Top Stories

Remembering the last time USA was in a tournament final

USAGoldCup

If you are excited about the prospect of the U.S. national team facing off against Brazil in the final of an international tournament, it's okay. You are not alone.

As much as some want to minimize the importance of the Confederations Cup, the quality of the competition and strength of the rosters makes this more than just a glorified set of friendlies. The event has had intense pressure and quality soccer throughout. And while this isn't the World Cup, winning the tournament will still mean quite a bit for a U.S. national team that is growing up before our eyes.

If you are wondering how the United States will fare in the final, consider the last time the U.S. team was in a final. It was two years ago against Mexico in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup final in Chicago. On that day it was Benny Feilhaber who emerged as the hero with his game-winning blast from distance. Other players, such as Landon Donovan and Tim Howard, stepped up big time, as did the centerback pairing of Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra. All five figure to play key roles on Sunday vs. Brazil.

In case you don't remember the Gold Cup final, or just want to relive it, here is a flashback to that memorable U.S. victory. Fox Soccer Channel is doing one better, showing a replay of the USA's win over Mexico tonight at 11p.m.

Comments

  1. They’ll replay the Mexico game, but will they replay the semifinal where a horrible refereeing-linesmen error cost Canada the equalizing goal in time added on?

    Hmm.

    Reply
  2. We’re visiting Houston this weekend. Can anyone recommend a bar in the Houston area to watch the final? Saint Daine’s looks pretty interesting.

    Reply
  3. Based on current form, none of these teams looks invincible. This is the most average Brazil team I’ve seen in a while, Argentina is at risk of not qualifying, France have yet to replace Zidane, Germany is about as mediocre as it has been for some time, Holland is doing well but you never know when they will decide to all stab each other in the back, and we just beat Spain. Spain and England are about the only teams that are up and coming and I just feel that Capello trumps Del Bosque.

    Posted by: Jimmygreaves | June 27, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    lol, that was just funny, mostly the Holland comment. Thanks! 🙂

    As for ability, I still like Spain. They won Euro, which is an anchor for them. In the US game, any one of their shots could have gone in, changing the whole complexion (of course they did not!). Still, I am not always convinced of “pretty ball.” Especially when it is devoid of a “smash mouth” attitude.

    I am intrigued by Loew, and think he could still work wonders with Germany.

    Reply
  4. The two lines of attack on the US accomplishment have been 1) Attributing it to Luck and/or 2) Minimizing the Tournament.

    The US has now beat Egypt and Spain, champions of Africa and Europe, by a combined 5-0.

    All of these teams sent their top rosters and played to win.

    ’nuff said…

    Reply
  5. Hincha,

    There needs to be a bit more clarity on what constitutes a “legitimate contender” for the WC. There are only a few teams (usually from Europe or South America) with that status, which varies from Cup to Cup. For 2010 the most likely legitimate contenders are: Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, and England. These guys are the usual suspects. Portugal and Turkey, two teams I like, may not even qualify

    European teams tend not to win outside Europe so my pick for the top two contenders are Brazil and ………..England (only and I do stress only, because of Capello. England normally fold under the weight of their fans’ delusional expectations)

    Based on current form, none of these teams looks invincible. This is the most average Brazil team I’ve seen in a while, Argentina is at risk of not qualifying, France have yet to replace Zidane, Germany is about as mediocre as it has been for some time, Holland is doing well but you never know when they will decide to all stab each other in the back, and we just beat Spain. Spain and England are about the only teams that are up and coming and I just feel that Capello trumps Del Bosque.

    The USMNT beat Spain with superior committment and conditioning and a game plan designed to maximize the USMNT’s advantages and minimize their flaws. Laugh all you want about the superiority of talent and artistry but it is hard to be talented and artistic when your tongue is on the ground and the other guy hits you and then runs right past you on a regular basis.

    We cannot match Spain, Brazil or England for sheer talent but we can give them a game. The Spain game proved that and that is why it is vital we either beat Brazil or show well. So much of this game is in the head and, if we do well in the Final, we will be in the head of these so-called top teams and this would make us a legitimate dark horse. And, of course, no one outside the US wants that. Of course a year is a long time and a lot can change by next summer.

