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The ratings look back on the USA's World Cup qualifiers and summer friendlies.

A week after the USA finished off its run of summer matches, there are plenty of questions that will need answering before Jurgen Klinsmann's side can be considered a threat to make noise in Brazil.

Two things stand out.

First, the defense is as soft as expected. There's no correct answer at the moment, and as the team moves forward something will have to be done to solidify the back four. That's nothing new.

Secondly, we've got the curious case of Jozy Altidore.

Altidore is coming off his best season as a professional. He proved that he had goals in him and offers some of the target play that Klinsmann's preferred style requires out of its lead striker. He seemed sure to be a major part of the squad as World Cup qualifying opened.

Klinsmann had other ideas, using Herculez Gomez to run the channels and poach goals, rather than having a forward to facilitate the flow of the ball regularly.

Gomez, in his own right, did well enough. It's clear to see that his work ethic on the pitch has endeared him to the German coach, and there's plenty of reason to believe that the opposite is the case with Altidore. Used sparingly in a role coming off the bench, the AZ forward produced nothing of note, even when there were chances to be had.

It was unimpressive, but not surprising.

It seems a strange argument to make after talking about how poor his showings have been, but Altidore should be a starter for the USA. Gomez and his pace invite too many balls over the top and offer too few outlets on the ground.

As a substitute, Altidore will rarely impact a match. It's not in his nature to create a spark. What he does offer is the ability to play with his back to goal and to trouble the smaller, quicker center backs that CONCACAF often offers up.

Klinsmann, for all he's done right, will have to understand at some point that the USA has an advantage over much of the CONCACAF region because of players like Altidore and their ability to dominate an opponent physically.

This is not to say that trying to put his most technically gifted players on the pitch is a failing for Klinsmann. It's not. But when the gap is minimal, as it is between Altidore and Gomez, the benefit of having the bigger, stronger player on the pitch can be the difference in a win and a lackluster draw.

Add to that the fact that Gomez has a proven ability to bring goals off the bench, and the case seems to make itself.

With that said, as far as these rankings go, Altidore's status has taken a hit from his lack of production for the USA and he'll fall down the list this week.
1. Clint Dempsey
Age: 29

Club: Fulham
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 1

Dempsey provides the touch of class the USA needs. His goal against Guatemala was just the latest example of what he can bring at any moment.
2. Michael Bradley

Age: 24

Club: Chievo
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 4

Bradley impressed throughout the USA five-match run and has proven to be a steady force in the middle of the park.
3. Tim Howard
Age: 33

Club: Everton
Position: Goalkeeper

Last Week: 3

Howard is the one thing that makes the USA's defense work.
4. Fabian Johnson
Age: 24

Club: Hoffenheim
Position: Defender/Midfielder

Last Week: 5

Johnson continues to impress. His assist to Dempsey in the Guatemala match showed another example of what he can do going forward, and the left back spot seems to be his to lose.
5. Jozy Altidore
Age: 22

Club: AZ
Position: Forward

Last Week: 2

USA matches carry a heavy weight with these ratings, but no other player stood out enough to eclipse what Altidore did at the club level this season.
6. Landon Donovan
Age: 30

Club: LA Galaxy
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 6

Donovan, for the USA to be productive as an attacking team, will have to find a way to get on the ball more, and to be more productive when he does get his touches.
7.  Jermaine Jones

Age: 30

Club: Schalke
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 7

Along with Bradley, Jones has formed a solid midfield pair. The question remains where Maurice Edu fits into the group.
8. Herculez Gomez
Age: 30

Club: Santos
Position: Forward

Last Week:

Gomez works as hard as any forward the USA has trotted out in the last few years and offers plenty of pace up front. If he figures out how to connect with Dempsey and Donovan more, he could be a force.
9. Jose Torres
Age: 24

Club: Pachuca
Position: Midfielder

Last Week:

Torres picked up a tough injury against Antigua & Barbuda, and his ability to link play was missed against Guatemala in a match that he very much could have influenced.
10. Carlos Bocanegra
Age: 33

Club: Rangers
Position: Defender

Last Week: 10

Bocanegra is the only center back the USA can trust at the moment, and that will have to change.



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