We're Alive, Baby
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"We're Alive, Baby" - Landon Donovan...
The United States is through to the next round. A 91st minute goal from Landon Donovan defeated annoying Algeria 1-0, and the Unites States - along with England - advance out of Group C to the knockout stage of the World Cup in South Africa. With the win on the late goal, not only did the USA advance, but they won their group. Constantly being cursed with questionable calls, the United States extended a middle finger to the refs, and to Algeria, and put home the difference maker late for the win and the advance. It cannot be put into words how big of a goal that was. It was the difference in going home and staying to compete for a World Cup title. It was the difference in US soccer being taken seriously worldwide or not. It was huge. The chants of "USA! USA! USA!" are bouncing off of the icebergs of Antarctica right now!
Now that Group play for the US is over, and even with me ecstatic over the advancement of our squad to the round of 16, I still have to say that the officiating in the three games was nothing short of God-awful. Two clearly legit goals were called back in the second and third games, as well as a sprinkling of other horrible calls all in between. That is what makes this US advancement all the more impressive.
Chance after chance saw the United States not quite put it in the net, but they were the superior team. They played more technical, and Algeria was non-stop fouling the Americans to keep them from going on goal. The US applied 75 percent of the pressure in the game. Especially strong for the team were Jozy Altidore up front and Michael Bradley in midfield. The whole team played well together, in my opinion.
If there are two things that are popular worldwide, it is Kentucky Fried Chicken and joking about US soccer. Well joke no more. The USA was clearly better than Slovenia and Algeria, and played England to a draw - all proven on the field. Now the United States will get to prove more on the field as they will face the Group D runner-up in the first round of the knockout stage.
"We're alive, baby," Landon Donovan told ESPN immediatly following Wednesday's match. If you have had a hard time warming up to Donovan due to failed efforts in World Cup's of past, you need to give him all of the credit in the world now. He is respected by his teammates and peers, and he fought hard into the extra time of the second half to knock home the game winner, and his second goal in two games. He was tearing up during the interview, as was I...
Seeing the United States pile on each other following Landon Donovan's goal is a memory I will not soon forget, no matter what happens in the remainder of this World Cup. It has been quite some time since I felt the emotion of something that real. This team deserved this as they play hard and fair and are stacked with talent. They were robbed by the refs, yet they fought on. The goal by Donovan was a slap in the face to those worldwide that were jumping up and down as the US was on the verge of elimination. Take that, you SOBs!
United States soccer catches hell worldwide, and this will shut people up for a while. But more importantly, the win keeps alive a team that very well make some noise in the next stage. They dominated games two and three, but were unable to put home the extra goal in each to win (you see, the US has a goal taken away in each match). They are going to give their next opponent fits, regardless of the outcome...
Well, I'm off to make something of my day after that thriller of a game in South Africa. Clemson finishes its game with Oklahoma in the College World Series at 4:30, and that is another whole can of worms. I am relieved, and ready for our next game...USA! USA! USA!
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