Monday, June 28, 2010

USA sent home

Well, the excitement was off the charts on Saturday for a lot of Americans. The US Men’s national team had made it to the knock out round in the World Cup and on paper the Americans had the easiest path to the semifinals. We weren’t tasked with playing a powerhouse like Germany, Brazil, Spain or Argentina. But someone forgot to tell Ghana that!

I was meeting some friends to watch the game and we had to go to three different places before we found a sports bar or pub where we could get a seat. You could feel the electricity in the bar before kickoff and it was fun to be a part of a unified cheering section. I love international events when the entire bar or pub is cheering for one team. Needless to say, there weren’t a lot of Ghana fans where we were.
As the game started, I said as long as we don’t give up a goal in the first 15 minutes we should be OK. But just like they have done in most of the games in this tournament, they gave up a goal early. This time the goal was allowed in the 5th minute of the game. This was deflating to the team and the crowd, but I still has faith they would come back to tie the game. For some reason this team plays it’s best when they are trailing. They were able to survive the first half and came out and dominated the second half. Clint Dempsey was pulled down from behind in the box to draw a penalty kick. Landon Donovan was able to convert the PK and the game was tied. It stayed tied at the end of regulation and in the knockout rounds there are no draws so they played an extra 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the US performed the same in the first few minutes of extra time as they had been doing in the first few minutes of regulation time. Once again, they allowed a goal early and that goal proved to be the game winner. Ghana has knocked the US out of the world cup for the second straight time by the same score of 2-1. The US dream is over and they are on their way back home to the states.

I think overall the US team had a decent showing in the World Cup but I am a little disappointed. I feel like there are still some holes in the line up and at times it seemed they weren’t giving their best efforts. I was pretty fusrtated while watching the game and I feel like they blew a huge opportunity. Yes they won their group and that is a big accomplishment, but they clearly had the easiest path to the semifinals and didn’t take advantage of it. I love the fact that the country was getting behind the team and patriotism was abound. I hope the US team can learn form this experience and it will make us tougher in the future. Now the players will go back to playing for the club teams and will have to start preparing for their next friendly against Brazil on August 10th. Who knows, they might be playing the reigning world cup champions that day.


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