(Wednesday, November 18, 2009) -- The United States men were defeated 3-1 by host Denmark, showing almost no attack while also making too many defensive errors tonight at NRGi Park in Aarhus
U.S. Player Ratings
The U.S. was dominated from the start, but managed to take a 1-0 lead into halftime. Very much against the run of play, striker Jeff Cunningham - Major League Soccer's leading scorer in 2009 -- intercepted a poor clearance by Denmark's veteran goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen and fired a volley past him in the 26th minute. It was to be the high point for the U.S. in an otherwise forgettable 90 minutes.
Denmark controlled the action almost completely in the first 45 minutes, but really could not mount much of a chance on goal. When it had openings, it could not finish.
That changed in the second half when Denmark coach Morten Olsen brought on some of his young gunners and they put the ball into the U.S. net three times in the first 10 minutes. From that point on, Denmark simply put the match on cruise control and the U.S. could do very little.
If Saturday's 1-0 U.S. loss to Slovakia was lackluster, tonight's affair was even more so. Except for the three-goal outburst after intermission, the host -- while controlling the action -- actually did very little.
If the U.S. offense was anemic Saturday without leading scorer Landon Donovan, it was even more so tonight without Donovan and fellow midfielder Clint Dempsey, who was returned to his club team. The U.S. had three shots on goal; beyond Cunningham's goal, none very challenging for Sørensen. Then too, while the American defense was organized on Saturday, tonight it lost its shape all too often.
U.S. coach Bob Bradley cleared his bench tonight, playing everyone who dressed except backup keeper Marcus Hahnemann. But if the purpose of this friendly was to give some of the younger and less experienced players a chance to impress Bradley and work their way into consideration for the 2010 World Cup squad, it seemed someone forgot to tell the players. Almost without exception, it was an unmotivated performance by the Americans, including many who it would seem should have been desperate to impress.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan - 5: Let down by his defense, but did not come up big when he had to. Response on third Danish goal was inadequate.
Defender Frankie Hejduk - 5.5: The most active of the U.S. back-liners. Made more than his share of errors, but that was in part because he tried to be everywhere. Made some quality tackles and defensive saves, but too often played without finesse.
Defender Carlos Bocanegra - 5: Demonstrated a habit of over-committing, causing the whole back-line to lose its shape. Was not the stopper he usually is. Had to provide cover to the outside too often, adding to his problems.
Defender Jonathan Spector - 4: Two glaring errors resulted in a pair of Denmark goals. He seemed to tire in the second half
Defender Jonathan Bornstein - 4: Another sub-par performance defensively. At fault on one Denmark goal and did not provide cover when he needed to. He added little to the attack, previously his strong suit.
Midfielder Benny Feilhaber - 6: Performing on his club team's field, he was probably the best U.S. player tonight. Was very active, making some fine plays, but was not able to make many quality passes to spring a front-liner free.
Midfielder Michael Bradley - 4.5:< /b> He had very little impact on this match. With Feilhaber pushing forward more offensively, was paired with Clark and did work effectively with him.
Midfielder Ricardo Clark - 5: Worked hard and did some good defensive work, but did little offensively. Was active, but without effect.
Midfielder Stuart Holden - 5: He looked lost in the midfield with an inability to hold the ball or to make positive connections. Not a very good outing, possibly leg weary and jet-lagged from his late arrival.
Forward Jeff Cunningham - 6: Scored a nice reaction goal with a clinical finish. Was active on the front line with little support, seeming to make do with what little help he had.
Forward Jozy Altidore - 4: Just never got going. Received almost no service, but did little to create for himself. Seemed worn out by the time he came out. A wholly forgettable outing.
Forward Eddie Johnson (61st minute for Cunningham) - 4: Had no impact whatsoever. Another chance to impress wasted.
Midfielder Robbie Rogers (61st minute for Holden) - 5.5: After a generally good showing on Saturday, his half hour tonight was generally positive. He was active at times to some positive effect.
Midfielder Edgar Castillo (61st minute for Bradley) - 5: The most anticipated player tonight making his U.S. debut, but he did so in the midfield and not on the back-line and hardly touched the ball. So he remains a big question mark.
Defender Jimmy Conrad (70th minute for Spector) - 5.5: Made several good defensive stops in his short appearance.
Defender Clarence Goodson (70th minute for Bocanegra) - 5.5: With his height, showed he is good in the air and that he has the pace to keep up. One of the few players whose appearance tonight was a positive.
Midfielder Dax McCarty (80th minute for Altidore) - 5: Made little, if any, impression on the match in its dying minutes.
SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Jeff Cunningham.