Today, Team USA played Slovenia in the second round of the Group stages of the World Cup. The first half of the game, the United States looked about how pretty much the entire world perceives us. We looked sloppy, disorganized, and, to be frank, like we didn't belong in this tournament. We gave up two goals to Slovenia, and I'll bet everyone, fans and detractors alike, had written off the US's chances. But, whatever coach Bob Bradley said to the boys at half-time, or what they said to each other, must have hit home. The Yanks came out for the second half with their proverbial guns blazing.
It's a cliche, but this was definitely a story of two halves. Team USA played their hearts out after the half. Captain Landon Donovan scored an absolutely beautiful goal to put us right back in the game. Next, Michael Bradley, son of our manager, scored the equalizer. In the final minutes of the match, Maurice Edu volleyed a free kick from our Landy-cakes, and we took the match 3-2!! And that's the fairy-tale, comeback ending we deserved. Unfortunately, the match official, Koman Coulibaly, saw a penalty in the play and called the goal back. The final score was a 2-2 draw.
I could go on and on about how unfair this was. About how spot-on, penalty-free the goal actually was. But I've come to terms with it, I think (although we were CLEARLY robbed!). US Soccer Daily's blog has a pretty accurate description of what US fans felt today.
However, whether we gained 3 points or 1 today, the heart we showed in today's game was undeniable. People around the globe discount the United States when it comes to soccer, and I think today's match may just have them doing a little re-thinking. We still have a long way to go to catch up with countries whose football is a way of life and a national passion. But it's irrefutable that we are getting stronger every single year. We have the best team we've ever had and we're just going to get better. Never underestimate the power of the American spirit -- it can take us anywhere. Don't tread on me, baby!