Top Stories

USA 1, Ecuador 1: SBI Player Grades

USAvsEcuadorLineup2014 (USA TODAY Sports)

Photo by David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports



The U.S. Men’s National Team’s 1-1 tie with Ecuador last Friday will forever be remembered as Landon Donovan’s national team farewell, but what was overshadowed a bit was the other purpose of the match.

Jurgen Klinsmann had his chance to look at several new faces, as well as some familiar faces in new roles. While Donovan flashed his quality one final time, there was a new generation of talent also showing off the skills that could help them one day try and rival Donovan’s unmatched national team career.

As a result, the 1-1 draw was a disappointment, but there were positives to be had. From Mix Diskerud’s second straight Man of the Match-caliber effort, to DeAndre Yedlin’s confident display in his first national team start, there were some good things to take away from the first of two October friendlies.

With a few days to reflect on the match, here is a look back at how the USMNT players fared vs. Ecuador:

USA 1, Ecuador 1: SBI Player Grades

Brad Guzan (6). Made some key saves in the first half to keep the Americans ahead, and stood little chance on the Ecuador equalizer given the speed and movement of the shot.

Timmy Chandler (6.5). Steady defensively, and ambitious getting forward. Hit some good crosses and had one memorable foray into the penalty area that ended with him going to ground.

John Brooks (4.5). Had some very shaky moments in the first half, which shouldn’t come as a shock given his lack of playing time at Hertha Berlin. Brad Guzan bailed him out on at least one occasion, though Brooks finished his appearance looking a bit more settled.

Michael Orozco (6). The steadier of the two starting central defenders, Orozco was tough, read the game well and was rarely caught out of position.

Greg Garza (7). Did everything you want a left back to do. He defended very well, provided a threat getting forward, and was there to support his teammates all over the left side of the field.

Mix Diskerud (8). His excellent finish on the U.S. goal was outstanding, but it was his play during the rest of the game that made you come away feeling like he is really blossoming into a starting-caliber player.

Alejandro Bedoya (5). Put in the usual defensive work, but didn’t have much of an impact on the attack in the first half. That improved to some degree in the second half, but overall it was a relatively tame performance.

DeAndre Yedlin (7.5). Played with confidence and purpose, and with the sharpness of someone who looked completely comfortable as a winger. He, along with Diskerud, were the U.S. team’s standouts.

Joe Gyau (INC). Showed some glimpses of his speed and attacking quality before suffering a knee injury that cut short his night early.

Landon Donovan (6.5). For a player playing in his finale, Donovan sure looked like someone who could still play for a few more years. His movement was excellent and he put himself in position for several chances. Saw one chance hit the post, one saved well and another go just wide. A goal would have been ideal to cap his finale, but overall it was still a positive performance to signal the end of an era.

Jozy Altidore (6). His combination play with Donovan had to make some U.S. fans sad at the thought of what might have been in Brazil, but Altidore was active, circulated the ball well and played the target forward role about as well as we’ve seen him play it in a while. Still not as sharp as he can be, but encouraging.

Bobby Wood (4.5). Was tempted to give him a lower grade given the wasted opportunities, but to create so many in what was his first significant national minutes is something. He’s still a bit raw, but you can see the qualities that have made him a prospect on Jurgen Klinsmann’s radar.

Omar Gonzalez (6.5). Came in and showed why he will probably be a regular starter in the coming cycle.

Tim Ream (5.5). Steady outing in limited minutes, though he might have wanted to close down Ecuadorian goal-scorer Enner Valencia a bit better on the equalizer.

Alfredo Morales (6). Buzzed around in midfield, putting good pressure on Ecuador in his cameo. A player who plays in a high-pressing 4-3-3 system in Germany, Morales should push for national team minutes in the future, and this appearance is a positive one in his development.

Joe Corona (5). Started off well, but eventually settled into a quiet night that was his second national team appearance that left something to be desired. Whereas Mix Diskerud has stepped up his game recently, Corona has almost looked timid.

Chris Wondolowski (INC). Not enough time to give him a grade.


  1. Harsh on Ream re closing Valencia down. Corona ball watching there, and it was a truly extraordinary strike. Also, his block moments before was one of the plays of the match.

  2. I attended the game, and was pleased to see so many new faces being given a chance to prove themselves. That being said, no one who played eliminated themselves from future consideration. The team was given just a few days to practice and gel, so a lack of fluid play was expected.
    – How many times has Bedoya played CDM? Was that his first time? And because he did a commendable job, it gave more freedom to Diskeruud to push forward. Bedoya is a reliable, but unspectacular player. But he deserved a better grade in my eyes.
    – The team was more cohesive when Donovan was in the game. Once he left, the drop-off in offense was quickly noticeable. Corona did not fill his shoes well. I was not impressed with Corona, one whom I think has lots of potential.
    – Two thumbs up to Garza. If he keeps it up, he’ll become a regular call-up.
    – I was impressed with Woods. He hustled, displayed good skills, drew the attention of Ecuador defenders, and was willing to take chances. I’m less worried about the missed opportunities. He’ll mature and improve with experience. Let’s reassess after the winter break.
    – We have a good pool of CDs starting to form. Ream has shown he fits in with this group, and Orozco is a steady, consistent defender.
    – Can we give a rating to the crowd? About 36,000 in attendance, including a large contingent from the Outlaws. Lots of vocal accolades for Donovan throughout the game.

