FRI, 2:30PM ET
FUL
CHA
FRI, 2:30PM ET
ABER
MOTH
FRI, 2:30PM ET
WER
COL
FRI, 3PM ET
VIGO
LEVA
FRI, 8PM ET
CHI
HOU
FRI, 8:30PM ET
USA
MEX

US 1 – Algeria 0 — US Produces 90+ Minutes of Agony Followed by 5 Seconds of Ecstasy

 US 1   Algeria 0     US Produces 90+ Minutes of Agony Followed by 5 Seconds of Ecstasy

Well, that may not have been the most elegant game of soccer the US has ever played. It was certainly the bravest.

After a game like that, long-form elegant pose are really not part of the agenda. Instead, here are some random thoughts on one of the most dramatic victories in the history of US Soccer:

The road was rocky, but the result was just. Aside from the Clint Dempsey goal that was unfairly ruled out and the fist to Dempsey’s face that should have resulted in a penalty and red card, the US controlled more of the ball and got more of the chances. Algeria were positive, and their early shot off the crossbar was a rocket, but the US played far better against a stingy Algerian defense than either England or Slovenia, and deserved the win.

Landon Donovan may have scored the winning goal, but the assist goes to the outstanding training staff of US Soccer. After 90 minutes of end-to-end action, the Algerian team was dead on its feet. In fairness, there are 30 other teams in this tournament that would have also been breathing like they were down to one lung. The exception had five players running at full clip down the pitch against the two Algerian defenders that were staggering back. For the past six months, the US Soccer training staff had been communicating with all the potential players about regiment that was expected of them, and most of Bob Bradley’s pre-World Cup camp was dedicated to cardio-vascular training. The payoff for all that work came in the 92nd minute today when Donovan and four other Americans created the break-away opportunity, flooded the box, befuddled the out-manned Algerians who had managed to totter back, and stuck it in the net.

That was a very welcome clean sheet. Make not mistake about it – the Algerians were well organized and very positive in their play. They were going for the win, and it was a real challenge to keep the ball out of the net. Sitting Gooch and starting the occasionally nerve-wracking Jonathon Bornstein paid off. Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerit we tough as nails in the middle with DeMerit being especially tough, challenging for every ball and making some key interceptions.

I would be willing to bet that whoever plays us in the next round would have rather played England. Good, technical teams can master England. This English team has proved itself to be neither technically gifted nor physically intimidating. They look ready to lose. On the other hand, whatever the US lacks for in skill, they make up for in speed and effort – two attributes that are hard to strategize against. The US will cause problems to whomever they face.

CONCACAF sent three teams to South Africa, and two have gotten through to the knockout round. Not bad. Africa has sent six teams to the World Cup finals, and it is a good bet that all six will be headed home. That is a really disappointing showing, especially since this is the first Finals to take place on the African continent.

The Italians are not soccer fans. They are just fans of the Italian team. I am vacationing with my family in Italy this week, and it was remarkably hard to find a bar in Milan that was showing the game. I finally tracked one down next door to the American consulate, and even then I was practically the only one there to watch the game. I assume the country will stop and watch tomorrow’s Italy plays its next game, but it is hard to find anyone to pay attention to the World Cup when Italy is not involved.

It is nice to have a few days off before the US takes on its next opponent. That being said, another game like that, and I will have to find some nice Italian person to grab some paddles and restart my heart.

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0 Responses to US 1 – Algeria 0 — US Produces 90+ Minutes of Agony Followed by 5 Seconds of Ecstasy

  1. Matt Martin says:

    Eric, I have spent several months in Italy over multiple occasions and loved nearly EVERYTHING about it!!! BUT, I have to say that Milan was the most Western and therefore the least enjoyable citta in my entire experience. Still beautiful and full of art, architecture, and good food, but a total let down for atmosphere WHICH I FOUND EVERYWHERE ELSE!!! My time in Italia was filled with calcio and exceptional, vivid experiences in Monte Rosso Al Mare, Siena, Verona, even Brescia, and Bergamo…Orvieto!!, Perugia, ROMA!!!! Venezia, Bologna, Parma, etc etc – I have stayed in all these places and the experiences changed my life – Milan was just too much like home – so busy and indifferent to the special things! You could probably find people who love the game for the game in Italia – I know I did … just not in Milan!

  2. Matt Martin says:

    or, shall I say JUST NOT AS EASILY!!! in Milan – The Milanese, whether Interisti or AC Milan fans are passionate – you wouldn’t have so much incredible footie there with Brazilians and Argentines so prevalent were it not so!!! Sorry Milanisti if I offended! TAKE BACK YOUR TOWN!! LOL!!!

  3. Charles says:

    After watching their soccer team, anyone that is a fan of that is not a soccer fan.
    USAUSAUSA !

    Everyone knew going in not to underestimate any of the teams in our group and the US did win the group, but I think England US is a toss up right now. US should have finished that group off and didn’t. England just isn’t that good, but still gets through.

    Is this a turning point in US Soccer ? Sure going in, England was heavily favored, but we tied them and if US progresses from here, I would think people could look back at this as a time when we started to become a bigger power than England.

    • Logan says:

      The US did finish that group off. They beat the Slovenians but only got one point for it. They should have finished the group with 7 points, not 5, which would have been a more impressive looking number.

  4. Stunned Duck says:

    “In fairness, there are 30 other teams in this tournament that would have also been breathing like they were down to one lung. ”

    29. How quickly you forget South Korea’s 2002 performance.

  5. doug says:

    How annoying is that Scottish guy on ESPN? The self-hating Scot who supports England? The one who seems to think that the world fears English football? After drawing with Algeria, a game in which the English generated almost no close scoring opportunities in 90 minutes? After scoring 2 goals in three games, one due to a goalie error? Yeah, I’m really sure the Germans are quaking in their cleats at the prospect of playing mighty England… An England that hasn’t advanced past the quarterfinals in 40 years…

  6. Jon says:

    Anyone know where we can find ESPN’s intro video to today’s match?

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