The alarm got me up right at seven and I bounced out of bed in just my boxers and started into the kitchen, remembered we had house mates and went back and put some drawers on. Jesse was already sitting at the table watching the tail end of the national anthem as I hit the start button on the coffee maker and pulled the game up on my laptop. It seems silly to be watching the same game on two different computers no more than three feet apart but we both like to read the tweets and other online gems while we watch so it was a must.
When the ball came hard off the post in the early part of the game I thought, here we go again, the US is going to fall behind early and have to claw our way back. Turns out that was the last real challenge that Howard would face until late in the game, and the post would play a huge roll in this game. Beautiful got the boys fed while getting herself ready for work and I tried to pretend like I would help if needed but she was gracious and gave me what she could.
The first half ended and Jesse and Beautiful had to go to work, leaving me alone with the boys and a half of soccer left. England had scored so it was win or go home for the Bradley’s Boys. We opened the front door on a sunny and cool morning that was just lovely and the boys started to explore the space in ever widening circles. I moved with the laptop on to the porch and watched the game and the kids with more attention being paid to the game. The chances for the US were coming in bunches but it was feeling like an unlucky game. Wide open goal mouth and the ball would sail 20 yards over, or a riffled volley would hit the woodwork. I was yelling for the kids to come back closer to the house and yelling for the ball to find the net.
After ninety minutes I was an emotional wreck and the four minutes of added time didn’t bring the hope I was looking for. The US was putting so much pressure on the Algerian defense but the Algerians seemed content with a zero – zero tie even though it meant they were done. There was a chance for Algeria on a cross into the box that was headed onto the ground and played fairly easily by Howard on the bounce. He immediately pushed forward with a throw that made it to midfield. It was such a powerful throw that seemed to have more than just strength behind it, but will and determination. The Ball was collected by Donavan and pushed forward to Altidore on the right. Another push for the US, just like the last 50 minutes and another cross into Dempsey in the middle of the field for a shot hard and low and ultimately right at the diving keeper who could not control the deflection. There is was, the ball trickling to the middle of the penalty box and a running Landon Donavan coming onto it, the goal at his mercy. Cool as can be he tapped it into the goal, Landon Donavan did.
Dempsey’s shot had me on my feet with a groan and then when Donavan hit it home I let out a scream that was primal, guttural, and long. Primo jumped and Segundo wet his pants. The Charge turned to run away as I started dancing. Unsure they came towards me and started jumping with me. Not knowing what happened but feeling the weight of it they danced and squealed as I sang and jumped. I ave no idea how the US celebrated that goal because I was busy celebrating with the kids. We were chanting U S A, U S A and twirling around. I have never been so excited for a sporting event in my life, it was a magical moment. After the game we got some pots and pans and had a jam session on the front porch letting the neighborhood know that we were through to the next round. We topped the group and we would live to play another day.