FanDuel - WFBC

July 01, 2014

U.S. Falls to Belgium Despite Epic Tim Howard Performance: In one of the biggest games in the history of the U.S. men's soccer team, the United States lost to Belgium 2-1 in a round of 16 elimination game in the World Cup. The game went to an extra 30 minutes after it was 0-0 at the 90 minute mark. Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku scored goals for Belgium, and 19-year-old American substitute Julian Green -- the youngest player ever to take the field for the U.S. at a World Cup -- scored to cut the lead in half with 12 minutes to spare. American goalkeeper Tim Howard had the most saves in a game in recorded World Cup history.

posted by rcade to soccer at 11:34 AM - 23 comments

If the US can get past Belgium they get a Saturday afternoon game on July 4th weekend.

I really like Belgium, (especially if Divock Origi can finally put a spearpoint on their pretty approach play), but I'd love to see the sort of madness we'd have here with a game on Saturday.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:40 PM on July 01

Wondo misses a golden opportunity for US soccer sainthood.

posted by grum@work at 05:56 PM on July 01

Third team we've seen today with one really good player and then... some others. Without Howard that's an absolute massacre.

Like Ochoa, I expect it'll be a man of the match award and a flight home.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:35 PM on July 01

Wondo misses a golden opportunity for US soccer sainthood.

Does Donovan calmly wait 1/2 more second and send that one home?

Backs slowly out of room

posted by tahoemoj at 06:36 PM on July 01

Obviously not, because he's not on the team.

posted by Hugh Janus at 06:36 PM on July 01

No comment on why Beckerman wasn't in that game. I think he helps build the offense and should've been put in. And at this point you can count on Bradley not making the play. Also Jermaine Jones was totally out of gas for much of the game. He's got the touch, though.

posted by phaedon at 06:39 PM on July 01

Does Donovan calmly wait 1/2 more second and send that one home?

I want to say yes, but it's hard to argue with the team Klinsmann put on the field after the magic his substitutes achieved. That Julian Green goal was spectacular.

The Stone IPAs I've been drinking since swearing off Belgian beer have softened the disappointment. That's an awesome American beer.

posted by rcade at 07:02 PM on July 01

No comment on why Beckerman wasn't in that game.

Early on Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman suggested it was because Geoff Cameron is 6-3 and Kyle Beckerman is 5-foot-10 and Belgium is strong and tall on set pieces.

Belgium was strong and tall on set pieces.

But I did miss Beckerman.

posted by rcade at 07:03 PM on July 01

I couldn't bring myself to root for the USA but I was very impressed with their tenacity. Their final ball was really not there and the skill imbalance was clear - I'm sure Americans are not happy to have these sorts of moral victories or finding comfort in defeat but if they can couple that heart and organization to having just a little more incision on the finish they will be able to hang with anyone in world soccer.

posted by rumple at 07:47 PM on July 01

And at this point you can count on Bradley not making the play.

Somebody has been listening to Mike & Mike. Not a great tournament, but I'm pretty sure he assisted on the lone US goal and had a good game overall.

Their final ball was really not there and the skill imbalance was clear

Yeah, my only real complaint was the US seemed to spend a lot of their meager possession on attempts at dummies and fancy through balls that never happened. That said, it was a fantastic game even if the final score flattered the US (do you think Jurgen kissed Julian Green full on the mouth once they got back to the locker room?). My one real hope was Wilmots had said Belgium would play better once they faced "real competition" and I was thinking maybe we didn't count.

No idea what to think of this Belgian team. Everyone's dark horse has led for 24 minutes of regular time across 4 games and they didn't unlock the US until introducing Lukaku who had looked terrible in the group stage. I'll be rooting for them against Argentina; I'll be rooting because of the three current/ former Evertonians and I'm guessing the result will be much the same as when they wore blue. As an Everton fan, it was a little fun to watch the team I was rooting against deal with a ref who blew his whistle every time Fellani even looked at the ball.

posted by yerfatma at 09:06 PM on July 01

Ian Darke:

91:45 : A slow start here, by Belgium.

92:01 : Belgium scores.


"Lukaku who had looked terrible in the group stage."

Interesting, that. Since the injury to Benteke the answer to "who is Belgium's best forward?" seems to be "whoever's on the bench."

To be fair to him, Origi looked decent today. But he also looked quite raw, which is appropriate, as that's exactly what he is.

