“The Boys of Summer!”
By Josh Mulsow
It was the defining moment in American soccer history. The goal heard round the world. Who else but the guy who has carried USA soccer on his shoulders for the last eight years, and will continue to do so, was there in the right spot, at the right time to seal the fate for the boys of summer. Landon Donovan just etched out the first stone of his statue, the one like Cristiano Ronaldo’s in the Nike commercial “Write the Future.” Landon has authored the first chapter for the future of American Soccer and will one day be considered the father of USA soccer for generations to aspire to be. Whether or not the USA wins the 2010 World Cup or Soccer becomes as popular as football, baseball and basketball remains to be seen, but after today the outlook is promising. Anyone with a pulse and an ounce of pride had at least one eye on the score Wednesday morning. When I woke up I felt like there was a hint of American spirit in the air. You could sense it during the morning commute, tensions were high, but common courtesy was winning the fight. Everybody I came in contact with had a sort of, how do the French say it, “Je ne sais quoi,” about them. The World Cup was on everyone’s mind, whether they are a fan or just hitching a ride on the bandwagon, it was apparent that something special was about to happen. Today was judgment day, and we all anticipated the verdict like it was the O.J. Simpson trial.
Now that the game is over I can personally breathe a sigh of relief, it is time to celebrate like Miley and “Party in the U.S.A.” For when tomorrow comes there will be plenty of work to do for the USA national team and every blue collar worker in America, but hold fast cause with the weekend comes what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity that is sure to change the landscape of soccer here in the greatest country on earth. I am not saying that if the USA wins on Saturday or even goes on to win the World Cup that soccer will surpass the big three sports in popularity and television exposure. Donovan may have every kid dawning his jersey and pretending to be him when they are in their backyards kicking it around, but mark my words, after today soccer is here to stay. With two ties under their belt and having not yet played a respectable ninety minutes in South Africa, the USA needs something that could propel them past Ghana in the round of sixteen and into the elite eight. This game was the landmark moment that we were craving and will bring with it the anticipation that every American soccer fan has been dreaming of, a chance to play against the very best on the biggest stage in the world.
As the final minutes ticked down and the score remained even at zero, the USA continued to dominate possession and goal scoring opportunities. Even with plenty of missed chances and the phantom off-sides call early on that robbed us of another goal, and the bullet we dodged early on when the Algerians beat the defense and Tim Howard only to be saved by the woodwork, the end was never in doubt. Something of a higher power had already predestined the outcome; it was as if Hollywood had already put this movie into production. The boys of summer were not going to let this one slip through their hands; they knew this was their one shot to be remembered as heroes instead of the laughing stock of soccer. When Landon Donovan, being the leader and face of futbol in America, that he is, anticipated the ball coming his direction and the keeper already on the ground after another great save, he tucked it into the back corner of the net and thus began our love affair with this team. There may never be another moment as sweet as this one is in our lifetimes, and I am proud to say that I witnessed what will forever be known as the day the Americans took what was rightfully theirs and started a revolution in soccer communities around the world. If nothing else the world got to see how dramatic the game of soccer truly is, for ninety minutes every touch and turnover was felt by fans of both teams and those who had little riding on the game, but for the first time the lovers and haters were treated to an exceptional ending that left Landon and anyone else with a beating heart in tears. Let it be known from this day on that the United States of America will no longer be stepped on and dissed by those who feel we have bit off more than we can chew, for we have arrived and we should be feared. Cause as the rest of the world can testify when it comes to winning no one does it like the USA.