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USMNT-Belgium: Benteke shines in friendly, sadly does so at expense of Guzan

The USMNT squared off against the Belgian national team in an international friendly that featured two Aston Villa players. One of them shined, the other may want to forget the evening.


In what is an all-too-rare occurrence, an international match featured two Aston Villa players. The United States hosted Belgium on Wednesday for a friendly in the middle of World Cup qualifying. Villa fans will be happy to hear that after his one-match break (thanks to the red card against Chelsea), Christian Benteke is back to his goal-scoring ways. His brace included Belgium's go-ahead goal and the team's fourth goal of the match, as the US was drubbed 2-4.

Sadly, both of those goals came against Villa's Brad Guzan, who replaced Tim Howard at the half. That said, saying that Brad Guzan was embarrassed is absolutely an exaggeration. The first goal for Benteke came when Omar Gonzalez attempted a... well, it seems like a pass to the corner. As in, he saw a Belgian coming and just passed to some empty space. Kevin De Bruyne was that Belgian, and neatly corralled the ball and sent it back to Benteke who was waiting in front of the net. At that point, I imagine Guzan had given up, since he's had the chance to see how clinically Benteke usually finishes, which of course he did here.

The second goal that Guzan allowed (Tim Howard gave up the first in the first half) was on a perfectly placed cross that managed to find the only spot where Marouane Fellaini's head was. From there Fellaini placed the ball in absolutely perfectly, leaving nothing for Brad to do. Grant Wahl's recap places the blame for the goal on Guzan, but watching it again, I can't agree. (Side note: the Fellaini goal came off of the result of a corner kick. Does Brad Guzan wake up at night screaming due to nightmares over set pieces?)

Finally, Benteke's second goal - and the third allowed by Guzan - came on a cheeky chip shot through Guzan's arms, the result of getting at the end of a long through pass. If Guzan could have prevented any of the goals, it was this one. But even then, his defense should have never let Benteke through. And as for the goal itself, Benteke did well to finish a shot that required a difficult first touch.

Of course, it was a meaningless match. It's hard to place too much emphasis on the match, though it's always good to see a forward finishing the way Benteke did. Be sure to check out the Stars and Stripes FC recap of the match. I'm at work so no gifs, but a quick search of "US Belgium soccer highlights" will bring up videos. I'm not going to link though, because you know how quickly those things get taken offline.