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Edson Buddle

The World Cup officially starts on Friday — FINALLY — and one of the bigger stories of the opening weekend is the match between England and the US. There’s a lot that’s been said about this game, and there’s still a lot that’s going to be said before they kick-off on Saturday. One area of concern for the American national team comes from who is going to replace Charlie Davies as the striker who will playing along side Jozy Altidore.

After their 3-1 win over the Socceroos last Saturday, it appears as if Bob Bradley’s decision has been made easier, thanks to Edson Buddle.

The choice to replace Davies appears to have been between Buddle and Robbie Findley, but after Saturday’s showing, Buddle is the obvious choice. Scoring two goals against a team that hadn’t lost in 13-straight appearances against international competition has a way of separating the starters from the reserves. Findley didn’t help his cause by missing at least two very makeable goals, either.

That first goal was close to world-class, as was Steve Cherundolo’s awesome cross that provided Buddle with the opportunity to score his second. Unlike Findley, Buddle took advantage of his opportunities.

While this post isn’t a “throw Robbie Findley under the bus” rant, you have to convert the opportunities given to you, especially for a team looking to replace a potentially great player like Davies. It should be noted Hercules Gomez — in limited play — took advantage of his scoring chance as well. Granted, Landon Donovan deserves as much, if not more credit for Gomez’ goal, you still have to finish when the opportunity presents itself.

With that in mind, I’m fully expecting Bob Bradley to have the names “Altidore” and “Buddle” penciled in as forwards when he hands the official his lineup card on Saturday.