US World Cup History

The US and the 2010 World Cup

2010 WC posterOur series on the US at the World Cup continues with a look at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Following its poor showing at the 2006 World Cup, the US was clearly in need of new leadership, and three weeks after it’s exit from the tournament, the US Soccer Federation announced that head coach Bruce Arena’s contract would not be renewed. When negotiations to hire Jurgen Klinsmann as the new head coach could not be completed, Bob Bradley was named as interim head coach in December of 2006. In May of 2007, the interim tag was removed only weeks before the start of the 2007 Gold Cup tournament. There, Bradley coached the US to the final on June 24 in front of 60,000 spectators at Chicago’s Soldier Field where a 2-1 win over Mexico capped a six game run in which the US outscored its opponents 13 goals to three.

Four days later, the US played its opening group game at the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela, its first appearance in the tournament since 1995. With little time to rest, and using a squad largely comprised of young MLS players, the US was grouped with, Argentina, Colombia, and Paraguay in Group C. It was a disappointing appearance, with the US losing 4-1 to Argentina in the opening game before falling 3-1 to Paraguay on July 2, and losing 1-0 to Colombia on July 5.

Between the Copa America tournament and the start of the 2010 World Cup qualification campaign in June of 2008, the US played 10 friendlies for a 4-4-2 record that included losses to Sweden, England, and Spain away, and to Brazil at home. At home, the US was victorious over Sweden and drew 2-2 with Mexico, and 0-0 with Argentina.

Qualifying for the 2010 World Cup begins, 2008 Summer Olympics

The US began its 2010 World Cup qualification campaign in the second stage of the CONCACAF qualification tournament on June 15, 2008 in front of only 11, 476 spectators at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Perhaps fans didn’t find a game against Barbados particularly enticing. Those who were on hand for the game were treated to an 8-0 US win, a goal-fest that saw Clint Dempsey score a brace that began with a goal in the first minute, a brace also from Brian Ching, as well as goals from Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, and a Barbados own-goal in the 86th minute. In the return leg at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown on June 22, a 21st minute goal from Eddie Lewis was enough for a 1-0 victory.

Before the next World Cup qualifier, the US participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, for which it had qualified in March. Olympic competition features U-23 squads seeded with three overage players, in this case Brian McBride, Brad Guzan and Michael Parkhurst. Coached by Peter Nowak, the team started its group games on August 7 at Tianjin Olympic Sports Center Stadium with a 1-0 win over Japan after a 47th minute goal from Stuart Holden. The team then drew 2-2 with the Netherlands on August 10 at Tianjin Olympic Stadium. After going down a goal in the 16th minute, the US fought back for a 2-1 lead with goals from Sacha Kljestan (64′) and Jozy Altidore (72′) before conceding the equalizer three minutes into stoppage. The dropped points would prove critical when the US lost 2-1 to Nigeria at Worker’s Stadium in Beijing on August 13, Kljestan scoring from the penalty spot in the 88th minute when the US was trailing 2-0. The loss meant a disappointing third place finish for the US in their group and an early return home. Still, the tournament would provide valuable experience. In addition to Guzan, four of the young players on the team who saw time in the Olympic tournament — Altidore, Bradley, Holden, and Maurice Edu — would eventually make the 2010 World Cup squad.

Carlos Bocanegra 2010 WC paniniQualification resumes

For the third round of the CONCACAF qualification tournament, the US was drawn in Group 1 with Guatemala, Cuba, and Trinidad & Tobago. On August 28, 2008, the US scored a historic 1-0 victory at Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores in Guatemala City thanks to a 69th minute goal from Carlos Bocanegra, the team’s first ever qualifying win in Guatemala and the team’s first there in all competitions since 1988. It was a chippy game that saw some 40 fouls called, including seven yellow cards and two reds. Indeed, there were more yellow cards issued in the first half than shots on goal. One of those first half yellow cards came back to haunt Steve Cherundolo, who was sent off in the 60th minute after receiving his second yellow card of the day. Three minutes later, both sides were at ten men when Guatemala’s Gustavo Cabrera received a red card for elbowing Eddie Lewis in the face.

