Earlier this week, we called Landon Donovan’s game winner in Algeria the greatest goal in the history of American soccer. There are some good arguments against that claim: Brandi Chastain‘s converted penalty kick in 1999 was the signature moment for that Women’s World Cup. There was the lone goal in America’s 1-0 win against England in 1950 by…uh…that one guy (who was Haitian, by the way). There’s ample room for debate.
The best argument I can give is this: the United States was at the foot of a mountain in this World Cup. Team USA, with its ouster of former coach Bruce Arena and the promising play of Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, went into South Africa with an unusual situation — facing the burden of expectations. With a promising team and a favorable group draw, the Yankee Mutant Ninja Turtles were expected to advance to the knockout stage and be one of 16 teams to compete for a spot in the World Cup final. After a disappointing result with Slovenia, the US needed a win over Algeria to get out of their group.
And then this happened…
Thanks to Brent for the image edit idea. Video via @barryap1.