So the U.S. Men's national soccer team battled Spain in Setander yesterday and-predictably-lost, though only by a score of 1-0 (though it could've been worse, as two Spanish shots hit first the crossbar and then the right post.) Overall it was a much better outing than the game last week against England. The back line was much more organized (though they got caught napping a few times, moments which Spain failed to capitalize on.) There still is essentially no quality midfield game, at least not against superior opponents. The attacking game was both energizing and frustrating. Coach Bob Bradley went with Freddy Adu to start, and the decision paid huge dividends as Adu demonstrated an ability to move the ball with his feet in the face of Spanish defenders and make precision passes that put the U.S. in position to score. Adu turned 19 only three days ago; he has improved and matured as a player each year since he took the field for D.C. United at 14, and he gives the U.S. team incredible hope for the future. But it was frustrating also in that Eddie Johnson, who played the target forward position, was repeatedly unable to take advantage of solid chances in front of the Spanish goal, including a cross that he headed that should've been a goal but bounced harmlessly away (though he should be given credit for what would've been a goal had he not been offsides by a hair.) I don't see how it's possible that Eddie Johnson isn't steadily playing himself off of the starting squad, except that Bradley simply doesn't have any other better options to go to at striker. Bradley also turned to Wolff again, subbing him in for Johnson in the 69th minute. Perhaps the team was worn down by that point, but Wolff was a non-factor just as he was against England last week (and I'm with Jeffrey Marcus; where's some action for Kenny Cooper?) Overall though, this team should fare well against Barbados later this month. Argentina on the 8th? Well, that's a different story (even if Donovan and Adu take the field together.)
In other soccer news, Red Bulls forward and rising MLS star Jozy Altidore is being sold to the Spanish club Villareal, one of the La Liga's top clubs, for the largest transfer fee in MLS history (likely to pass $10 million, according to the NY Times.) He will join a slew of American soccer players playing overseas in Europe, a trend that will only bolster American soccer in the coming years.