Jozy Altidore of the US National team in the adidas F50 adiZero.Jozy Altidore of the U.S. National team in the adidas F50 adiZero.

words // Brandon Richard

In the most literal sense, soccer friendlies are just that: friendly encounters between nations that are primarily used for tune-ups. Don’t tell that to the most competitive nations, though, including the United States, whose lack of footy talent in comparison to the rest of the world is often the subject of much criticism and ridicule back home. So when the best player in the world and the Argentinians flew into East Rutherford last Saturday, the Americans wanted to make a statement.

Early on, that statement wasn’t anything worth hearing. The U.S. looked completely overwhelmed by Messi and Argentina, struggling to keep up with the fourth-ranked team in the world. Just before the half, Esteban Cambiasso found the back of the net to give Argentina a 1-0 lead. However, an inspired U.S. team fought back valiantly in the second half, managing to find an equalizer on the foot of youngster Juan Agudelo just 14 minutes into the half. Stepping up their defensive effort, the Americans squeaked out a 1-1 tie, a respectable effort for a team that needs all of the experience they can get.

That wasn’t the only friendly played over the course of the week; check out what some of soccer’s biggest stars were wearing in their country’s tune-ups in this week’s Soccer Watch courtesy of Yahoo.

Soccer Watch: A look at what soccer boots are being worn by the pros.

Dirk Kuyt of Holland in the adidas Predator X.Dirk Kuyt of Holland in  adidas soccer cleats.

Jeremy Menez of France in the adidas F50 adiZero.Jeremy Menez of France in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Andy Carroll of England takes a shot wearing Lotto cleats.Andy Carroll of England takes a shot wearing Umbro Seciali cleats.

Shane Long of Ireland celebrates scoring a goal in the PUMA V1.10 II.Shane Long of Ireland celebrates scoring a goal in the PUMA V1.10 II.

Clint Dempsey of the USA in the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly III.Clint Dempsey of the USA in the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly III.

Robin Van Persie of Holland in the adidas Predator X.Robin Van Persie of Holland in the adidas Predator X.

America's brightest young star Juan Agudelo in the Lightning White adidas F50 adiZero.America’s brightest young star Juan Agudelo in the Lightning White adidas F50 adiZero.

Diego Forlan of Uruguay in the Lightning White F50 adiZero.Diego Forlan of Uruguay in the Lightning White F50 adiZero.