After all the pain and suffering our National Team has gone through with bad starts, bad officiating and phantom calls for fouls, they finally got a goal that sends them to the Second Round of the World Cup and now they are sitting pretty waiting for Group D to produce an opponent.
Four minutes of second half stoppage time was added by the fourth official and after Tim Howard made a nice grab on an Algerian chance, he distributed the ball perfectly on the throw to the far side where Landon Donovan was. Donovan with the ball was making an attacking run and finds Jozy Altidore who crossed it inside the area for Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey tried to smack it thru, but Algerian keeper Rais M Bolhi made the cross body diving save, but the rebound was loose and the trailer was Donovan. When he got inside the area he ripped the rebound home and for the first time in these three group matches the USA took the lead and with stoppage time quickly fading, the referee blew his whistle and the USA for the first time wins their group and will await their opponents from Group D.
So many quality chances were either squandered or stopped by the brilliant goalkeeping of Rais M Bolhi. No matter how many times the USA knocked so loudly on the door, it was Bolhi that came up big, but the first questionable call from the officials came in the 21st minute was a rebound chance that was pounded in by Clint Dempsey was called off-sides.
The replays showed that Dempsey was on-sides or even with the last Algerian defender and unfortunately for the USA who should’ve been up a goal to nil early, had to fight on till the stoppage time miracle by Landon Donovan. What a fantastic finish by a side that has looked terrible early, but was able to get their chances in the second half and capitalize.
Bob Bradley’s tactics and formations has been spot on since the start of the tournament and even though I had questioned his starting eleven selections, Edson Buddle should have been starting this match with Jozy Altidore. But after such a fantastic result, it is so wonderful to finally see the fruits of their labor show up within the final four minutes of the match.
Now we have a chance to watch these two Group D matches and see who will earn second place and face the USA this Saturday Afternoon. They were down and out, but one thing that has kept this team going is the belief in each other and proving the doubters wrong that they can play with the best in the world.
For the first time not playing in a CONCACAF Tournament or in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, they were able to defeat a side that they were better against. But at the same time you have to give Algeria credit. They knew who they were dealing with and they never backed down against them. They played a hard fought match and showed moments of being dangerous.
But now it’s time to relax and celebrate entering the Round of 16 in the knockout stages of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
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