The United States host the mighty Spaniards at Gilette
Stadium this weekend in an international friendly. If you follow soccer, you're
well aware of how special this Spain side is.
Coming off victories at both Euro 2008 and the most recent
edition of the World Cup, the Spanish have been absolutely dominant in recent
They've kept up the great play in qualifying for Euro 2012,
winning all five of their first fixtures in Group I, just like Germany who top
their group heading into their clash with Austria. England are also heading
their group and they take on Switzerland this weekend.
Truth is, Spain is the team to beat right now and it's going
to be difficult for USA to hang around on Saturday.
This friendly will be the last chance for the Americans to
get some match practice in before they head off for the Gold Cup. In their
group lies Panama, Canada (who are warming up against Ecuador on Wednesday) and
But what a great tuneup this should be against the best
squad in the world. USA has the advantage of being at home, but will need
another fantastic effort against Vincente del Bosque's outfit.
In two friendlies back in March, the Americans drew
Argentina 1-1 and then lost at home to Paraguay in a 0-1 defeat.
For Saturday's clash, the soccer odds have not been made
public but it should be the Americans that are the underdogs, even in their
The Spanish too stacked to lose
Back in 2009, the Americans pulled off a stunning 2-0 win
over Spain in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup. Jozy Altidore and
Clint Dempsey were the heroes in that amazing performance.
Spain had pretty much all of its heavy hitters in that
defeat, with Xavi, David Villa and Gerard Pique among others all in the
starting XI. Andres Iniesta was the only notable player to be absent.
The fact of the matter is that the Spanish are completely
loaded at every position. For example, Liverpool netminder Pepe Reina, who has
been sensational for the Reds, is third-choice on the national team.
With Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva and
Fernando Torres all possibilities to line up and be on the attack, this USA
defense is going to have its hands full for all 90 minutes this weekend. Even
if del Bosque opts to try out some of his fringe players, there's sure to be a
plethora of quality out on the field.
The Americans meanwhile will turn to captain Landon Donovan
to create the magic, while Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley have also put in
some great shifts in international play.
Jozy Altidore is pretty much a guarantee to start up top
with promising young talent Juan Agudelo and Chris Wondolowski likely to fight
it out for minutes as well.
Though it's certainly true that the United States is
starting to become a team to be reckoned with in the international scene, the
Spaniards are ranked first in the FIFA rankings and may very well have revenge
on their minds after their humiliating defeat a couple years ago in the
Soccer in America may be gaining popularity, but this is
still Europe's game and I fully expect Spain to take care of business in this
weekend's friendly and if you are going to bet on soccer then take the Spanish.
FREE Pick: USA 1 Spain 3