The United States' World Cup run is over.

The players will return to their club teams, or if they're lucky, take a well-deserved vacation. The future for many players hinges on how well they performed in South Africa. So, let's pretend we just watched the Stanley Cup playoffs and give out some stars:

Landon Donovan
The team's all-time scoring leader struck three times in conesecutive games, including the game-winner that saved the World Cup for the Americans. Donovan was the most dangerous player on the attack and will gain more interest from abroad after this performance.

Michael Bradley
His father paired him with a revolving door of teammates at central midfield, but Bradley remained consistent and was, clearly, a top 3 player for the U.S. at the World Cup. He distributed the ball with purpose, had an excellent first touch and played far better defense than he had leading up to the World Cup. Bradley's promotion to a high-profile club in the Bundesliga or elsewhere is only a matter of time.

Tim Howard
The man between the pipes endured a rough start by conceding a goal four minutes into his first World Cup and a kick to the ribs shortly thereafter. Since, he was stellar. Howard came up big on numerous occasions and helped direct a defense that wasn't always organized. He's one of the best keepers in the EPL and, despite his age, should still be around in four years.

Other players who impressed:

Steve Cherundolo: It's a shame he played mediocre in the final game, but in the group stage, he was extremely trustworthy on the right side and the most consistent defender.
Benny Feilhaber: Looked solid in the minutes he was given. He's truly one of the best playmakers the U.S. has to offer.
Clint Dempsey: Deuce took a lot of abuse from opposing defenders, which perhaps is an indication of whom the other teams feared the most. Though he failed to score, he created many chances.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Players that didn't:

Oguchi Onyewu: As it turned out, maybe he wasn't ready for the rigors of the World Cup. After a poor performance against Slovenia, he was benched in the final two games. He'll get healthy again and could challenge for more playing time in the years to come.
Jose Torres: He was given a start against Slovenia, but after 45 minutes, Bob Bradley had seen enough and the U.S. found itself down, 2-0. He just didn't bring his usual flair to the midfield.
Ricardo Clark: His defensive miscues resulted in two early goals, including the first goal conceded to Ghana. Being subbed off in the first half of a game is never a good thing.