The US next faced Cuba at Estadio Pedro Marrero in Havana on September 6. The visit was notable for being the first US game in Cuba since the North American Football Confederation Championship game on July 20, 1947, when the US lost 5-2 to the home team at Estadío Tropical in Havana, one week after the US lost there 5-0 to Mexico. This time around the US were the 1-0 winners after a Dempsey goal in the 40th minute. Four days later on September 10, the US defeated Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 in front of 11,452  spectators at Bridgeview Stadium, better known today as Toyota Park. It was the sixth straight shutout of Trinidad & Tobago with first half goals from Michael Bradley in the 9th minute, and Dempsey in the 17th minute. Trinidad & Tobago nearly scored in the 53rd minute but Cherundolo was able to clear the ball of the line. In the 56th minute, Ching put the game out of reach when he converted a free kick from Beasley that had been flicked on by Oguchi Oneywu.

At RFK Stadium on October 11, the US clinched a berth in the final round of qualifying with a 6-1 win over Cuba, who were down to ten men after Yoel Colomé received his second yellow card of the match in the 41st minute when the score was 2-1. Beasley recorded a brace with goals in the 10th and 30th minute with additional tallies from Donovan, Ching, Altidore, and Oneywu. With the win, its sixth since the start of their qualification campaign, the US set a world record for most consecutive wins in a single qualifying cycle.

Four days later, the unbeaten run both in qualification and against Trinidad & Tobago came to an end with a 2-1 loss at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. After a scoreless first half, Trinidad & Tobago opened the scoring in the 61st minute before Charlie Davies equalized in the 75th minute. Four minutes later, the home team scored the winner from a penalty kick.

On November 19, the US closed out their opening qualification round with a 2-0 win over Guatemala in front of a meager crowd of 9,303 fans at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. Kenny Cooper and Freddy Adu both tallied in the second half for the win.

The Hex

The US advanced to the Hexagonal phase of qualification with a 5-1-0 record in third round group play, 7-1-0 overall in qualification. Joining them in the final round of qualifiers was Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Michael Bradley 2010 WC paniniOn February 11, 2009, the US once again faced Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium. The match was scoreless until the 43rd minute when Bradley finished in the box after a sequence that began with a Beasley corner kick. In the 65th minute, Mexico’s Rafa Marquez was shown a red card after a challenge on Tim Howard in the the US box. Two minutes into stoppage time, Bradley tallied again, this time from distance, and the legend of Dos a Cero continued: Final score, USA 2-0 Mexico.

A month and a half later on March 28, the US was at Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador to face El Salvador. With less than 20 minutes remaining in the game, the US was down 2-0 after a goal against the run of play from Eliseo Quintanilla in the 15th minute — the first the US had conceded to El Salvador since the 4-2 win in Foxborough, Mass. on November 16, 1997  — and another from Cristian Castillo in the 72nd minute. In the celebrations for the second goal, El Salvador keeper Miguel Montes went down with leg cramps for the second time in the game and in the 75th minute was replaced by backup keeper Juan Jose Gomez. Two minutes later, Ching found Frankie Hejduk on an overlapping run, and the defender delivered a cross to the far post that was headed in by Altidore to cut the home team’s lead in half. In the 88th minute, Danny Califf delivered a long ball from the halfway line that was headed out by El Salvador for a corner. Gomez came out to claim Beasley’s corner but was cutoff by a defender, who headed the ball to the far post. There, Hejduk scored the equalizer with another header from three yards out and the US held on for the 2-2 draw. It was Hejduk’s first goal in a qualifier since the goal he scored against Guatemala in another 2-2 draw on December 21, 1996, some 12 years and 97 days before, and his first career start for the US.

Four days later on April 1, the US hosted Trinidad & Tobago in front of 27,959 spectators at LP Field in Nashville. Jozy Altidore opened the scoring with a 13th minute strike. While Trinidad & Tobago would have a handful of chances, it would be Altidore who would strike again in the 71st minute. In the 89th minute, Altidore became the youngest player ever to score a hat trick for the US. All of his goals on the night were assisted by Donovan.

The US had two months off before its next qualifier. On June 3, the US faced Costa Rica at Estadío Ricardo Saprissa. It proved to be one of those days to forget, with the home team scoring 79 seconds after the opening whistle. In the 13th minute the score was 2-0 to Costa Rica, who added another goal in the 69th minute. Two minutes into stoppage time, Donovan would score from the penalty spot and the game ended as a 3-1 loss, the first for the US in four qualifiers. Donovan’s goal was the first for the US in Costa Rica since Earnie Stewart’s 66th minute goal the 2-1 qualifying loss on July 23, 2000.

