Top Stories

USMNT 4, Bosnia & Herzegovina 3: SBI Player Grades

USMNT starting eleven

Photo by


The U.S. Men’s National Team got off to a tepid start and their record winning streak appeared to be in real danger, but that was before they put together a four-goal second half en route to dousing Bosnia & Herzegovina, 4-3, in a historic comeback in Sarajevo on Wednesday.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann surely saw plenty of encouraging signs as his squad bounced back from a pedestrian first half to post its first ever come-from-behind win on European soil. There was Jozy Altidore’s brilliant three-goal, one-assist performance; a sparkling debut off the bench for Aron Johannsson; and another impressive display from midfield ace Michael Bradley.

Not everything was perfect. Geoff Cameron had a tough time playing in a position that he rarely sees time in these days while Mix Diskerud found it tough to leave his mark on the match during his 45 minutes on the field.

There was still more good than bad in the victory, however, especially in the second half, and several U.S. players helped improve their stocks heading into next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.

Here are the SBI USMNT Player Grades for their 4-3 win vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina:



Did well to prevent Bosnia from reclaiming the lead after Altidore had equalized, making a couple of key saves. Also made a great stop to deny Edin Dzeko in the first half, but the rebound fell kindly to the Manchester City forward.


Another solid outing for Evans, who is starting to make a real serious case for himself as a potential starting right back when World Cup qualifying resumes. He was defensively stout for the most part and occasionally offered something going forward.


A disappointing performance for the versatile Cameron, who was beaten by Vedad Ibisevic on Bosnia’s second goal. Granted, Cameron was playing a position that he rarely plays these days and with a centerback partner that he met a couple days prior to Wednesday’s match.


Looked far from a player earning his first international cap. Was composed at the back for much of his 90-minute performance, but learned a late lesson after falling asleep a bit on Dzeko’s headed finish following a cross from the left in the 90th minute.


Struggled to do much offensively as a left back, but benefited from being moved to left midfield after Klinsmann switched to a 4-4-2 formation at halftime. Johnson’s equalizing assist to Altidore looked easier than it was.


Aside from Altidore, Bradley was the best U.S. player on the field. He connected on 92 of his 100 passes, including on a sublime ball over the top that Altidore brought down into the path of Eddie Johnson for the Americans’ first strike. Bradley also had a nifty assist to Altidore on the eventual game-winner.


Never really found his footing and gave up the ball too cheaply on a pair of occasions, resulting in dangerous Bosnia counterattacks. Not his strongest showing in a U.S. jersey.


Started the game brightly, teeing up Eddie Johnson with a nice pass from the right flank that the Seattle Sounders forward should have done better with. He tracked back well to help out Evans and showed his patented energy on the right flank before fading in the second half.


Had a tough time with the physicality of the Bosnian midfielders and defenders and never left his stamp on the game before coming off at halftime. It must be said, however, that he only played when the U.S. was in the 4-2-3-1 formation that bore little fruit.


Was to blame for Bosnia’s opener, as he was caught being too casual with the ball at his feet deep in the Americans’ half. Bounced back in the second half in his more natural forward position and scored the goal that started the epic comeback.


If it was not his best performance in a U.S. jersey to date, it was pretty darn close. Altidore was a handful from the opening whistle, picking up fouls as the lone striker in the 4-2-3-1 set-up before taking it up a notch in the second half. He did well to bring down Bradley’s aerial ball before setting up Eddie Johnson’s goal, took all three of his well, including on a beautiful free kick from about 25 yards out, and even put in some defensive work. All in all, a standout showing for Altidore.


Coming on at left back at halftime as the Americans switched things up, Castillo held his own at left back. He defended competently and his offensive forays forward were impressive.


In his U.S. debut, Johannsson showed just why Iceland is upset over losing him. Johannsson provided immediate energy, showed some quality touches and always had a purpose as he attacked Bosnia’s defenders. His late decision to pass a ball backwards to safety instead of whipping in a cross to a teammate was veteran-like.


Forced to defend more than he probably would have liked, Corona did well in helping Evans out on the right flank after replacing Bedoya.


Filling in for Jones, Kljestan provided a bit more tidiness in midfield as the U.S. closed out the game.


Came on to provide some defense late and did just that in his 10 minutes on the field.


A late cameo off the bench for the young forward marked his international debut, but he did not have enough time to see much of the ball or make an impact.


(Editor’s Note- When it comes to grades and dealing with matches that can be considered ‘perfect score-worthy’ traditionally a perfect 10 is reserved for an elite performance against a top opponent in an important match (World Cup/World Cup qualifier). Altidore had as good a game as you could ask for in a friendly, but in the end it was a friendly, so we won’t give a perfect 10 in that circumstance. Others can choose to grade that situation differently, but that is how we at SBI handle that end of the scale. — Ives Galarcep)


What do you think of these grades? Which player do you feel deserved a higher grade? Who do you think we were too generous with?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Klinsy

    It might be useful to take a stroll down memory lane.

    6-12 months ago, many lamented that US played the same as under Bradley and that we had a rigid, unimaginative roster of players.

