A look back at USA’s 2002 World Cup upset of Portugal

2002WorldCupUSA (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

It was one of the stunning, exciting and enjoyable moments in American soccer history, the U.S. Men's national team's stunning 3-2 World Cup upset victory against Portugal on June 5th, 2002. That day in Suwon, South Korea marked a turnaround for the sport in the USA, and helped spark the best World Cup run by the USMNT in half a century.

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of that historic day, and the anniversary will have plenty of American fans thinking back to where they were when the USA shocked the world.

I was lucky enough to be in Suwon that day, as a young newspaper reporter covering my first World Cup. The lasting memory I have of that day, along with the obvious events of the match, was the way Portuguese media acted before the match. To say some Portuguese reporters were expecting an easy Portugal victory is an understatement. There was definitely a "you're lucky to even be here" attitude toward the U.S. team. That made it all the more entertaining to watch those same Portuguese media members get flustered as John O'Brien scored, then Landon Donovan forced an own goal, then Brian McBride headed home a goal to make it a stunning 3-0 lead for the USA.

Portugal fought back to make it 3-2, with the help of Jeff Agoos' magical own goal, but that only served to provide some more excitement to the final 20 minutes of the match, which had to be the most nerve-wracking experience many USA fans had ever experienced.

There were other unforgettable moments at the 2002 World Cup for the USA, from Clint Mathis' goal against South Korea, to the USA's victory over Mexico, but none of those moments can match the sheer shock and excitement of the USA knocking off a powerhouse Portugal side.

Ten years have gone by since that memorable day, but for the fans who watched that match, and the people lucky enough to be in the stadium that day, the memories won't soon fade away.

Here are the match highlights from that historic match:

If you never got a chance to watch the match, or would like to watch the match in its entirety, you can watch it here.

What are your memories of the USA's victory over Portugal? Where were you when the U.S. Men's National Team shocked the world?

Share your memories below. 

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117 Responses to A look back at USA’s 2002 World Cup upset of Portugal

  1. Tim F. says:

    That’s when I started watching USMNT again.

  2. bigprof says:

    german handball was memorable too, infamously memorable…and klinnsy knows it too….that US shouldve been in semis

  3. Tim F. says:

    … and why

  4. James says:

    What a coincidence because this is also when the federation missed its biggest opportunity for us to grow and get great. If we wold have taken advantage of our unexpected and huge success and not sat idly pleased, imagine how better we could be today. (Look at Japan after 2010 – a wonderful performance and they still fire their coach and get a forward thinking new one)
    Instead, we stick with Arena, completely stagnant and get embarrassed in 2006. THEN we hire a Arena disciple in Bradley, and despite some impressive wins, make no improvement in playing style, youth prospects or philosophy. Only know have we taken that step and committed ourselves to future greatness by hiring Klinsmann.

  5. Luke says:

    The second goal by Donovan appears to be offside.

  6. A.S. says:

    If I remember correctly, it was about a 5 a.m. Eastern start time? I remember waking up late and it already being about 2-0 by the time I turned it on. I think my fiance (at the time, now wife) was a little confused why I was going crazy at like 6:30 when she woke up.

  7. BSU SC says:

    Greatest 90 minutes of my life. No joke.

  8. Diego says:

    I was in Bolivia back then and there was a general astonishment at how much better the US was playing as compared to the 90’s. I remember the announcer saying “The Americans sure have learned how to play soccer.”

  9. Joe L says:

    i remember i woke up my next door neighbors in L.A. when O’brien put in the first goal. and calling brothers and friends in disbelief at halftime. what a great run the US made in that tourney.

  10. pd says:

    The Shrug by Landon was such a memorable image from that tournament, and in many ways summed up the win, “who’d have thought it?”. It’s interesting to look at that moment and compare it to the Confed Cup a few years back or the most recent win against Italy or loss to Brazil; I feel like the sense of delighted surprise in being a world beater has been replaced with, if not a sense of expectation, it being closer within our reach when at our best, and not simply a matter of odds being in one’s favor. Any thoughts?

