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Posts Tagged ‘Team USA

World Cup Soccer

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Like I wrote yesterday, I watched the USA take on Algeria in the final match of World Cup pool play. What a game that was. Seriously, there were some amazing emotional highs and lows.  And beer.  Lots and lots of sweet beer.

Now, like most Americans, I have no clue about soccer.  I am completely ignorant of its traditions, rules, and techniques.  But I am learning. For instance, yesterday I learned that FIFA will only count 1 goal for every three the US scores. An odd rule, but I can appreciate it.

I also learned yesterday that where you watch the game is very, very important.  At least in Pittsburgh.

Game Winner

Yesterday morning, we tried to go see the game at Piper’s Pub in the south side.  We watched game 2 — US vs Slovenia — there and man, was that a blast.  The whole pub was filled with US supporters and people would sing and chant and cheer. It was wonderful to get caught up in that kind of honest, spontaneous joy.  I mean it was fantastic watching my countrymen wave our flag and sing fight songs and anthems.  It was also great being able to cheer USA! USA! USA! without having to go to some douche bag teabagger rally.

And I think that kind of exuberant joy is really the key to getting involved in the sport.  At least to me it was. It was one of the best afternoon’s I’ve had in recent memory.

Yesterday, however,  we arrived too late to get into Piper’s Pub so we went down to Mario’s.  Now, I like Mario’s, but it didn’t have the same kind of joyous manic energy Piper’s did.  Apart from one song, there was no singing, and not as much flag waving.  So the atmosphere wasn’t as great and that can hamper the appreciation of the game.  Particularly to a newbie like me, that needs the crowd interaction to know when to cheer, like for penalties and what not.

Luckily, the game was fantastic.  There was such dramatic tension in that game it kept me riveted.  The US needed to win this game to advance or they needed Slovenia to beat or tie with England. So even though this is pool play, this was basically a must win game.

Algeria came out aggressive and would’ve scored first had an Algerian’s players shot not hit the cross bar of the goal.  That created some tension right there.  Now, also playing at Mario’s was the England – Slovenia game.  That game was being shown on two TVs to the side.  Shortly after the cross-bar incident, England scored a goal, which meant that the US had to win its game.  Having both games going on simultaneously was beyond tense.  As each second ticked away, it became more and more desperate for the US.

And finally, Donovan’s goal in the 91st minute.  The bar erupted into cheers and screaming.  It was amazing. I felt connected to everyone in the room.  We had just witnessed something spectacular happen.  And we saw it as Americans.  That was the key.  Nothing mattered then except national pride and pride in our team.  People yelled, screamed, and embraced each other. It was a wonderful show of simple joy.

I think I now know why this is called the beautiful game.


Written by B. Michael Krol

June 24, 2010 at 2:36 pm