The goal was simple: Win and we’re in. Sitting atop the Group of Death one point back of Germany, the #USMNT had the chance to be the first team in the Group G to secure its ticket to the round of 16.
If you thought the buzz over the Ghana game was intense, the #USAvPOR match was extreme. Fans all over the country and in Brazil flocked to support @ussoccer. Once again, celebrities and fans alike showed colossal support.
USA...USA...USA. pic.twitter.com/12RVdXTAa9— Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) June 22, 2014
While fans took over the twittersphere (getting @ussoccer 1 million followers) showing love and support for the #USMNT, the fans below flocked to numerous watch parties across the United States and Brazil wearing the familiar red, white and blue.
Portugal got out of the gate early with a quick goal from Nani, but the USA was able to settle down and control the game. Their efforts merited a payoff, and they got one…
It's definitely not too early to rewatch Jermaine Jones' brilliant goal -> http://t.co/7bLebzFk2w— ESPN (@espn) June 22, 2014
Midfielder Jermaine Jones scored his first ever World Cup goal to tie the game at 1-1; and what a goal it was. The #USMNT kept up the pressure, knowing a win would put them through to the Round of 16. Attack after attack finally led to a familiar sight…
Relive Clint Dempsey's go-ahead stomach goal -> http://t.co/vicVF4YRJ7— ESPN (@espn) June 23, 2014
The captain’s go ahead goal seemed to put the nail in the proverbial coffin of the No. 4 ranked team in the tournament and 2013 Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. But five minutes into stoppage time, Ronaldo sent a cross into the box that was met by the head of teammate Varela.
I went from this TO this... In 30 seconds http://t.co/7E3Nt4LSql— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) June 23, 2014
The irony for the final match against Germany on Thursday is as deep and heavily laid out as the lunchroom sloppy joe meat at the typical public school. The German that helped West Germany secure the World Cup in 1990 now leads the pack of hungry Americans against them, with the possibility of knocking them out of the tournament.
"I ended up face down on the floor, but I'm pretty sure #Ronaldo killed my cat. #usmnt #usavpor."
Thanks to all the supporters out there for pushin us today!!! Only 30 sec more and we done it!! but… http://t.co/EInowVg6au— Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior) June 23, 2014
June 23, 2014
What a performance from the boys tonight!!! Unlucky we didn't get the W!!! But on to the next one!! ⚽️⚽️#1N1T— Aron Jóhannsson (@aronjo20) June 23, 2014
However, the result is not something the team has time to dwell on. A long flight back from Manaus to the team camp in São Paulo and then another long flight to Recife doesn’t give the team much time before its final group stage match against Germany on Thursday. The team still has to train and make adjustments to ensure it’s one of the two teams going through.Read more
MANAUS, Brazil – Deep in the midst of the United States' preparations for the 2014 World Cup, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann described the tournament with one of his own signature -isms: "It's where the big music is played."
Over the course of two gut-wrenching games, his squad has proven itself to be capable of all sorts of different sounds.
In Sunday's tilt with Portugal in the steamy confines of the Arena Amazonia, the U.S. Men's National Team gave up a shocking early goal. It responded with a world-class curler from outside the box. It snatched the lead on a sloppy tally bundled home over the goal line. The team defended with guts and attacked with bravery, controlling possession and heading off attacks. In stoppage time, the game was all but won.
- USA vs. Portugal Matchday Photo Gallery
- World Cup Quote Sheet: USA vs. Portugal - Head Coach Jurgen Klinsamann
- World Cup Quote Sheet: USA vs. Portugal - Players
All but. In the fifth of five added minutes, Silvestre Varela headed home a pinpoint cross from Cristiano Ronaldo to even the score. Seconds later, the whistle blew. With what now stands as the latest recorded goal in regulation in the history of the FIFA World Cup, the U.S. went from a 2-1 win that would have cemented its place in the second round to a 2-2 draw that puts all the pressure on the team ahead of Thursday’s showdown against Germany.
"I think everybody who had the chance to be today in Manaus will talk about this game for a long time," head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "These finishes are very emotional for all of us, for the fans for the players, for the bench and that is what a World Cup is all about. You live through those emotions positively and negatively."
The U.S. lived through plenty of both over 90+ minutes in muggy conditions. The U.S.'s flair for the dramatic reared the ugly side of its head early on, as Nani drove home the opening goal after Geoff Cameron's attempted clearance instead floated backwards over the U.S. defensive line, leaving Tim Howard stranded.
Of course, that’s when the U.S. responded with some of the best play it has ever displayed under Jurgen Klinsmann. Despite being down a goal, panic was absent. Attacks were built methodically, more often than not resulting in dangerous possession around the Portuguese penalty area if not a direct scoring chance.
