USA vs. Ghana: World Cup Match Ratings, Appropriately

First, we start with celebrations.


Yep. I’m pretty sure Mr. John Anthony Brooks celebrated the same way we all were feeling after that goal. Basically DID THAT ACTUALLY HAPPEN OMG I’M IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION THIS IS UNREAL SOMEONE HOLD ME AND VERIFY THAT THIS IS ACTUALLY REAL LIFE AHHHHHHHHH essentially. Of course, there was always this too.


Earthquake? Might as well have been in SF. Beer showers for everyone!

On to those match ratings:

Tim Howard: 12

Clutch saves. Wrong footed once, can’t blame him for that goal. Dude’s a rock. Hey, remember that time we beat Ghana? Me too. He’s gonna be big in this tournament, trust me. We know he can stop the clones, pretty sure that means he can stop anything.

DaMarcus Beasley: 9



Pretty sure DaMarcus Beasley’s beard stopped Ghana personally on at least three different occasions. It also congratulated Clint on his goal, booked dinner reservations post game, and verbally harassed Gyan about his hairstyle choices. Well played beard. Look forward to seeing what you can do against Pirlo’s beard in the final. A battle for the ages.

Matt Besler: 10

By far the best player for Kansas on the field during the first half. Literally he had no match from any other Kansas-born players, and continued to dominate the Kansas category. Reallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly hope he isn’t hurt bad. Rest that hammy bud, none of us have any interest in #HammyWatch2014.

Fabian Johnson: 9

Looked to be at fault on Ghana’s goal. Do you know what he wasn’t at fault on? Ghana’s second, third, or seventh goals. Because they didn’t exist! That’s huge. Giving up one goal is infinitely better than giving up seven. Especially when your team scores two goals and you beat Ghana.

Geoff Cameron: 10

cameron pocket

No moving.

Finally playing the center back role that TSG so desperately wanted to see him in, looked good. More importantly, had Gyan in his pocket all night long. No, literally. The TSG superawesomecamera captured this great photo of Cameron just hanging out, talking about who has better taste in hair products with Michael Bradley. Oh, what is that there? Is that the special pocket jersey made for Cameron? It does appear so! And why it appears he has stuffed Gyan right in there, terrible haircut and all. Well done sir.

Michael Bradley: 10

Bradley struggled, but America won, so yeah. Suck it. He also had the shiniest bald head on the field, totally embarrassing Andre Ayew. Step your bald dome reflection game up Ayew if you want to even step on the same field as Michael ‘We Can Reflect The Sun Off This And Generate Solar Power’ Bradley.

Kyle Beckerman: 14

Beckerman stepped up big time in the first game of the World Cup, and it showed he really belonged. He gets a 14 because I’m pretty confident his hair as at least that many dreads of doom. Do you know what you don’t do with dreads of doom? Give them a poor match rating, that’s what. Plus, there’s this. It’s rather sexy, please avert the eyes of small children as it might not be appropriate. That sound you hear is WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOP.

Joe Biden: 10

Joe looked good out there. He needs to work on his first touch a bit, but I think he really has a future with this team. Look for an appearance against Portugal with a similar outcome hopefully.

Jermaine Jones: >9000

Not only did Jones have a massive game, assisting Dempsey’s goal, crushing attacks from Ghana left and right, but he didn’t end Sulley Muntari’s life like we all expected him to do when he got in Jones’ face after a pretty rash challenge. Personally I think that was incredibly kind of Jones. Because I saw a very different outcome when that all went down. Thou shall not offend Jermaine or thou shall be smited -Jürgen 13:13. Remember that, it might save your life someday. Best game in a US kit for Jones, talk about stepping up to the pressure.

Alejandro Bedoya: Ambassador to Brazil

Ale looks good out there. He created some danger, took some decent looks on goal, and whipped in a nasty free kick. He also fulfilled the TSG prediction of him being the US Ambassador to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup by ambassadoring it up out there. He did it well. Hopefully his legs were just cramping toward the end of the of the day because the US is going to need him.

American Outlaws: About 20k.

That’s how many US fans were reported to be at the game in Natal. THAT MANY. Absurd? Yeah, honestly, probably. We’ve come a long way folks. This US support is immense, not to mention the support all over the nation.

