There was some good stuff on display from the US national team and about as much bad stuff, but in the end the team can take heart in a stunning stoppage time rally for a 3-2 win over CONCACAF World Cup qualifying closing day hosts Panama.
The Nats started brightly, but eventually fell behind twice as mistakes on and off the ball piled up. However, the never-say-die gang once again saddled up behind game-saving substitutes to work some late magic in a contest that meant nothing to the Americans in terms of qualification and the misfortune of fifth place in the Hex to heartbroken Panama.
GK Brad Guzan (5.5) – It was an up-and-down night for the Aston Villa star, who was tied to his line on a couple of early crosses and should have done better placing a parried centering feed on Panama's second. On the other hand, Guzan also made two big saves to keep the visitors close enough to rally.
RB Brad Evans (5) – The converted right back finally experienced plenty of troubles back in his defensive corner. And though Evans was more aggressive in moving forward, he was never particularly surgical in the final third.
CB Clarence Goodson (6.5) – The Earthquakes defender was quite solid over the opening hour or so, and then the hosts seemed to mostly avoid him. Goodson did get away with a badly lost goalmouth mark eight minutes from time, though.
CB Michael Orozco Fiscal (6) – The Puebla man continued his odd mastery of restarts with a plucky goal that put the US on the board. The strike went a long way toward covering a mixed bag showing in defense, with the biggest demerit coming when he neglected to help deal with the assist man on Panama's opener.
CB Edgar Castillo (4.5) – The left back had all sorts of problems in the first half, both defensively and on the ball; his bad turnover facilitated the game's first goal. Though he played considerably better after the break, Castillo was also among the culpable on Panama's late second goal.
DM Kyle Beckerman (4.5) – The Real Salt Lake mainstay had his moments, but was far too often caught out of position. Beckerman also allowed Luis Tejeda to sneak past him when the home side took their second lead five minutes from time.
DM Sacha Kljestan (6) – The Anderlecht midfielder often cleverly nudged the visitors in the right direction. However, "Inspector Kljouseau" also bumbled a bit, including three troublesome incidents of being caught in possession in his own own half.
RW Alejandro Bedoya (5) – The Nantes newcomer was generally decent on the flank, even if he could have shown more aggressiveness upon reaching the area. The right back stint was ill-advised and it showed, but it's a struggle to blame him much for such a wild assignment.
CAM Mikkel Diskerud (6) – Those dreamy locks of hair were flowing in the wind early, when Mix repeatedly gave the US a fresh point of attack. He eventually faded somewhat toward the end of his 62 minutes of work.
LW Graham Zusi (5.5) – Until his cracking header re-tied the match in stoppage time, Zusi struggled through one of his more frustrating US appearances to date. In addition to looking uncomfortable wide left, the Sporting KC man had a handful of glitches in his defensive game.
FWD Jozy Altidore (6.5) – After suffering through an admittedly clumsy outing on Friday, Altidore accepted the captain's armband and showed well in his build-up play in the first half. After the break, though, his teammates oddly seemed to forget Altidore was out there.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (6) – It's not exactly a game for judging the manager harshly, but it's still a good time to remind that questionable camp omissions will lead to some worrisome line-ups. On the plus side, Klinsi is turning into quite the substitute wizard.
LW Brad Davis (7) – It was a molasses slow start for the Houston attacker, but he got up to speed in time for a pair of game-tying assists. The Davis cross that Zusi hammered home was as tempting as they get.
FWD Aron Jóhannsson (7) – Shh. Nobody wake the supremely relaxed AZ Alkmaar hitman while he lashes home a last minute winner like it was nothing. Ho-hum.
FWD Terrence Boyd (6) – It would have been nice if he'd timed his jump sooner on the doorstep header chance, but Boyd definitely unnerved Panama with his runs and picked up a cheap assist on the deciding goal as a reward.
- Sports & Recreation
- Brad Guzan