    Reply
  6. Aren’t the anthracite tops still our away jersey? I can’t remember ‘cuz I haven’t seen them played in those in a while. I do agree with Iammetro who said we should have a red jersey. I think that a red away jersey (and then the current ones our home jersey) would be appropriate. Red is obviously a part of our national pride, so I think it’d be nice to see red tops with navy blue shorts for the away jersey, and maybe the red top can mimic the sutble striping in the home jersey with a thin white stripe.

    Reply
  7. btw, those jerseys are absolutely ten times uglier than our currents ones. That stripe that runs down the left of the shirt, the left of the pants and the left of the left sock is just atrocious. I love our new cleaner, simpler look. Honestly I hope we keep our current jerseys forever and all time, so we can build a “jersey tradition” that is instantly recognizable.

    Posted by: Memrook

    Note to Ives: do a photo poll on US jerseys thru history and have us vote.

    I like the anthracite and related ones. Loved the color. The little circle around the number was okay, too. I also like the old school 50’s style.

    Reply
  8. I was there, about 4 inches away from the pitch. It was glorious.

    Posted by: kpugs

    Almost sounds like you were passed out . . .

    Reply
  9. I still don’t understand why we can’t have a red jersey like the 98 one. That looked nice with the blue shorts and socks.

    The Jozy hate isn’t hate. It is more like we wish he had more playing time because his first touch and his shooting would be a lot more polished in the tournament. If Jozy had played regularly this year, that shot that was cleared by Egypt would have gone in. Something that athletes go through when they are in form is that their brain thinks at a faster rate. Things feel like it goes in slow motion. When your at your top game you think things faster and react faster.

    Reply
  10. btw, those jerseys are absolutely ten times uglier than our currents ones. That stripe that runs down the left of the shirt, the left of the pants and the left of the left sock is just atrocious. I love our new cleaner, simpler look. Honestly I hope we keep our current jerseys forever and all time, so we can build a “jersey tradition” that is instantly recognizable.

    Oh and Fireball, your link doesn’t work, but I believe this is the one you wanted (which is a really good read):

    http://www.fifa.com/confederationscup/statistics/castrolindex/news/newsid=1076808

    .html#castrol+index+kaka+deuce+close

    Reply
  11. Some thoughts:

    Don’t complain about people jumping on the bandwagon. The alternative is continued apathy and ignorance. Some of those on the bandwagon will stay on the bandwagon. Soccer is taking incremental steps and getting people to notice and watch a game that they normally would not have is a first step.

    The criticism of BB and the MNT after the first Brazil game was totally justified. And at least on this blog, the criticism was not based just on the Brazil game but a pattern that was emerging. I ask those that didn’t criticize: if you want the U.S. to take the next step in its evolution to a legitimate contender for the WC, were performances like that in anyway justified? Could they do better? If you think that they were performing at their best than say nothing, but a lot of us knew they had more in the engine and were frustrated that it was not coming out. And from players like MB’s comments it hit home and spurred the players and the coaches to change their attitude, and spurred them to play the way they were capable of. Now they need to continue to evolve.

    The win against Spain is part of this process to arrive at the point where they can play with any team in the world and beat them on a consistent basis (not necessarily a majority of the time, but at least a third of the time). When they arrive at that point (I think they are getting closer) than winning the WC is definitely a possibility since luck, momentum are such a big part of winning a tournament if you are in the mix.

    Reply
  12. fast paced game. seems like the US Team gets into the trap of playing the style of the competition. Thats why they play Italy tough usually. cuz Italy plays slow boring soccer and the US has more time to bring the ball up and not get rushed into bad decisions.

    Seems like when they play in CONCACAF they play a more fast paced choppy soccer. I much rather see they settle the ball down more like they have in this tourny when they go back to WC qualifiers.

    Reply
  13. I think CONCACAF is over compensating for something with the size of that trophy.

    And I would like to try to defend the Gold Cup as a major tourney (when Confederations Cup is on the line at least). The top 6-8 teams in the region are tough for anybody to play. I know a lot of people are saying US and Mexico have fallen back to the pack but when you look the rosters of the top 6 teams (plus Canada) you see a lot of players playing internationally. I think we are consistantly going to see a phase where CONCACAF wins our playoff with CONMEBOL and will always have at least one rep in the knockout rounds of the WC, not to mention a surprise team ala TNT last WC (my pick is Honduras to fill that role in 2010)

    Reply
  14. Man, those were such nice uniforms. MUCH better than our current ones (although they aren’t that bad…). Hopefully the 2010 shirts resemble the classiness of those 2006 ones.

