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The 5 Best Saves by the USA in International Soccer Since 2002

Hope Solo save Canada

Hope Solo save Canada

5) Luis Robles v. Haiti, CONCACAF Gold Cup (2009)

Starter Troy Perkins sat on the bench during this game, taking necessary rest after two shutouts against Grenada and Honduras in the two previous games. Luis Robles got his first international start and the Americans played decently, ending with a 2-2 tie with Haiti. Along the way, Robles made this fantastic save and his play was good enough for the United States to win its grouping. On what most would consider an overwhelming stage, Robles came up huge in relieving Perkins for the day.

4) Hope Solo, “The Deflection”, Olympic Exhibition v. Canada (2012)

This clip shows a remarkable display of athleticism from goalkeeper Hope Solo out of Richland, Wash. Solo’s skill and physical tools have kept her on the field as the Women’s National Team’s premiere keeper since 2000. This save makes the list not because of its significance (the game was merely a send-off match) but rather because of its demonstration of the team’s star power. This same squad would go on to win the Gold Medal in the Olympics that year.

3) Brad Friedel’s save against South Korea, World Cup (2002)

In the first half of soccer against the host team, the United States found themselves in a precarious situation. South Korea’s Eul Yong Lee was awarded a penalty kick and would have a chance to take the lead in a tight game. In the goal was Brad Friedel, an experienced American who was nearing the end of his international career. Since 1990, no keeper had saved a penalty kick during regulation of a World Cup match. But being the wily veteran he is, Friedel read the situation and became the first man in 12 years to stop such a play. The game would end in a draw but both teams would advance out of the first round, South Korea even taking 4th place.

2) Hope Solo’s shootout stop v. Brazil, World Cup quarterfinal (2011)

For 55 minutes of the quarterfinal with Brazil, the United States Women’s National Team was playing with only 10 players. In the second minute of stoppage time in double overtime, Abby Wambach netted a beautiful goal to send the match into a shootout. The U.S. would score all five of their penalty kicks, while the Brazilians only managed to attempt four, due to Hope Solo stymieing the opponent’s efforts with her defense of the third strike from Daiane. With each save Solo proves that with her in the net, the opposition has little hope of scoring.

1) Tim Howard v. Canada, 85’ minute, CONCACAF Gold Cup (2011)

In the first game of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the USA defeated Canada 2-0. With this win, goalie Tim Howard earned his 21st career shutout, a notable achievement in the world of soccer. The USA eventually fell to Mexico in the final match of the tournament, but all was not lost. The momentum of the team’s success would carry over to the Summer Olympics in 2012, when the Women’s team would capture a Gold Medal. Tim Howard is in the discussion for America’s best keeper ever (along with Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel), and this multiple save performance shows exactly why that’s the case.