U.S. struggles in all phases as Altidore, Zusi and Diskerud underwhelm
Another underwhelming performance saw the United States men squeak by a Group A foe on Friday night. Making mass changes to his lineup from Tuesday's opener, Jurgen Klinsmann put out an experimental team that failed to click for most of the night against Haiti.
A poor first half gave way to some improvement in the second 45 minutes. In the end, a halftime substitution and the finishing of Clint Dempsey made enough of a difference for the Americans to escape the terrible surface at Gillette Stadium with a win.
Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Brad Guzan, 5 -- Wayward Haitian shooting meant Guzan didn't have much to do over the course of 90 minutes. Made a handful of simple saves.
DF Greg Garza, 4 -- Better going forward than defending, Garza was part of a back line that handed Haiti several dangerous chances over the course of the evening. Did play a great ball to Gyasi Zardes that led to Dempsey's goal.
DF Tim Ream, 4 -- Helped the U.S. maintain possession by playing the ball on the ground out of the back, but never looked comfortable defensively. Had a few timely interventions that broke up Haitian attacks.
DF Omar Gonzalez, 4.5 -- Good in the air as always, but struggled to stay organized with his back-line mates. Prone to questionable decisions distributing the ball from the back.
DF Brad Evans, 4 -- Defensively looked out of his depth on numerous occasions. Stayed at home for most of the night, limiting the Americans' ability to create up the right flank.
MF Mix Diskerud, 4 -- Improved after halftime. Was guilty of numerous turnovers that led to dangerous Haitian counterattacks.
MF Michael Bradley, 5 -- Another mediocre performance from Bradley. His second half was better than his first, but the influential midfielder could not dial in his passing range and seemed uncomfortable pushing too high upfield.
MF Graham Zusi, 3.5 -- A liability defensively against the speedy Haitians, and did not offer much up the flank. Worked hard, but did not provide much positive impact.
MF Clint Dempsey, 6 -- Scored the lone American goal. Did everything he could to help the midfield when Haiti was pressuring the Americans into poor passes. Led from the front.
FW Jozy Altidore, 3 -- Altidore coming off at halftime says all you need to know about the TFC striker's performance. It was a poor night in all facets for Altidore against the nation of his parents.
FW Aron Johannsson, 3.5 -- The Iceman did not cometh in Foxborough. Johannsson's first touch let him down all night, and when he did maintain possession, his passing wasn't good.
FW Gyasi Zardes, 6.5 -- Changed the game from the moment of his entry as a second-half substitute. Set up Dempsey for the U.S. goal, and provided width to a team in desperate need of it.
DF Fabian Johnson, NR -- Strong substitute performance from Johnson shored up the American left after he came on for Greg Garza. Provided an outlet on the left to help maintain possession.
MF Kyle Beckerman, NR -- Brought in to help close out the game, and though the Haitians did create a few more chances, it wasn't down to any failings by the Real Salt Lake man.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.