In the final warm-up before the Yanks take on the Three Kitties, the United States walked to a 3-1 win over Australia in a game played at two-thirds World Cup speed.
Crowds in the United States on a glimpse of ESPN’s coverage with Martin Tyler as well as the rural setting of the South African high plains.
But the real scene that Yanks’ fans–and MLS execs–must have liked was the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Edson Buddle treating Australia like another league opponent.
Two goals by Buddle, one on a strike of a Findley-created turnover and one an unmarked header, showed that the pride of New Rochelle, NY belongs and deserves playing time down in South Africa. As we mentioned on Wednesday and earlier in May, Buddle is an exciting player combining physique with speed and a good final ball. He’s a TSG candidate to start next Saturday with Robbie Findley in relief.
Australia’s lone tally came courtesy of Tim Cahill on a cross that was not dealt with by all involved: US defenders going to the ball, Clint Dempsey on the mark and Steve Cherundolo on the post.
Herculez Gomez finalized the scoring with a textbook finish on a Landon Donovan-grounded corner near the final whistle.
TSG will eschew out typical review in favor of some quick bullet point thoughts in this one:
• Remember that narrow pitch. The States looked a little shoddy in midfield defense and that was with less square footage that there will be next week. In the back, Carlos Bocanegra held his own today, but he’ll be dealing with more real estate and more pace on the 12th.
• Clarence Goodson started in back for the Yanks pairing Jay DeMerit. You won’t see Onyewu against the Three Lions. If Gooch was going to play, you would have liked to see him get at least 60 to 70 minutes of run for the Yanks to improve his fitness. Didn’t happen.
• I don’t know if it’s the Jabulani, but the ball is clearly flying at altitude. On many occasions, the keepers or defenders shorted the ball expecting it to come down as it carried.
• The Robbie Findley story remains the same. Strong physique, good first move, trouble with the final ball. I did like today how Findley challenged the backline as well as varied his moves–Findley didn’t always try to beat him man initially to the outside today.
Yes Findley needs to improve, but let’s remember that Davies had some trouble with the final ball as well (against Trinidad & Tobago and Honduras)
• I think you’ll see the Yanks keep Donovan on the right side, using Landon Donovan with Steve Cherundolo in support as the speed or counterattack flank. The left flank will be more possession oriented with Deuce and Jozy Altidore who is expected to be fit.
• Another game another bad foul from Ricardo Clark. It looks like he is your starter against the Three Lions, better from Clark today, but I wouldn’t say he was extremely strong.
• Steve Cherundolo is on form. Cherundolo looked confident, strong in possession and quick today. I think he’s earned the nod next week.
• Clint Dempsey is in World Cup form also. While Dempsey dropped his man on the lone Socceroos’ goal, Dempsey was obviously intent on attacking today and looked a step ahead of the Australian defenders.
• With the exception of a very dangerous square ball that led to an Aussie break, better from Jonathan Bornstein today. Better, not great, but better.
• Marcus Hahnemann, as the announcers scolded, should have warn a hat. He also should have marshalled his backline better–that’s for sure.
• Jay DeMerit played strong stand-up defense, but he needs to clean-up his distribution for next week.
• No Stu, Torres or Edu today suggests–since you would have seen them acclimatize today–that they come off the bench next week.
• Michael Bradley took his foot of the gas pedal today–that’s a good thing–his distribution still needs to be a little more precise.
• I really would like to see Bob Bradley lose the Pajamas by Nike.