Tag Archives: Spain

USMNT v Spain

On June 4, 2011 the United States Men’s National Team faced off against Spain at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough for a friendly international match. The USMNT was using the game as a warm up to the team’s next big cup competition, The Gold Cup, taking place this summer.

Spain came into the game ranked Number 1 in the world and off winning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The side is the favorite to win the Euros in 2012.

The USMNT lost 4-0 to Spain. Photographer Alison Ciarleglio documented the match for The Soccer Guys. Check out her pictures below.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=104087

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

U.S. Men's National Team can't handle Spain

By Melissa Turtinen

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Spain played effortlessly. They moved the ball where they needed to and passes were perfect, and if they weren’t they recovered smoothly not giving the United States Men’s National Team a chance to gain control of the ball.

Spain defeated the USMNT, 4-0, on Saturday and with the chances they had it should have been more. Spain proved that they deserve to be called the best team in the world with their control and perfect ball placement throughout the match.

“Three times now we’ve had a chance to play them and every time, believe me, you walk away incredibly impressed with how good they are,” said Bob Bradley, USMNT manager. “How they’re able to move the ball so intelligently, so skillfully. Just as you’re trying to close them down, the ball is already off and somewhere else. There’s not that many teams in the world that can show you that.”

Spain started the match in complete control. They had chances right away carrying the ball down the sides as the US attempted to clog the middle.

“You try and not let them come right through the center because they are so adept at opening up these little windows and getting people running through and playing balls. Yet, as you try to close that part away they’ve got plan B,” said Bradley.

Spain had a Plan B and it was successful. Spain moved the ball through the USMNT defense with ease. If the middle was crowded they took the ball down the flanks and crossed it in – the clogged middle seemed empty as Spain continuously moved the ball towards the goal.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

USMNT v Spain thoughts

By Kevin Koczwara

First Half Thoughts

Spain won the World Cup in 2010 and Euros in 2008 because it’s one of those rare national teams that works as a unit and is loaded with über-skilled players. The side has a style of play, and all of the players understand how it works. It’s remarkable to see them work as a unit and build the attack from the back while never losing a defensive shape.

The attacking shape Spain has isn’t anything any other team outside of Brazil and the Netherlands — when its best player stop fighting with one another — can play. There is not form or answer. Players keep switching, moving into space, moving out and filling. It’s like a beautiful blob that keeps creating and always looks to go to goal.

For the U.S. Men’s National Team, it needs to tighten up at the back and get the midfield some help. Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones are out numbered and out-classed trying to mark and play against Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets — who’s barely had to do anything — and David Silva in the middle of the field. Santi Cazorla is swapping flanks and opening up space for either Sergio Ramos on the left side or Alvaro Arbeloa on the right to overlap and get in behind the defense.

Spain has also taken advantage of the funny bounce on the grass laid over the turf at Gillette. The ball sits up nicely for an attacker when the ball lands and dies on the sod. Because of this, Spain has sent over a few balls into space and to an attacker making a run because the ball won’t continue to roll or bounce all the way to Tim Howard in goal, instead the ball settles nicely on the foot of an attacker. The U.S.’s high line in the defense isn’t helping either. The high line is allowing space in behind and Tim Ream and Oguchi Onyewu don’t have the pace or the communication, or so it seems, to keep up with the through ball.

Second Half Thoughts

The United States just couldn’t cope in the midfield all game, but it did improve in the second half. Spain’s possession game wears a team out, and it just killed the U.S. Michael Bradley — who came on at half-time — Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Spector — moving into the midfield after starting at right back — couldn’t swarm the ball or force mistakes with pressure because they were worn out from chasing the game.

Bob Bradley finally felt the need to bring on Clint Dempsey and move Jonathan Spector out of defense and into the midfield in the second half. Things clicked a bit better for the USMNT at that point, but it all didn’t work.

Dempsey playing high in the center of the midfield with Michael Bradley, who also came on at half-time, and Spector behind him gave Dempsey the freedom to open things up and hold the ball for the U.S., something the team lacked in the first half with Agudelo and Altidore up top as neither is particularly adept at brining other players into the game or holding the ball.

