The spirit of the U.S. National Team 

February, 9, 2011

In honor of today's canceled U.S.-Egypt friendly, we figured we'd commemorate the last time the Yanks met the Pharaohs: the Americans' 3-0 Confederations Cup victory June 21, 2009.

The final Confed Cup group match in Rustenburg, South Africa, was a pivotal moment in the last World Cup cycle, helping to cement the 2010 squad's thrilling and sometimes maddening identity: a team that never made life easy on itself and was never better than when its back was against a wall. It was also a window into the U.S.-against-the-world mindset of coach Bob Bradley and his charges. Unfortunately, the match is already receding in memory, overshadowed by the stunning 2-0 upset over No. 1-ranked and eventual World Cup champ Spain in the Confed Cup semifinal three days later, and the Yanks' roller-coaster World Cup last year.

But before the sands of time bury the match like a forgotten sarcophagus, it's worth looking back on what that game meant and how it in many ways summed up what the national team has become under Bradley.

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.