Yes it was the re-match sixty years in the making. So much anticipation from both sides and from the supporters at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg and of course in all of the pubs in England and across the United States, the best from both countries finally meet up in this early clash.
There was that bad moment of defending when the USA was caught ball watching early in the 4th minute when the defenders allowed Steve Gerrard a free chance at goal and there was nothing Tim Howard could do about it as Gerrard slotted that shot home for the early one goal to nil lead for England.
From that moment there was a feeling that the USA was going to suffer the same fate like what happened to Nigeria against Argentina. That would be the only goal of the match and it would be tough swimming upstream from here. But in the 40th minute, the USA would come up with the equalizer and got a little help from an unknown source. As Clint Dempsey received the ball he was trying to find a way to break off from his defender.
Turning left, turning right and got his left foot on the ball. It looked like an easy save for Rob Green. It looked like it should’ve stayed one nil to England after that chance, but Green flubbed the weak shot and the ball rolls harmlessly over the goal line and into the back of the net. This was an unbelievable moment and watching the replays from the world feed, you saw David Beckham with such a scowl on his face you thought he was ready to get up from the bench and he would run at Rob Green himself and give him a piece of his mind.
The scary moment for the USA was what happened to Tim Howard in the 29th minute as he came off his line and made a diving stop on the England cross, but out of nowhere was Emile Heskey who slid into Howard and drove both his boots and legs into his chest and left arm at the same time. There was a moment of fear that the best keeper for the USA & Everton was going to get subbed out. Thankfully Howard was able to recover and stay in the match till the final minutes ticked off.
The only question I had from Bob Bradley’s starting eleven was seeing Robbie Findley start instead of the red hot Edson Buddle. While I understand he wants some punch coming off the bench, I think it would’ve served the USA better was to have both Jozy Altidore & Edson Buddle start up top and then bring in Findley as a game changer off the substitutes bench.
So much pressure from England was absorbed from the USA defense and there were times you felt England was going to get that second goal, but the back line did very well and so was Howard. The one chance where Jozy Altidore muscled off his defender and had that glorious chance to put it away, Green was there to make the save. But on the replay you could tell he flubbed it and he was saved by the far post as the deflection knocked the ball away from the net.
Overall this was a well earned draw for the USA. I would have to assume that those on the other side of the Atlantic they would say a well earned draw, or this should’ve been a win for England. But now that this match has been put to bed, it’s time to concentrate on Slovenia & Algeria.
Feuerstein’s Fire USA Vs England Re-Cap show
Eric Altshule of Major League Soccer Talk & Dave Denholm.