Clint Dempsey: 1 Minute

That’s how long it took Clint to score. OH HELL YES. Essentially here’s what happened:

Yep, that.

Jozy Altidore: 17

Please be okay. Please please pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee please please. PLEASE. I’ll give you any number you want if we get to see 17 back on the field ASAP. My phone number, my credit card number, my social security number, really any number JOZY.

Swedish Referees: Not Koman Coulibaly

Yes, that’s a number. A number called we didn’t get CONCACAF’D or Koman’d in a ridiculous spot tonight. So it’s a number I love. You should love it too.

Aron Jóhannsson: 10

Tough spot for him to come in. Holding the ball up isn’t really his game. We were victorious, so a 10 for him.



John Anthony Brooks: 1,000,000

Scores a massive goal on his World Cup debut in a game that also cap ties him, that he had to come in at half time as a substitute in an incredibly pressure packed situation. The only real question is if 1 million is high enough?

Graham Zusi: 19!

Speaking of big plays, Zusi has them. And excels at them. Is there a way to say someone is getting more clutch? Because his clutchness is off the charts right now. The clutchness charts.

Mix Diskerud: A perfect 10

Gratuitous hair flip inbound. Why? Why not, that’s why. AMERICAAAAAAAA 3 POINTS LET’S DO THISSSS.

51 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by KP on 2014/06/17 at 6:46 AM

    Two Points:
    1-As noted above, kudos to the boys leaving the game with no cards. I’d be curious how many world cup games the US have played in without any cards. Cant be many…
    2-Just a thought for the lineup against Portugal…what about a 4-5-1 with Clint up top and then a 5 of Jones, Beckerman, Bradley, Zusi and Bedoya. It would seem that adding a defensively sound midfielder would be better than having Johannson or Dempsey be responsible for one of the flanks.


  2. I completely agree with all your ratings, 1000%. (Except all of them should be higher.) That was the most miserable and amazing 90 minutes of my life. But watching Brooks come to the realization that he’d scored the goal to put them up again in the WORLD fricking CUP and just be overcome and humbled by the moment was just a beautiful thing and made all the suffering and mental anguish totally worthwhile.

    Dempsey played 70 minutes of the game choking on his own damn blood. (Remember that next time they make a big deal when someone makes a brave play after being injured and hobbles off to the bench at the end of their 45 second shift in the Stanley Cup.) Jones was immense. Bradley was awful but we won and the General is not going to do that twice. It’s only going to get better from here.


  3. Posted by Crow on 2014/06/17 at 7:29 AM

    Wow my first World Cup game and you couldn’t ask more from the experience. The atmosphere was electric. Felt like I blacked out the first goal and was crying on the 2nd. Just trying to enjoy this for a few days and not worried about not having Boyd or Eddie Johnson on the roster.


    • Posted by FellainisFro on 2014/06/17 at 12:14 PM

      Crow I am so jealous. What was the game like with 20,000 USA fans in attendance? I don’t think we even had that many at the 2011 Gold Cup Final at the Rose Bowl.


  4. Posted by Jim on 2014/06/17 at 7:58 AM

    The whole bar was singing “God Bless America” after the final whistle… Also the guys I was with doubled our “USA” chants loudly in the faces of a small group of Ghanians who were trying to leave inconspicuously… They were annoying the whole game so we paid them back for treading on America.


  5. Posted by Steve in DC on 2014/06/17 at 8:07 AM

    This is how all match ratings should be done.


  6. Posted by KMac on 2014/06/17 at 8:16 AM

    Classic-witty parody sir. I know how much you love player ratings!


  7. Hell of a win last night when you factor in the WC inexperience on the team, string of injuries, and quality of the opponent. Just some food for thought for the rest of the group stage:

    Using ESPN’s Soccer Index numbers/projections, and my own ballpark estimates on the odds of winning tiebreakers if they come into play, the U.S. now has a 66% chance to advance to the knockout round, including a 10% chance of finishing first. If you assume that Germany wins their last two games, it’s a 62% chance to advance.