Kljestan was also impacted by Dempsey’s arrival and the Fulham player’s ability to get on the ball. Kljestan was almost invisible in the first half (I had to check with reporters around me to make sure he was a second half substitute). Kljestan had some positive moments on the ball when he came back and found some space because Dempsey was able to grab hold of the ball and allow Kljestan time to move into space to receive a pass, which is encouraging for Bob Bradley going into Gold Cup games because Kljestan will give him a positive player who can pass the ball and move in the midfield coming off the bench when something new is needed.

Spector looked more comfortable in the midfield than he did on the right side of the defense. At West Ham, he showed more potential and ability in the midfield as a ball winner who found himself ghosting into the box at the right time. Too bad for him that the depth in the midfield is the one area  the U.S. actually has some. He needs to improve his game at right back, still, or get it back to the level of the Confederations Cup in 2009 — where he was a notable addition and stand-out — to find playing time during the Gold Cup.

Steve Cherundolo seems to be aging backwards and doesn’t look like he’s giving the spot up on the right side of the defense anytime soon, which is good for Bradley because he is short of options there. But the U.S. needs cover for the 32 year old, and if Spector doesn’t pick up his game he might see Eric Lichaj jumping ahead of him, as well as Timmy Chandler — who isn’t on the roster because of fatigue from his club season in Germany.

As for Lichaj, he looked uncomfortable on the left, but he hasn’t been playing there for long and he’s right footed, not an easy transition, especially against the best team in the world. There is still promise for him, though. As a right back, we might be able to see more of his ability to get forward and cross the ball.

The key for the game against Canada will be the U.S. ability to create, and its obvious that Clint Dempsey gives them the best chance at creating through the middle and holding play up. Bradley may look for him to be the catalyst in Detroit, Mich. against Canada in the opener if Landon Donovan has to miss the game because of the illness that kept him out of today’s match with Spain. When Dempsey was on the field, the parts all seemed to move and his skill on the ball allowed other players to find space and get into better spots to receive the ball. Which is something this team sorely needs right now.

Kevin Koczwara can be reached at Kevin.Koczwara@thesocerguysonline.com.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fans encouraged to leave early or take train to USA-Spain

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Since traffic is anticipated to be heavy for the U.S. Men’s National Team friendly against Spain, Gillette Stadium officials are requesting assistance from local media in encouraging fans to leave early, carpool or take the MBTA commuter rail to the match today.

The parking lots at Gillette Stadium open at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and gates to the stadium open at 2:30 p.m. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Fans are strongly encouraged to arrive at the stadium lots by 2:30 p.m. and enter the stadium gates by 3:45 p.m. to ensure entrance into the match prior to kickoff.

The largest, most accessible parking lots at Gillette Stadium are the P10 and P11 lots, located directly across Route 1 from Gillette Stadium. Access and egress to and from these stadium parking lots is much quicker if fans arriving on Route 1 from the north use the right lanes to access P10. Likewise, fans arriving from the south must use the left lanes to access P11 or P10.

Thanks to the efforts of the MBTA, a special train will be running directly to the Stadium from Boston for the match. The train will depart from South Station at 2 p.m. (with stops in Back Bay, Dedham and Norwood) and will arrive at Gillette Stadium at 3:05 p.m. The train will also depart Foxborough approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the match.

For more information about attending USA-Spain via MBTA, fans can visit the MBTA website at  or call the MBTA at 617-222-3200.

For more information about parking at Gillette Stadium, fans can visit http://www.gillettestadium.com and click on “Parking.”

Continue reading

Tagged ,

Some of the Best From 2010 [Video Post]

By Kevin Koczwara

Three Goals to Remember

World Cup Final, Iniesta secures Spain victory with stoppage time goal
http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/l-ZGbvNHzf4?fs=1&hl=en_US

The World Cup’s Forgotten Star: Diego Forlan
Just one of his amazing goals from the World Cup in South Africa.
http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/CXA8jaeppnc?fs=1&hl=en_US

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The World's Best Play for Barcelona; Xavi Tops the List

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has been a remarkable career at the Camp Nou, and it is about time he be rewarded for his play by winning the Ballon d'Or as the best soccer player in the world. (Courtesy of Wikicommons)

By Kevin Koczwara

Barcelona plays soccer the right way, and they do it with a style no other team can copy. The Catalan club may be “more than a club” to the people of Barcelona in a historical and social sense, but for the rest of the soccer loving crowds, Barcelona is more than a club because the team plays like no other.

