Dos a cero: The 10-year anniversary

"I think it was a big turning point in our history; the moment when you decide you are not going to be second best anymore. You go punch for punch and refuse to lose. I think that day we no longer feared Mexico."

— Former U.S. defender Tony Sanneh

Ten years ago today in frigid conditions in Columbus, Ohio, the United States and Mexico met in a FIFA World Cup qualifier:


What are your memories of the match? Were you there? How do you think that match impacted U.S. Soccer history?

Share your thoughts below.

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83 Responses to Dos a cero: The 10-year anniversary

  1. kpugs says:

    Holy crap, Brad Friedel had hair!

  2. AME says:

    So sad that these games are now things of the past…No more games against Mexico in WCQ. :(

  3. Marty says:

    A sign of things to follow…what a generation that was though with Reyna, Mathis, Max-Moore, and McBride at their best.

  4. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    Jeez, what a trip down memory lane. Thanks for posting. I did not know that both Reyna and McBride had been subbed off before halftime….the two most prolific players of that era off the field..and a coming out party for Josh Wolf…I’ll never look at him the same

    Dos a cero forever…

  5. chuttle says:

    I named my dog Dos A Cero. Still going strong.

  6. John says:

    I was at this game and it remains to this day the most incredible sporting event I’ve ever attended. It was just as cold as it looked, but the crowd was raucous and positive the entire night.

    We had season tickets for the Crew and had only seen the stadium that full once (the inaugural game at Crew Stadium). Not only was this the first time we thought we could truly contend with Mexico, but it was our first glimpse into the passion that America could have for soccer.

  7. AC says:

    Josh Wolf is the future of the USMNT!

  8. jts says:

    2 things

    1. Funny how that happens. Our best scoring threat goes out injured and his untried replacement creates 2 goals.

    2. I like Tim Howard, but how refreshing to see a keeper make a save and then NOT scream at his defenders. Nice job, BF

  9. KevDC says:

    Great memories!

    Especially the first goal by DC United legend Josh Wolff. 😉

  10. Shane says:

    Starting 4-4-2, with Joe Max and McBride up front….man, those were the days.

  11. StevenG says:

    lmao, for real?

  12. Okland says:

    Yup 2000s was when the whole concacaf decided to step up to Mexico. During the 80s 90s Mexico used to be the bully beating USA national team 3-0 4-0 and other teams 4-0 5-0. Were free!!! Haha.

  13. brad says:

    always remembered how well Wolf did to control and finish that first goal, but watching it again, what an amazing play by Mathis!

  14. Clayton says:

    LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. Nothing is better in the football world than a USA victory over Mexico. Nothing.

    10 years ago, wow. Those jerseys have come a long ways.

  15. Jason says:

    I’m just surprised to see Marquez get booked… that NEVER happens against the US. All kidding aside, he was lucky to only see yellow on that.

  16. Brian says:

    Same old dirty Marquez

  17. kpugs says:

    I wish I could “like” this. Well said.

  18. Brian says:

    Seriously, what happened to him? Injuries?

  19. adub says:

    these guys are the OG’s of US soccer… still standing with the deepest WC run into the the final 8… no words can describe what this team still means to US Soccer… they laid the ground work for any american who wants to go play soccer abroad… thanks for the video its truely inspiring to watch… they were our “GOLDEN GENERATION”

  20. Brennan says:

    Major props (whatever a “props” may be) to McBride for not curling up into a ball and rolling around after getting knocked like that. Truly a United States legend.

  21. Aaron in StL says:

    Gives me joy to see the Marquez is the posterboy for the massive turnaround we’ve had vs Mexico (Azteca aside).

    Also gives a reminder that no matter how bad Bornstein is… could he ever goof as bad as Agoos regularly did? I know he’s tried but still..

  22. BK says:

    A couple things come to mind:

    1) Wow…we are a much better team now.

    2) Wow…the commentators now are much better too.

    3) How many players in the WORLD would have held their face and roled around on the pitch after taking a shot to the face? Brian McBride is my all-time favorite US player. He took off looking for the ball as if nothing happened. Didn’t think once about going ot ground. I know know any player in any league that is like that anymore.

  23. Brad says:

    This and the 2-0 win in the WC are 2 of my favorite sports moments. Thanks Ives.

  24. bottlcaps says:

    Yeah, if anyone noticed, Wolff was a step ahead of his defender, but was behind the midfield (50 yd) line, which is NOT an offsides.

    I was so cold that day, Brad Friedel wore his hair.

  25. RK says:

    Isn’t every day a 2-0 anniversary day? We’ve beaten Mexico so many times 2-0…

  26. JOMA says:

    …and versus a quality Mexico too, albeit one that did not, at the time, have any forwards playing in Europe. As an aside and a heads up to Bob Bradley the three Mexican forwards, Hernandez, Dos Santos and Vela, all scored important goals for their respective clubs this week.-
    But going back to this anniversary, it was and will always be the turning point for US Soccer, and significant in many ways!

