Jurgen Klinsmann’s perfect winning record in 2012 continued as the United States convincingly – and in great style — defeated Scotland 5:1 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.
The U.S. took an early lead after a scramble in the Scottish penalty area when Landon Donovan roofed the ball into Scotland’s goal in the 4th minute of the game. The goal was reminiscent of the one Donovan scored against Slovenia in the World Cup. Having his first shot blocked by the Scottish goalkeeper, Landon Donovan pounced on the loose ball in the five yard box and, even though three Scottish defenders attempted to block his shot, he coolly skied the ball passed them and into Scotland’s goal. The U.S. was up 1:0.
In the 11th of the game, after receiving a bouncing lay-up, Bradley’s spectacular right-footed volley shot zoomed passed the diving goalkeeper and into Scotland’s goal. It was an amazing goal! And just like that the U.S. was leading Scotland 2:0.
Unfortunately, the U.S. defensive lapse in the 15th minute of the game resulted in one goal for Scotland. After an early cross into the U.S. penalty area, Scotland’s Kenny Miller headed the ball into incoming U.S. defender Geoff Cameron who – unfortunately on his national team debut – inadvertently knocked the ball into his own goal. To be fair, Cameron couldn’t do anything about it and otherwise his debut must be judged as a great success. We are sure to see him wearing the U.S. National Team jersey again. Temporarily, however, Scotland cut the U.S. lead in half and it was to 2:1.
In the 22nd minute, the U.S. almost scored again after quickly taking a free kick near Scotland’s penalty area and completely catching Scottish defenders and the goalkeeper off guard. Fortunately for Scotland, the ball hit the back of the crossbar.
In the 28th minute, the U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra earned the only yellow card of the match after he literally floored the streaking Scottish striker with his shoulder. It was a hard and professional foul. The card was totally deserved in this otherwise clean match.
The U.S. continued to attack and in the 38th minute created a great goal scoring opportunity that should have been converted into the third goal for the U.S. On this play, after absorbing a bit of pressure from Scotland, Howard dove after the ball crossed into his penalty area and fisted it away. Donovan claimed the ball and sprinted forward with it leaving most of the Scottish team players behind. His perfect cross was received by Terrance Boyd but he fumbled and staggered over the ball, giving Scottish defenders enough time to clear it.
In the 44th minute, the U.S. had another super break-away but this time Jermaine Jones could not cleanly finish the shot from 20 yards away. Scotland survived the U.S. attack again.
The first half ended with the U.S. deservedly leading 2:1. They were the superior team on the field and created many chances. The U.S. dominance, however, was not entirely reflected by the first half score. But that was going to change in the second half.
The U.S. started the second half positively, pressuring Scotland high in their half of the field. The U.S. kept up the frantic pace of the first half. This high pressure was about to pay off with more chances and more goals. In the 50th minute of the game, Donovan should have had his second goal but his shot ricocheted off the post. Donovan’s left-footed shot came after he made an excellent 30 yard run leaving his Scottish pursuers behind and completely fooling the Scottish goalkeeper with his shot across the penalty area. Unfortunately, the post stood in the way.
In the 60th minute, Donovan would not be denied and he got his second goal of the match. Jermaine Jones lost his defender on the right wing and made a run into the penalty area. Before the Scottish defenders could catch up with him, he passed the ball to incoming Donovan who with a low shot beat the Scottish goalkeeper once again. The U.S. regained its two goal advantage.
In the 65th minute Donovan struck again. It seemed like the Scottish defense fell asleep and Michael Bradley’s perfectly measured pass into the penalty area was met by sprinting Donovan whose shot across the five yard box landed inside Scotland’s goal. The shot was so well placed inside the far post of teh goal that the Scottish goalkeeper did not even make an attempt to save it. The U.S. 4:1 lead over Scotland properly reflected the U.S. total and complete dominance in this match.
The U.S. supremacy was further augmented in the 68th minute after Jermaine Jones headed the ball into Scotland’s goal and increasing the U.S. lead to 5:1. The goal came after yet another speedy breakaway by the U.S. in which Donovan was involved. Indeed, Jones’ goal came off of Donovan’s pinpoint cross. Scotland just could not handle the fast-paced U.S. midfield and attack. Simply put, Scotland was being torn into pieces by the U.S. speedy counter attack.
After the 5th U.S. goal, the pace of the game significantly slowed down. At this point, it was all about damage control for Scotland. Scotland wanted to avoid even bigger embarrassment and the U.S. was happy to sit back and allow Scotland to kick the ball around in their half of the field.
The record crowd of 44,000 that came to see the U.S. play watched an entertaining and fast-paced game in which the U.S. totally dominated its opponent and won the game in great style. It seems to us that Jurgen Klinsmann is doing something right with the U.S. National Team. This, however, was the first of the five games that the U.S. will play in the next few weeks. Let’s see if the U.S. can play equally entertaining game against its next opponent Brazil.