SBI’s Top 10 USMNT matches of 2013

Mix Diskerud, Omar Gonzalez

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

From the opening match against Canada to their finale against Austria 22 matches later, the 2013 calendar year was certainly a memorable one for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

After an up-and-down 2012, the USMNT rebounded with a year that included historic victories against Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Gold Cup title, and a victory over Mexico that helped earn the USMNT a trip to Brazil next year.

The 16 wins that the USMNT finished with as well as their .761 winning percentage were all-time highs, with new records in overall winning streak (12), home winning streak (12), and tying their record in points earned during the Hexagonal round (22).

Here’s a look at SBI’s top 10 USMNT matches of 2013:

10. USMNT vs. Honduras (Gold Cup semifinals), July 24

One could say that the summer of 2013 should be considered the “Summer of Landon”, as Landon Donovan put in a terrific Gold Cup campaign, including leading the USA to a 3-1 victory against Honduras in the Gold Cup semifinals. Coming off a game with one goal and three assists, Donovan scored twice against Honduras and set up Eddie Johnson’s opener as the U.S. booked their place in the Gold Cup final. The win was the USMNT’s tenth straight in all competitions.

9. USMNT vs. Panama (World Cup qualifying), Oct. 15

Heading into stoppage time, it looked very likely that Panama would finish ahead of Mexico in the Hexagonal, eliminating El Tri from World Cup contention. But two goals in the final four minutes of the match from Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson gave the USMNT not only¬†a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 victory in Panama City but also kept Mexico’s hopes alive for Brazil 2014.

8. USMNT vs. Panama (World Cup qualifying), June 11

Coming off a confidence-boosting 2-1 victory in Kingston, Jamaica, the USMNT traveled more than 3,200 miles to Seattle, Washington where they played in front of a USA-partisan crowd numbering 40,847. Backed by the supporters in the stands, the U.S. overcame the losses of Graham Zusi (suspension) and Jermaine Jones (injury) to defeat Panama, 2-0.

7. USMNT vs. Jamaica (World Cup qualifying), June 7

Prior to this match, the last time that the USMNT faced Jamaica at “The Office” saw the Reggae Boyz run away as 2-1 winners. This time around, the match looked like it would be headed for a draw before USA right back Brad Evans controlled a pass in the box, spun to his left, and placed a shot past Donovan Ricketts that gave the U.S. a 2-1 victory in stoppage time. It was also the USMNT’s first away win in the Hexagonal.

6. USMNT vs. Panama (Gold Cup final), July 28

Even though Mexico had been defeated in the semifinals by Panama, the USMNT were still faced with a difficult test in the Gold Cup final from Soldier Field in Chicago. After 68 minutes of scoreless soccer, Brek Shea came onto the field and within 60 seconds, tapped home a cross from Alejandro Bedoya to give the USA a 1-0 lead. The U.S. held off Panama for the final 21 minutes and won their fifth Gold Cup title.

5. USMNT vs. Mexico (World Cup qualifying), March 26

On the heels of the infamous “Snow Game” in Denver, the USMNT traveled to Mexico City with plenty of unknowns in the squad. Jermaine Jones was ruled out with an ankle injury while Matt Besler was about to partner with Omar Gonzalez is the U.S. defense in arguably the most difficult match of the Hexagonal campaign. Lo and behold, while it wasn’t the prettiest soccer, the USA held Mexico to an impressive scoreless draw at Estadio Azteca, giving the squad some more positive momentum heading into the busy summer schedule ahead.

4. USMNT vs. Costa Rica (World Cup qualifying), March 22

With the USMNT’s poor showing in Honduras in February and the Sporting News report from a number of unnamed players on the USMNT squad, a perfect storm had brewed for what could have been a disaster in snowy Denver. Despite the controversy waging in the stands by fans and the media alike and the snow falling on the USA and Costa Rica, the U.S. gutted out a 1-0 victory to help jump-start their qualification campaign.

