USMNT player ratings: Guzan, Bradley ease burden of Alvarado, Chandler


The United States men’s national team is mercifully done with the group stage, unbeaten in the standings but fallible on the field after a 1-1 draw against Panama in Kansas City on Monday night.

Admittedly, some of us called this the equivalent of the Gold Cup’s Group of Death even before we saw Haiti look like a real football side for the first time in a while, but few expected the Yanks to play three close matches.

[ MORE: Three things | Match recap ]

So how’d the group do? We’ve got some ideas (Though as we learned from the Honduras match, each player ratings is up for some serious comment section debate and vitriol).

Starting XI

Brad Guzan 8/10 — Unsure what you want from a keeper other than this. Hung out to dry on Blas Perez’s goal. Other than that and an odd drop after collecting a corner, he was as spotless as his dome.

Timmy Chandler 3/10 — Offensively, he can do some things. Defensively, I don’t get it. If Jurgen Klinsmann loves him so much, maybe see if he can play further up the field?

Ventura Alvarado 4/10 — Awful, again, on the goal, but wasn’t shaken and looked much, much better in the second half.

John Brooks 5/10 — He’s been much better, and he’s also been much worse. The yellow card that earned him a suspension for the next match was needless, but he’s 22. Will he learn? Strong second half.

Fabian Johnson 7/10 — Even when he plays a quiet match, Johnson is one of the USMNT’s best all-around players.

source: Getty Images
It was a dicey affair (Credit: Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images)

Kyle Beckerman 5/10 — Couple bad giveaways, and credit for muscling through a bloody injury. But getting changed on the field?!? How immodest (We kid).

Michael Bradley 8/10 — Sorry, Landon, but Bradley has a legit chance to go down as the most important player in USMNT history. The captain led by example, and scored the equalizer.

Alfredo Morales (off HT) 4/10 — Won a few 50/50 balls, but mostly just found himself sucked into the middle of the park and denying the attack width. Looks out of his depth far more often than you’d like (which is never, but you get the idea).

Ale Bedoya (off 71′) 6/10  Didn’t make an impression early in his return from injury, but his relentless nature shone through as the match wore on. Indecisive on a key first-half chance that came to nothing.

Gyasi Zardes 5/10 — Struggled again in the first half and didn’t make a positive impact, but it’s hard not to like his second half. He works his butt off every game, and if he can become 90 minutes strong he’s got a future.

Chris Wondolowski (off HT) 7/10 — He didn’t score, but he played his best USMNT game in a while. Likely came off for tactical reasons, because he played a strong match as a hold-up man. Lay-offs were very good.


Clint Dempsey (on HT) 7/10 — Did some good things and had a great group stage. His savvy on the goal was unmistakable.

DeAndre Yedlin (on HT) 5/10 — Ran his shoes off, but was neither bad nor good.

Aron Johansson (on 71′) 5/10 — Seemed a bit trigger-shy, but wasn’t poor. Still waiting to find an optimal strike partner for the Icelandic-Alabaman.

Chelsea Ladies sign NWSL superstar Sam Kerr

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Sam Kerr is heading to London.

The Australian megastar is leaving the Chicago Red Stars for Chelsea after scoring two MVP awards in the National Women’s Soccer League (2017, 2019).

[ MORE: NYCFC teen off to Gladbach ]

Kerr, 26, has 38 goals in 83 caps for the Lady Matildas, scoring four times in one World Cup match against Jamaica last summer.

Her 69 goals are the most in an NWSL career, and she admits it was a challenge to leave her comfort zone and head to Europe.

“Probably the part that was most difficult was leaving friends and the US because I’ve created such a home there, but it was just time for me to make a change. And once I had my eyes set on Europe, it was kind of an easy decision to choose Chelsea as a club.”

It’s a huge signing for Chelsea, who is leading the table through five matches with an unbeaten 4W-1D record. She’ll join the team in January.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says goodbye to the LA Galaxy

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has bid adieu to Major League Soccer, thanking the LA Galaxy for “making me feel alive again.”

The Swedish superstar averaged nearly a goal per game with the Galaxy, and was rumored to be in line for another two years at the club.

