The Red, White, and Blue Fury

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2-0.

United States of America 2. Spain 0.

La Furia Roja went up against The Red, White, and Blue Fury – and lost.

Where do you even begin? Everyone was good. Everyone showed heart. It was truly a team playing far better than the sum of its parts – a staple of US soccer for generations.

The back five were simply amazing. Howard, Onyewu, DeMerit, Spector, and Bocanegra were all playing at a level above anyone else on the pitch.

Onyewu made his case to be considered as one of the top center-halves in the world. Seemingly every ball past midfield was swallowed up by the mammoth defender. In the air or on the ground – Onyewu let absolutely nothing through.

DeMerit came through with a fantastic performance that rivaled Onyewu’s. He shadowed Villa all over the field and made crunching tackles whenever the Spaniard received the ball. He’s earned his spot as a permanent starter alongside Gooch.

Some might argue that the return of Carlos Bocanegra was a huge difference in the game – I would find it hard to say otherwise. His poise and positioning almost perfect. He not only covered Fabregas, but covered the speedy Sergio Ramos as well.

Bocanegra’s opposite, Jonathan Spector, continued his domination of the right side of the field. His defensive presence has been consistently strong through every game the US has played.

The US appears to have solved its defensive woes.

But was the defense the biggest difference from recent games? Not even close. That award goes to Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey.

From start to finish – Donovan and Deuce ran non-stop. The covered the flanks. They covered the middle. The covered the backline. They did everything we could have asked for. Their runs were well-timed and generally dangerous, while they spaced themselves well on defense. Everything they did wrong in recent games – they did right today.

And then there’s Michael Bradley, the consistent, hard-nosed tackler that seemingly won any ball that the defense didn’t already win. Bradley covered both Xavi and Alonso all over the pitch, never giving them reasonable time on the ball. Even when Rico Clark seemed too exhausted to cover his marks, Bradley’s game went to a higher level. He covered even more ground and made even more plays.

It’s unfortunate (and criminal) that Bradley’s game was marred by a disgraceful decision by the referee to send him off with a straight red. Hopefully the US appeals the card and Michael will still be available for the finals.

Lastly, Charlie Davies and Jozy Altidore may have just cemented themselves as the not only the strikeforce of the future, but strikeforce of now.

What a superb display of chemistry, movement, and pressure the two speedsters put on today. Davies was a constant nuisance to the Spaniards with his speed, while Jozy’s physical presence disrupted Spain’s tactical defending. The constant challenges for balls on the ground and in the air frustrated the Spanish backline and exploited the sub-par play of Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevila.

There will be some things to criticize later on, but for now we can celebrate one of the single best displays of soccer the US has ever put on.

La Furia Roja, Blanco, y Azul.

The Red, White, and Blue Fury. Sounds good doesn’t it?

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One Response

  1. Landon Donovan was out of control in this game. Unbelievable.

    Also, I am no longer questioning Feilhaber – his touch and pace is incredible and his skill the dribble free and pass wide to LD for the second goal was immense. He should be in the starting lineup.

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