Sitting 15 rows up behind the Portugal goal, pouring sweat and in a state as close to delirium as one can get, I was dead sure the US was going to close out the 2-1 victory.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Cristiano Ronaldo to Silverstre Varela happened.
The hollow feeling that inhabited my insides was like little I’d ever experienced, dare I say comparable to learning that someone you knew had unexpectedly passed away. I stood there motionless, empty, in pure disbelief at what I had just witnessed. Somehow, the US had squandered what would have undoubtedly been the best, most meaningful win in this country’s soccer history.
Exiting the stadium I met fellow supporters at a bar adjacent to the Arena Amazonia and after about an hour of pounding the nectar of the Brazilian Gods that is Brahma, I was able to get my wits about me.
Yes, we had drawn when we should have won. And yes, we still had work to do to advance through to the Round of 16 when we should have been playing our B squad against Germany.
But the performance. Oh, that performance.
It was so, so sweet.
The US have always been a brave soccer nation but now, in this 2014 World Cup, it’s abundantly clear that America is a nation with absolutely zero fear of whatever individual or team dares to stride over that chalk. Because now the US is not merely a squad of indestructible mentality and high intellect but a side with technique, ideas and the wherewithal to execute it all at the very highest level. From sit-in-and-counter to the high-pressured attack, the US has undoubtedly become what the world loves to call a proper footballing side.
Yo Germany: You’re up.
*Above video from Ted Harrison, whose work can be found here.