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U.S. shocks Spain 2-0 to advance to Confederations Cup final

Posted on 24 June 2009 by ASN Staff

This was not supposed to happen. The U.S. Men’s National Team was not even supposed to be here, for starters. And it certainly wasn’t supposed to put up much resistance against the defending European champions. The Spanish national team, lest we forget, had won 15 straight games coming into today’s match and was unbeaten in its last 35. It had not yielded a goal in something like 400-plus minutes. It was, by all accounts, the best team in the world. Better than Brazil, which had made short work of the U.S. in their group stage match. Probably better than world champions Italy (ditto). Certainly, positively, 100 percent better than the U.S. That did not even bear mentioning.

U.S. soccer fans appeared resigned to their fate in the days and hours leading up to the match. According to an ASN poll, 79% did not give their team a chance. And why should they? Bob Bradley’s side had only made the semifinals by a quirk in the tournament’s tie-breaking hierarchy. They were supposed to be back home, preparing for the Gold Cup, not shivering out the South African winter and taking on the best team in the world. If the Yanks even managed to make the game at all interesting it would be a massive accomplishment.

They made it interesting all right. The U.S. came out firing on all cylinders, pushing upfield at a blistering pace that must have had the Spaniards wondering who exactly they were facing. The opening goal, scored by Villareal outcast Jozy Altidore, was no fluke but a reflection of what had transpired on the pitch the first 26 minutes. This was no lucky victory by the Yanks. True, Spain probably underestimated their opponents, but considering the U.S.’ play in two of three group stage matches, they had good reason to do so. But the U.S. outplayed and outhustled their opponents. They had more passion, more espirit de corps. They were the better team. And they deserved to win.

Eventually, U.S. soccer pundits who had been calling for Bob Bradley’s head a few short days ago will attempt to put this victory in perspective. So too will our European counterparts. Then there will be the inevitable comparisons to other great upsets in U.S. sports history. Make no mistake: This was nothing close to the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” but it was quite possibly the biggest U.S. soccer upset since the 1950 World Cup. It means that on a good day, the U.S. Men’s National Team is a force to be reckoned with. Even by the best team in the world.

3 Comments For This Post

  1. pgh_futbol Says:

    Unbelievable victory. Better than beating Brazil, as good as beating Mexico, and certainly as important as beating England. We made an international final. That’s the bigger win for USA. Not the gold cup… Which really isn’t a major international tournament… But the confederations cup… Winners of the continents. Huge accomplishment.

  2. Will Says:

    Playing all those games against Mexico in the winter in Columbus Ohio prepared us well for this game, as the temperature was near freezing but the USA was red hot. Great idea to move Boca out to the flank where he's played a lot in Europe and let DeMerit continue — that's a nice looking back line with 4 Europe-based players — let's hope Cherundolo gets back to his best too. With Jones coming on board and Howard in goal the USA will have something it needs to advance out of our group next year–a first rate defense.

  3. TMurray Says:

    Great strategy on the part of Coach Bradley, to pack in the defense in the middle. It was amazing to me to see how well that worked. Time after time our defenders intercepted the Spanish attempts to penetrate. I thought Onweyu was the man of the match but I also thought the entire back line was about the best I had ever seen on the National Team.

    Very, very exciting game to watch.

2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Bradley announces Gold Cup roster | American Soccer News Says:

    […] day after the U.S. Men’s National Team’s historic upset of Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinals, head coach Bob Bradley announced the 23-player roster that will represent the U.S. at the 2009 […]

  2. American Soccer Roundup for June 25th | Soccer Academics Says:

    […] still on cloud nine after the 2-0 win over Spain, you are not alone. Here are some match reports: American Soccer News,  Corner Kick, Soccer Y Futbol, The 90th Minute, WVHooligan, MatchFit […]

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