photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saturday's 4-0 defeat to Spain was the most thorough defeat the U.S. men's national team has suffered since a 5-0 loss to Mexico in the 2009 Gold Cup final, and it is something the Americans are planning to quickly move on from.
Not because they necessarily want to, but because they have to.
The U.S. team's Gold Cup opener in Detroit, Michigan is in two days, leaving the Americans little time to sulk over what went wrong and what could have been done better versus the world champs. Instead, the United States must focus on the task at hand: Canada.
"It's not ideal," said Michael Bradley of the three-day turnaround. "But having said that it is what it is. We all have experience of playing in games that come quickly, whether it's during the season and you're playing Wednesday Saturday, or different times in a World Cup, or Gold Cups in the past. We all know how to do it."
That type of mentality is something that head coach Bob Bradley will need from all his players if the United States is to avoid losing its first ever match in the group stage of the Gold Cup. The United States' northern neighbor will provide a different type of challenge, however.
Canada may not be as talented as Spain, but more than bragging rights will be up for grabs when it faces the U.S. team for the first time since a controversial 2-1 U.S. win in the semifinals of the 2007 Gold Cup, a tournament the Americans went on to win.
"They're not as strong as Spain, but there is more on the line," said Tim Ream, who started and went the distance against Spain in his fourth cap for the United States. "They're going to come out flying and we've got to come out flying. It's do-or-die time now.
"Obviously it's a group stage (match), but we want to win the group and get out of there on top. They're going to come in with a little chip on their shoulder and we've got to match their intensity, so we've got to go in and take care of business."
With Dwayne de Rosario and Julian de Guzman leading Canada, beating the Canucks won't be easy. Not when the game is being played so close to Canadian border, and not when Canada has posted a 2-1-2 record in its last five games against decent oppostion.
The United States will be favored to trump Canada course, but Bob Bradley knows better than that, especially when the Canadians are hoping to beat their archnemesis for the first time since April 1985.
"A team that we have a lot of respect for, a team that comes into this Gold Cup feeling confident," said Bob Bradley of Canada. "They've had some good results in the last six months, and so we understand that the first game of any tournament is always a tough one, and we expect a real difficult game against a rival."
What do you think of the team's three-day turnaround? Worried about Canada? Think the Americans will win?
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