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May 29, 2013
Belgium pounds U.S. men in friendly, 4-2

Geoff Cameron scored his first international goal.
Geoff Cameron scored his first international goal.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
CLEVELAND -- The less said about the United States' performance in its 4-2 loss to Belgium the better.

The Americans were outplayed by a superior side as the Belgians took advantage of American errors in the international friendly at FirstEngergy Stadium on Wednesday night.

Christian Benteke struck twice within a during that span for the Belgians, who took advantage of American defensive errors to turn a 1-1 deadlock into a 4-1 margin.

The U.S. fell to 1-4-0 against Belgium all-time.

The Belgians struck first in the sixth minute when U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard saved a shot, but his Everton teammate Kevin Mirallas pounced on a loose ball and scored from 12 yards for a 1-0 lead.

The U.S. equalized on defender Geoff Cameron's first international goal in the 23rd minute. Graham Zusi played a short corner kick to Brad Davis, who found Clint Dempsey at the back post. Dempsey headed the ball to Cameron at the the left post as he headed it home for a 1-1 deadlock.

Belgium poured it on in the second half as Benteke beat his Aston Villa teammate, goalkeeper Brad Guzan, from seven yards off a right-wing feed from Kevin De Bruyne to grab a 2-1 lead in the 56th minute.

Marounane Fellaini pushed the Belgians to a 3-1 advantage in the 64th minute. The U.S. defense cleared the ball out of the penalty area, but Terence Boyd could not control the ball. De Bruyne took possession and fed Fellaini, who tallied his sixth international goal.

Benteke gave Belgium a three-goal cushion as he gathered a long pass from Steven Defour and chipped Guzan, who had come out of the net in the 71st minute.

Dempsey pulled the Americans within 4-2 with his 33rd international score as he converted a penalty kick in the 79th minute. The referee ruled that Eddie Johnson's left-wing cross had hit the left arm of Tob Alderweireld in the penalty area. Dempsey drilled a shot into the low left corner for the goal.

U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden made his first international appearance since 2010 when he replaced Sacha Kljestan in the 81st minute. Holden's career had been stalled by three knee operations. He is not expected to be play in qualifiers, but could play a key role during the Gold Cup in July.

The U.S. fell to 1-4-0 against Belgium all-time.

Both teams used the game to prepare for important FIFA World Cup qualifiers next month.

The U.S. will host Germany in its Centennial Match at RFK Stadium on Sunday before playing in three CONCACAF hexagonal qualifiers during a 12-day span. The Americans, who are in third place and trailing Panama and Costa Rica in the standings, visit Jamaica on June 7 before they host a pair of Central American sides -- Panama in Seattle on June 11 and Honduras in Sandy, Utah on June 18.

The Belgians (5-1-1), who lead Croatia by goal differential in European Group A, will host Serbia in a qualifier on June 7.

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