USA closes in on Spanish record

[THE STREAK] After the 4-2 loss to Belgium on May 30 in Cleveland, the idea that the USA would then run off 12 straight wins would have been fantasy.

Just like idea that the moribund U.S. attack would be transformed into the swashbuckling crew that scored four second-half goals Wednesday for the most improbable win of the streak, a 4-3 comeback win at Bosnia-Herzegovina that puts the USA only three wins away from tying the world record held by Spain.

The Belgium defeat left the USA with a 1-2-2 record for 2013 and exposed the frailties of the inexperienced U.S. backline that has been completely rebuilt. The two goals scored against Belgium came on just two shots on goal, giving the USA just four goals and a paltry nine shots on goals in those five games. Since then, the USA has scored 39 goals on 85 shots on goal to run off 12 wins.

Here's a breakdown of the streak:

The Streak:
4-3 (Altidore, own goal, Dempsey 2)
@Jamaica 2-1 (Altidore, Evans)
Panama 2-0 (Altidore, E. Johnson)
Honduras 1-0 (Altidore)
Guatemala 6-0 (Gomez, Donovan 2, Wondolowski, Goodson, Bedoya)
Belize 6-1 (Wondolowski 3, Holden, Orozco Fiscal, Donovan)
Cuba 4-1 (Donovan, Corona, Wondolowski 2)
Costa Rica 1-0 (Shea)
El Salvador 5-1 (Goodson, Corona, E.Johnson, Donovan, Diskerud)
Honduras 3-1 (E. Johnson, Donovan 2)
Panama 1-0 (Shea)
@Bosnia-Herzegovina 4-3 (E.Johnson, Altidore 3)

-- Three wins came in World Cup 2014 qualifying to jump the USA into the lead in the Hexagonal with four games to play. Six wins came at the Gold Cup, which the USA won for a fifth time. The other three wins came in friendlies.

-- All but the first and last games of the streak -- 4-3 wins over Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina -- were against Concacaf opposition.

-- Wednesday's game in Sarajevo marked only the second time the USA played on the road. It also won at Jamaica.

-- And the BiH game marked only the second time the USA came back to win after trailing. Cuba led for 10 minutes late in the first half in Utah. BiH led for 51 minutes on Wednesday.

9 Beasley
8 Corona, Diskerud, E.Johnson
7 Besler, Donovan, Holden, Parkhurst, Shea
6 Bedoya, Beckerman, Castillo, Goodson, Rimando, Torres, Wondolowski
5 Altidore, Bradley, Evans, Gonzalez, Howard, F. Johnson
4 Cameron, Dempsey, Jones, Orozco Fiscal
3 Davis, Gomez, Zusi
2 Onyewu
1 Beltran, Boyd, Brooks, Bruin, Johannsson, Kljestan, S.Johnson, Wood.

-- Thirty-eight different players have made appearances during the 12-game winning streak, including three -- John Brooks, Aron Johannsson and Bobby Wood -- who made their international debuts, all on Wednesday.

-- The only player who hasn't played during the streak and would be considered a lock on a U.S. World Cup 2014 roster is No. 2 keeper Brad Guzan. Klinsmann regulars from earlier in his tenure who have not played include Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Timmy Chandler, Maurice Edu and Danny Williams. Only Williams was called up for the BiH game but he didn't dress.

-- The player with the most consecutive appearances is Mix Diskerud, who has played in the last eight games.

-- Klinsmann started the same lineup in consecutive matches only once -- for the first two games of the streak.

Altidore, Donovan
6 Wondolowski
4  E.Johnson
2 Corona, Dempsey, Goodson, Shea
1 Bedoya, Diskerud, Evans, Gomez, Holden, Orozco Fiscal, own goal

-- Fourteen different players have scored in the streak. Most impressively, Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski have all averaged a goal a game or more during the streak.

-- The USA has averaged 3.25 goals per game during the streak and scored four or more goals in six of the 12 games. It had previously never scored four or more goals more than three times in a year.

Longest Winning Streaks:
15 Spain (2008-09)
14 Australia (1996-97)
14 Brazil (1997)
14 France (2003-04)
13 Scotland (1879-85)
13 Brazil (1960-62)
12 USA (2013)
12 East Germany (1973-74)
12 West Germany (1979-80)
12 France (1984-85)
12 Mexico (1987-90)

-- Spain's streak began with a 3-0 win over Russia in the semifinals of Euro 2008 and ended when the USA beat it, 2-0, at the 2009 Confederations Cup.

