BRIAN SCIARETTA - Sunday, May 27, 2012
United States vs Scotland
Friendly - Saturday May 26, 2012
EverBank Field
Landon Donovan's return to the United States national team was a triumphant one as he scored a hat trick in a 5-1 demolition of a helpless Scotland.

Donovan has not played for the US team since September but his return was a triumphant one and he did not waste any time in making his presence felt.

In just the third minute of the game, Donovan took a pass from Jermaine Jones in the box. Donovan's first shot was saved by Scottish keeper Allan McGregor but Donovan pounced on the rebound and converted the second chance to give the Americans and early 1-0 lead.

"It was nice to be back," Donovan said. "It was great to have such a reception. The crowd was great, the energy was great, and we're glad we could put on a good performance. It's just one game and we understand that but tan important step toward the ultimate goal which is qualifying for Brazil 2014."

In the 12th minute, the US would double their lead in spectacular fashion when Michael Bradley drilled a perfect half-volley from 25 yards into the top corner past McGregor. On the play Donovan sent a ball to Jones in the middle of the field who laid it off for Bradley.

"The guys who makes it for me is [Jones]," Bradley said. "He did well just to see that I was moving off of him and laid a perfect ball back. It caught it well and it's nice to get a goal."

Scotland was graciously given a sign of life when US central defender Geoff Cameron deflected a Kenny Miller pass into his own net. The own goal cut the US lead to 2-1.

The US generally dominated the first half in large part because of the midfield play of Jermaine Jones, Jose Torres, Michael Bradley, and Maurice Edu. Those four players created space that allowed Donovan to slice through the Scottish defense.

For US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, it was a priority for him during recent weeks to come up with a formation that allows all of these midfielders to play together.

"We worked on that over the last ten days in training," Klinsmann said. "[We had] to see how can we could get the best out of these guys who are really exceptional players but they play very similar positions. It gives us options maybe playing [Donovan] wide, or gives him more freedom actually to go all over the field."

Despite never playing a first team club game, Borussia Dortmund forward Terrence Boyd was named to the starting lineup in place of Jozy Altidore who has yet to be released by his club, AZ Alkmaar. Boyd was effective in his hold up play and was aggressive in taking on defenders.

"I was happy I would get a chance to play from the beginning," Boyd said when he learned that he start the game. "You're always nervous before a big game but it turned out very well and we won 5-1. It was a good match and I'm very happy. I think I had a good performance."

In the second half the US would turn the game into a rout.

The US found their third goal in the 60th minute when Bradley and Jones combined in a push forward. Jones eventual centering pass from the right side found Donovan who fired home a low shot for a 3-1 lead

Five minutes later, Donovan completed his hat trick when a Bradley through pass put Donovan behind the defense and he made no mistake in converting the opportunity with another low shot for a 4-1 advantage.

"Landon is a good soccer player," Bradley said. "So when he's on the field, he makes guys around him better. He's easy to play with. There's no doubt that we're a much better team when he's on the field. It was good to get him back in the group."

In the 69th minute, the United States rounded out the scoring when Jones saw his hard work all night rewarded with a goal off a header that was set up by Donovan - who was a factor in every US goal.

The 5-1 victory gave the United States a four game winning streak and it was an emphatic way for the Americans to break out of their offensive struggles. In the first ten games since Klinsmann took over as head coach, the US team had only scored multiple goals on one occasion.

"Obviously we are very pleased with how things went tonight," Klinsmann said. "It was a wonderful start with two early goals. I think we set the tone and the team really kept the rhythm. Throughout the entire game we kept the tempo going, the energy was high, we saw some wonderful goals."

Now the American team has much needed momentum heading into World Cup qualifying which begins on June 8th against Antigua and Barbuda.

"For us, this summer is about moving ourselves along one game at a time and raising our level each game," Bradley said. "For the first game there were some good things but now we have to improve as each game comes along."

Before qualifying starts, the US team will play a pair of friendlies with the first coming against a powerful Brazilian team on Wednesday followed by a match against CONCACAF rivals Canada on Sunday.
Tuesday May 29, 2012 2:38 pm
Yeah, veterans like Wondo who have all of 6 caps to their name. I'm sure he'll bring a lot of stability and experience to the brazil game.
Tuesday May 29, 2012 1:02 pm
Do you really think Kilnsmann is going to stick with Altidore? I think this is the perfect time to try new strikers...obviously the idea in the formation is to free Deuce and Donovan, so whatever striker can hold up the ball and bring the others into the game is going to be best - not that it matters much as we should coast into qualification.
Tuesday May 29, 2012 12:49 pm
Who is playing R/B behind Steve C? just wondering...