  27. cajun says:

    Who said he was offsides?

  28. Judging Amy says:

    Great stuff. Mathis was the man.

  29. tnnelson says:

    Dempsey is kind of like that. maybe not as tough as Mcbride, but he takes some shots and is one of the most fouled players in the EPL consistently

  30. Eric says:

    Woah woah woah. You leave Jack Edwards alone. Guys the color commentator for the Bruins. Much more of a hockey guy.

  31. Mike says:

    Thanks for the great memory Ives

  32. Jeff says:

    Still get goose bumps.

  33. Holiman says:

    I was there. I was 10 years old then and I remember how much I was in awe of the crowd. I didn’t realize the magnitude of that win until years later but I’m glad I got to be a part of history.

  34. Spectra says:

    He i love Turret Timmy

  35. Spectra says:

    Wow how weird 10 years difference can be. I was 10 when US beat Colombia

  36. PetedeLA says:

    Mathis with two magic passes.

    Joe Max Moore with awesome dribbling.

    Where was JOB?

  37. Todd says:

    Two thoughts:

    1) Those were great goals. Cleetus will always be my man.

    2) We should wear all white as our permanent first-choice kit. We’ve had good luck wearing it the past few years and looked great 10 years ago too.

  38. joel says:

    great memories

  39. Byron says:

    Is the format of the Gold Cup going to be set up for a potential US vs. Mexico final. I want that, yes.

  40. Brett says:

    I think without this victory, we probably don’t take it to Mexico in the 02 world cup round of 16.

    That will always be the real “dos a cero” in my mind though. It was SOOOO sweet to beat Mexico on the biggest stage.

  41. Scott says:

    Great memories. I was 30 feet from both those goals standing behind the Budweiser sign board. I worked the sign boards for all the midwest/east coast US games in those days. Great time being on the field for those games.

  42. FSegaud says:


    I nearly missed my flight from LA. They had to pull someone off the plane to let me in! My carry on had no place to go so it was basically under my feet.

    I met a US fan at the airport waiting for the van to get to the downtown Holiday Inn and we hung out for the rest of the time, right through the festive celebratory get together at the bar after the game…funny thing is same exact thing happened in 2005 (besides the score, haha).

    The game…wow, 4th row behind the net….I swear, Earnie Stewarts’ shot was headed right for me. Insane stuff…never to be replicated again I think.

    Heading back to the bar…seeing all the sad Mexicans was quite enjoyable.

    It’s criminal that CONCACAF has done away with this match.

  43. fsegaud says:

    Were there really any Mexicans playing in Europe at the time??? Very few, if any….Marquez (the biggest punk of them all)…anyone else? Seemed like a time where they did not go abroad to often.

  44. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Check wiki. It was injuries.

  45. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    What about that red card he got for kicking Timmy?

  46. ANM says:

    Not so much in the 90s. The US got two draws in the 97 hex, including 0-0 in Azteca, our best result there. There was a 4-0 victory against Mexico in a US Cup match in 95, if I recall. From about 1994 onwards, we held our own against Mexico.

  47. b says:

    As if the sarcasm wasn’t obvious enough, he said “All kidding aside”.

  48. Shmenge says:

    I was in a bar in Austin, Texas.

    3 of us watching the U.S. game, about 100 Hondurans watching the PPV Honduras at Costa Rica at the same time on the projection screen.

    The 3 of us screamed so loud at Wolff’s goal, half the Hondurans came rushing over to the bar TV to see the replay and went crazy with us.

    I remember JMM making a crucial, in-the-box tackle in the 2nd half where he was either going to get ball or it was a certain penalty and he toed it out for a corner. By an inch.

  49. BCC says:

    Jack Edwards is absolutely horrible. Was watching the Bruins/Canucks the other night — he is total rubbish as an announcer.

  50. jrig5 says:

    Actually, behind midfield or not, he wasn’t offside. I slowed the video down to a pause as the ball is leaving Mathis’s foot, and both Wolff and either the Mexican right back or right center back are about equally behind the midfield line. About as close as you can be in that regard. I mean, you’re right about the midfield thing, but even beyond it, he wouldn’t have been offside. Now, the linesman may have seen it differently in that case, though, since it was so perfectly timed it looked, full speed, like he was off.

  51. Kejsare says:

    That’s an awesome story! Thanks for sharing.

  52. solles says:

    check wiki…. frickin kids.

  53. solles says:

    …not sure Wolff was ever our “best scoring threat”. He’s an important player to this day but let’s not re-invent history here.

