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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Tim Howard insisted the USA will benefit from their 4-2 defeat to Belgium.
 
Howard played the first 45 minutes of the game and conceded to his Everton teammate Kevin Mirallas after just seven minutes as the winger lobbed home.

Mirallas' finish was ingenious as he pounced on Howard's save and delicately lofted it into the net.
 
It was 1-1 at half time after Stoke's Geoff Cameron equalised but after Brad Guzan had replaced Howard, Christian Benteke made it 2-1 before Maroune Fellaini headed home the third.
 
Benteke grabbed a fourth before Clint Dempsey pulled on back for the US.
 
Howard said playing high calibre sides was important for his nation’s development.
 
He explained: "I do I think it is better than playing a team that we can dominate and is kind of a cakewalk for us. I think these games are probably better, and will serve us better in the long run but time will tell.
 
"At this level we need to tighten up. I think anybody would tell you that. Most of the teams are going to come up with fire power, so it’s on us to put the other team on our terms defensively. We should be dictating that.
 
"Our line of confrontation, our pressure on and off the ball, whether our back line drops or steps up, those are all things that dictate the tempo of the game.”

Watch Mirallas' clever goal on ussoccer.com here.

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