Comparing 2009 squad to 2013's team 

February, 5, 2013

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- It was arguably the high-water mark in U.S. Soccer's 100-year history. In 2009, in this very city, the men's national team beat Honduras to qualify for its sixth consecutive World Cup, capping off a year in which it again finished ahead of Mexico in the CONCACAF standings, upset top-ranked Spain in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup, then nearly followed it up with an even more shocking win against Brazil in the tourney final.

Four years later, as the U.S. begins the last leg of its journey to another World Cup here against the Catrachos on Wednesday afternoon, many still consider that 2009 U.S. team the best of all time. But was it really better than the current squad?

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