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June 5, 2010
Buddle, Gomez power U.S. past Australia in final World Cup tune-up

Edson Buddle’s two goals against Australia were the first of his National Team career.
Edson Buddle’s two goals against Australia were the first of his National Team career.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
ROODEPOORT, South Africa -- Edson Buddle scored twice, and Herculez Gomez came off the bench to add a third goal as the United States defeated Australia 3-1 in Saturday’s final World Cup tune-up match Saturday at Ruimsig Stadium.

Buddle’s goals were the first and second of his national team career and they came in just his third appearance. Gomez’ stoppage time tally was his second career goal in four appearances.

The match came five days after the USA arrived in South Africa and a week before the Americans open their 2010 FIFA World Cup against England at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg. The match kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET live on ABC and Univision.

U.S. head coach Bob Bradley made several changes from the lineup that defeated Turkey 2-1 on May 29 in the USA’s final domestic warm-up match, inserting veteran Steve Cherundolo at right back and using both Buddle and Robbie Findley at forward while dropping Clint Dempsey back from striker to left midfield.

Buddle rewarded his coach’s confidence with an impressive individual effort that led to a goal in just the fourth minute. He tracked back to force a turnover, and took off toward the startled Aussie defense. Buddle beat a defender with a nifty move to his right and stuck a dipping a shot inside the right post past diving Australia ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer to give the Americans an early advantage.

Australia’s Tim Cahill leveled the score in the 19th minute on a corner kick, finding space inside the penalty box to volley the cross through traffic and into the lower left corner.

Both teams wanted to avoid any injuries with their World Cup openers on the horizon, but things were anything but boring, as the teams combined for 25 shots.

The Americans regained the lead in the 31st minute when Cherundolo got past his defender down the right wing and crossed the ball to the far post . Buddle got in front of his marker for a close-range header past the helpless Schwarzer.

At halftime, Bradley changed goalkeepers, replacing Tim Howard with Marcus Hahnemann, who earned his first cap since 2007. Hahnemann was forced into several tough saves, but kept the Socceroos off the board in the second half. It was the first of five changes made by Bradley, who also gave Oguchi Onyewu 30 minutes in place of Clarence Goodson while Jonathan Bornstein replaced captain Carlos Bocanegra for the final 36 minutes. DaMarcus Beasley also came on in 72nd minute in place of Buddle while Gomez got on the field in the 82nd minute in place of Dempsey.

The USA had a goal disallowed in 51st minute, after a wild sequence that started when Landon Donovan put Buddle through into the left side of the penalty area. Buddle’s cross found the sliding Findley at the back post, but his shot hit the crossbar. It bounced in the box before it was poorly cleared by Australia to Michael Bradley, who dribbled at goal and unleashed a blast that Schwarzer could only bat into the air. Dempsey came flying through to send a diving header into the net, but it was waved off for offside.

The final goal came after a crisp series of passing by the U.S. near the top of the penalty box in the third minute of stoppage time. Donovan got possession on the right side and rewarded a good run from Gomez, skipping a cross into the middle for the forward to first-time a shot into the left corner of the net from seven yards away.

The U.S. Men's National Team is in Group C at the 2010 FIFA World Cup with England, Slovenia and Algeria. After the England match, the USA will face Slovenia on June 18 in Johannesburg and Algeria on June 23 in Tshwane/Pretoria.

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