Friday, June 18, 2010

USA Earns Gutsy Point

What an unbelieveable game. Now I am not much of a soccer fan but the World Cup is what it is about, especially when the USA plays.

The USA played maybe one of the worst first halves in soccer history. They were outplayed and you would have thought it was a contest to see how wide open you can leave Slovenia...unreal.

The US turned it on a little bit near the end of the first half and came dangerously close to evening the score at one, but just couldn't get it going. Then the officiating happened. Off a corner kick the United States Rodney Findley got a piece of the ball and just pushed it wide. The game was stopped and Findley was called for a hand ball resulting in a Yellow Card. Ok, fair enough, hand ball in the box is a card, I get it. The problem is that he came nowhere near touching the ball. It actually hit his head. I know officiating is hard, but good lord, it hit him in the face. To make matters worse it was Findley's second yellow of the Cup so he will sit next game. Awesome.

A few minutes later Slovenia strikes again for another goal, making it 2-0. Now soccer is not like hockey, it is very touch to come back from a two goal deficit in just a half of play. The saying held true though. A two goal lead is the worst to have.

The United States came out of the halftime fired up. Landon Donovan started the part with a goal in the 48th minute and it was a game. Donovan dribbled all the way in to about seven feet from the Slovenian keep, who had the deer in the headlights look, and burried one top shelf to cut the lead in half. This goal by Donovan wasn't nice, it was filthy sick. Once I can get some YouTube coverage and highlights I will post it. What a goal to open the half with.

EDIT Here is a picture thanks to Emmanuel Sanders of our Pittsburgh Steelers. What a picture.

The USA would get a few opportunities here and there and pretty much dominated play for a majority of the second half. The 80 minute mark hit and you kinda got this sinking feeling in your stomach like it was going to be a loss and the USA had no real shot to move on. Then it happened.

Unreal. What a moment. Coming from two goals down to tie it up. There was still time and if you didn't almost have a heart attack with that goal then you have no idea what is going on. You know what is the most awesome part of this goal? The celebration. Could you imagine if the NFL let dogpiles happen after a huge TD? It was aweosme to see.

With the US still pressing they had a free kick with a few minutes left. You just felt that it was the huge chance we needed for the game. Perfect kick and a perfect set up and the ball found the back of the net off the foot of Maurice Adu. Then this:

Few observations:

-I know they call it football, but last time I checked you can't wrap your arms around not one, but two US players.

-Everyone knows there is US bias, obviously

-It's not like they put the ball in the net on that play, oh...

-What on God's green earth is that official looking at? Honestly?

What a terrible call. Cost the United States a goal, and possible win. I am never one to blame officiating because lets be serious, if they play half as good in the first half as they did in the second then it is a moot point, but this was bad.

I am not just talking bad because of the disallowed goal, I am talking ball all game. Terrible.

The US wasn't too happy either.

"I'm a little gutted to be honest," Landon Donovan said. "I don't know how they stole that last goal from us. I'm not sure what the call was. He (the referee) wouldn't tell us what the call was."

"We asked the ref many times what it was or who it was on and he wouldn't or couldn't explain it," Donovan said. "I don't know what to think of the call because I didn't see any foul, just a normal free kick and a goal."

Per FIFA rules referee's don't have to say what the foul was. They just have to blow the whistle and point their hand. If you can find a foul on a US player there in that highlight, put it in the comment section and I will own up and if you are right you can post how much of a joke I am on my own blog. Unreal.

The game ends in a 2-2 draw.

Some are saying this is the best game in US history. Sure they beat Spain in a friendly a while back, but this was a World Cup game. Everyone who is anyone with soccer, from casual to hardcore, watch the World Cup. It is the top of the mountain in terms of soccer. This is coming back from a 2-0 deficit on a worldwide stage. That is what it is all about. The bad officiating is what is going to run the headlines but it shouldn't. This was a great gutsy effort by the Americas to earn the point. Did they deserve the win? Hell yea, but you know what they are still in a place to move on.

I am unbelieveably proud to be an American and I was at work watching the game, with my boss nonetheless, and freaked out when Bradley found the back of the net. What a feeling.

Tie isn't terrible. Time to focus on Algeria.

Here are the game highlights:

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