June 23 and 24 represent two of the best days in U.S. Soccer history this century – or any century for that matter. Sunday was the the three-year anniversary of Landon Donovan’s famous goal against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Today marks the four-year anniversary of the U.S. topping Spain 2-0 in the semifinals of the 2009 Confederations Cup. Although it might have “only” be the Confederations Cup it’s arguably the highest profile win the U.S. has notched in a FIFA sanctioned tournament in modern times and the clear high-water mark under former coach Bob Bradley.
The win snapped Spain’s then 35-game unbeaten streak (which included 15 straight wins) and is also the only tournament in the last five years La Roja hasn’t won. It’s not, however, the last time Spain lost in a tournament, as it lost to Switzerland in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup. (Spain went on to capture the Cup.)
Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey scored one in each half to lead the U.S. into the final, which they’d lose to Brazil despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first half. That duo, along with Tim Howard and Michael Bradley, are the only four players from that match who played in the Americans most recent game, a 1-0 win over Honduras last week in 2014 World Cup qualifying.
The manner in which Spain is so effortlessly able to brush aside opponents, especially during last summer’s Euro and the current Confederations Cup in Brazil makes the Americans win seem all the more hard to believe, even four years after the fact. Whether or not this counts as a bigger win than the American’s stunning 1-0 victory over England at the 1950 World Cup is open for debate.