US v. Ukraine Grades and Review

us v ukr

Background Information (Feel free to skip this) Ukraine defeated a squad of most of the US’s European based players in Cyprus to a very small crowd. The match was originally scheduled to take place in Ukraine but due to internal politics between different factions that differed in opinion about whether or not they wanted more European Union or Russian involvement and aid in their country. Dozens have died in the unrest. The former Ukrainian Prime Minister was pro-Russian and the new PM is more pro-western. Different parts of the country have very different opinions about the situation. In southern Ukraine there is a peninsula on the Black Sea, the Crimean Peninsula, hosts a large Russian fleet. Russia sent in some of their military forces to occupy the peninsula on the premise that they wanted to ensure the safety of their citizens living there. The new prime minister has said that Russia has pushed their country to the brink of war, members of the international community have threatened sanctions, and one person said that it is the greatest crisis in Europe this century. Apparently, the¬†Ukrainian¬†national team sat on the tarmac for a few hours in Ukraine before leaving still unsure whether or not they were going to play the game.

Now, The Game

Ukraine is ranked 18th by FIFA, and they are the highest ranked country not in the World Cup. They brought most of their best players to play. They have excellent wingers that can get in behind the defense with pace. Unfortunately, that is exactly what they did. The US back line was bypassed with ease on several occasions. The first half only had a few bright moments. Klinsmann kept the same line-up for the second half, and the team responded and did much better. Yet, against the run of play Ukraine scored their second goal. Some of the subs came in made things a bit more interesting. Johannsson had the best shot of the night that was blocked at the goal line. I thought Jermain Jones had a really good game. Ukraine marched straight up the field and scored after her was subbed out. He showed a veteran presence that helped pull things together when everyone seemed very disconnected and out sync. The back line has not spent much time together and it showed. I think this game cemented in my mind that F. Johnson is more valuable as a left back than a left midfielder.

Check out this highlights to see some of this yourself.

I know that this isn’t close to the team that is going to Brazil, but even several of our core players have been in poor form (Dempsey and Altidore). I hope if the time cf comes Klinsmann will stick to his guns and make the tough decisions. I thought Claudio Reyna was rather poor in his last World Cup; unfortunately, some good players fall out of form and don’t deserve to play in the World Cup.

Player Grades

Jermain Jones 8

Tim Howard 8

Aron Johannson 7.5

Geoff Cameron 7.5

Clint Dempsey 7

Alejandro Bedoya 7

Danny Williams 7

Fabian Johnson 6.5

Brek Shea 6

Jozy Altidore 6

Sacha Kliejstan 6

Oguchi Onyewu 6

Edgar Castillo 5.5

John Anthony-Brooks 5.5

 

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