Spain loss already a distant memory 

June, 8, 2011

DETROIT -- After the Americans' dismal showing against Spain, a panic gripped the land. The U.S. players, though, kept calm and carried on.

As is often the case, the outlooks of U.S. soccer followers and the Yanks' players were quite different in the three days between the Americans' 4-0 drubbing against Spain and last night's Gold Cup opener here against Canada. Fans and media wondered about how the egg-laying mammals in Foxboro would score goals against the Canadians and, down the line, hold off the juggernauts of Costa Rica and Mexico.

But around the team, that attitude was more along the lines of "We got this."

On the eve of the match, captain Carlos Bocanegra said that far from being worried, the squad was "excited." The reason? Sunday's post-Spain training session. "We looked sharp," he said, using a word that hadn't been associated with the team in a while.

Besides, the Spain match counted for absolutely nothing.

"It's a warm-up game for us going into the Gold Cup," said defender Jonathan Spector. "That's not the priority. Yeah, it's disappointing, we weren't happy with the way it panned out that game. But at the same time, this is the real competition, the Gold Cup."

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.