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US Upsets Spain

Wow. What an incredible performance that was the U.S. today in beating the world’s best team, 2-0 in the semi-final of the Confederations Cup. The U.S. will now play either Brazil or South Africa in the final on Sunday. By winning, the U.S. advanced to its first men’s FIFA final since starting play in 1916, which is why this was a huge victory for U.S. soccer.

The U.S. got goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey and terrific performances by Tim Howard and the U.S. back four, kept the Spaniards at bay and ended Spain’s 35-game unbeaten run and 15-match streak of victories.

“It’s exciting, a great team effort. To beat an amazing team like Spain and make the final, it’s big,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “We played as hard as we could and that’s what it took. Every guy contributed, so it’s a very good feeling.”

How could the U.S. look so terrible against Brazil and Italy and so good against Egypt and Spain? One reason is that the U.S. is playing with the heart that we have been calling for. I lost count of the number of blocked shots that the U.S. had in the second half today as players were sacrificing themselves to block shots. That commitment was missing in the early games.

The U.S. back four has now two shutouts in a row and look a much stronger group. Oguchi Onyewu and Jay DeMerit have grown in statue the last two games and are providing that strength down the middle that the U.S. needs. Jonathan Spector has taken hold of the right back spot this month and has got better with every game as he regains fitness after a long time out injured last season/

I have criticized LandyCakes for not showing up when it counts in big games for the U.S., but Donovan has been terrific all during the tournament. He is the best U.S. player and today he was all over the park, setting up a goal and making tackles in his own penalty box. Donovan has shown in the Confederations Cup why he should be playing in a top league in Europe.

The other player who continues to impress me is Jozy Altidore. For someone who is only 19 years old and has hardly played a competitive game this year, Altidore has been terrific this past month for the national team. The future of U.S. soccer is Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu and together they can help the U.S. dominate CONCACAF for the next decade.

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