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I’m Hooked on A Feeling

June 23, 2010

Story after the jump…

I’ve tried to settle myself a bit prior to writing this reactionary piece about this morning’s decisive victory. I’ve tried. It’s been almost 2 hours since the conclusion of the most dramatic, emotional, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding match in the history of US soccer. I’ve tried not to overreact(I immediately pronounced the winning goal as the most important in US soccer history). I’ve tried not to overindulge in alcoholic beverages(I thought a beer or two would settle me down). In the end, there’s just no denying the impact of today’s result.

Immediately, an Algerian shot off the bar announced their presence as a real threat. As today’s game progressed, it became increasingly likely that our Cinderella story was not to be, as the seconds ticked away toward what seemed a likely 0-0 finish. Honestly, as we pressed past the 70th minute, I felt a Slovenian goal was more likely to push us through than one by ourselves. This is not to say I doubted our spirit, but rather that the Goalposts, Referees, and Soccer gods were, in unison, conspiring against the United States. From the evidence in the first 90 minutes, one would have had trouble arguing with such an idea.

On top of this, the pressure only grew and shrank our chances. This was the easiest group we’d ever been apart of in the World Cup. Many believe this is the most talented group we’ve ever fielded. There’s no question that this is the most talked about group in our history. To say this group was tested mentally would be a huge understatement.

The soccer gods just wanted to make sure our verve, our desire was truly as magnificent as it proved to be. Fate was indeed on our side and boy does it feel good! I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the outrage from the referee’s decision in the Slovenian result combined with the dramatic results from today’s game will result in greater interest in the sport in the United States. Maybe more importantly, it gives the United States its first group winning side and places us in the spotlight on Saturday.

Whether we win any matches in the knockout stages(I think this is a real possibility), our sport has shown up beautifully over the past two and a half weeks. Landon Donovan has proven to be a worthy face of US soccer that is not only a quality player, but one that shows up and makes a huge difference on the biggest stage possible. The short term future offers us hope of stamping our name all over this tournament. With truly promising youthful performances from the likes of Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, and Maurice Edu, the long term future is making the European FIFA contingency shake in their American-made soccer boots. The referees may be able to take goals away from us now, but they can’t keep us down forever. GO USA!!!

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