  11. DanO says:

    People forget the US made the quarterfinals in a WC with one of the worst CB in the tournament. I remember watching these games and cringing everytime Agoos was near the ball. Makes you feel just a little better about our current CB dilemma…

  12. In 2002 my son and I were working at a medical research facility with a lot of post docs from Europe. On Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings we all played pick up soccer.

    This is where I learned to play in these pick games. Everyone showed up with a white shirt and a dark shirt and them we divided up sides.

    Getting ready for the 2002 WC, one of guys was Portguese and was always very free with his advice about how to play. The Germans and Japanese guys just played and told you when you did well. The Engliksh guys just had fun.

    After one of the games my son (who was acknowledged as one of the better player) and I (the old lady out for fun) a Canadian guy who was pretty good, and the Portugese guy said sometime about how only Eurpoeans could play. Reallly pissed off the Canadian guy.

    You can only imagine how happy we all were when the US beat Portugal. And the Portugese guy never showed up to play in the pick up game again.

  13. pd says:

    You could argue It a 50/50 ball that deflected off the defender as opposed to a pass from a US player. I guess the linesman ruled in favor of the attacker?

  14. pd says:

    Oh come on… That is the biggest case of revisionist history I’ve heard since I don’t know when, let alone assumes that a coach like Klinsmann was available back then and well-suited to work with the player pool available at the time.

  15. elgringorico says:

    Yes because the Klinsmann era has been a stunning success so far. It’s too early to make judgments like that, and Bradley did the best he could with the pieces available. One could argue beating Spain and almost beating Brazil did just as much for US soccer as this Portugal win.

  16. Dan says:

    Brad Friedel doesn’t look a day older.

  17. Luke says:

    Not that I’m complaining about this non call. God knows we’ve had our fair share of questionable calls that went against us.

  18. Pedro says:

    Thank God we don’t have to deal with players like Agoos any more. I have been watching the USMNT since soccer was shown only on PBS, and we finally have a full roster of players selected routinely who don’t cause viewers violent diarrhea. Even Bradley was getting selections right at the very end of his tenure. All you youngsters out there need to remember that our team used to be a combination of players from Indiana and St. Louis Universities.

  19. A.S. says:

    I also remember how good that Portuguese team was supposed to be – it was the peak Portuguese “golden generation” which had won the U-20 World Cup several years prior, with Figo having won the World Footballer of the year in 2001. I recall some had predicted them to win the entire tournament.

  20. Stoop says:

    Oh, yes. Me, too. This is when I became a big fan. I remember getting to work after this early-morning game, dead tired, but elated. I read everything on the internet I could find.

  21. Luis F says:

    I was in Suwon, 15 rows behind the goal the US pumped 3 goals into during that incredible first half. What an experience. My friends and I spent five hours before the game drinking across the street from the stadium at some poor local guy’s restaurant. We drank all his beer in the first two hours. He had to make numerous runs to the corner store to buy more beer, and then re-sell it to us. We’d only been on the ground in Korea for 16 hours when that game kicked off, and it was freakin’ awesome.

    Definitely the most fun I’ve ever had at a game in my life, with the Sounders first home opener a close 2nd. I haven’t looked yet, but I’m sure my friends and I are in the video above as we spent quite a bit of time during that trip hanging out with the dudes in the Elvis costumes.

  22. Cairo says:

    Watched it in a Cairo apartment with a dozen or so Italians. Never had so much fun talking trash (they won pre-game, I won post-game)

  23. James says:

    The Klinsmann era is going to be judged based on years gone by, not on a game by game or even month by month basis (as much as Americans want to).
    My point is also strongly boosted by the Japan example. Which a nice country, they are not exactly an athletic powerhouse. Yet a 23 year old just signed to Man U. And their very successful WC run ended with them firing their coach and bringing in someone to take them to the next level.
    If Gunlati (sorry, forget his name) thought like that in 2002, we’d be MUCH farther ahead.

