, should we stick with the Bradley Cameron pairing? Jones is playing great, but Cameron staying disciplined in his postiioning as a defensive mid allowed Bradley to join the attack further up the field, complimenting Dempsey and Altidore.

    F Johnson had a great game. He is our L Winger.

    • I’m a huge Cameron fan, but let’s see how he does there in consecutive games before we start making proclamations.

      After Bradley, Jones has been the most consistent USMNT player for the past year… yes, that includes Deuce, who disappears for long stretches even while scoring goals.

      • Ives disagrees, but Cameron’s performance was the most dominant of the match. As long as he gets his second shot, I’m fine.

      • I think you saw both sides of Cameron, when the going forward and making aggressive passes bit was working, people liked it. When he started the game refusing to play simple, he was making Twellman irate.

        I think we’d be better off with Cameron as a RM or a utility sub. I think Jones is better at playing the position of DM, and Cameron is better in terms of up and down athleticism.

      • You’re imperatively wrong.

        Jones has never influenced a game the way Cameron just did. That athleticism was covering for Bradley and letting him get forward as much as we’ve ever seen him, without break downs. Taylor Twellman makes many idiotic statements a game- saying Cameron didn’t play it simple enough is absolutely an example. I hated when he started initiating our most dangerous attacks, including both goals, while covering better than Jones is able.

        Dismissing his performance as not up to Jone’s standards, well can’t argue with that. There’s nothing to back up you claim.

      • Cameron has to stay in the middle of the park. His physicality, muscling guys off the ball is so useful there. You know what I kept thinking yesterday watching him play. He looks like M. Fellaini, strong, a little dangerous in challenges and with turnovers at times, but makes up for it by dominating the middle of the field. Cameron still has work to do, but I was completely wrong to hope Kljestan would play.

      • No doubt, he isn’t at that level. He was every bit as good defensively. Cameron was surprisingly good when marked closely. I’m used to him getting panicked and clearing the ball. He was able to hold the ball, dribble the ball and even find a really good assist to Eddie.

  34. Ives – I think it was Stu Holden coming in for the third sub and not Castillo? Or maybe I’m not remembering correctly.

    What a great night to be a US fan.

    • It was Stu. What a class move to bring him on for run out after all the hard work he has put in to get fully fit. When he is fully fit how will JK pick his starting eleven? You got in midfield Bradley, Jones, Geoff, Fabian, Landon, Graham, Clint, and now Stu is getting back. Let the debate begin. And for fans like me who have been around for a while(pre-94 WC) this is the first time that we have had REAL QUALITY DEPTH at nearly every position. That makes me very hopeful for the future of the USMNT.

      • Once everyone is back and in form (cross fingers), with the pool we have there are a number of very good formations that could be deployed. One option would be a variant 4-5-1 variant something like….
        ——————–F. Johnson—————-Bradley——————-
        1st Choice Subs: Boyd, Zusi, Beasley, Cameron, Guzan
        2nd Choice Subs: Shea, Mixx, Bedoya, Corona, Castillo, Lichaj, Evans
        3rd Choice Subs: Goodson, Agudelo, Edu, Williams, Torres, CB & GK

      • I like the formation, but I would rather see Fabian Johnson on the wing and Dempsey more centrally.

        Having said that, while I like the idea of your formation, I think the 4-2-3-1 suits our personnel better.

      • I think that is the starting line up that Klinsmann would prefer. As far as the depth issue… still no depth at the striker position. Always has been our problem, but at least Jozy is finding his form with the national team!

      • Take out Dolo, move Johnson to fullback and insert Holden into the midfield spot and I think you have a very strong US team that could do real damage in Brazil…

      • No Eddie Johnson? Even in your 3rd choice subs? I’d like to think it was accidental oversight? Or are you really Lost in Space?

      • While EJ played well last night and in the match with A & B….I’m not sold on him being in the top 25 if/when everyone is healthy. Maybe EJ will grow on me…but I still think he’s like Findley….speed to burn but very limited soccer IQ. And frankly if he’s played out wide in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 he’ll have to learn how to cross the ball. Too often he drastically over hits it or flat out shanks it off to nowhere. Until that’s part of his game is resolved or he’s played as a striker in a 4-4-2…I just can’t take him as a serious option.

