USA 3 – Australia 1

The U.S. national soccer team pose for a team picture in Roodepoort

1st Half

A week noted for injuries – stars Rio Ferdinand and John Obi Mikel will miss the World Cup for their teams’ England and Nigeria, while Didier Drogba’s broken elbow leaves him questionable for Ivory Coast – could have led to an easygoing match between USA and Australia. Surprisingly, both teams sought a win straight from the get-go, with USA striking in the 4th minute: Robbie Findley applied pressure on an Australian center back, who turned straight into the patch of Edson Buddle. Even though Findley made an excellent run into the box, Buddle elected to call his own number and smashed past Mark Schwarzer for his first international goal. The lead looked to increase eleven minutes later as Clint Dempsey released Findley into the box, but the Real Salt Lake striker missed an open net, the first of two such gaffes.

Australia found their equalizer in the 18th as a sliding Tim Cahill victimized Dempsey. A corner drifted onto the US back post and Dempsey appeared to give up on the play, expecting the ball to be cleared. When it wasn’t, Cahill slithered behind the US midfielder and slotted past his Everton teammate, Tim Howard.

United States directed play for the rest of the half, could have gone up in the 26th when a Dempsey shot was pushed inches wide, and eventually grabbed a lead in the 30th. Steve Cherundolo ran down the wing and his floated cross was pounced on by Buddle.

The most notable encounter the rest of the half ended with yellow cards for Dempsey and Craig Moore; Moore kicked the Texan, who took offense, and the two butted heads before the referee stopped play and issued his demerits.

2nd half

A few minutes after the halftime kickoff, USA tried to take a two-goal lead but were denied by quality keeper Mark Schwarzer. Captain Carlos Bocanegra initiated an attack by popping forward to an open Donovan, who found club teammate Buddle alone in the box. The unselfish striker would not have been condemned for trying to grab a hat trick, but he instead tapped across goal to Findley. The ensuing shot bounced off the bar and fell to Michael Bradley, whose volley was shoved skyward by Schwarzer and headed into the net by a diving Dempsey. The strike was called off due to Findley being in an offside position.

Australia appeared heartened after the sequence and subsequently maintained possession for long periods, looking likely to equalize. To their disappointment, the scoreline remained level until Herculez Gomez tapped in a 93rd minute Donovan cross

These two sides could see more of each other in a couple weeks. USA’s Group C winner will take on Australia’s Group D runner-up and vice versa.

Come back later tonight for a full USA-Australia tactical analysis.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. AG says:

    well done

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