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Player Ratings: How the US fared in brave defeat to Belgium

Jul 1, 2014, 6:39 PM EDT

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The U.S. fell 2-1 to Belgium and crashed out of the World Cup in Salvador on Tuesday.

However, in true American fashion, they didn’t go down without a fight.

[ RELATED: Belgium 2-1 USA, after extra time ]

Belgium were pressing to go ahead throughout regulation but came up against an inspired Tim Howard in goal for the USA as they game finished 0-0 and went to extra time.

However Romelu Lukaku‘s introduction changed the match as his run set up Kevin De Bruyne for the opener, then the Chelsea forward put the USA 2-0 up. Right at the start of the second half of extra time, teenager Julian Green scored on his competitive debut to set up a grandstand finish.

Belgium held on, just, to make the quarterfinals at the USA’s expense.

U.S. PLAYER RATINGS vs. BELGIUM 

Tim Howard – 10  – STAR MAN

A good early save from Divock Origi settled the U.S. down and the rest of the first half saw Howard hardly tested. After the break he tipped one over the bar from Mertens and made a good stop from Origi in the 70th minute. Howard then made another fine stop from Hazard. Belgium peppered him with shots time and time again. Did not deserve to be on the losing side and had no chance on either goal. Made 16 saves, the most in a World Cup game since 1966. Epic. One of the best goalkeeping displays in WC history.

Fabian Johnson – 6

Some great early runs from the right back that really put Belgium pressure but he pulled up injured, clutching his hamstring, and was replaced by Yedlin in the 30th minute. Disappointing end to his World Cup.

Omar Gonzalez – 6

Quite a few shaky moments early on as Belgium pressed and got in-behind the U.S. defense. Gonzo kept calm and headed plenty of balls out. In the second half looked very flat-footed when Hazard moved to the center but cleared so many balls. Overall, defended everything when he needed to.

Matt Besler – 6

Typical tough-tackling display from the SKC skipper as he tried to stop the growing threat of Belgium’s attack. Tremendous last-ditch tackle late on in regulation as he held the U.S. defense together. However, Besler was brushed aside by Lukaku for the go-ahead goal and he slipped at the crucial moment. Lukaku does that to defenders in the PL week in, week out.

DaMarcus Beasley – 6

A great goal-lime clearance in the first half saved the USA’s skin as the Belgium offense started to click into place. Assured and mature performance form the veteran but his crosses in the attacking-third let him down.

[ RELATED: Three things we learned from US v Belgium ]
[ RELATEDTim Howard’s heroics not enough ]
[ RELATEDKlinsmann: U.S. gave everything they had ]

Alejandro Bedoya – 6

You can’t question his industry out wide, but Bedoya failed to get past his marker and whip balls in. However, he ran himself into the ground for the cause before being replaced by Julian Green.

Geoff Cameron – 7

Early on he provided great cover when Gonzalez was caught out and even came close to scoring from a corner with a glancing header. Sat in front of the back four and stopped Fellaini from getting on the ball, composed and comfortable despite an early yellow card. Dug deep and didn’t let the side down in Beckerman’s role.

Jermaine Jones – 6

Didn’t have a huge impact on proceedings but once again worked incredibly hard in midfield. Jones didn’t have many touches on the ball but tried to drive the team on in extra time. A wonderful World Cup from Jones.

Michael Bradley – 6

Wasteful in possession in the earlier stages, Bradley settled down as the game wore on and his surging runs gave Dempsey plenty of support. Always tried to play the difficult pass and get the U.S. on the front foot. Delicious chip for Green’s goal as Bradley’s quality shone through.

Graham Zusi – 4

A bad giveaway midway through the first half almost cost the U.S. dear and Zusi failed to impact the game. Replaced by Wondolowski with 20 minutes to go.

Clint Dempsey – 6

Had his work cut out up top on his own against Van Buyten and Kompany,but Dempsey battled hard and forced Courtois into a smart stop in the first half. Influenced the game more when he dropped deeper. Almost scored the equalizer to make it 2-2 deep into extra time but Courtois thwarted Dempsey and the U.S. at the death.