-- Brazil and Belgium went into Wednesday with the next longest active streaks at six and five wins, but Brazil lost to Switzerland, 1-0, and Belgium tied France, 0-0.
18 comments about "USA closes in on Spanish record".
  1. Tom Tani, August 15, 2013 at 7:01 a.m.

    Can;t wait to see what professional curmudgeon Paul Gardner has to say.

  2. Andy Wagner, August 15, 2013 at 11:14 a.m.

    Why did they not list the teams Spain beat in their streak? The competition is just a little bit better and worthy of praise...sorry USA but your competition is a joke...just look at your score lines. Maybe the US could play Brazil 10 times in a row in blizzard conditions in Colorado and have a chance at another record that features at least one worthy opponent...I know they beat Germany but it was their "B" team. Not the Germany they will face at the WC. Go USA!!!

  3. Joe Smith, August 15, 2013 at 11:41 a.m.

    Mr. Wagner, you are one of the first people getting it right, hallelujah!!!. By exception of Germany and Bosnia all the other 10 contenders were a real joke!. As you mentioned Germany used a B team and Bosnia very similar. They just got lucky in that two games, the rest Please if they didn't win them, it would be a disgrace. Be realistic, do not think that because of this the USA is one of the best soccer teams in the world, because they are not, they are just lucky at this time. Yes, they are working hard and trying, but to measure them by winning 12 games in row with weak contenders isn't right and fair.

  4. John Soares, August 15, 2013 at 12:32 p.m.

    A streak is a streak.... Nobody is comparing the USA team to Spain or Brazil.
    AND if you look at "some" of the teams Brazil and Spain beat to keep the streak alive they were pretty weak. AND... do you remember the team that ended Spain's streak.:)

  5. soccer talk, August 15, 2013 at 12:44 p.m.

    U 2 R correct in that Spain is a better team than the US. It has been around many years longer and lives soccer. It would be like comparing NFL win streak to a Euro. record, but alas the win streak does not have asterisks for relative opponents. Their are cupcakes and luck in every streak and u play who u play. Ironically the USA stopped Spains streak which says enough!
    And the team that beat Bosnia was not our so-called "A" team either which so many people get absorbed. And the stupid blizzard comment; hmmm I guess I missed the fact that the US is a snow team. Mother Nature produced that and both teams froze. And Germany did have an lesser squad, but again the game is played against whoever the the tourney dictates. The US is CONCACaf and they whooped some easy opponents and beat good ones. Spains road of 15 were sprinkled w/ easy teams, until they lost to the very cupcake you call USA Baby! And we are not lucky to achieve what we have done to this point. That's a ludicrous assumption. Point is even if we were to pass Spain they are better, but not in the record books.
    If teams only played teams of their caliber then there would no futball. Enjoy the success, Rome wasn't built in a day.

  6. StrikerBob Norman, August 15, 2013 at 12:50 p.m.

    Hey Andy Wanker, We can only play the games that are scheduled so why rain on our parade? These results show a great deal of progress, and if you were watching, you would see that. Take your negativity, stick in a dark hole and go to Brazil!

  7. StrikerBob Norman, August 15, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.

    You too, Joe Smith! What kind of butt-heads try to dis a team that gives great effort, shows steady improvement and wins? Where are you clowns from? Just don;t ever show up near Sam's Army. You don't deserve to wear the colors. B-H is not a bad side. They are atop their group in World Cup qualifying having beaten Greece 3-1. We beat them at home with a gritty performance. Klinsmann rocks! Go USA!

  8. Power Dive, August 15, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.

    Andy and Joe - thanks for the clearing the air. For a minute I was getting excited about the longest winning streak the USA has ever had (and looking pretty fantastic in the process). But, you are right, they are not Spain or Brazil so there is nothing to get excited about. The only thing that's really worth getting excited for is the anticipation of PG's article restating what you already said only in 10,000 words.

