thumbnail Hello,

There were several impressive showing out of the USA against Scotland, causing movement up and down our list.

There will finally be some movement back in these rankings after Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. national team put together a strong showing against a soft and rather uninterested Scotland team.

The top two in the rankings didn't play - which won't be held against them for this week - but from there on we have plenty of things to discuss, including the dominant showing from the USA's midfield and a hat trick from Landon Donovan.

The two go hand in hand, really.

Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones formed the heart of the team on Saturday night. That's not to say that Donovan didn't play a massive part in helping the team to a win, but the three players in the center of the park were all immense.

Edu was asked to hold deeper, and it was clear that Bradley and Jones both enjoyed the freedom of getting forward. Donovan was the beneficiary of their play. As Scotland packed into the middle of the park to shut down the midfield three, he was afforded plenty of space on the right to bomb forward, and he did so in a masterful way.

"We had a really strong center of the park and we did well to come in and go out the other side. There was a lot of space," team captain Carlos Bocanegra said after the match.

It won't always be like that.

The way the U.S. played on Saturday was a great indicator of what the team might be able to do against smaller sides, and it was a very positive approach to attacking a team that was willing to sit back and look for counterattacks. What's not known is how well that particular setup will work against a team like Brazil, or in the future against one of CONCACAF's better teams like Mexico or Costa Rica.

"It worked well for us tonight," Bocanegra said. "I don’t know if it will work well against every team. Depending on our opponents we’ll kind of see their tendencies, see how we match up against them. But it’s just nice to have that sort of shape."

There is also the question of how that shape changes when Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore are introduced back into the side, but for now U.S. fans and players can be content with a very strong outing.

On to the rankings.

1. Clint Dempsey
Age: 29

Club: Fulham
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 1

Comment:
Dempsey's return to the starting group could bring about a major shift in how the midfield sets up. Would he be a straight swap with Jose Torres on the left, or will his inclusion require one of the central midfield trio to take a place on the bench?
2. Jozy Altidore

Age: 22

Club: AZ
Position: Forward

Last Week: 2

Comments:
Altidore might be looking over his shoulder at Terrence Boyd, but he should still feel fairly confident of his place in the team. His inclusion won't require much of a change as he'll simply step into Boyd's spot up top.
3. Tim Howard
Age: 33

Club: Everton
Position: Goalkeeper

Last Week: 3

Comments:
Never tested against Scotland, Howard will likely have to be at his best against Brazil.
4. Michael Bradley
Age: 24

Club: Chievo
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 4

Comments:
Bradley was more impressive against Scotland than any other player on the USA squad, and his goal was masterful.
5. Landon Donovan
Age: 30

Club: LA Galaxy
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 6

Comments: 
Donovan is back, and he's at his best when allowed to roam out by the touchline. The outing against Scotland does beg the question of why he's been less effective with the Galaxy this season than you would expect.
6. Fabian Johnson
Age: 24

Club: Hoffenheim
Position: Defender/Midfielder

Last Week: 8

Comment:
Whether it was a lack of being tested or just how good he is, Johnson was never trouble against Scotland - a rarity for a U.S. left back. And if you're not sold on him, note that Klinsmann is. He called Johnson the "best left back in the Bundesliga" over the last few months of the season in two separate press conferences over the weekend. 
7.  Jermaine Jones

Age: 30

Club: Schalke
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: NR

Comments:
Along with Bradley, was dominant both in getting forward and in shutting down everything Scotland tried to build through the midfield.
8. Maurice Edu
Age: 26

Club: Rangers
Position: Midfielder

Last Week:
  9

Comments:
Edu was not asked to do as much as Bradley and Jones, but what he was asked to do he did extremely well. Klinsmann's assessment of his game summed it up perfectly: "He kept things in order and gave a little bit more freedom to (Bradley and Jones) and I think it worked out really well.”
9. Jose Torres
Age: 24

Club: Pachuca
Position: Midfielder

Last Week:
10

Comments:
Torres may be the man sacrificed if Dempsey gets fit in time to face Brazil, but it won't be because of a poor showing. As always, he was confident in possession and tracked back well to help Johnson lock down the left side of the field.
10. Carlos Bocanegra
Age: 33

Club: Rangers
Position: Defender

Last Week: NR

Comments: 
With no settled partner in the center of the defense, Bocanegra has plenty asked of him. The back four (or five if you include Edu) looked well organized and rarely troubled against Scotland, and that's a credit to the captain.

Follow ALLEN RAMSEY on

Related

From the web