In breathtaking fashion, Jurgen’s USMNT set its mark on this year’s World Cup in record time, netting a goal faster than any other American side in history. So much was said leading up to this US team’s World Cup campaign – out with the old, in with the new – how fitting that it was a member of the old guard, Clint Dempsey, finding the back of the net at the 34 second mark of the match. It is the third different World Cup that Dempsey has scored and represents so much about what he has meant for American soccer (football), especially with his success abroad.
Without a doubt, this is Jurgen’s team, and the quick score echoes that sentiment louder than any roster omission or foreign-born recruit. It was Dempsey that sent America into a frenzy early, but it was Klinsmann’s dogged determination in John Brooks who delivered the deciding goal, fed beautifully by America’s final substitution, Graham Zusi – the only sub Jurgen was able to make of his own volition due to injury or threat of injury. One has to wonder if that ball might have been fed by … well never mind, I won’t say it.
There were definitely moments where it looked like we were still the same America – content to try to ride out the last 45 minutes of the match with the one goal lead, resigning themselves to settle for a draw. But they didn’t. They fought and they took advantage of their chances. For once, America were the opportunistic side, ceding control to the Black Stars for most of the second half but mostly surviving the onslaught. If resilience is what Klinsmann brings, it showed in this first match. It was tenuous for much of the match, but I liked what I saw. I hope they can keep it up.