I hope by Saturday someone has asked Kevin de Bruyne how to say his name, so we don't have to go through the 19 different pronunciations we had today.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:00 PM on July 01

That tricky free kick with the two quick passes that gave Dempsey the open look on the net (but fumbled the first touch) was amazing. If Dempsey scores on that, it goes into the World Cup "best goals" list for all time.

posted by grum@work at 10:00 PM on July 01

It's exciting how evenly matched (or equally flawed) the final eight teams are. Brazil has looked disorganized, Holland has struggled at times, Argentina gives up a lot of chances, Belgium has not taken their chances (Howard had a lot to say about that, but really...), Germany has struggled against teams they should completely dominate. Costa Rica has looked very well drilled but may not be able to penetrate the top defences.

The only teams who really look solid front to back and in form are France (who themselves were a little underwhelming against Nigeria) and Colombia (who had the easiest group and then got Uruguay with no Suarez)- and both are in very tough in their quarter final game vs Brazil and Germany respectively.

It'll be a heckuva couple of weeks.

posted by rumple at 10:56 PM on July 01

Indeed. Even though there were a few surprise teams in the final 16, there have been no blowouts and plenty of close and tense finishes.

It probably shows the increasing quality and evenness of international football, which only bodes well for future World Cups, and for very competitive qualifying stages.

posted by owlhouse at 11:54 PM on July 01

posted by grum@work at 08:11 AM on July 02

I hope by Saturday someone has asked Kevin de Bruyne how to say his name

Oof, yes. I don't understand how a media organization like ESPN doesn't sort that out. Twellman and Darke were second-guessing themselves from sentence to sentence. You could track the US' possession problems by counting the number of pronunciations of "de Bruyne". I should also point out he's only 4.5 in the FIFA fantasy league if you haven't reset your roster yet.

posted by yerfatma at 09:33 AM on July 02

Focusing on Bradley just taps into bad American habits. That's daft. The first touch was lacking across midfield, and when you can't relieve pressure against a good side, then you make a rod for your own back. Howard was immense, of course, but I doubt he'll be considering his "record" in positive terms. This isn't the NHL.

The US did pretty much as well as they deserved: rank them alongside all the other teams who went out in this round to sides with a bit more guile and depth and stamina (and in some cases, luck). Most of the losing sides are going to get better, and will have days where they win. The question for the US is whether they can improve at the same rate.

The quarter-finals are probably going to be more open than the second round, because (as rumple says) the balance between teams has shifted again. No more "job done" victories here.

posted by etagloh at 09:37 AM on July 02

I agree on Bradley. He had some disappointing moments in this tournament in that he missed some touches that could have created goal-scoring opportunities that we were used to seeing him make, but he was still an extremely valuable member of the midfield and the defense throughout, and we're clearly a weaker team without him on the field.

posted by bender at 09:42 AM on July 02

All eight teams in the quarterfinal won their group, something that has never happened before.

This was a good World Cup for the U.S., but I was hoping we'd play against Belgium like we did against Portugal, with aggressive attacks and more play-making in possession, and rightfully earn a spot in the quarterfinals. Instead, we were in hang-on-in-desperation mode for so long nobody thinks we deserved the win more than Belgium did.

Howard's performance was one for the ages. Sadly, I expect we won't be seeing him again at age 39 in 2018.

posted by rcade at 11:16 AM on July 02

538 gets all numerical on why Howard's performance was the best of the Cup.

posted by rcade at 11:17 AM on July 02

We might not see Timmy, although 39 isn't too old for a top class keeper these days, but Brad Guzan is showing with Aston Villa he ought to be an able replacement.

I love how well the USMNT did in the tournament after so many pundits forecast going home with perhaps one point in the group, well done mates!

Still, I wonder what might have been without Jozy's hamstring going blam. I'm not convinced Jurgen made the right choice to start Dempsey at the top rather than make a straight swap (positionally) for Wondo or Johannsen.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:32 PM on July 02

All eight teams in the quarterfinal won their group, something that has never happened before.

Stranger still given (with the exception of a Suarez-less Uruguay) all of the losing teams had a chance at upsetting the eventual winners. How many of the matches were decided after 80 minutes? Seems like the heat takes it's toll as most of the goals come in the second half (and Belgium's best striker has been "Guy Starting on Bench" in most games). Interestingly, the goals per game average has been cut almost in half from the group stages to the round of 16. Hopefully you guys are right about it opening up again, but this has been fun to watch regardless.

Brad Guzan is showing with Aston Villa he ought to be an able replacement.

Yeah, I would think the one position a US soccer fan doesn't worry about is depth in goal. I was playing around with the new-to-me Transfermarkt and the one thing I noticed was they have Guzan as 3x more valuable than Howard. Is that just down to age?

posted by yerfatma at 01:01 PM on July 02

One would think so, Yerfatma.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:10 PM on July 04

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