Saturday, June 19, 2010

USA vs. Slovenia

Now that was a crazy game to remember. I was looking forward to the USA game vs. Slovenia. A win and advancing to the second round looked like a safe bet. A loss and kiss the USA goodbye.
I started out the day photographing some USA fans that were meeting up at a bar about 4 miles from the stadium. It was great to see a place full of American waiting for the game and partying it up. Getting faces painted or ignoring the street hawkers outside while drinking some local brew.
At half-time of the first game of the day a bunch of USA fans waved down a mini-van and paid to have it take us to the stadium. It was a fun ride to the game.
We got dropped off about 1/2 mile away from the stadium and from there had to walk to Ellis Park where the game was.On the way there were people waving to the USA fans and hi-fiving them as they made their way to the stands.
Right outside the stadium was a little bar where some Americans, including Mr. Blue were getting their last local brews before heading into the stadium.

Inside was an amazing atmosphere for the USA. One half of a whole side of the stadium was full of American fans cheering and whooping it up and making amazing amounts of noise. I have never seen a World Cup game that had that many American fans and the USA fans were louder than the other team's fans.
Unfortunately, despite the atmosphere, the team came out flat and the USA gave up an early goal. Par for the course lately for the team. The US got their game together and kept pressing the rest of the half but the goal eluded them.The the USA fans were getting testy...
Especially after Slovenia scored their second goal. The USA's chances of advancing to the second round seemed to be slipping out of their grasp.
I never thought I would say this, but thanks to the leadership and guts of Landon Donovan the USA fought back early in the second half and Donovan scored a brilliant goal.

Sending the USA fans crazy! It seemed as if it was the start of the comeback. The USA never will give up!
And after Michael Bradley scored a second goal to equalize the match, it looked like when Maurice Edu headed home the third goal the USA was coming back in one of the most improbable comebacks ever in World Cup history. But a phantom foul call by Mali referee Koman Coulibaly inexplicably ended the hopes of the amazing come back.
At the end of the game Jozy Altidore let the official know how he felt about the call as did several other USA players but to no avail...And in the stands there were mixed emotions. Disgust at the play of the team in the first half, euphoria over their amazing comeback, and horror and disbelief of being robbed 2 points by an incompetent referee.

But at the end of the day the USA still holds their destiny in their own hands. If they manage a win against Algeria they advance. No matter what happens. I can't wait for Wednesday!!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome pix of the game and fans. Very dramatic pix of one of your faves(heh), landycakes. The 23rd will be our day.