[ MORE: Columbus acquires Nagbe ]

Perhaps those reports, and maybe AC Milan’s struggles to score goals, have made more suitors come forward. Time will tell.

The Galaxy said the decision was a “mutual parting of ways” and thanked the player for his work both on and off the pitch.


“We would like to thank Zlatan for his contributions to the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “Since his arrival in 2018, Zlatan has positively influenced the sport of soccer in Los Angeles. We are grateful for his work ethic and passion. We thank Zlatan for his professionalism and immeasurable impact on the Los Angeles community and the soccer community in North America as a whole.”

Zlatan’s full thoughts, below, were a bit more Zlatanny.

Klein will have his hands full in replacing Ibrahimovic, who scored 52 times in 53 matches, but the Galaxy have always managed to bring in big names.

Getting a star playmaker is even more important as El Trafico rivals LAFC have rewritten the MLS record book and snared plenty of attention in California and across the league.

Columbus acquires Nagbe from Atlanta for $1M in allocation

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Darlington Nagbe is headed for a reunion with old boss Caleb Porter.

Columbus has sent over $1 million in allocation money to Atlanta United in order to claim the influential midfielder.

[ MORE: Top 25 players in USMNT pool ]

Porter coached Nagbe at the University of Akron and the Portland Timbers, and has 25 USMNT caps but has turned down Gregg Berhalter’s requests for service.

Nagbe made 46 appearances across all competitions for the Five Stripes this season, scoring twice with five assists. He has 313 matches played between Portland and Atlanta.


“Darlington Nagbe is a proven winner and the type of player who can be a difference-maker in our team,” Crew SC president and GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. “In addition to his skill set, we believe that Darlington is someone whose character and values fit well within our organization. As we stated heading into this offseason, we continue to look both domestically and internationally for players that will make our team better, and we believe Darlington is an important part of those efforts.”

It’s a bold statement from Columbus, who had a reputation for getting the most of its talent under Berhalter but faded under Porter after a hot start. The Crew began 2019 with a 4-1-1 record but lost 13 of its next 15 matches.

Of course, being MLS, the Crew then only lost 2 of their final 13 matches. Shoulder shrug emoji.

NYCFC teen agrees move to Borussia Monchengladbach

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New York City FC’s impressive academy has earned one of the bigger transfer market payoffs in MLS Homegrown history, and will join the current Bundesliga leaders after next season.

Joe Scally, 16, is headed to Borussia Monchengladbach on a $2 million transfer with a sell-on clause, and will spend the 2020 MLS season with his boyhood club. Scally has played in the Open Cup, but has not debuted in an MLS match.

[ MORE: Top 25 players in USMNT pool ]

The $2 million figure is on the edge of Top 30 for departing MLS players, according to Transfermarkt, just behind Cyle Larin’s move from Orlando City to Besiktas.

Scally appeared 11 times for the U.S. U-17 national team, going 90 minutes in all three matches and assisting on the lone American goal at the World Cup in Brazil.


“Joe Scally is a top American talent who we have been following for a long time. We see a lot of potential in Joe and we are looking forward to him joining up with us in January 2021. Until then, we will work together with New York City FC to prepare him for his move to Germany,” said Borussia’s sporting director, Max Eberl.

Not sure just how long they could’ve been following a 16-year-old, but we digress.

Scally will join U-17 teammates Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) and Maximilian Dietz (Freiburg) on the books at a Bundesliga club. Recent U-17 call-ups Pablo Soares (Gladbach) and Noah Jones (RB Leipzig) are also with clubs in Germany’s top flight.

Last month, NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna told me that Scally was the perfect example of a young player trusting a club’s preference of changing his position.

“The perfect example is Joe Scally on the U-17 World Cup team. He came to us from a club in Long Island as an athletic box-to-box midfielder. He was very strong, but we saw him as an outside back. The lesson that we now we share that with our players, don’t get upset if you move to a position, but Joe Scally understood, never complained, he played wherever he was told to do, and now he’s a right back now, 16 years old going to the World Cup after being in our academy for two and a half years.”

Looks like it’s worked out.