U.S. eases past Denmark in Bradley's debut
CARSON, Calif. -- Two newcomers and a resurgent veteran gave coach Bob Bradley a victory in his debut with the U.S. national team.
Landon Donovan ended a 1½-year scoreless streak in international play, and Jonathan Bornstein and Kenny Cooper scored in their national team debuts to lead the Americans to a 3-1 victory over Denmark on Saturday in Bradley's first game as interim coach.
Dennis Sorenson put the Danes ahead in the 37th minute of the exhibition game, and Donovan tied it seven minutes later with a penalty that went in off both hands of goalkeeper Jesper Christiansen.
The goal gave a spark to a U.S. team that had started stiff and sloppy.
"There were some nerves for sure," Bradley said. "In the first half the coordination on the field was fine, but the plays weren't. We fouled up some simple plays, and needed to get some confidence in what we were doing."
It was the 26th goal in 85 international appearances for Donovan, who was scoreless in 18 straight national team games since connecting against Canada on July 9, 2005, and drew criticism for his play during last year's World Cup.
"I thought Landon had a really good game," Bradley said. "He worked very hard I thought he got involved right away. That's a good sign."
Bornstein, a 22-year-old who was Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year last season while playing for Bradley at Chivas USA, scored the go-ahead goal from 8 yards in the 57th minute off a cross from Justin Mapp.
"I don't know how I found myself in the middle of the box," Bornstein said. "We couldn't have designed it any better. Justin played a perfect ball right to my head foot and it ended up in the back of the net."
Bornstein, who is from nearby Los Alamitos, scored in front of family and friends in the Home Depot Center, the same stadium where he plays for Chivas USA.
"I was wishing that my family was in their Chivas section, because it's right in that corner," Bornstein said. "They were on the other side of the field."
Bradley said he wasn't surprised the young player got his first international goal so quickly.
"I know him so well," the coach said. "He never seems fazed by anything, he always seems to learn quickly what goes on around him. He just has good instincts."
Cooper, who was nearly offside, scored on a breakaway in the 80th minute.
Bornstein and Cooper became the 41st and 42nd players to score in their U.S. debuts.
Bradley took over as coach from Bruce Arena, who had led the team since late 1998 and watched from a broadcast booth. The U.S. Soccer Federation had hoped to hire former Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann, but he withdrew as a candidate last month and Bradley got the job on an interim basis for the first part of this year. Bradley remains a candidate to get the job full-time, but USSF president Sunil Gulati might prefer a foreigner.
Bradley said he didn't feel like he was auditioning for his job and wasn't especially nervous during the game, focusing instead on getting the national team headed toward the next World Cup in South Africa.
"I was excited for this day," he said. "Regardless of whether I'm an interim coach or not, the cycle is starting for 2010. The process has to be smooth."
Bradley's next test will be a Feb. 7 exhibition against Mexico in Glendale, Ariz., when Bradley expects to add several Europe-based players to the roster.
"It's a fixture date, which will allow us the opportunity to bring in some of our players from Europe," Bradley said. "So I imagine there will be some [roster] changes."
It was the first game for the Americans since last June's loss to Ghana that knocked them out of the World Cup in the first round, ending the longest layoff for the team in two decades.
Missing most of its top players, who remained with their European clubs, Denmark went ahead when Sorenson took a pass from Simon Busk Poulsen and sent a header that caromed off the crossbar and into the goal past keeper Matt Reis.
Donovan, playing his first game since marrying actress Bianca Kajlich on New Year's Eve, took the penalty kick after Ricardo Clark was fighting through defenders and Anders Moller Christensen grabbed his jersey from behind.