Skip to content

Stock falling: Which U.S. men needed to be better …

Feb 6, 2013, 7:50 PM EDT

FBL-WC2014-QUALIFIERS-HON-USA

This is where we typically post a “Stock Up, Stock Down” piece, assessing which players’ personal standing rose, and whose fell during an important U.S. international match.

Clearly, an opener in final round World Cup qualifying deserves ear-marking as “important.”

Trouble is, as the United States picked a terrible time to deliver a real clunker, it’s hard to see any stock rising from Wednesday’s 2-1 loss in San Pedro Sula.

A few might have held serve. Clint Dempsey, scorer of the lone U.S. goal, comes to mind. Otherwise …

Let’s look at who needed more out there at Estadio Olimpico.

Omar Gonzalez: In his first World Cup qualifying start, Gonzalez’s defending was usually good enough, that killer case of ball watching on Honduras’ game winner (we talked more about it in the previous post) as the obvious exception.

The bigger problem was in his passing from the back. Looking somewhat nervous initially, the LA Galaxy man completed just four of 10 passes before halftime, and that’s simply not good enough.

Meanwhile, for all his physical ability, Gonzalez’s game just lacks that little bit of maturity. He’s got to find it fast, or he will lose Klinsmann’s trust.

(MORE: Further discussion of the Gonzalez/Carlos Bocanegra choice)

Danny Williams: If the young German-American is going to be Klinsmann’s holding midfield go-to, he’s got to raise that game a notch. Williams simply was not assertive enough, unwilling to scramble some eggs in there, to apply a little more selective midfield pressure and, generally, make that area a real SOB for the home team.

The heat surely had something to do with timid tackling and an outing that lacked the intensity and the bite commensurate of the moment. (It’s final round World Cup qualifying!) He has to find a way to impact the game, if not through clear distribution, then through knocking a couple of guys on their Honduran backsides.

Perhaps it was sheer fatigue, but Maurice Edu came in to replace Williams early in the second half; we seldom see changes in the holding midfield spot when things are going well.

Michael Bradley: The Roma man actually did OK. The problem here was in his effectiveness compared to Roger Espinoza, the engine room of Honduras’ busy midfield. Espinoza delivered the kind of commanding, driving, leave-it-all-out-there performance we usually see from Bradley, probably the most important figure in a U.S. shirt now.

Bottom line: We’ve seen better from Bradley, and will again.

(MORE: U.S. Man of the Match – by default – Michael Bradley)

Eddie Johnson: Stationed on the left wing last fall against Antigua and Barbuda, and then again at home against Guatemala, Johnson was adequate as a left-sided attacker, one who worked inside frequently. But I warned back then that it wasn’t a solid plan against tougher competition ahead in the final round of regional qualifying. Sure enough …

He just isn’t strong enough in possession to play that close to his own goal. And he certainly isn’t a creative influence in there. Sacha Kljestan’s introduction for Johnson in the 65th minute was surely about improving the non-existent U.S. midfield possession.

That was a bad choice by Klinsmann and a tough ask for Johnson, so we should probably limit his personal demerits.

(MORE: What we learned about the United States from Wednesday’s match)

Sacha Kljestan and Graham Zusi: Both players came in as second half subs. We think. Let me check …

Yes! The box score says so.

If this is to be their role, as second-half game-changers, they’ll need something a little more zippy than what we saw Wednesday.

In fairness, the heat and humidity had zapped so much life from what was a pretty messy, shapeless match all along. And with such humble U.S. passing out of the back, combined with the fact that neither U.S. outside back dared get forward (they probably wouldn’t have had the legs or lungs to get back) there were limited chances for either man. Still, it’s on them to find a way.

Tim Howard: As mentioned in the previous post, if he comes flying off the line for a through ball, he has to get it. That’s it.

Latest Posts
  1. Manchester City 1-1 AS Roma: Italians frustrate City, European woe continues

    Sep 30, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT

    Manchester City FC v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League Getty Images

    Totti, Aguero trade goals as City lose more ground in Group E.