    A Germany win over Ghana on Saturday would help a lot actually, effectively making it a two-team race between the U.S. and Portugal for the final spot in the knockout round. If Germany beats Ghana, then the U.S. can lock up a knockout round spot by beating Portugal on Sunday. Interestingly that result would also lock up a spot for Germany, so the final game vs. Germany would only matter for deciding first/second place in the group and would allow for key players to rest on both sides if needed.

    A draw vs. Portugal also greatly helps the U.S.’s chances while hurting Portugal’s. If Germany beats Ghana, a U.S.-Portugal tie would eliminate Ghana and put Germany through to the knockout round, and it would require Portugal to beat Ghana, the U.S. to lose to Germany, and Portugal to make up 5 goals in goal difference on the U.S. on the final day in order for Portugal to edge out the U.S. Overall a draw vs. Portugal gives the U.S. an 83% chance to advance, and it goes to 90% if Germany beats Ghana.

    A loss to Portugal would be devastating, although not fatal, as it would drop our chances to 25%. Portugal would be in the driver’s seat because they would have a good chance of passing the U.S. on points or goal difference on the final day. This scenario would likely force the U.S. to pick up at least a draw vs. Germany, if not a win.


  8. Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/06/17 at 11:08 AM

    I’m terrified at Ronaldo running at our full backs. I think Fabian will be able to keep up. Beasley not so sure about.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/06/18 at 5:11 AM

      Assuming he starts as a left forward, what I am worried about is how effectively you ‘pass-off’ Ronaldo as he cuts in – do you go pure zonal or man-to-man? If the latter and Johnson follows him, who fills the void left at RB?

      I guess Fabio Coentrao being injured is a good thing – anybody know much about Andre Almeida?


      • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/06/18 at 8:08 AM

        I think a key is to not use a fullback against ronaldo deep in your own end. Let the centerback come over. The danger from ronaldo isn’t his crossing (which is decent, but not otherworldly). You keep him outside and force a pass or cross.

        When challenging him at the midline, use the fullback. But have cameron and Beckerman cover the space if he goes past. That is the real worry. How do they handle him coming inside from the wing? Both are decent tacklers. Getting a good tackle in without fouling is difficult. Who is the ref for this game?


      • Or just have Jermaine man mark him the whole match until one of them gets sent off. Maybe we’ll get lucky…


  9. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/06/17 at 12:33 PM

    There is some worry for the game against Portugal. I am not sure how we play. Looking at the Germany game, I feel we want a 100% Bedoya for that game. So some rest for him is a good idea.

    Besler shouldn’t be used against Portugal. Even a slight hamstring tweak needs a full two weeks of rest to be back to 100%. Playing him again this soon risks a life long hamstring injury. This I know from personal experience.

    AJ was bad in this game, never really adapting to the game. Jozy’s high pressure and defense were missed more than anything else (Amazing thought that). Neither Clint nor AJ provided that.

    I feel that Jones needs some rest here too. Given how well he played its hard to sit him, but he really was all over the field, we will need him to do that again for Germany. Beckerman doesn’t do all that much hard running from his position (smartly so), so I could see him need less rest. Bradley is under 30 and spent the game against Ghana seemingly pacing himself.

    Given how Portugal wilted against Germany after conceding I would start out Positive and adapt from there.


    So this is a basic adaptation of what Germany did to Portugal. Ronaldo does not track the fullback very well so I feel like having Johnson burst past him still makes sense. Having Beckerman and Cameron occupy that zone like enough if we limit the rest of the Portuguese team. So in my thinking Mix=Kroos, Bradley=Kheidra, Beckerman=Lahm. Obviously there is a bit of quality difference. I think Portugaul’s defence can be caught out by intellegent movement from the center forward. Wondo offers that. Clint isn’t really a left winger here, but attacking the box from that angle seems like a smart move, similar to what Gotze did.

    For subs I would have Jones(Maybe he starts?) for Beckerman, Bedoya/Davis/Green for Mix, Chandler/Yedlin for Johnson (who will need I sub I think)



    • Posted by Ufficio on 2014/06/18 at 6:57 PM

      I can’t see sitting any players against Portugal with an eye to resting them for Germany. Especially if Germany takes care of business against Ghana on Saturday; a point against Portugal will just about wrap up passage to the knockouts.


