Have Americans finally fallen in love with professional soccer now that the U.S. team has successfully advanced in the FIFA World Cup?

Soapbox
FoxSoccer.com
Kalani Simpson, FOXSports.com
Updated Jun 24, 2010 12:07 PM ET

Landon Donovan was somewhere at the bottom of that pile.

 

USA-Algeria  lessons

LESSONS LEARNED

The USA is into the knockout stage thanks to five valuable lessons learned against Algeria.

Teammate after teammate, they leapt on him. They piled on after the belly slide, after his putback, after that crashing of the goal, after the nice pass — after the brilliant outlet that set the whole thing up.

This was after 90 minutes of tension that had turned into desperation. Hope was slipping away. Dreams were slipping away.

And then the outlet, and the pass, and the crash, and the putback, and the slide, and the scream (that last one was me, when that ball hit the net).

Do you believe in miracles? For a second time, we do.

They've given us one for the ages, our boys. They took us with them on this one. That's the greatest part.

This is the best outcome, the best run, the best scenario that could have happened for U.S. Soccer. Not the win, but how. Not the goal, but when. Not the result, but the way it makes us feel.

 

For years, people debated. What could make America finally fall in love with this sport? Winning? A transcendent star? Seeing foreign legends (often past their peak)?

Maybe this. Maybe this.

Ten days ago we could have anticipated the end result. The U.S. would advance. We had a right to expect that. Alexi Lalas told us. That's what should happen. No more underperforming. No more fooling around. America should reach the second round. Anything less would be a failure. This is what should happen. This is what we knew would happen, this time, in this World Cup.

Oh, 10 days ago, this was to be expected. But no one could have expected this.

And it's the best thing that could have happened for this game in this country, this wild, crazy ride.

They said Americans would never really get into soccer. Well baby, we are INTO it now.

 

USA vs Algeria

USA! USA!

See snapshots from the United States' victory in Wednesday's World Cup clash with Algeria that gave the Americans a spot in the knockout round.

First there was the match with mighty England, that bunch of Spice Girls. (They'd better get it together. They've got to go home and face Simon Cowell.) Their ‘keeper Bill Bucknered an easy one, and the U.S. gutted out a monumental tie.

Of course, they followed that up by falling down 2-0 to Slovenia. Sleepwalking. It was over. Getting run right off the pitch. Then, a rip-roaring comeback. Donovan, a great goal. Michael Bradley, a brilliant kung fu kick. Tied!

Then, was it incompetence? Was the fix in? The winning goal erased without explanation. Where was the foul? Where? Our national dander was up. Controversy! Scandal! They were even talking about it at the paint counter in the hardware section at the local big-box store. About soccer!

We Americans love controversy and scandal. We were suddenly awake.

And now this. Admit it. If you were watching it live, you howled when Donovan's kick hit the net. Your arms went up. When they sobbed, it got dusty. You felt it.

Wow. Soccer.

They said — heck, we all said — Americans could never fully embrace this game. It just isn't in our national DNA. Well, you know what is in our DNA? Bristling at being shafted. Rallying, never giving up. An unquenchable thirst for drama. Jingoism. Coming through at the last second with everything on the line.

Donovan's cleanup kick didn't just win it, it won it at the last possible moment. It was call in the cavalry. It was John Wayne.

"Time kind of stopped," he said on TV.

And then, an ode to joy. Shared, transcendent, outrageous, improbable, national joy.

It was the best thing U.S. Soccer could have hoped for, this finish, this ridiculous, incredulous run. For what it meant. For what it made us feel for this team, with this team. For what it will do for this sport on our soil, from now on.

Kids are practicing belly slides as we speak.

Again, in this latest game, a goal was stolen, taken away by a phantom call. Hey, calls get missed. But it was happening again.

But as it turned out, it was perfect. Destiny. An early goal would have been ho-hum. Instead, the latest botched call only added to the drama. It egged on the tension, increased the release.

They showed us who they are, in winning this way, showed us who we are, who we can be. Who we want to be. "We embody what Americans are about," Donovan said afterward, his tears not yet dry.

We'll see yet if they can do the impossible. We'll see if they've made soccer an American game.

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Fri, 2018/07/27 - 6:05pm Re: Have Americans finally fallen in love with professional ... #6938
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I watch all the matches of the FIFA world cup 2018 and this is the best world cup so far. I watch all the matches on essay-one-time.com and they give me the free link of HD matches.

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