  9. Chris Sapien , August 15, 2013 at 1:42 p.m.

    Well said Robert & soccer! I'm sure when we beat Spain in a FIFA sanctioned tournament they weren't walking around saying "boy that USA team plays nobody and they still beat us".....likewise the stupid comment about Denver, where had you been there Andy, you would have seen that the ball moved fine and the players wanted to play, plus there is nothing in the rules that address weather, so it was only the discretion of the referee to protect the player's safety that became the consideration.

  10. Paul Estrada, August 15, 2013 at 2:37 p.m.

    To get to win no. 13, the US will have to do something it has never done, beat Costa Rica in a WCQ in San Jose. If the US does that, the chances of reaching 15 are good.

  11. Scott O'Connor, August 15, 2013 at 5:48 p.m.

    I agree with Paul E. If they break the record it's going to involve tough wins in WC qualifying. On the road against Costa Rica. Against a revitalized Mexico playing for its (and its Coach's) life. And another WC qualifier. To break the record they would have to run the table in WC qualifying and end up 8-1-1, 25 points. That doesn't lie. That's pretty dominant. Granted it's not beating Russia and Germany in a major international tournament with all hands on deck for all opponents. I'm sure the previous record holders, Australia, played some amazingly tough games against Oceana opponents....

  12. Ryan Miller, August 15, 2013 at 7:20 p.m.

    Geographically the U.S. is playing in a underdeveloped soccer region. becuase of that it is placed in CONCACAF and it has to play CONCACAF opposition. Everybody here knows that some of that competition is weak with the exception of panama, mexico, and costa rica. for all those people that are trying to say that this isnt a big deal try and point to another time in the history of U.S. soccer were we were this good, the U.S. didnt always always score 39 goals i twelve games, we never had this depth, we never had a legend as a coach. our youth teams are improving as well and whether you like the fifa rankings or not we have a realistic chance of being in the top ten for next years world cup. a far cry from the 32 rank we had last year.

  13. Andy Wagner, August 15, 2013 at 9:58 p.m.

    I sit in the middle of Sam's army and cheer as loud as I can...I guess I am the only one who is not biased and can see through the billowing clouds.

  14. Joe Smith, August 16, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.

    To Robert Norman: You are the butt-head the clown, that doesn't have the guts, the personality and the brain to recognized that their winning aren't of high caliber, worth it anything. Keep living in mediocrity, keep being happy with the minimum. Most likely looks like you growth up listening to the usual expression: " Good Job" for anything poor or mediocre you did in your life. Read my last expression again, here is: "Yes, they are working hard and trying, but to measure them by winning 12 games in row with weak contenders isn't right and fair", I am American as you are, but I do not believe in living in mediocrity! and by the way, I played soccer my whole life, Premier USSF soccer, College soccer and went to my mothers country (In Europe to play club team, this most likely means I know what is hard work and this beautiful game. What you have done in soccer? Not only I played at the highest level, but I coach and I referee at the highest level too. Have a good life with your mediocre mentality, looser!!!!.

  15. Mark Konty, August 16, 2013 at 12:23 p.m.

    Here were the Spanish conquests before losing to the U.S.: Germany, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Armenia, Estonia, Belgium, Chile, England, Turkey (twice), Azerbaijan, New Zealand, Iraq and South Africa

    While there is some tough competition here, most of it is lower class.

    Just sayin'.

  16. Andy Wagner, August 16, 2013 at 1:18 p.m.

    Let's add where they played...The US very rarely strays abroad to play tougher competition. A feather in the cap to the US they did get a result against Bosnia on foreign soil. How many players did Bosnia remove from the first half going into the second half? Quite a few...I have to think this helped the Americans. I as well am born and bred in the USA...and proud of it.

  17. Bruce Moorhead, August 17, 2013 at 4:29 a.m.

    Andy...."US never strays abroad"? Are you paying attention? We have played at Belgium, France, Slovenia, Italy, Russia and Bosnia just during Klinsmann's time. Are those weak squads? I think you had better be quiet, because you don't sound like someone proud to be American, and you are digging a deeper hole for yourself.

  18. Andy Wagner, August 17, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.

    Why cannot I be a proud American and speak to the weaknesses of American soccer? Oh by the way...most of the games you are speaking about a right before a foreign soil WC...they had better play overseas to prepare. Point number 2 - Klinsmann enjoys traveling abroad...he gets to visit family!

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