OK, we are just over an hour away from the kickoff of the final matches of Group C and 3 teams are realistically fighting for two spots, for the US their task is simple, beat Algeria and they will advance to the round of 16.
Here are the players they are going with to complete that task:
Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra (c), Jonathan Bornstein;
Landon Donovan, Michale Bradley, Maurice Edu, Clint Dempsey;
Hercules Gomez, Jozy Altidore
and I am going to be honest the inclusion of Bornstein scares me a bit but I like the moves to bring Edu and Gomez into the starting 11. It is a shame that the US will be without the speed of Robbie Findley due to the bogus yellow card against Slovenia.
OK, I will be back shortly with match updates, but until then I have to get ready and you need to check out the SB Nation preview of todays action.
match updates after the jump:
Well the songs are playing and the teams look ready to play, well if you wondered if Algeria cared about this match, the answer is they have already taken a shot in the first 30 seconds. Landon on the attack and a great ball into the area, but it goes to the keeper. Both sides are opening up the match by playing a good attacking style, should be a great match to watch.
A good run doen the side by the guy with the funny blond haircut, not sure what it is supposed to be but hey it is the World Cup and if it gets you on TV more. The US pressure pays off in a turnover but they are unable to complete the next pass and Algeria takes back over, really high pressure on the ball by the US, a good method when everything is on the line.
Wow the US dodges a bullet as a man gets behind the back line but their shot is off the crossbar and the US almost gave up an early goal, the counter is quick as the US storm back into the Algeria final third and fire a shot that is deflected out for a corner kick. Landon takes it, but it goes to the keeper and wow that is two shots on goal in a matter of minutes. A foul just past the midfield line gives the US another set piece, Dempsey takes the shot but it is high and out for a goal kick. OK, I said the change to the US backline scared me, and so far I have been right on target as they have been scary to say the least.
OK, this is going to be an exciting match as both teams really are playing up tempo, the thing that scares me is that the US defense has looked a bit shaky, so Timmy will need to settle everyone down. The US has had the better of possession and look a bit sharper as far as passing. The US is moving forward with numbers and a good ball into the area, is broken up by the keeper who has been forced to work hard already in the match. So far this official has been rock solid, not taking any BS and calling it both ways.
The US gets a ball into the area and Herc tries a half-bicycle kick but it is off target, it is followed up by another run by Landon and his shot goes high over the goal and out for a goal kick. The US get the ball back and another run, the ball goes into the area but it is cleared by the defender and Algeria has it at midfield. The first 20 minutes have really been exciting, lots of action.
A flurry of action, a foul on Jozy, not called, a foul on Bradley not called, shot blocked, shot blocked, Dempsey into the back of the net but another bad call as the offside flag is up, but the replay clearly shows that they sure looked like they were even. That was a frantic few seconds, and you can tell the frustration level is going up for the US who last two goals have been not counted. The replay is clear that again the US is on the end of a bad call, that could well cost them a spot in the final 16. It is clear that the US is the better side, but can they find a way to convert their chances that the officials won't blow the whistle on?
The US are taking a bit of a breather after 25 crazy minutes, but the defense holds up and a foul on Dempsey has him on the pitch holding his leg and no card but he was clearly kicked right in the thigh, but he is back up. Algeria is on the attack, but the US defense holds up and now the US are back on the attack, but the ball for Jozy is too long and back over to Algeria it goes.
The US is building again and playing very high as the defenders are almost at the midfield line, the US is taking their time and deliberate, but a break on a no call for Algeria and they quickly move into the US final third and then turn it over but get it right back and a shot from distance is deflected out by the US for an Algeria corner kick. Cleared but the US counter is broken up at midfield.
Algeria on a break, and it is cleared out for a Algeria throw in, but played too long for a US goal kick. A good ball in and the header by Dempsey goes off a defender, Landon's shot goes out and no corner for the US on another questionable call. You can tell that the amount of pressure on the US is great as the play is very frantic, it started as high paced and energetic but now it has become something else. Once again the US gets a shot on goal and a save by the Algerian keeper, who has been up to the task so far (well with the help of a bad offside call).
The US is on the move again and and a great set of plays that end up with the ball at the feet of Jozy, who shanks it over the crossbar despite being just 4 feet from the goal. You now know one of the reasons Hull City won't be in the premiership this year. Algeria counter and a shot from distance is pushed over the bar by Timmy, corner kick, cleared and a foul on Algeria is called. Well if you are a casual soccer fan, this is the type of match you love with lots of action and scoring chances for both sides, but the 0-0 scoreline remains as neither side has been able to convert yet.
Well the US is back in possession of the ball and are looking to once again push into the final third of Algeria, a long ball into the area was easily cleaned up by the keeper and you have to wonder how the US hasn't scored yet? Algeria with the ball, but the US pressure forces a turnover and Dempsey fires a shot from distance but the keeper is there to make the save and unlike the English keeper he keeps his body in front of the ball. Now Algeria is countering and their shot goes out for a US goal kick
Bradley turns it over at the top of the area, and Algeria's counter is broken up by DeMerit but the US effort on goal after the counter is lacking and out for a goal kick. One minute of stoppage time as we are still tied up a 0-0, while England is up 1-0 in their match with Slovenia. The whistle blows and while the US should be up by a goal we end the first half tied up at 0.
