U.S. Men vs. Honduras
Castrol Index: Dempsey Volleys his way to top of Castrol Index in U.S. MNT's First World Cup Qualifier
In the U.S. Men's National Team's first FIFA World Cup Qualifier of the Final Round, Clint Dempsey found himself at the top of the Castrol Index with a score of 645. Dempsey's rating is largely credited to scoring the lone goal for the U.S. in the match and playing the full 90 minutes, he also led the team with four shots on the afternoon.
Honduras is considered a strong team and was also playing at home. Index scores are weighted both on strength of the opponent and if the game is being played at home or on the road.
Dempsey put the U.S. on the score sheet first when Jermaine Jones lofted a ball over the Honduras defense to Dempsey in the box. Dempsey drove his volley past Honduran keeper Noel Valladares for the 1-0 lead in the 36th minute. It was Dempsey's 31st career international goal and his 11th in a World Cup qualifier.
Following Dempsey at the top of the index were a pair of defenders, Fabian Johnson (638) and Omar Gonzalez (602). Johnson's goal line clearance of a dangerous Honduran attack in the 30th minute helped his score in addition to winning the ball back for the U.S. on several occasions.
Michael Bradley checked in as the highest rated midfielder with a score of 579 and was the only U.S. midfielder to play all ninety minutes. Bradley was also second on the team with three shots and sent one on frame while picking up his 20th appearance in a World Cup qualifier.
Starting in goal and wearing the captain's armband for the U.S., Tim Howard was fifth on the team with an index score of 556. Howard played all 90 minutes and made three saves in the match, including a clutch punch-out of Mario Martinez's left-footed strike in the 33rd minute to keep the scoreless at the time.
Rounding out the middle of the index, were Jozy Altidore (514), who got the ball to Jones at the top of the box to help set up Dempsey's 36th minute goal. Geoff Cameron (505) in his sixth appearance in a World Cup qualifier and Timmy Chandler (470) who became cap-tied to the U.S. MNT for the rest of his career by making his first appearance for the United States in a World Cup qualifier.
Jermaine Jones posted an index score of 436 in his 66 minutes on the pitch, the highest of any of the players that didn't play 90 minutes. Jones' rating is due in large part to notching the assist on Dempsey's goal, he also drew several corner kicks helping the U.S. to hold a 7-4 advantage in the category.
Eddie Johnson came in behind Jones with an index of 382 in his 59 minutes of playing time. Johnson recorded one shot and drew three fouls in his 12th World Cup qualifier.