Phewwwww…what a game. If you are reading this, I’m sure you’re a big time soccer fan and were either watching the game or have by now seen the highlights. What an incredible end to such an important game.
From the beginning of team USA’s World Cup 2010 campaign, there has been adversity to overcome. Things didn’t look so good after England sliced open our defense to score the opener just 7 minutes into the first match. While it obviously wasn’t a dream start, our boys finally settled down and ended up playing a very solid game against one of the world’s best teams. Now I know we did get very, very lucky with the astonishing gaffe by Robert Green, but in all fairness we were a bit unlucky when Jozy Altidore’s potential game winner was deflected onto post late in the match.
After the first half hour of the second match against Slovenia, it looked like we would be packing our bags early for the long flight back home. In another spell of grit and determination we battled back from 2 goals down and were even robbed of a game winner by what will go down as one of the most mystifying calls in World Cup history. While the refereeing decision and the loss of an additional two points would be all the talk, what we had done is put ourselves in a position to control our own destiny in the tournament.
Knowing we needed a win, the US squad came out running hard and fast. Luckily for us, a massive momentum killer was narrowly averted when Algeria left Tim Howard’s goal rocking after hammering a close range volley off the crossbar.
From that moment the game was open as both teams needed a win to keep their hopes alive. The USA was clearly the better side, although Algeria did look dangerous on the counter attack. After yet another blown call by the referees left us without our much needed goal, the USA pressed forward creating chance after chance. On any other day the USA could have been up 4-0 midway through the second half, but things weren’t looking good as the clock crept deeper into the second half.
Entering injury Algeria had a great chance for the game winner, but the Algerian forward headed the ball straight to Tim Howard which would spark the memorable sequence of events to follow. Howard in one swing of his arm, threw a fantastic outlet pass down the right flank to Jozy Altidore who galloped toward the touchline before rolling a crossed pass into the path of Clint Dempsey who poked it towards goal. In the end Dempsey got just enough on it to force a save which the Algerian keeper could not hold onto, allowing the trailing Landon Donovan to smash the game winner into the open net.
It was the perfect end to an amazing game. The result meant the USA moved from the brink of elimination to top of the group based on their total goals scored, after being tied with England on both points and goal difference.
Will there be more magic for the USA? Tune in Saturday at 11:30 am on ABC to see what happens when the Yanks take on Ghana in the round of 16.