On June 6, the US hosted Honduras who, with a 3-2 qualifying win at RFK Stadium on September 1, 2001, were the last team to defeat the US on home soil. Things soon looked grim for the US and its fans among the 55,647 spectators on hand at Soldier Field in Chicago when a fifth minute strike from Carlos Costly put the visitors up 1-0Costa Rica went up 1-0. But the US soon took control of the match and in the 43rd minute, Donovan would equalize from the penalty spot after a handball in the penalty area. In the 68th minute Bocanegra scored what would be the game-winner with a diving header after Dempsey headed on a Donovan corner kick. With the win, the US’s unbeaten streak at home in World Cup qualifying now stood at 17 games. Nine days later, the US began its run in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Jozy Altidore 2010 WC paniniSecond place finishes at Confederation and Gold Cup

After a less than impressive start in the 2009 Confederation Cup that included a 3–1 loss to Italy on June 15, 2009 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, and a 3–0 loss to Brazil at the same stadium on June 18, the US defeated Egypt 3–0 with goals from Davies, Bradley, and Dempsey at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on June 21 to advance the semifinals. There, on June 24 at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, the US produced a shocking 2–0 upset over No. 1 ranked Spain with goals from Altidore and Dempsey. In the June 28 final at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, it seemed that the improbable would continue when a tenth minute goal from Dempsey was followed by a 26th minute goal from Donovan to put the US up 2-0 over Brazil at the half. Instead, the US gave up three unanswered goals in the second half to finish with a 3-2 loss and a second place finish in the tournament.

Six days later, the US began group play in the 2009 Gold Cup with a 4-0 win on July 4 over Grenada at Qwest Field in Seattle with first half goals from Adu and Holden, and second half goals from Robbie Rogers and Davies. On July 8 at RFK, the US defeated Honduras 2-0 with late goals from Santino Quaranta and Ching. It took stoppage time heroics from Holden in the July 11 match against Haiti at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough for the US to secure a point. After taking the lead in the sixth minute with a goal from Davy Arnaud, the US allowed two unanswered goals from Haiti before Holden scored the 92nd minute equalizer. Despite the draw, the US finished top of Group B with 7 points, one point ahead of second place Honduras.

In the quarterfinals, the US defeated Panama 2-1 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on July 18. After conceding the opening goal in the 45th minute, the US equalized in the 49th minute through Kyle Beckerman. The game remained level at 1-1 after regulation time until Kenny Cooper scored from the penalty spot in the 106th minute. In the semifinal game at Soldier Field on July 23, the US defeated Honduras with goals from Clarence Goodson in the 45th minute, and Cooper in the 50th minute.

On July 26, the US was thumped 5-0 by Mexico in the final to finish second place in the  2009 Gold Cup.

The final World Cup qualifiers

The US resumed its World Cup qualification campaign on August 12, 2009 against Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Charlie Davies would score from 16 yards out in the 9th minute to give the US its first-ever lead at the Azteca. Fifteen minutes later, Israel Castro equalized for Mexico. In the 82nd minute, Miguel Sabah, who had entered the match only three minutes before, would score the game-winner. With the 2-1 loss, the US’s record in Mexico stretched 0-23-1 overall, 0-9-1 at the Azteca.

Landon Donovan 2010 WC paniniAt Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on September 5, the US found itself down 1-0 to El Salvador when a poor clearance resulted in a 32nd minute goal from Christian Castillo. In the 41st minute, Dempsey equalized from a Donovan free kick. Five minutes later in first half stoppage time, a Donovan cross was headed home by Altidore for what proved to be the 2-1 game-winner.

Entering the final series of three qualifiers, the US was tied on points at 13 with Honduras but in second place on goal difference. On September 9 at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Ricardo Clark’s 62nd minute goal (assisted again by Donovan), would be enough for a 1-0 road win, the first for the US in the Hexagonal stage of qualifiers. With the win, the US moved into first place and was assured of a top four finish with two games remaining.

