JOHN KRETLOW - Wednesday, June 12, 2013
It was a special night in Seattle as the US National Team dominated Panama and took the vital three points in World Cup Qualifying.
As a whole, the US played confident and creative soccer throughout. They pushed the game to Panama by attacking from various areas of the field and from different players.
Particularly, Jozy Altidore played extremely strong. He took his goal well in the first half, was influential in the final third with his back to goal, and linked up with his fellow attackers.
The center midfield duo also was in fine form. Michael Bradley orquestrated a number of attacks moving forward and provided simple and quick distribution. Geoff Cameron filled in admirably for Jermaine Jones and was key in the US' second goal.
The US is clearly playing with a great deal of chemistry and credit must go to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for sticking with the same core lineup in these last games and plugging in fine substitutes for Graham Zusi and Jones.
With just a week until the next qualifier, the US will look to take the same mentality and confidence into their game against Honduras in Salt Lake City.
Tim Howard, 7: He did not have much to do for the majority of the game, but he made an important sliding save on Rolando Blackburn in stoppage time.
DaMarcus Beasley, 7: The Puebla man made strong runs forward and kept Panama's wingers on their heals throughout the game. He made a strong run into the box in the 80th minute but hit the post unluckily.
Matt Besler, 7: Sporting Kansas City center defender played another solid performance for the US. He was composed throughout and covered for Brad Evans well when pulled wide.
Omar Gonzalez, 6: He was strong in the air and read passes well throughout the game. However, the Galaxy defender was caught ball watching late in the game allowing for Blackburn to sneak behind him and nearly cut the US lead in half.
Brad Evans, 6: The Seattle star was beaten a couple of times on one v. one situations, though his wing partner should have helped him more throughout the game defensively.
Geoff Cameron, 8: The Stoke City man played his first center midfield game for the US admirably. He broke up plays in the back and sparked the attack on many occasions, including his perfectly weighted ball that found Eddie Johnson for the game's second goal.
Fabian Johnson, 7: The German-American was influential playing in the midfield again, making strong runs forward, playing well with Beasley, and tracking back admirably. His pass to Altidore in the first half was perfect, and his chemistry with Dempsey, Altidore, Bradley, and Cameron was great.
Michael Bradley, 8: The General controlled the pace of the game incredibly well for the US, providing simple and quick distribution. He also made strong runs forward and linked up well with Altidore and Clint Dempsey, giving the Panama defense fits.
Eddie Johnson, 6.5: Going forward, the Sounders' star was very strong, exemplified by his killer run and goal in the second half. However, he left Evans alone defensively on too many occasions, allowing for Panama to play their best offensive soccer on that side of the field.
Clint Dempsey, 7: Dempsey was unlucky not to find the back of the net in the second half when he hit the post following an Altidore shot. The Tottenham man took the attention of Felipe Baloy, leaving Altidore more space throughout the game.
Jozy Altidore, 8.5: This was a man of the match performance for the forward. Altidore played great with his back to goal, distributed very well, and displayed killer touch throughout the match. He took his goal well and his link up play brought the best out of his wingers.
Brad Davis, NR: The Dynamo midfielder came on for Fabian Johnson late in the game.
Joe Corona, NR: The Tijuana man made a cameo appearance in place of Eddie Johnson.
Stuart Holden, NR: He came on for Altidore in the final moments of the game.