France v. USA: International Friendly Grades

Juergen Klinsmann’s USA team travelled to Paris to take on the French national team Friday afternoon. Here’s how they fared, on a one-to-ten scale:

TIM HOWARD: 9.5. The Everton goalkeeper has been the savior for the USA team for many, many years, and he kept his sterling reputation intact in this one. Couldn’t be faulted for the goal, made all the saves he needed to and a few beauties. His only mistakes were a few weak passes out during open play.

STEVE CHERUNDOLO: 7. The right back played well, containing Menez and Ribery effectively and linking up with the attack when possible. Solid if unspectacular.

CARLOS BOCANEGRA: 5.5. The stalwart center back was organized and strong, but ultimately struggled when France came forward with space.

CLARENCE GOODSON: 5.5. Similar to Bocanegra: Goodson played very well for the most part. He was more assured in possession and positioned himself better than his more experienced partner, too. With that said, he was too weak against Remy for the goal.

TIMMY CHANDLER: 4. Possibly the most disappointing player for the USA on the night. Chandler has been hailed as the solution for the left back problem; he’s got blistering pace, crosses well and is strong defensively. But he was wasteful and awkward on the ball in this one.

KYLE BECKERMAN: 8. A quality performance from the RSL midfielder. He’s a brick wall defensively, and he made a few Xavi-esque passes, too. If Klinsmann wants to play with two sitting midfielders, he needs a better partner for Beckerman.

MAURICE EDU: 4. Another big disappointment. It may be a bit harsh, but I really don’t feel that Edu is a good enough player to be in this team. Obviously he can play or he wouldn’t be on the Rangers team sheet, but he’s never turned in a good performance for the USA. I think Bradley should play in this position instead.

CLINT DEMPSEY: 6.5. Don’t get me wrong–Dempsey, barring Donovan, is the most talented USA player. It’s obvious when he’s got the ball at his feet: his poise in possession and his innovative movement are often big parts of the USA attack. With that said, he went down too easily in this game and didn’t really provide too much for Altidore. Sure, he could have used more help, but he could have done more, too.

BREK SHEA: 6. Shea is an enigma. Even for FC Dallas, he doesn’t always light a fire on the pitch, but sometimes he looks like he could play for Barcelona. Tonight was one of his quieter nights.

DANNY WILLIAMS: 4.5. A relative unknown coming into this match, the Bundesliga player didn’t take the world by storm. He has a good turn of pace and I think he could be a good player on the flank, but he was much like Chandler on the other side in that he gave the ball away without any real pressure.

JOZY ALTIDORE: 8. This was a strong performance from the AZ striker. I think some minutes in the Eredivisie have really benefited the big striker. His holdup play was confident and smart, and he even presented a sumptuous flick for Clint Dempsey that would have come off in any league in the world.


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