Trying to find the silver lining in the United States' 4-0 loss to Spain was like trying to remember the team's lone shot on goal.
But when asked which of the younger players may have impressed him against the mighty Spaniards, head coach Bob Bradley mentioned center back Timmy Ream, 23, of the New York Red Bulls.
"He got tested today at a different level and these are the lessons that we think help players," Bradley said.
Ream, indeed, made some nice plays in the back from time to time. Of course, he was part of a defensive unit that gave Spain a little too much room to maneuver on the attack. In the first half, he partnered with Oguchi Onyewu. In the second, Clarence Goodson.
Ream, who has started three of the United States' four games this season and now leads the team in minutes played (270), reflected on his busy day on defense:
"They're so good on the ball, so technical and so quick," Ream said. "The one- and two-touch passing, even when the ball is bouncing, is not something that I normally see ... it was a good experience and you roll with the punches and learn from it."
After a hard, hot week of training in North Carolina and an evening of chasing down players such as David Silva, David Villa and Fernando Torres, the St. Louis native shifts his attention to next week's Gold Cup.
"Everybody's pretty confident," Ream said. "You can't really dwell on this game too much because it is just a friendly. Nobody likes to get beat 4-0, but we can definitely learn from this and take it into next week."
Ream and the U.S. face Canada on Tuesday night in Detroit. If he gets the start, he'll likely have to make a few tackles on a very familiar face. Red Bulls teammate Dwayne DeRosario is a key player for Canada, which will be trying to knock off the U.S. and win its first Gold Cup title since 2000.