Report Card: USMNT Player Grades for 1-1 Draw against Honduras


Jul 1, 2014; Salvador, BRAZIL; United States midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) reacts following the game against Belgium during the round of sixteen match in the 2014 World Cup at Arena Fonte Nova. Belgium defeated USA 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Four days after the Landon Donovan farewell, Jurgen Klinsmann re-inserted five familiar faces to start in another international friendly against Honduras. Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi, Jermaine Jones, and Matt Besler took the pitch after being called up from their MLS clubs earlier in the week. However, not all of them were in the role that made them successful in Brazil with USMNT.

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  • Leading up to the match, I had four intriguing points that I wanted to keep an eye on. Here they are.

    1. Jermaine Jones at center back – Does he have the tactical discipline to take up that role next to Besler?
    2. Partnership of Michael Bradley and Mix Diskerud – Can the two play together in the central midfield? Can Mix play behind Bradley? How does Bradley look in the No. 10 role post World Cup?
    3. Jozy Altidore’s confidence – Does Jozy play with more confidence after a solid performance on Friday night despite not seeing the pitch with Sunderland?
    4. Intrigue of Greg Garza – Was his impressive performance Friday night the player that we can look forward to or a fluke?

    Despite the fact that numerous players started out of their natural positions, Jurgen Klinsmann’s men dominated for the majority of the first half. Jozy Altidore answered any questions about his confidence early on by settling a lofted ball from Bradley, beating his defender, and finishing with conviction for a goal in his hometown of Boca Raton, Florida just ten minutes in.

    Jermaine Jones also quieted anybody that doubted him as a center back. At times he seemed to venture a little far forward for a center back, but time and time again, he came up with crucial tackles that disrupted goal scoring opportunities for Honduras. Toughness, tenacity and range were never going to be a problem for Jones, but his positioning, spacing, and chemistry with Besler were a bright spot after the both pairs of center backs left a lot do be desired on Friday night in Hartford.

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    As if Mix Diskerud hasn’t impressed enough with his form after the World Cup, he managed to hold down the fort pretty well in the defensive midfielder role while Bradley was free to roam forward. However, Bradley continually gravitated toward his more natural defensive midfielder position which led to a lack of creativity in the final third. With that all said, Diskerud and Bradley seemed to play together pretty well in the first half. Bradley seemed to get fatigued as the match went on and as a result, got a little loose with the ball before being subbed off in favor of Alfredo Morales in the 75′.

    Last but not least, Garza went the full 90′ and continued to impress. While he shows flashes or brilliance going forward out of the back, he has the maturity to not abandon the defensive responsibilities that make DeAndre Yedlin a liability at times. Garza looks confident with the ball, defending in space, and in his movement. All in all, it was another solid performance from the young left back.

    Unfortunately for the United States, Altidore’s early goal was not enough to earn the result that they were looking for. All too similar to the Donovan send-off, they allowed a late goal, this time at the hands of Maynor Figueroa. After a clumsy Diskerud challenge, Mario Martinez whipped in a dangerous free kick with pace to the near post that found the head of Figueroa and ultimately the back of the net, leaving Nick Rimando with no chance whatsoever.

    Regardless of the result, there were plenty of bright spot for Klinsmann’s side. With emphasis clearly placed on building out of the back and sustaining consistent possession, the United States continued to improve in that regard with nearly 60% of the ball.

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  • Player Grades (Only starters were rated.)

    Nick Rimando:  C-

    Rimando didn’t see all that much action in the first half, but a terrible mistake in distribution almost handed a goal away. On the lone goal alive, he decided to collapse dive behind a goal scoring threat in front of goal instead of attacking the ball being whipped in.

    Timmy Chandler: C-

    While he didn’t make a mistake as obvious as his mishap in Hartford, Chandler surely did not do anything to help his cause.

    Jermaine Jones: B+

    Jones showed well in the center back role next to Besler. Despite some minor mistakes, he made a few crucial tackles, including one in the penalty area that could have easily been a goal conceded or a penalty.

    Matt Besler: C+

    As usual, Besler was solid anchoring the defense. While he didn’t make any eye-catching tackles like Jones, the two of them did manage to neutralize the Honduras attack.

    Greg Garza: B

    Another impressive showing for Garza both defending and going forward. Showed confidence on the ball and maturity to pick his spots well.

    Mix Diskerud: B-

    Mix had another solid performance, this time out of position in the defensive midfield role. Still, he managed to maintain possession, link up play between the back four and attacking players, and show some grit defensively.

    Graham Zusi: D

    Zusi showed that he very well may not belong on the international stage. His touch was poor, he looked slower than he did in Brazil, and he added little to nothing going forward.

    Alejandro Bedoya: C+

    Bedoya continued to show his development as a two-way midfielder. The effort he brings on the defensive side of the ball can not go unnoticed.

    Michael Bradley: C-

    Bradley had a decent first half but still didn’t look comfortable in the No. 10 role that Klinsmann plays him in. As time went on, Bradley’s passing got sloppy and failed to add much aside from the assist early on to Altidore.

    Jozy Altidore: C

    Everyone took a sigh of relief when Jozy netted an early goal after much was made of his lack of confidence from riding the bench at Sunderland. Due largely to the sloppy second half display that the US put on, not many chances came his way as the match progressed.

    Clint Dempsey: C

    Dempsey failed to have too much of an impact on this one. In 62′ of action, he showed some creativity but just failed couldn’t get the execution right to produce the final product.