Photo by ISIphotos.com
BY DYLAN BUTLER
SEATTLE — The United States National Team did something on Saturday night that it failed to do a week ago in South Africa — protect a two-goal halftime lead.
Of course, there's about 80 places in the FIFA rankings between Brazil, which scored three second-half goals to win the Confederations Cup, and Grenada, which conceded two more goals after halftime in a 4-0 thumping in both team's CONCACAF Gold Cup opening game at Qwest Field.
But the victory was impressive, nonetheless.
"We said at halftime there's a professional way to finish that game," U.S. National Team coach Bob Bradley said. "That involves having discipline, knowing how to respect the opponent, but at the same time making sure that in a good, smart, mature way you know how to finish the game."
The U.S. certainly accomplished that goal in front of 15,387 fans on the Fourth of July as Robbie Rogers and Charlie Davies scored eight minutes apart in the second half to sink the Spice Boyz.
"Last time I played here, I think it was 30,000 people, all Sounders fans, unfortunately," Rogers said. "To come out here and see all the American fans, it was a great experience."
Rogers was named man of the match after terrorizing Grenada down the left flank. He set up Freddy Adu for the Americans first goal and sent a cross to the far post that Stuart Holden headed into the net fo the Houston Dynamo midfielder's first international goal on his national team debut.
"I was kind of overwhelmed when I scored," Holden said. "To score on my first cap, the whole experience and to get the victory first off was important to us."
The U.S. temporarily move in front of Group B on goal differential, after Honduras needed a 76th-minute Carlos Costly header to beat Haiti, 1-0, in the opening game of the doubleheader. The two favorites to advance out of Group B will meet at RFK Stadium in Washington on Wednesday.
"The result is what we wanted," said defender Steve Cherundolo, who played in his first match since March 12 after successful hip surgery. "Can we play better? Yes. Do we need to play better? Yes. Honduras is going to bring a very good team on Wednesday and we need to be ready for them and improve on a few things from tonight."
What did you think of the U.S. victory? Impressed in its comprehensiveness or aprehensive because of the quality of opponent? Who stood out for you? Let us know.