    Today, we can have real arguments about who should start in most positions. Coach K has developed the player pool extremely well.

    There is clearly a Klinsmann style that the team plays and that is be instituted all the way through the development system. And it is attractive, entertaining, offense focused soccer.

    Bless you Juergen. And kudos to Gulati.

  2. A thought: could Bedoya play fullback? Has the lungs, athleticism, could overlap suitably, seems a quality defender tracking back from MF. Seems at least as plausible as Brad Evans would have in March of this year. Discuss.

    • I like the idea, but I’m more concerned about the apparent frontrunner at LB (Beasley) than RB (Evans). So, if we lock qualification early and can afford to experiment against a team still trying to qualify (you know, so they are fighting hard), I’d love to see Bedoya at RB and Shea at LB—with Zusi as RM and FabJo at LM.

      (I know this line-up would leave Donovan or Dempsey on the bench, but the point isn’t to identify The Starting Eleven, it is to identify some possibilities.)

      Also, one small defense of Brad Evans. You said, “[Bedoya] seems at least as plausible as Brad Evans would have in March of this year.” That’s true in large part, but Brad Evans is a very smart player who has played multiple positions for his club. That combination of experience and intelligence makes him a good candidate for playing “out of position.” (By no means am I saying that Bedoya is dumb, of course.)

  3. btw, Does anyone know why the US played in the Where’s Waldo kit for this match? I thought the “senior” squad had graduated to the nice new kit that they’re wearing in qualifiers and that’s why the so-called B-team played as Waldos in the Gold Cup. But here the “seniors” were in stripes again.

    Maybe the new kit is for bona fide World Cup matches only?

    • The grown-up kit (white jersey, large crest, blue shorts), which I also prefer, was officially the Centennial kit, meaning it was for celebrating the anniversary over the summer and no more. Sadly they’re back to the “real” kit, i.e., the hoops. Even the warm-ups are back to the terrible Windows ’95 Clip Art US Soccer crest, from the lovely large stars & stripes crest we enjoyed over the summer. Someone should start a petition.

  4. I don’t have an issue with most of the grades, but I think Bradley played as well , if not better, than Altidore. Granted, putting the ball in the net is important, but Bradley was involved in almost all the goals. Also, I think Klinsi should have made him the captain – no disrespect to Timmy.

      • Buffon will actually come out and do captain stuff, he doesn’t care where the fouls take place.

        In all seriousness though, why not Pirlo? Goalkeepers as captains just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when they can’t do the actual job that comes with wearing the armband like a field player can.

  5. I think it was unfair to give both Cameron a 4 and then give Brooks a 5.5 when both were equally responsible for two of the three goals. To be fair to both of them, they came into the game in pre-season form, and looked it.

    The same could be said for the Bosnians, where all of them were preparing for their domestic season or their foreign league season. It make Altidore’s feat all the more significant.

    • Brooks was the final guy before Howard from the 10th to the 89th. The goals all happened when he wasn’t the last line of defense, except that last one.

      Yeah, that last goal….his fault. He had a great night for his DEBUT, without that last goal he could have been a 6.5/7.

  6. “gave up the ball too cheaply on a pair of occasions”? If by pair, you mean every 5 minutes. I like JJ, but he was a turnover machine that should have been subbed earlier. Very poor outing and another game that showed that Bradley looks better with a different partner. JJ seems to alternate between MOM and maybe he is not the partner for Bradley.

  7. Aron Johannsson looked awesome in his short appearance.

    I have to temper my enthusiasm by reminding myself that the first few times I saw Timmy Chandler play, I thought we had an absolute world class outside back in the making. His skill, his technical ability, his speed bombing down the wing to whip in dangerous balls. Lately (commitment issues aside) on the rare occasion when he’s played for country and on the occasions I see him playing for club, he just doesn’t look good at all. I have no idea what happened to him.

    So short promising stints can fool you… But I’m still pretty fired up about Johannsson.

  8. Mix wasn’t all that bad. Did well showing for the ball and pressing high when it was lost. Had a great turn that should have been a penalty. He does need to get used to the more physical play that comes with the international game.

    EJ had a horrendous game from the go. Wasted two great chances 1 on 1 in the box (jozy showed him how to do it later), was completely at fault for the first goal. And generally stood on top of the central midfielders not allowing them any space to operate. Sure he tapped in a goal, but really didn’t add much up top except to give jozy a bit more time and space which was all down to the formation change. Think EJ (and Herc for that matter) on the outside is done as we have enough options (Zusi, Corona, Torres, FJ, Castillo, Beasley, Shea, Bedoya) where they should no longer have to play out of position. Still EJ can contribute at FWD and this doesn’t undo the good he has done in much more meaningful games.

  9. Harder than usual to assign individual player ratings in some of these cases, because of coaching decisions. Two CBs who had never played together before. An attack-minded outside mid (EJ) playing in front of an attack-minded LB (FJ) which left a void that BH adjusted to exploit in the first half (thanks to Evans and Bedoya shutting down the right wing – have not seen anyone give Bedoya his due for his part in that). Mix tossed into a too-congested part of the field underneath Jozy. I have no problem with JK continuing his mad-scientist ways and trying this out to see what happens in a friendly, esp. since he so deftly fixed everything at half time and brought out a tremendous performance. But ratings from the first half are pretty complicated to assign to some of these individuals.

