Heartbreaking. Devastating. Soul-crushing. Gutted.
How does the US give up a goal in the final seconds of extra time to Portugal?
A lot of the blame is being pinned on Michael Bradley, the American midfielder who was dispossessed, which led to the Portugal goal a mere eight seconds later. Yes, it was an unfortunate turnover, but if you look at this picture right after Bradley was pick-pocketed – Ronaldo, the red dot at the bottom of the screen, doesn’t even have the ball yet – the US defense was in position to make a stop.
The goal scorer is the red dot at the top of the screen (Silvestre Varela), just to the left of midfield. There are five US defenders in white shirts ahead of him (though one, DeMarcus Beasley, was on Ronaldo). Yes, Bradley gave the ball up, but there’s no reason at all for the lack of chatter in the back, or even by Bradley or Fabian Johnson, who were both trailing on the play. Geoff Cameron, who was extremely poor defensively all night, ran out of gas and Varela headed home a perfect pass from the 2nd best player in the world. You can watch the entire sequence here, and keep an eye on Varela, who turns into a blur at the top of your screen.
Yes, the pass from Ronaldo was sublime. But how come Fabian Johnson isn’t shouting to Cameron ahead of him? Ah, I could go over this play dozens of times, and if the US somehow manages to not advance to the Round of 16, you can be sure Jurgen Klinsmann won’t sleep well for weeks after this play. I can already see a small documentary in the works if the US doesn’t advance: Gone in 8 Seconds.
The question will be how quickly the US can put this defeat behind them. Similarly to the Portugal game, a number of things are working against the US ahead of Thursday’s clash with Germany – Jozy Altidore is still out; the US has one less day to prepare for Germany following the sweltering heat in Manaus and Germany has played as well as anyone at the World Cup.
And please, don’t get me started on why there was another minute added to extra time.
[Screen Grab via Taylor Twellman]