Now, the American support at each game was phenomenal, and I don't mean to call that into question in this post at all, but I am simply referring to the feel of the game as a whole. Despite the 2-1 scoreline in the US - Ghana match to open the tournament, it often felt that Ghana was in control of the game. The early goal for the US, and another masterful substitution by Klinnsman set up a win in 2 moments of American brilliance. the rest of the game felt more like a Ghana bombardment of the US back line. It was a win, but if you really looked at the tape, the US did not look like the better team for the majority of the match.
Fast forward 6 days and we are talking about a very different story. 2 US blunders 90' apart ruined what should have been a magical moment for the US players and supporters. A poor clearance and an inch perfect cross on a poorly marked man made a US - Portugal draw feel more like a loss than the result so many people said was the US's best hope for the match.
Fast forward 3 more days to today, the US played with a very defensive mindset and held the German Goal scoring machine to 1 goal, which was good enough to advance. This game, while not the USA's most shining moment of the tournament felt very much like a win, because the original mission was accomplished... the US got out of the group.
So as we look at the US's run at the tournament thus far, the US did what the experts said they needed to do to advance (Win - Loss - Draw) but they didn't do it the way anyone would have really expected just 2 months ago. Rather than hanging on against Portugal, it was the Americans who let 3 points slip away in place of a tie. Despite the scoreline, Ghana gave the US everything it could handle and it took an all around defensive gem by the back 4 and Tim Howard to get those 3 points. And facing Germany, the US stood up to the task and limited the offensive juggernaut to get through. In terms of beauty, the US world cup run may be found lacking, but in terms of results, the US did enough... more than enough to get through to the next round. For all the doubt and despair that surrounded the US roster and schedule and travel... We made it happen, we overcame the odds, we got through.
Next up... Belgium. Let's keep things going.
Thanks for reading,
-T.O. signing out