The USMNT closed out their 2008 schedule with a 2-0 World Cup Qualifying win over Guatemala at DSG Park outside Denver. The Yanks won on second-half goals from Kenny Cooper and Freddy Adu. Adu's first senior-team tally came on a sweet free kick.
The US finished the year with an impressive 9-3-2 mark, including a 7-1-0 record in World Cup Qualifying matches. The Yanks scored 30 goals across 11 of the their 14 matches (2.14 GPG), though was shut out three successive matches in the Spring: at England, at Spain, and vs. Argentina (a scoreless draw). Nearly half of the team's 30 goals came in two matches: the June 11th 8-0 win vs. Barbados to open Qualifying, and the October 11th 6-1 victory vs. Cuba. The US won by a 1-0 score three times, a 2-0 score twice, and a 3-0 score twice.
Goal scorers for the US in 2008:
4 goals: Brian Ching, Clint Dempsey
3 goals: Landon Donovan, Ogucji Onyewu
2 goals: Jozy Altidore, DeMarcus Beasley Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley, Eddie Lewis
1 goal: Freddy Adu, Kenny Cooper, Charie Davies, Eddie Johnson, Eddie Robinson, and 1 own goal
On the other side of the ball, the Yanks conceded only 8 goals in 14 games (0.57 GAA), pitching 9 clean sheets. At one point in the year, the US pitched six consectutive shutouts, a team record. The US allowed 1 goal twice: at Spain on June 4th, and vs. Cuba on Oct. 11th. Our boys allowed 2 goals three times; the 2-2 draw vs. Mexico on Feb. 6th, the 0-2 loss at England on May 28th, and the 1-2 loss at Trinidad on Oct. 15th after the US had clinched passage to the Hexagonal.
Doing the Continental
In 2008, The MNT went 2-2 vs. UEFA teams, 0-0-1 vs. Conmebol (S. America), and 7-1-1 vs. CONCACAF nations.
In 2009, The US will face three major challenges:
First and foremost, the Yanks will play 10 qualifying matches in attempt to reach its sixth consecutive World Cup. The draw for the Hexagonal, or CONCACAF Final Round, will be held this Saturday in South Africa. The US will face Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Trinidad in the round.
In addition, the US visit South Africa for the FIFA Confederations Cup from June 14-28. In the 8-nation "mini World Cup," the Yanks may face Brazil, Iraq, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, as well as the hosts. The Confed Cup draw will also take place this Saturday.
Finally, the MNT will attempt to win its third straight CONCACAF Gold Cup, the continental championship, in July of '09, with sites yet to be announced.
Throw in a few warm-up friendlies, 2009 looks to be a fantastic year for US Soccer. Can't wait!