DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland beat the United States 4-1 in an entertaining friendly at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday with goals from Anthony Pilkington, James McClean and two from Robbie Brady handing Martin O‘Neill’s second string side victory.
O‘Neill started an entirely different side to the one that lost 1-0 in Scotland in a bruising Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday but was rewarded after seven minutes when Pilkington scored his first goal for Ireland following a fine move.
Pilkington exchanged passes with impressive debutant David McGoldrick whose wonderfully weighted pass put the Cardiff City midfielder through and his finish was just as sweet, dinking the ball over Bill Hamid.
The United States, starting with four of the team that lost out to Belgium in the last 16 of the World Cup, had been on top before Pilkington’s strike and took control after with Fabian Johnson going closest to leveling after his drilled shot hit the post from 30 meters out.
It should have been 2-0 just before the half hour after some comical U.S. defending handed Daryl Murphy a clear sight at goal and he would have joined Pilkington with a first international goal were it not for a good stop by Hamid.
It was another error, this time from Ireland’s David Meyler, that let the visitors back in the game. The Hull City midfielder gave up possession in his own half and after a neat knock down from Chris Wondolowski, Mix Diskerud poked home the equalizer.
The U.S. grew in confidence and were close to leading at halftime after Jozy Altidore smashed an effort against the crossbar but Brady, playing in the unfamiliar role of left back, put Ireland back in front shortly after the break, with McGoldrick again providing the deft assist.
Ireland had Shay Given to thank for keeping the U.S. out with a couple of great saves, but the home side’s second half dominance told when moments after the woodwork denied substitute Shane Long a sublime third, McClean netted with a deflection.
Hull City’s Brady completed the rout five minutes from time with the pick of the night, curling a left-footed free kick into the top corner.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Toby Davis