The U.S. is up for a FIFA championship - which the men's team has never won at any level. But if it happens, does anything really change?Certain games throughout soccer history are famous for standing as marking points of change.
They are matches in which people, both those who viewed it and those who played in it, look back on and think, "Nothing was ever the same after that."
The question is whether or not the United States stands on the threshold of such a watershed moment.
Yes, they do face mighty Brazil in a FIFA final, but it's not one that holds the prestige of World Cup competition.
It's also not as if Brazil, vaunted and powerful as they may be, are currently ranked number one in the world either.
There's also the fact that the U.S. is itself ranked very respectably within the top twenty national teams in the world.
Any squad that overlooks the American players does so at their own risk, as Spain discovered first-hand.
Rankings are meaningless, though, when one considers that less than twenty years ago, the USA was sending some amateur players to the World Cup.
During that time, of course, the Brazilians added to their titles and prestige. No other country has won more World Cups than Brazil.
With such contrasts, it stand to reason that this championship final means more than the usual.
What exactly it means is another matter.
Is the U.S. now a true contender for titles? Can an American coach with no overseas experience be successful with the squad? Has the U.S. finally figured out the game and is clearly on the right track? Is this the team's "Hello, world!" moment?
The game might for some mean something entirely different if the USA wins.
Others would consider the wins over Egypt and Spain to be enough to draw some conclusions about the state of the squad - regardless of the final tournament result.
Where do you stand? Let us know in the comments what you think the championship match versus Brazil really means for U.S. Soccer - and whether that meaning changes based on the final outcome.
Andrea Canales, Goal.com
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