By now, you’ve probably heard: The U.S. Men’s National Team got another good result on Wednesday. Yes, it was only a friendly, and as we’ve often seen when Jurgen Klinsmann’s team takes a step up in class, there were long portions of this game where the U.S. looked two steps behind their hosts.
But just as they did in Genoa and Mexico City, the U.S. got a result, and while this one won’t settle into history next to those wins, it was still an encouraging night in Krasnodar. Two goals against a defense that hasn’t conceded in World Cup qualifying may inspire some much-needed confidence in the U.S. attack.
For now, let’s do the highlights and then consider where Wendesday’s result ranks among the U.S.’s 2012 results.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYlkBTGoy7Q]
If the U.S. defense hadn’t have gift wrapped two goals for the Russians, we could be talked about the U.S.’s third huge road win of the year. That the back line isn’t usually that error-prone should give the team some solace, though the leaks plugged by Tim Howard need to be aggressed before February.
But that’s 2013, and with this season-ending result against Russia, it seems a good time to look back and ask where today’s result ranks among the U.S.’s 14 games of 2012.
With the States having gone 9-2-3, here are the results that jump out:
4. 1-0 win in Panama – Fans have good reason to be nervous about the final round of World Cup qualifying, but a road win with the January camp’s roster should give followers reason to believe the U.S. can have success in Panama City.
3. 2-2 draw in Russia – Two comebacks, the second in the 94th minute, gave Russia their first blemish since Fabio Capello’s July debut.
2. 1-0 win in Italy – The Azzurri may not be the power they once were, but they’re still one of the world’s elite soccer nations. A win in Italy is something players will remember.
1. 1-0 win in Mexico – Taking a weak squad to Azteca (and starting an experimental Geoff Cameron-Maurice Edu pair in central defense), the U.S. looked destined for another loss in Mexico. Instead, Michael Orozco Fiscal’s goal gave the States their first every victory at Azteca.