A draw should never make you feel completely sick, but this one did just that. The USMNT controlled the game but the very last thing that happened was an equalizer.
In the 5th minute, Geoff Cameron made a mistake that gift-wrapped a goal for Nani and the USMNT was immediately on the back foot.
However, in typical American fashion, after the Portuguese goal, the US perked up and started showing signs of life. The US response had the ‘American Outlaws’ looking the best they have this entire world cup, even in the win against Ghana. They put up nine shots in the first half, whereas against Ghana, they had eight all game. The problem was that none of them found the back of the net.
The US finally broke through in the 64th minute via a beautiful finesse shot by Jermaine Jones that Beto just never saw.
The Portuguese reacted with gusto, but they couldn’t hold back the US, who scored again in the 81st minute. The play was orchestrated by DeAndre Yedlin, who Jurgen Klinsmann strategically put in to counter Portugal’s speed late on. A series of deflection found the ball at Graham Zusi‘s foot, and he let off a beautiful cross that Clint Dempsey chested into goal for what seemed like a win.
There were noticeable improvements all around for the USMNT. Michael Bradley looked fantastic in midfield. They showed possession on the ball of the sort that they sorely lacked against Ghana. Their defense was stout outside of the early giveaway. A lot of credit goes to Klinsmann again, who put Jones and Kyle Beckerman just in front of the back four to clog up the roaming room where Ronaldo and Nani abide.
The goal in stoppage time was heart-wrenching. Pride aside, the US still has work to do to get out of this group. You can’t do anything but tip your hat to the soccer player of the year, Ronaldo, whose pass was quite simply unbelievable. It was his first serious contribution all game.
A draw doesn’t do many favors for the USMNT, who will have to pull a draw against Germany for a guaranteed advance. Portugal has a much more uphill climb as they have to contend with a Ghanaian squad that’s as deserving of a win as they come.
On the bright side, the US did pull a point, and they are tied in points for the group lead.