Sports

US soccer belted by Belgium in friendly

CLEVELAND — Christian Benteke scored two goals in the second half and Marouane Fellaini had another, leading Belgium to a 4-2 thrashing of the United States Wednesday night in an international friendly the Americans hoped would get them ready for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Boasting a strong roster with 10 players from the English Premier League, Belgium broke a 1-1 tie with three goals in the second half. It overpowered a US team that has some work to do on defense before it can even think about making the field for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

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Benteke, who plays for Aston Villa, scored in the 56th and 71st minutes for Belgium, ranked 15th in the world and considered a rising European power.

Geoff Cameron scored in the 22d minute and Clint Dempsey pounded in a penalty kick in the 80th minute for the US.

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US coach Jurgen Klinsmann figured Belgium would provide a stiff challenge for his evolving team, and while the Americans had some nice moments, the Belgians controlled the game from the outset.

Belgium took advantage of poor defense to score three of its goals.

With the score 1-1 in the 56th minute, a turnover by American midfielder Brad Davis was compounded by defender Omar Gonzalez’s failure to clear the ball in front of the net. Gonzalez could have easily booted it over the touch or end line, but instead left the ball for Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne. He centered it to Benteke for an easy tap-in past goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who replaced Tim Howard in the second half.

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In the 71st minute, Benteke streaked behind defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Matt Besler and chipped in a pass from Steven Defour.

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