U.S.-Paraguay player ratings
Fullback Timothy Chandler was easily the standout performer for the U.S.
Teen star Juan Agudelo showed moments of skill but also looked inexperienced
Jozy Altidore disappointed at forward and may be losing ground to Agudelo
United States player ratings vs. Paraguay:
GK, Marcus Hahnemann, 5 -- Not much work overall, and it's hard to find any fault on Paraguay's goal. He did leave one rebound in a dangerous place before yielding to debuting David Yelldell at halftime.
RB, Timmy Chandler, 8 -- What a sparkling starting debut, and on his 21st birthday no less. The young German-born defender has made U.S. officials look very good for courting him. Chandler was quite aggressive about getting down the right wing, clearly striving to take advantage of this opportunity. His crossing was capable, but it was the speed and the sheer will to get those crossing chances that stood out. His touch failed him on a couple of occasions but never in spots where it put his team in trouble.
CB, Jay DeMerit, 5 -- His big boo-boo was failing to properly clear a corner kick that turned into the game's only goal. If he leaves his man to get the ball, he simply must get it. Period. When he didn't, his mark scored. Otherwise, it wasn't a bad night. He didn't look as adept on the ball as central partner Tim Ream. Then again, few U.S. defenders do.
CB, Tim Ream, 8 -- As everyone expected, his passing into the U.S. forwards was zippy and accurate. It was perhaps the best night of passing from a U.S. center back in some time. Players around him looked quite comfortable giving him the ball, even when opposition lurked nearby. He had one bad giveaway early, and one errant pass after the break, but was otherwise sharp. His defending was reliable, too, although his starting positions will continue to improve with more experience.
LB, Jonathan Bornstein, 5 -- He had one good cross in the first 45 minutes along with one he completely botched. With Dempsey going inside so much, there was plenty of operating space for him. So, it would have been nice to see the veteran left back get forward as much as Chandler on the other side. All in all, this was a great chance for Bornstein to grab hold and stabilize the left back spot, and he failed to exploit it.
M, Clint Dempsey, 6 -- He started on the left in the 4-4-2 but worked inside so liberally that you'd swear he was a third central midfielder. The Fulham man bounced around a lot and labored to make things happen, but the end result was rarely tiptop. At times he needed to get the ball off his foot quicker, especially against a bunch who tackle like mad men. Tiring, Dempsey finally seemed to decide the best way to contribute was to draw fouls, which he did exceptionally, handing his side three free kicks in dangerous spots in the first half alone. By the game's final 30 minutes, Dempsey looked completely spent -- which makes you wonder why Bob Bradley left him in. Fulham may wonder the same thing.
M, Michael Bradley, 7 -- The coach's son was easily the most effective central midfielder. He played deeper than Maurice Edu in the first half, then held evenly with Jermaine Jones after the break. Bradley did some very tidy work at times to break pressure in the middle and get the attack moving. Playing all 90 minutes, he also looked tired by the final 30 minutes. He did have one great shot in the 86th minute, forcing the game's best save on either side.
M, Maurice Edu, 4 -- Not his best night. He lost two balls in the middle, and better offenses could have made the U.S. pay a higher price for such sloppiness. Edu played a little higher than Bradley and did get into the offense a little more, but never to great effect.
M, Landon Donovan, 5 -- Started on the right and came inside some, although not as much as Dempsey. He was usually close to Chandler on defense, working back frequently to support the young fullback. A couple of uncharacteristic giveaways put the team in trouble. A couple of his free kicks found their target, but too many lacked precision. Given all the set-piece chances, you would think the U.S. could score on one, at least. Some of that is on Donovan's atypically loose service. He had a great chance at a 75th-minute equalizer at the far post but pounded it wide.
F, Juan Agudelo, 6 -- He gets an "A" for effort, but his youth showed at times. It's hard for veterans to locate space against a defense as highly organized as Paraguay's, so an 18-year-old with limited professional experience is bound to struggle to find the little gaps. But there was enough in his first start to get excited about. He nearly won a penalty with some of that bold dribbling, and he regularly made himself available as an outlet for defenders. He won three free kicks in the first half and more after the break, when he also began to better combine with Jozy Altidore. Along with Dempsey, he was the best U.S. player at taking on defenders.
F, Jozy Altidore, 4 -- He's still young (21), but you expect a little more from a World Cup starter. He didn't work well with Agudelo until a couple of early second half combinations. It was a quiet night otherwise. If he's not careful, Agudelo is going to lap him in the pecking order.
D, Carlos Bocanegra, 5 -- Came in for the hobbled DeMerit in the 42nd. His defending was solid but his clearing was sometimes unnecessarily hurried.
M, Jermaine Jones, 5 -- He came on at the half for Edu and gave a better account than Saturday against Argentina. Still, it was far from perfect. His best moments were in some good, tough work on the ball-winning end. But the passing wasn't as strong, although he did get stronger and more confident on the ball toward the game's waning moments.
GK, David Yelldell, 5 -- Earned his first cap as a halftime replacement for Hahnemann in goal. Handled a couple of routine crosses. Otherwise he didn't have a thing to do, even though he was soundly beaten on Marcelo Estigarribia's exceptional shot, which banged off the post.
D, Eric Lichaj, 6 -- Came in for Altidore in the 60th minute, slotting in at right back while Chandler moved into the midfield. Lichaj didn't have much to deal with defensively, but was speedy and well positioned when he needed to be. One great sprint forward to combine with two teammates created a good chance for Dempsey. His throw-ins are a weapon the U.S. doesn't usually have.
M, Sacha Kljestan, 5 -- Entered in the 76th minute as Bob Bradley switched to three in the back. Kljestan tried to pep up the attack, but in the end some quick passing and one nice little cross is about all he provided.
M, Jonathan Spector, 5 -- He had limited chances on the ball after coming in at the 80th minute in his first appearance as a U.S. midfielder.