In our last U.S. Men’s National Team camp of 2013 in Scotland and Austria, I asked the players what was their favorite moment or memory of the year. Of course team moments like winning the 2013 Gold Cup, 2014 World Cup qualification, including winning the Hex and another ‘Dos a Cero’ against Mexico, were consistently mentioned atop an amazingly long list of both team and individual highlights this year. For me, nothing quite compares to the Hexagonal. If they say you never forget the first time, well, I will never forget the experience from the inside-out perspective.
When I look back at this past year, I think of the look on the faces of the Honduran people back in February. They had the World Cup dream in their eyes and on their faces they also had the belief, thick in the air that humid day, that their country could play with anyone.
Of course, who could ever forget the famous ‘Snow’ game in my old stomping grounds of all places, Denver, back in March. That match would prove to be the catalyst for an incredible year for the MNT. The 1-0 win over Costa Rica in what can only be best described as blizzard like conditions was followed by the scoreless draw in Azteca against Mexico and the team was off and running.
The 9-point trip that saw late Spring turn into the days of Summer, propelled the U.S. atop the Hex to stay and was punctuated by incredible home crowds in Seattle and Utah. The incredible summer of 2013 was highlighted by a dominate Gold Cup title run and also the first ever come from behind win in Europe against World Cup bound Bosnia in Sarajevo.
A warm September night in Columbus, Ohio will forever be with me as celebrating in the locker room with the staff and team are moments that mean everything when you are on the Road to Brazil. We too had World Cup dreams in our eyes. A perfect home record capped in Kansas City preceded a win in Panama. I am still trying to process the final 10 minutes in Panama City, as I have never seen – and may not see again – anything like those final moments, was a perfect winning bow to wrap up the top spot in the Hex.
2013 was a record-breaking year for the MNT. On and off the field a culture of winning has taken hold. From the locker room to the fans in the stands and everything that goes into soccer in the U.S., let’s add to it in 2014.
What was your favorite moment or memory of 2013? Respond here
One of America’s premier soccer on air personalities, Allen Hopkins, has been a sports broadcaster for ESPN, NBC Olympics, Fox Soccer, Fox Sports West, and the Pac 12 Network. Currently, serving in the role of Special Advisor to Jürgen Klinsmann and the U.S. Men’s National Team, Allen spent five years at ABC/ESPN as a reporter, play-by-play broadcaster and soccer analyst as well as sideline reporter for college basketball. In over 10 seasons with Fox Soccer Channel, he has called over 3,000 games, including the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, the Brazilian Championship, French Ligue 1, UEFA Cup and more. He solidified his status as one of the country’s foremost soccer personalities during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan. His reports and interviews with soccer’s biggest names drew rave reviews and critical acclaim. Four years later, he was once again on top of his game as a key contributor to ABC/ESPN’s ratings record coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Hopkins also spent four seasons as the lead analyst and pre-game co-host for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Born in Berlin, Germany, Allen has lived all over the United States and is from Aurora, Colorado. He currently resides in Southern California with his wife Kim, daughters Sydney and Siena, and son Santiago. You can follow Allen on social media on Twitter: @AllenAHopkins, Instagram: @aaHops, Facebook: Allen.Hopkins.77 and his website: AllenHopkins.com.