FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Spain used their exemplary movement and passing Saturday to brush aside the United States 4-0 in a friendly at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
Santi Cazorla scored on both sides of an Álvaro Negredo goal to give Spain a commanding three-goal lead by halftime. Several substitutions improved the US in the second half, but Fernando Torres scored in the late stages to send the US into their CONCACAF Gold Cup opener against Canada on Tuesday on a down note.
Spain asserted control of the match from the outset as a makeshift US side — a group without Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan (omitted entirely through illness) from the start — struggled to cope with the movement and the passing of the World Cup holders.
Spain's barrage on the US goal started early. Sergio Ramos fired wide after just seven minutes, while David Silva appeared to have scored two minutes later before the offside flag nullified his simple finish. Negredo and Silva then struck the frame twice in quick succession as Spain sought a tangible benefit to their dominance in possession.
Cazorla finally handed Spain their opener after 28 minutes. It all looked a little too simple as Silva latched onto a ball behind the flat US back four. The Manchester City winger ducked around Jonathan Spector and pulled the ball back into the middle for Cazorla to coolly slot home.
Negredo doubled the lead four minutes later as the US paid for their tendency to push the line high. Xabi Alonso played a simple ball over the top to catch out the US defense, and Negredo beat the attempted offside trap and tucked home the second with ease.
Columbus Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers nearly pulled one back for the US five minutes before halftime, but he dragged his shot just wide of the far post after Spain conceded possession inside their own area.
Cazorla completed the first half in style by collecting his second goal just moments later. Spain once again exploited the US down the right as Negredo played a diagonal ball to Silva behind the Americans' line. Silva fed the ball back to the penalty spot. Several US defenders collapsed toward the middle of the penalty area, but none of them tracked Cazorla before he swept through and finished the move.
US coach Bob Bradley sent on five substitutes at halftime — including experienced campaigners Michael Bradley, Steve Cherundolo and Dempsey — to stem the tide. The moves improved the US from the run of play, but it failed to really allow the Americans to mount any sustained pressure on the Spanish goal.
Although Spain tempered their efforts a bit in the second half, two second-half substitutes combined to conclude the match with a fourth goal on 73 minutes.
Borja Valero enjoyed plenty of time and space on the ball to pick out his pass from midfield. Valero slotted Torres behind the US back four to give the Chelsea striker a one-on-one opportunity against Tim Howard. Torres just squeezed his effort off the far post to place an exclamation point on Spain's rampant performance.
New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo earned the start but failed to seriously threaten to score before he was pulled midway through the second half for Alejandro Bedoya, and San Jose Earthquakes finisher Chris Wondolowski manned the spot up top in the second half. New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream logged a full 90 minutes on the US back line.
The US now turn their sites to their Gold Cup opener against Canada next Tuesday at Detroit's Ford Field.
ESP – Santiago Cazorla (David Silva) 28th minute
ESP – Álvaro Negredo (Xabi Alonso) 32
ESP – Santiago Cazorla (David Silva) 41
ESP – Fernando Torres (Borja Valero) 73
USA: 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 2-Jonathan Spector, 5-Oguchi Onyewu (21-Clarence Goodson, 46), 15-Tim Ream, 14-Eric Lichaj; 16-Sacha Kljestan, 13-Jermaine Jones (4-Michael Bradley, 46), 7-Maurice Edu (6-Steve Cherundolo, 46), 19-Robbie Rogers (8-Clint Dempsey, 46); 17-Jozy Altidore (11-Chris Wondolowski, 46), 9-Juan Agudelo (22-Alejandro Bedoya, 65)
Subs not used: 23-Marcus Hahnemann
Spain: 23-Pepe Reina (1-Iker Casillas,76);15-Sergio Ramos (11-Joan Capdevila, 65), 3-Gerard Piqué, 2-Raúl Albiol, 17-Álvaro Arbeloa; 16-Sergio Busquets (8-Bruno Soriano, 46), 7-David Villa (6-Andrés Iniesta, 46), 14-Xabi Alonso (capt.), 20-Santiago Cazorla; 21-David Silva (10-Borja Valero, 65), 22-Álvaro Negredo (9-Fernando Torres, 46)
Subs not used: 4-Carlos Marchena, 5-Andoni Iraola, 12-Víctor Valdés, 18-Pedro Rodríguez, 19-Fernando Llorente 24-Manu del Moral
Referee: Roberto Silva
Referee's Assistants: Pablo Fandino, Miguel Angel Nievas
Fourth Official: Mark Geiger
Weather: 64 degrees; sunny