USA vs. Algeria: Awards & Ratings

A moment not often captured on camera...

Follow-up on our quick review, our customary awards and player ratings.

First, I was speaking with Shaun after the game–and I just noticed he posted his first round report cards–and he commented, “Do the U.S. and England realize that it took such a huge effort to beat Algeria and Slovenia? We’re not talking about Brazil and Spain.”

A sobering and accurate comment from Shaun. That said–and you will notice some strong ratings below–the United States did everything but convert their chances on the day. Quite honestly, offsides call or no offsides all, that should have been a 3-0 victory for the Yanks.

On we go.


Best Play Of The Game:
Hard not to give this one to the Howard to Donovan to Altidore to Dempsey to Donovan, knock in, group stage winner, history. I can’t explain it any better than the moment that you likely saw it and I won’t try.

Most Unheralded Play Of The Game: Jozy Altidore

(35th Minute) Jozy Altidore is boxed it on the right wing. He has no outlet passes and Algeria has been controlling the run-of-play for the past few minutes. Jozy, with no options, makes a move, beats his man on the touchline side, ignites an attack and the momentum shifts.

Golden Shinguard: Jozy Altidore

With due respect to Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore nips them. A near full 94 minutes of work that included service control, runs from wide, runs up the middle of the pitch and plenty of fouls suffered along the way.

Jozy needed to score today, but other than that well done.

Player Ratings

A long time coming for Howard...

Tim Howard – 7
Not much work. Did his job, Great outlet play for the most part, including on the group clinching goal rumble. Typical Tim.
…and by the way, nothing better than the camera shot of Howard, by his lonesome in the goal celebrating by himself.

Steve Cherundolo – 6.5

Beyond a 1st frame miscue, Cherundolo was steady and balanced with his forward attempts with his defensive responsibilities. Cherundolo–who is rumored headed back to Hannover ’96 next year–stock certainly rose and at just north of 30 and past some injuries, this may be his prime.

Jay DeMerit – 6.5

Typical shaky beginning for DeMerit. Tongue bite that purchased him 5 stitches seemed to wake him up. Well done in man-marking all day long and didn’t make a single mistake after halftime. Was constantly seen shouting communication after his rough first half with a somewhat new partner.

Carlos Bocanegra – 7
Took about 15 minutes for him to wake up and realize that he was playing as a central defender today. His move to the middle was a welcome one as it seemed to add stability. Helped in some cover for Bornstein and was solid on distribution to Altidore up the pitch as well.

Jonathan Bornstein: 6.5
Surprising, as I said here. Those that read TSG religiously know I have a fondness for his skill, but lament how quickly he loses confidence. Bornstein’s fundamentals weren’t all that strong today and he played some aggressive and questionable passes.

However, Bornstein was more than solid in man marking, earning two corners and three attacks defended when he was out on an island 1-on-1. Got forward fairly often as well.

Landon Donovan: 7
Donovan may have not seen the ball much today, but, as we wrote in our last piece, he was no less effective. Efficient with nearly all his service, Donovan drew the Foxes defense to him, so much so that late in the game both Benny Feilhaber and Clint Dempsey found space on the right flank as Algeria stuck with Donovan.

Bradley, growing...

Michael Bradley: 7.5
What can you say about Bradley? The amount of pitch he covers is phenomenal. Bradley was the main distributor in the midfield today and did well. Trailed into the open space in the offensive third and created chances. His free kick is starting to become a weapon as well.

The maturation of Bradley–no cards yet and plenty of composure–is occurring at the highest level.

Maurice Edu: 5.5

In short, the Yanks’ best option to pair Michael Bradley. Edu won the ball with confidence today, however he failed a few times to prevent a dribbling opponent from getting space and taking a smack on Howard. Threw a few ill-advised passes into the center of the pitch, but otherwise a solid effort from the Ibrox man.

Active if not accurate on the day...

