At the back end of an unusually upbeat January camp, the first game of Bruce Arena’s spell in charge of the US national team ended in a 0-0 draw against Serbia at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
The US plays again – their last match before a crucial March World Cup qualifier against Honduras – on Friday in Chattanooga against Jamaica. Here are the player ratings for Sunday’s game.
Nick Rimando, 6 – Had a quiet afternoon – and was someone shaky in distribution – but made a massive save late on. Still hard to see him starting over Howard in March.
Graham Zusi, 6 – Zusi isn’t going to light the world on fire no matter what position he plays, but it’s worth seeing if he can stick at right back. Did well enough in this game.
Steve Birnbaum, 5 – Decent under pressure, but a less than commanding presence at the back. I’d be surprised if he starts against Honduras.
Chad Marshall, 5 – Marshall’s last MNT cap came some seven years ago, and, seeing as he’s been so good for so long in MLS, it was good to see him back in the fold here. He’s likely just a touch too slow to be considered a major part of the center back equation.
Greg Garza, 3 – Not an overly impressive outing by Garza. Jorge Villafaña should start at left back.
Michael Bradley, 5 – Had some nice moments, but was sloppy in the first half. His move to holding midfield will be a positive though, and his comments on Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration befitting of a national team captain.
Jermaine Jones, 7 – Arena has been extremely impressed by Jones’ engine, and in just 45 minutes against Serbia, he was one of the US’ best players. He’ll continue to be in the picture going forward.
Alejandro Bedoya, 5 – You know what you’re going to get with Bedoya: Good work-rate, good instincts in transition, and not a whole lot offense. We’ll see if Arena thinks he can do better in this spot.
Sacha Kljestan, 5 – Kljestan didn’t have his best stuff, but he’s clearly – and for good reason – in the driver’s seat to be the team’s #10 going forward.
Darlington Nagbe, 8 – No player did more to further his cause on Sunday than Nagbe, who was as sharp as ever on the ball, dangerous going forward, and solid tracking back. Looked at home on the left wing, where, chances are, he’s about to become an integral part of this team.
Jozy Altidore, 5 – Made some decent runs, and showed plenty of desire, but wasn’t the force we saw at the end of the MLS season.
Sebastian Lleget, 5 – LA appears ready to move Lleget back to the wing, but Arena sees him as a center mid – and he’s in contention to play against Honduras with Jones suspended.
Chris Pontius, 4 – Excepting a late chance, Pontius was fairly quiet on the occasion of his first cap. Might be facing an uphill battle to get into the World Cup qualifying squad.
Jorge Villafaña, 6 – Looked more comfortable than Garza, and hardly put a foot wrong in his thirty-plus minutes. Needs to figure out his club situation, but should play a big role going forward.
Jordan Morris, 5 – Came on late and snatched at his one chance, but, by all accounts, had an excellent camp.
Benny Feilhaber, 7 – It’s been a long time coming for Feilhaber to get back into the national team, and he did well with his chance on Sunday. His class on the ball is undeniable, and he could push Kljestan for minutes.
Juan Agudelo, 6 – Another player who has impressed in camp, Agudelo’s late chance was his career in a nutshell – excellent, athletic work, and a lacking finish.
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