In the end, it all went according to plan. Leading up to the World Cup, the most likely scenario for the United States to survive the Group of Death was a victory over Ghana, a draw against Portugal, and a likely close loss to Germany thus relying on goal differential.
That’s exactly how things played out, and the U.S. took a pretty similar path back in 2002, riding a spot in the knockout stage to a dramatic 2-0 win over Mexico.
A few thoughts:
- First off, explaining the meme used for this post — Michael Wilbon had a scorching take following Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to leave Landon Donovan off the World Cup roster. Suck it, Michael Wilbon.
- The fact that the U.S. pulled this off without getting anything out of Jozy Altidore is damn impressive. Next Tuesday will be 15 days since the hamstring injury. Hopefully he’s ready to go.
- Some people on Twitter seemed to celebrate when Ghana scored against Portugal to tie their game 1-1, and for the life of me, I cannot figure out why. Sure, a draw there would have gotten us through, but it also left the U.S. a kick away from being eliminated. We were much better off with Portugal up 1-0 than 1-1. I would have thought with how much the scenarios were pushed over the last few days, folks would have familiarized themselves with them, but evidently that wasn’t the case.
- Thank you Cristiano Ronaldo for that goal. After helping Mexico get to the World Cup and keeping Portugal alive on Sunday, it was time someone helped us. Portugal realistically knew they were going to be eliminated but did the job anyway.
- Would have to see the game again to verify this (sometimes #analysis becomes difficult when watching in a bar), but Clint Dempsey just looks gassed. Hopefully the time off between now and Tuesday does him some good.
- Tim Howard’s playing out of his mind, well enough to keep the Americans in a game against Belgium. Aside from maybe pushing the ball wide instead of straight on the save before Germany’s goal, I’m not sure what else he could have done. Love you, Timmy.
- It’s official — Jurgen Klinsmann, third favorite coach in sports. Not passing Chip Kelly but win a couple more games, and he might jump ahead of Pete Carroll.
Tuesday ought to be fun. Let’s do it.