USMNT vs Netherlands Player Ratings
A battle that once looked lopsided and easily controlled when Denmark went up by a tally of 3-1, morphed into possibly one of the most impressive and important wins in USMNT history as they beat the Netherlands by a score of 4-3. A little over 48 hours later, the result still has a nice ring to it.
Led by strong performances from team captain Michael Bradley, starting goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and numerous others, the USMNT accomplished a feat many never thought were possible. If someone were to predict at the time of the 2014 World Cup that the U.S. would go to the Netherlands home field and beat them with a majority of their starters playing full minutes, they would have laughed in that fan’s face.
This win proves that the USMNT is improving across the board, the players in the system are buying into Head Coach Jurgen Klinnsman’s ideals and messages that they can’t respect their opponents too much to the point where they back off and fall into a defensive lull, and that the player pool is ever-deepening providing more options at each position on the field.
Let’s take a look at how each of the players who saw the field donning the red, white, and blue fared in this match.
- Guzan, who has been met with a run of bad luck while tending the net for his club team, Aston Villa, needed to show up on the big stage as his club situation may now be in jeopardy. He did not disappoint. Guzan was one of the main reasons the USMNT was able to make an impressive comeback producing save after save in key moments when the U.S. back four were reeling. Guzan left no doubt as to why he is the clear cut No. 1 for the U.S. at this time, while Tim Howard takes a break from the the national team. Expect to see him go the whole 90 minutes this Wednesday against Germany as Coach Klinnsman will look to put his best foot forward against the No. 1 ranked team.
- One of the few vastly underwhelming performances from the U.S. side. Chandler was not effective in his defensive role at right back, did not make any threatening runs or any assisting passes in the attack, and mostly just filled space. His positioning was not up to par and his challenges left a lot to be desired. He is a true anomaly as all reports indicate he shows great form, while playing for his club team Frankfurt Eintracht. Yet he comes to the USMNT camps and doesn’t impress in international friendlies. It’s hard to envision him on the Gold Cup roster, but he seems to be in Klinsmann’s good favor so he could be on the roster.
photo via Sports Center’s Twitter @SportsCenter
John Anthony Brooks
- The first half of the most anticipated position I hoped to analyze during this friendly. He’s still only 22 years old, did not star or blow anyone away with perfect defending, but I would also note that he was nowhere near a poor rating either. He was quite honestly run-of-the-mill. His run and finish on his goal that brought the U.S. to within one was spectacular and an encouraging move on his part to score another impressive international goal following up his first USMNT goal from the 2014 World Cup.
- The second half of the center back pairing that finished with more questions than answers. I openly gush over Alvarado’s skill set and still firmly believe he is a fixture that will play a key role in this summer’s Gold Cup and future international tournaments. However, his play in this match was not what I expected after hearing about his dynamic and consistent play for Club America. He did not enforce the back line and he often looked out of sync with his fellow CB, John Brooks. Another player young in age, 22, and experience who undoubtedly benefitted from this matchup and will look to regain better standing with a strong showing against the Germans.
- This may not be the popular opinion, but I am willing to go out on a limb and state that Brek Shea was one of my most pleasant surprises in this match for the USMNT. He was attentive, constantly in great position, made good runs, and defended as well if not better than he has all year with Orlando City. Many question why Klinsmann keeps him in the fold, and this match was a good example of why. He used his athleticism to pry the ball away from the Netherlands attackers numerous times. His awareness is much better as he has been getting regular club minutes, and there is no doubt he will be in the mix for the Gold Cup in July.
- Many people questioned not only the selection of Kyle Beckerman for this set of friendlies but also the choice made by Head Coach Jurgen Klinnsman in going with Beckerman from the start at the CDM position. In the first half and into the beginning of the second, it was evident why this decision was made. Beckerman quite simply saved the butts of the U.S. defense on multiple occasions and even lended a leg to Brad Guzan as he was caught off his line with the ball advancing towards goal. Beckerman challenged every Netherlands advancing attack and seemed to almost always be in the right place at the right time. He may be advancing in age, but showed his worth on the field against Denmark.
- One of the best players on the field at any given time, for any team. Johnson is a fixture and one of the back bones of this squad. Undergoing a position does not usually go as seamlessly as it has with him moving from the left back position to the midfield/winger position. Granted after substitutions were made he was pushed back into the left back role where he played equally as well. The service he offered on the first goal that led to a simple touch in for Gyasi Zardes was magnificent. He will play against the Germans and he will be on the Gold Cup roster. Count on it.
