USMNT dreams of the knockout stages snatched away by late Portugal goal in 2-2 draw

Moment of quality by C. Ronaldo final act of the draw after goals by Jones, Dempsey for the US

World Cup, #USAvPOR Tim Howard and Jermaine Jones

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USA Today Sports

The U.S. were seconds from going through to the Round of 16, but a stoppage time goal by Silvestre Varela helped Portugal earn a 2-2 draw against the Americans.

With the draw, the U.S. will now need a win or a tie against Germany to go through to the Round of 16. A loss against Germany would leave the Yanks' chances to advance down to goal differential with any winner in the match between the other two Group G squads, Ghana and Portugal.

Nani gave Portugal the lead after just five minutes but Jermaine Jones' second-half tally pulled the U.S. level before Dempsey’s stunning go-ahead goal for the Americans. The U.S. looked through but a late goal by Varela off a cross from Cristiano Ronaldo preserved a point for the Portuguese.

For all the bedlam late in the game, Portugal needed just six minutes to take the lead when a failed clearance by Geoff Cameron fell perfectly for Nani who calmly slotted his close range attempt past Tim Howard for the goal. The Americans answered back immediately with several attempts from Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley that sailed wide of the Portuguese net.

For all the Americans success with the ball, Portugal nearly doubled their lead in the closing moments of the half. In the waning moments, Howard mishandled a shot by Nani which hit off the post and fell perfectly for Eder, but his follow-up shot was tipped up and over the bar by the fingertips of the American goalkeeper to help the U.S. head into the second half only down a goal.

The Americans nearly got on the board in the opening 10 minutes of the half when an overlapping run by Fabian Johnson unlocked the Portuguese defense setting up a chance for Michael Bradley inside the 18-yard box. However, Bradley’s attempt was cleared off the line by Diego Costa to keep the score level.

The U.S. received their equalizer in the 64th minute when Jones launched a devastating curling effort from beyond the penalty area that proved too much for the Portuguese goalkeeper. Just 17 minutes later, Clint Dempsey gave the Americans the lead when he was able to tally from close range off a cross from Graham Zusi.

But in the closing minutes of second half injury time, the Portuguese broke American hearts when Cristiano Ronaldo launched a pinpoint cross for Valera who easily beat Howard for the game-tying goal.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.