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.

For the full take on how the win against Egypt helped shape the current men's national team, you need to be an Insider.

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.