So it was befitting of the game's herky-jerky rhythm when the half ended at the other end of the field, on an incredible save by Tim Howard. The goalkeeper might have done better on Nani’s initial effort that hit the post, but his backward-falling tap over the bar on Éder's follow-up kept the U.S. in the game just as they prepared to regroup at halftime.Read more
U.S. MNT midfielder JERMAINE JONES
On his initial reaction:
“At the end of the day, we’re upset that we didn’t get the three points. Things happen. So we have to go against Germany.”
On Ronaldo’s assist:
“Cristiano got the ball. I was in the middle, close to the box. He hit it perfect. It’s not so difficult from that area to score.”
On his goal:
“At halftime everybody told me to try to shoot. When I got the ball I tried to get in on my left foot. I think Nani was in front of me. I tried to get the ball in that corner. I only heard ‘Beas’ from behind, ‘shoot, shoot, shoot,’ so I shot and I am happy that it goes in.”
On moving on and Thursday’s game against Germany:
“It will be the next tough game. We want to go to the next round so we have to play a good game. A draw can push both teams into the next round, but we have to go there and try and win this game. We showed a lot of people that we play good football, and today everybody can see it.”
U.S. MNT defender DeANDRE YEDLIN
On his contribution to the game:
“I probably could have done a little bit more, but I got a good cross in that lead to the second goal. I’m just looking to help out wherever I can with this team. I thought I did okay with that today.”
On his first appearance in the World Cup:
“I was just excited. This is the biggest stage. This is what every soccer player dreams of and those dreams were being made a reality, so it was pretty amazing. It’s one of those times that you just have to calm yourself because if you’re too excited, too hyped up, that’s when you don’t play as well.”
On being ‘too young to be nervous’:
“I don’t think anybody’s too young to be nervous unless you really don’t know what’s going on. To be honest, I think the younger you are the more nervous you could get because there’s that age barrier between you and your opponent no matter what you do. I don’t think I was too young to be nervous, I definitely was nervous. I think there’s something wrong if you’re not; if you don’t have a little bit of butterflies in there. It’s all about getting comfortable on the field and seeing how you react.”
U.S. MNT midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY
On his initial thoughts about the match:
“Crazy game. We put so much into it. I thought after a difficult start, the response and the commitment and the effort was incredible. Difficult conditions and still we found a way to push through. Every guy left everything on the field. We’re obviously disappointed not to close it out. We didn’t come away with three points but we have no choice but to keep going. It’s a short turnaround and we’ll get ourselves ready for another game on Thursday and just keep going from there.”
On responding to adversity:
“That’s who we are. We talk all the time about what we’re like on the hardest day and when the spotlight comes on brightest. When the biggest tests come, what are we like? How do we respond in the difficult moments? I thought tonight was another example of us showing everybody who we are and what makes us a good team. Like I said, certainly disappointed that we don’t finish off the job, but that’s soccer – very cruel game sometimes.”
On giving up the early goal:
“You have no choice but to just keep going. Obviously not the start we wanted. They’re a good team, a lot of skillful players. But again, we always knew that it would be a game where we’d be tested to the absolute limit. It was a heavy field, hot and humid, but physically we really stood up to the test.”
On playing to win:
“When you look back at the history of this team, it’s a team that steps on the field every day to win. Whether it was Costa Rica at RFK Stadium in 2009 when we were already qualified for the World Cup or whether it was last year in Panama. It’s a team that takes great pride in stepping on the field and playing the right way and representing ourselves and our country in a positive way. It’s important now to recover. We put so much into this game and on a physical level it’ll take a day or two to get ourselves ready and we’ll step on the field looking to win the game and looking to win the group.”
U.S. MNT goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On the length of stoppage time:
“Too long. Thirty seconds too long.”
On the feel of the game:
“Portugal is a tough team, but I think if you watch the full 90 back, we hurt ourselves. We gave up two goals that were easily preventable, simple goals. They didn’t open us up and spread us out and really torch us. We took it to them. In fact, I thought we had better parts of our play. You have to get three points on the board before you can count it. It’s disappointing right now.”
On how the team feels following the draw:
“I think we had one foot in the door, so there’s a small bit of disappointment. Realistically, we have given ourselves every chance to advance. We are optimistic; we are pretty much where we wanted to be when we started this whole process. We wanted to be going into this last game feeling like we have a chance, and we do.”
On Ronaldo’s performance:
“He made a good cross. I don’t know if that’s so much his greatness, but he’s a player that needs to be looked after. Coach Klinsmann and his staff had an exquisite game plan. I thought we executed it brilliantly. Portugal didn’t hurt us really. I think we had the better passage of play. You look at two goals that realistically can be prevented. It’s not as if they opened us up and sliced us open. We contained them pretty well.”
