Posted on | June 22, 2014 | 15 Comments
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) June 22, 2014
The United States was less than a minute away from a 2-1 World Cup victory that would have clinched advancement to the round of 16 when Portugal’s superstar Christiano Ronaldo fired a crossing shot that set up a header from Silvestre Varela. The 2-2 tie was a disappointing result for the U.S. which had battled back heroically from an early error that put them in a 1-0 deficit just five minutes into the game. Nevertheless, as CBS Sports points out:
The United States is actually in a position now that managing a draw against one of the best teams in the world in a World Cup match is actually considered a disappointment. The United States has four points after two matches in the “Group of Death!” We should be thrilled, but instead we’re all disappointed because the expectations have been raised for this team. That’s a good thing.
The U.S. could have gotten rattled after a defensive blunder cost them that early goal. Instead, they settled down and controlled the ball and waited for their chance. They didn’t get that chance until nearly 20 minutes into the second half when Jermaine Jones absolutely nailed a long shot after a corner kick to tie it up.
Then, at the 81-minute mark, Deandre Yedlin penetrated to the right corner, hit a crossing shot into the middle and — after some kicking back and forth — Clint Dempsey put it in.
— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) June 23, 2014
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 22, 2014
At that point, I thought we had it in the bag. Unfortunately, Team USA went into a soccer version of the “prevent defense,” which gave Portugal numerous scoring chances — they out-shot the U.S. 12-6 in the second half — and finally the dangerous Ronaldo found his chance. We managed to hold him scoreless, but his assist on the final goal cost us the win.
— FIFA World Cup 2014 (@FIFAWorldCup_20) June 23, 2014
It was a beautiful, exciting game, though. Now the situation is this: If the U.S. wins or ties Thursday against Germany, we advance to the round of 16. If the U.S. loses to Germany, we could still advance, if the Portugal-Ghana game ends in a tie, or if Ghana wins by a single goal and the U.S. loses by only one goal. A nail-biter, sure, but we’re still in good shape and still control our own destiny.