Chant our nation’s name Thursday

Published 8:02 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Let’s keep this train rolling.

For those not keeping up, The U.S. soccer team tied 2-2 with Portugal Sunday and managed to shut down a player some might call the best in the game — Cristiano Ronaldo.

Somehow, someway, the U.S. was able to make the game even more stressful for fans than their showdown against Ghana over a week ago (which they won 2-1).

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As soon as Portugal scored their first goal, a clumsily defended pop about 15 yards out, I began to worry. Portugal looked so much faster, more aware, with top-notch ball control and a one-touch pass game that moved the ball down the field quickly and effectively.

However, the U.S. stepped up their game and soon was matching the level of intensity Portugal was displaying. We almost snuck out of there with a 2-1 win, but I believe our players became too comfortable and let their guard down at the worst possible second. Portugal scored with 20 seconds left in extra-time, and the U.S. was that close to having a sure chance of playing in the Final 16.

Twenty seconds longer. Twenty little seconds, and we couldn’t keep the ball out of our net. But it’s no use moping. In fact, we should be celebrating. This U.S. team clearly has potential, more so than we’ve seen from a U.S. team in decades. A win with Ghana and a clumsy tie with Portugal show we’re at least a force to be reckoned with. But the next team on our list is the big boss fight of our division, Germany.

Here are our scenarios going forward:

1. We beat Germany. That’s one big fight, right there, but if we can manage a victory, the U.S. wins the division and we march forward to play the winner of Group H (currently Belgium).

2. If we lose to Germany, everyone needs to cheer for Portugal to win their game against Ghana. We are ahead of them in terms of our goal differential, and them winning puts Ghana in last.

3. If we tie with Germany, that’s okay, too. Germany is first, the U.S. is second, and every other game has zero effect on that.

Thursday at noon is the big showdown against Germany. My hope is that every home, office, restaurant and business in Decatur County will be playing the game. Things are looking good for our nation’s soccer team. Let’s show them some love.