The USMNT took on Haiti Saturday night at Foxboro and by the end of the match they were just trying to keep their unbeaten streak alive as oppose to upping any score.
Summary – Preview follow-up – Ratings
The U.S. came out disorganized due to a lineup that seemed to be pulled out of a hat by Bob Bradley. Maybe he just wanted to get everyone run. There were flashes of skill and teamwork, but mostly it was a team finding their way and eventually finding their way to a tie. That part was impressive. The U.S. suffered from lack of leadership on the field. Not because there were no leaders, but because none of these players have led at the national level before (maybe Conrad, but that’s a stretch).
Best play of the game: (Stu Holden) His right footed 2nd half rifle shot showed authority, something the US needs more of.
Most unheralded play of the game: (Stu Holden) Again the Scot here, as he slid in when the Haitians were pressing for a 3rd goal early on in the 2nd half (55min). Holden knew the score, knew how critical it was to thwart any pass or shot, and made an aggressive all-or-nothing matter-of-fact tackle that the U.S. began–unsuccessfully–a counter with.
Golden Shinguard: Stu Holden
Here’s what I was looking for at the outset:
Cooper play a nice combo role of holding striker and hit man up front
Cooper showed a few flashes early upfront, but with the lack of consistent service he largely was unheard from. The jury is still out, but he didn’t help his case.
Parkhurst to show me something
Unfortunately, Michael had a difficult game. Not sure if it was conditioning, strength or an unfamiliar center partnership, but not one of his better games.
Stu Holden to really make an impression
Well, I think that one was answered….and then some…and then some. Holden was the closest player to taking control on the field by diligently maintaining possession through ball maintenance or passing. Defensively, Holden was consistent with the quietly masterful defensive play of the game described earlier. And then there were the shots, the 1st half blast that probably would have found netting if not for the ball skipping ever so slightly a shade before it was unleashed. And of course, the boomer at the end of the game.
Wake Forest alum Sam Cronin to show he’s got the chops. He certainly made the past few NCAA tourneys eventful.
Cronin looked the part and then some early on as the game went on he tired and we only saw glimpses but for the youngster (class of 2009) a very impressive opening cap.
Ratings – *Disclaimer, this was 11 men thrown together on the field for nearly the first time
C: Bob Bradley – 4
Bradley let it hang out by emptying the bench against Haiti. Whether he was testing the newcomers or not, Bradley left the team without a veteran leader in the middle field who could settle the team down. This might have been a good spot for Benny to step in for some veteran leadership. Bradley’s selection of Evans on the back right was bewildering.
But perhaps the biggest knock this game were the two Haitian goals early in the 2nd half, fresh of the Brazil game less than a month ago. You knew Haiti would come out trying to keep their tournament alive. You knew the U.S. had cohesive challenges at the back in the 1st half. Yet, check out the backend of the first goal. Sure Heap got beat on the outside, but his 3 remaining back mates–forget Robles positioning–didn’t glue themselves to their men. What was Bradley’s locker room counsel?
G: Luis Robles – 5
Some challenges for Robles in the game and remember the unfamiliar role of last man leader on the USMNT and the players in front of him didn’t help. Certainly showed some phenomenal reflexes in parrying some shots in both halves….also showed he needs some more play with his unsteady play to start the 2nd half.
D: Jay Heaps- 5
Had trouble with the wings rounding the corners. Pushed forward and tried to make some things happen. He’ll have to step it up to take it to the next level at this point in his career.
D: Michael Parkhurst – 4
Tough day for Michael, outmatched and unsure against one-on-one challenges. Could have earned a red card with his late tackle early in the 1st half.
D: Jimmy Conrad – 5
Good to have him back on the field making a return from injury. Showed some fire and went aggressively for some services in the opposite box. It was the 18 that he was protecting that could have used more diligence.
D: Brad Evans – Inc. (incomplete)
I’m giving Brad a pass on a rating. He was thrust into a new role with players that were unfamiliar around each other. I don’t think we learned anything except if BB is going to play his on the right wing, he needs more exposure there.
M: Colin Clark -5
The first shot of the game from the US and Colin was indicative of his day: having plenty of time to settle and shoot on, Clark took a bit too long, got bumped and the marble ended up in the stands. Wasn’t involved in most of the action the rest of the way.
M: Sam Cronin – 7
I’m breaking down Sam’s rating this way. 9 for the first 15 – 20 mins, 5 the rest of the way. Nets out at a 7. Good showing from the youngster though — give him 2 years and we should see that rating points higher.
M: Stu Holden – 9
Impressive; impressive. Showed a wonderful feel for the game and stepping into the role of settling the team down on O and D as if it was his. Consistently maintained possession and position. His two strikes of course and the assist on the first goal. The only knock on him on a day when he won the The Shin Guardian’s Golden Shinny was his lack of effective service from the corner.
M: Santino Quaranta – 5
I was looking for more from Wednesday’s hero. It was an opportunity for Quaranta to shine with younger, less mature players around him. I didn’t see it.
S: Davy Arnaud – 7
Largely a solid if unspectacular game…with the exception of his composure on the 1st goal. Tried to create (something you don’t always see out of U.S. strikers), but did not show a consistent ability to beat his man.
S: Kenny Cooper – 5
Seemed hurried and a bit lost in this game, perhaps due to lack of the ball being lifted or fed into him. I expected more from Kenny and would still like to see his shot come again.
S: Charlie Davies – 8
Did everything he was asked to do when he came in with the exception of scoring. Was both a nuisance and a presence for the U.S. team. Shear class with his footwork.
M: Kyle Beckerman – Inc.
I think BB put Kyle in for one thing – his passing vision up the pitch. Earned a yellow and played some chippy defense. Maybe the opportunity didn’t present itself, but I was still waiting for the pass.
S: Brian Ching – Inc.
Ching was there to generally cause a ruckus in the Box. He did that and almost had a goal in the 80th minute off a back heal from Davies. Got dispossessed in the final minute…but it led to Holden’s blast.
See you 5pm PST this Sat July 18th for El US vs. Panama.