Goodson leads few positives out of U.S. draw with Canada in friendly
Defender Clarence Goodson was by far the best U.S. field player against Canada
Landon Donovan has not been his effective self in two games since his hat trick
Clint Dempsey didn't have his best effort, but a full 90 minutes marked a big step
After two promising attacking performances against Scotland and Brazil, the U.S. men's national team turned in a lackluster effort in Toronto, settling for a 0-0 draw against Canada at BMO Field.
Perhaps it was the accumulation of three games in nine days taking their toll, or perhaps it was Canada's organization and pressure that flustered the U.S. men, but in the last dress rehearsal for World Cup qualifying, Jurgen Klinsmann's side, for the most part, did not leave a powerful impression. Here are player ratings from the match (based on a scale from 0-10):
GK, Tim Howard, 6.5 -- The always-stable Howard saved the U.S. on a couple occasions, including a major save off a Tosaint Ricketts chance in the 24th minute, to preserve the clean sheet. Howard never had a shaky moment in the back, commanded his area with authority and enters World Cup qualifying in fine form.
D, Steve Cherundolo, 4.5 -- Canada did not really target Cherundolo's side all that often, instead opting to go at Edgar Castillo, and as a result, Cherundolo barely factored before being subbed out at the 80-minute mark. About 10 minutes in, Cherundolo had a hard time dealing with Dwayne De Rosario, yielding space for the D.C. United star to get off a dangerous shot from an angle that narrowly missed the far post. In the attack, Cherundolo hardly got forward, and his service from the right was sorely missed.
D, Clarence Goodson, 7 -- By far the best U.S. field player on an otherwise unspectacular night. With Klinsmann in search of a steady option to partner with Carlos Bocanegra in central defense, Goodson answered the bell. He was dominant in the air and came up big time and again to keep Canada from being dangerous. He bodied up Olivier Occean deep in the box to get prime position and not allow the attacker to get close to Ricketts' cross through the six-yard box and had few missteps en route to an overall tidy performance. Plenty could argue Oguchi Onyewu or Geoff Cameron would have been able to fare similarly against a Canada side that did not generate a whole lot of opportunities, but Goodson was the one given the chance, and he made the most of it. It would be very surprising if Goodson's name is not in the starting XI come Friday's World Cup qualifier against Antigua and Barbuda.
D, Carlos Bocanegra, 5 -- It was a rare sight to see Bocanegra subbed off right after the hour mark, but after an uneventful night, he deferred to Onyewu while getting some extra rest ahead of the upcoming qualifiers. Defensively, Bocanegra was not called into action all that much, and he missed a header off a set piece for the second straight game, although he was being held from behind while going up for Jose Torres' kick.
D, Edgar Castillo, 5 -- A late replacement for the injured Fabian Johnson (calf strain), Castillo went from inactive player to starter in a matter of moments, and to be able adjust his mindset from one extreme to the other could not have been easy. He held his own for the opening period before wilting defensively. To Castillo's credit he had one of the United States' best chances, with his audacious, dipping chip from 40 yards being tipped over the bar. As has been the case in past appearances with the national team, though, his defending left plenty to be desired. His reluctance to step forward and close out on David Edgar resulted in a free cross that nearly found Occean free inside the area. Castillo was caught in possession a couple of times in his own corner, including one play in which Canada scored an apparent goal before having it disallowed for a dubious foul call. On the whole, it was not a horrible performance considering the circumstances in which he started, but Castillo is a major drop off from Johnson, and that was confirmed Sunday.
M, Landon Donovan, 5 -- In the two games since his hat trick, Donovan has not been his effective self. That's not to say he did not have his moments against Canada. His combination with Clint Dempsey was one of the smoother moments in the match and provided a tremendous scoring chance, and his cross that found Jermaine Jones by the far post in the 52nd minute was one of the better-served balls in the match. He and Cherundolo rarely were able to overlap, though, which limited the width on the right side. Donovan's corner-kick service did not lead to any chances, and he was subbed out in the 73rd minute to preserve his legs for Friday.
M, Michael Bradley, 5.5 -- Lost in the shuffle in the No. 6 role bestowed upon him, Bradley was charged with shielding the defense and distributing forward. While his tackling was spot on and short passing mostly accurate, with Canada challenging more down the flanks, Bradley being positioned that far back made him more of a non-factor. His passes over the top were not nearly as accurate as they were against Brazil, and one has to wonder if he would have been best served pushing more forward. His free kicks after Torres and Donovan were subbed off put the ball in dangerous areas.
M, Jermaine Jones, 4.5 -- Jones was active, worked hard and pressed forward, but his careless turnovers at times stunted U.S. rhythm. If this were an actual tournament, like how Klinsmann said he is viewing this five-game stretch, Jones would be suspended for the next match for card accumulation. No matter if the call that drew the card was harsh, Jones is, and will remain, a card liability for the United States in any competition. Fortunately, central midfield is a position of depth for Klinsmann.
M, Jose Torres, 5 -- Torres stayed more on the wing than he had in previous matches, and he was way more influential in the first 15-20 minutes, providing activity up the flanks and high pressure, than he was until being taken out at the 62-minute mark. His corner kicks were fruitless, though his free kick in the 55th was well placed and nearly set up Bocanegra for a goal-scoring chance. He had a couple of spurts in the run of play, including a cross from the left that almost found Dempsey in the area for a header but was looped a bit too high.
F, Clint Dempsey, 5.5 -- In his return to the starting lineup, Dempsey dipped extremely deep into the midfield to see the ball, which pulled him farther away from the goal as a result. Dempsey managed to have one dangerous chance, working the combination with Donovan to get free inside the area only to have Lars Hirschfeld slide forward and block his shooting path. He followed that up with another shot on frame that Hirschfeld saved. Sunday was not Dempsey's finest effort, but getting a full 90 minutes is a big step for him in his return from a groin injury.
F, Herculez Gomez, 4.5 -- Early hard work from Gomez won some corners for the United States, but aside from that, Gomez had a pretty invisible game up top. Not having Johnson's service from the left or Bradley's pinpoint passes from over the top certainly did not help Gomez in his quest to be more involved, but Sunday's match was a big letdown from his integral play against Brazil on Wednesday.
F, Jozy Altidore, 5 -- Working up top with Gomez, Altidore never really got put in position to do anything on the attacking end. He made his biggest contribution defensively, coming up with a couple of clearance attempts on a late Canada corner kick to at least be involved in some way.
F, Chris Wondolowski, 4 -- In his 10 minutes on the field, Wondolowski hardly saw the ball and had no impact at a stadium in which he had previous success during MLS competition. Wondolowski usually has a ball or two find its way to him in dangerous spots, but he likely needed a bit more time to get more involved.
M, Maurice Edu, 5 -- Demoted to the bench with Dempsey returning to the starting lineup, Edu entered as a 73rd-minute substitute but did not impact the match one way or another. If it wasn't already clear that Edu was third on the Bradley-Jones-Edu central midfield ladder, it should be after Sunday.
D, Oguchi Onyewu, 6 -- Onyewu replaced Bocanegra and was an enforcer in the air in his 28 minutes on the field. He's still likely the third center-back option after Goodson's showing, but for Onyewu, entering qualifying after a solid performance as opposed to the Brazil debacle will be good for his confidence.
D, Michael Parkhurst, 4 -- The second-choice right back was a step slow in defense and didn't offer much going forward up the right side with the U.S. going after the result in the final moments.