So I understand that it was emotional. People got excited. Hell, the nation got excited or at least involved enough to pay attention with at least half of an eye. Workplaces ground to a halt for every match after the first. Casual fans suddenly cared about keeping possession more than flopping. New fans wanted to know why Bradley wouldn't use his left foot or why Dempsey wasn't quite as good of a forward as either Divock Origi or Romelu Lukaku. My coworkers, hardcore, dedicated fans of (American) football were hosting watch parties for soccer-y football. We played cornhole before the match and somebody brought a delicious cake decorated like the American flag. Waffle House stopped serving Belgian waffles. There is a White House petition to change the airport in DC from Ronaldo Reagan International to Tim Howard Bearded High Wizard of Goalkeepering International. Soccer is everywhere, and it's amazing. Sport of the future, indeed. Except the future may actually be here.
Yet, my word. That was mostly a terrible performance. Those last 15 minutes? When they decided to finally play? When they had almost as many shots (7) as in the previous 105 minutes combined (10)? That was awesome. Until then it was just a long wait for that one ball to finally slip past Howard. This wasn't Chelsea v. Barca or even Chelsea v. Bayern. The US were routinely carved open, left, right, middle. Oh what's that, we should give MORE space to the Belgians? Oh ok, sounds like a great idea! When the US did have the ball they did almost nothing at all with it, save for whenever they managed to get DeAndre Yedlin involved. They completed 80 more passes than Belgium, yet it was Belgium who had 39 shots (26 from inside the penalty area). Thirty-nine! The shot count at the end of the first half of extra time was 37-10.
And yet, because football is football, the US almost snatched victory at the end with Wondolowski (and no, he was NOT offside nor was the linesman flagging for offside). That shocking miss, plus that wonderful free kick routine were two goals they left on the table. Who knows how many Belgium left on the table. Howard set a modern day record with 15 (16?) saves, most since at least 1966.
So yeah. I guess that was fun while it lasted (even if they failed to get to the quarters like in 2002). I get it that we want to recognize the "heroes" of Brazil. I get it that we want to, need to capitalize on this momentum to continue growing the sport in this country. I get it that people are proud of the valiant efforts and bravery and whatever. But you know, the team (outside of Howard) played like shit most of the time. Don't confuse that with playing defensively, because that's fine. When that's done well, it's great. But this wasn't done well. This was terrible.
Get better. Play better. Please.
P.S.: We're going live an hour earlier with today's Hilario due to the two-hour scheduled maintenance that our SBN/VOX overlords will be conducting in a short while (3am EDT).