      • But you’ll include the likes of Shea, Mixx, Bedoya and Agudelo….and no EJ or Herc. Putting a lot of weight on the shoulders of Altidore…… I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      • Mr. Space,

        Go to the US soccer web site and read EJ’s quotes on how he and Cameron worked out the second goal.

        Then tell me he has a “very limited soccer IQ.”.

    • That was the first thing I noticed. Castillo didn’t play yesterday, in retrospect maybe he should have to avoid that extra yellow card to Beasley.

  35. Well Klinsman’s subs worked and we got the W. but an 8? Hmm. He should have subbed earlier. Fab was spent and hardly heard from after the half. Davis at the hour mark would have made a lot of sense. And then Corona at about 75′. But bringing them on together at 84′? Too late, and took away some valuable time-wasting. Not to mention passing up on getting a bunch of guys w yellow cards off the pitch.

    Guessing no Beasley means Fab drops to LB and Davis gets a start at Left Mid v Honduras next week.

    • I agree that the subs were a bit mismanaged, but the team put in their best performance under Klinsmann and played exactly like the coach has been preaching for the last 21 months.

      That said, subbing Corona in for Fabian around 75′ would have gotten him a few minutes in a meaningful game from a low-risk position. Subbing Beasley out for Castillo ~85′ would certainly have helped with the YC issue.

      • Idk if I buy the YC protection idea Twellman was selling. Its one thing when you have a player or two about to get suspended due to YCA but we had 7. There was no way to protect them all, you’d just be guessing who was most susceptible. If you ignore the yellows then you look for people tiring or getting used by the opponent and my guess is he didn’t see anyone struggling and we were firing on all cylinders. Why disrupt that?

    • I’d rather we see Castillo than move Fabian away from LM. Let him own that position more. His ability to read the game alongside Bradley, Jozy, and Dempsey made the difference last night in attack.

      Castillo has had a few shaky moments at the national level. But we’ve seen how he is for Tijuana. He just needs to settle down. Plus, we could use his pace vs. Davis’ nonexistent acceleration.

      • Has had a few shaky moments? By that you mean when we were looking at LBs for this set of qualis, he got run right by like he wasn’t there. Far as I am concerned resolved the issue right there. Why relearn the lesson?

      • How can we leave EJ out of the starting lineup after his play though? Personally I’d move EJ to the left wing and slide Fabian to left back. I wouldn’t hate seeing Castillo in there but I think EJ has earned another start. We have questions that need to be answered about Casillo. Do we put him in the lineup to possibly answer them or do we reward EJ for his really good performance with another start?

      • I agree. I’ve been thinking the same thing. Although, if we think Fabian will be a left wing for us… maybe it is better to give him more time working with Jozy, Duece and company. I am completely unimpressed with Castillo. He was so awful against Germany, I just can’t get that out of my mind.

  36. Drove 17 hours for that match and it was definitely worth it! Thanks Seattle for the excellent atmosphere. So cool to see the spectacle with thousands of fans going nuts. MB was rock solid! Freakin’ loved seeing Beas. Never seen him live and dude was great!!! So pumped for the excellent experience!!!

  37. I do think Fabian Johnson played very well tonight but I don’t know if it was his best USMNT performance. I remember a while where the D was shaky and he was consistently the best of the back four. Another game, against Slovenia in 2011, he was very good. That was with Timmy Chandler playing RB and Fab Johnson at RM, they played so well together. Also that was the date of Altidore’s only goal in the Klinsmann era before these last three, a PK won by Fab Johnson.

    • Agreed – certainly Fabian’s best performance at LM, but I think one or two of his showings at LB were just as great. I think he still has room for improvement as an offensive player.

    • I think Beasley plus FJ creates a dangerous, fast, and yet fairly composed left wing that is hard for other teams to deal with, and essentially makes that whole side of the other team sit back.

      I like FJ, he’s athletic, he can hit a ball, and he’s willing to do dirty work. I’d leave him put, it’s working.

      • I liked Fabian Johnson more at left back than I have at left winger. At one point he seemed like a long term answer at left back. He seems like “just a good winger” to me at this point in time.

