Landon Donovan and Hercules Gomez sealed a United States victory during injury time at the end of the second half to give the U.S. a 3-1 win over Australia in their last warmup game. Donovan crossed the ball beautifully and Gomez struck it down the middle of the net to seal the victory. The United States seemed content with their 2-1 halftime lead as they let starting goalkeeper, Tim Howard, rest in the second half. In the end, the United States took care of business and look forward to playing against England.
At just over three minutes into the game, the United States drew first blood. A sloppy play by the Australian backfield led to a steal by Edson Buddle just outside Australia’s 18 yard box. A couple of moves later, Buddle, starting for injured Jozy Altidore, blasted a right footed shot past the Australian keeper’s left shoulder.
The U.S.A. should have gone up 2-0 after Findley beat an offside trap. He made a move toward the Australian goalkeeper, and faked him out by going right. With a wide open look at the net, Findley hit an off-balance shot and shanked it wide right. Those are the kinds of opportunities that can bite you later.
The Socceroos from Australia responded with an improbable goal off of a corner. They it the ball to the far post where two Australian players were waiting to try and play the ball. Tim Cahill was the one who got a foot on the ball and somehow it went in. The United States had defenders on the posts in addition to keeper Tim Howard. When I first saw the goal on TV, I thought the ball hit the outside of the net. The announcers seemed surprised too as the replay showed the ball somehow got between the U.S. defender and the post even though he was basically hugging the post.
The U.S. restored their one goal lead shortly thereafter on Edson Buddle’s second goal. On a beautiful cross from the right side, Buddle got a head on the ball and hit it straight toward the ground at the goal line. The ball bounced past the goalkeeper and the man who was chosen to fill in for Altidore had two goals.
In addition to Findley’s miss, the United States had a goal disallowed for a controversial offsides call. The United States had a man on the ground in offsides position as another finished a goal after a wild frenzy in front of the Australian net. The ball came across the field, off the keeper by Bradley, off the crossbar and finally into the net by Dempsey, but the linesman’s flag flew into the air noting offside. Even the commentators on TV seemed to think that the goal should have been allowed.
In the end, it didn’t matter. The United States scored three goals, even if they had great opportunity to score five. They won their final match before real World Cup action.
Speaking of World Cup action, the United States will be fortunate next weekend when they play England. You never want to see injuries, but they do happen. This time, England will be without their center back, and captain Rio Ferdinand after he injured his knee in practice. After reading about it, it sounds like the entire English team are walking wounded practically.
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