Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 13: THE GAME

We all woke up from the previous night pretty tired.  However, we rallied and made sure we were ready for the crucial USA v Algeria game.  We needed a win to advance.

We drove up and made it to Pretoria, the site of the game, by noon.  When we got that we walked by the American Embassy and headed over to a bar that had been taken over by hundreds of Americans.  We hung out there for about 2.5 hours.  In the meantime, we sang, chanted, and drank with our fellow countrymen.  Bill even made a trip to the barber shop to get a mohawk, which was awesome.  I've never seen anything like that.  All I can say is whoever says Americans don't care about soccer, has to go to a game because it's not true.

We then marched over to the stadium with everyone, again singing and chanting.  We got to our seats.  Sitting with Colin and I were Allie, Cammy, Ben, Andy, Lance, Bill, Preston and Mitch.  We watched all game intently hoping for a bit of magic.  Soon, our focus turned into nerves.  Throughout the game, Ben, Mitch, Colin, and I kept looking at each other, unable to cheer.  We know the USA was supposed to advance, and every minute that passed was more and more nerve racking, especially when we could look into the suite behind us and hear that the score was 1-0 England in the other game.  We couldn't tie.

Just as we though the game was over and the game advanced into injury time, Tim Howard launched a fifty yard throw to set Landon on the break.  He passed it to Altidore, who crossed it to Dempsey for a shot that was initially saved by the keeper.  Donovan comes sprinting in and finishes it.  What came next, besides the greatest feeling of our lives, can only be described by the individuals I was able to see:

  • Mitch/Ben:  Mitch and Ben immediately dogpiled half our row jumping up and down screaming with Colin, Andy, and I.  Others may have been in there too but like I said, it was a blur.
  • Andy: Andy was part of said pile, then pulled away cursing loudly in celebration, and then switched jerseys with an Algerian fan.
  • Cammy:  Cammy, after a post celebration hug, moved up several rows to stand on the seats and hold up a sign, only to fall into the row behind her.  She got up like a champ and kept going.
  • Colin: Colin was in the original dogpile, then started sprinting up and down the steps.  He broke his camera in the madness, called someone, and started crying.  Never seen the kid so happy.
  • Myself:  I stood up on my seat as soon as the rebound came out so I avoided the brut force of Mitch and Ben.  I jumped on top at first, turned around to the South Africans in the suite behind me, and just jumped in there and started jumping around with them.  Ben soon joined me at the railing, where we were given Budweiser and a full glass of whiskey from the South Africans that we'd spend the next 30 minutes with.
It was EPIC.  Easily the biggest goal ever scored in American history.  First time we've ever won the group.  The Slovenians had already begun celebrating in the other stadium before we scored thinking they were through.

After the game, the US team stayed out on the field as almost every American in attendance was still in the stadium for another hour, yelling and screaming.  There was dancing, singing, hugging, and photographing going on everywhere.  There was a full blown mob just outside the stadium banging drums and signing.  Basically, it was the greatest party you'd every been to.  Absolutely amazing.  Nothing in American professional sports compares to this.  All I can say is, everyone needs to make it to a World Cup in their lifetime.  This game made this the most amazing trip I've ever been on.

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is Amazing trip, Amazing game, Amazing fun. Very happy for you son!! Stay safe. You can call when you land in the states. We have all sworn not to say anything about the next USA game. Love you.