On October 10, 2009, the US faced Honduras at Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula in front of 45,000 wildly enthusiastic home supporters. After a scoreless first half, Julio Cesar de Leon scored for the home team from a free kick in the 47th minute that resulted from an Onyewu foul just 20 seconds after the resumption of play. Eight minutes later, Conor Casey leveled for the US. In the 66th minute, Casey made it 2-1 after faking the goalkeeper with a shot before slotting home. In the 71st minute, it was Donovan’s turn to score from a free kick. While Honduras would get a goal back in the 78th minute, the US would see out the 3-2 road win and so clinch a spot at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

One qualifier remained to be played, however, and on October 14, 2009, the US hosted Costa Rica at RFK Stadium. After breaking curfew the night before the game, Charlie Davies was seriously injured in a car accident that left a fellow passenger dead and ended his international career.

For Costa Rica, only a win would guarantee the third and final automatic qualification spot. On a rainy evening in front of 26,243 spectators, goals from Bryan Ruiz in 21st and 24th minutes saw the visitors leading 2-0, an advantage they would hold until the 72nd minute when Bradley finished the rebound from a Donovan shot. With Costa Rica employing every time-wasting tactic they could think of, the US’s chances of finding an equalizer seemed were ticking away when Onyewu was stretchered off the field with what turned out to be a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. Then, four-and-a-half minutes into stoppage time, Jonathan Bornstein headed home a Robbie Rogers corner kick to level the score. Seconds later, the referee blew the final whistle and, with the 2-2 draw, the US claimed the top spot in the CONCACAF qualifiers.

Prelude to the US at the 2010 World Cup

When the US was selected with England, Slovenia, and Algeria in Group C when the draw for 2010 World Cup was made on December 4, 2009, American fans celebrated. Sixty years after its historic 1-0 win at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, the US would be meeting England in its opening game in South Africa. Bob Bradley said after the draw, “It’s a great way to start. It’s a big challenge but when you come to the World Cup and you have a chance to kick it off against an opponent like England, it gives it a really special start.”

Clint Dempsey 2010 WC paniniThe excitement over the draw temporarily masked disappointing results for the team in friendlies after it had qualified, including a 1-0 away loss to Slovakia on November 14, and a 3-1 away loss to Denmark on November 18.  In Denmark, Jeff Cunningham scored his first and only international goal for the US in the 26th minute before the home team responded with three unanswered goals in an eight-minute span in the second half. On January 23, 2010, the US lost 3-1 at the Home Depot Center to Honduras, whose 1-0 win over El Salvador after its loss at home to the US in the final round of qualification had seen them level on points with Costa Rica but earning a World Cup spot on goal difference. Clarence Goodson scored the lone US goal in the match in the 70th minute.

The US ended the post-qualification three game losing streak with a 2-1 win over El Salvador in Tampa on February 24. After conceding the opening goal to El Salvador in the 59th minute, Ching equalized in the 75th minute before assisting Kljestan’s game-winner two minutes into stoppage time. Concern rose again following the 2-1 road loss to the Netherlands in Amsterdam on March 3. Once more, the US was the first to concede with the home team scoring from the penalty spot in the 40th minute before adding a second goal in the 73rd minute. Bocanegra would get one back for the US in the 88th minute.

The US would play two sendoff games before departing for South Africa. On May 25, the US lost 4-2 to the Czech Republic in front of 36,218  spectators at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The US opened the scoring with a goal from Edu in the 17th minute. The Czechs then scored two goals before Herculez Gomez equalized in the 65th minute. Goals from the visitors in the 78th and 92nd minute ensured that each of the four shots on goal from the Czechs in the game found the back of the net.

On May 29, 55,407 were on hand at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia as the US once again conceded first, this time to Turkey in the 27th minute. The US began to find its feet in the second half and in the 58th minute, Altidore equalized. In the 75th minute, Dempsey scored the winner. Donovan assisted both goals.

One final warmup game remained to be played. On June 5, the US defeated Australia 3-1 at Ruimsig Stadium in Roodespoort, South Africa. Edson Buddle opened the scoring with a goal in the 4th minute before Tim Cahill equalized 15 minutes later. In the 31st minute, Buddle scored what proved to be the game-winner, with Gomez adding another goal in the 93rd minute. One week later, the US would face England in its opening group stage game at the World Cup.

The US at the 2010 World Cup

Bob Bradley had given 43 players appearances during the long qualification campaign. Of those 43 players, 19 would make the final 23-player roster. They were joined by Buddle, Findley, and Gomez, three attackers who began to see minutes in the games after the Davies car accident. From the 2006 World Cup squad, only eight players returned. Only four of the players on the roster were currently with MLS clubs compared to 11 in 2006 and 2002, and 16 in 1998.

