In Instanbul, the United States’ U-20 soccer team lost on Friday, 4-1, to Spain behind two goals each from star strikers Jese and Gerard Deulofeu. The result was not a surprise; Spain’s team is generally considered the best in the world.
What was surprising was how the game was played. The U.S. looked up to the challenge for the majority of the game but mistakes in the final minutes of the first half doomed them to a 3-0 deficit going into the break.
The Sounders’ DeAndre Yedlin started at right back and played the entire game. He got a couple of shots on goal – one shanked badly and another wide – and also defended to the end, drawing praise from the announcers, who also offered a tip of their hat to the fact that Yedlin played in Seattle in front of huge crowds, which gave him the advantage of experiencing playing on a big stage.
Spain led, 1-0, about 41 minutes into the game before the U.S. defense let down. Two quick goals in the waning moments turned a close game into a rout.
The Americans could have tied the score in the 13th minute, but Joaquin Hernandez shot wide when faced with an open net. The U.S. controlled the tempo for the next 15 minutes but could contain Spain’s strikers for only so long.
Deulofeu received the ball outside the area, sidestepped a defender and sent a blistering shot just beyond goalkeeper Cody Cropper to make it 2-0 in the 42nd. The European champions caught the defense sleeping two minutes later.
Javier Manquillo made a great run and passed to Jese, who was lurking in the area. The Real Madrid striker scored his second goal just before halftime.
Spain would score their fourth before the U.S. got its first on a nice left-footed strike by Luis Gil – but a large chunk of the second half was played in Spain’s end.
To be fair, the Spainards looked content to sit on their advantage, so that was a factor. Just as true is the U.S. pushing hard on offense in an attempt to score.