The disappointment was sudden and it was powerful as Portugal snatched victory away from the U.S. MNT with a diving header 30 seconds from the end of five minutes of added time.
A 2-1 win over Portugal would have put the U.S. through to the second round of the 2014 FIOFA World Cup. The 2-2 draw that was the result of the final action in a 95-minute game, means the third games of Group G have significant consequences.
The U.S. can still advance with a win or a tie against Germany, the #3 team in the FIFA World Rankings, and one of the tournament favorites. Should Ghana and Portugal draw their final game, the U.S. would advance. Even with a close loss to Germany, the U.S. would advance on a better goal differential than either Portugal or Ghana.
Going into the final games, the U.S. is +1 on goal differential after its 2-1 win over Ghana. Portugal is -4 after losing 4-0 to Germany.
Has been reported that there are numerous scenerios that would put the U.S. into the second round of qualifying, and only one that would knock them out. That would be on goals. Bottom line, win or lose against Germany, it is important for the U.S. to score goals in this game.
The U.S. looked like the team that allowed early goals in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, as Geoff Cameron almost whiffed a clearing kick that settled on the foot of Nani, who buried it past U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was lying on the ground. That goal came just five minutes into the game.
The second half belonged to the U.S. with midfielder Jermaine Jones finishing a rocket from 25 yards out to tie the game in the 64th minute. The U.S. took the lead in the 81st minute when Graham Zusi played a ball across the face of the goal that Clint Dempsey ran in off his stomach for a 2-1 lead.
The U.S. appeared to be doing everything correctly in order to kill the game, but with just over 30 seconds left in five minutes of extra time, Michael Bradley lost the ball 70 yards away from the U.S. goal. Christino Ranaldo, who did little in the way of impacting the game up to that point, carried it down the right flank and curved a cross what Silvestre Varela headed in the goal. Three U.S. defenders were back, but were watching the ball rather than watching the run of Varela.
Never before has the U.S. given up the first goal in a World Cup game and come back to win. Never before has Portugal lost a World Cup game after scoring the first goal. Both streaks continue.
The U.S. has three days before playing Germany, while the Germans have four, having tied Ghana 2-2 the day before the U.S. played Portugal.