The World Cup 2010 schedule looked promising for the USA; after the schedule put the USA to the World Cup knockout round, their path looked simple enough. Since they tied England, came back against Slovenia, and finally beat Algeria, defeating Ghana looked a bit simpler. After that, a matchup against Uruguay could have put America in the semifinal round, likely against the Dutch or Brazil. Everything was starting to look good for a big breakthrough – but instead, the 2010 World Cup schedule will go down as a disappointment for the USA.
The USA-Ghana match went exactly as all the others did, except for the ending. Like all the other games, America was on their heels in the early going, giving up a sixth minute goal. Yet just like those other games on the World Cup 2010 schedule, the USA became the stronger team by the second half.
After Clint Dempsey drew a penalty, Landon Donovan came through with a 61’st minute penalty kick goal. With that, everyone likely believed that the Americans would complete the comeback, advance to the quarterfinals, and build on their new bandwagon. However, the game slowed down after that, as the team were on even ground again going into extra time.
For the first time on the World Cup 2010 schedule, a match went into extra time. But in this round, there is no golden goal to end the game, as there are two 15 minute periods no matter what. That looked really fortunate for the USA early, as they even gave up an early goal in extra time as well. Asamoah Gyan’s 93’rd minute goal sucked the life out of the USA, as they had no serious threats until the end of extra time.
With the 2-1 defeat, the 2010 World Cup may be remembered more as a disappointment for American soccer. After Donovan saved them against Algeria, they had millions of new fans, and a golden chance to advance in the bracket. If they could have at least matched their 2002 quarterfinal appearance, it would have been their biggest step forward.
Instead, their second straight elimination at the hands of Ghana takes something out of their run. Since the Donovan goal was now just a stay of execution, and didn’t start a deeper run through the World Cup 2010 schedule, it slightly devalues its impact. If the USA couldn’t even match the 2002 run, in spite of their long highlight reel, it is technically a step back.
At the least, by getting to the knockout round to begin with, there won’t be a massive turnover in personnel. Coach Bob Bradley and his staff will be safe, yet Donovan and Bradley will be in their 30’s by 2014.
The World Cup 2010 may be the last best chance for these players to advance American soccer into the elite – which makes this near miss even more frustrating.
Yahoo Sports- “USA: Great story, just a good team”