The Copa America Centenario is over and it's time to take stock of how the United States fared.
After the U.S. finished fourth with a 1-0 loss to Colombia, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said the federation staff and coach Jurgen Klinsmann will meet to discuss how the tournament went.
"Getting to the semifinals is very good, but I never said he wasn't on solid ground or was on solid ground or anything else," Gulati said of Klinsmann's job security after the third-place match in Arizona. "A lot of stuff gets written. Next week we'll sit down, we'll talk with Jurgen and assess everything."
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That's all well and good, but here are some ratings Gulati & Co. may consider, if they are interested:
Jurgen Klinsmann - 5
Heading into Copa America, Klinsmann's loudest critics were clamoring for consistency -- to stop tinkering, stop trying players in unfamiliar positions, stop leaving the team in flux and let the players grow into their roles. To his credit, he did that with the surprising and historic decision to start the exact same line-up three times in a row to win Group A. The team looked to be building chemistry and cohesion throughout the tournament and he managed to set up a number of his players to succeed. But eventually, it ended up looking like a crutch that held Klinsmann back.
As the U.S. pushed through the knockouts, Klinsmann continued to stay as close to that same group as possible, unable or unwilling to change directions as needed. It backfired spectacularly against Argentina when, faced with three suspensions, Klinsmann did his best to find safe, like-for-like replacements off the bench for the vacancies while leaving everyone else intact. Klinsmann's changes seemed to be all the wrong ones. The U.S. were not expected to win, but they couldn't even hold onto the ball and got zero shots at all. It was the first time the U.S. men's national team had failed to record a shot since the stat started being collected in 1998 -- in other words, it was an epically bad loss.
In the end, based purely on results, Klinsmann will be judged as having met expectations -- not exceeding them, but not failing either -- as Klinsmann always said his goal was reaching the semifinal. The U.S. beat the teams they should have, but American fans will have wanted to see the U.S. play better in the face of the world's toughest teams, even in defeat. The progress that Klinsmann promised just wasn't evident.
Clint Dempsey - 7
Coming into this tournament, there was some doubt lingering around the 33-year-old, but in the end he proved to be one of the USA's best players. He led the USA in goals, scoring three times in three straight wins, and proved to be an indispensable leader on the field. Sure, he needs the right tactical set-up and the right striker partner to be effective, as the opening match proved, but as a player who is willing to shoulder the burden of victory, he is well worth accommodating. Dempsey had quiet outings, but even in the USA's losses -- particularly their first against Colombia -- he was the only one stepping up and trying to make something out of nothing. His presence proved crucial and he made critics look foolish.
Chris Wondolowski - 3
In his only start of the tournament, Wondolowski was given an impossible high-stakes task. He could avenge the infamous miss from the 2014 World Cup by pulling off magic against the best team in the world, or he could fail, which was the far likelier scenario. Wondolowski wasn't set up to succeed -- Klinsmann was asking him to do something that there was no reason to believe he could do. When Wondolowski was yanked off at halftime for 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, it was tantamount to Klinsmann admitting a mistake. But the damage had been done, and it's hard to see the U.S. replying on Wondolowski again in the future.
Bobby Wood - 7
A relative newcomer to the national team, 23-year-old Wood experienced a breakout performance, including a quarterfinal appearance that was perhaps his best-ever in a U.S. uniform. His hold-up play to find the right pass in the final third was very good throughout the tournament and, though he was credited with no assists, goals often started from his ability to stretch defenses out of their shape. The Americans have been lacking an heir to the oft-injured Jozy Altidore and it seems they've found one in Wood.
Gyasi Zardes - 6.5
The 24-year-old is perhaps a bit rough around the edges and his sloppy first touch can frustrate fans. But Zardes more than made up for his deficiencies with a high work rate and speed that kept back lines under pressure. Yes, his finishing could be more clinical and when he squanders a possession, fans may cringe. But it's a meme that has also turned into confirmation bias. Zardes worked well with Dempsey, the pair combining on two goals, and he was relentless in tracking back for defensive duty, too.
Alejandro Bedoya - 5
For the 29-year-old Nantes winger, the tournament was a bit of a mixed bag. He did well tracking back and churning out defensive plays but his positive impact on the American attack was minimal and he squandered any chances he did have. Bedoya's Copa America was a mostly forgettable outing -- neither impressive nor terrible.
Graham Zusi - 5.5
For the 29-year-old winger, his best match, like many of the Americans, came in the 4-0 rout over Costa Rica. There he forced the turnover that ultimately led to his goal. But otherwise, his presence in the attack wasn't felt so much as it was in tracking back and making defensive stops, which he did well throughout the tournament.
Christian Pulisic - 5
The teenager didn't see too much of the field, with his longest stint coming against an overwhelmingly overmatched Argentina side. But he showed glimpses of what makes him an exciting American prospect: He was composed in difficult high-stakes matches, provided a spark and never looked out of his depth. But he was limited in what he was able to do and will need to wait for his breakout on the big international stage.
Darlington Nagbe - 6
He saw limited time throughout the tournament, never getting more than 24 minutes at a time. But in the time he did have, he connected all but one of his passes across the tournament and moved the ball well. The shame of Nagbe's solid performances is that he never had enough time to make much of an impact, but he may have made his case for the future.
