That’s How We Like It? Yea, Actually, It Is

June 23, 2010

Once again the United States soccer team defined “late game drama” in their 1-0 heart stopping victory over Algeria that propelled them to the top of Group C and earned them a date with Ghana in the Round of 16. If any team in the World Cup deserved to make it to the knockout round, it was the U.S. team. They battled back from not one, but two, missed calls that cost them crucial goals. I understand that in soccer this kind of thing happens quite frequently as they do not have instant replay to fall back on (I’m not saying that they should institute instant replay into soccer, either). However, you still have to feel for a team that did everything right on two separate occasions and had nothing to show for it. Luckily, it didn’t matter in the end, because the important thing is that the U.S. is moving onto the knockout stage, which is where they should be.

Now that they have advanced, it is time for the team to focus on the next game. In winning their group for the first time since 1930, the United States will have a chance to avenge their loss to Ghana in the 2006 World Cup. Obviously, this matchup is much more favorable than a match against Germany would have been. In this World Cup, Ghana has only scored one non-penalty kick goal. As I have said, the teams that want to continue to advance are the teams that are willing to attack instead of sit back and defend. If any of my readers watched the Australia vs. Serbia game this afternoon, you likely agree with me. The bottom line is, Ghana isn’t Algeria. What I saw from Algeria today was a team that was going to be satisfied just by preventing the U.S. from advancing. Unlike Algeria, Ghana will be looking to score; to move on. The United States has the talent to beat the Black Stars, but they absolutely need to attack. The Round of 16 is not kind to teams content with sitting back and defending.

While everyone was watching the U.S. soccer game, there was another equally spectacular match going on at Wimbledon. The first round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut has lasted for over nine hours, has been suspended due to darkness two straight days, and is currently in the fifth set tied at 59 games. Go ahead and read those italicized words again, and remind yourself that what you’re reading is true. It’s no surprise that this match has shattered the marks for longest match played and most games played in a match. I had a chance to watch a replay of the fifth set at work today, and I watched as the match was halted so that the players could take a bathroom break. Needless to say, this is incredible, and probably won’t happen again for a long time, if ever again. The next piece of information may be the craziest of the entire story. You’d think that after a match like this, their next opponent would have a huge advantage over them. This isn’t exactly the case though, as the winner will face Thiemo De Bakker, who won 16-14 in the fifth set in his first round match, meaning he’ll be very tired as well. Who’s to say the winner of Isner vs. Mahut can’t pull off another?

– K. Becks

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