  38. I know there are Landon Donovan haters, but being very objective, is this current USMNT better or worse without Landon Donovan?

    Should JK stay with Bradley and Cameron in the middle even when Jermaine Jones is healthy?

    • Landon will be a decent bench option for us. I think he probably makes the 2014 squad. Not a starter though, at least not now.

      • Decent bench option? That is just nuts. We could be terrifying with Donovan, who is still a better option than Zusi or EJ, even with both in good form.

      • Exactly. I’m not in the tank for Donovan. But even with him still being a bit rusty and not on top of his game, he’s one of the 5 best American attackers. He’s still better than anyone we have at outside mid (including Fabian Johnson) on either side.

      • I love LD for his experience and precise passing, but FJ has more tools for the team to use than LD. FJ is much better 1 v. 1 and in possession than LD while not losing anything in passing and crossing. FJ may be the most important player on the squad for the offense because of the creativity he brings while covering to allow the LB to make runs.

      • In the Jamaica game, Bradley dropped a beautiful through ball that Zusi did not have the wheels to run onto. Donovan gets to that ball. LD for his perceived lack of drive, is “put into the fridge”, but I’m telling you, you put him on field with Deuce, Jozy, Bradley you have a group of attackers in the 75th percentile of countries. Add in one of FJ or Zusi and that us something special.
        Kudos to Klinsmann for bending to popular demand to move FJ up into attack.

      • Add Beasley at left wing and you really nail that 75% estimate. DMB’s potential contribution to the attack as a fullback is far less than it would be in his natural position. And he and Donovan have had real understanding since they first played together for the USA as teenagers.

      • Just putting this out there…could LD be a legit option at right back?

        Run DMB has given the USA a legit attacking option from left back and his catch-up speed and quickness makes it very difficult to just torch the USA with speed down the left side.

        Zusi and Eddie Johnson are definite options at right mid. Truth to be told, I like the service and crossing Zusi provides maybe better than Donovan’s and it definitely seems to unlock Jozy Altidore. And EJ is dangerous, a handful on the flank, and a guy you can push up to forward when you need minutes.

        So…honestly, could Donovan give the USA the same thing on the right side that Beasley is now providing the USA on the left?

        You gotta wonder if Klinsmann is thinking that way. Timmy Chandler is still too raw, Cherundolo might not be a lock because it seems like he’s always hurt these days and is closing in on 35…and Brad Evans, while serviceable…is just that, serviceable.

        LD at right back could be something very different.

      • That’s just nuts. And now I’m gonna have to spend the rest of the summer contemplating it.

      • While Beasley has been OK at LB, he hasn’t exactly been a revelation to the extent that JK would want to get all mad scientist at RB and stick Donovan there. I will say that before his injuries I always though Stuart Holden would make a great fullback. Too late to try that now, of course.

      • Donovan and Beasley have been two of our three most effective attacking players for about a dozen years (scoring, assists, speed, vision, etc.) Aside from Dempsey and Altidore (with whom they don’t compete for position) we don’t have anyone on the roster who has done anything at all to show that he is more likely than Donovan or Beasley to produce goals and assists (and help others do so). Assuming that LD gets his groove back, both should be close to the top of their game when Brazil rolls around. It makes no sense to me to have either one of them playing a position that will keep him more than 60 or 70 yards from goal for most of the game.

      • This is the type of game I have been waiting to see for years as a US soccer fan. It wasn’t perfect but darn close. In years past if we did not dress our best players we would be in deep trouble and play down to this type of opponent. With the depth the USMNT has and is building upon is starting to pay dividends. Donovan currently just adds to that depth and does not need to be counted on as the savior. The great thing about it is that it shows it is truly a team effort to win games (or tie i.e. at Azteca). However it is nice to see such strong individual and combination play from so many players. No longer are we a direct counter attacking team. Last evenings game showed great patience in attack and we created a lot of chances with possession and build up. Again not perfect but very much enjoyable to watch. And damn was that crowd AWESOME!!! Way to go to the fans for showing some soccer spectator acumen.

