Steve Davis
Saturday May 29th, 2010

Player ratings from Saturday's 2-1 win over Turkey (scale of 1-10, 10 being best):

Goalkeeper, Tim Howard, 6: Not a ton to do in the first 80 minutes outside a few well deserved tongue lashings directed at a hesitant back line. Toward the end he handled a potentially troublesome low drive and a pushed away a tricky little free kick. One of his best moments was dispossessing an attacker who was about to be whistled offside.

Right back, Jonathan Spector, 3: His starting position was too often askew, which meant most of the trouble from Turkey before halftime came barreling down his side. On offense, those floated crosses just aren't the ticket. If Bradley is deciding between Spector and Steve Cherundolo on the right then his mind should be made up after Saturday. The West Ham man was trying to get back on Turkey's goal, but there's no way around some measure of responsibility when something like that shoots right down your channel.

Center back, Jay DeMerit, 4: Neither starting center back had a great afternoon, as communication was perhaps an issue and inexplicable passivity surely was. He and Goodson couldn't seem to sort out who steps up to attackers as they approach the 18 and who covers. DeMerit's passing out of the back sometimes put midfielders in trouble, and a casual moment near midfield in the 65th nearly turned disastrous. He did seem more at ease with Oguchi Onyewu beside him after the break.

Center back, Clarence Goodson, 4: Nothing particularly wrong with his work in the challenge forwards or in securing his marks, but the whole back line was raggedy for the first 45, so everyone gets their grades nicked for it.

Left back, Carlos Bocanegra, 5: Was a major improvement at left back over the struggling pair who turned U.S. fans gray four nights prior. He's clearly the best defensive option there. On the attack, he missed a couple of opportunities to cross and generally needs to provide more width. When he did attempt delivery from the wing, the balls were speculative and rather aimless. But again, brilliant offense isn't why he's out there.

Midfielder, Benny Feilhaber, 5: With DaMarcus Beasley pressing his case and Bradley still tinkering with the attacking arrangement, this was Feilhaber's big chance, starting on the left of the four-man midfield. He needed to do what Beasley did there on Tuesday or even what Stuart Holden has accomplished on the right over two solid nights: insist that Bradley to see him as an option. Feilhaber wasn't bad in passing and possession, but he couldn't find a way to grab the game by the neck. And what was he thinking in the third minute with the most careless of passes across his own 18?

Midfielder, Michael Bradley, 5: Pretty good at initiating pressure up the field, but he must bear some responsibility for a midfield that was overwhelmed in the first 45. He's the experienced anchor there now; he must sort it out when things start collapsing into chaos. Bradley did hold the midfield better after the break. He certainly needed to be more selfish in the 87th minute after one of his signature late runs into the box ended with a pass rather than a shot.

Midfielder, Ricardo Clark, 4: He was more lost than Bradley in the early going as Turkey found acres of space between the two lines of defense. Clark covers ground like a mad man, but this is where he simply must elevate his game. His positioning and passing can't be just OK; they've got to be World Cup sharp. If not ... well, we saw the results over 45 minutes before he left at halftime.

Midfieder, Landon Donovan, 8: Almost every moment of U.S. attacking danger had Donovan's footprints on it somewhere. His slashing run and sublime touch around Turkey's goalkeeper provided Jozy Altidore with the simplest of finishes. He helped along Clint Dempsey's goal, too. After a quiet start to the afternoon on the left, his impact rose significantly upon switching sides. As usual, his set-piece deliveries always provided a threat.

Forward, Clint Dempsey, 6: What says "classic Dempsey" like a rather undistinguished afternoon that ends in a game-winning goal?

He had a chance to play his preferred position out left in the second half but was nothing special until bullying past Sabri Sar1�oglu to calmly deposit the second U.S. goal. Before halftime, he never looked settled as a second striker. His failure to bond with Altidore is hardly a surprise considering their lack of time together.

Forward, Jozy Altidore, 6: Don't be fooled by the score sheet. His goal was courtesy of Robbie Findley's wonderful pass and Donovan's skill and industry. Altidore's afternoon? Meh. He needs to work his way into the game a little more, finding ways to inspire himself whether that means chasing back, fighting harder to retain possession or just clattering around a bit more to harass defenders. Maybe he's just too young to realize what's at stake. Those footsteps he's hearing are Findley closing in on more minutes.

Substitutions

Defender, Oguchi Onyewu, 7: He was only on the ball a handful of times but never looked hurried or awkward, and that's a major step in the right direction. A big, brave block in the 62nd was icing on 45 minutes that will go far in spurring confidence for himself and for teammates (and for a nation of fans with their fingers tightly crossed.)

Midfielder, Jose Torres, 7: The little wisp of a midfielder helped change the game with better passing alongside Bradley than that Clark had offered; He even got on the ground for a couple of worthwhile tackles, which isn't the strength of his game. Torres nearly pulled off something special with a tricky little free kick late.

Defender, Steve Cherundolo, 6: The longtime Bundesliga vet's experience came shining through as he immediately pounced on the game, looking far more settled than Spector ever thought about being. He is also much better than his young right-back competitor in quickly recognizing the moments to join the attack. Cherundolo nicked his day slightly with a late foul in a bad place.

Forward, Robbie Findley, 6: A surprisingly impressive afternoon for Bradley's most unexpected roster selection, quickly inventing ways to get involved. In South Africa, he could be asked to do just what he did Saturday: kicking the attack into a higher gear with speed. Findley chased down plays form behind and turned aggressively at defenders when he could. He kept the ball too long in a couple of spots, but that sweet pass to Donovan to help arrange the first goal more than atoned.

Defender, Jonathan Bornstein, 4: A late sub at left back for Bocanegra, who is still not 100 percent fit and needed to be protected.

Bornstein got turned around clumsily in stoppage time as Turkey went flying in for a potential equalizer.

Midfielder, Stuart Holden, 7: He made the most of about 10 minutes as a late sub on the right, as Altidore went out and Donovan moved up front. Holden had one very wise pass (putting Bradley through) and a couple of nifty little moves. He knows how to play that spot, working inside frequently but still popping outside enough to widen the attack.

Manager Bob Bradley: Got most of his best players into the lineup while protecting Bocanegra and Onyewu against overuse. The team still (still!) looks vulnerable to counters after corners. And he has work to do yet in organizing a defense that's clearly not World Cup ready.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.