— Steve

@Steve that's a good question. I think in an emergency you'd see Edu, Castillo or Parkhurst there. But if there were any injuries Herr Jurgen would probably bring in a replacement like Eric Lichaj.
Tuesday May 29, 2012 12:43 pm
What a performance by the USMNT! I can't remember the last time we took it to anyone like that. Bradley, Jones and Torres dominated that game. Donovan's finishing was outstanding, he could've very easily finished with four goals if not for that post! Fabian Johnson looks like he is going to be a real gem. He gave us a wide outlet and showed real speed and technical ability on a couple of great runs with the ball. Cherundolo, Bocanegra and Timmy Howard didn't have much to do but they were solid as usual. The only real issues I saw were some sloppy passing by Edu (who did a great job killing some Scotland attacks) and Geof Cameron losing Kenny Miller and letting a header bounce off of him on Scotland's only goal. Terrence Boyd showed some good flashes but also some areas he can work on. He might of had a goal or 2 himself if not for some poor touches. Overall I think we've all got to be feeling pretty good about where the team is. I know many will remember this game for Donovan's hat trick, but for me the biggest story was the absolute domination by our midfield. Jones, Bradley and Torres look like a three headed monster that is going to pose problems for a lot of teams.
Tuesday May 29, 2012 12:36 am
Finally a game where our offense gets it going! Best passing I have seen offensively by the Nats in a long time. LD and JJ had it going on! World Class set up and strike by JJ and finish by MD. To succeed in a World Cup you must play every game like they did against the Scots. Now add Demps, Adu, Agudelo,Altidore and you are off to races. Would love to see Lichaj, Chandler, Spector and Gooch added to the 1st team. Great test against the Samba Kings next. Another win would be sublime. Get the ball to Deuce!
Monday May 28, 2012 3:18 pm
For the Brazil game, Torres will take Edu's spot and Dempsey will take Torres's spot. I do not see Altidore starting this game. Maybe a veteran like Wondo or Gomez will start.
Sunday May 27, 2012 10:31 pm
Torres was spectacular, as were Bradley, Jones, Edu, and Donovan. Have to give Klinsmann credit. Maybe he’s finally unlocked his game. Whatever that was (1-2-3-4?), he’s nailed it. Now imagine Dempsey up top, free to roam as he does at Fulham to poach, draw fowls, tie up defenders, frustrate, and open more space for that potent midfield. Boyd had an OK game but with Dempsey or Altidore up top it would have been 7-1. The fitness of our team and Klinsmann’s strategy of pressing the ball up top, 1-2 touch possession and free-floating field shifts were on full display. Seems like we’ve just seen what the Klinsmann game looks like when the pieces are in place. Not bad.

But all that pressing was partially due to a team on the other side of the pitch that was ripe for it. Not sure if Scotland had one of their famous pre-game celebrations the night before but they looked pretty awful. No offense and almost no counter-attack. Our back line was rarely tested, although I think half of that was due to that stellar midfield domination. Brazil will be a different animal. Don’t think we’ll be able to press as much up top. Maybe more like the strategy deployed against Italy.

Class move by Klinsmann to get Guzan (and others) on the field.
Sunday May 27, 2012 5:21 pm
Who is playing R/B behind Steve C? just wondering...
Sunday May 27, 2012 2:42 pm
Nicely done fellas! That's how we should play, except with less give always! Who said Torres doesnt belong on the team is a moron! He was a great distributor along with the center mids!
Sunday May 27, 2012 2:23 pm
It was a pleasure to watch, great heart on display. even saw Landon pull some defensive duties by running back. Boyd looks dangerous and I am happy that we have some one to push Altidore.

Am I the only person that had a good laugh when Jones drilled a scottish player with the ball at the touch line hoping it would bounce off the player for a corner or throw. I love his grity nature, no American would ever do that and thats what makes it so refreshing.
Page 1 of 2
1 2  Next »

Email (will not appear on the site)


Join the YA Email Alert?

Comments are moderated and will be posted if they are on-topic and free of profanity, abuse and spam. HTML and links are not allowed.


The final stretch of the English league season is upon us, with several Americans on the verge of relegation with their teams.
Tale of Two Young Yanks in Europe
Wagner Nears Premier League Goal
YA lineup prediction vs. T&T
vom Steeg lands at Fortuna