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USA 5, El Salvador 1: SBI Player Grades

USAElSalCeleb (Getty)


It wasn’t exactly a perfect performance, but there were stretches of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 5-1 win vs. El Salvador that felt like some of the best soccer we have seen an American team play in recent memory.

Landon Donovan snatched the headlines with his outstanding performance, but he was far from alone in pulling off some of the best passing and movement of the tournament. The first 20 minutes of the match, and the last 30, were showcases of crisp passing and creativity, and gave us a good look at a team that is really finding a rhythm.

Eddie Johnson was a key force in the second-half surge, coming off the bench to contribute speed and aggressiveness in the final third that El Salvador simply couldn’t cope with.

Then there was Kyle Beckerman, who while he didn’t register any goals or assists, was still vitally important in keeping the U.S. possession game flowing, and making sure the ball went to the playmakers in good spots to create.

Who else stood out vs. El Salvador? Here is a rundown of SBI’s Player Grades for the U.S. team’s win vs. El Salvador:

USMNT 5, El Salvador 1: SBI Player Grades

NICK RIMANDO (7). Made some key saves in the first half to keep El Salvador of the board until the penalty kick. Did well to command his penalty area, and also completed 26 of his 28 passes.

MICHAEL PARKHURST (6). Was beaten a few times on the counter, and had his share of turnovers, but turned in a reasonable enough performance to be considered a good bet to continue in the starting right back role for the rest of the tournament. Had a great pass on the sequence leading to Clarence Goodson’s goal.

CLARENCE GOODSON (7). Scored a goal, put together an outstanding night passing the ball (completing 75 of 79 passes) and defended steadily. Might not be enough to keep the starting job for the semifinals, but has helped solidify his place on the USMNT centerback depth chart.

MATT BESLER (7). The busier of the two centerbacks from a defensive standpoint, Besler led USMNT defenders in tackles won, clearances and headers, had another steady not passing wise. Remains the class of the U.S. centerback pool.

DAMARCUS BEASLEY (6). Loses a grade for giving up the penalty (even though it looked like a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, but covered the left flank from end-line to end-line, made some key passes, and did his best to keep El Salvador from attacking down their right flank.

KYLE BECKERMAN (7.5). While others scored the goals, Beckerman was the heartbeat of the attack, keeping the ball moving all over the field and while he doesn’t get the credit he deserves from some segments of the USMNT fanbase, El Salvador’s head coach became the latest coach to sing his praises.

MIX DISKERUD (6.5). Arguably his best overall game as a starter so far, Diskerud was effective getting forward, making effective passes and even making some defensive challenges. He did appear to fade mid-way through the match, and struggle with the pace of the game, but finished out the match in style with the final goal of the contest.

JOSE TORRES (6). Was very active in the passing game, moving well to make himself available to teammates, though his crossing left something to be desired. That said, he was a key figure in some of the team’s best stretches of possession and passing combinations.

JOE CORONA (7.5). Another strong showing for the Club Tijuana midfielder. His goal was expertly taken, and he was a driving force in the team’s strong start. Had less of an influence in the second half, but still enjoyed another quality game that suddenly has him in the conversation for taking on a bigger role with the full U.S. team.

LANDON DONOVAN (8.5). The most dominating individual USMNT performance in recent memory, Donovan played a part in all five U.S. goals. His movement, timing and passing touch were outstanding. The scary part is he could have been even better had he been able to finish the multitude of chances that he put himself in position for, only to miss.

CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI (5). Not his best game, and he was quiet on the stat sheet, with only his pass setting up Joe Corona registering. While he didn’t score any goals, what he did do was make good runs to create space for teammates, and kept some consistent pressure on El Salvador’s centerbacks.

EDDIE JOHNSON (7.5). Mr. Instant offense, Johnson scored 14 seconds after entering the match, and the proceeded to keep terrorizing El Salvador’s defense with his speedy runs and shifty moves. Delivered a perfect assist to spring Donovan on his goal, and made a very strong case for starting in the semifinals.

