May 27, 2012
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Donovan's hat trick powers US over Scotland

All-time US goal leader Landon Donovan scored a hat trick today and the Americans routed Scotland 5-1 in an international football friendly that served as a World Cup qualifying tuneup.

Donovan, a striker for the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer, scored in the third minute and found the net again in the 60th and 65th minutes, boosting his US career goal total to 49 before 41,000 spectators.

"It was a good day for me," Donovan said. "We wanted to come out and put on a good show. It's not often we get 41,000 people."

Donovan, playing for the Americans for the first time since last September, also set a US record with his 125th start, one more than defender Jeff Agoos totaled for the "Stars and Stripes" from 1988 through 2003.

US midfielders Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones added goals while the Americans surrendered an own goal off a skillful play from Scottish captain Kenny Miller to create the final margin.

Donovan put the Americans on top in the third minute, collecting the rebound after Scottish goalkeeper Allan McGregor blocked his first shot to the left.

Three Scottish defenders moved back to block the goal but Donovan flicked the ball high and under the crossbar to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.

Bradley found the back of the net in the 11th minute with a hard right-foot half-volley from just outside the top of the penalty area.

Miller pulled the visitors within 2-1 in the 15th minute with some help from US defender Geoff Cameron.

Scottish all-time scoring leader Miller headed a long centering pass into the chest of onrushing Cameron, who watched it bounce off him into the US goal.

It was the first goal surrendered by the Americans this year after 1-0 triumphs over Venezuela and Panama in January and a 1-0 victory at Italy last February.

Donovan clanged a shot off the goalpost in the 50th minute but found the mark again in the 60th minute, working a give-and-go with Jones that set up his blast past McGregor.

In the 65th minute, Donovan took a pass from Bradley and fired the ball in off the inside corner of the far post to completethe hat trick and give the Americans a 4-1 advantage.

"The guys in the midfield did a good job of moving and moving the ball around," Donovan said. "Any time the guys in the attacking zone get that much space we're going to score sometime."

Jones found the net in the 70th minute to conclude the scoring.

"I like the energy out there," US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.

The firepower came with US striker Clint Dempsey, who scored 17 English Premier League goals and tallied 23 times overall this season for Fulham, sidelined by a groin injury.

"They did a great job," Dempsey said. "They went about business in a top professional way. I can't wait to get back out there. I don't want to be dead weight. When I step out there I'll be ready to go."

The United States will next face Brazil in suburban Washington on Wednesday and meet Canada in Toronto on June 3. The Americans open Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying June 8 against Antigua and Barbuda and four days later at Guatemala.

Scotland are idle until an August friendly with Australia ahead of their start to 2014 World Cup qualifying next September.

AFP

Wiggle

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