Report Card: Bundesliga Players in U.S. – Ecuador Friendly

Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. squad suffered a 1-0 defeat to Ecuador in Tuesday’s friendly at Red Bull Arena, handing the Americans their third defeat in five friendlies coached by the California-based German.  Ecuador’s Jamie Ayovi scored the game’s only goal on a well-placed header in the 79th minute as the Pachuca forward beat U.S. defender Tim Ream to score on the ball from his cousin, Ecuadorian captain Walter Ayovi.  Despite leading in shots 18-5, shots on goal 5-1. and corner kicks 10-5, the Americans were unable to dent the scoreboard and endured their third shutout in the last five internationals.  The USMNT got their first win under their Klinsmann Saturday evening in Miami over Honduras 1-0.

Klinsmann’s squad for Tuesday’s match had quite a Bundesliga pedigree, as Hannover’s Steve Cherundolo, Nurnberg’s Timmy Chandler and Hoffenheim’s Daniel Williams were part of the starting XI, with FC Ingolstadt’s Edson Buddle coming in as a second half substitute along with former Bundesliga players Michael Bradley of Borussia Monchengladbach and DaMarcus Beasley of Hannover.  The following are the Fanatic’s player ratings for the Americans who play their club football in Germany.

Timmy Chandler  – left back, (90 minutes) 7.0  Even though the Nurnberg youngster is playing across the pitch from his normal right back spot with Der Club, Chandler had a outstanding performance in his sixth game with the American side.   Brought in to the U.S. squad earlier this year by former USMNT Coach Bob Bradley, 2011 has been year to remember for the talented German-American.

Against Ecuador Chandler drew four fouls while not giving up any.  He took a good shot from distance early in the game that was wide, and played at least four crosses into the box in the first half alone that were quality while forwarding accurate passes to left winger Brek Shea.  Chandler did well containing Ecuador’s fine midfielder Antonio Valencia of Manchester United.

Chandler came through with a big clearance out of the box in the game’s 63rd minute as Ecuador threatened, hoofing the ball from danger.  He also made a pacy run up the field in the 72nd minute and delivered a good pass to Edson Buddle ten minutes later.  Despite playing out of his normal club position, Chandler is a godsend to an American side that has always had difficulty successfully filling the left back position.  With the high level of fitness he exhibited, his many offensive contributions and his continuing defensive progress, Chandler should play a very important role with the USMNT for years to come.   Considering that 2011 marked his first taste of both international and top flight club football, the performance of the 21 year-old Frankfurt native has been amazing.

Steve Cherundolo – right back, (45 minutes) 5.0  Tuesday’s effort by Hannover’s captain was solid if unspectacular.  His offensive contributions did not include the quality crosses down the right flank that Cherundolo often contributes to both club and country.  And his two setpiece attempts were subpar.  But he contended fairly well with the speed and offensive skill of the Ecuadoran attack as the American backline nullified Ecuador’s pacy trio of  Christian Benitez (Club America) , Luis Arroyo (San Luis) and Jefferson Montero (Real Betis).  Cherundolo’s poise and experience fit in well with a very strong effort by the American backline during the first half that also included solid work by Carlos Bocanegra, Timmy Chandler and a revitalized Oguchi Onyewu.   Although Cherundolo will be 35 by the time of the 2014 World Cup, even on an average night he is a much better choice at right back than the erratic Jonathan Spector, his second half substitute.

Daniel Williams – right wing, (65 minutes)  5.0  Williams made his second start in three days for the American side following his international debut in Saturday’s win over Honduras.  Like Saturday, Williams played 65 minutes before being substituted.  Williams started out brightly but faded in the second half.  The positives of his performance included two very well-placed corner kicks early in the first half, along with some strong runs that showed his ability to lose defenders.  His passing wasn’t as visionary as one would hope for, but included a good sequence with Cherundolo on the right and a great early ball to Shea that indicate his potential as an offensive catalyst.   Williams was often pressured when receiving the ball with his back to the goal, but handled the tight marking without making any serious mistakes.  The midfielder from Karlsruhe made an excellent run near the half hour mark but slipped to the ground and lost the opportunity to continue the danger posed to its successful conclusion.

Williams played reasonably well in earning his second cap.  He did seem to tire as the game went on, but demonstrated a good deal of composure, especially for someone with so little experience at the club and international level.  His game needs the polishing that only prolonged playing time can give, but it’s apparent that Klinsmann sees the potential in this versatile youngster.  If Williams continues to progress, one can imagine him earning increased playing time despite the crowd of midfielders on the American squad.  Experience is the missing ingredient, although his abilities may be better served playing in the middle of the pitch instead of on the wing.

Edson Buddle – substitute, (25 minutes) 5.5  The former MLS striker came in as Williams’ replacement and displayed excellent touch.  He took on defenders and played in two dangerous balls into the box after some good work deep in Ecuadorean territory.  Frankly, Buddle’s touch was surprisingly good.  His only poor touch, though, came when he received a pass in the box with a good look at goal but couldn’t get off a shot, and two goal-scoring chances off his head weren’t delivered with much authority.  Although he didn’t attain a dramatic result as the Americans rushed to gain an equalizing goal, Buddle’s performance displayed confidence;  he created chances and drew two fouls without conceding any.  Although he was a replacement on the October roster for the injured Landon Donovan, Buddle did enough positive things to be considered for another callup, especially if he can raise his goal-scoring profile with Ingolstadt.

Klinsmann remarks after the match included his hopes that Hoffenheim’s Fabian Johnson would be ready to perform for the next national team matches.  Johnson missed the September friendlies because of documentation issues and the October callup because of injury concerns.

One can check the player ratings from other media sources here:  Sports Illustrated , Soccer America


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Gerry Wittmann

Gerry is the founder of the Bundesliga Fanatic. Besides loving German football, he also enjoys the NBA, collecting jerseys and LPs, his pets and wishes he had more time for fishing, bicycling and learning the bass guitar.

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