Friendly win will impact U.S. depth chart 

August, 16, 2012

As the euphoria following the Americans' historic first win on Mexican soil begins to recede over the coming days and weeks, one effect of Wednesday's unlikely triumph at Azteca Stadium could continue to linger for years to come: Its impact on the U.S. depth chart.

The Yanks' 1-0 victory -- accomplished by a hodgepodge squad that was missing at least five automatic starters (Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley, Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore) -- figures to provide their replacements, and their replacements' replacements, a tangible confidence boost that will help them progress more quickly just as competition for spots on the 2014 World Cup roster begins to heat up.

Make no mistake, folks: For players on the fringes of both the starting XI and the larger player pool, the result of this friendly match absolutely mattered.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.
Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.