  10. I’m surprised the CB discussion has been more about Brooks than Cameron because Cameron was repeatedly getting caught wrong side of his man all night. My standard opinion on Cameron as a CB dating back to the Dynamo is he is a strong intuitive defender if the play is in front of him and fairly direct, but that he can get caught sleeping or over-aggressively out of position in a more subtle approach. Felt like yesterday was an object lesson in that weakness, which I think he shares with Gonzalez.

    • Dzeko tends to put a hurt on teams. An out of form CB, and a young inexperienced CB were no match for the Bosnian attack. Fortunately the Bosnian central defense was worse.

  11. Seeing the play of Aron & Jozy, I think we need to have more (all?) of our offensive players train with AZ. Jozy in his time at AZ has improved so much and Aron, man, wait till he plays with the first team a bit more. He’s really something as well.

    Imagine if player like Mix, Corona, Bedoya, etc got some time with AZ and developed their offensive game (movement off the ball, moves with the ball, etc) more?

    I think if Adu is ever going to get back to the USMNT, he’s going to need to go to AZ first 🙂

    None of the defensive players should go there though. They give up lots of goals.

    • Like that wasn’t an eredivisie score anyway (4-3)? Ditto these other friendlies. Even the Gold Cup we give up one and score a few.

      Worth throwing in that JK seems to have some affection for wingbacks who can get forward, to the point where I think he sometimes overlooks defensive issues in his selection (eg, Castillo, FJ). That may result precisely in the eredivisie scenario where the player helps you both score and be scored upon. I used to have that opinion of Spector when he was a pool regular.

  12. Cameron was definitely in preseason form against a very dangerous attacking side. It also didn’t help that midfielders were losing the ball in dangerous places.

    • Cameron looked about the same as he did the last time he played CB, if I recall correctly, vs Honduras.

      Common denominator between the poor communication that allowed Honduras to score GWG and the US not reacting quickly enough to EJ’s unforgivable give away…Cameron.

      If he is going to be in the CB mix then he needs to play CB at his club. otherwise RB and DM are his 2 positions.

      • I agree, he is out of form, like I said before. When he was playing CB he looked much better, and had a great match at Azteca. I’m not so sure that he can beat Huth out of his spot at Stoke, so barring injury, I think that he’ll be a midfielder again, or a fullback.

  13. OMG. My comment was moderated. All I did was post an opinion contrary to Ives. No slander, no ad hominem attacks, nothing out of line other than my opinion. What a joke!

  14. Tim Howard did better than a 6.5. None of the scores were his fault and he stopped everything that could be stopped and was were he needed to be. Can’t ask for more than that.

    Mix did better than a 4.5! He was unlucky not to get the PK and was the most active player we had in the first half.

    Brad Evans needs to be docked a point for waving his hand instead of playing defense on the first 2 goals. It wouldn’t have made a difference with the second but he had a chance of stopping the first had he focused on playing the game rather than playing the linesman.

    • In Evans’ defense, Brooks and Cameron both raised their hands as well on the first goal, which caused them to hesitate getting back and stopping the rebound shot.

    • I don’t see where Evans comes into it. The problems I saw were CBs getting caught out of position on the offsides traps, FJ getting beat to the line at LB, and a general failure to rally back to the ball fast enough in situations where the goal did not get knocked in immediately. You could also chide Brooks slightly for being on Dzeko’s back on the header goal instead of goalside (sometimes being goalside means more like side-on), because then maybe he can step in between, whereas his only hope posted up is the cross is long. In fairness, running the trap is difficult and I thought Dzeko’s header was the sort of thing that might go in even if you’re positioned right.

      But, getting back to where I started, little of this was Evans’ fault. I’m not his biggest fan but he was the least problematic or culpable of the bunch.

  15. Let’s give credit where it is due. Klinsmann has fashioned a team that, depending on the draw, could make a deep run in the WC. There is serious competition at almost every position on the team. When someone like Dzeko scores a header like he did while Brooks was on him is more because Dzeko is a world class player than because of any failing by Brooks. People in Bosnia won’t soon forget the name Altidore. A few random thoughts. I saw Tijuana Xolos play Pumas last week and Corona was really good and Xolos played like Klinsmann wants the US to play–constant pressure and attacking. Both Castillo and Corona have shown the ability to play this way. The US is blessed with talent like never before. Jones had a terrible game, but everyone does occasionally; it is much too soon to write him off. I’m sure he will be starting in Costa Rica. When EJ is playing defense, he needs to just get the ball out of there. Still he has the speed to get behind defenders like no other US player and so he will be kept on the team for that reason. Don’t forget he saved the bacon for the US in the rain storm in Antigua and Barbuda.

      • Klinsy deserves credit for building depth AND now being able to play 2 different formations…Can they hang onto their form? Is this the new “normal” for american footy? I hope so!

Leave a Comment