The US is a perfect three for three under Bob Bradley after Landon Donovan led the Yanks to a 3-1 win over '06 World Cup participant Ecuador at the New Sombrero in Tampa on Sunday. Donovan scored three different ways against Ecuador... off of a poor clearance in the first minute... on a 40-yard breakaway in the 66th... and a 20-yd rocket off a DMB feed two minutes later. Here's a quick review of the match, Eastwood style.
The aforementioned Donovan: Took hold of the US effort and willed his team to win. For a guy that's told US Soccer his focus this year is on his club team, he's giving the Nats everything he's got. Donovan has tied Brian McBride for 2nd all-time on the US scoring list with 30 tallies, just four behind Eric Wynalda.
Michael Bradley: Entered at halftime and did a great job managing the US attack, which was scattered in the game's first half. His slow, steady possession helped frustrate the speedy Ecuadorians, who wilted after Donovan's two second-half goals.
Brian Ching: Got kicked in the nose in the first half, but got himself right back on the field and had a chance or two at goal before being subbed out in the 73rd. A real warrior.
Benny Feilhaber: Went 90 minutes at d-mid in his first US start. Tons of upside potential. Worked great with Bradley.
The Fed: Ecuador was a great scheduling choice. They're a good South American squad that gave the young (and not-so-young) Nats fits in the first half. Good speed and sharp passing made them a strong test for the US as they get ready for Gold Cup and Copa America.
The US D-Wings: Cherundolo and Bocanegra were torched frequently by the young and speedy Ecuadorians. True, the temperature on the field (120 degrees) was a bit warmer than Germany and England, but our d-wings did a lot of chasing, especially on Felipe Caicedo's goal. Caicedo, who's only 21, had a terrific match for the South Americans.
DaMarcus Beasley: He's still working his way back into shape, and had a great feed to LD for the US' third goal, but Beaz had a few howlers in the match. It's been a year since he played his best, and while he's all but inked-in for WC 2010, here's to hoping he gets his groove back.
Dave O'Brien: Got smacked-down by Arena for comparing Oguchi Oneywu to an NFL Linebacker. Went off on a ramble out how the Yankees' spring training site was nearby. Continually noted the score and time, although that info is constantly available to viewers on the screen. As Run-DMC once noted... "You talk too much... home boy you NEVER shut up!"
By the way, the first person who can explain what Wynalda was talking about re: MLS' "Game First" effort wins a prize. Looking forward to more roster experiments this Wednesday vs. Guatemala at the Deep Dish in Frisco.