Home > Confederations Cup 2009, Defenders, MNT Lineups, Tournament Statistics > The U.S. Defense – A Final Preview

The U.S. Defense – A Final Preview

We’re turning our attention to the U.S. defense.  Although DaMarcus Beasley has played at LB, he is more accurately a midfielder and will be included there.  For now, we’ll look at Jonathan Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra, and Jonathan Bornstein.  As usual, the majority of these statistics are from fifa.com.

Jonathan Spector

One of only four men to play every minute in the tournament, Spector has been the defender most involved in the U.S. attack.

Spector is one of the team’s most frequent passers (148 passes) but lacks accuracy (52%, worst among defenders).  In the group stage, Spector completed 59% of his passes against Brazil and 64% against Egypt before completing only 38% in the semi-final victory over Spain.  When Spector passes, he most often targets Clint Dempsey (RM) and Landon Donovan (LM).  Passes to Spector most often come from Donovan and Jay DeMerit.

Spector trails only Donovan in the number of crosses he’s made (6).

Spector has made 5 solo runs, suffered 4 tackles, and lost possession of the ball 6 times (tied for most on the team with Dempsey and Donovan).  He has one assist and one shot which was not on goal.

His top speed is 28.25 km/hr.

Defensively, Spector does not tackle often (his 2 tackles is the fewest among U.S. players with as many minutes).

Spector has a Casterol Index Rating of 5.56.  Experts have a hard time reaching a consenus on rating Spector’s play:  his scores ranged from a 4.0 to an 8.0 in the group stage (5.7 average).  But all of the experts agreed that his performance against Spain merited a 7.0 (third among U.S. defenders).

Spector was not able to mark his man closely enough on Brazil’s first (and game winning) goal.

Oguchi Onyewu

Gooch has played every one of the 360 minutes in the tournament.  And while his defending remains strong, his passing accuracy is beginning to falter.

Sporting a tournament average of 66% (2d among defenders), Onyewu has had a steady decline in passing accuracy: 79% against Brazil, 63% against Egypt, and 41% against Spain.

He does not push forward often.  He has not yet taken a shot and has only been tackled once (retaining possession).

Instead, Onyewu is a rock in the back:  he has a team-leading 14 clearances and has gained possession on 4 of his 6 tackles.  (No American has more possession-gaining tackles.)

Onyewu’s favorite passing target is Spector.  And Jonathan Spector is also the player who most often passes to Onyewu.

Jay DeMerit

DeMerit’s performance as a stand-in for the U.S.’s injured captain, Carlos Bocanegra, went well enough that DeMerit remained in the lineup when Bocanegra returned.

DeMerit is a little faster than Bocanegra (28.14 km/hr to 27.06 km/hr).  But he does not get involved much in the build up of attacks (101 total passes, 42 passes received).  Nevertheless, he is statistically the defense’s best passer (67%).  DeMerit’s accuracy has fluctuated over the past three games: 69% (Brazil); 76% (Egypt); and 58% (Spain). He has 2 deliveries into the penalty area.

Defensively solid, DeMerit has gained possession on 2 of his 7 tackles and made 7 clearances.

During the group stage, experts rated him a 6.3 (second among defenders.)  His Casterol Index rating is 5.2 (second among U.S. defenders)

Carlos Bocanegra

After sitting out the group stage with an injury picked up in World Cup qualifying, Bocanegra stepped into Jonathan Bornstein’s LB position for the semi-final against Spain.

In that match, Bocanegra made 1 solo run, attempted 52 passes with a completion rate of 54%.  Excluding the forwards, only Tim Howard and Jonathan Spector had lower passing rates among all starters.

Bocanegra made only one tackle (and gained possession on it).  He had 3 clearances.

Michael Bradley (suspended for the final) was Bocanegra’s top target for passes.  DeMerit and Donovan most often pass to Bocanegra.

He was not rated on the Casterol Index.  The experts’ average rating for his performance in the semi-final match was a 6.3.

Jonathan Bornstein

During the group stage, Bornstein was among the team’s most prolific and consistent passers:  111 passes with a completion rate of 65% (62% against Brazil and 68% against Egypt).  He attempted only one cross, but had 2 deliveries into the penalty area.  And he received 60 passes.

Defensively, he made 10 clearances and 3 tackles (gaining possession once).  He only lost the ball once and did not lose possession any of the three times that he was tackled.

Bornstein most often passes to and receives passes from Clint Dempsey.

His Casterol Index rating is 4.09 (only Onyewu’s is lower).  During the group stage, his average expert rating was 5.1 (lowest among defenders).  He received an average 6.3 rating for his performance as a substitute against Spain.

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