BREK SHEA (6). It was a brief cameo, but Shea looked confident, completed every pass, and had the stride of a player who had benefited greatly from his game-winning goal vs. Costa Rica.

MICHAEL OROZCO (NR). Helped close out the match and completed all nine of his passes.

JURGEN KLINSMANN (7). Deserves credit for starting Beckerman and Diskerud together, and for his game-changing substitution of Eddie Johnson for Wondolowski.


  1. Beckerman was slow to start, but man did he pick it up. He was the glue guy this game. Did the dirty work while keeping the attack fluid. I still wouldn’t use him against top teams (WC 2014), but he was very good.

    • That’s a really good point about Beckerman’s slow start. It seems that he is always slow getting up to speed in the first 10-20 min. holds the ball too long, looking not knowing.

      but once the game opens up and there is space in the middle he has proven that he can up his level to adequate.

  2. OK, what does a player have to do to score a 9 or higher?

    In this case I am specificly talking about Rimando who made a few ridiculous saves, all the rest of the expected ones, the penalty not his fault, controlled his area, and delivered 26 of 28 passes- many of which are 40+ yards from the keeper. Ding him a point for not stopping the penalty- fine, he was a 9 and I am a hater of that player due to his stature.

    But Donovan as well, a goal, 3 assists, a 4th one that could have been had Wondo not just stood there and moved the ball slightly after Donovans run and vision set it up, numerous shots on goal (which in past years was a positive for this squad), I mean what is the difference between 8.5 and 10? Opponent is the only thing I saw that you could question of Donovan’s game, maybe he missed some balls with his head you would like to see him get onto as well? Is that enough?

    I agree with Besler. He was beat with the ball on the ground at some of the quick player’s feet, but was very solid elsewise. I like Beckerman’s game last night, and Corona, but they were not better than the keeper was. Johnson and Donovan don’t belong on this field in this tournament- and you saw why last night.

    Feels good to finally be pulling clear of most of the region.

    • Sometimes to get a 9 you have to be put in a position to do so. Like facing competition that forces you to make 15 saves instead of 4. Rimando was great, but didn’t have enough challenges to deserve a 9, you can only do what you are given the opportunity to do, but that sometimes mean you can’t get a 9.
      Donovan probably should have scored a hat trick, he had 2 clear cut chances he missed. I think that keeps him from having the 10 score. He did have an excellent game though, and that is reflected in the score. The rest of the region must hate that he is in this tournament, probably seems unfair, to let a superstar play against the rest of the Team B’s.

      • Not fair. Rimando handled everything except the penalty the exact way you would want your keeper to. He was aggressive to take balls out of the air and near perfect on passes, including starting the killer long ball goal of LD. He was a 9. I am not concerned about opponent, he stopped every run of play shot, sometimes with flair- in this game he was near perfect if he could have just stopped the penalty.

        And like I said somewhere above- I am not a fan of Rimando because of his age and the age of USMNT keeper pool, it is time to start exposing the younger players to game action (and yes, I too am not so sure Howard wont be playing for USA in 2018.

    • Personally, I think Johnson is in the “wait and see” category. He thrives against inferior opponents, but still lacks the technical ability to be considered a complete player. He doesn’t dribble well in tight spaces. His cross-over has little to no impact on a defender. He is fast, tall and heads the ball well.
      Combine him and Wondo and you’d have a very dangerous player. instead you just have 2 solid participants.

  3. Donovan is an “8” just because Donovan missed two goals.

    Wondo is more “4.5”.

    Parkhurst is more of 5 not much impact in the game.

    • There is no way Wondo’s grade is a 4.5. He worked hard and hooked up well with his mates while he was in and had an assist.

  4. I thought Torres slowed down the play too much, he always seems to need too long to decide what to do with the ball and was invisible for much of the match, therefore his grade is too high.

