USA v. Portugal 2002: World Cup Shocker

We’re finishing up our look back on 2002 with the highlights of the astounding USA victory over Portugal to kick off the tournament.

Likely World Cup 2010 participant Steve Cherundolo was on the bench in this one as John O’Brien slammed home a Brian McBride rebound off an Ernie Stewart cross to get the scoring going for the States. Portugal were already bewildered and in disarray.

The Yanks then struck again and again as Portugal’s defense was in no way prepared for the offense that the States’ unleashed.

A lasting memory of this one for me is the shear look of helplessness on the face of Luis Figo–who was at the height of his offensive powers at the time–that was captured by the camera time and time again….well that and Brian McBride’s sellout header.

….and also Pablo Mastroeni sporting an Adam Duritz of Counting Crows look…..what?!

USA 1 – South Korea 1

USA 2 – Mexico 1

USA 0 – Germany 1

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ryan R. on 2010/01/26 at 5:00 PM

    I don’t want to seem like a shameless self-promoter, but last month I rewatched my DVD of the match and wrote a running diary on it.


  2. Posted by Matt B on 2010/01/26 at 8:22 PM

    After the video of USA-Mexico was posted on here a few weeks ago, I went to youtube and checked out the highlights of all the US games from that tournament. I had a blast reliving all the memories of the games (except the Poland game, which I couldn’t really remember). But man was Jeff Agoos terrible in that tournament. He scored an own goal, conceded a penalty, and was beaten for 2 other goals, all in 3 games. I only hope that we’re not dealing with a similar situation with Bocanegra this time around.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/26 at 8:35 PM

      Thank you Matt B….I will now rewrite the lead-in to my forthcoming Boca piece.

      Damn we have an astute community.


    • Posted by Matt B on 2010/01/26 at 8:56 PM

      I can’t believe I posted such a downer of a comment on this story. Sorry.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/26 at 8:57 PM

        How about Brian McBride’s head being instrumental in both goals. Imagine him on the backend of some Spector crosses….

        There….we’re recovered….


  3. If I remember correctly (???), it was on in the dead of night on the East Coast and I went into work the following day absolutely wild-eyed in total disbelief. Two years earlier, I had watched England’s opening 3-2 loss to Portugal after being 2 early goals ahead in their opening match of the Euro in a jam-packed Liverpool St. pub, making our 3-2 victory that much sweeter. A perfect reminder that we can do the Poms one better.

    Youngest ever scorer at the world cup (judging from the video), 12-year-old Landon “Boy Wonder” Donovan’s goal was so insanely lucky – should go down as one of the luckiest of all time taking no less than 3 deflections on the way in. Second the comments about Jeff Agoos. Our backline used to be appalling, and with the players we have it should be a lot better. Hopefully, Boca plays sparingly at left back with Onyewu getting healthy and resuming his partnership with DeMerit. If you pasted our current back 4 into the 2002 side we’re keeping a clean sheet in the match against Portugal.

    And Germany’s handball on the goal-line to deny the equalizer in the quarterfinal is up there with the “Hand of God” goal as one of the biggest WC injustices ever, at least until the Italian’s were gifted a completely umwarranted penalty in the closing minutes of their match against Australia in the 2006 edition, oh, and Henry’s handball in the qualifiers for this year’s final.


  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/27 at 7:24 AM

    Talikng of World Cup injustices, you cannot forget the SF game in 1982 between West Germany and France and the incident between Schumacher and Battiston. It was appalling refereeing. The game ended in a draw, and the fact that Schumaker was still on the pitch and was instrumental in the penalty shoot out was further insult to the French.


  5. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/27 at 7:31 AM

    I am looking forward to the Bocanegro article. Mainly because Bradley has tried a number of players in that spot and he doesn’t seem to be too impressed with what he’s seen. Obviously, the WC is more than the game against England, but can you see any US leftback living with Lennon or Walcott when they’re on fire (or any other flying winger, for that matter)?


  6. Another great video to set the mood for this summer’s tournament.


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