USA World Cup Group Stage Grades (Goalkeeper and Defenders)

The group stage of the 2010 World Cup is now over for the United States, and while the Yanks were three minutes from being eliminated, they will now advance to the knockout rounds. As the team prepares for Ghana on Saturday, TSB is grading each player on the team based on their performance in the group stages. Part One will look at the teams goalkeeper and defenders, and Part Two will look at the midfielders and forwards.

Goalkeepers:
Tim Howard: A. Yes, Timmy has let in three goals in the tournament, but those three were far more about lackadaisical defending than any goalkeeper error. Howard has been near spotless, coming up with huge saves in the first match against England and putting in assured performances against Slovenia and Algeria. In a tournament where we have seen many a goalkeeper gaffe, Howard is looking like one of the world’s best.
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FIFA Hand USMNT German Gift

jones-celebrating

By Alex Simon 

Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones’ application to switch to the U.S. national team from Germany has been approved by FIFA. The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the switch in nationality on Tuesday. A recent FIFA rule change allows players who have not played in a competitive match for a national team to switch to another country in which they have citizenship. Jones’ father was born in America.

The last month for the U.S. Men’s National Team has been an emotional and physical roller coaster. Days after qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, the USNMNT found out that one of their teammates was involved in a deadly car crash. Days after that, they put on an inspiring performance against the Ticos, in honor of their friend. However, the match against Costa Rica brought more challenges for the U.S. Oguchi Onyewu, the US national team and AC Milan defender, tore a tendon in his left knee and will be out at least 3 months. 

 
With the World Cup less than 8 months away, U.S. coach Bob Bradley needs to start deciding Joneswho will make the 23 man roster. The U.S. have friendly matches scheduled to help the team stay sharp and to help Bradley see who deserves the remaining spots on the World Cup team. Jones, who turns 28 soon, has been sidelined since summer by a hairline fracture of his left shin and has not played in the German Bundesliga this season. If healthy, Jones is a lock for the squad and will likely replace Ricardo Clark as the team’s central defensive midfielder. Most likely, Michael Bradley will play more of an attacking role in the central midfield.

Like many American soccer fans, having Jones is huge news. Jones is a hardnosed player who has played top flight football for several years in Germany. The U.S. can use an abrasive type like Jones, who’s toughness will be a positive impact for a team that is known to be “soft” at times. With Davies most likely out for South Africa, U.S. fans will have to hold their breath that Onyewu and Jones will be healthy come tournament time. Because he won’t be ready to play for the U.S. in its European exhibitions in November, it appears the only game Jones will be able to appear in for the U.S. before World Cup training camp will be in March– the last international fixture date during the club season.