    • In my opinion, as I’ve posted above, Torres is underrated and his grade is too low. That is debatable and everyone is open to their own opinion. But to say Torres “was invisible for most of the match” is just plain wrong. The chalkboard on includes all passes, shots, tackles, fouls, etc. for the game. It also gives a total number of events(some good and some bad mind you) that the player was involved in during the game.

      Starting Midfielders:
      Beckerman—-117 events—-90 minutes (highest on team)
      Torres———-107 events—-66 minutes
      Mix————-90 events—–90 minutes
      Corona———86 events—–90 minutes

      A couple more players for reference:
      Lando———-79 events—–90 minutes
      Zelaya———60 events—–73 minutes (highest of ES mids and forwards)

      Again, you’re entitled to your own perception of how Torres played. However, those stats would argue that Torres was less “invisible” and more involved in 66 minutes than either MIx or Corona were in their 90 minutes. Also, they would indicate that had he played the whole game he would have been the least “invisible” player in the match.

      • I’d like to see how many of those events were in the final 3rd and not passing backward to the CB’s. That is my complaint, he seems to be focused on giving the ball back, rather than looking for opportunities to attack. When he does attack he tends to be too slow to threaten up the wing, and lacks the vision or skill to hit the killer pass. As he showed in the Belize game he is not a finisher as he should have had a hat trick or more. Torres, is the type of player that doesn’t kill you, but not a game changer.

  5. I would like to see this Gold Cup team play the remaining members of the so-called A-Team, and that would include Gonzalez and Besler on the A-Team. I think this Gold Cup team would put up a dammmm good fight and might possibly pull off a win. There are no doubt some A-team members looking nervously over their shoulders right now, realizing that competition for a ticket to WC 2014 has intensified greatly during this Gold Cup.

    • Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We have played very bad teams and crushed them, and we played a mediocre team and barely won. This team has played nothing near what the A team faced recently.

      • I think biff has a good point. The A team played against weak competition a few times last year and didn’t look this good except against Scotland and it was Donovan who had the hat trick in that game. This B team seems to have way more chemistry passing the ball. Soccer is a lot about chemistry. Even if our A team players are better players, they may not be as good a team.

    • Um no, the back line is a bit suspect to deal with Zusi, Dempsey, and Altidore. Not to mention that as well as Beckerman, Mixx, and Holden have played, I’d fully expect MB and Jones/Cameron to be able to boss that group. It would be competitive but there is a reason the A team is the A team.

    • I think that the second team players are much closer to the first team players at nearly every position now compared to any time in the recent past is true. It also seems like they seem to connect better than the A-teamers. Since it is not true that the team with the best players always wins, biff is right it would be an interesting game. In the end, I think the A-team would win, but it would not be the cakewalk in might have been in years past.

      • I just want whatever players we use to be closer to the Brazils and Spain’s of the world, than we have been consistently ever.

    • It was technically obstruction. However, I like the auto accident rule. If you run into the back of someone, no matter what, it’s your fault.

      • That auto accident rule applies to cars braking. For example, if you’re driving down a highway and somebody makes a right on red from an intersecting street right in front of you, they are at fault. That car accident scenario is much more analogous to the play

        If players could obstruct as long as they were facing the other way it would seriuosly stymie the flow of the game.

        And my last point, if this play happened to any of us in one of our rec leagues or wherever, we would be pissed

      • He had completely lost control of the ball before the contact or else it might have been. There was no way he was getting the ball back or a shot off….was fortunate to even get the penalty.

      • To be a red, he would have had to be headed toward goal. He was headed away from. Unless you think DMB put a dirty foul in that was intended to hurt Zelaya, how else would that be a red? Come on, pay attention to the game and stop being a whiner.

      • You’re right, the players touch was going well away from goal. But that’s exactly why Beasley shouldn’t have gone diving in. He really showed his inexperience as a defender during that play. Clear cut and completely avoidable penalty.

      • Not red. Wasn’t clear goal scoring opportunity since he was moving away from goal and rather quickly. Clear pk and probably a yellow for the seemingly blatant nature of it. I think it was well called in the end. Beasley won’t often get away with defending like that against better teams.

