Home > Tournament Statistics, World Cup > Passing: The US’s glaring (and uncorrected) weakness

Passing: The US’s glaring (and uncorrected) weakness

The Confederations Cup Final against Brazil was a blowout in some regards.  For example, Brazil attempted 608 passes and completed 479 (a 79% rate).  The United States attempted only 337 and completed 198 (59%).  As a result, the U.S. team ran over 3.1 miles more than the victorious Brazilians.

One would hope that a year later would find the U.S. side improved in that regard, but unfortunately we’re still woefully poor at this soccer fundamental.

  • England – 339 complete/487 passes (70%)
  • U.S. – 218 complete/376 passes (58%)

The U.S. completed 121 fewer passes than England did — at 60 minutes of honest playing time, that’s 2 fewer completed passes per minute over the course of an entire game.  Let’s break it down a little and check out the individual numbers.

Best Passers:

Of players who made at least two passes, no American connected on more than 66.7% of their passes.  (Stuart Holden was a perfect 1-for-1.)  England, on the other hand, had ten players connect on more than 2/3 of their passes.  (And even dropping James Milner (3 passes) and Peter Crouch (4 passes) still leaves them with eight accurate passers.)

The best of the bad were Jay DeMerit (connecting on 12 of 18 passes) and Clint Dempsey (22 of 33).

Disappointing Passers:

Everyone really.  But the midfield should be singled out:  Dempsey (67%), Donovan (61%), Bradley (60%), and Clark (52%).

And short passing was particularly weak with a number of players flipping coins to determine whether their passes would be accurate, including DeMerit (50%), Bocanegra (55%), Donovan (54%), and Altidore (51%).


The United States must start showing its claimed espirit de corps in its passing game.  Because let’s face it, we passed better against Brazil last summer and England’s no Brazil.  If the World Cup is to be another step forward in the development of the MNT, we must improve our passing.

  1. wjmooner
    June 14, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Great stuff here. Slovenia’s 3 points against Algeria means we need to push for a win on Friday. A tie isn’t good enough. Given that, I think it likely that Rico sits and someone with better vision and accuracy (Torres, Holden) gets the start next to Bradley in the middle.

    • Michael
      June 14, 2010 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks. I agree that the Slovenia match is the big one for the U.S. And given that Slovenia should pose less of an offensive threat than England, it would be a great opportunity for Torres or Holden to show what accurate, forward passes can do for a squad.

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