U.S. highs and lows in Mexico draw


Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) has something to shout about after scoring his ninth international goal. Brad Davis joins the celebration. (By Mark J. Rebilas — USA TODAY Sports)

 

[polldaddy poll=7938680]The U.S. national team’s 2-2 draw with Mexico was more about individual performances ahead of World Cup training camp than the outcome. After all, it was just a money-making friendly in front of almost 60,000 at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Americans were terrific in the first half, moving the ball quickly and smartly, working wonderful combinations and manufacturing high-quality scoring opportunities. Mexico was superior in the second half, utilizing substitutions and placing the U.S. defense under duress for most of the 45 minutes.

A look at who fared well and who did not on Juergen Klinsmann‘s clan:

THUMBS UP …

Michael Bradley: Commander in chief. Supreme performance. Leader of men. Never mind the goal. And the assist. Still the best player on the field. By far. Assertive in possession, clean distribution, box-to-box impact. Proving once again he is the most important U.S. player heading into the World Cup.

Chris Wondolowski: Strengthened World Cup roster prospects by scoring second goal, but more so, offered sniping qualities that could prove valuable if Americans are in need of late strike in Brazil. By no means a starter on world’s stage, but one of those guys who could impact the match with one touch.

Kyle Beckerman: Showed again why Klinsmann loves him, winning balls and doing dirty work, which liberated Bradley to get forward. Excellent MLS player, quality CONCACAF player, but equipped for World Cup? Jermaine Jones’ self-discipline and Klinsmann’s tactics will dictate minutes for RSL’s captain.

THUMBS DOWN …

Omar Gonzalez: Questions about mobility, quickness and instincts resurface after a shaky performance. If he struggled against second-rate Mexico squad, how will he handle potent attacks of Ghana, Portugal and Germany? Klinsmann must consider partnering Geoff Cameron or Clarence Goodson with Matt Besler.

Tony Beltran: Emergency starter at right back after Brad Evans was scratched with injury and DaMarcus Beasley was withheld by Puebla, which prompted Michael Parkhurst to switch sides. Low expectations, and didn’t exceed them. Did okay, but not in World Cup roster conversation anyway.

Julian Green: Probably unfair to criticize teenager with minimal first-team club experience making international debut. But seriously: He looked like a teenager with minimal first-team club experience making international debut. Promising future … after World Cup. Room at end of bench in Brazil?

 

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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