USA-Brazil player ratings: Few bright spots
Marks are in for the US National Team's 2-0 friendly loss to a green Brazil side on Tuesday night, and they aren't too kind.
The Americans came out of the gate flying, offering hope that their habit of slow starts had been cured. However, this time it was the rest of the game that was the problem.
The US offered more and more space for the Samba Kings to dance around. Eventually, they'd be flattered by the final margin, largely thanks to a monster second-half display from Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan.
Tim Howard (5.5) -- He got rounded a bit too easily on the second goal, but was otherwise typically Timmy.
Jonathan Spector (5.5) -- The least culpable of the back six on Brazil's goals, Spector also served an assist-quality cross late. Considering what he was up against, it wasn't a bad effort.
Omar Gonzalez (5) -- Don't be too down on the LA Galaxy defender for this grade. Sure, he was caught scrambling around a good bit in the first half, but he gradually rose to the pace of Brazil's attacks to make a few plays.
Carlos Bocanegra (5) -- A bit stranded on the first goal and flat-footed on the second, it wasn't the best skipper's night. He did cut out a few crosses, though.
Jonathan Bornstein (5) -- He made a couple of nice interceptions around the area and supported up the wing when the US held the ball long enough, but there are still enough mistakes and timidity across midfield for a solid thumbs down.
Maurice Edu (4.5) -- He was very disruptive and offered plenty of incisive passing for 20 minutes, and then had all kinds of trouble. He eventually committed a few turnovers in good attack positions and, by the end, Brazil's Ganso had to be a little hurt from the lack of attention.
Michael Bradley (5) -- He made more plays throughout than his central partner and showed motor bursts to get out of trouble a few times, but as mentioned above, nobody was closing the gate through the middle for long stretches.
Alejandro Bedoya (4.5) -- He didn't see enough of the ball across midfield to have an attack impact and had a notable few defensive woes. Of course, he's also in the middle of his club season, unlike most of his teammates on the night. That, however, cannot explain the early odd pass through traffic coming out of his own end.
Benny Feilhaber (6.5) -- I'd love to know why he was taken off at the break, mainly because he had been the best US player. The Rio de Janeiro-born midfielder was clearly pumped up to face the Samba Kings, as he made plays at both ends.
Landon Donovan (6.5) -- Though he is far too often too far removed from play as a forward against top opponents, Donovan found ways to get the ball rolling in the right direction. He should have won a penalty kick on an early burst in the box, when he was essentially deprived because he rode the foul to keep his feet.
Edson Buddle (5.5) -- He was mostly relegated to chasing after hoofed long balls, but the early pass to Donovan on the play mentioned above was delicious.
Coach Bob Bradley (4) - Things looked so promising over the first 10, even 20 minutes, when the Nats pressured high and went at Brazil. Then, the team strangely became allergic to closing down and the predictable occurred. I wasn't particularly thrilled by much of the selection, as I felt it pulled away too many veteran internationals with important club situations afoot. Perhaps I'd be more lenient if the sizable US edge in experience counted for much.
Brad Guzan (8.5) - Holy smokes, Batman – Robin wasn't messin' around! He had the post to thank on one distance shot, but came up with a stuffed handful of big saves.
Sacha Kljestan (5.5) -- There were several things to like, but the former Chivas USA man needs to be more commanding when given room to make plays, especially after both Donovan and Feilhaber are off the field. Sadly, his best set-up offering came on Bradley's offside goal.
Jozy Altidore (5.5) -- If his end product ever catches up with that powerful stride, he will be a goal tornado. He was at his best over the first part of the second half, then fell out of the play.
Clarence Goodson (5) -- He made one terrific play, but mostly had difficulty catching up to what Brazil were doing.
Robbie Findley (5) -- As we've seen a couple times before, Findley offered some nice build work and not much else.
Herculez Gomez (6) -- Not only was he robbed by Victor, but the Pachuca forward even managed to make a strong defensive play. As with the rest of the US attackers, he didn't see enough of the ball.