Brazil Soccer WCup US Germany

Player Ratings: How the US players fared against Germany

19 Comments

Against an incredibly strong German side, the United States Men’s National Team showed the grit to belong in the Round of 16. And, with a little help from Cristiano Ronaldo and our friends in Portugal, that’s exactly where the Yanks are heading.

It wasn’t pretty but the US held Germany to a single goal with Jurgen Klinsmann making two personnel changes to the starting XI used against Portugal, swapping Omar Gonzalez for Geoff Cameron at center-back and Brad Davis for Alejandro Bedoya.

So with their third and final match of the group stage in the books, here’s how each US player fared on a scale of 1 to 10.

[ RELATED: U.S. qualify for Round of 16 despite defeat to Germany]

[RELATED: Klinsmann – ‘No one gave us a chance’]

[RELATED: Klinsmann’s personnel moves key to success]

USMNT player ratings vs. Germany

Tim Howard – 7

Rock solid goal-keeping from Howard, who faced a number of probing first-half crosses from Lukas Podolski and Jerome Boateng as well as a Mesut Ozil hammer that Howard deflected with a brilliant leg save. Fair play to Muller on the goal, Howard stood no chance.

DaMarcus Beasley – 5

Struggled early on with Boateng’s overlaps and Ozil’s trickery but put in some solid tackles as well as an explosive 25th minute weaving run that helped advance play out of the American’s end. Had some nervy second-half moments with Miroslav Klose but fought his way through valiantly.

Omar Gonzalez – 7

Brutal scuff on an early Boateng cross had American’s trembling but the Galaxy big man settled in nicely, making two notable slide tackles including one on Muller, who was in on goal. Proved very strong in the air, especially on Boateng’s 47th minute cross that had Ozil clear in on goal.

Matt Besler – 7

Besler kept his focus on the primary objective – keeping Muller quiet. And despite the Bayern forward scoring, Besler held the tricky Muller well in check. Key second-half tackles on Schweinsteiger’s attempted through-ball to Klose and Muller’s late ball to Ozil are proof positive why Besler will soon be hunted by European clubs.

Fabian Johnson – 6

A menace going forward but defensively had some worrying moments in the first-half, getting pulled in too far centrally and allowing Podolski too much space. Stepped it up in the second-half managing a few notable clearances that helped settled the back line during times of distress.

Kyle Beckerman – 6

Lock-down defending, sharp passing, positionally sharp and fiesty in the challenge, Beckerman was a rock. Started to lose composure immediately after Muller’s goal but regained it and went on to put in some key tackles, particularly on Ozil.

Jermaine Jones – STAR MAN 8

An absolute warrior, Jones was all over the park in the best way possible. Playing in a more advanced role than usual, Jones presented the German defense with problems on a number of occasions. Defended well, was a nuisance and somehow managed to avoid being shown a yellow card, which would have kept him out for the Round of 16.

Brad Davis – 2

Boateng’s overlapping runs and five first-half crosses forced Davis to swap sides with Graham Zusi to relieve the pressure. Unnecessarily conceded the 54th minute corner that led to Muller’s goal and was promptly substituted for Alejandro Bedoya. A tough World Cup blooding for Davis.

Michael Bradley – 4

Always needed to see more of the ball but failed to find a way to do so. Looked tired. Played three fantastic outlet passes but struggled keeping possession.

Graham Zusi – 6

Strong work rate with movement all over the park. Maintained possession in tight spaces and unleashed a fierce 22nd minute shot that curled mere inches over the bar.

Clint Dempsey – 6

Struggled to see much of the ball but the work-rate and attitude was there. Wasted two key second-half opportunities that would have spread the German defense and opened up space. Nearly scored on a last second header.

SUBS

Alejandro Bedoya – 6

On for Brad Davis in the 59th minute Bedoya brought some good energy and could’ve been a hero in extra time if he had taken his chance better.