On moving on after a tough loss:
“Football is cruel sometimes. It ebbs and flows. We try and take every result as it comes. We’ll try and give ourselves 12 hours or so to ponder the result but tomorrow will be a new day. We’ll get some sleep and our training sessions have been light and lively. We’ve got a great chance in ‘the Group of Death’ as they say, to go through and advance. We’re excited.”
On the strong play of the midfield:
“We needed that tonight. We harped over and over and over again in training. Michael, Kyle, Jermaine; they had to be the engine. They had to double up and go forward in the attacks and double up on the flanks and defend. I couldn’t do those jobs, but my hat goes off to them, because without guys like Jermaine; what an incredible strike and tireless work ethic; Michael Bradley and Kyle recovering balls, all of our midfielders. That’s the kind of team we are, and we’ll never lose that, which is why we always give ourselves a good chance at winning games.”
U.S. MNT defender FABIAN JOHNSON
On the game and where they sit after two games:
“We’re kind of sad I think. If somebody had told us that we were going to have four points after those two games I think we would take it, but at this point we are a little bit disappointed. We’ve got to look forward.”
On how the team will react:
“We’re just going to keep ourselves going. We’re going to fly back tonight and get a little bit of rest and prepare for the Germany game.”
On Jermaine Jones’ goal and the team’s play:
“Great performance, not just from Jermaine but from all of us. Nice goal from him.”
On if the U.S. deserved to win:
“I think if they scored two goals and we scored two goals, I think it’s fair.”
U.S. MNT defender MATT BESLER
On his initial reaction after the game:
“We’re still disappointed. We could all taste it. We could taste the second round. We were right there. So we are disappointed. But we were on the other end of the things five nights ago in the first game. We have four points from two games, we’re in control of our own destiny. Huge game against Germany in our third game. I think we like to do things the hard way. It’s the American way.”
On the game plan against Ronaldo:
“To be honest, I think we did a great job not allowing him in dangerous spots. He never really got into a rhythm. I wouldn’t really say our game plan was to foul him. I think there was a few times where we did foul him, but it wasn’t overly physical play. They were great fouls. They were right at midfield. They were smart, tactical fouls. We weren’t taking shots at him at all, we were just right up against him and making him feel us. It’s just funny, the last play of the game he finally gets into open space, which he wasn’t allowed that the entire night, and instead of trying to take someone on one-on-one, he takes a touch and whips in a world class ball.”
On his injury status:
“It was the same spot in my hamstring. I felt a little pinch, but it wasn’t as bad. It wasn’t as sharp. My mentality going into this game was that there’s nothing to hold back. I was going to put my body on the line no matter what.”
On Tim Howard:
“He had three or four huge saves. That’s what we expect from him though. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world. We expect him to keep us in games and he did that.”
On how the team moves on to the next game:
“You just got to move on. It’s a very quick turnaround. We’re in a good spot. We control our own destiny and that’s really all you can ask for. Yeah, it would have been great to get six points but we didn’t. So we have to move on, we have to change mentalities from Portugal to Germany, and that starts right now on the plane ride.”
On Ronaldo’s assist on the equalizer:
“It’s an unbelievable ball by him. He puts it in a spot where it is extremely difficult for me and Geoff to get to, but it’s also extremely difficult for Tim to come out on. Obviously, looking back, if you know he’s going to play it in that spot, you want to be able to be there and defend it. That’s our job to be there and defend it. But at the same time, he gets the ball out wide, finally one-on-one against somebody. Beasley does a great job getting up close to him, but not close enough where he can just take a touch around him. He decides to take a touch and whip a ball into an extremely dangerous spot where there’s not a whole lot you can do. It’s a tough one to swallow, but that’s why he’s Cristiano.”
On Michael Bradley:
“We’re not worried about him at all. He does so many things for the team. Whoever’s saying that he’s not playing that well, it certainly isn’t that way from us. He is one of the most important players on our team, one of the best players on our team. There is so much that goes through him and he has a lot on his shoulders, but I know that he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves that responsibility and he’s doing just fine for us.”
On the condition of the team after enduring a tough environment:
“I think we’d be lying if we said that we weren’t heavy after this game. I think everybody is. The conditions were difficult for both teams tonight. I think the positive is that we kept pushing the game. We were holding on to things at the end but that was just the nature of the game. We’re going to be just fine.”
“As players, we’re not even going to get into all that stuff. It’s not in our mindset. We proved it already with the Panama and the Mexico situation. We have already proved that we have our heads down, we are worried about ourselves and we’re trying to play our best to win. You can’t go into a game trying to get a draw. You have to go in with a winning mentality.” Read more