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Spain 1, USA 0: A look back


What’s the best way to describe the U.S. national team’s 1-0 loss to Spain on Wednesday? Let’s call it promising, if not quite yet good enough.

Yes, Spain dominated possession for long stretches and created the better chances, but the U.S. played well in the first half and the U.S. defense was also able to thwart most of Spain’s chances and hold up pretty well against a dangerous Spain attack. Save for Xavi’s jaw-dropping run for Spain’s lone goal, and a Xavi free kick and Marcos Senna shot off the woodwork, Spain was unable to break down the USA back-line.

We also saw Freddy Adu enjoy a very good showing in 45 minutes of action before leaving at halftime with an injury. I have a story coming today on about Adu’s performance against Spain which basically states that Adu showed he is ready to take on a bigger role with the national team. If he can play on Sunday like he did on Wednesday I think Bob Bradley will have a hard time keeping Adu out of the U.S. lineup for the qualifiers.

There were complaints from the match as well. Michael Bradley had a strong first half but tired in the second half and should have been replaced with 20-25 minutes left in the match. Clint Dempsey’s recent funk continued and Josh Wolff’s ineffectiveness (some would say uselessness) was on display again, but I think Dempsey looks tired and I think Wolff will soon make way for the MLS contingent of attacking prospects (we can only hope).

Then there was Eddie Johnson. Johnson worked hard and had a promising first half, but as has become the norm with Johnson, he just flat wastes good chances. As the target man in a 4-2-3-1, Johnson was supposed to get into position for chances, which he did, but he also wasted them with weak shots or poor passes (and an extremely weak header on a beautiful cross from Eddie Lewis).

As frustrating as Johnson can be, he still has the tools to potentially be useful come World Cup qualifying, at least the next two rounds anyway. He has the speed to blow buy lower level CONCACAF defending, but has shown repeatedly that he can’t be counted on against top competition. At least not yet (if ever).

I also think the "Over the Hill" gang, otherwise known as Eddie Lewis and Frankie Hejduk, still merit call-ups. Lewis is playing at a high level right now and should get playing time in qualifying while Hejduk is a good back-up for Steve Cherundolo at right back.

So in short, the defense was good but the attack, aside from Adu, just wasn’t good enough. Hopefully the infusion of players like Landon Donovan (if healthy), Jozy Altidore and Kenny Cooper will help things on Sunday, and in the upcoming rounds of World Cup qualifying, but as it stands right now the U.S. attack just isn’t good enough.

What did you think of the Spain match? Share your thoughts, complaints, highlights and lowlights below.


  1. @Kevin

    These friendlies are in Europe; therefore Bradley is primarily evaluating Europe-based talent. We will surely see more domestic (MLS) players in the Argentina match….

    I am however starting to wonder if Bradley is just a continuation of Bruce Arena (hope not). Mexico has raised the bar regionally by bringing in Sven….

  2. Kevin- your an idiot… BB has been noted as a quality tactician… may be plagued by typical US formations, but he evaluates the ability of a player quite well… the only time we’ve needed a full starting XI was for Gold Cup and we won… all other games have been meaningless friendlies and preparation for the WC….

    Kim- I disagree with some of what you say

    i’ll agree with you Jozy is a “work in progress” but it’s not Barrett who leads the U23’s, but rather Jozy that leads them.. Barrett is not even in the mix of forwards to be taken to the olympics… there are so many better options, especially with McBride wanting to make an appearance….

    Ochoa had very little help in France… the squad there was inexperienced and inefficeint.. you can hardly evaluate a players true ability from that tourny…

    with the likes of Cooper and Jozy up top our attack could look dangerous, depending on who’s supporting them…. the reasons the forwards of the top nations look so dangerous is they have quality players distributing the balls and giving them their opportunities… with adu and LD both playing we could see some quality play… or at least a competitive one

  3. I flew in from Spain last night,where I was lucky enough to be amongst the contingentof 40 or so U.S. fans in attendance. The Santander fans were very gracious.

    Pearce did not have a ‘great’ game, he was sub-par on offense giving up 3-4 passes in a row during one sequence. I’m not down on him, he played well against England.

    Gooch was the MOTM for me,despite the goal. He was a keeping everything clear prior, and had Boca not bumped him, he would have run Xavi into Hejduk on the goal.

    Disappointing was the subbing out of Adu. Beazley brought zero to the match. Why Bradley did that I’m still trying to figure out.

    Dolo who looked so poor against England, was better than Hejduk. Edu invisible. EJ’s header should not have been missed, what a beautiful cross.

    Midfield was dead at 70 as Ives said, at that point Mastro should have been brought in for Bradley & Demerit for Edu, moving Boca or Pearce up to sweeper role, and pack it in for the tie.

    1st half energy was a wonderful experience. Hearing the Spaniards ‘chiflar’ (boo) their team off at half-time was intense…the U.S. had outplayed them and the crowd was not happy.

    Xavi saved their pride, and they deserved the victory with the pathetic 2nd half we played.

    On to NJ and Argentina. Guess if this was a world cup draw we’d be out….


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