Saturday, June 12, 2010
Mr. Green, America Thanks You
I went to Professor Thom's today to watch the England-USA match on Day 2 of the 2010 World Cup. I figured they'd have a good crowd on hand, and I knew a few friends would be dropping in as well.
When I got off the subway at Union Square, I noticed a few bars absolutely packed with people. I thought to myself, "Uh-oh, could Thom's be jammed too?" And sure enough, it was, and it reminded me of Game 4 of the 2007 World Series, when the floor was so crowded you couldn't seem to fit another person in the building. (Finnerty's next door was also packed, as I guess World Cup fever truly hit the American masses today.)
The crowd in the bar was about 80-20 in favor of the USA. (And BTW, I've said this before and I'll say this again. You know how can tell when someone knows nothing about soccer? They refer to the U.S. team as "Team USA." Ugh.) When England scored the first goal (by Steven Gerrard of Liverpool), two guys with an English flag began chanting and making sure the entire bar saw the flag. There was no trouble, just lots of chanting by both crowds throughout the match.
England had some chances, the US had its chances as well. By the 40th minute, it looked like England would head to the locker room with the lead. But English keeper Robert Green totally goofed up Clint Dempsey's shot, as it bounced off his hands (I think he took his eye off the ball) and it squirted by him to tie it up. The bar went crazy, and I turned to my friends and said "Robert Green better pray England wins this match." And I couldn't help think that Green was having his "Buckner moment." But I didn't say that to anyone out loud.
Tim Howard, the U.S. keeper, was my Man of the Match. He made some outstanding saves behind the suspect U.S. defense. England had the better of the play in the second half, and I think that 1-1 and each team getting one point is ultimately a fair result. My friend Adam may have summed it up best at the end, "The U.S. won, 1-1." It was a gritty game for the Americans, and they held their own with the favored English.
Green's goof cost England two points, but I bet it ultimately won't cost England in the standings. Both teams play Algeria and Slovenia to wrap up Group C. Neither is a feared world soccer power, and I would bet that both England and the U.S. will advance.
The U.S. got a gift today from Robert Green, and they can use every advantage they can get.
We thank you, sir.