Let me say going in that I do not really care that the US lost 4-0. It is inconsequential in just about every way. Any ideas about it being crushing for morale are a little overplayed considering it was kind of the 2nd team anyway, and they were going up against the best in the world. Anyone who thought that the team selected would give Spain a real fight was either 1) unrealistically optimistic, or 2) batshit insane. So what can we actually take away from this match? A few things.
1) Oguchi Onyewu’s time as a US center back should be over. He was caught out of position on just about every goal, was completely lost half the time, provided pretty mediocre service, and was genuinely just not good enough to be on the field. Thank goodness the US has promising guys like Timothy Chandler and others coming up through the ranks because Gooch has been bad lately and today was no different. Sorry, Gooch, but your time is over.
2) Villarreal is awesome. This is no surprise to me as I am a huge supporter of the Submarino Amarillo, but at one point, the Spanish national team, dominated by Barcelona and Real Madrid, had FOUR players from Villarreal on the pitch. Santi Cazorla netted a brace, Borja Valero came on at halftime and assisted on Torres’ goal, Bruno played the 2nd half in his traditional defensive midfield role (he is just okay) and Joan Capdevila came on toward the end for yet another cap. They are all really really good players, and I have not even mentioned Giuseppe Rossi or Nilmar. They will be in the Champions League next year, and barring sales, you had better take notice.
3) Before the subs came on at the half, the US was utterly awful. You probably could have guessed this from the score, but if not for a wrongly called offsides that disallowed a goal early on, and Negredo hitting the post in a 1 on 1, this could have been much worse. The back line was awful, the midfield was ineffective in everything it tried and the strikers didn’t get involved at any point. A truly pathetic showing.
4) After the subs, the US looked damn decent. Granted, Spain took their foot off the gas a bit, but with Dempsey on, some changes at the back and a few in midfield, the US was suddenly at least exciting to watch and, at times, dangerous. They were not Spain’s equals, but they were at least putting up a fight. With Landon Donovan on the pitch, they might have even bagged a goal. Hell they almost did without him. Hope is not lost at all.
5) The Gold Cup starts in 3 days. This was a tune up. Was it a bad idea to schedule the best in the world in a game in which your fans expect competition when you really just want to keep guys healthy? Nope. It was a scheduling mistake but the point is that the big picture for the US is the Gold Cup, not a game against Spain which was sexy but was truly unimportant. Best case scenario they get a morale boost. Worst case scenario, the best players get hurt and they get blown out anyway. It was an ugly showing from the US, but this game was not their objective, the Gold Cup is.
So while this was a shellacking, a slaughter, a spanking, and a slew of other synonyms starting with S, just keep in mind that while it sucked to watch, success is still central to the US’ plan. Hope is not nearly as lost as it seems, because really, if the US thought it could beat Spain again, hope was being a bit unreasonable to begin with. Spain played great, the US played extremely poorly, and now the US will face Canada in Gold Cup play. Let’s get excited for that and hope Gooch picks up a nagging calf injury to give other guys more chances,
Man of the Match: Santiago Cazorla. David Silva and Xabi Alonso get the runners up because they were outstanding, but Cazorla’s brace gets him the award this time. I am also a pretty big Villarreal homer.
Spain Verdict: Fantastic showing from them and a good match to keep moving forward with as they looked truly impeccable for much of the game.
USA Verdict: Went over this above, but changes need to be made, especially in the back. Sickness definitely took its toll via Donovan, Cherundolo, etc. but that was still pathetic. Penance starts with Canada in a few days.