U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra returned to the starting lineup for Wednesdsay night's Confederations Cup semifinal against Spain.
Bocanegra had been sidelined since injuring a hamstring shortly after scoring in a World Cup qualifier against Honduras on June 6. With Bocanegra back in central defense, Jay DeMerit switched to left back and Jonathan Bornstein began on the bench.
Tim Howard was back in goal in place of backup Brad Guzan, who started Sunday's 3-0 victory over African champion Egypt. Those were the only changes to the lineup for the Americans, who opened the tournament with a 3-1 loss to world champion Italy and a 3-0 defeat against South American champion Brazil.
Spain made four switches from Saturday's 2-0 victory over host South Africa, putting in its top starters. No. 1 goalkeeper Iker Casillas took over from backup Pepe Reina, Joan Capdevila was at left back in place of Alvaro Arbeloa, Carles Puyol moved from right back to central defense in place of Raul Albiol and Sergio Ramos was at right back. Xabi Alonso returned to midfield in place of Sergio Busquets,
The United States is 0-3 against Spain, losing 3-1 in the first round of the 1950 World Cup, 2-0 in a 1992 exhibition at Valladolid and 1-0 in an exhibition on June 4 last year at Santander, when Xavi Hernandez beat backup goalkeeper Brad Guzan with a low shot in the 79th minute.
Spain, the European champion, has set an international record with 15 straight victories and will be trying to stretch its unbeaten streak to a record 36, breaking the mark set by Brazil from December 1993 to January 1996. Brazil's streak includes a loss on penalty kicks to Uruguay in the 1995 Copa America final, which is considered a tie in FIFA's records.
The winner advances to Sunday's final against the winner of Thursday's semifinal between defending champion Brazil and South Africa. The loser goes to Sunday's third-place match.