  24. Bradley K says:

    Jeff Agoos’s finest moments with the OG and getting beat on the initial header for the first goal

  25. Scott says:

    My wife and I sat on the floor at 5am in Summers, a bar/restaurant in Arlington, VA. The place was packed solid. Lots of screaming and jumping up and down and hugging strangers. Got a good sports cry in that day.

    The fire marshal enforced occupancy code for the remaining games of the WC – you couldn’t get anywhere near the place. But we’ll always have Portugal.

  26. JJ says:

    I remember the crazy lines from Jack Edwards in these games. “shock the world”. “this score is stopping traffic across Europe”. Brad Friedel is from Mars, he’s certainly not from this planet”.

  27. jon says:

    I woke up and watched from the first minute… my brother was late to start watching the game with me. When the first goal was scored, i looked around to celebrate with my brother (who was late), so instead i ran, screaming, from the living room to my wife’s bedroom and woke her up. She was unimpressed.

    Goal two, same thing. Wife even less impressed.

    Finally, my brother showed up and we celebrated together…

    when the final whistle blew, there was such a sense of relief and optimism

  28. tailfinn says:

    Watched the game at 5am with my son..he still laughs af the memory of me holding in my screaming after the first quick goal..so not to “wake the baby.” I truely almost exploded….still thinking about what could have been with that world cup…if we didn’t have a Scotish referee who didn’t have the nerve to call a hand ball on the great Germany. And even though I am a Red Bulls season ticket holder, Rafa Marquez was as big a disgrace then as he is now.

  29. ANM says:

    _The_ game. I could watch this every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of it.

    I remember:

    — Jack Edwards trying to hold back his excitement after the one and then two goal lead. Then McBride scored and he finally broke down: “The US is CLUBBING Portugal.”

    — Brian McBride playing the best game I have ever seen a tall target striker play. Ever. Seriously, it should be a textbook for Andy Carroll, Terence Boyd, and anyone else who plays that role.

    — Arena bringing on Cobi Jones in the last ten minutes or so, and his energy being the final nail in the Portuguese coffin.

    — Me twisting my ankle as I fell over celebrating the second goal in my living room.


  30. TheFrenchOne says:

    this game is when USA officially became my #1 team and France, where i was born and lived the first half of my life, got related to #2. It has stayed that way ever since

  31. Jim says:

    This was the first time I recall Yahoo deliberately withholding the score until the American rebroadcast (which was 3pm) later that day. A buddy came over and we watched the replay, as neither of us had seen the score. Just fantastic.

  32. Jess says:

    Same exact thing for me but it was 3 AM and my new wife wanted to stay up with me. I completely freaked her out from a deep sleep on the couch. She had no clue what was going on as I was jumping around celebrating.

  33. elgringorico says:

    Because a random national team coach helped turn some then 13-year old kid into a future forward for ManU? I think it’s a giant leap between that and the overall quality of soccer in the country improving (which I’m not even sure has really happened?)

    This statement: “The Klinsmann era is going to be judged based on years gone by, not on a game by game or even month by month basis” directly contradicts your earlier statement about how the USMNT has already hired a coach that will take them to future greatness. Nobody knows that yet, as you seem to know.

  34. BrianK says:

    Jeff Agoos almost singlehandedly derailed that team. He was an absolute disaster and had no business being on the team let alone the field. US Soccer Hall of Fame,…OMG!

  35. DanO says:

    he now does play by play for the Boston Bruins and is equally entertaining.

  36. ex_sweeper says:

    The constant hating of Agoos really ticks me off. The guy was one of the best defenders that MLS had for over 15 years. He was a rock in the back line for D.C. United and San Jose for years and won championships with both teams. He worked tirelessly for the national team in two world cup cycles. And all you jokers can remember is one own goal?

  37. Tweaked says:

    Except Agoos only played 2.5 games. He got pulled in the first half of the Poland match (injury?) and didn’t make another appearance.

    Not to excuse his play of course.

  38. Frank says:

    Really enjoying reading all these stories about memories from this day. Wish I had some interest in soccer back in 02 (bad parenting lol) but I can’t wait for hopefully an experience like this in 2014.

