With a nod to Beavis and Butthead, we’re going with a binary system of grading for this game, much like the two cartoon wastrels used for MTV videos back in the day, only instead of ‘cool’ vs ‘sucks,’ we’re using ‘pass’ vs ‘fail.’
This was, after all, the last test in a U.S. shirt for these guys before coach Bob Bradley selects his final 23 for South Africa. Let’s look at who passed and who failed, and rate each player’s chances of making that squad.
Before we get to it, one piece of news, and it’s not good: That tackle by Nigel DeJonge on Stuart Holden in the 29th minute last night? It broke Holden’s leg, and he’ll be out of action for six weeks. If all goes well, he would still have a chance to get back in form and make the World Cup team, but this is a tough one for him—he just worked his way back from a thigh injury and was carving out a place for himself at Bolton.
Tim Howard: No chance on the goals, and made a great save on an upper-90-bound rocket from Rafael van der Vaart in the 82nd minute. Pass.
World Cup chances: 100%. Duh.
Jonathan Spector: Donned the invisibility cloak at times, didn’t get forward too much, and ballooned at least one cross when he did. Had his hands full with Eljero Elia, as anyone would. Pass, just barely.
World Cup chances: 100%. Not his best game last night, but he’s solid, athletic and versatile—can play anywhere on backline.
Jay DeMerit: Good positioning, killed a couple of Dutch attacks in the U.S. box. Distribution suffered at times. Pass.
World Cup chances: 100%. Always up for it, super athletic—a lock for central defense.
Carlos Bocanegra: Scored the goal, but probably could have gotten stuck in a bit more. Pass.
World Cup chances: 100%. Can play on the left if need be.
Jonathan Bornstein: Stupidly pulled down Wesley Sneijder for the penalty. Big-game nerves? If so, not a good sign for the World Cup. Fail.
World Cup chances: 90%. Bornstein’s going, but the starting job at left back is still up for grabs.
Stuart Holden: Had his leg broken 29 minutes in, but looked capable and confident until that point. Pass.
World Cup chances: 75%. Injury puts an obstacle in his road to SA.
Michael Bradley: Rarely lost the ball in midfield, but repeatedly did so in the attacking third. Pass.
World Cup chances: 100%. Best option in central midfield right now.
Jose Torres: Looked a little overmatched by his defensive duties. Decent long-range effort on goal. Needed a big game here, didn’t quite get it. Fail.
World Cup chances: 50%. We haven’t seen Torres truly shine yet, and Ricardo Clark and Benny Feilhaber are probably still in front of him on the depth chart, with Jermaine Jones threatening to enter the picture.
Landon Donovan: Not involved enough. Should have been the leader out there against this tough opponent. Fail.
World Cup chances: 100%. Best player on the team, but not last night.
Robbie Findley: Too tentative. Killed U.S. attacks on several occasions. Fail.
World Cup chances: 10%. The team is thin at forward, but he hasn’t stepped up.
Jozy Altidore: Has improved his ability to hold the ball under pressure and get teammates involved. Sweet move on the baseline to start the second half, laser on goal to end it. Pass.
World Cup chances: 100% Best forward in the pool right now.
DaMarcus Beasley: Two friends of Backpost disagree, strongly, but we thought Beas had a good game. Sparked U.S. attack in second half, assisted on goal. Pass.
World Cup chances: 70%. We could see him coming off the bench to provide a spark this summer.
Maurice Edu: He was poised with the ball at his feet, and broke up several Dutch forays in front of the U.S. defense. Pass.
World Cup chances: 90%. Right now, he and Bradley look like the best center-mid tandem.
Alejandro Bedoya: The youngster turned in a decent 27 minutes. Drew a late free kick at the top of the box. Pass.
World Cup chances: 50%. Other midfielders have injury and playing-time issues, and Bedoya didn’t hurt his cause last night.
Heath Pearce: Steady in a brief appearance, got forward late. Pass.
World Cup chances: 50%. Like Bedoya, he certainly didn’t hurt his cause.
Eddie Johnson: Took way too much time getting the ball off his feet. His giveaway in the 82nd minute led to a Dutch opportunity and a great save by Howard. Fail.
World Cup chances: 10%. See: Findley, Robbie.
Clarence Goodson: Looked like he belonged, and nearly snatched a late equalizer. Pass.
World Cup chances: 80%. We’d bet on Goodson to make the final 23.