MLSsoccer.com editors' riffs on USA-Algeria
Where to begin? It wasn't a clinical performance. It wasn't pretty, either. It was emotional. Pure and visceral.
The key man was, of course, the purest and most visceral player in the US set-up: Michael Bradley. In three games, 270 minutes, we have watched him grow from a child with potential into an indomitable force who will push, press, and power his way into the reckoning whenever he can. It sometimes gets him into trouble and out of position, as it did a few times against Algeria.
But if Landon Donovan was the quiet, compassionless assassin ghosting through this emotional victory, Bradley was the raw battering ram. They both had their roles and both played them to perfection.
For anyone who did not know Landon Donovan, the 94 minutes against Algeria served as the ultimate microcosm of his nine-year pro career.
Tame. Anonymous. Unassuming just like his deadpan voice. Horizontal touches followed by even more backward passes. Donovan could have turned and attacked the Fennecs on countless occasions. He could have done and been many things in the last decade.
Then just as you begin to tire from calling him out, he finds a way to erase all the doubts on one play. Wednesday's goal will likely go down as the lasting image of Donovan's career, but the match itself is the most representative: great expectations, frustrating inconsistency and missed opportunities. But enough thrilling moments to make the ride all worth it.
Another emotionally draining game ... I love it! The USA have a taste for the drama, and you know what? That’s great for the sport here.
And how typical of Landon Donovan to be almost invisible for 90 minutes, and then turn up and score the winner. Legendary stuff. And another poor refereeing decision to deny the USA goal! My non-soccer friends were screaming conspiracy—I had to remind them that this stuff happens all the time, and that’s why—to quote Jay DeMerit—it’s “the game we love.”
In the other Group C match, England squeaked through, too, so the two favored teams progress to the knockouts. That’s poetry, in a way. Still, today is all about the USA. Can’t wait to see who they face in the next round.
What a finish! It wasn’t over until the fat lady sang, and that fat lady happened to be Landon Donovan.
After 90 minutes of despair, it was only fitting that Donovan would be the one to bring us bliss. As Donovan’s shot crossed the line and hit the back of the net, the entire US let out a huge collective cheer, soccer fans or not. Furthermore, Donovan displayed that fight-hard never give up attitude that the US have been showing throughout the World Cup so far. This is what soccer is about: pure, undiluted emotion.
For their effort, for the fact that they dominated a match from start to finish against an opponent that refused to play soccer, I’m happy for the United States. For once again being the victims of an atrocious call that disallowed a legitimate goal, a travesty against Clint Dempsey that almost ended their World Cup run, I’m happy for the United States.
While they aren’t the best team in this World Cup (not by a long shot), there is no one else with more heart, more desire, more personality than the US If there’s any team that can come from behind and overcome any adversity, it’s the United States. And that’s why they deserve this moment.
THANK YOU SAINT DONOVAN! A totally deserved win for the US. The team looked for the goal during 90 minutes, and once again, Landon Donovan stood up as the US hero. It was a dramatic an emotional victory that put the U.S. in the round of 16.
However, Bradley’s men did not look as effective as expected. Dempsey missed several goal opportunities; Altidore was erratic in his definitions, and Gomez as starter? It was definitely a huge mistake from Bradley.
Whether the US opponent is Ghana, Germany or Serbia, US team’s main focus should be the offensive side.
50 years from now,sports writers, historians and fans may all point to today’s game as the moment soccer shed it’s second-class citizen tag once and for all in America’s sports pages. While the US played a far from perfect game, the beyond-dramatic late game and group-winning goal provided a perfect end to a group stage troika of PR coups: playing and not losing to mighty England, the comeback & controversy against Slovenia and stoppage time heroics from the poster boy of MLS and US Soccer. Regardless of what sport you are a fan of, you have to enjoy drama like this.
They’ll have a tall task against either Germany or Ghana, but the momentum the team has on the field, and now here at home, is almost reminiscent of the underdog US Olympic ice hockey team that galvanized the nation in 1980. I just hope they can somehow harness the attention and energy being generated back home and get it to the boys on the field in South Africa.