Here we are once again. It feels like home at this point. The United States are in a major international competition about to play a team that no one gives them a chance to beat. The U.S. are massive underdogs according to the oddsmakers and by anyone not wearing red, white, and blue glasses and that's totally okay.
Whether Klinsmann or anyone else likes it or not, U.S. Soccer are natural underdogs. It's the role they were born to play and they do so masterfully. As any longtime USMNT supporter will tell you, this team is no stranger to shocking the world.
In the last 30 years, we can pinpoint four specific times that the U.S. national team overcame all the odds to pull off a stunning victory over a team they had no business beating.
Disclaimer: We are only discussing competitive matches here. Friendlies have not been considered
1994 FIFA World Cup vs. Colombia
Hosting a World Cup was amazing, but no one expected much from the USA in terms of result in the 1994 World Cup. Four years earlier they finished statistically dead last in Italy. They were drawn into a difficult group with Colombia, a team most lauded as favorites.
The USA shocked everyone by beating Los Cafeteros, 2-1. That win propelled them to a a third-place finish, which was good enough to earn them a spot in the Round of 16.
Back in 1998, the CONCACAF Gold Cup was infiltrated by Brazil a CONMEBOL country, not all too unlike the current Copa America situation. The U.S. collided with the world power in the semifinals of the tournament -- again, pretty similar to now -- and pulled off the upset thanks to a heroic effort in goal by Kasey Keller and a wondergoal by Preki. It was the first time the U.S. had ever beaten Brazil in their history.
2002 FIFA World Cup vs. Portugal
Perhaps the USA's most famous win. For many current supporters, the 2002 World Cup was their first time experiencing a major international tournament. Kicking off the tournament, the USMNT were pitted against the World Player of the Year, Luis Figo (sounds familiar). Not many gave the upstart Americans a chance, but against all the odds they hung on for dear life after going up 3-0 in the first half. It was a true underdog story and a huge reason why so many of today's fans (including myself) fell in love with the sport.
2009 Confederations Cup vs. Spain
Amidst the buzz of the vuvuzelas, the USMNT's most shocking win came at the 2009 Confederations Cup. Stop me if this sounds familiar. The U.S. came up against the No. 1 team in the world in the semifinal of a major international tournament. Not only were Spain the undisputed best team in the world that boasted one of the best strike forces of our generation (Villa and Torres) but they also held a 35-match unbeaten run. Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore scored, while Tim Howard and the U.S. defense held strong to pull of the shock heard around the soccer world.
Could Tuesday night's Copa America semifinal against the No. 1 team in the world and the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year be added to this list? History tells us it's certainly possible. The Americans will have the advantage of playing on home soil and the confidence of winning three straight in the tournament behind them.
If the U.S. can pull off the upset it would have to rank at the top of this list. Considering all the factors involved with three starters missing, the best team in the world, arguably the best player to ever live, the odds aren't very good. But that's when the USMNT rise to the occasion and prove everyone wrong. If they can do it one more time it would be their masterpiece.