BRENT LATHAM - Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Spain vs United States
Conferations Cup - Wednesday June 24, 2009
Free State Stadium
Bob Bradley's men pulled off a stunning upset over the world's number one ranked team, beating Spain to advance to their first-ever FIFA international final.

The Americans were buoyed by captain Carlos Bocanegra, who returned to action, at left back, alongside the usual central tandem of Jay DeMerit and Oguchi Onyewu.

In somewhat uncharacteristic fashion, the American skipper opted to play Spain straight up, coming out in a 4-4-2 with Josmer Altidore and Charlie Davies up top. In just the sixth minute the US served notice when Davies, starting again after his sensational display against Egypt, pulled off a full bike in the area that rolled just wide.

A minute later Davies was at it again, flashing a header across the face of the Spanish goal, before Clint Dempsey tried his luck from outside the box and missed just a little wide.

The US continued to pick its spots and find space, and Landon Donovan had his own shot from outside the area after a long run forward with the ball.

Spain didn't create its first real chance until the 21st minute, when Albert Riera picked up a ball on the right wing and cracked a shot that rolled horizontally across the box and out for a throw in.

Jozy Altidore, who plays his club soccer for Villarreal in Spain, put the Americans on the board first in the 26th minute when he turned defender Capdevila. The young striker's shot smacked off the hand goalkeeper Iker Casillas and then the post to give the Red, White and Blue a stunning lead.

Spain came forward in irritation, and David Villa missed the top corner from six yards after a deflection landed at his feet in the box.

The Americans were still looking dangerous, and in the 36th minute Donovan lofted a set piece into the box where a storming Dempsey headed high, with a wide open Carlos Bocanegra crashing in behind him.

As the half wore on, Spain dominated possession and came closest through Fernando Torres, who beat Bocanegra into the box but could not beat Tim Howard, who kicked away his low shot.

The Spanish came out furious in the second half as David Villa ripped a shot that Tim Howard saved brilliantly on the dive to preserve the shutout.

In the 54th minute the Spaniards had a legitimate penalty claim denied by Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda when Donovan bundled over Xavi in front of the net.

But it was not to be the Spaniards night. After a couple more close misses by Spain, who had eight shots on goal in total, the Americans would build a two goal lead in the 74th minute when Dempsey jumped on a poor touch from Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos at the far post. The Fulham-man easily poked the ball past a helpless Casillas for the second goal of the game.

The goal was the result of beautiful combination play beginning on the foot of Benny Feilhaber, who had entered for Davies. Feilhaber advanced the ball downfield and played it for Donovan, who sliced a pass into the area that was touched by two Spanish defenders before Dempsey got his foot on it.

The low point for team USA came late, when Michael Bradley was mysteriously sent off in the 86th minute for a nothing challenge, ruling him out of the Confederations Cup final against the winner of the Brazil and South Africa match to be played Thursday.

"We're excited to be in the final," Bob Bradley said later at the press conference. "Whenever you're in the final you have a chance to win the tournament."

"The motivation will be high and regardless of whether we play against Brazil or the Bafana Bafana. The challenge wil be great, but at that point only two teams will have the chance to lift the tropy."

"Of course it's disappointing to go down a man at the very end," the coach said about his son's sending off. "We're constantly working with all our players to play aggressively but also to be disciplined."

"Anytime any of your players pours his heart into a game and to see him lose the chance to play in a final, I think players all around the world understand what that means. That's as difficult and tough as it gets."

With the crowd chanting USA-USA and screaming Ole Ole, the Spanish frustration grew as the two goal lead proved too much to overcome. The Spaniards left the field in irritation, as the Americans celebrated in front of a newly appreciative crowd.
Wednesday June 24, 2009 9:51 pm
I think the YA guys are just having fun with the headline. The Spainsh national team is nicknamed the Furia Roja (Red Fury).

So since the US were wearing white shirts, I think they were just making fun of them, calling them White Fury - Furia Blanca.
Wednesday June 24, 2009 9:46 pm
First of all, asanji, the US is known as the stars & stripes.....at least that's what fifa.com calls them, although white fury sounds better. I still question Bradley as a coach. Remember how long he kept playing Beasley and Bornstein. Bocanegra would still be the center back, Hedjuk would be the right back, and we never would've seen DeMerit or Spector. Bradley does not let the younger players develop until he has to. And now we can see Feilhaber play instead of Bradley and see what he really can do.

