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All-aboard! U.S. Soccer is changing before our very eyes

Jul 25, 2013, 9:47 AM EST

FBL-CONCACAF-GOLD CUP-USA-HON Getty Images

Psyched. Delighted. Over the moon.

These are but a few of the words that describe the mood of U.S. Soccer fans upon waking up this morning. No matter the descriptor, supporters of the Stars & Stripes are a happy bunch.

And how could they not be?

We’re talking about ten straight victories.

The achievement is massive.

So much so that sports fans in the U.S. who don’t follow soccer – especially those who like to take the piss out of the beautiful game for being soft, boring or lacking goals – need to recognize.

We’re not talking about a ten match unbeaten streak.

We’re talking about ten straight victories.

In a sport where draws are paramount, no matter who the opponents may be, this is a major achievement.

The Yanks 5-1 shellacking of El Salvador last Sunday marked the record the country’s best run of form in the 100 years of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s existence. And last night’s 3-1 manhandling of Honduras in the Gold Cup semi-final – which prompted Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez to admit that “the U.S. was able to beat us in every aspect of the game” – was proof positive that the Americans are showing no signs of slowing down.

A huge pool of hungry talent.

A resurgent American hero in Landon Donovan.

A somewhat misunderstood yet deeply passionate manager in Jurgen Klinsmann.

And a cohesive unit of players who, over the last six months, has not only shown dramatic improvement but is in the midst of molting the sit-back-and-wait skin that has defined American soccer for decades.

The transition into high pressure, up-tempo, free-flowing, attacking soccer is upon us. And it is positively invigorating.

So for U.S. Soccer fans, enjoy the moment. Revel in the success. And continue to preach the good word from now through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and onwards.

As for any sports fans in the U.S. who up until this point have not taken to U.S. Soccer, no hard feelings. Fans of the Stars & Stripe are a welcoming bunch. And there is no better time than the present to discard any pre-existing indifference or animosity and join the bandwagon.

Next stop, the Gold Cup Final.

  1. nodindenver - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    I am a huge NFL fan. My second favorite sport to watch is Soccer and it started with the Confed Cup prior to South Africa World Cup when the US finally made some waves internationally and shocked Spain. I have no doubt that what these fellas are doing right now will cause more sports fans to take notice and jump on board. Take care of business with Panama on Sunday!

  2. lyleoross - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    I’m curious to know why so little has been written about this? JK took what should be considered as a huge risk and remolded our rather boring and lackluster NAT team into a much more dynamic group. That style of play, especially with what he had available, is hugely risky. Yet by any measure he has succeeded. He was slammed numerous times along the way, and will be again when things go South (and they will, we still haven’t played the best in SA and Europe yet), but what he’s done is exciting. This team, even when they lose, play a much better version of the game than Bradley’s squad ever did.

    One point left out here is that the old wait and see style made guys like LD look much less able than this more aggressive style does. Yes, sometimes our defense scares me, but the play this allows our offense to put on the field makes even our loses look good.

    • joshev07 - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      I couldn’t agree more.

    • NowWaitJustAMinute - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      This team is much more exciting to watch than BB’s teams. But those teams were much better defensively. JK’s defense is downright terrifying at least several times per game.

      • dsmcelt - Jul 25, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        This is precisely why the attacking style is so important. The U.S. isn’t good enough to win a big game only scoring one or two goals, because the defense isn’t good enough to prevent the other team from scoring at least two goals. J.K.’s USMNT is going to take it to the opponent, focus on scoring and challenge the other squad to keep up. With the World Cup games coming on in prime time in the Western Hemisphere, lots of reluctant viewers will hopefully be treated to high scoring U.S. games, even if they are losses. This is so different from the stingy-defense, quick counter soccer we were forced to play in the past.

    • boscoesworld - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      You forget that the MNT HAS been playing European teams all along this process. With varying results of course but each game helped the team improve. The “warmups” for the last round of WCQ were indeed Germany and Belgium and that started this run.

  3. geojock - Jul 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    USA should move up 3 to 4 spots and pass Mexico in the FIFA world rankings.

  4. mkbryant3 - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    So many great story lines with this team. Dalai Lama Donovan’s resurrection. The Beas’s comback for the ages (ironically generated in Mexico). Rimando stepping up big time. Juergen’s fostering of competition and creating an environment devoid of complacency. EJ regaining his form in a big way. Starting Holden coming back. Just incredible stuff. But, as others have said, the big story is the style we are playing. Artistic flow. Of course, the big caveat is the quality of competition at this tourmanent, but who cares. I’m enjoying it and the confidence goes a long way with our team.