DeAndre Yedlin – 6

Yedlin worked hard, on for Graham Zusi in the 82nd, producing a phenomenal extra time run that nearly resulted in a Bedoya goal. Danger man. A must-play in every match moving forward.

Sturridge complains about playing out wide; Klopp responds

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06:  Substitute Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool walks to the bench past Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park on December 6, 2015 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Daniel Sturridge isn’t too happy to be playing out wide.

[ MORE: Bravo signs for Man City ]

He’s said it many times in the past (most noticeably during his time at Chelsea) and the Liverpool forward said it again following their 5-0 win over Burton Albion in the EFL Cup in midweek.

Sturridge, 26, came on as a second half sub for Jurgen Klopp‘s side and scored twice.

[ MORE: Boufal to Saints ]

However, speaking to reporters after the game the man who usually plays as a central striker had the following to say about playing in a wide position.

“Of course it is more difficult for me to play wide,” Sturridge said. “I’m a center-forward. I have to do a job for the team. That’s not saying I am happy to do it. That’s saying I have got to do a job for the team. It’s a team game. If I am put in that position, I have to play there.”

Tell us how you really feel, Daniel.

Yet Klopp, speaking on Thursday in his press conference ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports) effortlessly diffused what could’ve been a sticky situation for Sturridge.

“It wasn’t a fixed position. Daniel is a very smart player,” said Klopp. “He’s good at getting himself into positions where it’s not easy to defend. There is absolutely no problem.”

Okay, so everyone is cool. Fair enough.

You do get the lingering feeling that Klopp may have a quiet word with Sturridge behind closed doors in the next day or so as these kind of complaints from a star player should really go to the manager first before he speaks publicly about them.

Sturridge is a passionate player who can often be seen showing his frustration on the pitch as his winning desire sometimes gets the better of him.

That’s obviously the case for certain media interviews too.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Zaha to Spurs, Lucas to Arsenal

West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sky Sports is reporting that Tottenham Hotspur have made a $21 million bid for Wilfried Zaha and are in talks with Crystal Palace.

Zaha, 23, is in his second spell with the Eagles after returning to Selhurst Park in 2015 following his $13 million move to Manchester United not working out.

[ MORE: Bravo signs for City ]

The pacey winger has reportedly told Alan Pardew he wants to leave Palace and is obviously keen on being part of Spurs’ squad which will take part in the UEFA Champions League group stages this season.

Productivity is the main issue with Zaha but he did score five goals and addes seven assists across 43 games in all competitions last season as Palace reached the FA Cup final and started brightly in the Premier League but then faded badly to just stave off relegation.

With Christian Benteke arriving for a club-record $41.5 million last week, Palace may be interested in getting some of that money back but Pardew has already sold Yannick Bolasie to Everton for $37.5 million this summer and although he has Andros Townsend around, he is unlikely to be happy about losing another pacey and direct winger who can provide crossed for Benteke to finish.

As for Spurs, Zaha would provide some much-needed pace out wide. In the current system Mauricio Pochettino has Harry Kane and Vincent Janssen in a two-man forward line with Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen breaking forward from midfield to support them. However talented those players are, Pochettino may be looking for extra pace on the break, especially late in games, and Zaha has that in abundance.


A battle is brewing for Deportivo La Coruna forward Lucas Perez Martinez.

The Spanish forward, 27, is reportedly subject to two bids from both Everton and Arsenal. The latter are said to be closing in on $22.5 million transfer, with the BBC reporting that Arsenal are deemed the favorites for his signature.

[ MORE: Solo ban about more than comments ]

Known simply as Lucas, the striker scored 17 goals in 36 La Liga appearances last season and could be the answer to Arsene Wenger‘s problems up top. Wenger has pursued Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette all summer long but the French club are demanding over $55 million from the Gunners. Lucas would be a much cheaper option and the journeyman (he’s spent time in Greece, Ukraine and Spain with five different teams) was prolific in a Deportivo team which finished in 15th place in Spain’s top-flight. Given service by Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, he could be deadly.


