Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ranking The Result

Many of the questions in the press conference and mixed zone last night focused on whether this is the biggest victory in U.S. Men's National Team history.

So we put it to you, Greg. Where does this win rank for you?


Ryan said...

I think this victory is certainly in the Top 5 All-Time U.S. Soccer wins. Since it didn't occur in the World Cup Finals, I believe it must be ranked behind the 1994 2-1 victory against Colombia in the World Cup. Also, it should fall just behind the win against Mexico in the Round of 16 (2002 World Cup) that led the U.S. to the quarterfinal match against Germany. With all that said, I believe it is the 3rd best, biggest, most important win in U.S Soccer history.

Greg Seltzer said...

I'll assume I'm not the Greg you're asking, but will give an answer anyway. :D

On first thought, I'd say last night was about the 6th biggest USMNT win of all-time (behind, in no order, '50 England, '94 Colombia, 02 Portugal & Mexico, and the one Brazil win... though I'm not totally sure that beats this one) when combining all possible factors.

It was also one of the most complete 90-minute games I've ever seen the USMNT play, just solid to the core all night long, no let-up at all.

The thing is: there's an opportunity to top it on Sunday...

Robert said...

For me, every time the Spanish say "this was a hiccup" or something like that, it grows in my estimation. Because it isn't just the win - it's that the win is a sign that this team is getting what it wanted out of the Confed Cup. Growth, to put it simply. They knew they were down and out, and they rallied, and I was sitting in my office watching on atdhe and starting yelling when Dempsey put it in and it was awesome.

Christopher said...

This is definitely the BIGGEST victory. When else have be beaten a country who was not only number one, but had a 35 match unbeaten streak? Has not lost since 2006 and out of those 35 matches, I believe 26 were shutouts?

This is HUGE!!

mtgrizzlyfan said...

I think part of what will finally rank this result is the push it gives the sport in the US. No doubt it is in the top 5, maybe even top 3 as far as competing with and beating a top level team with the resources we have available. I believe in the end though the true ranking has to be a reflection of the lasting effect this match has on the interest and passion for the sport in this country, and for that only time will tell.


Hey last night on Fox Soccer Report, they said something that I interpreted as "Any player carrying a yellow card from a semifinal match who shown yellow in the final will be immediately ejected from the final." Is this really the case? That would be so ludicrous if it is. I've looked all over the fifa website and I couldn't find the official document that details the yellow card accumulation procedure. Can you guys shed some light on this please? Also, I did find a statement or two pertaining to appealing Bradley's red card which seemed to indicate no appeals allowed, referee decisions are final.
(See page 15 of the regulations article 8 items 5 and 6)
Thanks for any clarifications!

U.S. Soccer said...

@mtgrizzlyfan ... We get the same documents that you have access to on, so we aren't sure where Fox Soccer Report got that information. A red card in the final would mean a player misses the first Gold Cup match.

bhamhawker said...

Can and will the red card be appealed?

ajr said...

I saw top ten just cause I'm not surprised that this team did what it did. I've always expected greatness from them

KO said...

It's probably hard to put this win above the 1950 1-0 win over England or the 2002 win over Portugal, but let me throw an argument out there that this may be the number 1 all-time United States soccer win.

1) The U.S. played Spain on neutral ground. In the Gold Cup against Brazil in 1998, the U.S. played at home. In the World Cup in 1994 against Colombia, the U.S. played at home. Clearly, playing at home is not the most important factor in any pre- or post-match analysis. BUT, I think we can all acknowledge that home-field advantage plays an important role (see U.S. vs. Argentina, 2008, draw; U.S. vs. Costa Rica, 2009 WC Qual. at Estadio Saprissa, U.S. vs. Mexico when playing in the U.S. vs. playing at Azteca). Here, it was a neutral ground. Team vs. team (vs. vuvuzelas).

2) Spain was in the middle of a world-record-setting 15-game win streak. Spain was in the middle of a world-record-tying 35-game unbeaten streak. Spain had won 32 of those 35 games. Spain had only given up 2 goals in the entirety of their PREVIOUS 16 games, in which they played Italy (Euro 2008), Russia (Euro 2008), Germany (Euro 2008), England (Capello-era England), and Turkey. Spain had not given up 2 goals in one game since August 2007 against Greece. (the 6th game in the 35-game unbeaten streak)

3) The United States beat Spain in an international football tournament, in which the teams brought their best players. So maybe its not the World Cup, but it isn't Sunday Pub-League ball. And it certainly was NOT the Gold Cup.

4) Spain is not Mexico. The U.S. and Mexico were a rivalry in 2002, and part of that rivalry came from the fact that the U.S. was competing with Mexico regularly prior to the World Cup. Here, the U.S. had never beaten Spain. The U.S. was 1-7-1 against top-ranked teams in its history.

Not saying any of this proves that this is the biggest win in U.S. history. The win over Mexico in 2002 pushed the team into the quarterfinals of the World Cup. The 1950 win, although none of us remember that (I think) was a shock, but then the U.S. team disappeared for 4 decades. The win over Portugal was certainly unexpected, but I believe Portugal was merely a favorite to win the World Cup in 2002, not THE favorite.

As Greg Seltzer mentioned, maybe we should have this conversation after Sunday's game. ;) Maybe this win will be better characterized after the result on Sunday. Or maybe it will slip down one notch in our rankings.

Go. U.S.A.!

Ian said...