      • Great comment regarding LD — “…does not need to be counted on as a savior.” For me that means that LD can play with less pressure and he can become part of the TEAM. It will still be important for him to compete his way back into his position, which will be an overall benefit to the team. “LD, your resume means nothing at this stage, show me what you can do now!! We’ve won without you!! WE will be rooting for you!!”

      • We’ve found a lot of success playing in crosses to Jozy and Clint and having MB run in and clean up the rebounds. Landon is a two footed player that can play a beautiful cross from either side. He’s also got speed to get to the end line and wonderful vision. He’ll find a spot on the field.

        If I were a betting man, I’d say a full strength USMNT slots Zusi on the right, Donovan on the left, and Fabian at left back.

      • I really believe that JK wants Fabian in mid field. He wants speed speed and more speed. Beas, FJ on one side, Cherundolo or Chandler behind LD would make for a lot width and overlapping runs.

        But either wy, props to JK and all his tinkering. Maddening at times but Bering fruit

    • The discussion last night is how Jozy’s play opens spaces now for Dempsey: no other name was mentioned. We do have other players who can score, obviously, but no one we EXPECT to score. LD would be that third person, which means a lot.

      But CD is fitting nicely into the Withdrawn Striker/Rover roll nicely. LD does like to get wide but also a play a Rover role too.

      Offensively this can be effective if LD and CD can figure it out. They have in the past but WAY in the past at this point.

      Defensively this could be a problem without an experienced RB. ‘Dolo is great but will need help as any 34 year old would. Evan will need help as any developing player would.

      Given this, LD might work better coming off the bench. What a spark he would be.

    • To your first question: If Donovan can find form again, he pushes for a starting role. However, he has been very mid-level this season and last. Without his name and history, if he was just a random MLS player, most on here wouldn’t be calling for him. I think he does make it to 2014, but I’m not sure I see him as a starter. I also hope the likes of Shea step up this year and compete for a role as well.

      Second question: I think you do stick with Cameron to see how it works against a much tougher side. Klinsi’s excuse for benching Jones is as easy as saying, “We’re taking precautions.”

      I think Cameron had an absolutely stellar performance, right up there with Bradley. But let’s see how he handles the position against a team with a strong central midfield and when the team is playing with their backs against the wall.

      • If Donovan is playing his best he is a sure fire starter. He just isn’t doing that at the moment. The Gold Cup will be a huge chance for him to make his case to be a starter. Zusi has been really solid, but Donovan is the more talented player. He has everything Zusi has and more. That said, its up to LD to take his spot in the lineup. If he doesn’t stand out soon he will likely end up as a bench option.

        Cameron was a monster last night, but we have to go back to the Jones/Bradley combo. Cameron has definitely put himself ahead of Kljestan and Edu just behind Jones though.

        Its so important we don’t take a step back against Honduras now. We have great momentum heading into the summer break and it would be a shame if we don’t follow up that great performance with another 3 points next week. I’d expect Jones and Zusi back in the starting lineup with Fabian to left back and EJ to the left wing.

    • Before everyone starts bashing me–I am not saying Zusi is better than Landon Donovan ever was.

      I think even if Donovan returns to the set-up he is behind Zusi on the depth chart until Zusi’s form dips and Landy Cakes is there with a great fill-in perofrmance. I have a feeling this is what Klinsmann thinks too.

      • I’ll resist making a reference to ZZ Top lyrics in my reply, unlike previously…

        I agree though, but I do think, with all of the speculation about where LD fits on this team: Let’s see what happens in the Gold Cup, and after. Will we want LD? Will he prove that he’s a better option than Zusi or F. Johnson? It’s a great problem to have when – depending on how you rate LD, Stuart Holden, Zusi, and the Johnson brothers – we had something less than our best wing options out there last night, and the team still dominated offensively in a way that they rarely have. And that’s not even considering some of the younger fringe guys (Shea, Corona, etc.), and who knows where they’ll be 12 months from now?

        Let’s pause for a moment and celebrate this problem…

      • if Landon Donovan steps up during Gold Cup…Gold Cup tourney is key for a lot of fringe players…. I would not want to be Mexico in September in Columbus in dire need of points….Gold Cup will help JK find the missing pieces to this great project.