Jermaine Jones - 6
The 34-year-old started the tournament with a poor, ineffective performance against Colombia in the opener and when he hit Antonio Valencia in the face during an argument in the quarterfinal, it was inexcusably dumb. But it was dumb because Jones had rebounded after that first game and the U.S. couldn't afford to see him suspended. His best performance came in a 4-0 rout against Costa Rica where he marauded all over the field, preventing the opposition from getting space with the ball. He may have not matched that performance again in the tournament, but it was clear the Americans depended on his aggressive physical presence.
Kyle Beckerman - 3
He was another player who only got a start in the most difficult situation -- facing Lionel Messi's Argentina in the semifinal -- which was made more difficult by the fact that he was the wrong guy for the job. Still, he should've known better when he failed to close down the space on Argentina's opening third-minute goal and the match was pretty much over from that point forward. He did better coming on as a sub whilst leading Ecuador, where in 12 minutes he managed three clearances, but it looks like the 34-year-old's best days with the national team are behind him.
Michael Bradley - 4
The 28-year-old has been considered one of the best and most important pieces of the U.S. men's team for years. But he sure didn't look like it at Copa America. He was a turnover machine and he was often caught out of position. To be fair, Bradley has been asked to do too much for the U.S. and it seems Klinsmann hasn't done enough to define his role. But when Bradley sent passes to no one and lost the ball with minimal pressure, the blame needs to fall squarely on the player's shoulders.
Fabian Johnson - 5
The 28-year-old Bundesliga left winger played at his usual left back position, but didn't exactly play to expectations. His didn't generate too much going forward and we've seen him play much better than he did at Copa America. Particularly against Paraguay, his mistakes forced Brad Guzan to make back-to-back saves, which he is lucky the goalkeeper did. He did relatively well when asked to play as right back due to suspensions, battling to disrupt Ecuador's potent flank attack.
John Brooks - 7.5
Did a player have a better tournament than the 23-year-old German-American? Given a consistent centerback partner in Geoff Cameron, Brooks looked comfortable and was rarely beaten throughout the tournament, at least until the semifinal. He made block after block, clearance after clearance, and managed to cut out plays before they turned into threats. He wasn't without mistakes and looked poor against Argentina, as did the entire U.S. team, but that appalling team effort in the semifinal aside, Brooks had a very successful tournament.
Geoff Cameron - 5.5
The Stoke City defender had a relatively decent performance and paired well with John Brooks in the middle of the back line. He largely kept the Americans in matches with key defensive stops, but also got away with some errors and giveaways peppered throughout the tournament. He got caught ball-watching on the goal in the third-place game, the most glaring error of his that lead to conceding a goal, but he was mostly pretty solid.
DeAndre Yedlin - 5.5
A couple years back, Yedlin was viewed as a right back who could use his speed and push up in the attack, but was relatively weak with one-on-one defending. Throughout Copa America, it became clear how far the 22-year-old defender has come since moving the English Premier League. Yedlin hasn't exactly worked all the sloppy turnovers or miss-hit clearances out his game, and he will be blamed for conceding the penalty kick in the tournament opener. But he has turned into a defender who is valuable for his actual defending and put in solid performances, making key stops throughout the tournament.
Matt Besler - 5.5
His key performance came in being asked to replace a suspended DeAndre Yedlin and fill in as a left back against Ecuador. The usual centerback rose the occasion and did well to keep Antonio Valencia at bay. It wasn't a perfect outing, as his fellow defenders had to bail him out at one point, but he did play a role in the game-winning goal.
Michael Orozco - 4
He had one start in the entire tournament, during the third-place match, and it won't be remembered fondly. His sending off in extra time for pushing his opponent's face as a ref watched from two feet away will leave a sour taste in everyone's mouths. He was culpable in not shutting down the beginning of the sequence Colombia scored on as well. He fared a bit better as a substitute in a 1-0 win over Paraguay, but those who were puzzled by his inclusion on the Copa America roster won't feel proven wrong.
Steve Birnbaum - 3
He had very limited playing time and didn't do much with it. His giveaway that gifted Argentina their final goal of the semifinal was embarrassingly bad. To be fair, he wasn't alone in playing poorly and looking anxious in that match. He earns a bit of sympathy for being put in a difficult situation, but with 40 minutes to try to make his mark on the match, he wasn't able to rise to the occasion.
Brad Guzan - 5
He had good performances, like against Paraguay, where he notched a double-save, read just about every cross perfectly and made six saves. But he'll also get his share of blame, especially for conceding that third-minute goal against Argentina by being too indecisive about whether to come out or stay on his line -- it was a goal that arguably ended the match for the Americans. In the end, he mostly did his job as expected, but there were no heroics like we witnessed in the Round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup.
Tim Howard - 5
He was called upon only once, in a third-place game that is perhaps a bit difficult to judge. That said, he made some strong saves that kept the game much closer than it could've otherwise been. But he needed to do better on Carlos Bacca's goal, where he got caught in no-man's land off his line and up able to get back quick enough after the cross.