Yesterday was the 2nd day of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. USA played England which had been hyped up as one of the most important matches of the World Cup. England has solidified themselves as a powerhouse in the world of soccer and USA has been fighting to earn some respect as a squad. They were looking to paint over an embarrassing canvas of past performances to earn some credit across the world. Following the swirl of news about team USA's preparation before the world cup only made it that much harder to wait for this match to finally take place. We went over to Friends Cafe to watch the game and before I could even settle down and get comfortable Gerrard came streaking through the box unmarked and buried a wonderful strike past an outstretched Howard for the opening goal of the match in the 4th minute. I sighed and thought, here we go again, another bad performance, another dismal outing from USA. But then, a few minutes later things just seemed different. We were connecting passes, making dynamic runs, going at defenders, and most importantly getting stuck in. Wait a second, this isn't normal? Double teams in the corner, tricky flicks, through balls on a rope, taking shots from distance...WHERE did the old team USA go? Who knows, but yesterday was a great beginning to what looks like a new and improved American team.
For most of the first half USA dominated in possession and looked like a team that was rolling on all cylinders. In the second half England dominated for spurts but USA came right back at them with plenty of chances. The goal that USA scored came off great skill from Dempsey, a decent strike from distance which Greene made an absolute awful attempt to save the shot, it ricocheted off his hands and rolled into the goal. Altidore missed a chance later, and Tim Howard made some HUGE saves. Overall, I was in awe at their performance. Did we look like a powerhouse that could win the world cup? No...but what we did look like was a young, passionate team that has prepared for the largest stage in the world and we competed. We competed against one of the best squads in the world. And with that, I'll be chomping at the bit until Friday's next match.