Tuesday, May 29, 2012

USA 5, Scotland 1

The US national team gave a thorough beating to Scotland on Saturday in Jacksonville, FL, and despite the match being only an exhibition, US fans came away with a tremendous amount of optimism heading into qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

Fresh off exhibition victories over Italy and Scotland, the US now take on Brazil on Wednesday before starting qualifying in the CONCACAF region.

A combination of US pressure and warm temperatures had the Scots back on their heels right from the get-go, and before they could blink, the US had scored twice.

Whether you considered the US alignmen a 4-3-3, 4-1-4-1 or the 'Christmas tree' 4-3-2-1, the idea of having versatile midfielders to combine with center forward Terrence Boyd created a lot of movement and combination play that the US were able to exploit.  Landon Donovan and Jose Torres were constantly involved in the attacking third of the field, and Donovan was a one-man strike force as he recorded a hat trick; Michael Bradley scored a scorching blast from 25 yards out for the US 2nd goal; Jermaine Jones shed his destroying midfield role, to put in a performance of a true two-way midfielder - scoring once and setting up two others; Fabian Johnson combined well with Torres, and was able to get forward and penetrate down the US left flank - something that hasn't been seen to regularly or often in previous US teams.

US manager Jurgen Klinsmann will have more key attacking players at his disposal this week for final exhibition tune-ups against Brazil (Wednesday) and Canada (Sunday).  Clint Dempsey recovers from a groin injury and Jozy Altidore joing the squad.

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