      • The Gold Cup is an awesome opportunity for some guys to make a statement. Assuming he leaves behind the players who have been with the team all summer, we will likely see 5-6 guys emerge from the Gold Cup as legit national team options

      • Fabian Johnson’s cross to Altidore was perfect. But if you look back at the game his passes were pretty horrible before that moment. He actually struggled for the first 30 minutes of the game with his crosses and keeping possession.

        If Ives thinks that Bradley, who was an absolute beast last night, earned a 7.5, which I don’t disagree with, then there is no way that Fabian Johnson earned a 7. I would say a 5.5.

        Providing during the Gold Cup, Landon establishes chemistry with this current team and puts in a usual good performance, I would take Landon over Fabian any day.

      • I agree. His assist was beautiful. Other than that, I didn’t really see him contributing much offensively. He dissapeared for long stretches and/or played poor passes. I didn’t notice the D as much, but maybe I need to go back and look for it more. 5.5 and only due to the assist.

        Beasely has been playing well, but it would be interesting to see FJ at LB and a different LM.

    • Good point.

      Is anybody else thinking what I’m thinking?
      Don’t change this eleven!

      The right chemistry is there.

      Just the right amount of chiefs, and the right amount of Indians.

      • Uhhh, the 11 was changed last night and ended in a better result. Maybe adding another creative and skilled player in there like LD would improve it even more.

      • All I know is, I enjoyed watching this team.

        They played well, and they seemed to be enjoying it.

        I like Landon, but maybe his being absent makes a player like Geoff Cameron feel like he needs to step up more.

        We play best when Bradley is the boss and director of the midfield.

        Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans are teammates. They know what each other are capable of, and they are rooting for each other.

        Sometimes the best team isn’t the best 11 individual players.

        The players looked like they were having fun, and I had fun watching them.

        I haven’t been able to say that in a while.

    • I hate Donovan’s decision but I honestly don’t know if the national team would be better or worse with him. If he comes back and is still close to his peak in form and fitness then I think Zusi will be hard pressed to keep his hold on the RM spot but I don’t see Donovan being in tip top shape as a given. Tactically I feel Donovan likes to pinch in more than Zusi does and Fabian likes to do the same on the right. If both outside mids are doing the same thing you have to worry about our width. Chemistry is also a potential issue since most starters should know Zusi’s tendencies in this system by now but Donovan has never really been a part of Klinnsman’s system. Some vets can probably guess what runs and pa$$es he looks for but there are plenty of new faces around that might not be so familiar.

    • Landon’s in the Gold Cup provo roster so the talk of his demise is premature. He will however have to work his way back to the quali 23, and Klinsi may very well be trying to motivate more consistent quality out of him by leaving him out — a la Jozy before.

      • LD is a major upgrade over Zusi when it comes to Brazil. He has delivered on the biggest stage, and is much more skillful.

        What is the saying, Form is temporary, class is permanent?

        LD has to earn his way back, but i think he is the starting RM. He was terrific there for Everton a couple of years ago, and i think would fit into this team very well.

        Honestly, i think Cameron gets the start ahead of Jones to see if he can duplicate his stellar outing.

        Then we need to iron out RB a little, and i love Beasley on the team, but i’m worried if he can play LB against the competition level we’ll see in Brazil

      • Landon could compete at the wing forward or RM spots but there are a lot of people vying for spots, and even veterans, U23s, and U20s who might get involved as well. Landon has shown class and fitness and if he plays well at Gold Cup should be at least on the bench for qualis. But if he runs hot and cold he’s on Klinsi’s wrong side it seems, and he risks being supplanted.

        But then Jozy was in this same spot the past year and seems to have re-emerged this summer internationally. Landon has the talent where on form and fitness he could go all the way from out to starting. But it’s a results business so he needs to show it.

        Someone mentioned Landon at RB, that’s insane, there’s a reason he’s Landycakes. You need backs who can and will tackle people if it’s what it takes.

      • I remember a quali against Mexico last cycle — the one Davies scored in — which suggests otherwise. He committed a cardinal defending sin of jogging alongside his man, who did a stop and go move and ran right by him. Donovan did not tackle him to the ground like a defender would. He watched him run by like a cherry picking winger who prefers offense.

