June 26, 2014

AND PLENTY GOOD ENOUGH TO BEAT THE GERMANS:

An American Soccer Fan's 'Believe' Moment (DAVID LUHNOW, 6/26/14, WSJ)

I don't care what the "experts" say. I will no longer apologize for American soccer. Because at Manaus on Sunday night, I saw the future. It was tens of thousands of American soccer fans, screaming "I believe that we will win" in unison. And we saw our future on the field, too.

Oh, don't get me wrong. There were still moments -- like Geoff Cameron's failed clearance that let the ball land at Nani's feet for Portugal's first goal -- that reminded me of the past. And I don't doubt there will be more of those to come in future games.

But sometime during that first half, the U.S. team began to string together passes with purpose and poise, with moves that caused an audible gasp from some of the Brazilians sitting near me. Players like Fabian Johnson tore down the sidelines and wreaked havoc on Portugal's back line. And I suddenly thought, "Oh my God. We've done it. We look better than they do. Tonight, we ARE better."

Yes, we let in a last gasp equalizer. But I wasn't devastated because I had seen the future. We may still lose to Germany, and we may not even make it safely out of this Group of Death. But how things have changed since that first USA game I saw in Italy 24 summers ago. This time, in the seat next to me in Manaus, was not an Italian but an Irishman. And he said: "Lucky you, I wish I had a team that was getting as good as this."

And I, too, now believe that we will win.
Posted by at June 26, 2014 6:55 AM
  
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