By Daniel Friedman
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The United States’ big win over Ghana — and its upcoming match against Portugal — has the country buzzing about the World Cup.
Indeed, America has had its share of memorable soccer moments. Let’s count down the top 15 in USMNT history:
15. 2012 Friendly Match vs. Italy
The U.S. finally beats Italy, 1-0, after 10 previous attempts, on a goal by Clint Dempsey in the 55th minute.
14. 1991 Gold Cup vs. Mexico, Honduras
Coming off their first World Cup appearance in 40 years, the Americans defeat Mexico 2-1 and advance to the Gold Cup Final against Honduras. The U.S. would go on to win the title match in a shootout for their first-ever tournament championship.
13. 1994 World Cup vs. Colombia
An own goal by Colombia’s Anders Escobar gives the U.S. a 2-1 win, their first of the World Cup variety in 44 years, and the Americans achieve the feat on their own soil at the Rose Bowl. Tragically, Escobar is shot to death just 10 days later.
12. 1995 Copa America vs. Argentina
Led by Alexi Lalas, the Americans score a major upset, shocking everyone with a 3-0 romp, beating Argentina for the first time.
11. 2005 World Cup Qualification vs. Mexico
The U.S. defeats Mexico 2-0, clinching a World Cup berth for the 2006 tournament in Germany.
10. 2007 Gold Cup Final vs. Mexico
Just when Mexico appeared to have a Gold Cup title in the bag, two late goals — including a penalty kick marker by Landon Donovan in the 62nd minute — sparked a 2-1 U.S. victory.
9. 2010 World Cup vs. Algeria
Landon Donovan scores, off the rebound of Clint Dempsey’s shot, and the Americans take a 1-0 lead past the 90-minute mark. They hold on and win by that same margin, advancing to the next round.
8. 2014 World Cup vs. Ghana
Ghana, who’d eliminated the U.S. in the past two World Cup tournaments, ties the match in the 82nd minute, but John Brooks restores the lead just four minutes later. His team holds on for the 2-1 win, sending midtown Manhattan into a frenzy that saw fans spilling into the streets.
7. 2002 World Cup vs. Portugal
Portugal had been tabbed as an early favorite going into the tournament, but the U.S. exploded for three goals within the first 36 minutes and ended up winning the match, 3-2.
6. 1930 World Cup vs. Belgium, Paraguay
Playing in their first ever World Cup match (in the first ever World Cup), the U.S. demolishes Belgium by a 3-0 score. In their next game, the Americans beat Paraguay by that same score, as Bert Patenaude records the first hat trick in World Cup history.
5. 1989 World Cup Qualification vs. Trinidad and Tobago
Paul Caligiuri scores what many consider to be the biggest goal in the history of American soccer to beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 and send the U.S. to its first World Cup in 40 years.
4. 2002 World Cup vs. Mexico
Brian McBride and Landon Donovan give the U.S. a 2-0 victory over rival Mexico to advance to the quarterfinals.
3. 1998 Gold Cup Semifinal vs. Brazil
Kasey Keller morphs into a brick wall and the US stuns soccer superpower Brazil, 1-0.
2. 2009 Confederations Cup Semifinal vs. Spain
The U.S. ends Spain’s 35-game unbeaten streak, winning 2-0 via goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey.
1. 1950 World Cup vs. England
It has been called the “Miracle on Grass.” The Americans were huge underdogs at the time and had no business beating England, but they did so by a score of 1-0. The win is one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history and likely the greatest one the USMNT has ever racked up.
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