        Landon is fairly good at positioning and using speed to intercept balls but he does NOT get his hands dirty tackling defensively. Which when he was less of an offensive force earned him Landycakes and a polarized perception of his value, some people thinking the offense offset his defense, others bemoaning his softness. To me it’d be like sticking Eddie Lewis back there.

        The difference between Beasley and Landon is Beasley will do the dirty work and clatter someone if necessary. If you’ve played defense you understand what I mean.

    • at worst, LD makes an great option off the bench because he’s so versatile, so many positions and formations in which he’s comfortable. I do find the talk of his form entertaining or the idea if he was not named Landon Donovan then no one would notice him out there or believe he belongs.

      a year is a long way away, still work to be done, it’ll all work itself out. Zusi, Fabian, EJ, DMB have performed admirably, certainly no rips on them thingking LD can play a prominent role still

    • If Seattle had real grass instead of turf, Seattle would be the preferred home ground for the USMNT. I’m no fan of Gulati but it’s not about him listening up. When the Sounders entered the league, lots of Seattle fans argued the turf made no difference. Except the USSF, the coach, and the players don’t want to play on turf and indicate repeatedly that grass (even temporary stuff) beats turf any day. You can argue with that all you want–but if Seattle wants to host more NT games, grass is the factor.

      • The reason they don’t play that many games on the west coast is because it is typically too far to travel for the players that play in the European leagues.

      • Seattle fans have been told this a thousand times. They might hear it if the whining would lessen. Not only do international and most club teams want grass, they want their grass rooted and not freshly laid over turf.

      • If the choice is between (1) grass laid over turf, or (2) grass replacing a turf field used by two football teams, a soccer team, and numerous events/concerts in an area of the world that gets infrequent sun and is often quite damp, I’m going with the former every day.

        Anyone who has seen what happens to Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field toward the winter months of the year will understand why grass just isn’t realistic for a year-round, multi-sport stadium like the Clink.

        That said, if the USA ever gets to host another World Cup and Seattle is one of the locations chosen, you can bet Paul Allen will dump his turf (even if only temporarily) for a natural grass field to secure that game.

      • You do understand that Seattle doesn’t get even close to the temperatures Pittsburgh sees right?

        Also every single club in England does it and they have the same weather as Seattle and MANY stadiums have concerts and many other sporting events.

      • Heinz field is atrocious at the end of the year because they play up to four games a week on it towards the end of the year. Between high school, college, and professional football. That obviously isn’t a concern at the clink.

      • No club in England has 2 teams filled with 300 pound lineman tearing up their pitch 2 twice a week. That’s the point. Until the Sounders get their own stadium (and that is years away, if ever) or there is a significant leap in grass growing methods, we will always have turf.

      • Seattle did a great job hosting. Kudos to the fans! The reason Seattle doesn’t host more important Int’l matches isn’t because of the turf. It’s because of the distance required for European players to travel to Seattle for the games. This 5-game stretch of matches made it possible for the players to get there without unnecessary travel fatigue.

        Great showing by Seattle fans!

      • It’s basically like this: whenever the USSF wants a ridiculously large, raucous, pro-USMNT crowd, they know where to find one.

        Seattle is not going to build a new stadium. They are not likely to move away from that artificial turf either. (Which is top-rated by FIFA, by the way, for international games of any type. It’s here to stay, like it or not.)

        The only real questions are:

        How quickly will the USSF come back to Seattle?

        Will they open up the entire stadium next time (almost 70k)?

        Will Brad Evans still be starting at RB?

      • London has fairly consistent rainfall all year round. Seattle has relatively dry summers. The vast majority of our rainfall happens during the (American) football season, and it comes down in torrents.

        Inches of rain by month

        SEA LDN
        3.41 Oct 2.79
        5.84 Nov 2.47
        5.43 Dec 2.09
        4.81 Jan 2.06

        If you ever visit Seattle, check out the kind of grass that grows naturally in this part of the country. The blades are much different from the kind of grass that grows in the midwest or on the east coast. Much thinner.

