Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

They’re not the world champs for nothing

“He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!”

Apparently someone forgot to tell Spain this was supposed to be an exhibition.

The reigning World Cup champions dismantled the U.S. on Saturday, 4-0.

The friendly, before more than 64,000 at Gillette Stadium, was the first time the two teams have played since the U.S. shocked Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Spain clearly did not forget.

Santi Cazorla scored twice, and Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Torres also scored for Spain.

As for the U.S., Landon Donovan (illness) and Carlos Bocanegra (coaches decision) did not play, while Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Steve Cherundolo only saw action as second-half substitutes.

The U.S. was clearly holding players back in advance of Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener against Canada.

While winning a tournament is more important than winning a friendly, we have to wonder what the thinking was in scheduling Spain just a few days before the Gold Cup.

The only way the U.S. team is going to get better is by taking on teams like Spain, but if the top players don’t see the field, where is the value? Presumably the experience was still there for the second-level players on the team who saw game action, so that’s a positive.

And it’s not like Donvan, Dempsey, Bradley, etc., are lacking in big-game experience.

We still would have liked the U.S. team to enter the Gold Cup on a bit more of a positive note, as this loss puts more pressure on the team to put on a good showing.

Because if they don’t at least make the finals of the Gold Cup, today’s loss against Spain could have a lasting impact that the team was not expecting.

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