Spain. We beat Spain 2-0. Seriously. Spain.
Spain is the best soccer team in the world right now. Without a doubt. It's such a stunning outcome, I don't even know how to react. Exactly two of our players play regularly in a top European (England, Spain, Italy) league, Clint Dempsey at Fulham and our keeper, Tim Howard, at Everton. Every single player on the Spanish team plays regularly in Spain or England. The only guy on our roster who might--might!-- make the Spanish squad is Howard.
Although I bet Oguchi Onyewu and Jay Demerit will get some serious consideration by teams looking for central defenders after this game. Spain spent much of the game unsuccessfully trying to cross the ball in past these two. The last half hour of the game consisted largely of Spain crossing the ball across our goal and one of those two heading it away. It's a nervy strategy, and it only works if one has complete confidence in one's central defense, it worked today.
And I bet Jozy Altidore will get a lot more playing time next season. He's looking good.
Peter Vecsey points out that the real benefit should come in the draw for the 2010 World Cup, where we should (finally!) be seeded ahead of Mexico.
Where would I put this on the list of US Soccer victories? #5. It's not higher because it didn't happen in the World Cup.
#1 USA 2-Mexico 0 in the 2002 World Cup: (a) we made the quarterfinals, and (b) we knocked Mexico out of the World Cup. It doesn't get any better.
#2 USA 3-Portugal 2 2002 World Cup group stage: Portugal was seen as a serious contender for the title. This game was personally outstanding because Schlamp was so tired he lay his head down on the bar of the Chieftain at halftime and napped. For me, this was funny. For Schlamp's immune system, this was a test. You don't want to put your head on the bar of the Chieftain.
#3 USA 2-Columbia 1, 1994 World Cup group stage: supposedly Columbia was going to challenge for the title.
#4 USA 1-England 0, 1950 World Cup: it happened a long time ago.