Player ratings are stupid, but delicious beverages are not. Conversely, being told something’s refreshing only to be handed battery acid is no joke. Snap judgement are dumb, ingestible liquids are not, making them the perfect tonic for our obsession with instant analysis.
Tonight in London, the U.S. was a bit all over the place, but thankfully, there was no battery acid. There was also no perfectly preserved Dom Perignon either, so it’s going to take a little more thought to paint a scientifically viable picture of tonight’s performances.
Thanks to a process we’ve been honing since Fusion’s inception, we have that scientifically viable picture. These definitely are not randomly assigned, meaningless associations. Our power usage spiked when we turned on our refurbished W.O.P.R. In no way are we kidding around.
Player Ratings – U.S. Starters
Brad Guzan, G – It was a long if ultimately harmless night for the U.S., losing 2-1 to Colombia after giving up two second half goals, neither of which Guzan could do that much about. Relatively unbothered the rest of the night — kept in his own six-yard box as the U.S. defense tried to hold out at the edge of the penalty area — Guzan was the bottle you keep above the cabinets, by the stove – out of reach front he children. Maybe he’s not quite gold (the U.S. doesn’t have a Thibaut Courtois), but that blue label Johnny Walker sure is pretty tasty. Best save it for another, more depressing night, though.
DeAndre Yedlin, RB/RM – Most relics of our childhood live on as cherished memories, but Kool Aid’s been ruined. I suppose mass suicide cults and hipsters will do that for a delicious dehydrated wonder, but DeAndre Yedlin may be able to turn that around. As is the case during so many Yedlin performances, we saw the fun (nearly drawing a penalty kick in the second half) and the “progress” (the Internet is still talking about “positioning,” I assume). In time, this Kool Aid — let’s just call it strawberry flavored — will developed into a cocktail, like a rum punch, and then a full, mature adult drink, like sangria or something. You didn’t know that sangria was made out of Kool Aid, did you? Yup, Kool Aid, baby tears, and a few other things. Point it, this raw product really does have a lot of potential.
Jermaine Jones, RCB – Jones was a damn good midfielder this summer, is a damn good midfielder for the New England Revolution, and would probably be a damn good midfielder for the U.S., but responsible 2018 planning being the fun-killer it is, he’s being asked to develop into a center back. I’m sure this will, could, might, have a chance to be fine in the future, but right now, that future’s encased in oak. All we can do is hope it comes good. Rating: Some kind of red wine (I only drink beer and single malts, myself).
John Brooks, LCB – Like Yedlin, Brooks’s modus operandi is still that of a youngling: A healthy dose of good to go and some the occasional “I hope he improves on that” — enough for fanboys to trumpet his future, and buzzkills to note his faults. He’s Luke Skywalker crashing his X-Wing into the swamps of Dagobah! (I lost an internet belt. Forgive me.)
Thing is, if we can just stop arguing about him and cast off our need to balance every conversation, Brooks is actually a decent enough player. A decent, not-really-playing-for-his-club player, but decent, all the same. Maybe, in time, he’ll mature into something else, but right now, there’s no shame in a little at times too sugary, and times quite pleasurable hard lemonade. We don’t have to be so damn serious about everything.
Greg Garza, LB – Maybe there’s something here, something that can be forged into something decent in time, but right now, your dorm mate’s home brew is just kind of all over the place. Too hoppy, the wrong malt … vaguely untested and out of position — eventually, it’ll turn into a reliable option, like PBR, or DaMarcus Beasley off the bench. Pure curiosity is the only thing that keeps you going back to the cup. One day it may kill you, but that’s a risk you’re willing to take.
Kyle Beckerman, DM – Name the last time Kyle Beckerman had a bad game for the U.S. Unlike his predecessors Klinsmann has figured out how to use him, adapting the team’s set up to take advantage of the distributor’s strengths. Beckerman, fully incorporated into the team’s diet, has played like a rock, a cornerstone, a foundational piece — fodder for so many analogies. Let’s go with Green Machine — seemingly wild and new age to your grandparents, but actually quite healthy and tasty.
Alejandro Bedoya, RM/LM – “Ale” is well-beyond the point when he was the new, exciting kid on the block, but the promise of those typically overly optimistic days have given way to a reliable, refreshing player you’ll never really turn down. Perhaps, like coconut water, you don’t ever crave Alejandro Bedoya, but when he’s floating great crosses to the U.S.’s attackers (as he did early in today’s second half for Rubio Rubin), you pause and confess: Coconut water is a damn good product. But still, is it over-priced?
Movember can be an incredible thing (ask Alexi Lalas), but for some people Movember is way too hard, and it’s distracting. One element dominating an upper lip can completely overwhelms the senses.
Does that make him a tequila shot? A Limón Jarritos? I don’t know why I’m asking. I can’t remember anything but that damn caterpillar.
Fabian Johnson, LM/RB – Sometimes RC Cola seems like the best soda in the world — the cola that would be coming out of bar taps across the globe if it wasn’t for Adam Smith and invisible hands and … I don’t know. If I knew anything about money, I wouldn’t have become a soccer writer. With RC Cola, though, there are still times where you buy one and wonder what crapped on the conveyor belt the day that batch was bottled. All I’m saying is that Fabian Johnson, at times the U.S.’s most dynamic player, wasn’t that good tonight, but I still really like him. Like an RC Cola. Go on, judge me.
Jozy Altidore, F – It’s like we bought four cases of Two Buck Chuck when everybody swore by it, and now we keep going back to the crate, pulling out bottle after bottle, hoping to recapture that unassuming love we used to have for the stuff. The wine’s still fine (I’ve heard), and there are a lot of things it still does well. But we want it to be amazing again. We thought it would be great this summer, but the bottle we had broke.
We really want these next few bottles to be magic, because no matter what, we’re committed to drinking them. It’s either this or star experimenting with all those stupid liqueurs. Best to just stick with something reliable, even if it makes us violently vomit from time to time.
Rubio Rubin, F – Rubin is eligible to play for Mexico (honestly, we tried to avoid this — it’s pretty goddamned lazy), but that has nothing to do with this. After today’s showing, the Utrecht 18-year-old is going to be the thing everybody wants to talk about, and with good reason. He was legitimately promising, and while he will never experience the success of “Mexican Coke”, he was damn refreshing today — a nice, cane sugar replacement for Clint Dempsey’s reliable Shiner Bock.
For the next couple of days, Rubin’s going to be the next big thing, and while it may seem obvious to link the player of Mexican heritage with this fine Mexican beverage, I’m not denying him this honor just because it works too well. Mexican Coke is delicious, damn it.. Everybody should get one on his international debut.