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2014 World Cup, United States vs Ghana: Game Grades

Now that we've all processed that amazing finish in Natal on Monday lets look at the individual performances from the USMNT.

Michael Steele

Starting XI

Tim Howard - 8

Is there a more important player on this roster than Timmy Howard? To say he's the rock of the USMNT would be a severe understatement. We all know the US is flush with keeper depth but Tim brings so much more to the pitch.

Fabian Johnson - 7

The young GerMerican has impressed me big time as of late. Good service and clean play are becoming his hallmark and he seems to be peaking at the perfect time. We all really hope for big things from the Hoffenheim man.

Geoff Cameron - 6

Unfortunately the midfield didn't do the backline many favors on the night but the big CB helped to organize a defense that, considering the amount of pressure they were under, did a good job over all. Hopefully he won't have to change CB partners in the middle of the Portugal match.

Matt Besler - 6

Tough break for the SKC product. Hopefully his hamstring issue is not as bad as it looked. Credit to him for toughing it out for the last 10 minutes or so of the first half after his leg started to tighten up. Up to that point he was working well with Cameron to shut down the Ghanaian attack.

DaMarcus Beasley - 5

Definitely the US's best option at LB right now. Currently in his 4th World Cup Beasley has resurrected his USMNT career and is a great role model for the younger players to learn from. His experience and veteran presence is invaluable to a young team like this.

Kyle Beckerman - 8

32 years old. MLS player. First World Cup. Handled it like a boss. I was a little nervous about him starting for the US and he took all of my worries and threw them right into the trash. His performance allowed Jermain Jones to be free to do the amazing things he did in this match.

Jermaine Jones - 9

My MotM without question. Have we ever seen a performance from Jones like we saw Monday night? The guy looked hungry from the first minute (in which he got an assist) to the end of the match and he picked up the slack in a very "meh" midfield. The US will need more performances like that from its players if they hope to advance.

Michael Bradley - 3

What happened? The man who was supposed to be the concrete in midfield was absent for much of this match. All the brilliance we've seen from him in the lead up to the World Cup was gone on Monday. Lets just hope it was nerves, or the heat, or the Ghanaian witch doctor. I would expect (desperately hope?) him to bounce back on Sunday.

Alejandro Bedoya - 4

I'm a Bedoya believer but Monday was not his best game. Klinsmann has to do something to get this offense sparked and I wouldn't be surprised to see Zusi get the start against Portugal over Bedoya.

Clint Dempsey - 8

Look the guy gets an extra point for playing the majority of the match with his nose in multiple pieces. His touch on the first goal (34 seconds in!!) was as pretty as they get. His toughness and perseverance should be an inspiration to every member of this squad.

Jozy Altidore - 5

A little tough to grade Jozy for this match. I don't expect to see him for the rest of this World Cup but I sure hope I'm wrong.

Jurgen Klinsmann - 7

Well I guess no one can really give him shit for bringing in the duel nationals now huh?

Off The Bench

Aron Johannsson - 4

After he came onto the pitch in the 23rd minute I completely forgot he was there. Some of it was due to Bradley being absent in his performance but still.... I think that Aron is the type of striker that works better with a partner up top and he didn't get a lot of help on that front.

John Anthony Brooks - 7

Good in defense and even better in the air. The youngster still has a lot to learn but he has now become part of USMNT history. Well done young man.

Graham Zusi - 7

Barely got 15 minutes on the pitch but wow did he make it count. His cross in to Brooks was as good as they get. Certainly better than Ghana's ability to mark a 6 ft CB. Expect him to start on the right side Sunday.