8th Minute, Brian McBride, USA v Mexico, 2002 World Cup
At France ’98 the progression of football in the United States suffered a major setback when they crashed out of their group with zero points and an embarrassing defeat to Iran. Bruce Arena took over from Steve Sampson and the Americans saw an upturn in fortunes over the next four years culminating in a good showing at the 2002 World Cup. Talent emerged in the shape of Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley and they would have a part to play in Korea/Japan.
The Americans opened with a surprising 3-2 win over a Portugal side who were tipped by many to go far. This was followed by grabbing a point against the hosts South Korea and four points proved to be enough to set up a last sixteen tie against their great rivals Mexico.
The Mexicans were slight favourites having topped a group featuring Italy, Ecuador and Croatia and emerged with a very respectable seven points but the Americans were confident too. In the end Bruce Arena won the game tactically with a change to a wingback system specifically for the match which paid dividends in the first ten minutes.
USA get off to a dream start…
What Happened Next?
The USA survived a few scares and also missed chances themselves before rising star Landon Donovan scored from more wingplay to seal victory. The journey ended with a lost to Germany in the quarter finals but they had restored much pride to American Soccer. The 2-0 scoreline is one of many dos a cero scorelines the US have recorded over their rivals in recent years.
When you gotta go, you gotta go…