Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Improbable Tie

As someone who has played the goalkeeper position before, let me tell you that there are few things worse than knowing you are the scapegoat in a big game. Granted, I never played in a game as big as the one between the United States and England on Saturday, but I have made mistakes as brutal as the one that England keeper Robert Green did to allow the Americans to tie the game at one apiece. I won't get into specifics on just how terrible I was at times, but let's just say that the feeling of disbelief you had when you saw Clint Dempsey's shot trickle past Green, that was a feeling enacted in my teammates on more than one occasion. The kind of "How in the hell did he let that get by him?" feeling.

When you think about this game a week, a month, or even a year from now, the Green gaffe is going to be the one thing that you do remember. It was a thankful gift from the English side because for as well as I thought the U.S. played, they were unable to find the back of the net besides for that one mistake. Jozy Altidore had a chance late in the game, but the shot ultimately hit the post instead of sneaking in the goal. But we did get the break that we needed, and the Americans earned a point in a game in which they were expected not to.

The game started about as bad as it could have for the Americans though, as in the first five minutes they just did not look right. They were unable to get any possession on the ball, and the Three Lions quickly took advantage of it, as Steven Gerrard scored for the mother country at the three minute mark. For all the anticipation, all the hype, all the buzz, this was a terrible way to have the game start out for the USA.

After that quick goal, they responded quite admirably. Looking at the full ninety minutes, I believe that they definitely outplayed England with better ball-handling, better possession. England was still able to deliver multiple attacks on the U.S. defense, mainly by sneaking through our defenders with sharp, quick runs. But keeper Tim Howard was always there, coming up with multiple unbelievable saves and keeping the game tied.

Now the big debate among casual American sports fans is whether or not this game truly was a success because we ended up tied. Well, that debate should end right now because this tie was, to put it simply, well it was huge. In soccer, especially the World Cup, ties can be a very, very good thing and I don't think that's something most of us understand. We're all trained to the expression "ties are like kissing your sister", but in this case, that can't apply. Tying England means we didn't lose a game we were expected to lose, we earned a point, and we prevented England from earning three points. In this case, this tie is a win. and I'll take a result like this any day.


Tony Brown said...

No Bucky Channel USA Man of the Match?

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