MANAUS, Brazil – A common analogy offered up at the end of a contest in which each team has the exact amount of points, goals, ect is “Kissing Your Sister.”
Sunday’s for United States fans was more like a smack to the face or perhaps more appropriately a punch to the gut.
Literally one defensive stop from one of the biggest victories in their history, the United States Men’s National Team saw a shot to move to the World Cup’s version of the Sweet 16 denied my a perfect Portugal push.
In the final seconds of extra time Christiano Ronaldo found Silvestre Varela on a solid cross in the box for a header that got past Tim Howard to even the game at 2-2 as the five minutes of extra time expired on Sunday night at Arena Amazonia in Manaus.
Now instead of automatically advancing to the knockout round of the Brazil World Cup, the United States must now earn a tie or win against a formidable Germany team who shares the lead in Group G along with the US squad. While a tie would have seemed a remarkable accomplishment for the squad before the beginning of competition, the circumstances made it almost feel like a loss for some on the team and their rabid fans.
Trailing 1-0 in the second half, the United States found its offense in the 64th minute when Jermaine Jones blasted a deep shot past the keeper for the equalizer. With continued pressure the US finally pulled ahead when Clint Dempsey netted his second goal of the World Cup on rebound off his body to make it 2-1.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added by the referee and the US managed to keep the ball in their end for the majority of the extra time. But with under minute left Portugal got the ball off a turnover just past midfield by Michael Bradley and mounted one last rush. Ronaldo eventually got the ball and raced down the right side of the field then lofted a near perfect cross for Varela who put it to the right of Howard for the goal and sent shock waves through the soccer world.
Extra time immediately came to an end and so did, for the moment, the hope for the United States to advance in what has been a wild World Cup.