2:06 PM

Don't Tread On Me



The headline on Marca.com, Web site of Spain's top sports paper described it best: "Los yanquis nos bajan de la nube". Translation: "The Yankees bring us down to Earth".

For USMNT fans such as myself, we're in cloud 9.

This was the greatest game in USMNT history, in my opinion. Maybe beating Brazil 1-0 in the Gold Cup was equally significant. But out of all the games that I've watched, I'd rank this at the top. It fulfilled everything I hoped for our team and sent shockwaves around the world. We've planted a flag on the world stage and it reads: "Don't Tread On Me."

Earlier today I pointed out three things to watch during the game. Here's the result of these points:

1. Comandante Xavi
Xavi was effective, but he nor his midfield compatriots were able to establish a lock on the game's rhythm. What I hoped would happen ended up happening. Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark and Landon Donovan pressured Spain's midfield throughout the entire game, forcing Xavi to rush bad passes that resulted in turnovers rather than chances.

Here's an article about Bradley's anti-Xavi strategy.

2. Will the real Landon Donovan please stand up?
The reason why everyone is so hard on Donovan is because fans have put so much hope on his shoulders. Tonight he didn't let us down. He played with the authority, elegance, aggressiveness and speed as the 20-year old at the 2002 World Cup. I got flashbacks of 2006 vs. Ghana as he raced down the left side of the box with a clear line of sight to Casillas's goal, then passing it into the middle instead of taking it himself. Luckily Sergio Ramos got sloppy, Clint Dempsey got scrappy and the score turned to 2-0. Donovan was everywhere on both sides of the field. He made key defensive plays, and found open space to drive the ball upfield during breakaways. He displayed the leadership that everyone expects of him. I'm honored to have witnessed one of the best games he's played in a USA uniform.

3. The Gooch and Jay Show
Surpassed expectations by a country mile. In fact, let me expand my praise to the entire US defense, including the return of captain Carlos Bocanegra on the left, Jonathan Spector on the right and Tim Howard in goal. But Gooch and Jay stood out for me. Big play after big play the stifled Fernando Torres and David Villa, disrupted crosses, headed out passes into the box, and even drove the ball up a few times to set up the offense. They were the true heroes tonight.

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