Even when America's not the best, America's basically the best. The August FIFA world rankings are out, and the USMNT jumped three spots, from number 22 to 19. Also important: they jumped Mexico, who stayed at 20. The United States are now the top-ranked team in CONCACAF.
It's the nation's first time in the top 20 in over two years. The squad got to where they are by smacking North America all across the United States last month en route to a relatively easy Gold Cup win. This is important, because not only is the national team in the top 20 in a while, but it's also the first time in a long time that it feels like they belong there.
Now for some cold water. The FIFA ranking system is pretty arbitrary and doesn't make much sense. Also, almost no one played last month, so most of the rankings are unchanged from July. And that brings us to another problem, which is that Brazil is ranked ninth. If you remember, though, just last month, Brazil dismantled top-ranked Spain in the Confederations Cup final, 3-0. But since they're next year's World Cup host nation, they qualify for the tournament anyway, and don't take part in World Cup qualifying. That almost invalidates the entire list, since there aren't eight teams in the world better than Brazil. And even if Brazil were ranked first or second in the world, it wouldn't mean a damn thing, because this isn't the BCS.
All that aside, though, the USMNT dominated and improved over the last month, and that's obvious to everyone who watched them, and the rankings reflect that. Rejoice. Here's the rest of the top 20:
18. Ivory Coast
Photo Credit: Getty