Going into today’s soccer game against Egypt in the Confederations Cup, most wanted the US to put in a good showing. It would be nice to secure a win after the dismal showing against Brazil and the horrible second half versus Italy.
No one really thought that the American squad could actually qualify for the semifinals. We were in last place with zero points and a negative 5 goal differential. That is all but the pinkie finger in the grave as far as soccer goes. We needed to beat an Egypt side, that had just defeated Italy, by at least 3 goals and Brazil had to down the World Cup champs Italy by at least 3 goals. Even that would just tie us on goal differential with Italy.
It would have been easy for USA soccer to look at the long odds and see no shot, but heart and determination is the first step to coming back and the Americans had that in bunches today. It couldn’t happen all at once, it took the entire 90 minutes before the USA could claim their triumph. Here is how it went.
21 Minutes– Charlie Davies puts the USA ahead 1-0 with a somewhat fluky goal, but hey its a start and they all count.
36 Minutes- Luis Fabiano puts Brazil up 1-0
42 Minutes- Luis Fabiano puts another in. Brazil 2 Italy 0. Hey, maybe we should start paying attention.
45 Minutes- Italy puts in an own goal to fall behind 3-0 as the first half ends. Could this really happen. Is it possible Brazil will shut them out. Now we just need some offense.
63 Minutes- Michael Bradley puts one in for his country and his Dad. It is now 2-0 USA and 3-0 Brazil. One more goal could put us in the semis. The tension is high. One Egyptian goal though and it is all ruined.
71 Minutes- There it is. There it is. Clint Dempsey , who had been invisible for the previous 2 1/2 games in the tournament, picks the perfect time to step up. He puts in a beautiful header off of a cross from Johnathan Spector to give the USA the 3 goal lead it needs. but wait, there is still 19 minutes in BOTH games that needs to be played.
90+ Minutes-Brad Guzan and Julio Cesar do their jobs and keep Egypt and Italy out of the nets to give the USA a berth in the Confederations semifinals; by virtue of scoring one more goal in the competition than the Italians.
We did it. Up next are the Spaniards. It will be an extremely difficult game, but as we learned today anything can happen. Whether we win or lose the important thing going forward is what we found out about the USA team. They can focus and play winning soccer despite overwhelming odds and previous poor play. They learned that no matter what has come before, if you don’t give up and play your game with heart; good things can happen. The lessons from this week will definitely be taken with them when they return to South Africa next year.
Congratulations guys and give Spain hell on Wednesday.