Substitutes

DeAndre Yedlin - 7

The 20-year-old came on at RB in the biggest game of his career so far and didn’t look out at place. In the second half he whipped in some great crosses and was a threat going forward. Wonderful future.

Chris Wondolowski - 6

Gave the U.S. a different dimension up top and held the ball up well to ease the pressure. However THAT miss in the final seconds of regulation will haunt him, even if it was flagged offside incorrectly.

Julian Green – 7

Only played for the final 15 minutes but became the youngest player to ever play for the U.S. at the World Cup, then the youngest to score with a wonderful finish. What a huge goal and a great moment for Green.

  1. jucam1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    I’ve been watching futbol for a long time and Howard is a hero. This game should have ended like 6-0. The Belgians dominated and owned the USMT and Howard literally saved them. The future looks pretty good with the German kid Green and some of the other foreign born and local players. Russian weather will be kinder. This game was Varsity vs JV till the last 10 mins when the Belgians decided to sit in the lead. Howard played the game of his life.

    • stultusmagnus - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      No kidding, surprised the US didn’t get slaughtered in this match. Howard had a fantastic game and the final score looked respectable when, in fact, the US offense pretty much looked lost on the pitch. Guess we have to wait 4 years to see if they can figure out how to pass the ball or drive it effectively.

  2. uk2ndbestinthestate - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    Cameron gets a 7 ???? Did the US win in the game you watched?

    • chesschum - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      Agree. Cameron worked hard but was just not very effective.

  3. onelovesoccer7 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Wondo missed more than just the one called offside. i thought he was very disappointing, 5 if you ask me. also, Beasley’s rating seems a bit low. 7 for sure, IMO.

    • handsomerob86 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      Completely agree, he was the only one keeping up with his man on D. Yedlin looked great tho, and Green made the most of his chance, so props to him. Watching Bedoya and Gonzo get beat over and over again in OT was no fun though.

    • nottinghamforest12 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      Even 5 is generous. A poacher has one job and he failed miserably on a sitter.

    • braxtonrob - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:56 AM

      @onelove, Are you serious!?! Wondo was fantastic; how easy do you think it is to make an impact in 20 minutes; he should’ve played a LOT more minutes this tourny. And don’t point out Green’s immediate impact; he was good, but the shot (the discerned eye) was a touch lucky. Sensational, but lucky.

      You are right about Beasley though, he was sensational 99% of this tournament.

  4. uk2ndbestinthestate - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    I said it as soon as Jozy got hurt and I’ll say it again… I know it’s a risky move but Julian Green should have replaced Jozy as striker. We didn’t have many athletes on this team so when one of the few you have goes down (And it’s your striker) you have to replace him with another and Julian is the most talented you have. We couldn’t create any offensive opportunities until late so we were constantly on the defense. 39 shots (17 on goal) for Belgium and 17 shots (only 5 on goal) for the US…that says it all.

    • patriotsdefense - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:58 PM

      I agree with you, but at 19 he probably wouldn’t have held up to the physical side of international competition. What I don’t understand is why he never replaced Bedoya or Zusi on the wings during the games. That last 15 mins, he was the only player with pace.

      Oh well, He’ll be a 23 year old man come Russia, should we qualify.

  5. uk2ndbestinthestate - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    I agree, Yedlin looked great today. I personally don’t think Beckerman played today because he’s probably the least athletic player on the US (Extremely slow; Would have had guys running by him all day) and that’s the last thing we needed. I’ll say this if you’re not very athletic on the pitch then you damn well better be above average in touches/possession and we did anything but that. We had a bunch of non-athletic midfielders who kept passing or giving the ball up almost every chance they got. I honestly said this before the World Cup started…We’ll go as far as Michael Bradley takes us. I’m kind of surprised we made it out of the group stage the way he played overall.

  6. uk2ndbestinthestate - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    Top 3 players I would like to be replaced on the 2018 World Cup squad (Assuming we qualify of course) …1) Geoff Cameron, 2) Graham Zusi, 3) Alejandro Bedoya. I don’t understand how they got as much playing time as they did to be perfectly honest.

