Saturday, November 12, 2005
Get out the red pens ...
I grade the U.S. - Scotland match:

Goalkeepers
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Kasey Keller - 7 - Did what he needed to do. Couldn't have done anything about the goal but was never really tested. He's the number one ... I'd like to see Howard or Hannehman get a shot to get some PT.

Defenders
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Jonathan Spector - 8 - I was very impressed by Spector and thought he got forward very well and once he got used to the speed and intensity after the first 15 minutes that he got involved and physical when needed. That elbow to the chest he gave late in the game will get him a red card in the World Cup so he's gotta be careful about that.

Carlos Bocanegra - 7 - Did what he needed to do.

Gregg Berhalter - 7 - Didn't hear much about him. I guess that's a good thing when you're on defense.

Steve Cherundolo - 8 - Glad to see him back in the lineup. Really is an impressive player, holds down his side and does an excellent job getting forward, something that's very important in Il Bruce's philosophy.

Heath Pearce - 7 - Had to play out of the position but didn't wet the bed so he gets an average grade for this one.

Jimmy Conrad - n/a - Wasn't on long enough to make much of a difference.

Midfielders
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DaMarcus Beasley - 8 - Easily the U.S.'s most dangerous player. Looked great with the ball at his feet but it's obvious he doesn't like the right foot. To make the leap as a player, he's going to need to get better moving to his right. All over the field today. Scotland couldn't match his speed (though, really, aside from USC, who can?).

Kerry Zavagnin - 6 - Il Bruce is looking for someone to replace Chris Armas if he isn't ready to go by the time the World Cup comes around. KZ didn't help himself. Maybe Bruce is trying to get him enough caps to play in England or something.

Brian Carroll - 7 - I thought he played really well early on but sort of disappeared later in the game. Controlled the ball well and distributed well. Stayed deep.

Eddie Gaven - 5 - Did he touch the ball in the first half? Bruce moved him to the left trying to get him some touches. He's just not a wing player and there's not a whole lot of room in the middle of the park. Not sure what's going to happen to Gaven ... I think he needs to go to Europe if he's going to make a leap as a player.

Ben Olsen - 8 - Well done, Bennie. He played the Armas role perfectly and is exactly what the U.S. needed when he came in. Raised his stock greatly in this game.

Santino Quaranta - 6 - We really need to develop someone to play wide right. Quaranta wasn't really bad, he just didn't really do anything positive. Sort of a ho-hum performance.

Forwards
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Josh Wolff - 7 - Wolff's pass to Beasley which set up the penalty kick which Wolff converted which in most matches would have gotten him an 8 rating was brilliant. The finish was nice, too. He was also buzzing around and getting active. However, he flopped too easily and never really seemed to have his feet today. A better performance than I'm used to, though.

Brian Ching - 6 - Bruce seems to want him to be a Brian McBride forward but I'm not sure if that's really teh role he's suited for. Ching missed a couple of good header opportunities and couldn't stay on his feet long enough to do stuff. Didn't really win the long headers up front, either.

Chris Rolfe - 7 - I don't know if he's ready for the World Cup this summer but he's going to be very, very effective in our offense. He is Landon Donovan part 2 without the intimidation yet and can play the same withdrawn striker role that Donovan has perfected for the national team. I don't know if Bruce has room for him this summer but Chris is going to make it impossible to leave him off the roster at some point. I don't know how much longer he's going to stay in MLS but it just goes to show that Chicago has the best scouting department in the league. Beasley, Bocanegra, Ralph and now Rolfe? That's really impressive.

Overall
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It's great for us to get a match like this in a hostile environment that we can honestly be disappointed to not win with our B team. Would have liked to see more offense from the Americans but it was a great match for the environment we should expect to see next summer. Overall, we got what we needed out of that match.

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