Friday, June 25, 2010
The United States Soccer Program and its fans experienced jubilation on Wednesday across this great land. Just minutes away from not advancing past the group stage, Landon Donovan instilled hope in the faithful around the world by striking a gimmie goal into the back of the waiting net. With the victory, the US won Group C and advanced to the quarterfinals.
For some reason, the US players could not execute their chances on Wednesday to take the lead from the feisty nation Algeria, except for the one opportunity early in the game Dempsey put home. But wait, yet another bad call by an official in this 2010 competition. Not a phantom call this time pulling away a goal, but an offsides call. The two bad calls were similar in nature that they were both incorrect and both took away an earned goal from the US side.
After seeing the bad call to induce hair pulling and all the failed opportunities, I was beginning to swallow the difficult fate that this year was going to be plagued with more heartbreak to keep our side from advancing to the elimination rounds. The game grew older and closer to the end, and my hopes began fade as we missed more chances. My anger with the bad calls heightened as the game entered stoppage time. I thought maliciously, "Without that blown call against Slovenia we would have beat them! Then this game wouldn't matter if we tied! And the blown call in this game?! I can't believe I HAVE TO WAIT FOUR MORE YEARS! We deserve to move on!!"
Then Algeria had a great chance to score which caused me to cringe as they almost ended my last reserve of hope. SAVE by Tim Howard. He quickly advances the ball to Donovan with a perfect throw to start the counter attack. Donovan speeds through the Algeria lines and pass off to Altidore who centers it to Dempsey, but the Algerian keeper is all over it... but cannot control the rebound. Donovan, like all smart players knows to crash the net. GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL!!! He is in the perfect place to pound the rebound into the twine and send the United States onward. How fitting to have the face of American soccer come through in such a big situation.
Now the United States will have a coveted rematch vs. a talented Ghana squad. If you remember, back in 2006 Ghana was the nail in the coffin for the United States hopes for advancing. A debatable foul gave Ghana a penalty kick to defeat the USA last time, but in 2010 I believe the USA squad has faced all the bad calls possible. The United States is playing some of their best futbol right now, and I expect them to take down Ghana and move onto the next round.
The video below is the reaction to the 91st minute goal against Algeria, which directly correlates with my emotions at the time. Still think futbol is dead in America?
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