  54. solles says:

    Joe Max is underrated to this day. Terrific player, another guy who lost some prime time to injuries.

  55. FutbolUSA says:


  56. b16 says:

    I saw the first few minutes up until McBride got his shiner. At the time, I figured there was no way the Nats would hold it the way they did. Still in shock to this day-this is one of the greatest games in US Soccer history-I still get chills watching it 10 years later.

  57. LA says:

    Yeah they seem to not adapt to lifestyles in other countries. Almost as they get homesick easily. But us Americans like going everywhere.

  58. rick says:

    Only God knows how much a love beating Mexico and how much I hate Marquez.

  59. offcolorcommentary says:

    Was Lando on the bench for this game? i remember him playing in some of the qualifiers..

  60. b says:

    Before you snap at someone perhaps you should work on your reading comprehension.

    He said “Our best scoring threat goes out injured” as in Brian McBride, not Wolff.

    And Wolff is NOT “an important player to this day”… yours is the least true statement in this subthread.

  61. b says:

    Actually plenty of days in February are dos a cero anniversary day: three of the six were in Feb.

  62. b says:

    I love these stores, keep them coming folks!

  63. b says:

    From the ussoccer article:

    “Selected to the 24-man training camp roster were two 18-year-olds by the name of DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan. Beasley withdrew after picking up an injury, replaced by Bobby Convey.”

  64. Whitehartlane says:

    We’d have won 5-0 had Michael Bradley been played. You want proof, Mike is the only midfield player with 50 or more caps in the entire history of international football to not have one, single assist. He still has zero assists, hope he likes the bench out on loan at Villa, pos.

  65. Phil says:

    everyone looked like horse jockies!

  66. Phil says:

    It’s GOB, not JOB. He was off doing a magic trick… illusion.

  67. anychancetohate says:

    what the heck are you going on about?

  68. Ron says:

    Rafa Marquez wasn’t the only dirty player for Mexico during the game. Luis Hernandez rammed his forearm into Tony Sanneh’s jaw before halftime and wasn’t whistled.

    Gosh, can we ever produce a decent left back? David Regis looked like Bornstein out there that night!

    Overall, this was a major step in the USMNT development. Without this win, we wouldn’t have had the confidence in ourselves to beat Portugal, Mexico and push Germany to the brink in WC2002.

    Thanks for the memorable replay!

  69. Sean says:

    I was young but this was huge. I remember it well. Looking at that line-up, it was sort-of the last hurrah for the pre-donovan stars — a great launching point for our stars of today and a wonderful start to a decade of dominance over the mexicans :) (that hopefully will continue!)

  70. Sean says:


  71. Eric K says:

    I was in college at the time and while I was jumping around watching this game, one of my roommates (starting guard on a D1 basketball team) was cooking some ham steaks and started two fires in the process. I told him that (as we waved towels to try to disperse the steam and smoke), no matter how much bigger he was, I would kick the crap out of him if we had to evacuate the building 10 floors below and miss this game. I agree with other posters who say this was when we stopped being so scared of the Mexican team.

  72. DC Josh says:

    2002 USMNT = Writers of the U.S. Constitution.

  73. Geoff S. says:

    Chuck Norris wears 2002 USMNT pajamas

  74. fred savage says:

    i was at the game, flew out from DC. got so drunk after the game in columbus i puked on an early-morning flight the next day, right there on the plane. also saw luis hernandez looking glum at the airport that morning waiting for his plane — he has this expression on his face like “where the f***k am i?” most exciting qualifier i’ve ever attended. although the honduras/usa match at RFK later that year was pretty exciting too, in the wrong direction. 35,000 hondurans at RFK after u.s. soccer tried to keep them out = not fun. (a week later two planes crashed into NYC, we tend to forget.)

  75. Slim says:

    Dos a cero, the story of Kpugs life.

  76. CRW JDH says:

    That was a great night. I remember being shocked before the game that Mexico would not leave there locker room to warm up and how many hard tackles and fouls Mexico committed in first 12 minutes leading up to McBride injury. our seats were where right behind Sam’s Army though we never sat down. Great night of soccer. Being 3 hours from Columbus we never miss a USA National team game there mens or womens. Plus try to make a Crew game every season. One of my best Soccer memories.

  77. CRW JDH says:

    The 4-0 US Cup win was in DC my first national team game. It was reyna’s coming out party he had 2 assists and a goal. I still remember the Thomas Dooley chants

  78. Matt Fields says:

    Gotta love the WCQ in February in Columbus . . . sad it is really the only pro-US soccer venue for this matchup. Maybe in the next generation Sam’s Army will fill a larger venue and make it our “Azteca” . . .

  79. Gr8ftblr says:

    PRoblem is there r not enough players even now that r capable of the passes and shots Mathis could pull.

  80. I love soccer,I love David Beckham