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USA Given A Footballing Lesson By Spain

Spain ripped apart an under-strength US team today as they easily beat the Americans 4-0. The four goals do not flatter the World Champions. They could have easily won five or six nothing.

U.S. coach Bob Bradley had an eye firmly on the Gold Cup which starts this week. Bradley rested Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra and did not start Dempsey or Bradley.  As a result, it was an second team of US players that were completely overwhelmed by Spain.

Spain ripped the U.S. defense apart from the opening whistle. Negredo fired over before Sergio Ramos and then Cazorla both had good chances but missed the target. Negredo then struck the crossbar with a shot from the edge of the area before David Villa wasted another chance.

Finally after 28 minutes Spain finally got the goal they deserved as David Silva pulled the ball back from the left byline and Cazorla ran onto it to smash a superb finish into the top left-hand corner. Four minutes later it was 2-0 with a long ball from Xabi Alonso split the U.S. defense and Alvaro Negredo walked in to slot the ball past Tim Howard.

I watched the Champions League final last week and admired the possession play of Barcelona. When you see it done live, it is even more impressive. David Silva played the “Messi” role for Spain and was at the heart of everything good that Spain created in the first half. Even if Bradley had played his full side today it would not have mattered. Spain were in a different class.

Both sides made a lot of changes at half-time and the game lost the pace and urgency that it had in the first half. Silva fired wide from long range early on, but there was not a clear chance until the 64th minute when Torres, who replaced Villa, wasted a great chance in a moment reminiscent of his struggles at Chelsea.

The U.S> defense was once again ripped open by a Spanish through ball and Torres was sent through on Tim Howard. Instead of calmly finishing the move, Torres hesitated, allowing Howard to close the angle, before his chipped shot went wide. There were flashes for USA, with Clint Dempsey’s shot deflected wide for a corner from which Tim Ream headed wide.

Torres did finally get his goal when once again the U.S. back four parted, and a good ball form Borja Valero allowed Torres to run on and poke the ball home off the post.

U.S. coach Bib Bradley has to be worried about this teams back-four heading into the Gold Cup. If the place like this against Mexico, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will have a field day.