      • Posted by jeppley on 2014/06/19 at 4:15 AM

        I don’t think the concern is about resting Beseler so he can play against Gemrany. You rest Beseler here because he’s not ready to play a whole game. Hamstring strains can take a long time to heal and if you push it, they come right back. There’s a good chance that if Besler starts, that he has to get pulled half-way through the game.

        Klinsmann didn’t get to make a single tactical sub against Ghana. All three subs were used for injured players.


        • Posted by Ufficio on 2014/06/19 at 5:55 AM

          Obviously you don’t play Besler if he’s not ready, but I was referring to resting Jones/Bedoya with an eye to Germany. A point against Portugal is more valuable and more attainable than a point against Germany. The ROI is much higher on Sunday, so you put all available resources into that game.


          • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/06/19 at 7:33 AM

            Yeah I can see that argument. I was also thinking of the rest as a point to the ability of the players. Are Jones or Bedoya at 80-90% after coming off a intense game better than Zusi and (missing player) at 100%?

            That Said I am leaning toward starting them both:


            Also an interesting point is I thought Portugal played a diamond 4-4-2 more than a real 4-3-3


            It will be interesting to see how the change given the injuries and form. I would drop Nani on form, but everyone else didn’t really seem too bad.


  10. Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/17 at 12:53 PM

    The scary thing about Bradley’s malaise is that he played similarly through the first 2 friendlies with a breakout again Nigeria where he had more time on the ball it seemed. Yesterday was more trend then exception….


    • Posted by James H on 2014/06/17 at 2:07 PM

      Wouldn’t worry about MB – he’ll come good.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/06/17 at 11:10 PM

        I’m wondering now about his foot.


        • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/06/18 at 6:29 AM

          He has looked fairly slow. I am wondering if he is 100%. Might make sense to use him and Jones in Tandem here to give them both some rest.


      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/18 at 6:49 AM

        Would like to believe as well but observable facts are that he has been very erratic in possession AND distribution for 3 out of 4 games so far and just generally playing much slower than he was during his Italy stint. And there was the brainless cross into the box at 92 mins when he has 30 yds of space to take it to the corner and run the clock down…. jawdroppingly un-Mikey like…its as if he and JJ exchanged personalities in some Freaky Friday accident….

        Speaking of JJ…If Jones continues to play the way he is he’ll be in the best 11 for the first round. On rewatch he was far and above the best and most influential player on both sides last night. Consistently positioned well and played with controlled abandon for 90 mins. He was chasing down guys in the 80-90 min range and making balls out runs alongside MB and Johannson late in the game. I have been a critic at times of his manic approach but at least last night, he dropped it down a gear into MOM territory without the hijinx…

        Hoping that AJ was just suffering from being thrown into the big spotlight last night and couldn’t blink it off. He was pushed off the ball easily far too often and his hold up play was mostly nonexistent…

        Beckerman proved again that he belongs at this level…a few times last night where the ball turned over in the mid third with countering written all over it and he masterfully shuttled the possession outwide and harassed the ball backwards…I was impressed on rewatch..

        Tim Howard is consistently the MVP of this squad with his 3-5 big time saves and running our patchwork back line….

        Cameron is very good IMO for a guy thrown in to CB….

        Beasley takes a lot of stick and doesn’t ever look pretty but what a professional footballer…he works his ass of and protects his flank very well…

        Losing Pepe AND Coentrao is about as good a break as the US can ask for….not sure if having Ronaldo and his ability to piss off anddemotivate his teammates in there isn’t a better option than having him out….


        • Posted by Arthur on 2014/06/18 at 10:28 AM

          Agree with everything but the point about Howard, who does deserve credit for helping lead a patchwork backline. Howard was not called into making 3-5 big time saves against Ghana. He made some good saves, and some difficult saves that every World Cup keeper should make. It was a bit annoying to hear Twellman go off on the “To win in the World Cup, the US needs outstanding keeper performance” meme after a fairly decent save against Gyan in the 31st. But he was not considered MOTM by any of the major broadcasters, blogs, or websites.


          • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/18 at 10:41 AM

            The point is that he is so “consistently” excellent for them that his value is huge to them. I didn’t think he was MOTM but their MVP who brings the highest level of goalkeeping and organization to a back line that is a worry at best and a disaster at its worst. I frankly don’t think that Twellman was off base as their defending normally requires him to be a game saver on multiple occasions. We’re a bit spoiled IMO…


            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/06/18 at 1:18 PM

              Personally, I thought Howard was very solid. He wasn’t ‘spectacular’ because Ghana didn’t give him reason to be — moot point now, but Ghana had too many looks at goal for my liking, but they could not hit the target.

              I’d worry about giving Portugal and Germany that much time and space to shoot from the top of the box.

          • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/06/18 at 4:34 PM


            Look at it another way.

            Would you rather the US be like Russia or Spain ? Russia’s keeper cost them 2 vital points and Casiilas is arguably in the lead for the title of Goat of the Tournament for almost single handedly flushing Spain’s title down the toilet.

            From what I’ve seen Guzan and Nicky could be starters for more than a few teams in this World Cup.

            You should be thankful.


  11. Posted by James H on 2014/06/17 at 2:15 PM

    Had to say, Brooks celebration may not have been the flashiest, most stylistic, sensational or choreographed one – but it was damn sure the sweetest. One of those rare moments in sports…


    • Posted by FellainisFro on 2014/06/17 at 9:08 PM

      Agreed. It was one of those rare moments that demonstrated genuine human emotion without the attendant cynicism.


      • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/06/18 at 4:37 PM

        Mostly, Brooks reflected what I think most people felt which was that the whole thing just did not seem quite real. What a great kid.


  12. Posted by Rainier Wolfcastle on 2014/06/17 at 11:06 PM

    Speaking of the hair flip, what about moving Deuce up to the striker position and playing Mix underneath? Johansson did not have enough size or toughness to possess the ball against Ghana, and I’m afraid it would be the same story with either him or Wondo against Portugal. They say in Germany that you don’t need a true striker…


    • Posted by Felix on 2014/06/18 at 5:57 AM

      I had the same idea about putting Clint up top and sliding Mix underneath. Would give us two creative players up top who may be able to open up the defense even in a 2 v 2/3 situation.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/18 at 6:57 AM

      Sadly, against statue-like Bruon Alves and a replacement CB and LB having someone experienced in WC play out wide right who isn’t afraid to run at attackers would be ideal for this roster….hmmmm….can’t think of anyone that fits that description right now….


      • Posted by Jon on 2014/06/18 at 7:38 AM

        Johansson can run at players from the right, even though he seems to prefer the left. As someone else said, Ronaldo will not be tracking FJ, so if we can slide one of the mids over to cover behind FJ bombing forward, we should be good. The last match was played on the US left. I believe this match will be played on our right.


        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/18 at 10:28 AM

          Johansson didn’t look like he wanted to run at anyone v Ghana TBH…he seemed to shrink from the ball and get pushed around easily as the game went on.
          I was wondering aloud whether a certain seasoned WC vet/hero who was left off the roster might be a nice option to go to at this point as a known offensive weapon…


          • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/06/18 at 4:11 PM

            You’re dreaming of a Donovan from long ago. He doesn’t run at people anymore. Show me the last time Donovan has run at a good full back and excelled? And please don’t show me MLS tape.


            • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/18 at 6:15 PM

              Go watch US Mex from Sept 2013 if you’d like to actually have an objective discussion since the rest of his professional portfolio is off limits in your well ordered world. There’s 3 or 4 times that he attacks 2 defenders from the left and gets a shot or cross off. He also is the guy that crashed the net and slotted home the winner but that probably won’t count either somehow. That’s something he’s done pretty consistently for this side…
              Not saying that Johansson isn’t a nice young player but the moment seemed to be bigger than him which tends to happen in these big moments. Wondolowski is a situational forward with limitations to his game that make him a poor choice for 70 mins…

          • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/06/18 at 4:44 PM


            Your wondering reminds me of the Mexico friendly and LD going against the 45 year old Rafa and being made to look old..

            AJ did not have a functional Dempsey to help him out once Clint got on field cosmetic surgery. Under very trying circumstances I would say AJ did well.


