It appeared the goal would never come for the United States. Another questionable call denied the Yanks an early goal and numerous chances as the USA pressed late painted a picture of futility. But Landon Donovan netted the deciding goal in the 91st minute on a counter attack keyed by Tim Howard and Jozy Altidore.
Howard made a key save and immediately started the counter-attack as Donovan came forward with Clint Dempsey, Edson Buddle and Altidore. Altidore put the ball across the box and Donovan scooped up the rebound off Dempsey’s redirect to, not only, put the United States through to the second round, but make the Yanks the group C winner.
As the match unfolded it did not appear that a victory was in the cards for the Americans this morning. The chances compounded on each other and I was left wondering, if none of these attempts could find the back of the net how are the Americans going to find a way to win this game?
Especially after Dempsey was somehow denied his first-half tally. This no-goal call wasn’t nearly as bad as the one against Slovenia, but all replays appear to show Dempsey level with the Algerian defender.
Luckily, no matter how hard the referees tried, they couldn’t take the victory away from the US this time. Donovan was Johnny on the spot and made sure to secure the USA’s ticket to the quarterfinal stage. Only minutes earlier Dempsey had hit the bar and put his rebound over the net; that chance looked to be the last high quality one the US would receive (in my opinion).
The fact that England got an early tally against Slovenia and went on to win increased the tension for me as I knew a draw would no longer get the job done. I’m torn, however, at the England result. On one hand I would have loved to see the Three Lions ousted from the tournament, after they entered with so much billing. But, the comments made by Andrej Komac and other Slovenian players really grew my dislike for European athletes. Not to mention, the US was totally hosed in their epic comeback against the Slovenians last week. So, I feel my allegiance falls to England in that match.
In closing, Mr. Komac, (who didn’t even see the field against the US) go home and find some crow to eat while you watch the United States in the next stage.