Thursday, June 25, 2009

Was the U.S. Win Over Spain the
Greatest Soccer Victory in U.S. history?

OK, so we've had 24 hours to reflect and rejoice on the United States' 2-0 win over Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinals yesterday. And while the win is getting somewhat its just due from the mainstream media (ESPN actually led SportsCenter last night with it), some in the U.S. soccer community are trying to put the victory in some sort of historical context.

Was this the greatest win in U.S. soccer history?

It seems there's a shortlist of games to compare it to:

  • 1989 World Cup qualifier -- U.S. 1, T&T 0
  • 2002 World Cup first round -- U.S. 3, Portugal 2
  • 2002 World Cup second round -- U.S. 2, Mexico 0
  • 1994 World Cup first round -- U.S. 2, Colombia 1
  • 1950 World Cup -- U.S. 1, England 0
  • 2008 Confederations Cup -- U.S. 2, Spain 0

That's a pretty solid list. It's kinda tough, and kinda early, to shove aside the emotions of yesterday's win and properly rank it in U.S. soccer lore. I invite you all to vote in my poll, top right of this page, and we'll see how this one comes out.

Personally, I'm going to vote for the 1989 qualifier. I think historically, it's a far more important win to U.S. soccer. It kicked off the current era of success and helped U.S. Soccer put a priority on the game and the product it puts on the field. It's too early to see the aftermath of yesterday's win. If the U.S. stinks it up in the Gold Cup and against Mexico in its next World Cup qualifier and next year in South Africa, then maybe yesterday will ultimately be nice for a day, kinda like the 1993 friendly win over England in Foxboro.

But if the U.S. scoops up another Gold Cup and gets out of the first round of the World Cup next year (maybe a round deeper?) then maybe yes, yesterday will be an indicator the U.S. has truly arrived a world power.

So again, please vote in the poll. I'd really like to get an honest indicator of what you think of yesterday's win.

Subscribe to Starting Eleven


Jeff said...

(You don't know me, but I saw the blog and wished to comment.) I guess I'm something of a soccer fan coming out of hibernation, but yesterday's win over Spain (and the earlier outstanding victory over Egypt) has solidified me as a US soccer supporter. So, in regards to your question, I think this victory is doing much for the support of US soccer! As far as its ranking for importance goes, I think only time will tell.

Let me just say that I watched both games at a crowded restaurant in Amman, Jordan, surrounded by dozens of Arabs (many of whom were Egyptian) that were not huge fans of the US national team, nor confident of the US's chances. They were dumbfounded at Egypt's loss, and consequent removal from the tournament, at the hands of our boys. They saw it as something of a fluke, though. A couple nights later, the team dished out another jaw-dropping victory to the Spaniards, who were favored to win the cup. The atmosphere at the restaurant was nuts both nights, and my voice was hoarse each morning following. What a great feeling to see the US team put forth such effort and come out on top! God bless America, and I hope the US continues to show what they're capable of.

Starting11 said...

Thanks for checking in Jeff, you have a very unique perspective watching the match in U.S. soccer enemy territory. Five goals in two games, including a win over the consensus best team in the world is hardly a fluke; hopefully the rest of the world starts to realize that.
Let's up they don't stink up the final.

Anonymous said...

It was an amazing game. The Spaniards clearly dominated the game, holding the ball and controlling the midfield far better than the Americans. Their passes were 100% accurate, and I was completely astonished by the outcome. I mark it up to fantastic (and lucky) defense by Demerit, Howard, and the rest of the back line, and possibly to the fact that the Spaniard back line seemed unused to seeing anyone within 20 yards of the goal.

The Omnipotent Q said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog, The Mighty Quinn Media Machine.

Here is my response to your question:

Probably not the greatest, as the US win over England in 1950 is probably still the best, along with the 1994 WC win over Colombia, and the two victories in the 2002 tourney. I'd also put the WC qualifying win over Trinidad and Tabago in 1989 that put the US in the World Cup for the first time in 40 years in there, too. But yesterday was a huge win, even if it was just in a warmup tourney. Ler's see if the US can carry that over to the World Cup next year.