            • Posted by Rainier Wolfcastle on 2014/06/18 at 10:34 PM

              I thought he was quite poor. Was easily knocked off the ball and did little else to help the team when they desperately needed possession. To me he looks too slight to play a central role and too slow to play a wide role. His positioning, passing and shot when he’s not pressured, which makes him something better than a skilled poacher. But since we have Wondo and Dempsey as the other options up top AJ doesn’t seem to bring a lot of other value.

              I was OK with the EJ omission under the circumstances (his bad attitude and bad form) but the team could have really used the good EJ on Sunday.

          • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/06/18 at 6:18 PM


            On the other hand maybe you are thinking of Gooch.

            AC Milan did use him as a center froward in a game I actually saw and he looked……interesting. AJ will probably be a better option.


      • Posted by gino744 on 2014/06/18 at 9:53 PM

        Let it go, KN. Landon is wearing a suit in Brazil, not a US kit. Pining over him is an exercise in futility. If there were a more valid “what if” about Klinsmann’s decisions about who not to bring, it might be the “who replaces Jozy up top?” concern. Again, Terence Boyd and Eddie Johnson are not on the roster so the only worthwhile question is who starts now that Altidore is out?


  13. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/06/18 at 12:04 PM

    First let me say I am a Donovan fan. But the number of times he has come up since Jozy’s injury is ridiculous.

    With our talent we were never going to win games at this world cup on talent. We are going to win because our players want it more than theirs. Heck even the top teams are about wanting it more. Do you think the England roster has ever been without talent?Top to bottom our roster is about giving 100% of what you are all of the time. Its about the desire and drive to be the best you can be.

    Donovan is about none of that. That works for him. If it keeps him as a grounded, well rounded person, that’s fine. He has earned to right to be about more than soccer 100% of the time. But he is not on the roster because of that. Not personal bias, not talent, but because he no longer is willing to give 100% to be the best he can be.


    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/18 at 12:16 PM

      Two words…Timmy……Chandler….
      your argument is undermined a bit by the fact that a guy that demonstrably rejected and screwed with the USMNT for 18 months was called in to the squad…

      Let alone an 18 yr old who apparently agreed to come on board only if he was GIVEN a WC spot in spite of the fact that he hasn’t earned or frankly proven that he deserves it…

      Let’s apply your 100% test to those two players…or will it then shift to the position argument…

      I don’t think that Donovan is the savior of the MNT at this stage of his career but to mak the case that player selection by Klinsmann has been anything but coherent and based on some esoteric “wanting it more” ethos…the exceptions above are glaringly obvious…

      We need weapons not projects on our bench at the biggest tournament…


      • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/06/18 at 1:15 PM

        First, we know nothing about green so we can’t really speak to him. The point here isn’t about experience or ability but about wanting it.

        Second, when has Chandler not given 100% since being cap tied. Yes he was out for 18 months. Because he wasn’t call in. Either because he was crap or because he was injured.

        We question his commitment because of a turning down the Gold Cup invite from 2011 and the friendlies and qualifiers in 2012. We don’t really know what that was about. Maybe he was hoping to get into the German team, maybe he just wanted to get settled professionally. But never has his dedication to being the best player he can be been questioned.

        All that said, I do have a problem with chandler over parkhurst. Not because of desire, but because of skill and positional flexibility.


      • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/06/18 at 6:35 PM


        “Two words…Timmy……Chandler….
        your argument is undermined a bit by the fact that a guy that demonstrably rejected and screwed with the USMNT for 18 months was called in to the squad”

        Your argument is undermined by the fact that JK says the narrative is not exactly as you portray it. The only people who actually know what happened those 18 months are Chandler and JK but I would point out that for a substantial part of that time Chandler was out of form and out of favor or injured with Nurmberg.

        JK says bad form and injury are why Chandler was not called in sooner and then, when he recovered his form he blew up his knee which may not yet be 100%.

        I am aware you believe JK to be a liar but if he says he’s okay with Chandler and the rest of the team seems okay with Chandler then I see no reason to care about whether the narrative is exactly 100% true to life. It’s JK’s team and he will pay if screws up so he deserves the right to pick the players he wants.

        When you become the USMNT manager, I assume you will want that same autonomy.