  3. For Honduras. Should tell us more than the Ecudor match


    • Ugh I hope we don’t see Bradley/Jones together again. Time to move on to more speed on the wings. Give Bobby Wood another chance rather than put the old folks out there again.

      • Del Griffin is so tiresome. 27 year olds are apparently old folks. And Bobby Wood isn’t a central midfielder in any case.

    • I would probably go with:


      Bring in Jones and Bedoya for two of the midfielders in the second half.

    • I would probably go with:





      Bring in Jones and Bedoya for two of the midfielders in the second half.

      • if these guys were out there, i think i would move Wood left, push Yedlin up to RW, and then drop Dempsey back to “RCM”. him and Mix would sit above Bradley. i think Yedlin at RCM in a 4-3-3 is less than ideal. needs to be wide right.

  4. klinsi take the whole national team to oktoberfest 🙂 and have a scrimmage with germany 🙂 then tell pep gurdialo to give an inspiring speech to the team and sign a precontract with USA.
    what happens in oktoberfest stays in oktoberfest 🙂

  5. Jozy (4.5) – His typical shift of jogging around and doing little when he gets the ball. Never threatened with his shooting despite being given a golden chance that he weakly headed to the keeper. Gets good grades for his “hold up play” despite the fact that this team doesn’t use or need a hold up forward, since we don’t play long balls to a lone forward. We need someone who can shoot the ball hard when he gets a chance. Well past time to look for other options, Sunderland knows what they are doing.

    • People know I’m not his fan club president but I thought he played well for him. His flicks were accurate and he got off the ball fast instead of slow dribbling towards his own net like a high schooler. I did think he got lazier and sloppier in the final third, which is the continuing problem of finding him in a static, defense is already back and he has to play target situation. He is better exploiting space and poaching.

      • I agree, with the caveat of fit to system. If Poyet adopted a flowing 433 where Jozy might play some striker — but in a fast break offense with lots of chances and little defense — but might also make some wing runs, then Jozy might be useful. But to play stereotypical 442 back to goal, no, he’s pretty useless. This was my complaint about the AZ move, is he finally found his fit and form ad then went back to ill fitting lower rank English kickball teams.

      • They don’t play a 442. They play a 4141 with Fletcher up top and Wickham on the wing. I doubt you even watch Sunderland.

      • it was (kind of) a joke. sunderland is one the worst-run clubs i’ve seen in recent years.

        i agree jozy is a horrible fit for sunderland.

    • I’d never be confused with an Altidore fan club member either but I can think of two goals off the top of my head that Jozy directly set-up, and the teammate missed their opportunity they should have capitalized on.

      I’m not disputing what you’re saying in the least but Altidore had a fairly solid game.

      • Concur, and Jozy probably would have had a beautiful shot to score in the late 1st half, but deferred to Lando in a most unselfish manner to try to help his close his MNT career wit a goal. Kudo’s Jozy!

    • If you dare to imply that Jozy simply is not all that, you run the risk of the fanboys telling you how wonderful he is. I personally think we should be looking in another direction…enough is enough but thought he did make some nice flicks in this game. Is that enough to still be a starter? Not in my mind but JK seems to see something that most of his Euro coaches don’t see so no matter what, he’s gonna start… Unless he gets hurt.

      Thing is, when he went down in the WC, we had no plan B and the fact the JK is continuing that, shows just how stubborn he is. This is the perfect time to start looking at any other forwards. In fact, why would he even call in the 6 he did the other day? Is it insurance for getting a win? Has he seen Bradley play lately? I just don’t get what he’s trying to do

  6. I would probably have rated Chandler a little lower and Brooks a little higher. Chandler had a couple of moments where he was caught too far up field and one in which he was the last man back on a breakaway and didn’t stop the ball. I still like the idea of setting up Chandler/Yedlin in some combination on the right (with Garza/Johnson on the other side), but Chandler’s tendency to make a couple of poor positioning decisions per game is concerning.

    I second the call to go easy on Wood. He failed to finish a couple of good chances but he’s still relatively young. Hopefully, he takes this game as a lesson that his entire national team career can hinge on a few key moments and that, therefore, he needs to be consistently aggressive.

    It will be interesting going forward to see how Diskerud develops and how Klinsmann integrates him. I think, in an ideal line-up, he basically plays the role that Klinsmann wanted Bradley to play last cycle (a 2-way central midfielder with some playmaking ability). If Diskerud continues to show assertiveness on offense and a willingness to get back on D (2 absolutely huge “ifs” over a 4-year World Cup cycle), I’m curious to see what happens to Bradley. Would Klinsmann play a 2-man central midfield again with Bradley and Diskerud? Push one of them (probably Mix) out to right midfield (which would displace either Chandler of Yedlin)? Or could the 2 end up in a heated positional battle for the same spot, with 1 (probably to older one) getting pushed out of the line-up? Projecting out 4 years of player development at the beginning of a World Cup cycle is always a little dangerous, but I think the situation at CM could be really fascinating, and has implications for the rest of our line-up and style of play.

