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.
Minute 89: Bornstein for Dempsey
Minute 88: Spain closing in on a goal here. The American legs are dead.
Minute 87: Bradley’s reckless foul results in a red card. Harsh but still clumsy, reckless foul.
Minute 85: Spain corner results in nothing
Minute 83: Spector almost doesn’t clear. Conor Casey for Jozy Altidore
Minute 82: Spain continuing to press. Howard has made a few great shot stops in the last several minutes.
Minute 80: Mata wins a Spanish corner
Minute 79: The US again under intense pressure here
Minute 78: Feilhaber with a foul in a dangerous area. A big chance for Spain here
Minute 77: DeMerit with another good clearance
Minute 76: Altidore does well to draw a foul on Sergio Ramos
MINUTE 75: GOAL! THE ONE AND ONLY LANDON DONOVAN SETS UP CLINT DEMPSEY FOR GREAT GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!
Minute 73: DeMerit with a vital tackle!
Minute 72: The US beginning to hold the ball a little better with Benny in the match
Minute 69: The US really struggling. Benny Feilhaber coming on for Davies. Good work from Davies but he’s gassed. The US will now re-organize in a 4-5-1.
The US has gone into a shell, bunkering and Spain will get a goal sooner or later here.
Minute 65: Howard under siege and making remarkable saves
Minute 64: Bradley covers the space vacated by Spector well.
Minute 61: Altidore and Puyol collide in the Spanish area, but no call.
Minute 60: Ramos wins a corner for Spain
Minute 58: Clark too high on the shot from distance.
Minute 57: Altidore wins a corner for the USA
Minute 56: Howard with a save on Villa
Minute 54: Xavi with a chance, US counter attack fails
Minute 52: Howard with another good save on Villa at the back post
US giving away possession far too cheaply early in this second half.
Minute 50: Spain back on the attack putting the US under pressure.
Minute 48: Howard with a huge save on Villa
Minute 47: The US is attacking early and Donovan wins a corner.
HT: Spain 0-1 USA: The US has been heroic in defense with Rico Clark and Oguchi Onyewu making timely tackles and clearances. The move of Carlos Bocanegra back to left back for the first time since the Ecuador friendly in Tampa back in 2007 has paid off thus far.
Minute 45: The US looking very shaky at the back. The shape of the defense has fallen apart and Spain is being wasteful with chances.
Minute 42: Spain showing a certain lack of composure like Mexico does in CONCACAF when behind. Quick to the ground and looking for calls.
Minute 41: Xabi Alonso with a rough foul on Altidore
Minute 39: Torres in a great goal scoring position but Fabergas places the ball behind him and Onyewu clears it out for a corner.
Minute 37: Bocnegra in perfect position at the back post to receive Donovan’s service but Dempsey gets to the ball first and send it harmlessly over the bar.
Minute 36: Captivela goes in the book for a foul on Altidore
Minute 32: After a questionable non foul call in midfield Villa has a great chance but misses the target.
Minute 31: Ramos finds Villa on the back post but well dealt with by Spector
Minute 27: ALTIDORE SCORES!!!!!!!!!! Great service from Dempsey!
Minute 25: The US handling the pressure here very well.
Minute 22: Several good Spanish chances.
Ricardo Clark has been tremendous for the US thus far
Minute 21: Strong clearance by Onyewu. Donovan tansitions to a counter attack and take a whack from outside missing badly.
Minute 18 Torres off sides. I’m not sure about that one.
Minute 14: Finally a stalemate in the midfield after a high flying start to this match.
Minute 11: Fabergas finds Torres at the back post but just wide. Spain finding space now and exploiting the gaps.
Minute 10 Cesc Fabergas just over the bar.
Minute 9: Dempsey misses from distance. It’s all USA here early!
Minute 8: Davies flicks a header on in the area but Jozy fails to make the run
Minute 7: Altidore’s first touch still looks clumsy, but Davies knocks a great bicycle kick attempt just wide.
Spain is already having lots of trouble with Charlie Davies speed up front.
Minute 5: Donovan goes in the book
Minute 4: US Draws a corner
Minute 3: Bocanegra deflects a Fabergas shot and it almost results in an own goal
Minute 1: Onyewu deals wll with a Spanish cross into the area