Despite the wins over Turkey and Australia, there were real concerns about how the US would perform at the World Cup given its underwhelming showing in games after qualification. While Tim Howard’s goalkeeping was solid, he had never before played in a World Cup game. Questions surrounded the defense. Although the US was strong in the counterattack, doubts remained about whether it could consistently and effectively build the attack from the midfield. The attacking corps of forwards had a total of 38 caps between them, and 25 of those belonged to Jozy Altidore.

June 12, 2010: USA 1-1 England

The US, ranked No. 14 in the world, opened World Cup play against No. 8-ranked England in front of 38,646 fans at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on June 12, 2010. Back in the US, nearly 16 million people tuned in to watch broadcasts of the game on ABC and Univision, the highest ever numbers for a World Cup group stage game, and the fifth largest US audience for a World Cup game.

Six US players were making their World Cup debut and nerves were apparent when the US allowed the opening goal to England in the 4th minute of the game. After an England throw-in, Steven Gerrard played a ball to the top of the penalty area that was collected by Emile Heskey. Turning on Jay DeMerit, Heskey played the ball back to Gerrard who, continuing his run, blew past Ricardo Clark to score.

US wins 1-1 2010 WCWhile those with memories of what had happened after the US had conceded first in past opening games at the World Cup fought back visions of disaster — a 5th minute goal in the opening game in 2006 had ended with a 3-0 win for Czech Republic, Germany scored in the 8th minute in the opener on the way to a 2-0 win in 1998 , Czechoslovakia scored first in 1990 on the way to a 5-1 win — the US team settled itself and grew into the game and began to create a handful of chances.

In the 40th minute, Dempsey collected the ball 35 yards from England’s goal. Creating space for himself with two turns under coverage from Gerrard, Dempsey took what might generously be called a speculative shot from 25 yards out. England goalkeeper Robert Green seemed well positioned to make the save. Instead, he could only lunge helplessly after the ball as it bobbled over his hands and rolled over the goal line. With the goal, Dempsey became the second US player to score goals in two different World Cups. (Brian McBride had scored in the 3-2 win over Portugal and in the 2-0 win over Mexico in 2002. and the 2-1 loss to Iran in 1998, the only US goal in that tournament. Dempsey had scored in the 2-1 loss to Ghana in 2006, the only goal scored by a US player in that tournament, the other US goal in the 1-1 draw with Italy coming from an own goal.)

In the second half, Howard, who had taken a boot to the head in the first half, saved a shot from Heskey on a breakaway to keep the score level. Soon after, Altidore out-muscled Jamie Carragher on a run down the left to unleash a shot from eight yards out. Green made the save but his parry of the shot nearly went  in but deflected off the near post.

For England, the 1-1 draw was a disastrous start. For the US, coming from behind to rescue a point against a favored opponent, the result was something to build on.

June 18, 2010: USA 2-2 Slovenia

Some 45,573 spectators were on hand when the US faced Slovenia at Ellis Park in Johannesburg six days after the draw against England. Once again, the US struggled in the first half and conceded an early opening goal. Once again, it fought back for a draw.

Slovenia took the lead in the 13th minute when soft defensive coverage gave Valter Birsa the time and space to strike an unstoppable shot from 27 yards out. The US nearly equalized in the 36th minute when a José Francisco Torres free kick forced a desperate save from goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. Soon after, Robbie Findley was given a yellow card for a mysterious handball that clearly came off his chest. The US had another opportunity in the 41st minute when Dempsey’s pass across the face of goal was cleared just as Donovan arrived to finish

In the 42nd minute, Slovenia made it 2-0 when Milivoje Novakovic beat an offside trap to play in Zlatan Ljubijankic, who finished past an onrushing Tim Howard.

Maurice Edu 2010 WC paniniIn the second half, Donovan led the US fightback with a goal in the 48th minute. Cherundolo played a long ball from the midway line to Donovan who, advancing into the penalty area, ran along the end line to deliver a vicious shot from an extreme angle into the roof of the goal. With the game-winning goal, Donovan, who had scored in the 3-1 loss to Poland and the 2-0 win over Mexico in 2002, joined McBride and Dempsey on the list of US players who had scored in two World Cups.

