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August 10, 2011

USA vs Mexico: Recap, Ratings, and Stats

While typically a game against Mexico brings enough headlines and drama to the table, America was a more focused on their new coach and if he could revive a stagnated team. Jurgen Klinsmann announced his first roster call ups less than two weeks before the heated match against Mexico. The call ups contained familiar faces (some that had held their spot for years and some that had fallen out of contention) but also contained newer faces, specifically on defense.

USA opened in a 4-1-4-1 with a crowded midfield but a familiar lone forward Bob Bradley had toyed with to some degree. The first half showed lack of cohesiveness in the midfield, a frustrated attack, and a shakey backline. With one shot (arguably, at that) in the first half, America had little to show against a patient yet dangerous Mexican side. However the second half had role-reversals when the two sides changed dramatically. Mexico lost their creativity while subs for the US provided a spark to the team.

After 90+ minutes and some dubious reffing, both sides proudly left with a 1-1 draw. Mexico still reigns in North America as the number one team while USA took an obvious step forward with their own program.

Player Ratings

Landon Donovan - (11…8.5/2.5) - A typical game from the second most capped player in USMNT history. Drew some would-be penalties by penetrating the 18 and displayed his trademark high-pressure counter multiple times.

Kyle Beckerman - (9.5…6.5/3)
- The MLS all-star showed he could play at Mexico's pace, a top ten team in the world, according to Klinsman. He provided a cork in the middle of the field defensively but his offensive input left us wanting more. He didn't press too high, which is acceptable as it wasn't his role, but he didn't start too many attacks with his feet.

Steve Cherundolo - (9...6.5/2.5)
- There has been a small amount of things that have stayed consistent with the Americans after up and down play in the past two years. One of those things is Steve Cherundolo. Although there was less service from Cherundolo with in-swinging balls as usual, the Mexican attack had nothing to show for on the right side of the field. The main altercation he faced, a shoving match that ended with Tim Howard waltzing over like Mr. Wilson to Dennis, Cherundolo greeted with a warm, "How are you?" smile. But time is not on Cherundolo's side. Currently sitting at 32 years old and with Timmy Chandler in the shadows, one has to wonder where Dolo will be come 2014.

Jose Torres - (9…6/3)
- After starting in the World Cup game against Solvenia, Jose Torres went MIA with the national squad. The crafty left-footer started the game outside and struggled significantly with positioning and field vision. In the second half he was moved to the middle and his comfort level rose considerably. While this wasn't his best game, Torres gave flashes of speed and playmaking ability that makes us excited for the future. And after a so-so play, he still received praise from multiple commentators, one calling him a possible number 10 player for the team, which makes us wonder all the more why he wasn't around before August.

Michael Bradley - (8.5...6/2.5)
- Bradley opened the game in more of an attacking role with a CAM placement. He played his usual brash, smart game but more than once subsided into his CDM position, widening an already large gap between Buddle and the rest of the team. This game doesn't rule out possibilities of him playing CAM or going back to the defense so it'll be interesting where Klinsman puts him in the future. But all nay-sayers are starting to go quiet after his overall strong performance.

Edgar Castillo - (8.5...2.5/6)
- "Nervous train wreck" may be the best term to describe Castillo's play. He's 24, so he's not done for, but Castillo needs to pick up his mental game speed if he wants to be a part of anything in 2014.

Carlos Bocanegra - (8.5...4.5/4) - The captain maintained his armband but had trouble playing alongside Fiscal. Positioning and knowing when to attack/drop in the back plagued Bocanegra and Fiscal as well. While he did have a terrific header on goal, he but didn't provide too much more outside of that.

Michael Fiscal - (7.5...4/3.5) - Fared significantly better than Castillo. His aggressive play isn't new to American defense and nor was his boot-it strategy either.

Jermaine Jones - (6.5...4.5/2)
- Largely blasted by multiple analysts after the game but probably because he was so under the radar. He came within inches of scoring early on and provided some nice, long balls out of the back. While he didn't insert himself in the offense like usual, he didn't hurt the team either. In the end he played a reserved CDM role for 60 minutes.

Brek Shea - (5...4.5/0.5) - Came in at the 60th minute and made a strong case for his role in the future. His touch was great throughout the 30+ minutes of play, whether it was a one-touch pass or a controlling touch. He jump started an eager offense and played a smart, well-played ball to Rogers on the back post for the goal. Almost came away his a goal himself with a shot from a top the 18 but a good save kept it out.

Tim Howard - (4.5/3.5...1) - Americans are spoiled to think Howard could have saved the goal.

Edson Buddle - (4...1.5/2.5) - Incredibly frustrating to watch Buddle's play. The gap between the midfield and striker was too much for anyone. It felt somewhat of a wasted night for Buddle.

Juan Agudelo - (4...3.5/0.5) - Still dribbles with his head down but his willingness to come back on defense helped set up a great pass to Rogers that should have led to a red card on the obvious-goal-stopping foul. Possibly the most creative player for America but can't really negate that by taking on too many defenders.

Robbie Rogers - (3.5...3/0.5) - Was given a lot of room and was out of positioning on the right with Cherundolo multiple times but the lone goal scorer displayed his speed and willingness to work tonight.

Ricardo Clark - (1...1.0/0.0) - A few minutes of game time but made the most of it. Unfortunately not too many people have forgotten about his turnover in the Ghana game but luckily he only has to impress Klinsman not drunkards.
Game Stats

Subjective Point Graphs

First Half

USA - 10.30
Mexico - 29.10

Second Half
USA - 38.93
Mexico - 12.43

USA - 49.23
Mexico - 41.53

Momentum Graphs

First Half Dominance
USA - 9
Mexico - 22
None - 69

GG Rating - 16/100

Second Half Dominance
USA - 36
Mexico - 0
None - 64

GG Rating - 31/100

USA - 22
Mexico - 11
None - 67

GG Rating - 23/100


***Example Category***
Team - Chances...Threat Rate/100
Team - Chances...Threat Rate/100

First Half
USA - 16...8.5
Mexico - 39...9.8

USA - 17...19.3
Mexico - 46...12.2

USA - 1...6.0
Mexico - 6...23.3

Second Half
USA - 27...19.6
Mexico - 23...6.2

USA - 25...17.2
Mexico - 23...10.7

USA - 10...28.2
Mexico - 4...18.0

USA - 43...15.5
Mexico - 62...8.5

USA - 42...18.0
Mexico - 69...11.7

USA - 11...26.2
Mexico - 10...21.2


While a win over Mexico would have been nice, the real goal in Philadelphia was determining specific player evaluation and Klinsman's cohesiveness with the team. Aside from players who didn't perform, both came to light. Certain players solidified their place with the team (unfortunately for some, it is away from it for some time) and Klinsman put a decent lineup together on short notice. His subs were as effective as could be and the energy everyone was buzzing about is more than encouraging. Looking forward, Klinsman is managing an aging squad and needs young players to step up fast and hopefully this game was a sign of things to come.

Pretty interesting video with post-game player commentary. Gives you an idea of what the players are looking at in a game.

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