Clint Dempsey: 6.5
Took advantage of the space created by Donovan.  Had 4 or 5 good chances and should have buried more than just the goal that was rescinded. Always, beyond just the game-winning play, seemed to make the right run or go to the right space in attack.

Jozy Altidore: 7.5
Everything, but score.
Altidore’s energy and play ebb and flow during the game; this game was no different. However, Altidore’s prowess in possession is getting better and better and his first touch was on today. Best I’ve ever seen from him in that department.

If he starts finishing chances this World Cup, lookout.

Herculez Gomez: 6.5
Clearly ready for his World Cup start. Didn’t back down and came out firing. Played off Altidore very well. Should have stuck “that one” in the back of the net. Challenged some in linking, but hard to expect precision with little playing time.

Remember, we’re talking about a player that was disowned by the Kansas City Wizards after 2009.

Benny Feilhaber: 6.5

Note, Feilhaber was in for three reasons: 1) To provide calmness on the ball 2) To slide into the middle if the Yanks needed more offense and pushed Dempsey back-down from the striker role and 3) Experience.

While Feilhaber did all those things, the ball kept finding him in critical offensive situations. It almost seemed like Algeria was saying “make Feilhaber beat us.”

He, of course, couldn’t do it, but otherwise showed well.

Edson Buddle: 6

Is the talent not obvious to everyone else. I know people say he’s not similar to Jozy but I think he is. He takes angled runs to create space and receive a forward pass.

Missed his chances, but showed he’s up for the physical level of the international game. I still say he should get more playing time.

DaMarcus Beasley: INC

Welcome back! Last time we saw you in South Africa….nevermind. Beas had a nice cameo for Bornstein and got called for a phantom handball in the box.

51 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by MJ on 2010/06/23 at 11:58 PM

    What about Bob Bradley? I’ve been very impressed with his departure from his usual subscription to making the same subs at the same times regardless of the tactical situation. Also, one of the ESPN commentators said the US fitness trainer deserved an award for how in shape the US team was in towards the end with four attackers running full tilt on the goal. I know we’ve discussed how such a compliment is backhanded and in fact a damning of our lack of technical skill, but I don’t think that was the case today at all. I think the fitness trainer can sip a beer tonight feeling a like did a job well done too.

    My local news just reported that an Algerian player slapped a female reporter after the match for making a critique of the team and she in turn punched him back… Now she’s filing a complaint with FIFA. Anybody else here about that?


  2. Posted by anthony on 2010/06/24 at 3:40 AM

    I am in the south of Spain and it is over-run with Brits, so I was the only guy around with a USA jersey running around looking to see the damn game. The british cable stations were not showing the game and the south of spain really caters to the Limeys. But as fate would have it, a man saw me walking around and came up to me, we were the only two AMericans with jersies walking around trying to get the bars to switch to the game. But I guess the limeys were too obstinate and selfish to switch one of thier several tvs to the other game, I ended up going back home dejected and desperate to see the game. Went back to my villa and tried to track it on my computer, but the connection sucks. I had seen on TV that the English scored their goal and it was like the 90th minute that the announcer said it was still 0-0 in Pretoria. I was sad and angry that I couldnt see the game and that we were screwed over on yet another bad call. But towards the end of the English game when the whistle blew, the announcer said that the Americans had scored and I went nuts. I was screaming USA!USA! outside by myself in Mijas, Spain. I was so proud and excited. We won and made history. All of this happend on my 28th Birthday. Go Yanks, we Love you and are proud of our boys!!!!!!!


    • Helluva birthday present m8. Enjoy! More to come!


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/24 at 2:04 PM

      Ugh, that sucks. I’m about to get on a plane to France. They will NOT rain on my parade, even if I I have to steal the remote by distracting dudes by taking off my shirt or something, I am watching my games. Glad we sent the Brits to their proper destiny with Germany.


  3. Matt,
    Agree with “the United States did everything but convert their chances on the day” and most everything else.