  39. Kevin_Amold says:

    Glad you’re with us.

  40. Rlw2020 says:

    I was still a kid in school at the time but it was the first time everyone came in talking about US national team. Before this game i could think about was baseball, now my friends and i talk US soccer as our primary sport. Certainly set the bar for every other world cup i have witnessed.

  41. Vic says:

    Its funny how slow many arrogant soccer fans and journalists are to react to a team getting better. If for example Haiti had a bunch of good players and started beating European teams. The arrogant soccer fans/journalists wouldn’t realize it right away. It would take about 20 years.

  42. Kevin_Amold says:

    Agoos had a ton of caps. He couldn’t have been that awful his whole career, was he? Probably just was kept around by Arena even though he was past it.

    The man pulled on the US shirt 134 times. He should probably be remembered more fondly than by that atrocious, awful own goal…

  43. TheFrenchOne says:

    as am i. i’ll take a team that has unity and a burning desire over a team full of over-skilled head jobs. don’t get me wrong, i love the french team, but they just waste that talent most of the time

  44. Got up a little after kick-off in th 5AM timeframe. Still half asleep and through blurry eyes, saw a 1-0 scoreline and thought, “wow, we’re down to mightly Portugal already”. Then my vision adjusted and I realized, we are up 1-0! And the Donovan scores / deflection. Fully awake by then!

    If we had gotten that handball call against Germany. We would have had a chance to beat South Korea and be in the Finals. Imagine that!

  45. FCD96 says:

    “Mine eyes have seen the glory!”

  46. bryan says:

    wow, look at all of LD’s hair. and Friedel looks EXACTLY the same!

  47. betamale says:

    One of the happiest days of my life, followed by the happiest day of my life 2-0, Marquez red, and the knockout of Mexico.

    The team hasn’t played with that kind of self-belief since.

    Agoos was horrible. Some of the worst defending I have ever watched at that level

  48. JoeL says:

    I remember this game like it was yesterday. I’m an American born citizen, my parents are of Portuguese decent but lived most of my childhood life in Portugal. To this day I stay in contact with my best school friends in Portugal so to say there was a little “friendly” rivalry going into this game, was an understatement. Personally, I love both teams so initially I didn’t care who would win the game but thanks to my best friends that all changed. Weeks prior to the game, I was constantly reminded how Portugal was going to win this game easily to the point, I just didn’t care about Portugal anymore and I wanted nothing more for the US to pull a big upset. As they say the rest is history and to this day, I still remind my good friends of this magical game. So thank you for the reminder Ives, I have some emails to send out. :)

  49. 2tone says:

    I stayed up and shunned work the next day to watch this game. Couldn’t celebrate loudly do to my roommates, but I remember thinking wow we just went toe to toe with the pre-WC favorite to win it all. Of course Portugal totally bombed out of that tournament, but man that Portugal team was stacked with talent.

  50. fred says:

    Tony Sanneh played awesome at that World Cup!

  51. Engel Soto says:

    I remember I had stayed up all night because I was soo excited!!! I was 12 years old and I did not know any better, so I thought we would win!

    To be honest back then I had no idea who Figo was, i just remembered seeing his face a couple times he faced United in Champions League.

    After John O’Brien’s goal(when I met John i told him this story too) I went absolutely nuts was running around the house, ended up waking everyone up and we all ended up watching the rest of the game together.

    Oh how i miss Jeff Agoos’ gaffs! NOT!!!

  52. CA says:

    This is a game forever etched into my memory. This is when I really got bit by the soccer bug.

  53. Rags from DC says:

    My favorite US match…Woke up at 4:55 AM in DC to watch. Woke up my roomate with my scream when JOB scored the first one.

    The thing I remember the most, was how Arena started a young Donovan and Beasley on the wings that day and they were so fearless (as if they had no idea that they were supposed to be scared of Figo et al).

    Portugal was in shell shock with the pace of the US side.

    What a match. Will never forget it.

  54. 2tone says:

    If only John O’Brien wouldn’t have been injury prone. Landon Donovan called him the most talented player he had ever played with. Man could he pick out a pass.