Well the US has been the better side with 12 to 11 shots and 4 on goal to 2, then factor in the US goal that wasn't counted for a very questionable offside call. I like the aggressive attacking style that the US is playing, the counter of that is that it will expose your defense and it has, but so far they have been up to the task. You have to wonder what edge would the US have gotten if Robbie had been able to play and they could have used his speed?
The US will make one change as Dempsey will move up top, Herc is gone and Benny is in for the US. Oh and a thank you to the person who brought the donuts to the pub. The US quickly attack, but it goes out for an Algeria throw in, but the US takes right back over, a bad turnover and the offside flag is up on Algeria as they once again got behind the US backline. Yes pushing a player down to get the ball is against the rules and the US get a free kick from about 20 yards outside of the area.
Algeria counter, and their effort is deflected out for a corner kick, and it goes out for a goal kick. The US is back on the attack but their final pass is a bit long and out for a throw in for Algeria, and they are quickly moving into the US final third and deflected out again, another corner kick, to the back post, back into the area and then out for a US goal kick. The US looks a bit calmer in this half but also appear to be slowing down just a bit on the attack. A good turn by Jozy, but he turns it over and Jozy.
Another great series of chances for the US but they again fail to take advantage, this time it is Dempsey who misses the open net, and you have to wonder how many chances like these will the US get? The US has done well to keep up the pressure on Algreia, and you have to wonder what the mindset of a team that can't advance in any way without a win isn't attacking as much as they could. As I type that they fire a great shot from distance, the US counters and their cross is cleared out of the area and Algeria is back on the attack. Buddle in for Edu as the US is either going to go to a 4-3-3 or Dempsey will move back into the midfield.
The US get the ball in the area, but the attempt to play the ball in front of the goal is deflected out for a US corner kick, and the ball is delivered well but the effort is just wide of goal.
Another good ball into the Algeria half but the touch of Jozy fails him and it goes back over to Algeria, but the US quickly get it back and the attempt of Buddle to cross it ends up going out but the US get it right back. An incredible shot on goal by the US, is saved and that has to be the save of the match so far, Algeria counter right away and get a shot off but it goes out for a goal kick. 20 minutes plus stoppage time is all that is left and the US must win in order to advance as England is still ahead. Landon lines up for another US corner, good ball but nobody finds it and Algeria are quickly in the US half again but we take it away and then Buddle gives the ball away and Algeria is back in possession.
The US takes it back at midfield but their long ball is picked off and Algeria is back on the attack but their ball into the area is easily broken up by the US, and then they fire a wild shot from distance but it goes out for a US goal kick. Bradley plays a ball to nobody, a foul on Jozy gives the US a dangerous free kick, but nothing comes of it.
Well the US give up the ball and Algeria look to counter but an awful shot gives it right back to the US, and they are back on the attack. Another good ball into the area but the US once again are unable to get a head on it, but again we don't get the call but hey in the last two matches, we have been playing 11 vs. 12 for the vast majority of the match. a super ball into the area but Landon's first touch fails him, but a foul on Dempsey gives the US a very dangerous free kick from just outside fo the area. A great effort by Bradley, but a good save and the US fail again to convert a dangerous chance.
The US make their final change as DMB is in for Bornstein with 10 minutes plus stoppage time left, still tied at 0-0, while Enlgand is up 1-0 still. A horrible foul by Algeria on Dempsey in the area leaves him with a split lip, the officials miss the call but what do we expect. A free kick from 15 yards outside of the area and a bad shot by Dempsey and another US chance is wasted, that might be the legecy of this World Cup for the US, well along with goals disallowed by the officials.
Well both teams have made all their changes, so now we have 5 minutes and stoppage with the guys on the pitch battling it out. You have to wonder if either side will get many more chances and how much stoppage time will be added on, for the US they clearly have had the better chances but without a goal there will be nothing to show for it as England and Slovenia are into stoppage time with England still up a goal. A good ball to DMB but he is carded for the handball. The clock has hit 90 and for the US they have 4 minutes of stoppage time to get something done. A save by Howard and the US counter and the deflection goes right to Landon who puts it into the back of the net in stoppage time, USA 1- Algeria 0.
Now the US will have about 3 minutes to hold on to their lead and secure their place in the next round, England has punched their ticket and now it is all on the US. Algeria get a corner kick but a foul in the area and a yellow card for dissentand now a red card is shown for dissent and the US now will have the goal and man advantage for the next 2 minutes.
The US is on the attack again and a foul on Altidore gives the US a free kick, but they play it to save time and the final whistle blows and the US have won their match and will win the group and move on to the round of 16.
USA 1 - Algeria 0
OFF MY SOAPBOX