For more than two decades, the United States has a fielded a successful Women’s National Soccer Team, but the US Men have struggled to capture both wins on the pitch and the hearts of fans across the country.
But thanks to its historic 10-game winning streak, the US Men’s National Soccer Team is finally gaining the same respect as the women.
Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated compared the two national teams following the Honduras match.
“We are witnessing the most impressive single-tournament performance in national team history. The U.S. is blowing through opponents at will, many of whom appear to be operating in first gear. It's like watching the American women.”
There is no higher compliment that the team can receive than being compared to their female counterparts. More than Spain, Brazil or any other country, the team the US Men's Soccer Team is competing with in the minds of the fans is the US Women's National Team.
The image of Brandi Chastain celebrating after knocking home the game-winning goal in the 1999 World Cup has been etched into the memories of American sports fans.
Thursday night, with the USMT in the midst of their Gold Cup run, ABC’s Nightline ran a feature about the personalities on the USWNT, starting with star goaltender Hope Solo.
In the piece, Solo is described as “one of the single most recognizable and talented soccer players on the planet.”
The Men's team has a long way to go before one of its players reaches those kind of heights, but Landon Donovan is making a great case for himself right now. Donovan, the hero of the 2010 World Cup thanks to his stoppage time goal against Algeria, has been unbelievable during the team’s record run, scoring five goals and notching seven assists to help propel the team to the Gold Cup final.
Though Donovan's teammates may not have the same name recognition, fans are starting to take notice of this team.
More than 80,000 fans crowded AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium) to watch the US knock off Honduras in the Gold Cup semifinal. Three days earlier, 71,000 fans were in attendance for the team’s 5-1 victory over El Salvador.
As good as the women’s team has been, their highest attended game of the season only drew 22,000 fans, and that was for a match in Toronto against the Canadian national team.
This proves that, when successful, the US Men's National Team is every bit as popular as the women.
The public is finally catching on to this team, and as the winning streak continues (and as I wrote in a previous article, it will continue), more fans will jump on the bandwagon and ride the wave to Brazil in 2014.
Everyone loves a winner, and as long as the United States Men's National Soccer Team is winning, it will continue to earn the same respect that the US Women's Team has enjoyed.
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