Joe Hart, 29, will not be moving to Everton according to Ronald Koeman.

Everton’s manager was asked about Hart’s availability on Thursday and the Dutchman emphatically denied reports linking the Manchester City goalkeeper with a loan move to Goodison Park.

“No interest,” was the blunt response from Koeman and after Hart played, captained and kept a clean sheet for City in their 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest in their UCL second leg play-off game on Wednesday, it looks like he is now in an awkward situation.

Hart was lauded by City’s fans throughout the game but with Claudio Bravo arriving from Barcelona on Thursday it seems like England’s first-choice goalkeeper could now be third-choice at Man City after Pep Guardiola preferred veteran Willy Caballero to him.

With Everton no interested, plus reports of loan moves to Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund going quiet, it appears Hart’s options are limited. If he wants to stay in the PL, perhaps Liverpool is his only option among the clubs who are expected to be challenging for the top four and beyond.

Manchester City confirm $22.5 million signing of Claudio Bravo

FOXBORO, MA - JUNE 10:  Claudio Bravo #1 of Chile passes the ball during a 2016 Copa America Centenario Group D match between Chile and Bolivia in the first half at Gillette Stadium on June 10, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s done.

Claudio Bravo, 33, has signed a four-year contract at Manchester City as the club announced his $22.5 million transfer from Barcelona on Thursday.

[ MORE: Saints close to Boufal deal ]

Bravo flew in to Manchester earlier this week and Pep Guardiola finally has the goalkeeper he’s been craving as he revealed the Chilean international is someone “he’s admired for a number of years.”

With Joe Hart given the cold shoulder and veteran Willy Caballero handed the starting spot in goal for City’s first two Premier League games of the season, it always seemed likely that a goalkeeper was lined up.

[ MORE: Solo ban about much more ]

Speaking to the club website about his move to City after spending the last two seasons at Barcelona, Bravo is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“I’m very proud to be joining Manchester City. I know the Club is building something very special and I hope I can be part of many successes in the coming years,” Bravo said. “I have followed City’s progress in recent years and obviously know some of my new team-mates from the Copa America.

“It is not easy to leave a club like Barcelona where I had two fantastic years, but the opportunity to work with Pep Guardiola was too good to refuse. Now I will challenge the other great goalkeepers the Club has and together I hope we can win many trophies.”

So, now the picture is even clearer for Hart as despite Bravo claiming he is at the Etihad Stadium to “challenge the other great goalkeepers” they have, we all know he is the new numero uno. Hart will have to find a move elsewhere if he wants to play regularly but his options are running out with Everton’s manager Ronald Koeman saying they are no interested in signing Hart.

Over the last two seasons Bravo has split time with Marc-Andre ter Stegen at Barca but the man who has already made 100 appearances for Chile and has won back-to-back Copa America titles is now ready to be a bonafide star as he enters the prime of his career.

Comfortable with the ball at his feet and a sublime shot-stopper, Bravo’s acquisition is another key moment in Guardiola’s masterplan at City.

The Spanish coach has now spent $260 million on John Stones, Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, Marlos Moreno, Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Bravo this summer.

Four games into Pep’s tenure as City’s boss the Citizens are perfect with four wins as they’ve qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stages.

Drinkwater stays at champion Leicester, signs 5-year deal

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15:  Danny Drinkwater of Leicester City is closed down by Bertrand Traore of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on May 15, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

LEICESTER, England (AP) Danny Drinkwater has become the latest Leicester player to commit his future to the English champions.

[ MORE: Solo ban about much more ]

Leicester said Thursday the midfielder has signed a new five-year contract. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have also penned new deals this summer.

Drinkwater, a former Manchester United player, was a regular for Leicester in its run to the Premier League title last season, helping him earn a call-up to the England squad.