  2. Sporting CP 0-1 Chelsea: Blues win chippy UCL affair in Lisbon

    Sep 30, 2014, 4:36 PM EDT

    Portugal Soccer Champions League AP

    Only Nemanja Matic, much to the chagrin of the Sporting crowd, could beat a fantastic Rui Patricio.

  3. Golden oldie: Francesco Totti becomes oldest scorer in Champions League history

    Sep 30, 2014, 3:37 PM EDT

    AS Roma Team Presentation Getty Images

    Magnifico from Totti, as Italian legend writes his name in the history books.

  4. Follow live – UEFA Champions League: Manchester City vs. AS Roma

    Sep 30, 2014, 2:18 PM EDT

    Will Yaya Toure and City get off to a winning start at St. James' on Sunday? Getty Images

    Moscow was skunked by Roma 5-1 in the first round of group matches, while City fell 1-0 to Bayern.

  5. Premier League Team of the Week: Find out who starred on Matchday 6

    Sep 30, 2014, 2:11 PM EDT

    Sunderland v Swansea City - Premier League Getty Images

    Check out if your favorite player made it onto Round 6’s Team of the Week.

  6. UCL: Bayern Munich picks up win over CSKA Moscow in empty Arena Khimki

    Sep 30, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT

    APTOPIX Russia Soccer Champions League AP

    Mario Gotze drew a penalty that Thomas Muller finished, and Bayern Munich emerged victorious from a relatively-quiet stadium.

  7. PST’s Major League Soccer power rankings: More movement, just not No.1

    Sep 30, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

    oscar_pareja AP

    The Los Angeles Galaxy are really, really good, while Chivas USA is across town and the PR table.

  8. USMNT legend McBride, Jaguars president helping select Fulham manager

    Sep 30, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

    Fulham owner Shahid Khan is taking his time to make sure he gets things right this time around.

  9. Confirmed: Rooney out three Manchester United matches after red card

    Sep 30, 2014, 10:38 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Champions League AP

    Some called for his Manchester United captaincy over his lack of discipline, but two words: Roy Keane.

  10. Premier League player of the week – Round 6

    Sep 30, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Hull City v Manchester City - Premier League Getty Images

    Which player ensured it would be back-to-back honors for a single team in the Premier League’s player of the week battle?

  11. PST’s MLS Player of the Week: An L.A. Galaxy guy for sure, but who?

    Sep 30, 2014, 9:13 AM EDT

    FC Dallas v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

    The result of the weekend, however, was L.A.’s 4-0 defeat of the New York Red Bulls, and several players deserved Man of the Match honors.

  12. Reports: Pardew safe at Newcastle for now despite another loss

    Sep 30, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Stoke City v Newcastle United - Premier League Getty Images

    Maybe, just maybe, Newcastle will win against Swansea City this week and take another step toward getting well.

  13. FC Santa Claus earns promotion, team broadcasters go ballistic (video)

    Sep 30, 2014, 7:52 AM EDT

    fcsantaclaus

    FC Santa Claus is bringing soccer matches to the good boys and girls of the Ykkonen.

  14. FIFA votes to eliminate third-party ownership

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT

    Blatter AP

    Sepp Blatter confirmed FIFA voted strongly to eliminate third-party ownership in all professional settings, with a transitional period of a few years to be instituted immediately.

  15. WATCH: Men In Blazers recap derby weekend, visit with Brandon McCarthy

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Men in Blazers Brandon McCarthy

    The Men discussed all things Premier League on this week’s episode, including Phil Jagielka, Wayne Rooney, and a Peter Crouch chicken dance.

  16. Miguel Herrera pumps up Mexico’s crop of youngsters

    Sep 29, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT

    Herrera AP

    With plenty of tournament success, the Mexican youth is turning the head of the senior team’s manager.

  17. Alan Pardew expects to have “serious conversations” with Mike Ashley

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:47 PM EDT

    Pardew Getty Images

    Things surrounding Newcastle’s managerial position have become increasingly untenable.

  18. Report: PSG’s under-fire Blanc could face axe without win vs Barcelona

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT

    Blanc Getty Images

    If PSG fail to make serious noise against top Champions League clubs, Laurent Blanc could be on his way out of Paris.

Featured video

Week 6: Premier League recap