Monday, June 04, 2012

Canada vs USA: Player ratings

I was prepared to let yesterday's centennial friendly against the USA pass without paying it too much attention. I expected an acceptable but uninspired Canada performance that would be punished with a few late American goals, and brush off the 2-0 or 3-0 loss as a result that would have little bearing on Canada's important qualifiers in the next week.

With a day to mull things over, I've managed to keep myself from taking too much encouragement from yesterday's 0-0 result.  While Canada were certainly lively, and the defense kept its form against a dangerous USA attack that put 5 pass Scotland less than a week ago, they also failed to convert any chances against a team that seemed to lose interest late.

There are plenty of positives and thinking back on things it's hard to a player that didn't have a creditable outing.  Hence the high average rating.

Here are the player ratings, out of 10.


Lars Hirschfeld - 7: Lars made the one world class save that was asked of him, and was better with his distribution than is often the case.  There was one occasion where I felt he was a little slow off his line, but you can't argue much with a clean sheet.  Mr Borjan will have to wait to be handed the job.

Lars saves the day

Ante Jazic - 6.5: The official CSA tweeterer tweeted a tweet today on twitter that Jazic was the 3rd oldest player ever to feature for Canada.  On the one hand, this made his lockdown of (an admittedly disinterested) Landon Donovan rather impressive, but on the other it was clear he didn't have the legs for running the left sideline for 90 minutes.  This will be even more of a problem if he is given the start in Cuba.

Andre Hainault - 7: Canada's central defense pairing won most of the aerial battles and kept their shape against some speedy USA attackers.  I was hoping Hainault would get on the end of a set piece or two, but that will be even more of a weapon against some of Canada's more diminutive Central American opponents.

Kevin McKenna - 6: See Hainault above.  Except McKenna's man beat him two a cross or two, including the injury time chance that Hirschfeld saved.  In the 1st half he hoofed the ball straight forward a few times too many.

David Edgar - 7: We've been wondering for weeks what Hart's back line would look like in WCQs.  Left back is still up in the air, I think, but Hainault at CB and Edgar at RB (the opposite of their regular club positions) seems here to stay.  Which is fine by me.  Edgar was turned inside out once by Hercules Gomez but apart from that had a solid night.  Like he did against Puerto Rico when deployed wide right he had a lot of the ball, and put in the most dangerous Canadian crosses.

Nikolas Ledgerwood - 6: I don't know why I've always had such of a hate on for Ledgerwood.  He seems like a nice guy, but is probably out of his depth at this level.  By his standards, though, he had a good game.  It is probably good for him to be freed from some of the defensive responsibilities of a right back position which is not his regular spot.  While some USA players may have heard the whistle before he scored his disallowed goal, USA keeper Tim Howard did not, and was wrongfooted by a classy finish.

All that said, give me Atiba Hutchinson in his place any day of the week.  Please.

Julian de Guzman - 7: After the 90 minutes were up I tweeted that Julian was my man of the match.  His close control was excellent, he completed more passes than any other Canadian player, and moved play forward more often than in the past.  But I was concerned by the carelessness by which he earned the yellow card.  This has become a habit for him and is a dangerous game to play in CONCACAF.

Will Johnson - 8: Johnson's game shared many of the strengths of de Guzman's; he combined this with an excellent work rate. And while Julian's yellow card was foolish, Johnson's was vital, the product of a quick and correct calculus (hey, his parents are scientists).

Dwayne De Rosario - 7: In a way this was a typical De Ro performance.  He had lots of the ball, showed his class beating players one on one, but often gave away possession attempting a final pass or shot.  It's not his fault Simeon Jackson missed a sitter after a fantastic setup, but he coughed up the ball all too easily on other occasions which were quickly turned into counterattacking chances.  I should say that I was quite keen on his willingness to track back and defend from his left wing.

Tosaint Ricketts - 6: Ricketts' considerable physical gifts were on display throughout the match.  He has speed to burn and was a headache for Mr Castillo most of the night.  But he also showed his naivete at times.  I prefer him off the bench; it will be interesting if Hart feels the same way.

Olivier Occean - 6.5: Occean showed glimpses of what he needs to be for Canada: an ox-strong target forward who gets into good positions and links well with the wide players and midfielders.  Some of these moves just seemed a little out-of-sync, whether it was Olivier or his teammates that were to blame.


Simeon Jackson - 6: He missed Canada's best chance of the night.  He also created another by running straight ahead with pace and no American defender bothered to challenge him.  The trick for Hart will be finding a way to get Jackson close to goal without isolating him from his teammates.

Pedro Pacheco - 6: It never hurts to have a midfielder that is comfortable on the ball, though he is not blessed with speed.

Iain Hume - NA: A brief appearance off the bench.

Samuel Piette - NA: Not sure if he even touched the ball, but congratulations to the 17-year old on his first cap.

Mike Klukowski - NA: It was telling that a less than fit Klukowski was Hart's choice to replace a winded Jazic than TFC youngster Ashtone Morgan.

Attendance - 15,247: The stands had a noticeable American contingent, but the spirit was good and the Canadian support was in full voice.  The same crowd for a TFC game this season would likely have been announced as a much larger number.

This was undeniably a strong Canada performance, but the team will need to find goals against more committed opponents.  I look forward to Friday afternoon with cautious optimism, though I'm also certain the quality of my work that day will suffer.

I strongly encourage you to read up on our CONCACAF opponents and use that information to enter my WCQ goals prediction pool.  Free to enter, and there will be prizes.  Promise.


Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing..

Anonymous said...

US Soccer posted a 5 min summary on Youtube with clips of the action from field level.
Excellent perspective on the match, but the best was hearing the "Where is Waldo" chant!
Jamie in Uppsala