U.S. National Team Upsets Top-Ranked Spain, 2-0
June 24, 2009
In a stunning upset, the U.S. National Team shut out World No. 1 Spain, 2-0, in the semifinals of the FIFA Confederations Cup on Wednesday, advancing to Sunday's final against the winner of Brazil and South Africa.
UCLA soccer alumni Carlos Bocanegra, Benny Feilhaber and Jonathan Bornstein contributed to the win, with team captain Bocanegra starting at left back and playing all 90 minutes, Feilhaber setting up the team's second goal and Bornstein coming in as a late sub to help preserve the shutout. Marvell Wynne is also on the U.S. team but did not play in Wednesday's game.
Jozy Altidore gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 25th minute, and Feilhaber helped increase the lead to 2-0 in the 74th minute, just minutes after entering the game as a sub. Feilhaber dribbled up midfield and sent a through ball to Landon Donovan on the right side. Donovan's cross into the box found Clint Dempsey after deflecting off the foot of a Spanish defender, and Dempsey finished for his second goal in as many games.
The U.S. defense came up big, with goalkeeper Tim Howard making eight saves in the game. Bocanegra made his first appearance in the tournament after sitting out the first three games with a hamstring injury and his first start at left back for the U.S. in two years.
The U.S. win was historic in many ways. Not only was it just the second win ever for the U.S. against a team ranked No. 1 in the world (the U.S. had been 1-7-1 against top-ranked teams, with the only win coming against Brazil in 1998 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup), but it also ended Spain's FIFA-record 15-game win streak and 35-game unbeaten streak. Altidore's goal was the first allowed by Spain in 451 consecutive minutes.
Sunday's final will take place at 11:30 am PT and will be televised live on ESPN.