June 24, 2010


USA vs. Algeria at World Cup: Landon Donovan's goal means Americans advance (Steven Goff, 6/24/10, Washington Post)

"There are times," U.S. Coach Bob Bradley admitted later, "that you just say maybe it's not our night."

Twelve seconds made it their night, 12 seconds to move the ball from one end of Loftus Versfeld Stadium to the other and provide one of the most extraordinary and dramatic endings in the national team's 94-year history. [...]

Wednesday's outcome added another gripping chapter to the 2010 U.S. story. In the opener, the Americans benefited from a goalkeeping blunder and used a courageous defensive effort in the second half to tie England, 1-1. Six days later against Slovenia, they erased a two-goal halftime deficit and had an apparent go-ahead goal in the 85th minute nullified by an unexplained foul call.

And against Algeria, after failing to capitalize on abundant opportunities and surviving a couple of scares, the Americans traversed the length of the field to score at the beginning of the four minutes added to regulation time (compensation for injuries and other delays).

Tim Howard saved Rafik Saifi's header and tossed an outlet pass to Donovan in stride at midfield. Donovan accelerated into the open field before touching the ball to Jozy Altidore on the right side of the penalty area.

Altidore drove a cross toward Clint Dempsey, who met the ball at almost the same time as charging goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi.

"I couldn't chip it over the keeper, so I just tried to hit it under him, hit it hard," Dempsey said.

M'Bolhi got in the way, deflecting the ball away from the net but into the path of Donovan, who coolly one-timed a low shot into the left corner, touching off a mass celebration in the corner and hysterical reaction among the thousands of U.S. supporters in the crowd.

"I didn't know if [Altidore] was going to play it across the goal or cut it back to me," said Donovan, the program's career scoring leader with 44 goals in 126 matches. "Once he played it in front of the goal, I kept my run going. When it popped off the goalie, I picked up [my pace] a little."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 24, 2010 12:26 AM
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