Grades: U.S. underwhelms vs. Scotland

Posted by Jeff Carlisle

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesSacha Kljestan was among those who perhaps failed to impress Jurgen Klinsmann vs. Scotland.

With the number of opportunities to impress U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann beginning to run out, one would have expected the Americans' performance against Scotland to be full of energy and aggressiveness. Instead, what transpired was a tepid display from both sides, one that ended in a 0-0 draw.

That's not to say there were a ton of awful performances either, although Eddie Johnson was among those who will rue the missed chance to make more of an impression. Rather, it was simply a case of the vast majority of players on display not really doing much to alter Klinsmann's perceptions.

This was especially evident in the first half, when both sides appeared content to play safe and at a pedestrian pace. The best U.S. chance came in the 13th minute from a set piece, when Sacha Kljestan's knockdown found Jozy Altidore at the top of the box, only for the Sunderland striker to fire over the bar.

- Report: U.S. held in Scotland

As the game wore on, Scotland proved to be a bit more adventurous -- and should have gone a goal up in the 35th minute. Steven Fletcher evaded Geoff Cameron's challenge with a clever turn, and as Brad Evans and Omar Gonzalez closed him down, he found a wide-open Craig Conway, only for the Scotland midfielder to fire wide.

The U.S. upped the defensive pressure to start the second half, and although Altidore's quick shot was right at goalkeeper David Marshall, it at least hinted at more attacking intent. Yet Scotland hit straight back in the 53rd minute, with Robert Snodgrass' free kick forcing an outstanding save from Tim Howard.

Klinsmann brought on a quartet of substitutions midway through the second half with Aron Johannsson, Mix Diskerud, Brek Shea, and Eric Lichaj all entering the match. Of the group, Johannsson had the biggest influence and nearly put the U.S. ahead in the 83rd minute, only for Marshall to deny him with a sharp save, and Altidore unable to latch on to the rebound. The AZ Alkmaar striker then narrowly missed the target with another chance a few minutes later.

All told, it was a fair result, though Klinsmann will no doubt be looking for more from his side when it takes on Austria this Tuesday.

Player ratings: (by position, 0-10 scale)
G - Tim Howard, 7: Barely troubled in the first half, but delivered a spectacular save to deny Snodgrass’ free kick. He also commanded his box well with an authoritative punch.

D - DaMarcus Beasley, 6: An effective performance on the defensive end and did get forward a few times, but with little end product. Did enough to maintain his grip on left back, though.

D - Omar Gonzalez, 5.5: Dominant in the air, but too many clearances went straight to the opposition. Was plenty accurate with his more conventional passes, however.

D - Geoff Cameron, 4.5: Too foul-prone and was cleanly beaten by Fletcher in buildup to a Craig Conway chance in the first half. Redeemed himself a bit with some good attacking forays.

D - Brad Evans, 4.5: Half-point deduction for the foul-throw alone. Was drawn in a bit too far on Conway's first-half chance.

M - Michael Bradley, 6.5: Didn't connect on every attacking pass, but he was at least trying them. Was his usual disciplined self on defense and took it upon himself to distribute the ball out of the back.

M - Alejandro Bedoya, 6: Had some bright moments down the left wing, including a great hustle play to win a corner. Did well to track back and help out Evans on the defensive end.

M - Jermaine Jones, 6: Solid in all respects, and helped break up his fair share of Scotland attacks.

M - Sacha Kljestan, 5.5: Had some deft touches in the first half, including a sharp pass to set up Altidore. Still didn't seem all that influential and needed to be closer to the U.S. forward instead of dropping as deep as he did.

M - Eddie Johnson, 4: Never really got going. Wandered up top and out wide, but wasn't all that effective in either area. Didn't complete a single pass into the attacking third.

F - Jozy Altidore, 4.5: Struggled with his touch on the few occasions he got the ball in the first half. Showed more spark after halftime, especially after Johannsson came on, and just missed converting in the 59th minute.

Subs:
M - Aron Johannsson, 6.5: Provided a spark off the bench. His presence helped create space for Altidore. Nearly won the match with a couple of chances, only to be denied by Marshall.

M - Brek Shea, 6: Was aggressive in taking players on. After running into a few blind alleys, did well to set up Johannsson with a late chance.

M - Mix Diskerud, 5: Had one turnover early, but eventually settled into a midfield rhythm alongside Bradley.

D - Eric Lichaj, 5.5: Didn't do much wrong in his first appearance under Klinsmann. It will be interesting to see if he gets more minutes against Austria.

F - Chris Wondolowski, NR: Late appearance for the San Jose forward.

F - Terrence Boyd, NR: Had scant time to impress.

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