U.S. player ratings vs. Guadeloupe (scale of 1-10) in the U.S.' 1-0 win.
GK, Tim Howard, 7 -- Surprisingly little to do for the U.S. No. 1 on a night when Guadeloupe needed a result. He was beaten early but bailed out by the post, and really needed to handle the ball only a few times after that. He was sure-handed when balls did come his way.
D, Steve Cherundolo, 8 -- Lots of classy, calm defending on yet another good night for the man who just won't be dislodged as the mainstay at right back. Very little trouble came down his side and he always manages to have something to say on offense. A sly little change of pace always comes in handy as he seems to get by defenders easily at times. He wasn't rewarded for setting up Dempsey with one of several inviting crosses, but he's not the only U.S. players who can say that tonight, unfortunately.
D, Carlos Bocanegra, 7 -- To put things right with his offense, Bob Bradley called on the veteran to move back into the center. To no one's surprise, Bocanegra was on top of things. There was very little going wrong in the U.S. defense, although the team was slow to organize once again after an initial clearance of a restart, which nearly led to early disaster. Recognizing some first-half danger, he scooted over frequently to assist Eric Lichaj on the lively Livio Nabab.
WAHL: Head-shaking win for U.S.
D, Clarence Goodson, 7 -- A nice night from the man whom Bradley selected over Tim Ream to partner with Bocanegra in the middle. Goodson did get sucked out of position a time or two, although nothing too outrageous. Still, he'll have to work out the positional kinks; he might get away with it against this team, but "Chicharito" possibly awaits. Goodson spent much of the first half scrapping it out gamely with Richard Socrier, a big fellow and a real handful.
D, Eric Lichaj, 6 -- The up-and-comer still doesn't look completely at home as a left back, but he did have a better night than in his previous start there against Spain. (Which certainly shouldn't surprise anyone considering the gulf in quality between the two nations.) Lichaj generally managed things on his side adequately, although he seemed stretched a time or two with Nabab's pace and aggressiveness. In the physical battles, the U.S. left back held his own. His confidence blossomed late, seen on two bold dashes into the heart of Guadeloupe's defense.
M, Clint Dempsey, 5 -- His night will be remembered for a slew of near-misses, and one rather astonishing one. He failed to convert three times from 8 yards or closer (not counting the biggie). Two free kicks came very close, one even banging the cross bar. But, oh, has there been a bigger botch in a U.S. shirt than his on the chance arranged so nicely by Alejandro Bedoya? Dempsey started the night on the right and, because he works inside so aggressively, he doesn't combine with Cherundolo as well as Donovan. All in all, a night where he huffed and puffed and put himself in great spots, but just couldn't blow the darn ball across the line.
M, Michael Bradley, 6 -- The coach's son managed the U.S. midfield with a tidy effectiveness, with lots of safe passing and very few flubs in possession. As we've seen before, he's more involved in possession than center midfield partner Jermaine Jones. Also, he managed to avoid a caution, which would have kept him on the sidelines for the quarterfinals.
M, Jermaine Jones, 6 -- A night where he was mostly content to tackle hard and quickly release possession to Bradley or elsewhere. He wore the role well, always on the lookout for his next chance at some rough and tumble. What's more, he was physical without collecting the yellow card that, like Bradley, would have meant quarterfinal suspension. He surged forward a little more in the second half, which reduced the physical strain on Bradley. On the negative side, Jones remains prone to fouling in bad spots; his early trip about 30 yards out nearly became the genesis of yet another early U.S. goal conceded.
WAHL: Postgame thoughts from U.S.-Guadeloupe
M, Landon Donovan, 5 -- Switched with Dempsey and started on the left rather than his usual place across the field. They switched back at halftime. Oddly, he connected well with Cherundolo even from across the field. He always seems to know exactly where the U.S. right back is, and his balls from left to right generally led to something. Otherwise, it was a pretty ordinary night for the all-time U.S. scoring leader.
F, Chris Wondolowski, 4 -- He didn't really exploit his big chance to start in a game that matters, where he replaced Juan Agudelo in the starter's list. He was only marginally involved early, although he did win a free kick in a good spot. He missed on a header and on another shot from close range within about 10 seconds during one moment chaos inside the Gwada Boys penalty area. That's three good chances unconverted going back to Saturday's match, and the MLS Golden Boot winner simply must do better.
F, Jozy Altidore, 7 -- He was relatively quiet after the memorable 9th minute strike that would eventually become a game-winner. He's played a lot over the last 11 days, so he might have been dragging a bit. His goal really was a beauty, and he tried to be active afterward, doing more of the little things than Wondolowski. He's better in some matches than in others at being feisty and drawing fouls; he was the good Altidore in this one.
M, Alejandro Bedoya, 7 -- A good night for the U.S. attacker who came in for Wondolowski in the 64th, playing along the left while Dempsey made his usually shift to forward. Bedoya didn't score but was busy making things happen, taking on defenders, moving sharply off the ball and such. He nearly got onto a couple of headers at the far post, and he put one on a tee for Dempsey. Ahem. We've already talked about that one.
M, Sacha Kljestan, 5 -- Tried to add a little energy to a team that was sagging due to the heat and the taxing schedule of travel and matches, and did so for a few minutes as he replaced Altidore in the 78th. In the end, he didn't do much, good or bad.
M, Maurice Edu, 6 -- Not much time to do anything after spelling Bradley in the 85th.
Coach Bob Bradley -- The back line adjustment paid off, as Bocanegra policed the defense like the veteran he is. The selection of Wondolowski didn't go over as well, as he looks a little overmatched as a starter at this level. He might be better off the bench. The coach stressed discipline and the threatening situation with yellow cards; sure enough, no yellow cards. The U.S. went in without a chance at first place, so a tie was as good as a win in terms of advancing. U.S. supporters might not be happy with a slim win over tiny Guadeloupe, and fair enough for that. But in terms of managing a game that required a result, a plan that was a little vanilla paid off.
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