USA 2 Spain 0: US Shows Its Potential

24 June 2009

After advancing to the semi-finals in the most dramatic of fashions, the United States was playing with house money the rest of the way. After today, I think it's safe to say the house money the US is playing with is now the size of the pot the crew of Oceans Eleven stole.

Spain, the team everyone wanted to ram down our throats. The 'most' attractive team in all the world. The team with all the 'stars'. The team that was suppose to run roughshod over not only this Confederations Cup, but the World Cup next year as well. Oops I guess the media was wrong again, myself included.

Now granted I picked Spain to make the final only to lose to Brazil, their play in the group stages should have worried the trained eye. Spain played three teams that they were not interested in playing during group play. Unlike other sports, you just can't flip a switch and pick up your performances when you want in a competition of this manner. Believing the hype, Spain thought this game was nothing more than a formality in their quest to the final. Oops, they were wrong.

The US came out and played like they just didn't care. They didn't see Spain as a team they should be afraid of, they saw a team they could beat. The way the US attacked in the opening quarter hour was something Spain had only seen once during their winning streak (the match at home against Turkey in World Cup Qualifying). While Spain was moving forward, they did not have any legitimate open shot that Tim Howard was really threatened with.

Both goals can be attributed to both great US build and horrific Spanish defending. The opener is on both Capdeliva and on Casillas. With Capdeliva out of position, Jozy Altidore was able to muscle by him with ease. With Casillas leaning far post, Jozy did the smart thing and went near. The second goal was just on the entire Spanish defense. Again, the US did a great job suckering the entire Spanish back line into the run central. With Landon and Clint continuing their runs, all it took was picking out the right target to finish off Spain for good. In this instance, it was Donovan. Donovan was smart to just lay the ball across the six. Casillas wasn't expecting it, the rest of his back line wasn't in position to clear. All it took was Clint Dempsey getting the ball and his just reward was an empty net.

The US did an exceptional job closing down the Spanish defense. If there was any opponent that Ricardo Clark could thrive against, Spain was that opponent. After his red card against Italy, Ricardo Clark has played smarter. Yes Clark has stayed a bully, but he has left the reckless tackling behind.

One can't speak on this game without speaking about the partnership Jay DeMerit and Gooch formed today. Together they denied everything Spain threw into the box and were the main reason Spain didn't have a threatening shot all day.

When the dust settles from this fine US performance, what fans saw was what we can be, and what we need to be if we are to win against 'top notch opposition'. They have to be gritty, they have to be brave, but above all they have to play fearless. Once the United States gets rid of playing with fear, the possibilities are endless.

1 comments:

Starting11 June 25, 2009 at 8:57 AM  

Let's put this in some historical context: Was it the greatest win in U.S. soccer history?
http://bit.ly/X4xqN

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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