INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY: Belgium show the USA their strength

Boasting a strong line-up, Marc Wilmots’ Belgium served the Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA side a 4-2 defeat on Wednesday night in Cleveland, Ohio.

In a crazy start to the match, Clint Dempsey created a decent chance for Jozy Altidore but he failed to get a shot off, and the Belgians made them pay for that miss only seconds later. At the other end, Tim Howard has to be sharp to dive at Romelu Lukaku’s feet to block him on a dangerous through ball, but the ball skewed free and Everton’s Kevin Mirallas raced onto the ball and lifted the sweetest of chips into the net, while American defenders Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez looked on admiringly. The away side a goal up after only eight minutes of play.

All credit to Klinsmann’s men, who did not panic in the wake of the Belgian goal and kept pressing, despite not quite linking properly with their passing sequences. Some awful piece of Belgian defending from a deep corner meant it was 1-1 on 22 minutes. Dempsey met the ball at the back post, to where Cameron was free to nod in at the other post. Awful marking by striker Lukaku who just wandered off and left the Stoke City man to head the equaliser and his first ever international goal.

The teams went in at the break tied and the Red Devils came out looking the stronger and went ahead again soon after the kick-off.  Omar Gonzalez stepped across to intercept a defense-splitting ball but his first touch was horribly heavy and teed up Kevin De Bruyne to pass the ball across the box for Aston Villa hitman Christian Benteke to tap home, unmarked. It was poor from the Los Angeles defender. 2-1 Belgium on 56 minutes.

The reasonably quiet Marouane Fellaini then came into the game scoring the third. US Substitute Terrence Boyd failed to keep possession as a corner was cleared and allowing De Bruyne to fire a cross to the back post for the big Fellaini to head down firmly in the 65th minute goal.

It got worse for Klinsmann on 71 minutes as the visitors found a fourth through Benteke again. The American high line got exposed as the creative Steven Defour had way too much time to spray an inch-perfect ball over to Benteke to run through and loft the ball past Villa teammate Brad Guzan.

Dempsey hit home a harshly awarded spot kick with ten minutes to go to give the hosts some consolation but they were completely outplayed in the second half by the Belgians who look stronger and stronger in every game heading into the 2014 World Cup.

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WillBurns

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