Remember that U.S. national team optimism we all felt four or five hours ago? Well, it’s all out the window after the USMNT’s 2-0 defeat to Colombia in the 2016 Copa America Centenario opener Friday night.
[ FULL RECAP: USA 0-2 Colombia ]
More so than anything, for the manner in which they accepted their fate and failed to put up a fight. Below are player ratings for the USMNT, none of which are favorable…
GK – Brad Guzan: 5.5 — Very little the Aston Villa ‘keeper could have done on either one of Colombia’s goals. Made five saves on the night.
LB – Fabian Johnson: 6 — Outside of less than a handful of moments, Juan Cuadrado had a totally forgettable night. Prior to kickoff, it was Johnson, who played all of two games at left back for Borussia Monchengladbach this season, the biggest liability and likeliest to be skinned again and again. Width in the attack was lacking, though, and that was (fairly or unfairly) another big ask of Johnson.
CB – John Brooks: 7 — Carlos Bacca, who prior to kickoff many foresaw giving Brooks trouble for 90 minutes, was mostly kept quiet (three shots, one on target). Long balls were easily dispatched; the gaps between Brooks and Geoff Cameron was minimal; he was commanding in a way we’ve rarely (never?) seen from the 23-year-old (yup).
CB – Geoff Cameron: 5 — Totally lost Cristian Zapata, his man, on the game’s opening goal. Despite claiming he was picked, Cameron took the longest route had his head turned the wrong direction at the wrong time as the corner kick came in.
RB – DeAndre Yedlin: 6 — Responsible for the penalty kick that made it 2-0, but made a heroic sliding block on Carlos Bacca halfway through the second half that would have surely made it 3-0, if not for his intervention.
MF – Michael Bradley: 4 — One of the worst performances Bradley has ever put forth for the Stars and Stripes. His giveaway led directly to the penalty (second goal), and it was far from the only one on the night. Short memory certainly required after this one.
MF – Jermaine Jones: 5 — If there’s one instance in which Jones is particularly terrible: when the opposition presses fast and furious in the middle third of the field. Colombia did just that, and Jones’ inability to make quick decision and precise passes were a huge hindrance.
MF – Alejandro Bedoya: 5 — Easily the best American player in the USMNT’s final pre-Copa friendlies, Bedoya struggled in much the same way Jones did. He also relied on Bradley to play him the ball quickly in transition and, well, as discussed above, that just didn’t happen.
FW – Bobby Wood: 5 — Herculez Gomez, working as a studio analyst for this game, said it best. Can’t blame that on Wood, per se, but he’s the one who flounders on the field.
FW – Clint Dempsey: 6.5 — He’s not a no. 9, and he’s certainly not a no. 10 — he’s the underneath forward in a 4-4-2, if you’re wondering — asking Dempsey to lead the line is a sin at the feet of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. With that said, Dempsey managed to be the most dangerous attacker over the 90 minutes.
FW – Gyasi Zardes: 6 — That designation actually belonged to Zardes through 30 — maybe even 45 — minutes, but he faded badly in the second half.
MF – Darlington Nagbe: 5.5 — At his best, Nagbe gets on the ball two, three or four times every possession, and runs at defenders, creating space for the following pass and the pass after that and so on. With Colombia pressing the way they did, good luck.
FW – Christian Pulisic: 5.5 — By the time Pulisic and Nagbe entered the game (66th minute), Colombia had dropped the line of confrontation by about 10 or 15 yards and, while still pressing the with the forwards and wingers, offered precisely zero space either through the center or out wide.
MF – Graham Zusi: N/A — Too little time to make an impact (86th-minute sub), and he didn’t