Buddle double downs Aussies
Edson Buddle put himself in the frame for a starting spot against England as USA defeated Australia.
Last Updated: 05/06/10 4:33pm
Edson Buddle struck twice to put himself in the frame for a starting spot against England as the United States defeated Australia 3-1 in Roodepoort.
The LA Galaxy striker, who leads the MLS scoring charts so far this season, bagged a brace before the break in an entertaining and open World Cup warm-up clash.
With Jozy Altidore on the sidelines due to a slight ankle problem, the 29-year seized his chance to score his first senior goals for his country.
Buddle, whose career has been severely affected by injury setbacks, showed perfect timing in advancing his cause for a role in next weekend's Group C opener and Herculez Gomez, another back-up striker, demonstrated his worth by coming off the bench to score the third in the 93rd minute.
The USA suggested they may pose a threat to England offensively with Landon Donovan, who had a loan spell at Everton last season, a class act when drifting in from the right flank.
But, in contrast, their defence continually looked shaky and was carved open on several occasions and on this evidence, Wayne Rooney and co will prove difficult for them to deal with.
USA needed only four minutes to open the scoring through Buddle as he took advantage of some slack defensive play before beating Mark Schwarzer with a powerful 15-yard drive.
Australia were second best in the early stages and Robbie Findley should have doubled the USA's advantage after 15 minutes.
He was put clear of the Australia defence by Clint Dempsey's pass, took the ball past Schwarzer but then shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
It was against the run of play when Australia levelled matters after 19 minutes. The American defence failed to deal with a hanging corner from Richard Garcia and Everton's Tim Cahill made no mistake from close range.
Lucas Neill had a goal-bound shot blocked from a Jason Culina corner as Australia looked to take the lead, while back at the other end, Schwarzer needed to be alert to parry away an effort from Fulham club-mate Dempsey after Donovan had put him clear.
But he was unable to prevent Buddle restoring the USA's lead after 31 minutes when he headed in a right-wing centre from Steven Cherundolo.
Tim Howard beat away a Culina drive from the edge of the area and there was certainly a competitive edge to the game.
Dempsey and Australia's Craig Moore were both yellow-carded after squaring up to each other in the middle of the pitch.
The former had the ball in the net early in the second half but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Veteran Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann, who replaced Howard at half-time, did well to twice block close-range efforts from Mark Bresciano.
The USA continued to look uncertain almost every time the ball was put into the danger area in their box.
Australia dominated the second period and Hahnemann turned aside another fierce drive, from substitute Nikita Rukavytsya.
Dempsey was on the receiving end of a series of fierce challenges with Vince Grella cautioned for one of them on the midfielder.
Gomez made it 3-1 in stoppage-time when he tucked away Donovan's low cross.