I know soccer is a seldom discussed topic at the Thigh, and normally only takes the form of ogling WAGs. I couldn't resist though. The United States just stunned Spain 2-0 in the Confederations Cup semifinals!!
Spain had been riding a 35-match unbeaten streak (tied for the longest in FIFA's history), a 15-match winning streak (the longest in FIFA history), and were ranked #1 in the world. The last non-European side that Spain lost to was Argentina in 1999.
The US rode a first half goal from Jozy Altidore and 74th minute strike from Clint Dempsey. It was Dempsey's second straight game with a goal after going eight straight without tallying.
A couple of things are clear. Landon Donovan is amazing. He was all over the pitch playing great two-way soccer. He assisted on the second goal and was staunch defensively.
Second, Ricardo Clark might be the most important player for the US. He and Michael Bradley were formidable and organized in the midfield. One without the other has produced disastrous results for the US. After Clark was sent off in the first half against Italy the US spent the next 115 minutes trying to figure out what they were doing on the field.
Finally, Benny Feilhaber and Jay DeMerit have cemented themselves as starters for this squad. Feilhaber was used as a substitute the last two games, but in the future I expect to see Feilhaber starting in the midfield and starting Clint Dempsey in his normal striker role (Dempsey started in the midfield in the last two games with Charlie Davies getting the nod up top). DeMerit is finally comfortable playing next to Oguchi Onyewu as a center back. This gives the US the flexibility to play Carolos Bocanegra in the left back spot.
Speaking of Bocanegra, he was his regular steady self in returning from a several game layoff due to a bum leg.
Gimme a break though. This is probably one of the top five wins in United States soccer history. It wasn't in the World Cup, but it put the Yanks through to the final of a major international, non CONCACAF tournament for the first time EVER! (For the record I'll say #4 behind the Knockout Stage win over Mexico in the 2002 World Cup, the 2-1 victory over Columbia in the 1994 World Cup, and the 3-2 win over Portugal in the 2002 World Cup).
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