    Reply
  15. I think the least credited player of the last two games has been Jay DeMerit. Gooch deserves a supertanker’s worth of credit for solid defense, but I’m sure he wouldn’t be as effective if he didn’t have confidence in Jay. It’s a team effort all the way around, but I’m incredibly impressed that Jay stepped in during some pressure games and played such solid defense. Best outcome of all is it looks like the back line is more solid than ever now with Boca on the left side.

    Ives – I think at some point, you should do a story on Jay and his journey. It’s impressive as hell.

    Reply
  16. I think a lot of the time people are pointing out the ways he can be better. Just because people “crap” on him, doesnt mean we think he is bad, we just think he can do more.

    Reply
  17. “The kid is effing 19. The kid NEVER PLAYS for a club.”

    I think that’s the point. No one hates Jozy. Calm down. The point is that the best national teams in the world do not play 19-year-olds who are not good enough to start for their clubs. Jozy will go down as one of the greatest players in US history, but he has many areas to improve right now.

    Reply
  18. I’m not sure I understand this Jozy hate I see, or in some cases just over-analysis.

    The kid is effing 19. The kid NEVER PLAYS for a club. And he rolls into USMT camp after camp and causes ridiculous problems for opposing teams and scores goals

    Honestly? Idiots, of COURSE he has improvements to make. Take a step back and realize this is a KID who doesn’t play competitive games unless he’s with the national team. And when he gets his caps, he’ puts the phuking ball in the back of the net and gives defenses the fits. Enough already.

    If you want to start crapping on Jozy then crap on Freddy. Another guy with an insane work ethic. Gets zero minutes at his club. But he is ALWAYS fit and always plays well for the U.S.

    Stop being a bunch of morons. Sacha is a vital player for his club, constantly starting, etc. And yet he has turned in some of the worst performances I’ve ever seen.

    Yet let’s criticize Jozy for being very good and not awesome when he didn’t get a single game for Xeres. Pure genius you tools. Ugh, and it pains me even worse when we get to start dealing with the bandwagoneers after the Spain match. If true fans can be this stupid, what are we going to see from bandwagon fans?

    Reply
  19. If anything – that goal should give Benny the start on Sunday! We aren’t in a position to win the Confed Cup if not for his wonder strike!

    Beasley did miss an absolute sitter at the end of the Mexico match too. Still – if he was in-form, we’d be even deeper in midfield!

    Reply
  20. There are a lot of players that we frequently criticize on the team that would do so well if they could find a team in Europe that would take them in and give them playing time.

    Beasley – Used to be one of the best 1v1 players on the squad before the injury. He needs to go to Europe to regain his touch. Some playing time would do to help his confidence.

    Clark – He gives the ball away a bit too much and I think learning to control the ball better in Europe would help him be more than just an energetic soul on the offense.

    Kljestan – Creative, but needs to work on decision making; gives the ball away with his give aways too much with his passes. He had interest so I’m not too worried about him going.

    Altidore – His touch with his back to goal needs to be better and he did miss some chances in the tournament

    Reply
  21. Henry admits he’s likely to play for Red Bulls in 2011. With NYRB’s luck, he’ll be carrying a career-ending injury then.

    Reply
  22. For those that have said they “never want to see Beasley in a US shirt again”….

    You can give me a fit and in form Beasley ANY day.

    I hope he can find a club where he can play every week. Don’t care where it is. MLS, Spanish Segunda, Norway, Turkey, USL… don’t care.

    Reply
  23. You know, that Penalty called when Ching was dropped by Magallon looks more legit in ’09 than I thought it did in ’07.

    I thought it was legit in ’07, but know I don’t know how people didn’t think it was. Magallon raised his leg up to keep Ching from turning and being in on goal with the keeper out of position. It was a clear trip in the box by a centerback that got beat, but it wasn’t violent enough to warrant a red.

    Reply
  24. i dont think that brazil match was a final back in the late 90s…i was fortunate to watch that match back in the day…it was on fox sports world iirc

    whats up with Frank Simek? where’s he at

    Reply

Leave a Comment