The US men’s national team have won two of the last three US Cup tournaments, including the last one on Saturday in Washington DC.
The Americans finished the match 1-0 down after just eight minutes and looked likely to be drawn against arch-rivals Canada at the US Soccer National Stadium in a friendly on Saturday night.
But the Americans managed to salvage a point in the 71st minute when captain Matt Besler picked out a loose ball and scored his first goal of the tournament.
It was a stunning finish to an historic day, with the US having been without their captain since the World Cup in Brazil last summer.
They then went on to win 4-0 over Mexico and 4-2 over Panama in the second round of qualifying.
“We were very fortunate,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.
“It’s one of the most important things in this game, to get two points in the first round, and we did that.
It was very exciting to see the energy, the passion, the intensity of our team.
It’s always exciting to watch a game like that.”
The Americans were hoping to get one more goal from captain Clint Dempsey, who was named to the US squad.
“I’m a huge fan of Clint Dempsey,” Klinsman said.
“He’s a great guy, a great competitor.
We’ll see what happens at the end of the season, but we have to respect Clint and his work ethic.
We have to support him.”
Besler has now scored nine goals in his last five appearances for the US, including two goals in two games in the World Championships.
“That’s the way I think it should be, we need Clint to do more of that,” Klismann said of Dempsey.
“He’s doing it so well.
It will be good to see more of him.
The US has a great goalkeeper and I’m excited to see him be in the squad.
We’re not looking for the next captain.”
The US will face Canada in the next round on Saturday.