USA soccer logoIt had to happen some time but, honestly, I didn’t think it was going to happen against the USA team. Spain finally lost a game after winning 15 in a row and going 35 games undefeated. It was the Americans’ grid and determination that ended the Spaniards’ winning streak and not necessarily their exemplary skill. Spain’s record came to an end in a 2-0 loss at the Confederations Cup semi-final a few hours ago.

It is true that the Americans started the game strong and made the point that they were not there to lose as everyone expected with Spain being the favorites to reach the final and play, in all likelihood, against Brazil. But it was not meant to be since the US found a way to stop the talented and high-scoring European and number one ranked team. They put 11 players behind the ball and defended like their lives depended on it. They relied mostly on counter attacks for scoring goals and if it was not for one brilliant play in the 27th minute and a terrible defensive mistake in the 74th minutes, the US would not have won this game.

First to score was Jozy Altidore who turned on Villarreal teammate Joan Capdevila to score the first goal. Second to score was Clint Dempsey half-way through the second half; Clint capitalized on a poor clearance by Sergio Ramos and slotted his team’s second goal taking the American team to the Cup final. So, the US managed to go from losing their first two games in the competition to winning the next two and reaching the final against all odds.

So, what is to take from this game? Other than the fact that a world record has come to an end and the fact that we are not going to see a Spain vs Brazil final game (damn it!) I think the most important aspect of this match is how valuable is going to become to all coaches who might play Spain in the next year. Yes, coaches will study this game trying to figure out what the USA did well to stop the best team in the world. Not to mention that the Spaniards are no longer thought of as unbeatable and many teams that play against will have a lot more confidence on the pitch. In other words, it has just become much harder for Spain to go on another undefeated streak.

In the other semi-final game tonight, Brazil will take on South Africa. Let’s see if another surprise result is in the works.

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