    I think though that Demerit deserved a 7 or 7.5, Boca probably 6.5 and JB = 5

    I haven’t rewatched the match but there were some questionable issues with JB that I think are worth talking about.

    JB being described as “disciplined” “solid” with “fundamentals weren’t all that strong today” but “more than solid in man marking” needs a little bit of revision. (my opinion and I could be wrong as i haven’t rewatched but worth discussing.

    KickinNames alluded to in the previous review post a few problems with JB’s play. Did JB have a horrible game? No. But not solid. I am immensely proud of the way our team battled. I know everyone is on a high from the game. But everyone giving JB props needs to watch the match again. There were some unwise decisions that another team would make him pay for. Did he get turned badly? No. But there were quite a few times where he didn’t have a chance to get turned because he was way up the pitch and his man was barring down on Boca.
    I know that BB was grooming JB for this game. His comments going back about JB being helpful against “certain types of players” a month ago was all about speedy Algeria. With Algeria not being to threating with their final ball I can see the strategy of using JB in this one instance and not getting burned. But I don’t think this game should be used to prove that he is our second best LB. Spector or DMB should be ahead of him going forward.

    Here’s my main problems with JB today:

    1) He needs to know his role. I know he has a history of playing striker and instincts to go forward. I have no problem with that but he needs to know when and how far forward to go. Mostly in the first half JB was caught so far up that Boca and Demerit had to do double duty to cover on breaks. The main problem I have with his forays up is that they are too far forward. If he went half the distance and stayed behind Demps to be an outlet then fine but he should not be almost at the 18-25. I know in this game the strategy is to risk it and push way up for the goal. I get that but in the first half he was going forward with too much abandon. The main reason this is unhelpful is that he doesn’t add much up there as MB, Altidore, Demps, etc. will not pass to him. So really he is putting himself out of position and not gettting much for it. He should not think he is to be given the same license to push up as Dolo.

    2) He should not be overlapping Demps unless in a give and go situation (and even then maybe not). There were repeated times in the first half where JB overlapped above Demps when the ball was in the middle of the field. Demps saw him going forward, stopped his own run and stayed home to cover. Demps is way more valuable to us up there then JB. If you look back there is a moment when Howard talks to JB in the box (after the ball is played out of bounds) and basically is motioning to JB to “stay home”.

    3) JB should not be taking shots from that far out. That was not refreshing to me it was unwise. Pass the ball.

    4) There is a play that JB gets burned on in the first half where (I think) his man passes the ball in and JB steps towards the receiver and gets caught out in a give and go. Cardinal sin.

    I have nothing against JB but I think we would have been in serious trouble with another team. I do not think JB should see the field the rest of the WC.
    Demps was very frustrated with JB as was Howard. I don’t think BB ever really gives the leaders (Howard, Boca, Demps, Donovan, Dolo) enough input on what they see as possible fixes for the team. They know where the problems are. As was mentioned in the previous post the only player who would pass to JB was Boca that speaks volumes.

    Here’s my LB depth chart:
    Edu or JB (toss up)

    and no I wouldn’t play Edu there but I think our best option going foward is Boca at LB. What does that mean for the CB’s? Still don’t know, this backline is still in flux. I honestly wish Spector (at LB or CB) and Goodson had seen some time so we have more options.

    The main flaw of BB is that he continually paints himself into the corner of “well if Boca doesn’t play at LB then I have to go with JB as he is the only one with real experience.” It is a vicious cycle that should have been broken in Nov. or March but if it isn’t broken soon, it may break us.
    BB could have given Lichaj a run out in March/friendlies instead of continually giving players like Kljestjan 1 more opportunity. Wasted chances.

    I respect our team (including JB). He is a good player just at this level when the pressures on he loses his head and is outclassed.

    One last thought on Altidore: Yes he put in a solid performance but I think MOTM is a little too much. I know the work he put in I just had one minor gripe with him trying to take people 1 on 1 or 1 on 2 far too often and needed to give the back pass a few more times. Donovan was waiting on a few occasions. I like that he did have the confidence to try to take people on, but he went to that a little too often against a team that was giving us lots of open space to pass. Everyone except for Donovan and MB were getting a little too anxious and rushed the end of the first half and beginning of the 2nd. We had plenty of time and if we settled down and passed that extra pass we would have done much better. Altidore got way too excited on that missed put in that he and Dono had. This is a minor point though, overall good game. I also think Gomez needs to start. He had some unsung plays where he tracked back waaaaayyyy far in the center of the mid to add support on defense and made clever runs while also getting some nice passes.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 8:20 AM

      Thanks for the commentary.

      I will certainly agree with you on #4.

      On #1, #2, #3 – you don’t know what BB’s game plan is/was so I disagree there.. The way to beat a 3-man defense is to push your defenders up the pitch.

      Had it not been Bornstein and maybe another player would Yanks’ fans have applauded it–Cherundolo makes those forays all the time.

      I think Bornstein–clearly not an international class player–stepped in and played very well beyond my bias. Remember he’s not even play leftback for his club team right now.

      BB didn’t have man options and you and I both agree he should have taken a look at others.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 8:22 AM

      Agree on Gomez…Ghana–I’m writing the preview now–will be very hard to break down.

      On Altidore you need players to own possession and create–sometimes they’ll miss–but that’s what opens up space.

      I think on Altidore I would rather he be a tad selfish in possession like yesterday than only show up in spurts

      MB90 was very close to the award, but I really think that Altidore opened the most space on the field.


      • Posted by John on 2010/06/24 at 8:28 AM

        In response to the……

        “I respect our team (including JB). He is a good player just at this level when the pressures on he loses his head and is outclassed.”

        There is ONLY this level. Qualifiers against El Salvador and Costa Rica do not compare to a game 3 in the world cup to qualify for the group stages.

        So at THIS level, he didn’t lose his head and didn’t get outclassed.

        I have given Bornstein enough stick over the last 2 years for his foibles, but to overlook a good performance because you have issues with his past is looking a gift horse in the mouth. Do I still trust him in big games… no, but he played well enough in this one.


        • Posted by Tom M on 2010/06/24 at 9:11 AM

          I wholeheartedly agree. Especially after watching the game again. I think you have to take into account the situation and opponent when giving analysis. Going far up the pitch with the outside backs was a risk the US had to take in this particular game. I would venture to say Dolo made far more forays up the wing than JB did. It wasn’t a perfect or even a great played by JB but solid certainly fits. No huge mistakes, good man marking, and some decent crosses. I also agree with Matthew I like a backliner finally not afraid to shoot on goal.


        • I agree, I’ve definitely been a Bornstein critic but he deserves nothing but praise for his performance yesterday.


      • Matt, John, Tom, etc all

        Yeah so I went on a bit of a rant there. (I would never be able to use Twitter. Way too limited on the characters). I will concede that Bornstein played well (maybe 5.5?) and I do understand the concept of the backs pushing up, I didn’t think it worked because no one was passing to JB.

        I just don’t think Bornstein should be our go to option in future games that feature talented quick teams. If we get past Ghana, then I don’t think the best move would be to start JB against Uruguay, just an opinion.

        Anyways I really just wanted to get some conversation going. Everyone had some good comments. I’ll have to watch the match again. Excited for the Ghana match.


      • As far as Altidore, I was just giving critique (which was nitpicky granted) to show why I felt that MB should have been the MOTM. I agree with your points about Altidore being aggressive and hope it continues.

        Bigger question who was the MOTGroup stage? Howard doesn’t count.
        I think it has to be Donovan but MB is right there as well.


    • Wow Eric, this is less of a comment and more of a novel!


    • Posted by Freegle on 2010/06/24 at 1:40 PM

      I will admit that I was physically sick to my stomach when I saw that Bornstein was included in this match. Hindsight being what it is, the gamble “worked” in that we took the points and will be moving on.

      However, I can’t agree with a 6.5 rating, especially for a player whose “fundamentals weren’t all that strong.” That’s the same rating that Gomez, who you lauded for positioning, confidence, and aggressiveness, received.

      Not to put words in your mouth but I read it as (paraphrasing):

      Bornstein – didn’t suck as bad as everyone thought he would.

      Gomez – played better/ contributed more than we expected (despite being an MLS reject).

      And then they both get 6.5 ratings? Suspect.

      Matt you mentioned that we don’t know what BB’s gameplan was so its difficult to fault his inclusion of Bornstein and I have to disagree with you for one reason. No matter what the gameplan was, we have a better option than to play JB at left back.
      – Do we want our LB to be a speed/overlapping option first and rely on CBs to cover for him? Then Beasley is the pick (as evidence by the fact that he played during the time we were desperate for a goal.
      – Are we afraid of Algeria’s speed on the wing? That’s a dubious assumption… if Bocanegra is fast/smart enough to handle Aaron Lennon and England, he can certainly handle Algeria’s wing play. Plus, just like our “speed attack” side is the right with Dolo and Donovan, Algeria’s is their left with Belhadj leading the way. They are far less dangerous speed-wise on their right/our left. Boca is the choice.
      – Finally, if Gooch isnt fit enough to play and we need another CB, why not Spector or Goodsen in the middle and keep Bocanegra outside? I know Bocanegra is a CB also, but why mess with whatever left side chemistry has been built up by Dempsey and Boca? They have been more than serviceable and Goodsen has proven his meddle in the center. Again, Boca is the choice on the left.

      I know you and BB love Bornstein, but given his penchant for big gaffes in big moments, and this being a VERY big match, I was mistified at his inclusion regardless of the tactics. Simple cost benefit analysis says that the risks FAR outweigh the rewards when Bornstein is on the field. I have to agree with Eric.


      • Posted by John on 2010/06/24 at 1:51 PM

        I love Carlos but he hasn’t been rock steady at the LB position either. He was killed on speed quite a few times at that position during the England and Slovenia game.

        The lineup of..

        Bocanegra – Demerit – Onyewu – Cherundolo

        gave up three goals in two games (against admittedly better offenses, true)

        Now that might still be the preferred lineup, but
        a very simple cost analysis says that the lineup of

        Bornstein – Demerit – Bocanegra – Cherundolo

        gave up 0 goals in one game.

        Once again, if you burn Bornstein for his previous gaffes, then you have to burn Bocanegra for his current gaffes.

        I’m not saying that Bornstein is the answer at that position but the fact is that in this game he played well. That means that the gamble paid off.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 3:09 PM

        Freegle — just a few quick points here.

        1. Bob Bradley on Jonathan Bornstein:

        “We thought that it was important to have both our outside backs being active and trying to get into the attack. Johnny Bornstein had fresh legs coming into this game and his running on that side of the field and his energy would help us. Carlos and Jay [DeMerit] have been a good pairing.”

        2. That I concede Bornstein made mistakes is part of the color on my rating. I find it funny that folks can continue to criticize Bornstein or anyone when they did their job. Every leftback is going to need help.
        If you take Bornstein to task for poor fundamentals that didn’t lead to goals, then you must take Cherundolo to task–as well as DeMerit–for completely missing balls.

        As for Gomez, he made nice runs– but didn’t finish his chances and gave away two balls in the central pitch–I just didn’t mention that.

        The questions you pose can only be answered by Bob Bradley above.

        Hard to compare Bocanegra on Aaron Lennon–at the end of the day, Boca was beaten multiple times by Lennon but Lennon’s final ball was hellcious.

