That was exhilarating. There’s nothing like having that much tension in a game, never knowing if or when the moment you’re praying for will arrive, then having all that relief and positive emotion pour out in an instant. Going through that surrounded by dozens or hundreds or thousands of like-minded folks … well, now we here in the good ol’ U-S-of-A are starting to get a real taste of what this soccer thing is all about.
What a great scene, the U.S. bench emptying out to pigpile Landon Donovan after he scored the stoppage-time winner over Algeria to send the Red, White and Blue through to the knockout phase of the World Cup and clinch first place in Group C. And you know fans were piling on one another in celebration in bars, restaurants and homes all over the country at the same time.
The Americans deserved this one. Coach Bob Bradley was gutsy with his tactics, his starting team selection and his substitutions. The U.S. players worked their socks off and, though at times looking snake-bitten in front of the goal, deserved this win big time. Algeria, meanwhile, seemed curiously as if it were playing for a 0-0 draw in the second half despite needing a win to have any hope of advancing. Curious.
More curious still was the terrible offside call in the first half denying former Revolution star Clint Dempsey and the U.S. of what replays clearly showed was a good goal. What a controversy there would have been if the Americans had been bounced from the tournament without a win, especially with two apparent fair goals being taken away by the officials in their last two matches.
Well, it didn’t turn out that way. All the hit posts and near misses and shots that went narrowly wide or were saved in what seemed like a constant U.S. onslaught on the Algerian goal can now be forgiven and forgotten after Donovan slotted his shot home.
So now, USA fans, pick your poison: Do you prefer Germany, Serbia or Ghana?
Brad Feldman is the television and radio play-by-play voice of the New England Revolution and supervising producer for all of the Revolution's regional telecasts. He is host of the online programs RevsWrap and In the Net and has 12 years of experience announcing and producing MLS and international soccer TV. He will be blogging on the FIFA World Cup for ESPN Boston throughout the tournament.