Ireland overcame the USA with a resounding 4-1 win last night at the Aviva Stadium so here we have picked out four of The Boys In Green’s best performers from last night’s victory.
1. Anthony Pilkington
For the 64 minutes that Pilkington was on the pitch he caused the US constant headaches down the right flank, thanks in part to the great supply from Cyrus Christie in particular. However, it was Ireland new boy David McGoldrick who provided the best pass Pilkington received all night.
McGoldrick’s deft through ball caught out the USA defence and Pilkington ran through to score his first international goal for his country with a sublime lop over Bill Hamid after just seven minutes.
The Cardiff City man constantly aimed to run at, and in behind the US defence, freeing up space for Ireland’s strikers McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy. Although he only played 64 minutes the 26-year-old stood out for Ireland last night.
Rating – 7/10
2. Cyrus Christie
On his international debut Christie was exceptional as he surely gave Martin O’Neill something to think about in addition to his regular right-back Seamus Coleman.
The 22-year-old was strong on the ball and always looking for the simple and effective pass. His ability to dribble with the ball is not quite to the standard of Coleman but if the Derby County man can progress on how he played last night there could be a bright future ahead for Christie within the Irish set up.
Speaking to Setanta Sports, manger Martin O’Neill had this to say about Cyrus Christie’s performance:
“I thought Cyrus Christie was excellent. He’s a lot to live up to in that position with Seamus Coleman (normally there). He had a brilliant debut, really brilliant.
“I’ve seen a lot of him in recent months and I knew he would do well.
“He made a couple of early mistakes but he got over them but I thought he was outstanding, particularly in the second half.”
Rating – 8/10
The Hull City winger earned his two goals in one of the most outstanding performances by Brady in an Irish shirt yet. His set-piece delivery, his pace and his ability to bring others into play made the Dubliner stand out on a fantastic night for the Boys in Green.
Another assist from McGoldrick inside the box set up Brady’s first goal as he raced in behind the USA defence and finished neatly past Hamid at the edge of the six yard box.
Brady was a constant nuisance for the American’s down the left flank, playing in an unfamiliar role of left-back rather than his usual midfield position. However, Brady took on the role brilliantly with just a couple of errors of note.
Brady rounded off an electrifying performance with a world-class free kick in the 86th minute, which found it’s way into the top right hand corner of Hamid’s goal from 35 yards out.
Rating – 9/10
Another of Ireland’s debutants, McGoldrick had an outstanding performance, living up to the faith the manager had put in him to join up with the squad.
Although McGoldrick, or his strike partner Murphy didn’t manage to score any goals, they both provided the players around them with opportunities to finish chances.
The Ipswich Town striker firstly put Pilkington through on goal to finish superbly, he then battled for possession which led to Murphy skipping through the US defence before having a point-blank shot saved by Hamid.
McGoldrick worked hard all night for the Irish cause and was the provider of a clever reverse pass through to Brady for the Hull man’s first goal of the night.
McGoldrick was rightly given a resounding reception on leaving the pitch to be replaced by Long after 77 minutes.
Rating – 8/10
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena
Featured image By Michael Kranewitter (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-at (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/at/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons.