Bocanegra, Cherundolo earn top ratings in U.S. win over Jamaica
The return of Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo fortified the U.S. defense
Midfielders Danny Williams and Graham Zusi were pleasant surprises vs. Jamaica
Herculez Gomez worked hard all night and scored the game-winner in the 55th
In an all important match to help secure a successful World Cup Qualifying bid, the U.S. men's national team came out on top with a 1-0 win against Jamaica. Though they dominated possession for most of the match, the U.S. wasn't able to break through until the 55th minute when Herculez Gomez's free kick found the back of the net. After falling to Jamaica 2-1 last Friday, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has to be relieved that his side was able to earn three points in front of a great home crowd.
The U.S. now sits in a three-way tie with 7 points atop Group A, and will face Antigua & Barbuda on Oct. 12 and Guatemala on Oct 16.
Here are the U.S. player ratings from the match:
GK, Tim Howard, 7.5
Howard was up to the task per usual, and earned a clean sheet despite not having much to do for the most of the match. He did very well to keep his back four organized throughout the 90 minutes, and came up huge when called upon late in the match. Positioning was great coming off his line for crosses and to clean up any through balls behind the center backs. Typical solid performance for the star U.S. keeper.
D, Steve Cherundolo, 7.5
Cherundolo's return boosted the U.S. lineup as he provided width and great timing of knowing when to get forward. He combined very well with Graham Zusi to create some dangerous scoring opportunities in the first half, even forcing Jamaica's goalkeeper Dwayne Miller to make a fantastic save. He kept Jamaica's speedy wingers bottled up all night and dominated his individual battles.
D, Geoff Cameron, 7
Another very good outing for Cameron, who has taken advantage of his opportunity to cement a starting spot at center back. He stayed compact and organized with Carlos Bocanegra beside him, helping thwart every Jamaican attack that came his way. His passing could still be a bit sharper, but that composure will come with more experience. Playing in the EPL with Stoke City will only help build more confidence and that will translate into even more success in the international game.
D, Carlos Bocanegra, 7.5
Nice to see the captain back in the lineup as he is always a calming presence in the U.S. defense. He played within his limits and kept it simple, which is what you want out of your center back. He won all his aerial battles, and had great positioning to keep himself from being exposed to Jamaica's speed up top. Cameron and Bocanegra showed that they could build a solid partnership that the U.S. will rely on throughout World Cup Qualifying.
D, Fabian Johnson, 7.5
Another great match for the 24-year-old left back. Johnson did very well on both sides of the ball, as he attacked and defended effectively for 90 minutes. He showed great composure on the ball in tight spaces, and like Cherundolo, helped add width to the U.S. attack. For years the U.S. has been searching for a stable left back, but there is no question that it is now Fabian Johnson's spot to lose.
M, Graham Zusi, 6.5
A very good first half for the Sporting KC midfielder, as he saw his early effort denied by the crossbar. He had great understanding of knowing exactly when to pinch in to allow Cherundolo to get wide, and the pair worked well together to wreak havoc on that right side. Zusi wasn't as effective in the second half as the pace of the match slowed down and he was on the other end of a few reckless Jamaican tackles. All in all, a solid job as he won his midfield battle and put in a workmanlike effort to help contribute to a very important 3 points.
M, Danny Williams, 6
Williams put together the best performance we have seen from him in a USMNT jersey, and showed us he is way more comfortable playing in the middle of the field than out wide. He was extremely unlucky to see his first half shot from 30 yards out hit the post, as it certainly would have helped make a case for him to move up the depth chart at holding mid. Williams still needs to get a bit sharper and improve his distrubition if he wants to break in. Still, it was a positive performance for the young man.
M, Jermaine Jones, 6
Jones played in a free role ahead of Williams and roamed all over the field in a solid, blue-collar effort. Like Williams, he showed he needs to play in the middle of the field to be successful. He provided a physical presence to combat Jamaica's aggressiveness, and in typical fashion, was involved in a scuffle or two during his 90-minute shift. He did well to rebound from a tough outing Friday night at Jamaica, as his positive passing going forward was the biggest difference. Jones was very effective in the first half as he looked to combine with the forwards to help them get involved, but he should have done better with getting on the end of Gomez's set piece.
M, Jose Torres, 4.5
Not a great outing for Torres, as he just never looked comfortable playing wide left. The midfielder got stuck with the ball at his feet numerous times, taking unnecessary touches that slowed the U.S. attack. For a U.S. team that is desperately searching for a midfielder with some attacking flair who can make the final pass, Torres failed to take advantage of his opportunity. He seems to be another player who would rather play in the middle, but will struggle to surpass many of the others in what has become the United States' deepest position. With his lack of pace, he simply needs to play quicker and get the ball moving to create space. He will surely be looking forward to his next opportunity to show that he can find a place in Klinsmann's system.
F, Clint Dempsey, 6
Though this won't rank as one Dempsey's greatest performances, credit has to be given for back-to-back 90-minute outings in a four-day span without having match fitness. After the drama surrounding his transfer from Fulham to Tottenham was completed, Deuce was eager to get involved. Oftentimes though, Dempsey was dropping way too far back to receive the ball. Though he helped in possession play, the U.S. would like to have Dempsey as close to the opponent's goal as possible as he is deadly getting on the end of crosses. In the end, Dempsey helped keep the Jamaican defense occupied and give the U.S. a much-needed victory at home.
F, Herculez Gomez, 7
Gomez worked extremely hard up top all night even though he was left on an island with the Jamaican D dropped off and Dempsey coming back to see the ball. He created a great opportunity with a well-timed smart run in the first half, but needed more support to get involved in the attack. In the end, his free kick goal proved to be the difference as his effort from 28 yards out found the back of the net. Like any good forward, you have to take advantage of your opportunities to get on the scoresheet, and Gomez found a way even with limited service.
M, Brek Shea, 5
Shea had a few opportunities to put his stamp on the game after replacing Torres, but unfortunately was unable to find the final ball to put the game away. He did his part to help kill off the game, but the U.S. would have liked to see him attack with the same vengeance he brought in as a sub against Mexico a few weeks ago.
M, Maurice Edu, 5.5
Edu played his part in central midfield to help preserve the shutout and victory. After replacing Zusi, he switched with Williams and did well to organize and break up plays. He kept things simple and got involved in the attack late as well.
F, Jozy Altidore, 5
Altidore was called on to provide some fresh legs up top in support of Dempsey, but struggled to find the rhythm of the game. The striker had a few opportunities to hold the ball up and provide an outlet for his teammates that just didn't quite link.
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