Richardson rich in promise
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Kieran Richardson hit both goals as England beat USA 2-1 in Chicago.Kieran Richardson took his unexpected chance for England with both hands as he netted a brilliant double as Sven Goran Eriksson's side recorded a 2-1 victory over USA in Chicago.
The promising 20-year-old netted after just three minutes and then moments before the break, with USA's response coming through a Clinton Dempsey header 12 minutes from time.
A reserve team player at Old Trafford 12 months ago, Richardson's rise has been nothing short of meteoric and in Chicago his stock continued to rise with the most sumptuous of first touches.
After Andy Johnson, a fellow first starter, had been dumped to the ground by Eddie Pope - Richardson had both the confident and technical proficiency to go for goal and with an arching strike flipped the ball beyond Kasey Keller at his near post.
Thereafter, whilst Michael Carrick showed the odd moment of composure, England were largely disjointed in shape and in possession lacked precision with their passing.
David James needed to be quick off his line to thwart striker Josh Wolff but then showed his more erratic tendencies when electing to punch, and miss, Landon Donovan's free-kick from the right which looped over his head and struck the post.
England's fledglings showed invention whilst attacking but at the back, Sol Campbell and Wes Brown looked a partnership still very much in its infancy, as a lively USA strikeforce continually got behind a too often static back four.
At the other end, Glen Johnson continued to demonstrate that he is better going forward than defending when on the overlap and after feeding Chelsea team-mate Joe Cole, the blossoming schemer forced Keller into a fine save on the stretch.
Wolff then exposed a creaking gap in England's central defence to play in Donovan but the American hit man could only drag a tepid shot wide when bearing down on James.
With the half drawing to its close, Richardson may have caused Sir Alex Ferguson to raise an eyebrow when he took Joe Cole's cleverly disguised pass in his stride, this time with his right foot, to dispatch past Keller with a finish as assured as his first.
Eriksson elected to resist the temptation to make wholesale changes at the break and only Zac Knight emerged from the bench for the second half as a replacement for the injured Sol Campbell.
The pattern of the second period very much followed what had occurred in the first, as both teams showed promise when attacking and naivety in defence.
Joe Cole lashed across goal when well placed early in the half and then should have done better off a cut-back from the industrious but peripheral Andy Johnson.
Dempsey fired across goal as the home picked up the pace whilst Johnson forced Keller into a smart stop at his near post in an England break away.
The impressive Wolff was denied the goal his clever movement deserved when he lashed an effort across the six yard box before Johnson's final involvement on his first start nearly forced an error from Keller - who eventually cleared under pressure.
USA deservedly reduced the deficit with just over ten minutes remaining when Dempsey headed past James after the England keeper had saved well from Carlos Bocanegra's close-range effort.
England showed occasional moments of quality but too often were shaky at the back in a performance in which Richardson deservedly stole the headlines, before being withdrawn on the hour mark.
|United States||Team Statistics||England|
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|3||Shots on Target||4|
|10||Shots off Target||6|