The United States took on Spain in their opening U-20 World Cup group stage match and were simply outclassed in a 4-1 loss.
The U.S. goal arrived when it was too little, too late after they were already down the drain at 4-0. The Spanish goals were scored by young Real Madrid and Barcelona starlets Jese Rodriguez and Gerard Deulofeu.
The two young guys are seen as future starters for their clubs in La Liga and perhaps the future of their senior national team as well. Both are offensively-minded wingers who can trick defenses, hold the ball, run for days and score the goal that can make or break games in their favor.
The USA’s best player was the scorer of the only goal in their favor: Luis Gil. If they want to have any chance of advancing out of this tough group, they have to rely on him to lead the way against France and Ghana in their remaining group games.
Spain plays the game in one of the most beautiful ways possible: passing the ball around, making timely and correct runs, players understanding one another to perfection and taking shots when the time is right. They all play in a much more competitive league with tougher coaches, so playing a team not as talented made this victory that much easier to earn.
The U.S. were well out of their league for this game. Chances were created, but defending the style, speed and endurance of the Spanish was a bit too much to ask for. Spain played their game in absolute comfort because the Americans let them by showing too much respect. That has to change in time for the next game against France.
The U.S. needs to stop showing respect to the opponents and pressure, attack, make that tough tackle, do not get intimidated and play their game as best as they can for the entirety of the match. If they fall behind, they should not lose their confidence. If anything, they should regroup as quickly as possible to net an equalizer. By doing this, they can build towards a win.
If they take the lead, they should not sit back if it is not within the last few minutes. They should look to build onto the lead to surprise their opponents and gain a positive goal difference since they are three below zero at the time being.
By doing all of that, the U.S. can successfully grab all six points in their remaining two games to bounce back after the thrashing handed to them by Spain.