- A lot could be written about Michael Bradley’s performance but instead I will say this: if you have yet to watch this game, watch it and if you did watch the game, go re-watch it and take in just how well he played for the whole 90 minutes. It was not just the picture perfect, gritty run he made to setup the go-ahead goal as the match neared stoppage time; it was the efforts he made to keep possession and keep the U.S. from sliding back into the defensive-minded role that they often adopt against “superior” opponents. I loved this performance and know many others did likewise.
- Another player, like Alvarado, I had high hopes for entering this match. All signs pointed towards him earning himself playing time and obviously as it turned out, he got the start in a huge match. He performed well. He did not make any impacts on the score sheet, but I thought his play in the midfield was solid. I like his aggressiveness, I like his bite and tenacity, and I especially appreciate how he carries himself. It is easy to see he has bought into the Klinnsman mindset and exudes it while on the pitch.
- A player who’s had plenty of ups and downs for both club and country this season. He showed up in a big way on Friday displaying both versatility and utility in the winger position. One knock on his game has been the lacking of a defensive presence while he is on the field. In this match, he was shuttling all over the field assisting on the defensive end, while also making very dangerous runs in the attack. It is nice to see a player looking to break into the USMNT net himself a critical international goal before a big competition towards the end of June and into July.
- There may have been no player on the USMNT roster with more to gain from a solid performance against the Netherlands this past Friday than Johansson. Much has been made of the forward position since the World Cup debacle. The narrative is well known to all faithful USMNT fans. There is a serious need to develop other options at the forward position should an injury or other circumstances arise where Jozy Altidore cannot play for the United States. Johansson seems to be the heir apparent, though his case was not strengthened by this showing. It will be interesting to see how Klinsmann employs Johansson in the coming friendly as he looks to get another start with Altidore and Dempsey absent from this round of friendlies.
- For all intents and purposes, Orozco was no better and no worse than Alvarado after he was subbed on. He played a steady line and did not make many other contributions. I still question him receiving countless opportunities with the national team. He isn’t any better than many of the CBs in MLS. I do not anticipate him making the Gold Cup, but I would not be shocked if he got more playing time against Germany to assess more of what he has to offer.
- Williams, who came on for Beckerman early in the second half, had arguably an equal effect on the outcome of this match playing solidly in the middle and finishing the all important equalizer. He showed why displaying athleticism could be a nice addition to this player pool as well as a good feel with the ball at his feet. It’s likely that the 26 year-old could start against Germany this coming Wednesday, so that Klinnsman can see whether or not Williams is capable of holding down a starting role for this team moving forward.
- DeAndre Yedlin had an immediate impact on this game upon entering roughly halfway through the second half. His devastating pace was on display once again as he blew by defender after defender every time the U.S. looked to attack down the right flank. What is most impressive is not only that he was running circles around world class defensemen and midfielders, but also that he assisted on one goal and was a part of the lead up to another. It was a great showing for a man, who longed for more consistent minutes with his club team all season long and is looking to solidify a roster position for the upcoming 2015 Gold Cup USMNT roster.
- The first thing that comes to mind in writing about Jordan Morris and his form of late is: Wow. This 20 year-old wunderkind is making waves in a talent pool that values speed, killer instinct, and the ability to put the ball in the back of the net on a consistent basis. Morris meets all those requirements at a tender, young age. Many see him as a long shot to make the Gold Cup roster this summer, but I disagree. His spot is all but ensured what with his standout play with the USMNT U-23s in the Toulon Tournament followed by a late game cameo in this friendly where he placed a perfectly weighted ball across the box to an appropriately placed Bobby Wood. Not to take away from Wood, but much of the credit on that goal belongs to Bradley for his outstanding run and Morris for the superb cross.
- Mix looked a little out of sorts in the roughly 30 minutes of action he saw on Friday. There were better options for this roster spot mainly due to his form with NYCFC of late has been substandard. While it is true a player should not be cast aside for a few bad games, it’s not clear what he is bringing to the table at this point. In the run of play, he often gets muscled off the ball or loses possession easier than one would like. Hopefully, he has a stronger showing if he gets any minutes against Germany.
- Boy, did Bobby Wood prove a lot of doubters wrong in the short run he got on the field on Friday. Scoring the biggest goal of his career in dramatic fashion, Wood gave the USMNT a lead they would not relinquish. Other than the goal, my other observation of him is that he looks to have bulked up and is a more imposing figure. He effectively filled space the rest of his minutes.
Overall, I couldn’t be more excited about the USMNT’s performance and the result they earned in this match. This is a huge milestone for the entire program and is a positive sign of what is to come. The most important take away from this match is that the U.S. player pool is deeper than it’s ever been with players capable of contributing at elite levels. I like where we are and I like where we are heading as more and more quality players look to be coming into the mix in the next few years.