  5. Flapjack Morty - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    boscoes nailed it. And add the Bosnia match coming up it keeps getting better on the European competition front. Love it.

  6. brentlew - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    WOW!
    This is the Gold Cup, not Brasil 2014.
    Is Klinsmann here post July 2014?
    This exuberance is mind-boggling.
    Winning a football competition where the participants
    include Belize, well……………………..

    Let’s get to Brasil, win the group, win in the round of
    16, hopefully the quarters, and dear I say, get to the
    semi’s.
    What would the mood be then?

  7. charliej11 - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I think that a lot of people are just waking up to the fact that the amount of talent out there is enourmous with the stong domestic league.

    Nice to see how quickly the mindset changes. A few years ago, we would have seen full blown arguements over mid level first div. English teams losing to MLS teams. Now a team doesn’t even get a shot off and no one even cares, not really a story. A few years ago the nat team lineup would have been tough to divide in two and get away with it. Now they score 19 goals with game left and guys are asking why there favorite player didn’t make it.

  8. NowWaitJustAMinute - Jul 25, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    @ dsmcelt Thx for the lesson but you’re missing a huge point. Attractive, attacking soccer is not mutually exclusive from playing simple defense. The problem with the defense is a complete lack of focus and discipline several times a game. It’s not that the players are unable to perform. They just don’t at crucial times. And, yes, it’s against lesser opponents and I don’t care what anybody says, THAT MATTERS. The Cuba goal? Horrid defending by multiple players on the Cuba (Castillo and Onyewu: both should be out of the pool at this point). The Belize goal? An inability to mark on set piece (Parkhurst I think). Same thing with the Honduran goal yesterday (Bedoya?).

    The defense is scary against these opponents. Imagine a Group of Death with that defense. It may be a nice game to watch, but losing 5-3 isn’t fun, and ultimately, isn’t much different than 1-0 (yes yes, goal differential and all that). If we play the mighties of the football world, we may not be able to control enough of the ball and the defense gets exposed. Simple as that

    JK can play the most attractive soccer, but he’s got to fix the defending. Maybe scheme, shape, tactics, etc, because I think it’s a team problem, not individual player(s).

  9. godsholytrousers - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    When the defense leaks multiple goals in a game, give us a legitimate complaint, until then accept the astounding scorelines. Klinsmann only catches flak from those who still can’t accept a foreign born coach. The irony is that Bunker Bob Bradley is far more German than Jurgen Klinsmann, and Klinsmann is far more American than he is German as far as stereotypical personalities.

  10. donjuego - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    Amazing over exuberance here in this article. Just amateurish. I’m a huge US supporter. I travel to away games, and drove six hours north for last nights games. I support the USMNT as much as anybody.

    But beating ESV at home is not an accomplishment. Beating B team Honduras that was tactically naive with a highline defense is not much of an accomplishment. Winning 10 in a row with only one, ONE road game of the bunch and playing a C or D team from Germany is wonderful but is not what is described here.

    Look — it is all nice. But this article is just amateurish. Your never as good as you think you are when you win. Your never as bad as you think you are when you lose. We really have no reason to believe we are any better than when we lost at Honduras. Of course, we played good enough to win that so we were not bad then … but this writer probably thinks we were.

    Geesh — writing like this is going to get this website out of my favorites list.

  11. hildezero - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    @geojock

    FIFA said, if the US would beat El Salvador, they would jump a lot in the World Rankings and if they would win the Gold Cup, they would jump again, pass Mexico, and Mexico would drop.

  12. adiaz9201 - Jul 26, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    US team is amazing, and if they win the Gold Cup they should be ranked higher no doubt Mexico didnt even make it to the finals, and those South Americans haters should stay quiete, true that they conference is harder but its not our fault Concacaf is weak.

  13. galaxy1313 - Jul 30, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    Whereas in the past the usmnt has generally sat back, pitched camp in the defensive end and waited for a quick sucker-punch counter -attack, now the team has play down the wing with first-time, high-paced crosses and guys getting on the end of them, paired with a solid central midfield that can threaten with mid to long range shots to keep the opposing defense honest. And, we still have that great counter-attack available in our arsenal(when it is on). Yes, this is a much more dynamic team. That is good. But we haven’t seen anything yet. What we need, and have started to see more and more in this group, is that classic hunger, drive and all out balls out do-or-die attitude and pride that guys like wynalda, lalas, pope, reyna, wolf, cobi jones, marcelo balboa et al. had.

  14. P1s For Soccer Talk - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    It’s the kind of streak usually reserved for the great USWNT. Could our men be catching up with our amazing women?

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