      • Quote from Klinsmann, re: the playing surface:

        “I think every time probably when a gr@ss field is put on top of turf it causes a little bit of discussions. The field was totally fine. The players were fine with it. They did a tremendous job with the field. They accommodated every wish we had, water it here, water it there, rolled it again this morning. I can just give the biggest compliments to everyone here for the field.”

        Sounds like the USMNT hated that field.

      • The field was the only negative on the night. We can NEVER complain about Jamaica, Honduras or Costa Rica’s field if we ever have one like that again. It was an embarrassment.

      • If Seattle had real grass they would probably host well over half the USMNT matches. Great atmosphere shitty pitch, one is easier to fix…

      • Argue all you want about the grass situation.. It’s an endless discussion.

        There is no better stadium in this country for the USMNT. With the amount of supporters I witnessed from around the country last night; coming from all over to this little outpost to see Panama, a USA Mexico hex qualifier would blow minds. Rabid USA fans -accessing tickets first dibs through USSF and secondly pre-sale to SSFC fans could make that game a pro USA crowd like nowhere else. You thought that game was loud? Imagine Century Link at capacity …with 25 Thousand more people going nuts…. an atmosphere unlike any you’ve witnessed in this country

        It must be

      • You guys can go on about the turf/grass thing all you want.. it’s tiresome.

        Imagine CLink at full capacity? I met fans from across the country that flew or drove in and were humbled by the atmosphere unlike no other they’ve come across here in the States. USSF now knows they can get a pro USA game in this stadium through pre-sale directly to supporters groups and the SSFC fan base.

        If the USA Mexico game isn’t in Seattle next HEX cycle I will laugh

      • It sounds better when you say it twice. Because your points cannot be stressed enough: atmosphere >>> field. #doneburger

      • +1 no knock on Columbus they do a great job with the Mexico match every cycle but they are not going to fill the Big Horseshoe for a Mexico match. Columbus has been selected for its climate. Cold weather vs. 65,000 screaming fans and I give the nod to Seattle.this would take US v Mexico to yet another level.

      • Wrong about Mexico. Mexico filled the stadium when it had a friendly against Canada? in Seattle. If US played Mexico, there would be more Mexicans because they would line up earlier for the tickets.

    • You should look to your Front Office. FO listen up: We need our own stadium with real grass. Grass on turf is a hazard.

      • The catch 22 is how are they going to pay for a SSS that holds the same amount of people, or anywhere close? They can hold this many people because it’s a football stadium and voters are often willing to finance expensive football stadia.

        And then I think the “just put in grass” people are not considering the demands of NW rain and what would happen to the field. There is a reason fields are turf up there.

        It’s an awkward situation because as plentiful and fervent as the fans are the field situation is not good and cannot be finessed. You either accept the make-do in exchange for the fans, or not.

        I think they should get one game a cycle. The field does not play right and people could get hurt. But Seattle’s fans should be rewarded.

      • “And then I think the “just put in grass” people are not considering the demands of NW rain and what would happen to the field. There is a reason fields are turf up there.”

        You’ve obviously never visited England…

        Many seattle fans see no problem with the turf, thats the problem

      • The part you’re leaving out is how this stadium is shared with the Seahawks, who would tear up a constantly damp and muddy grass field.

        I lived in England for a bit, and they have periodicially had what they term “plastic pitches.” Too cute for your own good.

        Seattle gets 36 in rain/year, London 29. Know your facts first.

      • The big difference is sharing with the Seahawks. A good soccer field can be maintained when it is wet, but football just can’t. Have you seen some of the games the NFL has held at Wembley the last few years? Its pretty bad shape by the end of it.

      • They somehow manage to have grass fields in Holland and they hold up great. Just sayin’.

      • Amsterdam has lower rain (31 versus 36) and they don’t have to share their stadia with football teams.

      • How about this:

        Up grade Clink with turf and grass that can roll into and out of the stadium i.e. the Arizona Cardinlas field.

        Have field turf for Sea Hawks games, and then when the NFL season is over role out the field turn and role in natural grass for the MSL season. When the NFL and MLS season overlaps the Sea Hawks will be able to use field turf while the Sounders can use real grass.

        There are ways to make this work. It’s just all on Paul Allen to do it.

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