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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spain Comes to Foxborough

By Marcelo Fernandes (Class of 2012)

The U.S Men’s National Team will face 2010 FIFA World Cup Champion Spain on June 4 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Kickoff against the number 1-ranked team in the world and defending European Champion is set for 4:30 p.m. The high-profile friendly takes place three days before the U.S begins group play in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

 “Spain is clearly one of the most talented teams in the world. We value the opportunity to test ourselves against a team of their quality, and we couldn’t ask for a better match to prepare for the Gold Cup,” said US head coach Bob Bradley.

The U.S. and Spain have only played against each other four times, with three victories for Spain and one for the USA. The USA’s lone victory was during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, and is the most famous of the encounters. Facing Spain, which had been on an international record run of 15 consecutive victories and a 35-game unbeaten streak, goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey gave the United States a 2-0 victory and a place in its first final of a major FIFA tournament.

This is the first meeting between the countries on U.S. soil. The first meeting between the teams came at the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, with Gino Pariani scoring the only U.S. goal in a 3-1 loss. The only other meeting between the teams was a friendly on March 11, 1992, in Valladolid, Spain, that was won 2-0 by the host.

The United States is making its 12th appearance in Foxborough, posting a 9-1-2 record. Remarkably, 10 of the 12 matches have been either in Gold Cup or FIFA World Cup qualifiers in which the U.S. has tallied 28 goals and surrendered six at Gillette, with eight shutouts.

Gold Cup is a tournament that determines the regional champion of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Teams from those 3 zones are put into a pool and they get drawn for matches. From the North American zone they have 3 automatic qualifiers. From the Central American zone the top 5 teams qualify. And from the Caribbean zone the top 4 teams qualify.

The match against Spain will be the team’s final preparation before they join Group C of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup along with Canada, Panama and Guadeloupe. The U.S. will first take on Canada on June 7 in Detroit. The team will then travel to Tampa, Florida on June 11 to play against Panama. The third game of the group stages will be against Guadeloupe on June 14 at the brand new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City.