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Where does the Spain victory rank?
by Ridge Mahoney, June 25th, 2009 7AM



[MAKING A LIST] Here's a look at the top 10 wins in U.S. men's history, as selected by the editors of Soccer America. Though some historic results have been recorded in friendlies, the significance of wins in competitive events - both for their domestic value as well as international status - takes precedence.

Pasadena, Calif.
1994 World Cup first round
U.S. goals: own goal, Earnie Stewart

The 1994 World Cup staged in the United States would have been a grand spectacle in any case, but this courageous victory in a packed, raucous Rose Bowl awakened the host nation to its native sons. With these precious three points the Americans set the stage for passage to the knockout round.

Suwon, South Korea
2002 World Cup first round
U.S. goals: John O'Brien, own goal, Brian McBride.

As in '94, the Americans were grouped with one of the tournament's highest-regarded teams, and by storming out to a 3-0 lead they did just enough to grab three points against an astonished Portugal. As in '94, the USA advanced at the expense of its vanquished opponent.

3. USA 2, MEXICO 0
Jeonju, South Korea
2002 World Cup round of 16
U.S. goals: Brian McBride, Landon Donovan.

Beating Mexico outside of Mexico had already been well-established, yet to do it in this setting raised American soccer to new heights. Mexico had impressively finished first in its group but on this day was decidedly second-best.

4. T&T 0, USA 1
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Concacaf 1990 World Cup qualifier
U.S. goal: Paul Caligiuri

The long, curling shot by Paul Caligiuri is forever etched in American soccer lore, and despite the demise of the North American Soccer League five years prior, this victory clinched the first World Cup spot in 40 years, sparking a run of growth that otherwise may never have occurred.

5 USA 2, SPAIN 0
Bloemfontein, South Africa
2009 Confederations Cup semifinal
U.S. goals: Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey

A record streak of 15 straight Spanish victories came to a shuddering halt for the No. 1 ranked team in the world, a year after its mesmerizing soccer captured the European Championship. This was also just the fourth American win in a senior competition against a European team since the USA beat Belgium, 3-0, in the 1930 World Cup.

Paysundu, Uruguay
1995 Copa America first round
U.S. goals: Frank Klopas, Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda

Argentine coach Daniel Passarella used a lot of his backups in this final group game, and the inspired Americans beat them soundly in every facet of the game as well as on the scoreboard. After edging past Mexico on penalties in the quarterfinals, the USA finished fourth.

Los Angeles, Calif.
1998 Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal
U.S. goal: Preki

The magnificent saves of Kasey Keller and Preki's left-footed blast from 25 yards earned the Americans their first and only win over Brazil at the senior level as well as a spot in the Gold Cup final. Many are those who claim to have been there that night, yet only about 12,000 attended at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Los Angeles, Calif.
1991 Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal
U.S. goals: John Doyle, Peter Vermes

Tens of thousands of Mexican fans sat angry and perplexed as the Americans beat Mexico for the first time in a knockout phase by what has become a famous scoreline. The victory also sent the USA into its first competitive soccer final at any level. It defeated Honduras on penalties after a 0-0 tie in the inaugural Gold Cup final.

Belo Horizonte, Brazil
1950 World Cup first round
U.S. goal: Joe Gaetjens.

This courageous victory, clumsily re-told in a mediocre book and worse film, nonetheless set a staggering standard for World Cup upsets, and is still regarded as the greatest such achievement in the sport's long history. (Except in England, of course, where North Korea's stunning defeat of Italy in the 1966 World Cup usually tops the charts.)

10 USA 3, EGYPT 0
Rustenberg, South Africa
2009 Confederations Cup first round
U.S. goals: Charlie Davies, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey.

Needing a big victory to have any chance of advancement after losses to Italy and Brazil that were marred by red cards, the USA got the result it needed with some timely finishing and a strong defensive effort that knocked out Egypt, which had scored three on Brazil and beaten Italy.



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