FIFA World Cup 2010: Can Landon Donovan Save Obama and the Good Ol' US of A?
I woke up early this morning to catch some of the U.S.-Algeria game. The match started at 7 AM here on the West Coast, but I set my alarm for 6:30.
While I was making my morning coffee, I listened to some NPR news in the background.
The news wasn't good.
Housing reports were extremely bleak, the stock market was already down, and they were taking the containment cap off the spewing well in the Gulf because of a problem.
Even more oil was gushing into the Gulf than before.
And that's not even mentioning the meeting between the president and his top general in the floundering mess they call the Afghanistan War.
In case you've been asleep, or in a coma, the last seven days, General Stanley McChrystal called out everyone in the administration except Hillary Clinton this week.
And he did it in Rolling Stone magazine. Holy Red Hot Chili Peppers!
Nothing but bad news.
So, I put on the football match and prepared to be inspired. The Americans have played well up to this point, and I thought they had a good shot at reaching the next round.
The U.S. team did not disappoint either. They took it to a very good Algerian team throughout the match.
Unfortunately, nothing was going their way. A goal was called back on a questionable offsides whistle, and several other chances just missed going in.
As time wound down and the results from the England-Slovenia match became apparent, it looked more and more like the U.S.-Algeria game would end in a tie, and the Americans would go home frustrated.
I started to wonder why I bothered getting up at all. The only positive I could think of was that at least I wasn't President Obama.
Then it happened.
One of those small miracles that make being a sports fan so great.
With time running out, Landon Donovan showed why he is the U.S. team's premier player. Howard started the counter-attack that led to the goal, knocking down an Algerian shot and rolling the ball to Donovan, who passed it ahead to Josy Altidore.
Moments later, Clint Dempsey collided with the Algerian goalkeeper as he attempted to score. The ball rolled loose, and Donovan slammed it into the net for the winning score.
What looked like a sure tie and the end of the U.S. team's World Cup chances, became instead a moment that gave American fans hope for another day. Hope that we all need right now.
Here's what I am now hoping for.
The U.S. team, despite bad calls, bad bounces, and a tougher draw than most people want to admit, have been playing almost as well as any team at the World Cup thus far.
They've shown toughness and skill.
I'd like to see Landon and the lads do what no one else is doing right now. I want them to win one or two more games and unite the country behind them.
I know what happens in the U.S. when an American team comes together like this. Especially when it's a sport that no one gives us a chance in.
If the U.S. can win one or two more games, this country will go nuts. And we will come together in a way that no amount of debate in Washington, D.C., can ever achieve.
I don't know if they can do it. But after today's miracle win, you can call me a believer.
Do it, Donovan, do it.
Your country needs you!
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