Landon Donovan. Image via: Getty Images
It all seemed so familiar: High expectations for the United States men’s soccer team heading into a World Cup match. A terrible opening to the game. A stunning comeback.
But this time, there was no storybook ending. This time there was only disappointment, as the Americans finally ran out of miracles.
The United States fell 2-1 to Ghana in overtime in the round of 16, a stunning defeat for a team that had a favorable draw to win not only this round, but the next as well.
Instead, for the third time in four games, the United States allowed a goal in the opening minutes of a match, and once again needed to stage a comeback.
After Kevin-Prince Boateng stunned the US team with a long goal in the fifth minute, the Americans were faced with a tall order. And once again, it was Landon Donovan who raised the hopes of soccer fans throughout the country.
Donovan converted a penalty kick in the 62nd minute after Clint Dempsey was taken down in the box. Donovan’s shot ricocheted in off the right post and drew the US even at one.
But after the rest of regulation time was scoreless, Asamoah Gyan scored in the 93rd minute, and the US was unable to get the equalizer.
While the US team’s first three games were marred by bad calls costing them goals, the forgotten aspect of their play was their inability to play a solid opening portion of the game.
Against England, the US allowed a goal in the 4th minute. Against Slovenia, they fell behind 1-0 after 13 minutes, and were down 2-0 at halftime. And against Algeria, the U.S survived and early shot off the crossbar.
Finally, the Americans faced a deficit they couldn’t overcome.