In looking at the game grades for U.S. players from a few respected colleagues, I’m wondering if we are talking about the wrong veteran U.S. defender?
The Omar Gonzalez-Carlos Bocanegra choice is a huge talker, and rightly so. Personally, I wondered if a tense match to open final round qualifying was the right place to make the switch.
But perhaps the bigger back line loss was Steve Cherundolo.
In terms of stoking the fires of roster and lineup conversation – they are raging today, aren’t they? – it’s apples and oranges. Bocanegra’s absence was manager’s choice, while the longtime U.S. incumbent at right back was injured.
Still, some game graders gave right back Timmy Chandler a poor rating. Brian Sciaretta at the New York Times handed off a 4. Soccer America vet Ridge Mahoney was even tougher on the German-American, who was front-and-center in so many conversations lately because this match was the “cup-tie” biggie, where the previously wishy-washy Chandler officially bound his international self to the United States.
Mahoney gave Chandler a grade of 3 in his Soccer America ratings.
Avi Creditor, in his ratings at Sports Illustrated’s on-line property, picked apart Geoff Cameron’s performance pretty well. Creditor wondered something we’ve written about before: whether his positioning at Stoke City, as an outside back, will be problematic as he shifts inside for the United States.
It probably won’t dent the United States in more manageable matches, like the one coming up at home against Costa Rica. But as we saw Wednesday (on a telling ball that Cameron really should have kicked into next week), that relatively minor shift in positioning for his club team, leading perhaps to just a little bit less situational awareness, can become huge in about half a second.