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U.S. Ties Portugal 2-2 in World Cup After Allowing Last Minute Goal

Monday, June 23, 2014


The fans flooded the streets across the country. The sense of national pride was at a fever pitch. The U.S. Men's National Team had a chance to defy the odds and advance out of Group G, also known as the "group of death". Although they led into stoppage time, the United States was unable to capture the win and advance, ending in a 2-2 draw against Portugal. The draw leaves the U.S. with four (4) points in the group stage and will play Germany in the final game of group play.

The action started in the fifth minute when, as so perfectly put by ESPN announcer Adrian Healey, "It was catastrophe in the U.S. defense," Nani netted the first goal of the game off a botched clearance by Geoff Cameron. Portugal put pressure on the U.S. defense and Cameron's attempted clearance went right to an open Nani and he beat goalkeeper Tim Howard to put the Portuguese National Team ahead early in the match.

The United States got their first opportunity in the 13th minute when Fabian Johnson made a good run which resulted in a free kick for the United States. The free kick was taken by U.S. captain Clint Dempsy who lifted the kick just high of the net.

The U.S. had another great chance in the 24th minute when Michael Bradley got involved in the action. Bradley received a good pass from Jermaine Jones and unleashed a shot, but it sailed high of the net over Portugal goalkeeper Beto.

The U.S. stayed on the attack again when Graham Zusi gave a great pass to Clint Dempsy in the 27th minute. Dempsy made a good move but had his shot blocked away. Then less than one minute later Bradley put another shot towards goal but missed the target as the ball rolled just wide of the net after getting by Beto. 

The U.S. continued their offensive attack in the 35th minute when Jermaine Jones let a strong shot out from outside the box. The shot was swallowed up by Beto but was the United States' ninth shot in the first half. 

Portugal finally answered with a shot of their own in the 36th minute off the foot of Cristiano Ronaldo. It was the first shot of the game for Ronaldo and was put directly on Howard but was a reminder to all watching how quickly he could create a chance.

There was history made in the 38th minute as the referee called for the first water break in the history of the World Cup. The water break rule is at the discretion of the referee. 

Portugal almost netted another goal on a counter attack in the 42nd minute as Nani was on the attack again. Nani got a great pass from Ronaldo and blasted a shot on net but Tim Howard made a fantastic diving save. Off the save Portugal was awarded a free kick which was taken by Ronaldo. The dangerous striker floated the shot over the net however.

Portugal continued to attack as in the 45th minute Nani unleashed another shot which Howard lost, but the shot went off the post. Off of the rebound Eder tried to flick a shot past the recovering Howard, but he was denied by a diving Howard. Howard was able to deflect the flick over the net while falling away from the net.

That took the teams into the half with Portugal leading 1-0 on the 5th minute goal by Nani. The U.S. led time of possession 51% to 49% in the half. Both teams had nine official shots with the U.S. putting two on net and Portugal with five. 

Portugal got the first chance of the 2nd Half as Matt Besler was unable to clear a ball for the United Sates in the 48th minute which led to a strong chance for Eder. The shot sailed over the net but was a solid chance for Portugal.

Just moments later, Fabian Johnson created a good chance for the United States. Johnson made a good run up the far sideline and flicked a shot up but it was denied by Beto.

The United States had an amazing opportunity to draw even in the 55th minute when Fabian Johnson made another great run and put a ball in the middle of the box for Michael Bradley. Bradley saw an open net and put a shot on net but Ricardo Costa made an unbelievable save with his left knee and kept Portugal on top 1-0.

The United States evened the score in the 64th minute off a beautiful play by Jermaine Jones. Jones picked up the ball off a failed clearance by Portugal and curled an unbelievable shot that Adrian Healey called a "Simply sensational strike." Jones' shot curled through the defense and past Beto before he had a chance to see it.

Portugal made a valiant effort to reclaim the lead in the 65th minute when Raul Miereles put a strong shot low on net but was saved by Howard.

The United States made their first substitution in the 72nd minute as youngster DeAndre Yedlin entered the game for Alejandro Bedoya. Yedlin, the 20-year old, was just eight-years old when the United States played Portugal in the 2002 World Cup. 

The United States took the late lead off the stomach of "Captain America" Clint Dempsy. The play developed off of a good run by Yedlin to get to the end line and cross a ball into the middle. The ball was stopped by Michael Bradley who sent a pass over to Graham Zusi. Zusi then put a ball back into the middle where Dempsy put it into the net with his midsection. The goal was the second in two games by Dempsy.

Portugal almost drew even in the 86th minute when Ronaldo broke free of the defense but was called offside.

The U.S. appeared content to sit behind the ball and run the game down but Portugal had other thoughts. In the 95th minute Ronaldo put a perfect cross to substitute Silvestre Varela for the equalizer. The goal was the latest that the United States had ever allowed in a 90-minute game. The goal was the final play of the game as the final whistle sounded as soon as play restarted.

Portugal outshot the United States 21-to-15 with a seven-to-five advantage in shots on target.  With the draw the U.S. falls to 0-14-2 when trailing at the half during World Cup play. The United States will play in the final game of group play against Germany on Thursday at Noon. With a win or draw against Germany, the United States will advance to the knockout stage.


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