  7. ryanw822 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Wondo’s choke job wasnt going to be called offsides, the AR was just signaling for a goal kick.

    • onelovesoccer7 - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      yup, noticed that after my comment above. Twellman and Darke said it when i was watching and just assumed they were right. that’s what i get…

  8. patriotsdefense - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    I understand them not wanting to throw 19 yearold Julian Green to the wolves thru the group stage, but in his final 15 alone his quality was obvious. He is probably the best American winger on the squad. Much better than Bedoya or Zusi.

    Just how did Brad Davis earn a roster spot, let alone a start in the last game? BTW, Landon doesn’t miss the touch Wondo struck miserably…WHAT a pity that was the last ESPN World Cup game for the USMNT until at the earliest 2026. Fox is going to ruin the World Cup.

  9. midtec2005 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    We needed Kyle Beckerman badly. I think that was Klinnsmans biggest mistake. Horrible decision…

  10. nottinghamforest12 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    These ratings are highly generous.

  11. nottinghamforest12 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Yedlin gets an 8 in my book. He was an immediate impact and breath of fresh air.

    • geejon - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      Completely agree. Twellman kept having a heart-attack every time he flew up the wing and of course that means someone has to cover for him but his runs were the ONLY time we threatened on the ball. Was Twellman hoping for 0-0 and pk’s from the first half? Sheesh.

      BTW … no one (not live not during the recap) mentioned how awful Besler was on Belgium’s second goal (not the first where he fell and then scrambled back but rather Lukaku’s goal). He was back in position and was watching as Lukaku had to make up 50 yards to catch up to the play and he did … and also simply ran right by Besler. How does he allow him to simply run right by him. Didn’t body him .. nothing. You could see how disgusted Howard was after that goal and I understand Besler was tired but man at least get in the guy’s way don’t just stand there like a fire hydrant.

      • bishopofblunder - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        Had he not been flying up the wing, Twellman would have criticized him for not getting forward. You just can’t win with a guy like that.

  12. heelfans - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Bedoya was excellent and well deserving of the 6. It seems that everyone forgets that Bedoya was out there to support Beasley. Everyone saw what happened when Davis was given that job–Zusi had to switch with Davis because Beasley was being worked constantly. Just watch when Belgium attacked on their right, Bedoya was always there. In addition, Bedoya was excellent in his passing. The problem is that he really wasn’t able to throw himself into the attack because of his defensive responsibilities. With a stronger Back behind him he could have been much more of an impact on the attack.

    • jaxfootballing - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      Not in agreement at all. You primarily need a midfielder to create chances on offense. Yes, helping out in D is important but not the main purpose. Besides, you are basically saying that Beasley needed constant help from the guy in front of him as well as the guy beside him in central defense. Beasley should have never made it to this WC – just like the same criteria that was applied to Donovan, too slow/old.

      Mixx would have been a better choice than Bedoya or Davis. He didn’t even get any minutes – why not is beyond me. He actually creates opportunities – something that Bedoya or Zusi did not do in any consistent, effective manner considering their amount of time on the pitch in all games.

    • jaxfootballing - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:56 PM

      Beasley had quite a few chances to make decent crosses into the box but either his legs were too tired from running up the field or he bounced it right into a defender. He actually had 2-3 pretty good chances where he had a guy fairly open in the box waiting for a legit cross and he couldn’t get it done. He was always going to be a liability at this WC……

  13. denny65 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    I didn’t notice Landon Donovan’s name among the ratings?

  14. geejon - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Felt bad for Dempsey having to play the role he was forced into. When Wondo came on and allowed Dempsey to come deeper he seemed liberated … you could see the energy come back in his body. Altidore injury was a killer but curious to know how things would have played out had JK opted to start off with 2 up top. For all their guts and defending. lets be honest, that was some ugly soccer against Germany and today until late. Couldn’t hold the ball for 30 seconds.

