- Associated Press - Monday, June 6, 2011

ALLEN PARK, Mich.  A day after being routed by the World Cup champions, Clint Dempsey and the Americans were eager for another challenge.

They won’t have to wait long.

The United States plays its Gold Cup opener Tuesday night against Canada, meaning the Americans will have an immediate chance to move on from Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Spain in an exhibition game. The U.S. looked overmatched from the start against the smooth-passing Spaniards, who won the World Cup last year and the European title two years before that.

“It’s a little kick up the backside,” Dempsey said. “Even though it was a friendly, you never want to lose a game, especially by four goals. Everybody’s going to be fired up for this first game and making sure we take care of business.”

The Gold Cup is the premier event for CONCACAF, the federation representing North and Central America and the Caribbean. The tournament champion earns a spot in the Confederations Cup, an important World Cup tuneup.

The U.S. opens against Canada at Detroit’s Ford Field, and the Americans are expected to have Landon Donovan back for that game. Donovan was on the practice field Sunday after missing the loss to Spain with an undisclosed illness.

“I’m feeling better,” Donovan said. “I haven’t properly trained in a few days, so today was a little more difficult than a normal training session. I was breathing pretty hard, but I feel good, and I would expect I’ll be fine by Tuesday.”

Neither the Americans nor the Spaniards were at full strength when they played Saturday in Foxborough, Mass. Dempsey, for example, entered only as a second-half substitute for coach Bob Bradley.