3. USMNT vs. Germany (Friendly), June 2

In part of U.S. Soccer’s 100th anniversary celebrations, the USSF invited Germany for a friendly match in our nation’s capital. In front of a crowd of 47,359 at RFK Stadium, the USMNT shocked the shorthanded German squad, 4-3, with Clint Dempsey scoring twice and Jozy Altidore chipping in with a goal of his own. It was only the third time ever that the USA had beaten a team ranked either first or second in FIFA’s rankings.

2. USMNT vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina (Friendly), Aug. 14

Coming off an impressive summer that saw the USMNT go undefeated in June and July, Jurgen Klinsmann scheduled a match against the high-powered attack of Bosnia and Herzegovina to test his USMNT squad. Down 2-0 at halftime, the USA rallied with four goals in the second half, including an impressive hat-trick from Jozy Altidore, to defeat Bosnia and Herzegovina, 4-3, in Sarajevo.

1. USMNT vs. Mexico (World Cup qualifying), Sept. 10

With El Tri reeling from a 2-1 defeat at home to Honduras on Sept. 6 that spelled the end of Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre’s time as head coach, the USMNT put in a complete performance to defeat Mexico in Columbus once more by a score of 2-0. “Dos a Cero” continues to haunt El Tri, and soon after the match, the U.S. players learned that the win was enough to guarantee them an automatic qualification spot for the 2014 World Cup.

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What did you think of SBI’s top ten USMNT matches of the year? Which games stood out the most to you? What will you remember most from 2013?

Share your thoughts below.

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16 Responses to SBI’s Top 10 USMNT matches of 2013

  1. M says:

    Jozy was a beast int the Bosnia match, hopefully we more of that in 2014

  2. beto says:

    awesome year!

  3. Rich D says:

    My first time ever watching USA vs Mexico live, what an unbelivable experience. The second I walked into the stadium, the energy was pulsating through my veins and the noise emanating from the stands 1 hour before kick off made the hair on the back of my neck stand up…definitely a primal experience.

  4. BrianK says:

    Enjoyed reflecting on the matches. Got chills (literally) thinking about USA v. Costa Rica,…my brother-in-law and I froze our a$$es off at Dick’s and loved every minute of it!!!

    Have to disagree with the Germany match at #3. That team was clearly a C team and who could forget the GKs gaff that gifted the USA a goal. Aside from being the USA centennial celebration,…it was a forgettable match.

    I would the Belgium match for the ‘Top-Ten’,…one of the best young teams in the world, brimming with talent, tooled the USA. The match was a major dose of reality and unless I am mistaken,….was the loss before the USA string of 12 unbeaten.

  5. Fredo says:

    I don’t think friendlies should be in top 10, let alone top 5.

  6. Zac says:

    Reflecting back, Kyle Beckerman was a beast for the USMNT this year between the Gold Cup and qualifying. If there was one player who stepped up in a big way, it was him.

  7. Good Jeremy says:

    I’d put the snow bowl at number one.
    I would put it there just between the locker room controversy directly before the game, the amount of key players sitting out, and how important the game was. The backyard football conditions and my memory of Geoff Cameron pushing one of the groundscrew down the sideline with a shovel are just icing on the cake.

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      Ya mex usa round 2 was good. But it wasnt as tense and dire as the snow ggame.I was more nervous in the snow game than i was against mex.

  8. HillbillyCharm says:

    I still think Clint missed the stoppage time PK in Columbus to preserve the scoreline…

    • Roundhead says:

      That Idea should be flushed down Rt 23 forever. there is no way. If I am not mistaken I think there was some kind of record at stake as well. to miss on purpose? he has too much integrity

      • Kevin_H says:

        I think it’s mostly said toungue-in-cheek. Obviously a professional athlete isn’t going to flub a goal for World Cup Qualifying. (At least I hope the conspiracy theorists are kidding.)

        And I know Dempsey’s the captain and all, but Landon really should be taking the penalties. Deuce’s record can’t be very good, and Landon has what – a 90% conversion rate at LAG?

  9. Prettypenguin says:

    My favorite was the Gold Cup game in Portland, where I saw Wondowlowski play for his only appearance on the USMNT.

  10. Louis Z says:

    For me the Bosnia game was the pinnacle of the season.

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