      • oh man, goofy red card comment has left me red-faced. i meant definitely a penalty, which I still believe it was, not a red card, which it definitely was not.

  6. Beckerman a 7.5? Not that I think he was bad yesterday but that’s tied for the second best score on the team. Rimando, Corona, and EJ were clearly ahead of KB; not to mention Donovan.

    Also it seems like Torres gets downgraded by fans and journalists at left mid because he’s not playing as a pure wing player. That’s not his role. His job is to tuck inside and play as a LCM and let Beasley provide the width and most of the crossing from that side. Klinsmann knows (or at least I hope he does) that Torres is a deep-lying mid and isn’t going to beat defenders with speed or quickness on the flank and send in a crosses like a true winger. The same isn’t true from the other side where Corona can play much wider and Parkhurst has less offensive ability.

    • Klinsmann knows Torres is naturally a holding CM. I do think it is unfortunate that it does’t look like he is going to get a shot at playing his natural position in this tournament though. With that said, I think he has played well on the left in this tournament. He has done a great job of tucking inside and helping the team keep possession, especially in the moments where teams press higher up the field against us. Torres completed 48 passes in his 66 minutes on the field. Compare that with 39 completed passes for Mix who played centrally and 33 passes for Corona on the other flank, both of whom played the full game. Or even Brek who only completed 7 passes in 33 minutes. I’m not knocking Corona or Mix, but every rating you’ll see will have those two players rated higher than Torres. Not only that, but most ratings will have Torres rated as one of the worst on the team. Just saying I think he is under appreciated for what he contributes to this team, a team that is becoming more and more of an attacking team that is based on possession and rhythm.

    • Torres is also tasked with providing width in the formations the US has been playing and he has made his way up that flank often, to some good extent at times but also with some wayward service from the run of play. He’s played pretty well the last couple of games but also shows what others are posting about imo

    • First on the Beckerman rating. Obvious Ives propaganda because Becks is a player he really likes and his play has been uneven most of his time with the nats.

      On Torres, I agree, his role is not to go down the flanks like Corona…my question is, does JK like it this way- Giving DMB room to roam, but having a stay at home FB on the other side so there will be 3 back. That said, Parkhurst was up the flank all night last night as well.

      • Propaganda? LOL. Don’t be silly. He played very well. You can disagree, but spare the conspiracy theories. El Salvador’s coach pointed him out specifically as being a key to the win, as did USMNT players.

      • He had a good game, and I do think the El Sal strategy change up in the second half was to eliminate that pesky #14 from having too much influence. He did not outplay the keeper IMO. Keepers get no respect!
        But ultimately the keeper of our “Soccer by Ives” domain has a point here, as he was a half a point better than the CBs and a full point better than Mix, so perhaps my issue is that a handful of players were rated too high, or the Keeper didn’t get the 8 or 8.5 he deserved in keeping with the consistency of slightly inflated #s.

        For me:
        Rimando-9(didn’t make a wrong move IMO.)
        Beasley-5 (penalty was a bad challenge in bad area)
        Besler-6.5 (Good, but not good enough)
        Goodson-6 (Goal-yes!, spotty in defense at times)
        Parkhurst-6 (Best I have seen him play)
        Becks-7 (had to be accounted for)
        Mix-6 (uneven performance, nice goal)
        Corona-6.5( does seem to see the game slower)
        Donovan-9 (Man among boys)
        Torres-6 (great feet, not enough pace)
        Wondo-5.5 (worked, but couldn’t make enough happen)
        EJ-8(hampered only by playing time)
        Shea-6.5 (still a tad heavy, but really a unique skillset)
        Orozco INC.

      • As I thought about it after posting last night, I am going to go ahead and dock Beckerman another half point to a 6.5. The tactic switch was able to made him disappear and he struggled much of the second half to influence the game. And where was he on the lead up to the penalty? the attacker ran past all four defenders, right through his area and he did nothing but wave as he ran by.

      • Torres cut inside too early. this will cause problems against…maybe Honduras. but probably not.
        but eventually it will cause problems.