        And at the end of the day, the deployment of Bornstein against Algeria ultimately worked to the tune of a clean sheet (and all shots on goal came centrally….also you can’t say Boca “covered for Bornstein..the easiest place to score from is centrally if Boca is pulled out wide, that’s poor positioning) so the logic above is flawed. The options you pose can’t do better than a clean sheet…maybe as well though.


        • Posted by Freegle on 2010/06/24 at 6:58 PM

          I agree that at the end of the day, it “worked.” As I said, hindsight is 20-20 and in this case, I guess, the ends justify the means (wow, thats a sentence full of cliches).

          I have no problem with Bornstein’s performance on the day. I thought he was serviceable and did his job… great. But, it bothers me (and will continue to) that our expectations are so low for him that all he has to do is not make a disasterous mistake to have his outing be considered a success.

          Regardless, my primary issue was with his inclusion in the first place, not his performance. My point was, knowing only what we knew before the match, why JB? Yes, he’s athletic, and speedy, etc. But that is no substitue for confidence, mental toughness, and IQ for the game, especially in a do or die match. What does he give us that we can’t get in another package that has more experience, talent, etc? Bob Bradley has won me over in the past year. His preparation is unmatched and he has vastly improved his game management. But his repeated (and in my opinion unwarranted) use of Bornstein will always confuse me. As always on this subject, we shall be forced to agree to disagree.

          2 give aways does not negate his positive contributions. Gomez also had an assist that was lost by an official’s mistake and made several defending forays into his own half. Without a referee mistake, he’s at least a 7.5 right?

          John: you made my arguement for me. Algeria’s offense was dreadful. They didn’t score in the tournament. And in a world where the ends justify the means, none of the three goals the US gave up came off any of the Bocanegra “gaffes” that you mentioned. So why change it? Why change two positions in your defense instead of simply fixing the problem by replacing a CB for a CB?


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/24 at 2:15 PM

      I didn’t have time to read through the whole post, but 2 things I have to disagree with:
      1) Matt always gives Boca lower scores than I think is fair. The man did more covering for Gooch than people recognize and that is the reason he got turned a lot… he had to mind the center as well. He did a lot of cover for Bornstein, too… he gets unfairly docked because he spends his energy trying to position himself well so he doesn’t have to recover as much.
      He positions himself very well, looks good from all angles, hubba hubba. Oh wait…
      2) Jozy was incredible yesterday and to say his one on ones were misdirected is silly. He lost the ball maybe twice on the night for that, but strikers are supposed to do that… and he was the most successful at it.
      Dempsey tried to have a go a few times and lost the ball pretty much every time. Actually, I know he was putting his all into the game, but I still think he looked tired. And he went down a lot looking for fouls (even though the bloody lip at the end was for good reason), and it sucks Jozy lost the advantage at one point because of Deuce doing a fair amount of acting. If there was 1 man on the field irking me for trying to do too much without being on his “on day”, it was Deuce, not Jozy.


  4. Posted by brian on 2010/06/24 at 5:43 AM

    ” Donovan to Altidore to Dempsey to Donovan”

    i think you forgot the first part howard to donovan


    • Posted by Mark T on 2010/06/24 at 6:18 AM

      Should the Jabulani get a rating as well?

      In the 2nd half, Howard made throw that went past midfield on a line and I remarked to a buddy I was watching a game with, “I don’t think I could kick a ball that far.”

      Then I read how how the US GKs realized that throwing the Jabulani was more accurate than kicking it. Thing is, they never practice throwing in practice. Howard deserves a lot of credit for the goal.

      Check out the article on the ball / throwing:


      • That really is interesting and begs the question should the team practice with the midfield sagging back ever so slightly, especially late in games, so that Howard can throw the ball to them instead of kicking it. We have a few players on the shorter side in mid that don’t own the ball in the air usually. Mark, thanks for the link


        • Posted by Mark T on 2010/06/24 at 7:11 AM

          As meticulous as Coach Bradley is, I’d expect him to notice. Given that the US is a counter-attacking team and more distribution like yesterday could provide more opportunities to counter, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the tactical change you suggest going forward.


