Five years ago today, soccer in the United States was born.
It's one of the most memorable moments in my life as a sports fan. In need of a win against Algeria not only to continue their efforts at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but also to catapult the sport's growth into the forefront of the American imagination, the Yanks left it to real late in the match. Landon Donovan delivered in a big, big way.
It's such a special moment for several reasons. For one, there's the aforementioned fact that soccer wanted to grow in the U.S., and the 2010 World Cup was its most legitimate and real opportunity yet. The U.S. had to progress. The pressure was on, which is one aspect of a great moment.
Next, there's the goal itself: it was freaking awesome! Amazing (and criminally under-appreciated) distribution from keeper Tim Howard. Glorious first touch from Donovan; great pass to the wing, solid initial cross, outstanding follow-up play by Donovan, who never stopped running. He pounced and that was that.
Then there's the celebration by the players. A picturesque head-first slide by the goal scorer into the corner flag followed by an absolute dogpile of the entire squad. The emotion and togetherness throughout the squad was totally clear, and that was something really special.
Any great sports moment has to have a memorable call by the announcer, and Ian Darke's "GO, GO USA!" will forever give me goose-bumps. I could listen to it on repeat forever.
The 2010 Cup didn't end as well as the Americans hoped, as they crashed out in the first knockout round to Ghana (perennial American enemies on the soccer pitch), but it did so much to spur the explosion of U.S. interest in soccer that we've seen in the past few years.
I remember watching the game with my brother at home. It's definitely one of those events that I will forever remember where I was for... what about you? Any memories from the match?