  7. Go DredBecks….your making RSL fans proud…we’ve seen you do this since mid-2007….glad to see you finally get you props….

  8. At the beginning of the 2nd half I thought the Salvadoran’s aggressive tactics and play might have the desired effect, the way it did in the U23 Olympic qualifier. It was good to see our seasoned players absorb the pressure for a few minutes and then eventually use their aggression against the Salvadorans and turn the game into a rout. My only quibble with the grades would be the and 7 for Klinsmann…whatever he’s doing, for now it seems to be working quite well. I know the wins have come against weaker competition, but a win streak that long is surely a rarity in US Men’s soccer. And the wins have been convincing for the most part, too, as you would expect. That shows a high level of motivation and execution. Give him an 8 at least.

    • I agree regarding Klinsman deserving a higher rating, but not just because of the win streak. In the four games in this tournament, this team averaged 75, 76, 63 and 70 percent of possession and has 16-3 goals scored for/against ratio. In contrast, at the same stage of 2011 Gold Cup under BB, the team had 6-2 goals for/against ratio (only 4-2 after the group stage) and averaged 54, 61, 53 and 55 percent of possession. In other words, in the game with the lowest possession stats this year, the USMNT had higher percentage of possession than the 2011 team had in the game with the highest stats. I am not suggesting that the USMNT has arrived at the world class level, but they have progressed quite a bit.

  9. I think before the Honduras away qualifier, this team looked as bad as I can remember. There were no tactics and the lineups were questionable at best. The team played flat and rarely if ever produced chances, simply depressing to watch at times. Rightly, many people were pointing to Klinsmann since it was obvious something wasnt right with the team. Then “the article” comes out, showing that the players themselves had issues w Klinsmann. The team galvanizes, Klinsmann makes many adjustments, we get good results in the snow and at Mexico, now the team is rolling no matter who Klinsmann plays.

    Around the time of that Honduras game, I absolutely detested Klinsmann. But clearly the man deserves enormous credit for keeping the team together, handling the Donovan situation, and making the adjustments to get us playing as well as they are this tournament and with the A team.

    • Hmmm. Who are you 2 OKC teams 1 cup? What name do you usually post under? In any case, you hit the proverbial nail on the head. I am non-repentant about my Klinsi bashing from last autumn until the Brian Straus article was published. Klinsmann was close to losing the team and they seemed uninspired. No doubt in my mind that most of the article was spot on. Straus, now of SI, is a good reporter and would not be making stuff up. I also think a significant percentage players in the pool were either quoted directly or indirectly (though third parties) for that article, several of the starters. And I would not be surprised if the story reflected a majority of players in the pool. Bottom line is, Klinsmann took it to heart as a wake-up call and made big changes, including to stop his previous preferential treatment of German born players, which was a major point in the article.

      All I can say is the team is cookin’ now and Klinsmann is now doing an excellent job. My only complaint is that Klinsmann was not able to convince Timothy Chandler to accept his Gold Cup invitation. Timothy’s presence no doubt would have improved the chemistry on this team 🙂

    • Yeah. Gotta say that with each game it seems like JK had some masterful plan all along.

      He definitely played mind games with every key player, apart from Dempsey I suppose.

      First it was Bradley, then Altidore, then Donovan. It’s looking like all three might round into the best form possible for the upcoming year; which just so happens to be a cup year.

      I think that’s where we are seeing his strength, as a motivator. Not a short term half-time speech motivator, but one who builds a team slowly over a few years to be firing on all cylinders at the key moment. Hopefully I’m right. Talk to me next July.

  10. Not sure why Besler is taking so much heat. I thought he was the most assertive defender and if Parkhurst does better to make Zelaya cut outside instead of inside then Besler and Beasley probably dont get beat leading to a PK (that PK wouldnt probably be given in a 0-0 match). Besler was the assertive defender and Goodson ranks well because he looked good when he did go forward. We should be excited that we have good young CB’s that will most likely improve as they continue their maturation.

