U.S.-Algeria: More Afterglow (Then Bring on Ghana!)

Of the dozens of great articles out there in the aftermath of the U.S.-Algeria white-knuckler, this one right here, by Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal, might be our favorite. 

The second paragraph nails it:

 “If you weren’t completely, utterly, thrilled, exhausted and satisfied by Wednesday’s 1-0 Team USA World Cup thriller over Algeria, you’re a lifeless sports corpse. You are banned from all future U.S. World Cup matches and hereby ordered to spend the rest of the season watching the moribund Baltimore Orioles, eating cold oatmeal in a Slanket.”

The Journal produced some unexpectedly strong coverage of the game, despite Timothy Martin’s saying, in this article, that “Landon Donovan broke a scoreless tie by kicking the winning goal with three minutes to go.”

Excellent piece Mr. Martin, but it wasn’t a field goal.

Hey, baby steps; and we’ll take the mainstream coverage. Click here for another worth-your-while WSJ story on the game.

But Gay’s article points up an interesting thing we experienced in the aftermath of the game—and we don’t think we were alone in this—that is, getting emails and texts from non-soccer-loving friends (we tolerate a few of those) who were genuinely caught up in the outlandishly exciting game.

One of our pals, who is not only not a fan, but also a bit of a hater, wrote:

 “WOW!!!! [All caps and four exclamation points his]

“And it could have been 6-1. We had the goal, the one called back, and at least four near misses, by my count. And, of course, Algeria had that rising drive off the crossbar…. ”

This from a guy who normally would weigh in on soccer only to make snarky comments about a lack of scoring. Here he was jazzed about a 1-0 win.

Yes, this game is a potential corner-turner for the sport in this country.

Here are some more postgame quotes we liked:

“It was like a 40-year-old losing his virginity. The place just exploded.”

 —Annabel Heany, California native visiting Pretoria for the game, describing the stadium response to Donovan’s goal, for a.m. New York.

“I don’t think we’re going to convert the American population overnight, but anybody that watched today’s game and can’t get excited about it, we’re not gonna win them over, I accept that. But I think we’ll win a lot of people over today.” [See Jason Gay article above.]

—USSF President Sunil Gulati.

“We don’t get many moments like this. I think it’s a sign that people are starting to pay attention. We always talk about the water level rising with soccer. Well, today the water rose.”

 —MLS commissioner Don Garber.

“This World Cup is like WWII: England vs. Germany, the French surrender, and the Yanks turn up at the last minute.”

 —Unsourced wit from the Internet 

 “Hi Bianca.”

 —Landon Donovan, in his postgame interview with ESPN, giving a shoutout and blowing a kiss to his ex-wife, actress Bianca Kajlich.

Click here for more on that last one. 

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