US Player Ratings: Buddle makes his case for a starting role

Will two goals against Socceroos put Galaxy star in the XI?

On Saturday in Roodeport, South Africa, the United States looked vulnerable at times, particularly when defending crosses. But for the most part, it was a comfortable, confidence-building performance in the Yanks' 3-1 win over Australia.

Starting XI

Tim Howard: 6. Not forced into too much action,

Steve Cherundolo: 6.5. Proved why his experience and current form, particularly when getting into the attack, deserves a starting role. Struck a beautiful cross for the second goal; however, should've done better to stop Cahill's goal while guarding the post on a corner kick.

Clarence Goodson: 6. Relatively comfortable performance, however, not assertive enough defensively on crosses. Few chances to threaten on set pieces.

Jay Demerit: 5. Trouble controlling the area defensively, and seemed out of position one too many times. Slipped on the shoddy surface, but he needs to be stronger in the air.

Carlos Bocanegra: 6. A solid performance from the captain, solidifying the opinion that he should be on the left flank.

Landon Donovan: 7. His touch, motivation, and preparedness all look sparkling at the moment. And what a cross on the third goal! Galaxy teammate David Beckham, who was scouting for England, will have some nervous reports for Capello about LD.

Michael Bradley: 6. The engine of the midfield, did well to break up the Aussie's attacks, and controlled his own impulse to push too far forward and out of position. Robbed of a goal in the second half by Mark Schwarzer.

Ricardo Clark: 6. A quiet, consistent game in the middle. Improved awareness of his role providing support to the full backs. Obviously, he and Bradley are the best pairing in the middle.

Clint Dempsey: 7. Drove into the attack down the left side relentlessly. Looks more than ready to cause problems for England. Has a silly knack of putting himself in harm's way even in meaningless friendlies.

Robbie Findley: 6.5. Showed real class on the turn several times. His last touch failed to match his turns. Should've scored twice but lacked the composure in front of goal necessary at the Cup.

Edson Buddle: 8. Two goals. A double statement from a striker some pundits think can't lift his game to the international level.

Substitutions

Marcus Hahnemann: 7. Made three fantastic saves in the second half to keep the Aussies from drawing level. US fans should not be worried if he has to step in for Howard.

Jonathan Bornstein: 4.5. A tough 35 minutes for the Chivas USA defender. A few silly giveaways and some horrible positioning.

Oguchi Onyewu: 5. Came on for Goodson in the 61st minute, and did not instill anyone with confidence that he will be ready come June 12. Still looks tentative.

Damarcus Beasley: 5. Hard to judge him on just 11 minutes, but was he even out there? He was invisible.

Herculez Gomez: 6. Scored the goal after coming on for Dempsey but also missed an earlier chance. Not a starter yet.