Where Does The Spain Game Rank All Time?


I know we played this game the other day after the Egypt match, but let’s revisit it again. Where does the Spain game compare to the matches described below in the Post 1990 history of the US Men’s National Team? The 1950 World Cup win versus England obviously was the best pre 1989 result for the US, but actually was the last US World Cup win for 54 years, so it didn’t actually usher in any sort of era of good play from the USMNT. That’s why we will focus on post World Cup 1990 matches.

1994 vs Colombia (FIFA World Cup)

The 2-1 win over one of the pre tournament favorites put the US through to the second round of the USA 94.

1995 vs Argentina (Copa America)

Still arguably the greatest win in US history, the 3-0 thrashing of Argentina gave the US a ticket to the knock out stages of the Copa America. Alexi Lalas, Frank Klopas and Eric Wynalda scored for the US.

1995 vs Mexico (Copa America)

The US won in a shootout versus rival Mexico to make the semifinals of the Copa. Brad Friedel saved 2 pks in the shootout.

1998 vs Brazil (CONCACAF Gold Cup)

Preki’s amazing shot from outside the area was the only goal of the game in a match that Brazil otherwise dominated. The great Romario described the effort of Kasey Keller that night by saying “it was an honor to be on the field with him.”

1999 vs Germany (FIFA Confederations Cup)

Ben Olsen and Joe Max Moore score in the 2-0 US win that clinched passage to the semifinals. Moore’s free kick goal is among the best in US history.

2002 vs Portugal (FIFA World Cup)

Portugal received it’s fair share of pre tournament hype but the US came out flying and when John O’Brien scored off a corner in minute four, the US never looked back and won 3-2. The third US goal was a thing of beauty as Tony Sanneh found Brian McBride with a cross in a play reminiscent of their days together with the Milwaukee Rampage.

2002 vs Mexico (FIFA World Cup)

Unforgettable game that came on the heels of an embarrassing thrashing suffered to Poland in the final group game. The US were lucky to escape a handball on John O’Brien in the area, a sure PK on most days but dominated much of the game. Brian McBride scored on a nice Josh Wolff setup and Eddie Lewis put a beautiful cross in Landon Donovan’s path for the second goal.

Share your thoughts on which of these wins was the biggest in the comments section. Was it the Spain game today? Or was it one of the above described games or perhaps a game I did not list?

Also listen to our postmatch podcast from today where Yahoo! Sports Martin Rogers, DuNord’s Bruce McGuire and myself discuss this very issue.

This entry was posted in MLS Talk, US National Team, US National Team History. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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15 Responses to Where Does The Spain Game Rank All Time?

  1. Marvin says:

    For my money (and my memory) the Portugal game was best because it was on the biggest stage. The Colombia match was huge, but we were playing in the States and Colombia had an own goal. So, I go with the Portugal win. Because of Spain’s unbeaten streak, today’s win must rank in the top 5 all-time.

  2. quakesin2kNever says:

    Portugal by a hair. That win was key for USA advancing so that we could face Mexico and then Germany and really put do a lot for the program. This was huge too though.

  3. ajr says:

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

  4. Ian says:

    This team has the talent to pull of these sorts of results so truthfully this ranks below Argentina in the Copa and Germany in the Confed Cup both of which were achieved with inferior squads.

  5. Earl says:

    Argentina still top of the list. So much pre tournament hype about this team now and the reason this is so shocking is because of what we witnessed last week. The 1995 win came out of absolutely nowhere. Before the Costa Rica game alot of us thought we could win the Confed Cup. The problem was the lack of confidence the last few weeks.

  6. Larry says:

    The 2002 Portugal game is still #1. No doubt about it.

  7. dan says:

    I think you have to look at the importance and this is way down on that list. It seemed like a fluke the team isn’t as bad as it looked against brazil and italy and not as good as it was yesterday. Fluke’s don’t carry much importance unless they are in an important competition.

    It was not a major step forward for the national team like other games in unimportant competitions in the late 90’s. It was a great result from a decent team. It may become more important if this gives the team confidence and helps the team gel into what we know it can become.

  8. dan says:

    And how much do you guys want to kill the c*nt named Lalas. It is sad that espn has decided to go with him and harkes as the analysts/color comentater for the national team games. lets hope they can find better talent for the world cup. They are horrible representatives for football in the US.

  9. Les says:

    Great list- my top 3


  10. Ture says:

    Spain is not Brazil and never will be. Only when you beat Brazil do you truly beat the best. So 1998 is #1 for me. Hopefully Sunday will then become #2.

  11. dude says:

    Hey, Kartik? Remember that article about how the US should bring all the MLS trialists into this match? And Azteca?

    Remember me?

    Yeah. I wouldn’t try to hard for that memory, either.

  12. Kartik Krishnaiyer says:

    Actually dude, I never said once bring trialists to Azteca.

    Yes I said this tournament and let’s face it- hungry MLS kids almost certainly would have performed better in the first two games than the guys tired from a European season who needed all of us here in the blogosphere and the soccer media to start questioning their commitment before they stepped up. In fact the way the four games against Costa Rica, Honduras, Italy and Brazil went had others telling me my trialist theory they laughed at when wrote actually looked genius in hindsight.

    Would MLS guys, proud of wearing the national shirt have pulled this miracle off? No, but would they have gotten more than 3 pts from the group stage? Very possible. I can guarantee you one thing- they wouldn’t have quit after 20 minutes against Brazil.

  13. dude says:

    Look back, my man. Archives. First Confed Cup, then Azteca, because the US weren’t getting the job done.

    No, you’re not a genius. Neither is Bob Bradley. He was forced into this lineup, he had little to no say in it. Ching and Hedjuk were injured (two MLS players, by the way,) Beasley showed in one play how AWFUL he is, Klejstan got a red with his one attempt of a tackle ALL GAME against Brazil, and Boca had to be injured to get Demerit in there (who, by the way, plays in Europe). That back four is the ONLY one that gets this result. He didn’t even try to play offense until Egypt, when we had to, and we showed what we are capable of.

    As for your theory about hungry MLS kids. I see now why I stopped reading this blog. I love MLS, but dude.

    Hey, if the US wins the Gold Cup with the MLS players, I’ll show some respect. Until then, you just hate European players. Did Cafu not sign your autograph or something?

  14. dude, I don’t hate European players but in the previous summers they have looked wasted and less passionate about the national team than the hungry MLS kids. If you look at that piece I said I for not once second believe with the exception of Landon that the MLS guys are better than the Euro based players, but that the calender dictated certain choices.

    Anyhow, stay tuned for the next blog post- I’m sure you’ll love it. 🙂

  15. dude says:

    Man, I aint coming back till the MLS players and Freddy Adu win the Gold Cup. Later.

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