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CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Saturday, June 5, 2010
3
United States vs Australia
Friendly - Saturday June 5, 2010
Ruimsig Stadium
1
The US capped off their trio of World Cup preparation matches with a decisive victory over a difficult Australia squad at Ruimsig Stadium in Roodepoort.

American coach Bradley opted to pit the MLS duo of Robbie Findley and Edson Buddle up top which worked to the US' advantage at several points in the first half in spite a few missed opportunities.

The opening minutes saw the Australians and the US exchange possession, the latter resulting in a breakaway between Donovan and Findley on the right side that faltered.

The next time down the field, team captain Carlos Bocanegra fed Clint Dempsey on the left but the pass was too strong, the first of many indications that the players were still adapting to the new FIFA ball at altitude.

Earning just his third cap for the Red, White and Blue, Buddle fired the Americans into the lead in the fourth minute after capitalizing on one of the many Australian giveaways in the midfield. The Los Angeles Galaxy forward collected the ball at the top of the box, cut right and fired past Schwazer with ease for the early one goal lead.

The Aussies tried to counter just a minute later with a ball over the backline for Josh Kennedy, but stand-in centerback Clarence Goodson was there for the deflection, which Tim Cahill fired wide left.

The Americans displayed overall good ball control in the midfield with several good connections, including one in the eighth minute between Dempsey and Buddle to Donovan for an attempted cross into the box.

Findley rued a massive chance at the quarter hour mark when Dempsey found the striker ahead of the backline. Although offside, the linesman kept his flag low as the unmarked Real Salt Lake man cut right and somehow struck just wide of the right post.

Everton's Cahill immediately tried to take advantage of the rattled nerves with a strike that curled wide left from 20 yards out.

The Australians finally connected in the 19th minute after a Jay DeMerit clearance led to an Australian corner for Luke Wilkshire. The Dynamo Moscow man swung in a corner for Cahill who was camped out at the back post and easily left-footed it in for the equalizer.

US coach Bob Bradley expressed admiration of the Everton striker after the match and that the key to defeating Australia was shutting down Cahill.

"Australia has a number of good players but we always recognize Cahill as the special one, with his ability to move around the box," Bradley said of the Socceroos' veteran.

Cahill once again proved to be a threat three minutes later, dispossessing Donovan while running through the midfield. The Galaxy attacker was deemed to have brought down Cahill although the Everton man was already on the ground. Wilkshire stepped up for a 25 yard freekick that beamed wide.

Buddle would contribute to the score line again with a go-ahead goal five minutes later. Streaking down the right side, Steve Cherundolo eluded his defender and delivered a fine cross in for Buddle who was camped out at the back post and nodded down for his second of the game and the one goal advantage.

The Aussies refused to relinquish their pressure and could have had an equalizer in the 34th minute, when Scott Chipperfield sent in a cross for Kennedy who was placed in front of the net. Unfortunately for the Nagoya Grampus man, his header beamed wide right.

Tempers flared just three minutes later after Craig Moore brought down Dempsey in the midfield, resulting in a head-to-head confrontation and yellows from referee Abdul Ebrahim for each player.

Fatigue began to show as neither team threatened in the closing five minutes of the half until the US earned a 30-yard free kick after Buddle was brought down. Donovan stepped up and lofted the ball in, taking a few touches and falling to Dempsey, who launched high for the final play of the opening half.

Australia skipper Pim Verbeek relieved Cahill at the half, bringing in Carl Valeri. His counterpart on the American side opted to give Marcus Hahnemann some time between the posts in place of Howard.

The second half featured a smaller degree of play, with Australia developing the first threat after Chipperfield outsmarted Donovan along the left side and delivered a feed into the box that went untouched through the box for Kennedy at the back post. Again the J-League striker failed to connect, chipping just wide.

US midfielder Michael Bradley got involved in the offense with a blast from 30 yards at the 50 minute mark that out sailed feet over the bar.

The Americans thought they had extended the lead when Bradley fired in after Findley hit the crossbar with a header, but the linesman had already raised his flag.

Bradley made a second substitution ten minutes into the second half bringing in Bornstein for Bocanegra at leftback and passing the captain's armband to Donovan.

The US head coach was reassuring in his words about the current state of the American captain.

"He's feeling good," Bradley said of Bocanegra. "He felt he could have gotten the full game today. He continues to make progress."

Dempsey continued the American attack with a feed up to Findley, who chipped forward along the left sideline to evade his defender and then sped forward but passed a bit too far for Buddle open on the right.

The Fulham striker had compliments to make about the first-time pairing of Buddle and Findley up top.

"I think they complement each other well up," Dempsey said of the duo. "Buddle's strong and Findley handles the ball well. I was able to get some passes up to them. I think Findley caused some trouble with his speed."

Oguchi Onyewu made his third appearance for Bob Bradley since recovering from a patella injury, relieving Clarence Goodson in the 62nd minute.

Jonathan Bornstein worked the left back position throughout the second half and foiled the Aussie offense on several occasions. Yet, Bornstein also gave away possession in the 68th minute with a cross-field pass that Mark Bresciano intercepted and then laid off to Richard Garcia at the top of the box. Fortunately, the US defense held strong and fended off the attack.

The game looked to conclude with a one-goal victory for the US until the Americans summoned a final drive in second half stoppage time.

Herculez Gomez capped off the win with his second goal with the national team when Donovan found the newly-signed Pachuca striker with a low pass to the center of the area, setting up Gomez for an easy left-footer past Schwarzer to close out the match.

With less than a week to go until his team's June 12th opener against England, Bradley expressed contentment in his players' performance this afternoon.

