By Ross Kelly
Wednesday night the USMNT did something in the Gold Cup that no one saw coming, and I’m not just talking about a loss. I’m talking about a loss to Jamaica. The Jamaicans are currently ranked as the 76th best team in the world and have never been in the top 25 in the team’s history. This was the first time in 66 Gold Cup Matches that the USMNT was defeated by any team besides Mexico who was seen as our biggest competition entering the tournament. Almost needless to say, this was one of the worst losses in USMNT history. But does it make the cut for the worst 8 losses in US Soccer history? Find out below:
8. 2010 World Cup Round of 16 vs. Ghana (2-1)
After playing to a 1-1 draw through 90 minutes, this game went into extra time. Unfortunately, a goal by Ghana in the 93rd minute would end the USMNT’s dream in South Africa. This was second World Cup in a row that Ghana eliminated the US from the tournament as in 2006 the US fell 2-1 to Ghana in a winner-advances match in the Group Stage.
7. 2000 Women’s Olympic Final vs. Norway (3-2)
Fresh off of winning the 1999 World Cup, and with a squad that had many of its regulars, the USWNT loss in extra time after tying the game at two in stoppage time. After winning a gold medal in the ’96 games, and then winning gold again in ’04, ’08, and ’12; this remains the only blemish in USWNT Olympic history.
6. 2015 Gold Cup Semifinals vs. Jamaica (2-1)
Yes, it’s just the Gold Cup, but this tournament is ours and the most important one outside of the World Cup. Also, it was to Jamaica, who had just one win over the US in our previous 22 matchups. The only saving grace is that we won the 2013 Gold Cup which still gives us an opportunity to represent CONCACAF in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
5. 1934 World Cup First Round vs. Italy (7-1)
I remember this game like it was yesterday. This was just the second FIFA World Cup and had a unique format in that it was just a knockout tournament. Thus, if you lose just one game, you go home, and that’s exactly what happened. But we didn’t just lose, we got destroyed in what still stand as the worst USMNT defeat in World Cup history. At least we can say we lost to the best as Italy, who was also the host, wound up winning the whole thing.
4. 2003 Women’s Wold Cup Semifinals vs. Germany (3-0)
This game and tournament was the last ride for most of the players from the 1999 WWC-winning squad. Unfortunately, Mia Hamm and company went out on their backs as eventual champion Germany defeated them on US soil. After Germany jumped ahead 1-0 at the 15 minute mark, the US had plenty of time to even things up but could never do so and Germany scored two goals in stoppage time to make the final score look like a blowout.
3. 2002 World Cup Quarterfinals vs. Germany (1-0)
After the disaster of the 1998 World Cup, expectations were low for the US squad. But they shocked many by advancing past the group stage, defeating rival Mexico in the Round of 16, and setting up a matchup with Germany in the QF. However, Michael Ballack, and his head, were too much for the USMNT. This remains the farthest we have advanced in the World Cup since making the semifinals in 1930.
2. 2009 Confederations Cup Final vs. Brazil (3-2)
There’s certainly no shame in losing to Brazil in a Final. However, there is shame in starting the second half with a 2-0 advantage, giving up a goal in the 46th minute, and then giving up two more goals to basically give the championship away. The USMNT exceeded expectations by defeating Spain in the semifinals and just making it to the Final; but even the most ardent US soccer supporter would admit we choked in the second half vs. Brazil.
1. 2011 Women’s World Cup Final vs. Japan (2-2, loss on PKs 3-1)
What’s worst that losing in a World Cup Final? Nothing, which is why this game easily makes number one. To make matters even worse, we loss on penalty kicks and our fate was pretty much sealed when we missed out first three PKs. The US had the lead in the 80th minute before Japan scored to even it up. Then we again had the lead in the 116th minute before allowing a back-breaking goal in the 117th. By then our confidence had waned which led to the PK disaster. Fortunately, we exacted revenge four years later on the same Japan squad in the 2015 WWC Final.