While the US was now finding its rhythm with several dangerous chances, including a point blank shot from Altidore in the 70th minute, the equalizer didn’t come until the 82nd minute. Receiving a long pass from Donovan, Altidore headed down the ball into the path of the on-rushing Bradley, who finished with a sliding half volley to make it 2-2.

In the 85th minute, Edu volleyed home a Donovan free kick. In yet another mysterious call from Malian referee Koman Coulibaly, the goal was disallowed and the US has to settle for one point rather than the three they deserved.

With the draw, the US would advance to the knockout stage with a win over Algeria. Their fate was in their own hands.

June 23, 2010: USA 1-0 Algeria

On June 23, the US faced Algeria in front of 35,827 spectators at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. The US came out aggressively and in the 20th minute, Dempsey scored what seemed to be the go-ahead goal. Once again, another mysterious call saw the goal disallowed.

While Algeria largely took its chances with shots from distance, the US continued to produce a series of scoring opportunities that were not finished.

The game was still scoreless when, in the 91st minute, a long throw from Howard following a save found Donovan, who passed forward to Altidore. Altidore then squared the ball to Dempsey, whose touch on the ball was parried by Algerian keeper Raïs M’Bohli. Donovan, finishing his long run, buried the ball seven yards out to score perhaps the most dramatic goal in US World Cup history and give the US the 1-0 win. While the team piled on top of Donovan in celebration, US fans in the stands in Pretoria, and in front of televisions across the US and around the world, erupted in joy.

Tim Howard 2010 WC paniniWith the win, the US finished top of their group for the first time ever, recording their first shutout since the Round of 16 win over Mexico in 2002.

June 26, 2010: USA 1-2 Ghana (AET)

The win over Algeria meant the US would face Ghana, the team that had ended the US’s chances of advancing out of the group stage in the 2006 World Cup with a 2-1 win, in the Round of 16.

As had been the case in two of the group matches, the US conceded early, with Ghana’s Kevin Prince Boateng opening the scoring  in the 5th minute after a Ricardo Clark turnover. A one-on-one opportunity for Findley was denied by Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson, and the game remained at 1-0 at the half.

In the 62nd minute, Donovan equalized with a penalty kick after Dempsey was taken down in the box. With the goal, Donovan became the all-time World Cup goalscoring leader for the US with five goals.

The game remained level at 1-1 after stoppage time. Three minutes into extra time, Ghana took the 2-1 lead with a goal from Asamoah Gyan. While the US would press for several chances in the closing moments of extra time, a tying goal could not be found, and its run in the 2010 World Cup was over.

Ghana would go on to face Uruguay in the quarterfinals, losing to Uruguay on penalty kicks. Uruguay would be defeated by the Netherlands in the semifinals. The Netherlands would lose to Spain in the final on 1-0 in extra time on July 11, 2010.

 After the World Cup

Was the run of the US at the 2010 World Cup a success?

The team had met its goal of advancing out of the group stage, where it had finished in first place above England in Group C. The support the team had enjoyed from fans was also a success as US soccer fans, finally beginning to see a level of television coverage appropriate for the team’s involvement in the greatest sport tournament in the world, and aided by coverage and commentary on the internet and in social media, were connected to the team as never before. Television ratings were a great success, with viewership of the group stage games up 68 percent compared to the 2006 World Cup, numbers that were all the more impressive considering that two of the group games took place on weekday mornings when many fans were at work. Some 19.4 million people watched the game against Ghana, 2.4 million more than had watched the final of the 2006 World Cup. Americans fans had also bought more match tickets for the games in South Africa, more than any other traveling nation for the 2010 tournament, and more than England and Germany combined.

Still, the run of the US at the 2010 World Cup, while undeniably thrilling, was in the end, somehow disappointing. Despite being given a contact extension in August of 2010 that ran through 2014, questions were asked about whether Bob Bradley was the right man to lead the US to the World Cup in Brazil. After a disappointing second place finish at the 2011 Gold Cup, Bradley was dismissed on July 28, 2011.

The next day, Jurgen Klinsmann was named as the new head coach of the US national team. Qualification for the 2014 World Cup would begin 11 months later.

June 12, 2010: USA 1-1 England (full game)

June 18, 2010: USA 2-2 Slovenia (full game)

June 23, 2010: USA 1-0 Algeria

First Half

Second Half

June 26, 2010: USA 1-2 Ghana (AET) (full game)

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