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American Player Rankings: USA's win over Italy shapes new set of rankings

Clint Dempsey's goal, Michael Bradley's strong showing and Tim Howard big saves will have a large bearing on the new APR.

The rankings were held for a day this week to allow the USA's match with Italy to be played before publishing, and what a match it turned out to be.

First off, I get it. It's a friendly and in the end it's not that big a deal to pick up a friendly win. On the other hand, any win over Italy is a great win for U.S. soccer. Even more so with a team that still has more than a few questions surrounding it. With that in mind, here's a few quick thoughts on the game before we move into what exactly it means for the rankings.

Michael Bradley was very good. He and Maurcie Edu held their own in the middle of the park and tracked back very well. His ball over the top to free Fabian Johnson also set the stage for Clint Dempsey's goal, so it's safe to say he had a man of the match performance. With no more nepotism to claim, what will people point to now to detract from his play?

Maybe he came out with a point to prove and that's why he showed as well as he did. Regardless, there should be no doubt about him deserving a starting spot on this team.

Fabian Johnson also had an impressive showing playing left back. Depth at that position has been nonexistent in the past, so seeing another player with the ability to hold the spot down and provide service from the wide areas is lovely.

Jozy Altidore played well. There will be plenty of detractors because it's Altidore, and that's alright. What the U.S. needs from him is the ability to hold the ball up top and help the team get goals. On Wednesday, he did the first part well at times and not so well at times. But he came up with the play he had to come up with to help the USA win, and that's what should be taken away from this performance by him. He's learning the game, and it seems like he's finally using his massive frame to do some of the things that he hasn't always done well.

Now to the rankings!
1. Clint Dempsey

Age: 28

Club: Fulham
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 1

Comment:
There should be no argument here. Dempsey is still the biggest goal threat the USA has and right now he isn't missing often. His goal against Italy was a quality finish, as was the job he did chasing Andrea Pirlo around the pitch. It should also be noted that his quality on the ball is a step above most of his American teammates.
2. Tim Howard


Age: 32

Club: Everton
Position: Goalkeeper

Last Week: 4

Comments:
Big saves from Howard on Wednesday kept the USA from being down early. For the USA he's as important as any player on the team.
3. Michael Bradley

Age: 24

Club: Chievo
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 5

Comments:
It's not a secret that these ranking weigh USA matches heavily and Bradley's showing against Italy was class. He's also been very good at the club level and is deserving of jumping up to third for the time being.
4. Landon Donovan

Age: 29

Club: LA Galaxy
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 2

Comments:
Donovan missed out on the USA's trip to Italy through illness, which isn't his fault, but the team showed that it could compete with one of the best teams in the world without him. That doesn't help his case. Plus, the Italy match was one of the few remaining chances for Donovan to show out against truly world-class opposition this year. Still, his time with Everton is not forgotten and he's not likely to keep falling.
5. Brad Friedel

Age: 40

Club: Tottenham
Position: Goalkeeper

Last Week: 3

Comments:
Being torched for five goals at the weekend and then having Howard come up big midweek had to do something to Friedel's standing. Still a top-five guy though.
6. Maurice Edu

Age: 25

Club: Rangers
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 8

Comment:
Like Bradley, Edu had a good match in the center of the park against Italy and deserves to move up. Not nearly as influential with the ball as his partner, but he was very good in breaking up play and helping isolate Italy's front men.
7.  Carlos Bocanegra


Age: 32

Club: Rangers
Position: Defender

Last Week: 7

Comments:
Bocanegra did his job at the back, but there were several close calls. Credit him for keeping the team together down the stretch against Italy and for making a couple of nice tackles along the way.
8. Jozy Altidore

Age: 22

Club: AZ
Position: Forward

Last Week:
  10

Comments:
Scoring and creating goals, those are the two main jobs of a forward. In his last two matches he's scored two and created one. Well deserving of a move up a couple of places and it's nice to see his play with his back to goal is improving steadily.
9. Fabian Johnson

Age: 24

Club: Hoffenheim
Position: Midfielder/Defender

Last Week:
NR

Comments:
This guy can apparently play well in multiple spots for both his club and country. Welcome in to the top 10.
10. Jose Torres

Age: 24

Club: Pachuca
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 9

Comments:
Missed the trip to Italy through injury, but the guys that came in to replace him and Donovan - Brek Shea and Sacha Kljestan - weren't outstanding. Torres keeps his place in the top 10, though he does fall one spot and might drop out if soon if the injury is a nagging one and causes more problems.

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