Following the United States' last-gasp 2-1 victory over Ghana on Monday, journalists from publications around the world issued their verdicts on player performances in the match. Sporting Kansas City's Matt Besler and Graham Zusi consistently earned some of the higher marks among the American players.
Besler started and played 45 minutes before subbing off at halftime with a strained hamstring. Zusi entered in the 77th minute and served up the game-winning assist off a corner kick nine minutes later. Sporting KC was the only club to feature multiple players who played for the U.S. on Monday.
Plaudits for Matt Besler
"Before leaving at halftime with an injury, Besler was largely solid at the back. His positioning and help defense kept things tidier than they could have been. Aside from a bad giveaway near halftime, the Sporting KC defender moved the ball well." -- Greg Seltzer, MLSsoccer.com (6.5/10)
"His clearances weren't always as authoritative as they needed to be, but he had some crucial blocks and was solid overall..." -- Jeff Carlisle, ESPNFC.com (6/10)
"Played his best game in weeks, which was huge in the first half, since Beasley struggled on his side. Unfortunately he went down with a hamstring pull and was subbed off at halftime." -- Ben Valentine, SportingNews.com (6/10)
"Making his World Cup debut, Besler was very impressive in breaking up numerous chances from Ghana. He only played one half before leaving with a strained hamstring, but Coach Jurgen Klinsmann should feel comfortable with Besler playing in the back in this tournament if he is healthy." -- Brian Sciaretta, NYtimes.com (7/10)
"Besler's distribution out of the back was wobbly, but he was nearly his central defensive partner (Geoff Cameron's) equal in stifling the Black Stars' early thrusts forward." -- Jerry Hinnen, CBSsports.com (6/10)
Plaudits for Graham Zusi
"This space is not a big fan of out-swinging corner kicks. But hey, if you're going to hit them as textbook as Zusi did in the waning moments, we'll take it. The Sporting Kansas City midfielder also did some good build work, but considering the circumstances, his headlines will all be about the clutch assist." -- Greg Seltzer, MLSsoccer.com (7/10)
"Brought some badly needed energy to the U.S. midfield, and his inch-perfect cross set up the game winner." -- Jeff Carlisle, ESPNFC.com (7/10)
"Zusi didn’t do a whole lot after coming on for Bedoya, but it was his corner that Brooks buried for the winner. That, ladies and gentlemen, is plenty." -- Ben Valentine, SportingNews.com (6/10)
"Coming on for Bedoya, Zusi was a boost to a midfield that was fatigued from chasing Ghana for most of the first half. He made the difference for the United States when he assisted on Brooks’s winner with a perfect corner kick." -- Brian Sciaretta, NYtimes.com (7/10)
"Subbed on for Bedoya in the 77th minute, Zusi wasn't all that visible in his limited minutes -- up until he delivered the corner kick that won the game and arguably saved the U.S.'s World Cup." Jerry Hinnen, CBSsports.com (6/10)