Man of the Match [8.12.09 vs. Mexico]: Oguchi Onyewu

MAN OF THE MATCH:  This was clearly a two-horse race.  While Charlie Davies did score the USA’s lone goal, he failed to put away his golden opportunity to get the go-ahead in the second half.  Overall, a good performance, but we had to give the nod to Oguchi Onyewu.  He continued his beastly ways in the back, showing everyone why he was picked up by Milan.  If he can continue his good run of form, he’ll have a real shot at cracking his club’s squad.

GOAT(S) OF THE MATCH:  It’s hard to single out one player here.  Clint Dempsey comes to mind for performing his disappearing act.  Our outside backs (Cherundolo and Bocanegra) got burned all day long.  And our center mids (Bradley and Clark) couldn’t hold the ball or distribute effectively.  While I disgree with some of Bob Bradley’s lineup choices–I would have prefered starts for Altidore, Spector, and Feilhaber over Ching, Cherundolo, and Clark–they weren’t clear missteps.  His biggest failure, in my opinion, was in the predictability of his substitutions, and for this reason, he deserves some of the blame.  It’s hard to believe he’s managing the game when he makes similar substitutions at similar times, regardless of scoreline or momentum.  That’s not to say his substitutes never contribute.  But look at Mexico or Brazil, for example–in both cases, their coaches made halftime adjustments and second-half substitutions that swung the game unquestionably (and ultimatley) in their favor.  Bradley failed to counter this both times out, and I’m starting to question whether or not he is capable of doing that.

Confederations Cup: Man of the Tournament

3694481957_c72898cab1LANDON DONOVAN [MoM (2)]- Over the years, Landon has developed a reputation for disappearing in important matches.  He hasn’t always seemed willing to take control of our offense, distribute the ball, and run at the oppoing team.  This was not the case in the Confederations Cup.  Landon was a true leader.  He made the team click.  Even in the games where the US was outplayed, Donovan managed to look good.  American fans rejoice–Landon Donovan is starting to look like the player we all thought he could be; Landon Donovan is starting to look like a player who can lead us to success in the World Cup.  No offense to Clint Dempsey, but this should have been the guy receiving the honors after the cup final.

RUNNERS UP

TIM HOWARD [MoM (2)]Some might laugh at the idea of praising a keeper who let in over two goals per game (9 goals in 4 games), but Tim Howard was a monster.  He saved every shot that he could have reasonably been expect to (and several that he shouldn’t have).  He kept us in games when the players in front of him let him down.  While Landon Donovan is the engine of our offense, Tim Howard is the key to our success next summer.

OGUCHI ONYEWU [MoM (0)] – Oguchi Onyewu was a rock in the back.  He won every ball that came his way in the air.  He blocked every shot taken anywhere near him (including a goal-line save).  He stifled the Spanish offense in a way that few defenders could.  He earned a contract from A.C. Milan–the biggest club any (non-goal-keeping) American has ever played for.  He had an absolutely fantastic tournament.  It looks like he, just like Landon Donovan, is starting to peak at the right time.

Man of the Match [7.4.09 vs. Grenada]: Robbie Rogers

Man of the Match: While we saw several good performances against Grenada–Stuart Holden, Freddy Adu, and Chad Marshall, to name a few–Robbie Rogers was the clear winner of this match’s honor.  He ran at the Grenadan defense, provided great service, set up two goals, and scored one himself.  His performance is sure to ease some worries about our depth on the left wing.

Goat of the Match: Anyone who decided to bring a vuvuzela to the game.  Never again.

Man of the Match [6.28.09 vs. Brazil]: Landon Donovan

Another quick post to get the Man of the Match illustration project up to date..

Landon Donovan gets our man of the match honor for the Confederations Cup final vs. Brazil. In the final, he did what he did all tournament–he controlled the offense, scored goals, ran at the opposition, and showed us all that he is, indeed, capable of playing at the top level.

Man of the Match [6.24.09 vs. Spain]: Tim Howard

We’re playing a little catchup with our Man of the Match project here…

There were a lot of great performances in the Spain match, but we’re giving the nod to Tim Howard. He made a number of great saves and held together a defence that held Spain goalless.

Man of the Match [6.21.09 vs. Egypt]: Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley

This was a tough one. There were a number of players who could have gotten the nod, but we went with Michael Bradley. Junior Bradley was a beast in midfield, scoring a goal (which he also helped set up), putting another couple of shots on target, and winning balls in midfield.

Will this honor finally put an end to all the cries for putting and end to the cries of nepotism? Probably not. Seriously, every article I’ve read about this kid in the last year or so has some line like, “cries of nepostism must end, this kid is for real.” Come on, lazy soccer writers of America. The cries have ended…quite some time ago. No one is claiming that he only plays because he’s the coach’s son anymore. No one has been writing that for at least a year. He’s one of our best players. So please, please, please, stop adding this to every story in which Michael Bradley is mentioned.

Honorable Mentions: Landon Donovan and Oguchi Onyewu.

Goat of the Game: Another tough one. So many Americans played a great game. Jonathan Bornstien wins this honor for having a merely average match.

Man of the Match [6.18.09 vs. Brazil]: Tim Howard

You know it’s was a bad game when your goalkeeper allows three goals and is still the best player on the field. Tim Howard may have been a bit questionable on the first goal, but he made some great saves later in the match and kept the scoreline from getting too ugly. Maybe we just didn’t want to give the man of the match to a field player after such an ugly game, but we do think Timmy is deserving. Michael Bradley gets our vote for runner up for at least giving the impression that he cared about the game for the full 90 minutes.

Goat of the Game: Bob Bradley. Too many questionable player selections. Yet another match where the US seems to take the field without the proper motivation or gameplan, allowing their customary early goal. Yes, Beasley was atrocious, and yes, Kljestian wasn’t much better, but really, neither of these players should have ever even been on the field.