Yes! America is not dead yet. Things looked grim. I was resigned to defeat, but then, Landon Donovan came through in the clutch. I still cannot believe it. Wow. What a day! Greatest USA soccer victory. So much drama. I'm still too excited to write a coherent entry on the game, so I'll just go with bullet points again.
The goal - Great outlet by Howard (distribution brilliant). Great work by Altidore not to shoot. His angle was too tight and if he would have shot, all that would have resulted would have been a corner or clearance.
How about when the ball was just sitting there? Wow, I feel like it was there for 4-5 seconds even though it was just an instant. You could see the goalkeeper getting up. You could see Donovan coming in. Who was gonna get there first? Landon Donovan! Amazing finish.
Celebration - I watched the game at a restaurant pub, probably out 50 people in a back room watching on a huge projection screen. The celebration was wild! People jumping and hugging, people on the floor, glasses spilled, people running around, children being held up ala Lion King. Very glad to have been there. Such a triumph, pure euphoria.
Donovan - best US soccer player ever, without a doubt, stepped up hugely in these past two games.
Missed chances - oh my goodness, so many chances. The goal called back sucked and was an incorrect call, but it looked offsides, and unlike the Slovenian call, things like that happen often in soccer. Gomez should have scored, Dempsey should have scored. Man. But those misses are no longer lamented with the US victory.
Unsung heroes - Benny Feilhaber brought some great energy off the bench. I like his creativity.
Jay Demerit started slowly and had a real poor mistake that almost cost us, but after that he was again a rock, doing what a central defender needs to do.
Steve Cherundelo- might be the best player for the US over the 3 group games, playing defense and getting forward.
Carlos Bocanegra - switching into the center of the defense, wasn't spectacular, but did what he needed to do and had a pivotal intervention late in the second half on an Algeria cross.
Celebration 2.0 - I watched the goal with friends on DVR at least 15 times, so I got to see the USA celebration a lot. Anyone else notice Stuart Holden was the first one there to celebrate yesterday and last week after Bradley's goal? I like that. Well done Stuart. A few other things from the celebration - great leap by Altidore onto the top of the pile, nice somersault on the pile by Demerit, and I also noticed the guy in the purple vest with a great double double fist pump. Exhilaration, Euphoria. Awesomeness.
Up next - The US won the group and avoids Germany and now plays Ghana on Saturday. Then the winner of that players the winner of Uruguay/South Korea. That is a nice little quarter. I expect the Ghana game to be very close an hard fought. I see a one-nil game, but don't know which way it will go.
Legacy - This is by far the best moment in US soccer history. It beats out anything else because of the drama and agony of waiting 91 minutes to score. It was important and dramatic and really had the interest of the American public. This is one we will always look back to. Advancing in the World Cup in the 90th minute, these things don't happen often.
As for me, I'm not used to my teams winning at all, much less in dramatic fashion. There are only a few plays I can compare it to. I was too young to appreciate the Packers Super Bowl win and was in Montana for the Brewers playoff clinching win, so those two don't make the list. The only two plays that I can remember that can compare to Donovan's goal for me are Louis Saha's goal in the first 30 seconds in last year's FA Cup Final and Scott Starks fumble return against Purdue. This is one I will always remember.
Keep it up USA. We are not done yet! The nation is behind you.