        • Another interesting tactical change. Respect the Jabulani’s ability to sail on free kicks. I like what the MB tried to do on his free kick. It might have worked the problem was the goalie saw it coming because MB intially ran forward when the ref whistled and made them start over again. I think the keeper saw where MB was going to go for on the subsequent restart.

          Here’s a thought though. If players like Demps are going to take those look free kicks directly at goal they should remind themselves to aim at the center of the net (lots lower than normal) because that Jabulani will fly up. Conversely since it is hard to judge in those situations maybe go for the layoff pass instead of the shot or do curling free kicks like Donovan’s. I just think the percentage chances our better with this particular ball.


        • Posted by DanPA on 2010/06/24 at 10:17 AM

          did someone say nerds…

          the scientist in me wants to parse out the effect of the ball from the effects of the altitude on the flight time and sail-a-bility of free-kicks, crosses, keeper throws, etc. I don’t have time, but I wonder if someone has time or already keeps statistics on the ratio of free-kicks on target/over the targets, compared between the stadiums at altitude and at sea-level?


        • Posted by T-Muck on 2010/06/24 at 12:21 PM

          nerds where?

          I wonder if they took into account when a ball is struck the ball basically caves in, which totally changes its shape during the first instant of flight, and then springs back to normal shape. I with the differences they saw how does the reshape factor in?


  5. Posted by DanPA on 2010/06/24 at 6:41 AM

    Good analysis, as usual.

    I’ll add 2 observations:
    1. I noticed several instances in 1st half where, after we lost possession in Algeria’s half of the pitch, Gomez hustled to fill the space or chase Algerians into the space left open by Donovan, as LD was tracking back… really excellent team commitment by Gomez.

    2. Even though we didn’t finish chances, I am surprised/encouraged by our ability to get behind 2 defenses (Slovenia & Algeria) that were considered very organized and put many players behind the ball


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 7:34 AM

      I mean to write that about Gomez. Excellent commitment most times–I think sometimes he came back to often (you want your strikers upfield), but excellent point.


      • He was never simply “dropping back”, he and Donovan were switching. Gomez only came back when Donovan stayed upfield. There was one time in particular when he tracked a Belhadj burst forward and snuffed out what otherwise could’ve been a seriously dangerous attack. When Donovan got back, Gomez was back up top.


  6. I appreciate someone saying that the US left far too many chances on the table and can’t complain too much about the called off goal. Yes that call was plain bad but I think the linesman main failure was trying to call it too close and I think he looked at Dempsey just after the ball was released. The benefit of the doubt needed to go to Demps and that is why it shouldn’t have been called.
    On a side note that wasn’t the worst call of the match. 2 no calls beat it out:

    1) When Altidore is streaking down the field later in the 2nd half and his legs are blatantly hacked out from under him. Algerian player got a yellow which should have been a straight red

    2) Ref not seeing Demps get jacked in the face with a fist in the box. Demps is bleeding. Should have been a PK. Also I think Altidore? or whoever was next Demps might have been fouled in the box right next to Demps on the same play.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 7:33 AM

      The Dempsey play — especially in light of the yellow and game miss by Findley — was atrocious.


      • This is why FIFA and all Leagues around the world need to hire a company (possibly Nick’s Awesome Company, Inc.) to review all matches to catch garbage like Dempsey getting punched in the face, or an Italian running straight forward and getting a shoulder barge from behind, yet his legs inexplicably (according to natural motion and physics) flail out behind him.

        After reviewing the matches suspensions would be handed out, but the results would stand. If D-bag CRon dives to earn a penalty that would be an extra game or two. In the beginning there would be squads who can’t field a full team, thus having to forfeit a World Cup match. People would be outraged, but it would eradicate diving because there would always be someone watching, and if forcing Italy, Germany, the US, whomever to forfeit a World Cup match is what it takes to get diving out of the game then it must be done.

