Periodic updates here during the game and remember our post game show available at about 8pm ET via ITunes and this website:
Final Player Ratings
Tactical Breakdown: The US reverted to a traditional 4-4-2 today and it paid dividends. Oguchi Onyewu back in his natural left centre back position was amazing. We hear from the International Football press about the best centre-backs in the world on a daily basis, but today Gooch had a game in high level international that few centre-backs have had in recent years. Rico Clark was tremendous as a holding midfielder and Michael Bradley played well until his late red card, often times drifting back to cover space vacated by Johanthan Spector and Carlos Bocanegra when they pushed forward. Bocanegra had some shaky moments at left back but his instinbcts for the position are still the best of anyone in the American pool.
Up fron Jozy Altidore’s work rate and strong physique reminds me of the job Emile Heskey has done often unsung for England through the years. For much of the last two years I have been disapointed by Bradley’s player selections but integrating Charlie Davies into the lineup, a change I called for last summer has tranformed the team and the way the US attacks the opposition. It was late, but the move not only saved Bradley’s reputation with many pundits like myself but has also now put his US team in the position no American team has ever been before: in line to win a major international trophy.
As we discussed yesterday on the site big European national teams traditionally struggle outside Europe in big tournaments. Today reinforced that theory: Spain looked like a typical European side unable to cope with the elements, different style of play, altitude and smaller pitch size all at once.
MORE ANALYSIS AND A PODCAST WITH MARTIN ROGERS AND BRUCE MCGUIRE COMING LATER THIS EVENING
Howard; Spector, Onyewu, DeMerit, Bocanegra (Capt); Donovan, Clark, Bradley, Dempsey; Davies, Altidore
- Of note this is the first start at left back for Carlos Bocanegra since the 2006 World Cup against Ghana.
- Sacha Kljestan contrary to my prediction and worst fears is not starting on the right side in this match.
- Early reaction on Twitter is upbeat with Bradley’s lineup. Sacrificing Bornstein’s speed down the flank is a risk but evidently Bradley feels he needs Bocangera’s vocal leadership and target stature on set pieces. Bradley has also determined as many of us have that Jay DeMerit has played too well in this tournament to be put back on the bench.
90 + 3: Spain has run out of idea here
90 + 2: Bornstein with a critical clearance.
90 + 1: Howard comes off his line for a vital save
Minute 90: We’ll have three minutes of stoppage time
Spain in very classic Southern European style is hamming upo every bit of contact looking for calls.