USA wins group C

23 Jun

Holy crap, that was amazing.  The U.S. left it incredibly late, but Landon Donovan finally scored the winner in the 91st minute (can’t believe Landon Donovan of all people made me cry).  The goal gave the U.S. a 1-0 win over Algeria and clinched top spot in group C.  Crazy to think that the U.S. went from a tie, which would’ve sent them home, to top of the group with one strike.  England took second with a 1-0 win over Slovenia. 

My heart is still pounding. That was one of the most dramatic endings I’ve ever seen. I know that technically New Zealand left it later against Slovakia, but with what was on the line, this one topped it.

The U.S. survived an early scare after Algeria put one off the post in the 7th minute, but from that point on, the U.S. appeared to control the game.  Clint Dempsey had a goal (wrongly) called back for offsides later in the half, which had me thinking that it’s just not fair that the U.S. could get hosed again on a goal.  Dempsey also was unlucky in the second half with a shot ricocheting off the post. 

Bob Bradley gambled a little bit going into this game, making three changes from the side that drew against Slovenia, including taking a clearly not 100% Oguchi Onyewu out of the lineup and inserting much-maligned Jonathan Bornstein (I think my reaction was, oh crap).  Carlos Bocanegra moved into the middle and Bornstein played on the left.  To his credit, Bornstein played a solid game.  He looked a little shaky early on, but calmed his nerves pretty quickly.  Maurice Edu started in place of Jose Torres in the midfield and Herculez Gomez got his first start in place of suspended Robbie Findley.  Overall, the changes were positive for the Yanks and Bob Bradley is looking like a pretty smart guy.

The U.S. definitely deserved the win.  They played a smart tactical game and put in their most complete effort of the tournament.  I started to feel ill around the 80th minute when the U.S. was still searching for a game-winner.  I also started to get a little tense with Slovenia, hoping they would equalize.  This was a gutsy performance and the team played with heart the whole way through.  Clint Dempsey and Jay DeMerit both needed stitches after the game, but they sucked it up and finished the game strong (take note, Italy). The team was able to stay relatively calm despite the urgency of needing a goal.  There were a few times they tried too hard, but as a whole, the team stayed composed trying to create chances.

The positive result has to give the U.S. confidence going into the round of 16, although it will be hard to let the emotion of today go. The next round opponent is still up in the air.  Heck, group D is still up in the air.  Both Ghana/Germany and Serbia/Australia are underway now, so the U.S. will find out soon who the opponent will be.


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