  55. 2tone says:

    Don’t know why Arena stopped playing a 4-3-3. This U.S. team looked great in it against Portugal.

  56. Pedro says:

    Just because he pulled on the shirt so many times doesn’t mean he was good enough, it just reflects poor judgement on the part of Bruce Arena. It was the “Old Boy” network selection process at its worst. Being a rock in MLS back then qualified no one to be an international. I guarantee that a trip to rec leagues in Los Angeles would have produced a better CB than him.

  57. Jen says:

    It was my second to last day of high school. I went to bed early and woke up 5 minutes before the game. My little brother actually came in my room and we watched the game sitting on the end of my bed. We were trying so hard not to scream and wake our mother up the whole time. When the game was over, I ate a quick breakfast and went to school wearing my USA soccer shirt. I took a lot of pictures that day (last day with the underclassmen)so when I see the pictures now I remember the game then.

  58. alka246 says:

    I so miss Jack Edwards. You could tell he was fully invested. Whoever this new guy on NBC is puts me to sleep.

  59. beachbum says:

    Yes! me and my buddy woke up at some ungodly hour, downed espressos and then beers, and then jumped up and down like maniacs after every goal. I remember it like it was yesterday.

    O’Brien was awesome

  60. alka246 says:

    I think Jack said the US was “Bombing” Portugal which would so not fly these days.

  61. Hopper says:

    Troussier’s greatness is debatable.

    Japan had a strong team in 2002 and a home field advantage. Nakata, Ono, Inamoto, Suzuki and Yanagisawa were all in their primes, but Troussier left the brilliant Nakamura at home.

    They won a weak group and went out badly to Turkey in the second round, mostly because of Troussier’s formation and tactics.

  62. betamale says:

    Remember they almost advanced ahead of us. Once we were getting slapped around by Poland, Portugal was content to play patty-cake with S. Korea for a draw, but the hosts scored a goal and pushed them out.

    We almost didn’t do it.

  63. alka246 says:

    I miss the heart of this US team. With the added media scrutiny, players playing abroad, some of the innocence of that team is kind of gone.

    That was an underdog team of epic proportions who played out of their minds. I haven’t loved a US team like that one in the same way since.

  64. Hopper says:

    Sorry to ex_sweeper, but Agoos was a travesty in 2002 and should have never seen the field. Every goal the US gave up in the games in which he played were directly or indirectly attributable to him. It was actually fortunate for the USA that he got injured in that Poland game.

    Fact: That great USA team managed to progress in the 2002 World Cup despite Agoos’s terrible performances.

  65. Hopper says:

    Seriously, Sanneh played out of his mind in that tournament. He was shaky in all the games leading up to the World Cup, but it was like he became a different player once that Portugal game kicked off.

    In my mind, he was one of the best defenders in the entire tournament and should have been named to the Best XI squad.

  66. Hopper says:

    I agree with BrianK completely.

  67. beachbum says:

    wasn’t it called the Portuguese Golden Generation? man, this is fun remembering this stuff :)

  68. beachbum says:

    he was AWESOME

  69. BrianK says:


    I will remenber how bad Agoos was,…thanks. A couple of points on that though:

    1. Agoos stockpiled “caps” when we had a full time National Team based in Mission Viejo in advance of the 1994 World Cup. Problem for Agoos was that he was cut by Bora before the tournament.

    2. Interesting how Agoos’ international career had an inverted trajectory,…he was cut when he was 24 by Bora before ’94,…he was a squad player at age 28 for Sampson in France in ’98 and he was a starter for Arena at age 32 in Korea/Japan. Funny. That said,…how many caps did he get under Arena, his former Virginia coach? Even after a horrendous WC in ’02,…Arena protected him saying ‘it’s a young man’s game.’

