Drew Pells: My Favourite Goal
Despair. Angst. Helplessness. That’s how I feel sitting on the edge of the sofa as the US and Algeria go into stoppage time scoreless. A win sends the US to the knockouts, but a draw means they exit the 2010 World Cup.
This team had high hopes and expectations. Just a year prior, they shocked European Champions Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinal and even led Brazil by two in the final. This team had proven they could compete on the world stage.
They drew the opener with mighty England. Great start. They fought back from a two goal deficit, and should’ve won if not for a third goal taken away, against Slovenia. Great resilience. Algeria? Surely the US should win and go through because this American team was THE team. But in the 91st minute of a 0-0 draw, all of it is about to evaporate with a group stage exit.
A header goes straight into keeper Tim Howard’s hands. He then fires the ball 40 yards to hit Landon Donovan in stride. “One last attack. Please. Please score. Just one goal.”
The US has numbers as Donovan lays it off for Jozy Altidore. “Yes. Yes. Come on.” He crosses low for Clint Dempsey running in the box. Dempsey strikes the ball at the rushing keeper. Denied. “NO!” I yell.
A second runner! It’s Landon Donovan! GOAL!
I leap off the couch! I scream “YEAH!” as the entire team dog piles on top of Landon Donovan. The US soccer world erupts.
Jubilation. Euphoria. Hysteria.
The best goal in US Soccer history.
Drew Pells is a soccer writer and host of the podcast On The Counter. Follow him here: @DrewPells