On Tuesday, Belgium defeated the USMNT in the Round of 16 of the World Cup, but it took three extra-time goals to decide this one, 2-1, in Belgium’s favor. Romelu Lukaku jumped into the game in the first half of ET to help Kevin De Bruyne score before hitting one home himself. On the USA side, 19-year-old Julian Green hit home a consolation later on to keep it close.
Tim Howard was by far the best keeper on the field as he made an outstanding 16 saves, allowing only two goals that were truly too difficult to prevent. At the age of 35, he still looks young enough to play the game at the highest level, but asking him to put up those numbers again will be too much. In fact, he should be angry with coach Jurgen Klinsmann for asking his boys to sit back as much as they did against a team with so much speed, strength, skill and understanding. They could have scored at least eight or nine clear goals.
Michael Bradley did nothing but assist Green when he finally decided to get into the game offensively. Clint Dempsey could have tied the game late on but his touch and focus was way off on Tuesday. He has to be better as captain and needs to hustle a lot more.
The defense got caught out way too many times in the build-up and on the counter. Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and DaMarcus Beasley were brilliant but they were never going to be able to keep this type of team at bay for 120 minutes. Asking them to do so against a group of guys who will keep pressing and pressing until the break is unrealistic.
With this game over, the USA come back home to the states with a well-deserved break coming up. As for Belgium, they have a date with Argentina this Saturday in the quarterfinals. That will definitely be their biggest test yet as Lionel Messi and company will not sit back and watch.