    • heelfans - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      Being without Fabian AND Jozy against Belgium, was a killer.

    • braxtonrob - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:04 AM

      @geejon, Thank you! These results were spectacular, set against how little we controlled posession in the middle of the pitch. Soccer may be a game of goals (in the end) but it all starts with the ABILITY to possess the ball anywhere on the field. We … were … awful, and that goes back to coaching, because the players played their guts out. Very proud of them all individually.

    • midtec2005 - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      This is why Wondo should have been starting ever since Jozys injury. He moves very well off the ball and causes problems. If he doesn’t miss that sitter, then he’s a national hero that everyone is praising. This team played better with two forwards.

  15. heelfans - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    I believe that Bedoya’s work in supporting Beasley doesn’t get enough recognition. We all saw what happened when Davis was supposed to provide that cover — Zusi had to be switched to help out! Bedoya’s help on the attack was limited because of these defensive responsibilities. In addition, his shot on goal against was only stopped because of Lahm’s intense hatred of JK!

  16. dfstell - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Some wonky ratings. I thought Cameron was pretty poor. I really didn’t see him do much positive at all. He’s not really composed enough on the ball to play as slowly as he does. And he’s not really enough of an athlete to be a destroyer in front of the back four. And there’s just something about his body language that is off. Beckerman isn’t any better athletically, but he just has a self-assured air that he’s got it under control. Cameron just looks like he is nervous as hell. It wouldn’t reassure me if I was a teammate.

    Thought Bradley had another stinker. It wasn’t just that his passing was off. There were a lot of times where you could see the next pass as a spectator and he’d hold the ball and miss his teammate’s run. It’s like his brain just wasn’t working at 100%.

    I thought Gonzales was pretty darn good. And so was Beasler….not as good as Gonzo. I mean, Beasler was at fault for those goals….kinda. But, they were under so much pressure the whole game that it’s almost impossible to be flawless. They broke up a LOT of attacks with very nice clearances and tackles. Does Gonzo ever MISS a tackle? When he goes in for the ball whether standing or on his feet, he gets the ball. Gonzo’s problems are when he just tries to stay in front of an attacker.

    And I thought Jones was pretty darn good. Time and again, our fullbacks would get forward and you’d have that moment where you wonder, “WHO are they going to cross it to?” because Dempsey sure as hell wasn’t in the box usually. And there are Jones pretty much every time busting his butt to get there. I’d take that guy on my team any day.

    Dempsey….I thought he had a really rough game, tbh. He just was all over the place and was in teammates way often. I think he’s a really gifted player, but I think he has to be used right to be really effective.

    Howard…..just a beast. He made about 4-5 really tremendous saves. And even on the hard shots that were right at him, he held the ball instead of allowing rebounds. Amazing that Belgium was able to get that many shots solidly on target. We’re going to miss Howard when he retires.

  17. jucam1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Just to be clear, Altidore stinks and was massively exposed in the EPL this year, he would have made zero impact in that game and I contend the USMT scored the goals they did to get to the knockout stage because they didn’t waste time with him. Green is who JK should have put in there since game 2, and you can look at my posts since Green was rejected by the Germans and JK scooped him up, I have been saying that Green should play ahead of Altidope so he could be ready for this Cup and be a star by Russia.

    • midtec2005 - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Altidore requires service and a certain playing style. Klinnsman knows how to use him. Sunderland has no midfield (even compared to the U.S. midfield). Jozy does not stink.

  18. korules - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:32 AM

    Are these points on a scale from 1-20? No… it can’t be, cause Howard was actually good. So he can’t have gotten 10/20.
    But, how can his defence get 6-es and the DM a 7 when they couldn’t prevent Howard having to make a gazillion saves?

    Jones is just good at running and kicking in to all things that are not the ball.
    Dempsey was invisible. Bedoya didn’t have a single original thought while out there, no creativity whatsoever.

    Bradley, Yedlin and Green did well.
    Wondo was meh.

    And that about covers it I think.

    Well… if we ignore the generous 4 for Zusi…

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