Those 15 minutes should give the USA plenty of positive encouragement for the next few years. The Gold Cup, perhaps the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, the 2016 Centennial Copa America and of course the 2018 World Cup. This group of players look set to do the USA proud in all of those events.
Another element of this Team USA adventure is that it is very obvious they made new friends and supporters all over the World. People were attracted to their never say die attitude and their youthful stubborn defending against sometimes brilliant opposition. The BBC probably went a little overboard in their adulation last night, the post-match panel spent 90% of their allotted time tossing bouquets at Team USA, giving Belgium hardly a mention at all.
There is a real tangible feeling across World Soccer today that this USA team is one to watch.
John Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin are just some of the exciting, young talent the USA can build on. Yedlin in particular is all the talk today after his swashbuckling display last night, charging up and down the wing causing the Belgian defence several panicky moments.
The brilliant Michael Bradley deserves mention also. His beautifully weighted pass to Green for the USA goal was majestic. There are very few players in the World with the vision to find that pass, and perhaps less with the skill to make it. Bradley made a couple of mistakes in the course of the tournament and was extremely unfairly attacked across the social networks for same, something that perhaps some of the US soccer public still needs a little education on the game’s finer points. Last night he was simply immense, coming into his own late in the game and extra time, always pushing the USA forward and pulling out a pass Messi and Ronaldo would be proud of leading to the USA goal. Bradley can sit back and relax and be very proud of his efforts particularly after that game last night.
I’m still trying to relax after that one, it was a wonderful game of football, and the only shame of it is the USA are now out of the tournament. Gone, but definitely not forgotten.