The U.S. Men came out firing on all fronts on Saturday night, soundly defeating Scotland 5-1 in front of a new Florida record 44,438 fans in Jacksonville.
Landon Donovan powered the U.S. attack with a hat trick, while Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones added a goal each in the victory.
The result has to have U.S. fans excited. Not only was the result on the scoreboard ideal, the team played their most complete game since Klinsmann took over for Bob Bradley. The 4-3-3 formation provided quick passing and distribution from Bradley, Jones, and Edu to Donovan and Jose Torres which opened up a constant and effective attack. The passing and creativity were superb, some of the best that I have seen from a U.S. Men's squad.
Donovan was a man on fire. His first goal in the third minute came off his own rebound where he corralled the ball and was able to fire high to give the U.S. the first goal of the game. The goal was a product of pure determination and desire. Donovan scored two more at 60 and 65 set up by crafty passes from Jones and Bradley respectively.
Michale Bradley scored the second goal of the game on a stunningly beautiful strike from 25 yards out into the upper right hand corner in the 11th minute. Jones added to the score in the 70th with a snap header to the right side of the goal.
The game is the first of five in 18 days. The squad takes on the mighty Brazil on Wednesday in D.C. with World Cup Qualifying on the horizon.
MY THREE TAKEAWAYS
1. Klinsmann told us to be patient as he crafted this squad into a creative, passing, team over the past year and if tonight is any indication of what to expect from the USMNT under Klinsmann, this was a brilliant hire. The team looked dangerous tonight. I hate to keep saying it, but the passing was spectacular. No long balls, just beautiful, fast, attacking, football
2. The 4-3-3 formation played to the strengths of Bradley, Jones, Donovan, and Torres. Those four players stood out. Altidore and Dempsey in the mix will be tasty to say the least.
3. When Nike presented the new U.S. Men's National Team jersey a few weeks back, a lot of fans on Twitter and message boards were quick to criticize the new red and white striped look. If the men keep playing like they did against Scotland on Saturday night, these shirts may become the all-time favorite.