U.S. Stuns Spain (And Everyone Else!)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

Every American should be a soccer fan for a day or two. Our team did something spectacular and unexpected. It's one of the biggest wins ever for US Soccer.

U.S -2 , Spain -0  Confederations Cup Semi-Final

Sometimes is the soccer stadiums of England, when the home team is winning, or has just won an important match, the crowd will sing the score.  Thousands of voices are raised as one, somehow accidentally settling on the same pitch as they repeat their refrain of triumph.  It usually works best when the loser doesn't get any goals, so it's "one-nil", or in this case, "two-nil."  They sing it to the tune of "Amazing Grace".   So get that going in your head please, while you read the rest of this......I'll wait.

Got it?  OK.  Spain was on an undefeated streak of 35 games, the last 15 of them wins.  They were ranked number one in the world.  It would be a big deal for anyone to beat them, let alone the underdog Americans.  The U.S. all but owned the first half, came out determined, dominated at times, and created chances.  Jozy Altidore converted one of those chances into a Spaniard-Stunning first goal in the 25th minute.

Still singing in your head?  C'mon, just try it.  Two-Nil, Two-Nil, Two-Nil, Two-Nil.......

In the second half Spain took over.  The U.S. sat back a bit and absorbed relentless pressure.  Three or four times, a Spanish player had the ball, at his feet, inside the American penalty area, and a U.S player launched himself at the ball, smothered the goal-bound shot before it could trouble Tim Howard between the sticks.  Landon Donovan was everywhere, it was like there were two of him.  Time after time Spain crossed the ball with power and accuracy, only to have a U.S head knock it away before any damage could be done.  Then came soccer's  Catch-22.  Any team desperate for a goal, pushes and pushes.  Spain attacked non-stop, needing an equalizer, to then hunt for the still-possible comeback victory.  Inevitably that leaves a team vulnerable at the back, and the U.S created a couple of counterattack opportunities.  When Clint Dempsey stole a second goal right off the foot of  a Spanish defender, the win was on.

Two-Nil, Two-Nil, Two-Nil, Two-Nil.......

The Americans held off more surging Spaniards, Tim Howard made more saves, and time ran out on the world's best team, and it's world's best winning streak.

Two-Nil, Two-Nil, Two-Nil, Two-Nil.......

Some analysts say this victory belongs just inside the top 5 U.S. soccer wins of all time.  Most of the others came during World Cup tournaments.  So let's all be soccer fans for a few days.  Let's get behind this team.  They've got a chance to knock this victory right out of their top five in the Confederations Cup Final on Sunday.  The likely opponent that day?  Brazil.

Still singing in your head?  Let's hope we don't have to change our tune on Sunday.

(your 're going to have that song in your head for hours, sorry)

We'll talk again soon.

Don

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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