Any 11 players that walk out on to the field for Barca understand how this game was meant to be played: beautifully.

Spain’s National Team has been playing the Barcelona way for a few years now.

Spain’s dominance in the Euro’s of 2008 through the subsequent winning of the World Cup this summer looked much like that of Barcelona’s global dominance. Both the national team and Barca play the ball on the ground, pass it quickly, run into space, dominate possession, play a high defensive line, and try to score goals. Neither Spain nor Barcelona sit back, and play on the defensive for a draw. No, both teams out play and out class their opponents. The way the game wasn’t meant to be played.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Fabregas Leading Streaking Gunners

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas scored twice and assisted on two other goals in the Gunners 6-0 win over Braga in the Champions League on Tuesday. (Photo Courtesy Gordon Flood)

By Joe Meloni

Come May 2011, Arsenal’s last two victories – a pair of routs over Bolton Wanders in a Premiership match and Braga in a Champions League match – will be forgotten. They were ostensibly Arsenal’s notice to the favorites of each competition that the club from North London has its eye on trophies. In each match, the Gunners took a lead, withstood a rush and eventually ran away with the match – both ending with exclamation points from Carlos Vela. Lost in the barrage of goals was the performance of the Gunners 23-year-old captain.

Yes, Cesc Fabregas is only 23 years old. People forget this often. Blaming them is difficult when watching Fabregas play. Whether he’s patiently leading an Arsenal attack or positioning himself four steps ahead of an opposition rush, he almost never displays angst or nerves associated with young, gifted players.

“He has taken another dimension,” Wenger told ESPN Soccernet after the 6-0 win over Braga. “People forget he is 23, where other players start. Cesc has a fantastic influence. What is important is that he leads the team to winning.” Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

La Liga Preview: Mourinho leading Real

Jose Mourinho took over as manager of Real Madrid days after leading Inter Milan to victor in the Champions League final. The questions of whether or not anyone can be Barcelona and whether or not Mourinho can win anywhere will be answered about nine months from now. (Photo Courtesy: APasciuto)

By Joe Meloni

Visions of Spain captain Iker Casillas proudly brandishing the nation’s first-ever World Cup trophy two months ago are still fresh in the mind of soccer fans around the globe. Surrounding him on the podium were his teammates, including the likes of Barcelona stars David Villa, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andres Iniesta. While the group celebrated the championship together, it all ends once La Liga begins its season.

The stars of los Galacticos and the leaders of l’equip blaugrana don’t have much to celebrate together in most season. Last year, Barca edged out Real Madrid by three points and hopes to win the league for the third consecutive time.

There are, of course, other clubs in the league. But it always comes down Madrid and Barca when the season’s approaches its conclusion.

Unlike last season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thierry Henry won’t be able to help Barca to the title. And Jose Mourinho will be calling the shots in the Spanish capital.
Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mr. Blatter, Something Needs to Change

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announcing the 2014 World Cup host winner Brazil. Courtesy Ricardo Stuckert

By Joe Meloni

Being a soccer fan in the United States means learning to deal with a few things. We understand a portion of our friends, co-workers and anyone else likely to stumble upon our Facebook pages thinks soccer is boring, un-American game. It is, after all, predicated upon not screwing up more than it’s about trying to strike as frequently as possible.

Unfortunately, the World Cup provided more ammunition for my narrow-minded cohorts as overworked officials continually failed to make proper calls or keep matches — even Sunday’s final — in line. Naturally, the blame falls on their shoulders rather than the FIFA officials consistently placing too heavy a burden upon them.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The FIFA 2010 World Cup final should be an absolute classic.

By Denis Heptonstall of The National Game

The FIFA 2010 World Cup final should be an absolute classic.

Holland and Spain will meet at the Soccer City stadium on today in what promises to be a fascinating match, where Spain are bookies’ favourites at a measly 2-1.

Presumably they have taken a lot of early money on Spain and are seeking to balance the books. Either that or they fear that Paul the psychic octopus, (now on a roll) may be correct again, and his selection might attract a lot of interest from the horoscope brigade. Well you would place a bet on Spain because a mollusk-brained cephalopod appeared to pick them, wouldn’t you?

A female senior manager in the office where I carry out my day job suggested Spain will win the World Cup because “they are better looking than the Dutch.” Do mollusc – brained cephalopods live out of the water also?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements