Disappointing End To A Exhilarating Start
By Krystina Lucido
After a pivotal goal in the waning minutes of the U.S. versus Algeria game Wednesday by Landon Donovan, players and fans alike were coming off a high unlike any other. Everyone was pumped for the United States' first legitimate run in the World Cup. Sure, there may not have been expectations of winning it all, but the thought was planted, the dream within grasp.
Until Ghana shot the goal heard round the world when an apathetic Tim Howard was too far up to catch Ghana's forward in the strike zone and received no help from his defense. The United States hasn’t been known for their great starts in this World Cup so the nation held their breath and waited patiently.
But the second half didn’t offer many opportunities either. Clint Dempsey, normally an asset for the national team, has been unsuccessful in converting throughout multiple games in this tournament and the same was true against Ghana. Though Jozy Altidore and Robbie Findley missed close scoring opportunities as well.
The disappointing 2-1 loss by the United States was made even worse by the fact that it was in extra time which means the U.S. had an extra 30 minutes to make something happen and failed.
Africans are typically smaller in size, but it seemed this batch of Ghanaians was either especially tall or just great vertical jumpers. Numerous high passes and shots to the middle were headed out by defenders beating the U.S. shooters to the punch. Ghana's defense overall was dominant and didn’t give the Yanks many open opportunities. Donovan's penalty kick with no distractions was the only goal.
A second seed to the United States' one should have been an easier play than what transpired just hours ago. However, Ghana beat out the U.S. in the last World Cup so their effort and control of the game should not have come as a huge surprise.
The lingering question now is, how will soccer be viewed now in the United States? Will the lack of progression in the tournament mean American fans fall off the bandwagon? Was the U.S.'s performance in other games enough to sustain interest? Will the next time Americans care be when the national team hits Brazil?
Posted June 26, 2010