Here's a video that's a mash-up of reactions from USA soccer fans from around the country watching Landon Donovan's incredible winning goal against Algeria that put the USA into the knock out round of the World Cup. Today's game is going to be very tough because Ghana is a very young and athletic team and they'll have the entire stadium supporting them, but the USA isn't over matched in this game like they were against England.
Should the U.S. give up an early goal against the Black Stars, as they did in playing England and Slovenia, it'll be phenomenally difficult for them to tally an equalizer. Should the U.S. score once or twice early on, Ghana will be hard-pressed to draw even, thanks to their lack of scoring punch. And that's really the key to the game. I'll say it again - the U.S. has to do two things here:
1. Capitalize on early goal scoring chances. This is absolutely imperative. We can kvetch and moan about getting robbed of goals by the officials, but the fact remains that we wasted about seven different chances on Wednesday. At the minimum, we should've beaten Algeria 3-0 or 4-0, instead of 1-0 on a gasper.
2. Avoid defensive lapses. The U.S. cannot afford a repeat of what happened against England and Slovenia. Depleted as the Ghanian offense is, it's still blindingly fast, aggressive, and strong. That includes play in the penalty area. I fully expect Ghana to try to draw a penalty kick, so the U.S. will have to be more disciplined than usual in order to avoid this.
As wonderful as it would be to see the lone African team make a deep run, I think Ghana are too offensively deficient. As long as the U.S. scores early, or even first, and as long as they avoid defensive mistakes, they'll win.
Since the team is pretty much cut off from everything in South Africa, Youtube and Facebook is how Landon and the team realized how much passion the US had behind the team since soccer isn't a very popular sport nationally. That's pretty cool.
Donoho, a 21-year-old Purdue University senior and avid fan of the men’s national team, collected a montage of clips of USA fans celebrating Donovan’s injury-time winner against Algeria and assembled them into a catchy package, which he put on YouTube.
It didn’t take long for the images to be passed through to the USA’s training camp near Pretoria and onto the laptop of Donovan himself. For all of the praise and plaudits the goal-scoring star received after his moment of glory, it was seeing the reaction sparked by his calm strike into the bottom corner of the Algerian net that touched him the most.
“Not sure if you guys saw this but it brings tears to my eyes every time,” Donovan wrote on his Facebook account, while linking to Donoho’s video. “Thank you all so much … we can do it.”
I'm hoping for at least one more win, but the USA did what they were supposed to do at this point. If you're not into the World Cup just move on to another post. This only happens once every four years and it's fun watching the sport that the entire world is engaged in.
We have a live chat set for 11am PST today as Blue America welcomes Tarryl Clark, a new challenger we endorsed to take on the half-insane Michele Bachmann. I'm sure you'll want to meet her and support her.