As far as the game goes, I will say this, I don't think Spain took us lightly, but I do think they were surprised by our intensity in the beginning of the match. After Dempsey's shot early on, Casillas was telling the team to settle down. It was after the first goal that Spain tried to play at their best because they realized they had to do something.

Remember when the second half started, Spain came out with a fury. Once the US was able to withhold that for the first 15 minutes, Spain was done. They threw everything possible at Howard and the boys in the back, to no avail.

The man of the match was the entire back line. This was the best I've seen them play since......I can't remember when. I'm so proud of this team because they showed the heart and the attitude so many of us were clammoring for.
Wednesday June 24, 2009 9:16 pm
Coach Bradley is the MAN. Hopefully, ALL his critics apologize. He will be the USA Coach thru the World Cup. It was his offense and defense that beat the #1 team in the world
Thanks for the G-R-E-A-T job Bob.
Wednesday June 24, 2009 9:04 pm
M. Bradley, Donovan, and Box, closed the midfield and stopped Spain in the first minutes of the first half. However, as always there are weak players in other spots for USA, which makes the Midfieldhave to work harder and the opponents grow. The Americans played hard against a cocky and fazed Spanish Team. I don't understand why it takes Bob Bradley 5 games to understand how he needs to play against top teams.

Victory deserved!

Altidore didn't trap balls again. He scored, but the rest of the game he wasn't able to trap..I will edit a video showing everyone he can't trap. I don't understand why American's like this Altidore...but whatever...

Also, Benny is awesome, and destroyed Spain! I'm sure Adu, and Benny are good enough to be on this team...just change player roles around...but whatever..
Wednesday June 24, 2009 8:46 pm
From behind and cleats up. Red card.
Wednesday June 24, 2009 8:19 pm
This tournament has been quite a crucible for USMNT, for both players and coaches. The adversity they've faced and punishment for mistakes were absorbed and learned from. Today the team did EXACTLY what they needed to do, and played to its potential.

I admit I was one of those who began calling for Bradley's head, but the character shown this month both by him and the entire squad... I'm a believer.
Wednesday June 24, 2009 7:38 pm
The translation to ¡Furia Blanca sacude España! is actually WHITE FURY SHOCK SPAIN. A direct word for word translation from Spanish to English is what you have Doug, but that method usually does not work.
Luis Ramon
Wednesday June 24, 2009 7:28 pm
Here were my thoughts yesterday and early this morning. The match was beyond amazing. Excellent!!!

I believe there will be NO miracle tomorrow in South Africa? Team USA will show the world they can play on the World stage and that soccer in America is not 10 years away from European countries but can play with the best NOW!!! Go Team USA!!!!

Yesterday at 2:31pm
... Read More
Luis Ramon at 9:06am June 24
Today at 11:25 a.m. on ESPN.
Que Viva Espana solo en Espana y no hoy en Sur Africa!!
Go Team USA!!!
Wednesday June 24, 2009 7:17 pm
I like Michael Bradley, but how many times is he gonna get sent off. Why make that tackle in the 87th? 86th? Our discipline is atrocious. Needless, reckless tackles near midfield only put you in peril. I might be wrong, but I think all three reds were earned near midfield. There is no denying the heart this club has, but I'd like to see a little more smarts. We could really use Bradley and his work rate in the final.
Wednesday June 24, 2009 7:01 pm
congrats yanks. job well done.... waiting for Sunday's dwell. by the way every football team in the world has a name. e.g eagles of Nigeria, lions of Cameroon. samba boys of brazil i think what is the name of the US national team?

please give give credit when credit is due but at the same time lets not get carried away,lets see this as even a more demanding task for us to continue to grow and get better. not have a big head. if that happens will park our tails in between our legs with a basket of goals at the finals. so lets enjoy today, wake up early tomorrow with and a determination to return with that Cup nothing more nothing less
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