What’s up with this team? First they make a mockery of the game with their play in the losses to Costa Rica, Italy, and Brazil. Then they dominate Egypt and qualify for the semifinals of the Confederations Cup. Today, they took on the best team in the world, Spain, and came out victorious. I think Bob Bradley has found his lineup for the rest of the qualification process.
This win is the second for the Americans against the world’s number one team. The last came in the 1998 Gold Cup against Brazil. In my opinion, this win ranks right up with the Portugal game in the 2002 World Cup, the 1989 World Cup Qualifier that sent the team to the 1990 World Cup, and the 1950 upset of England. This win couldn’t have come at a better time for American team and fans after the previously mentioned games.
Spain carried most of the play for the duration of the game, but all credit has to go to the American back four and goalkeeper Tim Howard. The US was boosted by the return of their captain, Carlos Bocanegra, who started at left back. Bocanegra normally shares the center with Oguchi Onyewu, but was moved to the outside in favor of Jay Demerit, who has had a very strong tournament so far. Left back is the normal spot for Bocanegra for his club team in England, so it isn’t a huge transition for him. As I’ve said before, I am now a huge believer in Demerit’s play, so putting Bocanegra on the outside is a great idea if it gets Demerit in the lineup. You saw how well it worked today.
Landon Donovan continued his good play in the midfield. Talent-wise, the Americans were overmatched in every position on the field, but they simply outworked the Spaniards. Charlie Davies got the start up top with Jozy Altidore, he provided a spark up top, much as he did against Egypt. I’m beginning to like him.
I was happy to see Altidore finally score. He needs to prove that he has a consistent scoring touch.
The one down side of today’s game was another red card for the US. Of the three red cards that the US has received, this one made the least sense. Michael Bradley slid in, obviously making a play for the ball, with his cleats down. I don’t really know what the referee saw. If any readers saw it, please let me know, I can’t seem to find a video clip. The loss of Bradley will be huge on Sunday.
So now the USA will play the winner of South Africa-Brazil tomorrow on Sunday at 1:25 Central Time. I’ll be watching.
Here’s the clip of Bradley’s red. Youtube will probably take it down soon, so watch it while it’s there. Horrible call.