    3. But let’s not limit the criticism to ’02, when he a) scored the OG in the Portugal match, was outjumped by a Korean for the Korea goal and feigned injury when he realized he didn’t belong on the filed against Poland and was getting tooled! How about his pass to Deon Burton during the Jamaica qualifer in RFK leading up to France ’98? Remember the look on Casey Keller’s face? How about the red card at Azteca 15 minutes into the game against Mexico when the US got the ‘golden point’ in spite of him? Face it,….Agoos was a complete disaster and had no business getting 25 caps let alone 100+.

    All the best Jeff!

  70. Jason B says:

    Are you saying that this is what is happening with US soccer right now? That we’re getting better and people (traditional soccer media) aren’t realizing it?

  71. ec says:

    Such good times in ’02! I’d meet some friends at a restaurant for pancakes and beer before going into the office. It was so surreal to be up 3-0 and then to hold on.

    I still think John O’Brien is the great lost talent for US Soccer, he was supposed to bridge the ’02 group with the Dempsey/Donovan (in his prime) teams.

  72. ACC says:

    Finally some good news!!!!

  73. George3000 says:

    Still remember watching both games. Thought the Mexico one was more important for me because it was the knockout round and it was Mexico (which had pretty much beaten us on a routine basis for the previous . . . well pretty much always).

    Luckily, I do not have any memories of Jeff Agoos to dial up.

  74. Brian K says:

    Man that brought back some memories. I was forced to watch this game solo since the games took place in the middle of the night/early morning on the East Coast and none of my family members or friends could be bothered to watch soccer that early in the morning. This certainly added an extra surreal quality to an already shocking result.

    I completely forgot about good Tony Sanneh was in that tournament and poor Agoos was. I was never a big fan of his, but there was a startling lack of quality at the left and center back positions in those days once Dooley and Balboa retired. Remember when David Regis was going to be our savior on defense?

  75. bryan says:

    and can we please, for the love of god, get an update on Fabian Johnson?!?!

  76. Spencer says:

    I was 13 and got to sleep over at a friend’s house on a school night. It was on at 2am local time, and the four of us played board games, saw some boobies on late-night HBO soft-core, and then watched the game. Best. Night. Ever.

  77. Dudinho says:

    Agoos was an arena guy. My god he was such a liability the germany game was a heart breaker Kahn played out of his mind and was the reason the germans advanced

  78. Courey says:

    Thanks for the great story and recharging some wonderful memories. The thing I remember specifically about watching the match is the early morning hours required in order to even see it. I was in Kansas so it was VERY early central time when the game was played. What an exhilirating, proud moment for our country to be 3-0 up on Portugal (a tourney darling that year with high expectations of advancing deep in the tourney).

    I felt proud that day. The boys had a great run in 2002.

  79. Eugene says:

    Very, very memorable. When I started paying attention to the US MNT again also. And yet, watching it in hindsight, we got so so lucky. The team is many times better now, we earn our victories now. Sad to see JOB in that match, he was such a shining star for us then… our best player on the pitch, in my opinion. Just imagine if he was still playing for us today.

  80. fortunate only says:

    Selective memory, my friend.

    Sorry to say that it was karma for John O’brien’s handball against Mexico in the rd of 16 game. Game was 1-0 with Mexico looking for an equalizer. Who knows what would’ve happened at 1-1.

    I always wonder why US fans never talk about that but always bring up the Fring’s handball in the next game.

  81. Dudinho says:

    hope jeff isnt reading

    i completely agree though. Jeff was a solid MLS defender that had no business playing international ball.

  82. Kevin G. says:

    What about the US handball? I think it evens out.

  83. Kevin G. says:

    Vs Mexico that is.

  84. ANM says:

    re: Agoos’s uselessness. I would push back on that notion a little. Everyone remembers his disastrous 1997 and his careful-what-you-wish-for Cup in 2002. But in the period 2000 to 2001, he was a pretty reliable central defender for the US. Sure there were fan misgivings about how he would do against top opposition in the World Cup, but the general, if sometimes begrudging, consensus was that he had a decent central defensive partnership with Pope.

    Don’t believe me? Check out his ratings in the calendar year 2001:

    link to web.archive.org

    You see some pretty solid ratings; not spectacular, but good enough for a defender who didn’t score from corners. The flop ratings were games where the entire team played a stinker (e.g. home to Honduras, away at CR.)

