The United States has moved one step closer to establishing themselves as the dominating force in CONCACAF (when they can go into the Azteca and win, that will be it), with two second-half goals in a 2-1 victory. Feilhaber’s goal was worthy of a title-winning stirke. That was easily one of the 10 best goals I’ve ever seen by an American in an international. With that strike, Feilhaber reinforced my belief that he was one of the top 2 0r 3 most technically sound players in the United States. He’s not big, doesn’t have speed like Landon or DMB, but his touch is near impeccable. He can have a quiet match, but completely change the complexion of the game in an instant with a precision pass or a world-class strike like the winner agaisnt Mexico.
Second time in Bob Bradley’s stint as National Team manager that he made a major adjustment at half-time that completely changed the complexion of the match. Brining in Ricardo Clark for Mastroeni gave the midfield a set of fresh legs and the additional offensive bite that it needed to increase the pressure on the Mexican defense. Clark made an immediate impact, winning or receiving the ball and, most importantly, penetrating on the dribble, something that is not apart of Mastroeni’s game. Bradley pressed all the right buttons in this one. I thought Spector did an outstanding job containing Guardado until he went off injured (the goal was not Spector’s fault in the least). Although it may have been difficult to pull Clint Dempsey, it just was not Dempsey’s day and Bob did not hesitate in making the move. Off the top of my head, I can’t ever recall the United States coming from a goal down against a formidable opponent in a meaningful game in the 8-year Arena era. Bradley deserves a ton of credit for making the necessary adjustments at half-time and keeping his players focused on the task at hand despite the back-breaking goal late in the first-half. Now the individual player ratings….
Timmy: 7.5; save on Batista to preserve the lead was rediculous; played very well otherwise; not at fault for the goal; clearly the #1 (I still don’t know why he didn’t start against Canada)
Spector: 7; severe test for the youngster, but he aced it; kept the quick, skillful Guardado in check all day; not at fault on the goal
Gooch: 5.5; strong in the air all game; struggled with the pace of the Mexican attackers and got toasted on the goal
Boca: 7.5; rebounded from his worst performance in the Gold Cup to his best; won absolutely everything in the area and save for one play in the first half when Castillo broke free, played a flawless game in the back
Bornstein: 5.5; held up well enough; partially at fault for the goal; did not have a strong tournement overall
Landon: 7; another solid performance; calmly converted his penatly (4-4 for tournement); overall good tournement for
Beez: 6.5; very good game overall; incredible pass to set-up the opportunity for Ching; would’ve been a 7 if he tapped in that sitter in stoppage time (I still don’t know how he missed that)
BENNYYYYY!!!!!!!!: 7.5; goal worthy of a title-winner; did not play well in the 1st half, but, after the insertion of Clark, came on strong and showed why he needs to be on the field
Mastro: 5; looked tired (he did recently hit the 30 year-old speed bump); did not have the kind of impact on the game that I expected
Deuce: 5.5; just not his day; was still unlucky not to get a goal as he has spectcalarly denied by Sanchez twice
Ching: 6.5; bounced back from an average first-half to play a big role in the 2nd half comeback earning the penalty and creating chances with his ability to play back-to-goal; a little unlucky not to have scored off the Beasley ball(a great turn nonetheless)