    • I would like to see AJ and Mixx come in in the second half of games to wreak havoc. Both can finish and for the time being it might be the best tactical transition while we see if they can be 90 minute level guys in terms of routine impact.

      • I forgot about AJ. That could work quite well for the time being, since Dempsey and Jones are still National Team-quality and Bradley is a much better player than he showed at the World Cup. I guess my worry with using them as bench players is that if we need more creativity and fearlessness on offense, are we handicapping ourselves by saving our young guys until the second half of games? Again, it will be interesting to see how Klinsmann juggles all of these players, and how the youngsters develop (or don’t) over the next couple of years.

  7. screw the grading 🙂
    how about we play hard defense and creative soccer at a fast speed and score and score without sympathy 😉 oh that sounds like germany.
    klinsi did you hear that 🙂
    we need new blood and as a matter of fact, the german and american mentality is similar in soccer, never give up but we need to score like them.

    • Except as we progressed into late second half we had no central midfield defense, they started parking more on our end, and they got their tying goal.

      I did like the attacking ball but it seemed almost naive in the second half, and we lost control of the match. But if they were told to go forward and who cares, then it went to plan.

      • BS. He has shown a nice knack for finishing, but he loses a lot of balls in the MF AND he is not a great passes despite having great vision (his execution is lacking). 8 was too generous.

  8. I agree with most of these grades.

    I would have given Wood a higher grade. Yes, he messed up a few chances but those chances were mostly of his creation and I would argue Donovan’s were easier to make. Wood is also only 21, so he was one of the youngest guys out there which showed his maturity. If you’re giving Morales a 6, I think Wood deserves one too.

    I’d drop Yedlin’s score by a half. There were a few too many times when he just lugged the ball up without a care in the world. He needs to do better in small spaces if he’s going to succeed in the PL.

    Brooks gets a 4.5? I thought he played very well, except for a few misses. It’s really tough to see a CB get the lowest grade when he didn’t get caught out once nor did they score while he was on the field. He was good enough for a 6.

  9. Yedlin’s quality on the wing was not surprising to me, his best qualities are attacking down the wing at pace with defending being his are to improve on, I wonder if this will be seriously looked at as his position moving forward.

    • considering the paucity of flank attackers we have right now one should hope this is the case. Having him, Green, Fabian Johnson and Gyau as legitimate options make me feel a whole lot better regarding having talent AND depth on the touchlines…

  10. Oh Bobby Wood got me so frustrated through out the whole night. Had some beautiful chances but the ball was no where in sight of the goal.

    • Can’t dispute what you’re saying but show me a forward that is missing wide (or high) or show me a forward not taking chances and I’ll opt for the one missing chances.

      He played fairly fearless. That I can work with.

      • You call that last chance playing fearlessly? Shouldn’t even be in the team, only scored 3 goals in 2. Bundesliga…

      • To be honest, I don’t remember every play by play Wood had. I do, however, recall him not being passive which more relates to my comment.

        As for:Shouldn’t even be in the team, only scored 3 goals in 2. Bundesliga – although, some who watch his matches regularly say that’s more do to his position he’s deployed. However, your criteria is a slippery slope because 2/3’s of our pool right now is in less than ideal circumstances.

        For me, now is the time to give newbies a chance to break in the squad and show sometime and I’m more prone to giving B. Wood some more chances. After all, if we went purely based on results or playing time, Gyau would have not received a look and I think we’re all in agreement he’ll have something to say in the upcoming tournaments going towards Russia.

      • Wood can be used for the U23s but by being called to the senior side it can’t be refused. Hmmmmm.

      • He plays more as a winger for league play. He’s not an out and out striker, though Klinsi says he sees him becoming that.

        Saying that, outside of the free-flowing goal-scoring region of Holland, his tally is about Jozy’s! And he’s only 21. Give him room.

      • Except the problem with him and Landon is they were giftwrapped chances all night and missed. Dempsey, AJ, Mixx are not going to miss that much, which is why the pecking order is what it is. Interesting player but needs to improve finishing to be any more valuable than Wondo.

    • Haven’t seen Wood play before but I note that he has only 3 goals in 49 career games for his club. Granted many of those might be cameo appearances but even so, that’s a pretty low tally. There’s certainly more to being an effective forward than just scoring goals but that is obviously a big part of the job.

      • Outside of Holland, how many does Jozy have club? Give the 21 year old Wood a break. And he’s more of a winged forward than a striker. Goals are not his specialty. Think a better Zusi for reference.

    • HA! Bobby Wood was exciting if nothing else. Tons of promise imho. His play on Sunday reminded me of Gyasi Zardes’ first full season with the GAL’s…

      I’m very positive with this beginning for Bobby under JK’s oversight.

      New topic:… fully expect Mix to unseat MB in our mid as time goes forward.. Heck Yeah!

      • Peterprinciple.. dang the kid is in his MNT infancy. What the hell do you expect, Pele, Ronaldo, Messi right outta the womb? Give the kid his due chance dude!

Leave a Comment