Top 5 for sure. I think 1950 won't be beat unless we win a WC. 1998 against Brazil is on about the same level. I also think the win against Mexico is right there too (obviously a WC win will always rank high). I would probably put it third tied with 98 Brazil IMO.

PeteKALIK said...

I'd like to share an OSAC Security report from South Africa. (I work for an international volunteer organization and I monitor these things)

U.S. Wins Semi-Final Match

While we don’t normally report sporting news in this publication, it’s worth noting that the U.S. team defeated European champions, Spain 2-0 at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. The U.S. team will play the winner of today’s match at Ellis Park on Sunday for the championship.

That's so hilarious. Just shows you how big this victory was! Top 5, I think.

Jason said...

I'd put it at the Top. Meaning #1. Consider where we were just a week ago: We got manhandled by both Brazil and Italy. Calls for the coaches head. Questions about 2010. Then by the grace of above, somehow we do the unthinkable and beat Egypt, and Brazil as well and advance. No one I heard anywhere gave us a shot to advance. And no one gave us a shot to beat Spain. We'll lose 3-0, 4-1... There was little momentum heading into it. And consider Spain's streak heading into's just that amazing because it was a true SHOCKER.

Here's my responses to your other suggestions:

1. Vs. England in 1950 - who here was around then? this game wasn't even in the modern era. I don't know how you can compare it.

2. Vs. Columbia in 1994 - why? this game was played on our home turf in WC '94 and weren't we helped by a tragic own goal? Sort of a fluke.

3. Vs. Mexico and Portugal - definitely debatable that these are bigger...

4. Vs. Brazil in the Gold Cup? Why? It was the Gold Cup...

That's just my take.

Greg Seltzer said...

And may I add... we're in a final!!

The Wests said...

If we lose 3-0 against Brazil in the final (assuming we play Brazil), this loss immediately loses some of its credibility due to the way we played earlier in the tournament.

In my mind, for this to be a valuable win, and not just another "blip on the radar" or "hiccup," we must validate this win with a solid performance in the final.

Nathan Eklund said...

I'm not sure about where this ranks all time. But I know what it means to this team at this time.

The first two games in this tourney were a complete and utter embarrassment. I don't mind losing. I hate getting beat. I coached a high school boys' varsity team for 10 years. I imagine most of you have coached and played at that level as well. If I had a team failing to compete as much as the US did in those first two games I would have called up lots of hungry J.V. players. We didn't close out tackles, we didn't sprint after loose balls, etc. It was disgusting.

What was great about the Spain game is that we won ugly. They outshot us and had much better quality of play. Let's be honest. But we scratched and clawed and figured out a way to win. Until we have a starting 11 entirely comprised of world class players, which we don't presently have (let's be honest), then we have to win by great challenges in the air, hard tackles, clearing it out of danger, etc.

If we can play that way consistently and with that kind of passion and commitment, we could beat Brazil 1-0 in the final. We're not ready to go toe-to-toe with teams of that caliber if we're trying to win with skill only. We have to play scrappy ball. Let's be honest.

byrankoehaler said...

@ Robert:

"They knew they were down and out, and they rallied, and I was sitting in my office watching on atdhe and starting yelling when Dempsey put it in and it was awesome."

best run on sentence ever!!! haha! It was a glorious moment for all.

Where does this rank?

I think KO and Jason kinda have a pretty good argument. Just in the context of recent events and seeing how much we've tapered off, yet seen glimpses of brilliance, this was a true win, and against a true giant, and in a good tournament.

Id say if you look at it from a total performance perspective and totaly quality of the game, and in the context, its easily top 2, possibly three. I think portugal was a huge shocker, but we still gave up 2 goals and didnt make it easy for us.

I think we're kind of debating right now on how high this match ranks on the SHOCKER scale, but just as for meaningful wins and powerful wins, this is def top 2 in my opinion.

Marc said...

I put it in the top ten for sure. The reason I can't go top 5 is the way we won. When we beat Portugal and Mexico in '02 we dominated both of those games. Not sure you can say the same about this one. It just had that "holding on" feeling for way too long. Not to take anything away from the win but it had as much to do with luck as it did skill.

Colin said...

My top 9 USMNT games (8 wins, 1 tie):

1 US v Portugal, WC 2002
2 US v Mexico, WC 2002
3 US v Colombia, WC 1994
4 US v England, WC 1950
5 US @ T&T, WCQ 1989
6 US v Spain, Confed Cup 2009
8 US v Argentina, Copa America 1995
7 US v Brasil, Gold Cup 1999
9 US @ Mexico, WCQ 1997 (0-0 tie, Azteca)

As for biggest upsets, Portugal, Colombia and England wins would still rate higher, imo.

davidm said...

I would add the Germany game in WC-02 to any top ten list. We lost, but played arguably the best game I've ever seen a US team play, dominating a perenial powerhouse in a world cup quarterfinal. But what can you do if the linesman keeps raising his flag for phantom offsides and the ref ignores a handball on the line?

Keeno said...

Hello, Engalnd calling...

Great result the othe night, I'll certainly be cheering you on in the final now. I think that the whole footballing world, not least us here in England, were grateful of your win. It showed us all that Spain are actually beatable and has given everyone hope in the lead up to the World Cup finals.

I've written a short piece on the match, mainly looking at the war of words between Jozy Altidore and the hapless Joan Capdevila. Give it a quick glance if you can spare a minute in your doubtless never-ending celebrations.