World Cup 2014

World Cup Memories: The Clint Mathis goal for USMNT that silenced a sea of red in South Korea

It's 21 days and counting until Brazil and Croatia get the ball rolling at the 2014 World Cup and our greatest moments countdown continues with the Mohawk and the Red Sea.

That could be the title of the book about the goal scored by former USMNT star (and current Chicago Fire assistant coach) Clint Mathis in front of over 60,000 Koreans at the 2002 World Cup. He tells us the story of that 24th minute strike, the first salvo in a 1-1 group stage tie, which led US announcer Jack Edwards to exclaim "That's why he's here!":


Definitely scoring in that game was one of those childhood dreams that I’ve always had and it came true. And it came against the host country in a World Cup.
 
It was the Red Sea. I can remember even before we were even playing games, we watched South Korea on TV and we could see everyone in the city wearing red. It was a great experience I’ll never forget as far as my career is concerned.
 
That’s one of the things I always told people during interviews when I played. The best feeling in the game is having 80,000 rooting against you and being able to silence all of them with one goal. You could only hear just the hundred US fans or however many we had in the game on the far side. Otherwise you could hear a pin drop.
 
I saw Johnny O’Brien had the ball and we know his ability to pick out people. So I just made the run to get in between the two defenders and he played a great ball. When I saw it coming, I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time on the ball. So I went for the control and quick release as quickly as possible and I hit the sweet spot and tucked it in the corner.

Were you awake for the Mathis goal in South Korea? Was that the nicest goal ever scored by an American at a World Cup? Or does Eric Wynalda's free kick in 1994 beat Mathis?

WORLD CUP MEMORIES:

Alexi Lalas: Legend's all-time favorite moment was a hand ball

Clint Dempsey: Childhood dreams come true with a single goal

Bruce Arena: First World Cup game? Only one of the biggest upsets in history

Landon Donovan: Baggio's missed PK in '94 leaves profound impact on US great

Kyle Beckerman: The Saudi Arabian who inspired RSL's World Cup hopeful

Jason deVos: 1986ers pave the way for future Canadian national team star

Will Johnson: Timbers captain experiences agony and ecstasy in 120 minutes in 1998

Michael Bradley: The miracle comeback that he helped author in South Africa 2010

Carlos Valderrama: The goal that brings goosebumps to every Colombian