        The other thing going on here is supply and demand. Attacking players the US had a surplus of. Defenders not so much. You all hated Evans, Parkhurst, Orozco and Goodson and they aren’t here, Chandler is.


        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/18 at 7:25 PM

          Soooo….if I can summarize your strange pretzel shaped logic diagram …WE can’t understand what JK is thinking but YOU somehow do..congrats on that insider role you’ve carved out for yourself in your mind…
          never said he was a liar and am quite confused as to how you made that leap….the topic before “you and your quotes” dropped in was someones statement that Donovan’s exclusion was based on some clear edict from Klinsi re 100% commitment to the cause and top form being the criteria for inclusion….
          my two examples highlight that there were obvious exceptions to that rule and Chandler and Green are excellent and rational examples of that incongruity….

          It may be helpful to remind you that this is a blog….where people express opinions…your pedantic quotation laden speechifying is just plain getting old


          • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/06/19 at 8:06 AM


            “WE can’t understand what JK is thinking but YOU somehow do..”

            I don’t understand what JK is thinking, I merely recite what his explanations to the media about these situations were.

            “the topic before “you and your quotes” dropped in was someones statement that Donovan’s exclusion was based on some clear edict from Klinsi re 100% commitment to the cause and top form being the criteria for inclusion….”

            JK gave his explanation for Chandler’s and LD’s situations. You can either believe him or not. What you write indicates that either you never read his explanations or you don’t accept them.

            “my two examples highlight that there were obvious exceptions to that rule and Chandler and Green are excellent and rational examples of that incongruity….”

            What rule? Those are your rules. They are incongruous perhaps to your version of what you perceive to be JK’s selection criteria. He has laid out general guidelines but, to the best of my knowledge, he has never issued a detailed all encompassing explanation on the rationales for each player selection.

            He has never held a press conference where he went over each and every player and then explained his choice in great detail and then did the same with the guys who did not make the cut. . I don’t think I’ve ever seen any manager in any sport ever do that.

            He is the manager and, as long as his bosses are okay with it, he picks who he wants for his reasons, not yours.or mine.

            “It may be helpful to remind you that this is a blog….where people express opinions…your pedantic quotation laden speechifying is just plain getting old”

            As you say this is a blog and since you want opinions, mine is that your arguments rehashing the LD exclusion are “just plain gettin old”.

            Chandler is on the team and Donovan, as they say, ain’t walking in that door.


        • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/06/19 at 7:58 AM

          I just want to say that I think both points of view are valid here. Please Don’t get too upset or defensive on either side of the debate. This is about our opinions based on observations.

          But I just feel that as a teammate I would prefer to know that everyone is giving 100%. Donovan’s words and actions made me feel that he wasn’t giving 100%. He was giving 80%. Was that 80% still better than others on the team? Probably. But I think that feeling can undermine a whole team selection process.

          Look at the spain team. They embraced that thought. 80% Xavi is better to Del Bosque than 100% Koke. Their whole team just looked off. They didn’t want it.

          The opposite is Italy. Pirlo isn’t in the team because he is at 80%. He’s there because he is 100%. Maybe without the pace and endurance of his younger years. But he is there to give 100%.

          Still with all that said. I do wish Donovan was on the team and that he had shown that drive and desire from 2010. Even without the physical ability from then, he is definitely at a level that helps the team.


          • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2014/06/20 at 7:47 AM


            I wanted LD on this team. The 2010 LD that I remember. But that guy is gone.

            Since JK took over Donovan never seemed to fully commit to this team. I believe he had every opportunity to declare his commitment to this team and never really did. I don’ think that is something you just turn off and on.

            JK recognized this early on when he named Dempsey captain. The team moved on..

            So far, this World Cup has shown you just how important team cohesion,hunger and energy are.. Look at Costa Rica, Chile or even Mexico.

            Those teams showed you what heart is all about. And the USMNT showed you heart in the Ghana game. Now let’s see if they can express their skill on top of that heart. , .


  14. Posted by Josh on 2014/06/18 at 1:48 PM

    Matthew, thank you as always for this tremendous blog. This is the best USA football blog around. And from the ‘Cuse no less! I think we were there at the same time. Go U-S-and A!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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