"It was an excellent final tune-up," said a pleased Bradley. "These matches are always tricky with a week to go. It was exactly what we needed."

The US return to training this week at Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria in preparation for the Saturday opener against England in Rustenburg.
Jeff
Monday June 7, 2010 3:32 pm
So does this leave us with:

Howard

Dolo DeMerit Gooch Boca

Lando Bradley Torres Dempsey

Findley Buddle

I can't believe I'm suggesting that Robbie Findley and Edmund Buddle start a world cup game but... what else can we do? Can Jozy and Buddle play together?

I can live with Edu instead of Torres against England, but Torres has to play against Slovenia and Algeria. And good god, please no Bornstein, ever, but that goes without saying.

That being said, if Bornstein plays 0 minutes in SA, then BB may have just unleashed the greatest managerial mind game ever against our Group B opponents. I mean, seriously. England/Slovenia/Alerigian wingers must have salivating every time they saw this guy play, and now he's just not there, and they're disappointed and confused.

... nah screw it Bob must just owe him money.
BC Britten
Monday June 7, 2010 1:30 pm
I was very disappointed that BB used Clark instead of Torres. Torres offers way better ball possession and distribution and can find our two main attacking threats, Donovan and Dempsey, in good wide positions. England is going to press the shit out of us in the first 15-20 minutes of the game in attempt to rattle and put us on our heels. Clarks' game is very hectic, whereas; Torres offers a claming presence that would prove invaluable against a pressing team. I don't have much faith that BB will use Torres against England. After all, the 4 midfielders that started against the Aussies, were also the 4 that started against Spain last year and will be the 4 BB uses against England. Too bad! Did Clark pick up an injury late in the game? One can only hope.
much adu
Sunday June 6, 2010 10:18 pm
Dear Coach Bob,

Please please do not let Bornstein, clark or Goodson see the pitch against england. If Gooch is not ready and I don't think he is our only option is boca and demerit in the middle with spector and cherundolo and left and right back. We need better mid field play. Torres must start if we play offensively along with bradley, holden and donovan as mids. Play Demps underneath Altidore. If we go defensively, play edu and bradley in the middle, along with torres, donovan and demps. Altidore should be our only strker until the second half when buddle comes in for holden or edu. Bornstein, Clark, Goodson, Findley are not ready for the type of game england will bring. Play defensively the first half and try to keep it scoreless and go for it in the second half! Im ok with using gomez late in the game if we need to go all out. GO TEAM USA!!
Bandeeto
Sunday June 6, 2010 4:13 pm
Looked to me like the final 25-30 min the US was more concerned with takng their time and not getting injured that going all out. Perhaps I'm being a homer, but the first half of play seemed more indicative of the US recent level of play. Perhaps at halftime B Bradley told the team to focus on not getting injured. All I know for sure is they wrer getting knocked down a lot a taking their sweet time gettig up. If so, then this was smart ontheir part as the Aussies seemed to be taking their frustrations out on them.
mmee
Sunday June 6, 2010 2:32 pm
I agree with everything that's been said so far.
We may see more Bornstein, depending on the contingencies.
Clark going the full 90 is madness.
Findley shouldn't start, but come off the bench if needed. He's too inexperienced to go the first 45-75 minutes.
God save our back 4.
Avaheli
Sunday June 6, 2010 12:14 pm
Have to agree with everyone on the BB love affairs with Rico Clark and Bornstien. There are better options, players who are playing at a higher level in more demanding leagues and BB ignores the evidence so plain to everyone who's ever touched a ball to play his pet players. If Clark starts v England I may have to start the "www.firebobbradley.org" website.
Rico
Sunday June 6, 2010 12:09 pm
Ok buddle showed his scoring possibilities, Gomez got a goal and Findley wasnt bad, but the aussie's defence was in no way comparable to that of mighty England the true test is soon to come. It wasnt a pretty game but our boys got the win and thats what counts. The US cant rely on its stars through the whole tournament.

Scout92

What the hell are you talking about? In a perfect world you could get contributions from everyone. But not everyone is is created the same, and those players that are your stars you rely on. Where would Barca be without Messi or Xavi? Portugal and Ronaldo? Rooney and Man U and England? They are the X-factors that win those games for you!
Soccerates
Sunday June 6, 2010 11:19 am
It was a good tune up match with a good showing from our relatively untested strikers on a horrific pitch.

That said, Bradley once again shows he's out of his league by starting Clark and giving no minutes to Torres or Edu. Absurd really. You could see him favoring Spector in the lead up despite the fact he was torched at West Ham all year long. Then finally in the Turkey game it became overwhelmingly obvious that Dolo was miles better in the second half. Thing is, the exact same thing happened with Torres coming on -- and completely outclassing -- Clark.

When assuming the holding role Clark was just flat out unable to lead or create and even just gave away possession. Plus he wasn't making it up on defense.

The idea of Clark working against Lampard/Gerrard/Milner/Barry is, um, a little unsettling.
Ronniet
Sunday June 6, 2010 11:07 am
Relax guys....did any of you consider that BB maybe didnt play edu or torres because he didn't want to tip his hand to England, who were obviously there scouting us? It makes alot of since if you ask me....BB has been to me, very good lately about bringing in subs who have either impacted the game or turned the game around completely and yesterday was another case of that even without us seeing the likes of torres, edu, spector etc. By the way, bornstein wasnt that bad yesterday either!
tima
Sunday June 6, 2010 12:56 am
Borenstein is going to cost us a game. Why o why is he there? It's like Bradley believes in that old adage...if you first don't succeed, try and try and try and try and try....
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A big question for U.S. fans heading into the World Cup is surely on Jozy Altidore and just what is plaguing the young striker at Sunderland.
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