    Eddie Johnson should start against Honduras in my opinion. His runs help create outlets for Donovan and also it allows Donovan to have more space to do his thing. I guess most people would have rather played against Tico’s but if we would have beat them a second time in a couple weeks I would have been worried about beating them a 3rd time in a month and half down in their home stadium. Honduras will be a challenge because they have some strong defenders who have World Cup experience. We should be able to handle their attack well enough but we just need to find some goals. I think we make t to the finals 3-1. It will be a tight game and probably 2-1 for a long time and we will find a 3rd late.

  11. The defense in general got too high of a ratings. El Salvador got way to many opportunities for the few times that they were in a position to test our defense. When El Salvador did get the ball in an attacking position or defenders looked positively panicked. Our midfielders and and attackers deserve far more credit than our defenders for holding El Salvador to a single goal because the kept the play far, far away from our goal.

  12. Team USA is flying at the moment but it can change very quickly if the tournament is not finished.Yet I must say I do enjoy watching them play. All of a sudden they seem to know what they want to do and are executing very effectively. I love the creativity as well along with the off the ball movement. So many players are performing at a very high level of quality. It will be one hell of a debate who makes the 23 for the world cup. Midfield will be especially interesting. And I would dare say that LD is a lock to make it and that in itself is very exciting. He looked like he was 20 again last night. It is also nice to see the climb in the FIFA rankings. Being in the mid teens will be much better looking than near 30th.

  13. Do you think that if Beckerman looked less like a homeless bird sanctuary he would get more props from the fans?

    • The reason people don’t like him is he is over 30 and plays for a great, small-market club in the MLS. If he played for NYRB or was under 30 or played oversees, US fans would like him more.

      • Harder than it is to take a guy who looks like Cisqo seriously *ahem EJ*?

        Why should it matter what a player looks like – if he can play, he can play.

      • The GAM looks like Melvin “the young assassin” Guillard. Or Simon Phoenix. Get it right 😉

      • I’ve felt like the only supporter he has for quite a while. Glad to see him get some props. I genuinely believe that on average he has been the best midfielder in the JK era. I like him infinitely more than JJ in the destroyer role….but ultimately I think the position will belong to Cameron.

      • when you say “JK era,” do you mean the past 3 weeks? cuz otherwise, i think Bradley, Jones, Cameron, and maybe even Edu, would have something to say about that

      • Nope. Entire era. I think he has been better than Bradley or Jones. Pairing Bradley and Jones is really the only failure that JK has had. They don’t play well together period. I’m not remotely suggestion that Beckerman is as good of a player in general terms. But the midfield has looked its best when he was in it. With the exception of the Bradley Cameron pairing that we have only seen once, if memory serves me.
        Say what you will about B teams and lack of competition etc…but the A team midfield didn’t look nearly this good in the first round of WCQ against teams that weren’t any better.

      • You have a right to that opinion, but everyone else in America has the right to think that opinion is dumb. Including JK. And including Beckerman himself.

      • Bradley is qualitatively superior to Beckerman in every dimension. He plays a different position, though,so he never has to show it.

      • True. The comparison is really with Jones. Not that Bradley hasn’t been very mediocre recently.

      • But I would agree that Jones holds Bradley back, and he’s not able to be his best when paired with Jones in the middle.

      • I don’t dislike Beckerman. I just think he’s a limited player. In a match like this, he shines. His pace (lack of) wasn’t going to get him caught out. He had an aggressive partner to give him space and time on the ball. He was in a good place to make simple, clean passes.

        There is absolutely a place for Kyle and Wondo in the pool. Does that mean I see them in the 23 going to Brazil? Doubtful for Kyle, possible for Wondo. Kyle’s problem is the logjam at center midfield. First and last.

      • Speak for yourself. I was quick to judge because I expect everyone to be perfect for the National team the very first time they step on the pitch.
        I’ve since learned that’s not always the case.

