2013 was a busy year for international soccer action and that included the U.S. Men’s National Team. With 2013 Gold Cup action and 2014 World Cup qualifying, the pressure was on the Americans. With only a few slips and setbacks, USMNT reclaimed the Gold Cup and found themselves successfully qualifying.
While the end of the year ended with jubilation and fanfare, the beginning of 2013 had many U.S. fans doubting both Jurgen Klinsmann and the national team. In the opening match of qualifying, USMNT lost to Honduras 2-1. It sent many fans into panic when they needed to remain calm. The one-goal loss wasn’t the biggest devastation.Many failed to realize it was played in 94 degrees away from home, and qualifying was just beginning.
After that game, USMNT earned a big home result in the “SnowClasico.” Under blizzard-like conditions, the United States was able to score an early goal and hold on over Costa Rica. As a result of the snowy win and three points under their belt, fans were now confident again in their team, and the team never looked back.
With new-found success, U.S. found a way to score a critical point at Mexico‘s formidable stadium despite being outplayed, and also drew in record viewership in the rare tie. USMNT breezed through Gold Cup group play, winning all three of their matches against Costa Rica, Cuba, and Belize. In the semifinals, USMNT defeated Honduras soundly 3-1 before winning 1-0 over Panama in the Gold Cup Final.
In August, the USMNT faced a solid Bosnia-Herzegovina squad. After going down 3-0 before half, many USMNT fans were growing impatient. With tactical changes made, USMNT completed a historic 4-3 comeback victory. In this game, Jozy Altidore‘s confidence was clearly shown through his history-setting hat-trick that included a sick free kick from near the top of the box.
As fall approached temperatures fell, but the United States’ success on the pitch did not. On September 10, USA faced Mexico in Columbus, with the American winning 2-0 and fans being excited that their national team qualified for Brazil. The famous scoreline of “Dos A Cero” occurred again.
With 2013 behind them, it is now time to focus on the World Cup group stage. After the December draw, many fans felt deflated as the United States were drew into Group G, the “Group of Death.” To make matters worse, USMNT will have to face arch-nemesis Ghana as well as Germany and Portugal. However, with a win against Ghana in their first match and a tie against Portugal, the United States could reach the knockout round.
It won’t be easy, but Klinsmann has smart group stage expectations. Because of their 2013 success, Klinsmann was given a contract extension through the 2018 World Cup. All in All, 2013 was one of the best years for American soccer and their fans. Hopefully, 2014 bodes just as well.
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