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Connelly’s Top Ten: Tim Howard Heroic Efforts Not Enough in Classic

1. Game Stuff:

* Amazing, amazing sporting event – almost broke my clicker, hand and TV – tantalizing, agonizing, what sports are all about – the ultimate in competition
* An indication of the respect FIFA has for USA – they were put in the Group of Death and had to travel more than any other team 5,900 miles to less than a 1,000 for Belgium
* Are we sure Landon Donovan couldn’t have helped at all?
* The team did the country proud they fought hard

2. Stats:

* Belgium 38 shots to 14
* Belgium 27 shots on net to 9
* Belgium 19 corners to 4

3. Goalie:

Tim Howard – heroic in the most profound sports context:

* He was the varsity goalie playing with the freshman defense (at one point Howard could be heard daying “Where the F*** is everybody”)
* Most impactful game I ever seen by one soccer player have
* Most saves in over a half century of World Cup
* He was the best of Mike Richter, Ryan Miller and Jim Craig in one

4. Good players:

* DaMarcus Beasley played great at a new position
* DeAndre Yeldin could be a star came in and gave the team life
* Jermaine Jones – his game is loose but played like a warrior with broken nose
* Michael Bradley in extra time was the quarterback you needed all tournament

5. Bad Players:

* Chris Wondolowski – a chance to be the biggest star in USA soccer history and he threw up all over the field in one of the great choke jobs in big game history – he had the game on his foot in extra time and turtled and then in extra time had a ball on his foot in front of the net but wasn’t looking
* Alejandro Bedoya – a complete waste of space who added absolutely nothing to the game – his replacement scored within seconds – why did they wait so long
* Matt Besler – I’m sorry biggest game in USA history – you can’t fall down. Winners stay on the feet / losers fall (he was burnt on the second goal also)
* Clint Dempsey – he played hurt and hard but to be honest he is their best player – he has to find a way to cash in on one of his chances

6. Ranking of remaining teams:

2. Germany
3. Brazil
5. Argentina
8. Columbia
11. Belgium
15. Netherlands
17. France
28. Costa Rica

7. Amazing Stats:

Six straight games with no goals in the first half is not good for non-soccer fans

8. Old School:

USA vs Belgium compared to USA vs USSR – shots:

1980 – USSR 39 shots / USA 16
2014 – Belgium 38 shots / USA 14

9. Just a Little Bit Outside:

They win that – soccer takes the giant step USA has been waiting for since Pele came to the Cosmos

10. Randomocity:

* How many people had to keep the radio off on the way home because they DVR’d the game? (Me)
* How hard is it to put a soccer ball on net
* Separated at birth former goalie Kasey Keller and Jim Furyk
* If it makes you feel any better – Stephen Drew now hitting .136
* Belgium has awesome chocolate
* France – Germany could be ugly with still lingering World War II feelings
* Training – really three hamstrings in a two week period
* Belgium might be too talented for their own good – without question the most talent in the tourney
* Broadcast – I was impressed with Taylor Twellman who did a nice job with Ian Darke

About Michael

Lifelong Boston resident who finds equal enjoyment in celebrating the local team's success as I do complaining about their failures. I have been writing the Top Ten for the last decade as well as five sports books: 26 Miles to Boston, Rebound, The President's Team, The Great Book of Boston Sports Lists and NBA List Jam.

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