    Don’t forget as well that he was (and indeed still is) the player with the most MLS Cup championships including one in 01. Sure, it turned out pretty badly for him in the Cup itself, but he had every business being on the team.

    (Why did Sams Army stop doing their ratings? They were essential.)

  85. Jamie says:

    This notion that if you’re not all out attacking you’re doomed to failure is just silly and empirically not true-Italy, Germany pre-2006, and England have won a combined 8 World Cups playing a largely reactive(though obviously not 10 behind the ball) style. Chile and Atletico Bilbao play all out attacking, see how far that got them? I will never understand the utter fascination with style over substance in soccer, the vitriolic hatred of defense at times. In other American sports ‘defense wins championships’. In soccer all we do is complain. That just screams to me ‘soccer is only appealing/interesting to me when a very, very narrow brand of it is being played and otherwise I find it boring so the soccer-haters are right 75% of the time.’

  86. Kevin_Amold says:

    Your interesting points are undercut a little by the snarky “thanks” you threw in right at the beginning. Seems very smug.

    I fully admit, I am too young to know the ins and outs of the 94 team (or of any team before 06, after which I became a voracious follower), in which caps were allegedly stockpiled. How can a player really “stockpile” a cap anyway, since the decision whether or not he plays is in the hands of the manager? I just can’t believe that a truly truly awful player could accumulate that many caps. The only conclusion I can reach is that he was played because the various coaches thought he was the best option, as is usually the case today.

  87. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    I was there. Aside from my wedding and birth of my kids, it was the happiest day of my life and by far my most memorable moment in US soccer history.

  88. ex_sweeper says:

    Agoos wasn’t the first and won’t be the last U.S. defender to have their shortcomings exposed in the international game outside of CONCACAF. But the amount of venom targeted at him is way out of proportion to anything he did wrong on the field.

    Y’all weren’t living in Colombia in 1994, were you? Because the over-the-top reactions to Agoos own goal make me think you might have been.

  89. JM says:

    The marking on McBride’s goal was atrocious…but still not as bad as Agoos’ own goal

  90. Münster says:

    I think he came out that way

  91. saladyears says:

    I recall this game vividly, in fact, this entire World Cup. The crazy 3 AM start times (in Chicago), having to watch on Univision, calling my brother at half time of Portugal, staying on the phone with him the entire second half, getting a group of guys together to watch Mexico (including two MEXICANS), screaming our lungs hoarse, going to work 3 days out of the week absolutely exhausted. Absolutely indelible memories.

    The John O’Brien goal was the #1 sporting event of my life that I have witnessed live until LDs goal against Algeria. It is still #2 and will probably only be moved down when we advance to the semis or beyond in a World Cup.

  92. andrew says:


    1. Agoos was/is a better footballer than you are/ever will be.

    2. see point 1

  93. Ashley Watson says:

    Very memorable match and I never expected them to score 3 goals that quick against Portugal. I went to bed at 8 pm rather than my customary 11 pm to wake up at 2 30 am to catch the match and I was fortunate that my job was on a salary basis so I could come in any time from 7 am to 10 am and put in 8 hours. The interesting thing was that when I came at 10 am, I saw my boss coming in at the same time and I quickly asked, “You saw the match?”. He said yes and had a nice short chat about it. McBride’s header was epic!

  94. BrianK says:

    See my comments below.

  95. charlie says:

    Woke up before 5 am, got my cup of coffee and sat to watch the game. Could not believe my eyes when JOB ( What a player he was) scored right away, then LD then Mac Bride. Sanneh was sublime at right back and Bruce really had the team well organized.

    I could barely watch the last 10 minutes, so much stress. Great memories!

  96. BrianK says:


    It was intended to be snarky! Thanks.

  97. Chris says:

    We choose not to care about Mexico is any way…

  98. Mwing09 says:

    As good as these are my fav is still the next game against South Korea, “THATS WHY HE’S HERE”

  99. Kevin_Amold says:

    You’re so cool.

