The USA's Jermaine Jones (15) and Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski struggle for the ball during the second half of their international friendly soccer match in Chicago, October 9, 2010. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Uneven, inconsistent, somewhat encouraging while at the the same time eminently maddening; the United States' performance on Saturday night against Poland was all of those things.  But what most stuck out for fans and analysts alike was the strong performance by the team's long-awaited addition, American-German Jermaine Jones.

Jones was everything we expect of an American player.  Hard-working, athletic, and strong.  He exhibited all of the traits fans had heard about while surprising with his passing and vision; Jones didn't just "fit in", he stood out.  After all of the hype, Jones delivered.

It should only get better with time.  Michael Bradley didn't play well alongside Jones, and while that was troubling, their partnership will undoubtedly evolve as they work to find a better understanding.  For a first time out, there's plenty to be excited about.  Without Landon Donovan on the field, Jones was far and away the best player the US had, and it's exciting to imagine the two playing together.

Striking, but not surprising in retrospect, is how much the Americans looked like Jones' team against Poland.  The American by way of Germany led by play and example; Michael Bradley's poor-ish performance may have been a factor, and Bocanegra is of course the captain, but by appearances, Jones was the boss.  Again, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic plays out when Donovan is playing with Jones, and each is attempting to put their stamp on the game.

Jones is exactly what we hope he would be, and perhaps a bit more.  Unfortunately, his ability also shines a light on how far American development still needs to go; that a player with his particular reputation can step on the field with most of our best and not only be the best ball-winner but also the best passer is a sign that there's plenty of room for improvement.  Again, in retrospect and considering where he learned his soccer, it shouldn't be surprising that Jones was superior technically.  That doesn't mean an actual display of that fact isn't somewhat noteworthy.

Hyperbole comes too easily here, but it does appear that the US took a significant step forward with the addition of Jermaine Jones.

After submitting his application to FIFA to switch his international eligibility, Jones related being a little too different, in terms of personality and attitude, to feel comfortable with Germany. Not only are there no such problems with his new American teammates, his on-field talents mean he'll have no trouble being appreciated.

Welcome aboard, Jermain. Good to have ya.
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