        I’ve developed a grudging respect for Beckerman, but I think he’s a classic case of “old dog new tricks”. I loathe him when he reverts to his old stand by style of play – back passes, egregious ill-timed fouls, slow to react. I heart him when he elevates and plays like a disciplined, aggressive player – hard, well-timed fouls, cutting dangerous passes, long shots on frame.

        and none of that has to do with his ridiculous dreads.

    • I got a feeling that Beckerman is going to shave his head either before the semifinal game or the final. I would even a bet 25 cents on that if someone would give me 10 to 1 odds.

    • It’s less the hairdo and more the place of employment. He’s never taken his talents overseas. I personally don’t believe that’s a requisite move for a player to be a respected USMNT fixture, but a lot of euro-leaning USMNT fans do.

  14. These match ratings are much better than ESPN. I felt Besler played well and deserved better than the 4.5 he got from Carlisle. It is exciting that Goodson is stepping up. Can he make the Brazil squad if he keeps this up? Also a good rating for another on for Jurgen’s SUPER SUBS

    • Yeah some of Carlisle’s ratings were harsh. Goodson is on the WC roster if they chose it today, likely as a backup and barring injuries, of course.

    • I was befuddled by Carlisle’s 4.5 for Besler. I honestly didn’t know what match he was watching. I would’ve said a 6, because he did get turned by Zelaya a couple times. But in general, the issue was one of Beasley not passing him off to the center backs well, IMHO.

  15. Besler is rated too high, in my opinion. Same with Beasley. They looked shaky (surprising as to Besler) and susceptible to being beaten by Zelaya. (although I’m sure most defenders are susceptible when it comes to Zelaya). That kid is legit.

    • When you give up a penalty that pulls an opponent back into the game, it should be reflected in his ratings, so I think Beasley was closer to a 5 than a 6; then again, that’s just nitpicking. Aside from the penalty, Beasley was generally solid. Besler looked a little rusty, but that was mostly because of the new pairing. Still the most consistent CB we have. I will give credit to Goodson though; he’s been solid this tournament, and continues to score goals for the NT.

      • Agreed about Beasley. Have to say, too: Didn’t look like a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge to me; it looked like he stepped right into his path and muscled him down. Obviously, the Salvadorians were going to go down the minute they were touched, so he should’ve played smarter than that, let him push it on and make the run on it.

      • Either way, I think the risk is on Beasley. That’s a midfielder play, wide mids do that move probably almost once a game in the middle third. Sometimes you get whistled, sometimes you don’t, sometimes they even call it on the other guy, but you’ll never lose a game making that play in the middle third, so go ahead, stand stiff-legged, lean back, and let your man plow into you.

        But in the box, there’s no call for that. First, you don’t need to challenge, because Zelaya’s touch is taking him away from goal. If he does run that ball down you can get goalside of him quickly. Second, if you do challenge, all you have to do is be moving forward at the time, towards the ball, and you won’t get whistled. Just don’t look like you’re leaning into him as Beasley was.

      • I agree with your points on Beasley. I haven’t re-watched the game like Ives apparently does but the foul looked like a clear cut penalty to me. May have been shoulder to shoulder but he was not playing the ball. More often than not that is called.

        The Torres/Beasley relationship on the left is an interesting one. Beasley gets himself in the attack very often (almost too often) while Torres sometimes slides in behind him. That has worked really well against the weak competition we have faced but I wonder how they will play it against stronger opposition. Could definitely be exposed on the counter by the stronger teams we are about to face.

      • Agreed, it was a foul. If you are not attempting to play the ball, contact and even shoulder-to-shoulder is a foul, it might not always get called, but it can always be interpreted as charging, holding or tripping. In this case since the ball was nowhere near, it was clearly a foul because basically you can’t knock a player down then beat him to the ball and claim it was done in the act of winning the ball.

      • Agree with the consensus. Beasley’s foul was a clear–and unnecessary–penalty. I thought it was shoulder-to-chest, and it didn’t matter anyway, because the ball was out of reach of both players. All he had to do was shepherd Zalaya to the end line, where his run had taken him anyway.

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