  100. Kevin_Amold says:

    Who exactly were the alternatives during his 100+ caps and why did several different managers consistently leave them out in favor of Agoos?

    I’ll side with the managers on this one.

  101. Kevin_Amold says:

    Speaking to him as a player over the course of his career. Watching the 2002 cup highlights indicate to me that he was not up for it.

  102. JMartin says:

    I was in the stadium that day and it will remain the single most incredible match I’ll ever see live.

    The stadium was about 90% supporting Portugal and every time the US scored I stood up and screamed my lungs out. After the third goal almost everybody around me was hating me. Then the Portugal goals started coming and I got the same treatment back by about 30 people around me.

    At the end of the game I just stayed in my seat, stunned for about 15 minutes, and soaked it all in. I kept taking photos of the scoreboard.

  103. Felipe says:

    crazy as it sounds, the early morning viewing was some of the best parts of that world cup – four soccerheads in my town met at one guy’s vacant lake house because a) he got cable and b) we would not wake sleeping wives, kids, dogs etc. Great memories hootin and hollerin and THEN going to work – BIZARRE but BRILLIANT!!!

  104. Lost in Space says:

    Seeing the highlights and reading all the comments made me pull out my OLD tape of the match and rewatch it from beginning to end. Still such a thrill. I’m going to watch the US Vs. Mex match next…I’ll probably throw something at the TV again when I get the Rafa red-card (Wanted to see someone smack him after the game).

  105. Andy says:

    I was there too, also when we beat mexico and ran around outside afterwards.. it was awesome and I can’t believe its been 10 years

  106. RJ says:

    If only he’d finished that last gasp header against Germany. Mathis made a nice move just to get the cross off. I jumped out of my chair thinking it was in the net, but alas, it wasn’t.

  107. Dennis says:

    I guess we should all bow to your great ability to foretell the future and to your superior knowledge. USSOCCER should hav ehired you and we would have won WC 2010.

  108. Dennis says:

    I recall Brian McBride being fouled repeatedly and really only out of frustration by the Portugese in the 2nd half. McBride always got up smiling and shaking his head knowing that every foul called wasted time the Portugese needed if they wanted to score enough to come back.

  109. RJ says:

    I became a casual soccer fan when the U.S. made their run in WC ’94 here in the States, but their run in WC ’02 was what made me a die-hard. I wasn’t used to waking up so early, so I slept right through the first half of the Portugal game. When I turned on the TV that morning, I saw the U.S. was leading 3-1, and my jaw dropped. Then I saw Agoos put one in his own net, and I was like, “Did that really just happen?” Thankfully they held on for the historic upset. I made sure to wake up in time to watch the rest of our games from start to finish. I was so heartbroken when we lost to Germany.

  110. Dennis says:

    In sports, you are only as good as your last game. The tie vs Canada is hardly a ringing endorsement of the Klinsmann era.

  111. Benny says:

    I was in Cadiz, Spain. I jumped like crazy when O’Brien scored. I also remember that the U.S. had to beat Barbados in the last game of the Semi-finals in order to qualify for the final round. It was the 60th minute and the game was scoreless. Finally in the 64th minute, Mathis scored and the U.S. advanced to the final round of qualifications. The U.S., on the last day, defeated Jamaica 2-1 on a Moore Penalty in the 81 minute and the U.S. advance to the WC 2002, a game they had to win. In the World Cup they did great. Great times 2002 WC.

  112. eman says:

    my 10 year-old self was crying when we lost against Germany.

    strongest passion i’ve ever felt for sport in my whole life, that game

    that Frings hand ball destroyed me

  113. CplDaniel says:

    Every June, not a SINGLE DAY goes by that I don’t think about that…My God, I wonder if I will still be thinking, ranting, about that hand ball on the line and how far we could have gone, in 2070 when I am 90-years old??

  114. JJ says:

    His voice cracking on Donovan’s goal vs Mexico was priceless as well.

  115. Stephen says:

    This is the stupidest cliche in sports.

  116. gabe says:

    quality finish by agoos