        If FIFA doesn’t want to pay me to watch games, then they should sit the ref down in his secret room to rewatch the game on TV immediately after their match and assess diving and non-calls such as the Dempsey mouth punch, etc. and make some good decisions.


        • Posted by Mark T on 2010/06/24 at 10:50 AM

          Put the fourth official on the field!

          It really is antiquated thinking to not embrace either technology or more eyes on the field. Soccer / FIFA / Blatter is unwisely harkening to tradition to the detriment of progress.

          Goal line technology, replay, two (or three) referees should all be in-play to ensure matches are decided by players, not officials.

          Those against replay speak to the flow of the game. As we see with this World Cup, super-slo-mo replays are near instantaneous. A challenge system by coaches on goals called back or PKs awarded (one a game?) wouldn’t ruin the pace of play.


        • Posted by MJ on 2010/06/24 at 2:54 PM

          Exactly what is the problem with an erroneous call being altered (either removed or given, given only in terms of cards) after the game? That way you keep the flow of the game but accuracy is maintained. Then, if you score a goal which is fair but ruled offsides, you can relax with the knowledge that it will be caught later. And the opposing team knows that if it was fair then they are effectively down one. So both sides, if they can count on it being judged later, know it is still very plausible and will play with that knowledge. Cards can be given to dives later or removed if, say a handball in fact hit you in the head. If you know it will be caught later, than you can be freed from the angst in game.

          The only flaw i would see is that a team that ultimately lost by 1 due to the call being ‘given back’ could claim they would have tried harder if they knew they were down. I respect the role emotions can play on a match but I still think if all involved knew the system would catch it anyway, or possibly could, then that should take care of the “but we would have tried harder” line. Any team that rests assuming it’s not going to be given only to be surprised later has no complaint as they are no different than a team assuming their competition will be a cake walk and coming in unprepared. CoughItalyCough.


  7. The most graceful solution is to bring the Europa league experiment of a referee behind each goal to the World Cup.


  8. You’ve got Edu too low. He was at least a 6. It was his work that largely freed Bradley to burst forward. He was never caught behind the play and defended very well. A couple of poor balls but mostly solid distribution and found penetrative passing routes because Bradley was confident enough to get vertical to him.


    • Posted by Emanuel on 2010/06/24 at 3:10 PM

      Agree with this. Edu should not have the lowest rating at 5.5


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 3:15 PM

      I gave Edu a 5.5–which I think is fair–because of the following.

      One a ball lazily played back to Howard that put the US under pressure.
      Matmour’s first shot that game on goal–and hit the limbo bar–was a result of Edu not respecting Matmour’s speed.

      If that shot goes in by Matmour, are fans criticizing Edu–a fan darling–like they did Rico? Because it’s a similar error.

      5.5 is about right — maybe 6–but that is/was my reasoning for the grade.


      • Posted by Emanuel on 2010/06/24 at 3:41 PM

        Matmour didn’t hit the bar not sure what you are referring to


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 3:55 PM

          Was it Djebbouz? Not sure, but the play saw the attacker come in from the Yanks’ right flank, Edu fail to close on him , and Howard deliver some serious “remarks” after the crossbar was hit…f


        • Posted by Emanuel on 2010/06/24 at 4:07 PM

          Not sure who it was but if you are talking about Algeria hitting the bar in the 6th minute Edu had absolutely no part in that chance for Algeria. If you could tell me what minute in the game you are talking about it would be helpful.


  9. Posted by Mark T on 2010/06/24 at 1:26 PM

    Weezer checking in with an “unofficial theme song for the USMNT”


  10. Posted by kaya on 2010/06/24 at 2:00 PM

    Maybe Boca took a minute to wake up at the beginning of the match, but compared to DeMerit and Dolo, he looked wired on coffee.


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