The United States was 30 seconds from advancing to the knockout stage of the World Cup on Sunday, but a late goal from Portugal's Varela tied it and that means there is some work to do Thursday against Germany. Tampa Bay Rowdies general manager and former national team player (23 appearances) Perry Van Der Beck provides his thoughts on a dramatic evening of soccer.
How do you feel the team performed overall against Portugal?
It was heartbreaking, but it was encouraging. I still like our chances. It's a little bit of a surprise the way we started the game with a mistake trying to clear the ball, and (Portugal) finished. We responded very well. We did well going forward. I thought Michael Bradley did very well playing in behind Clint Dempsey. Unlike the game against Ghana when we scored first and went into a bit of a shell defensively, we were attacking and attacking well for most of the match.
At the end of the day, any team would take a point against Portugal, but the way it happened has to be demoralizing for the U.S.?
Yeah, it's very unfortunate. We lost the ball in midfield on a turnover. Portugal played the ball to (Cristiano) Ronaldo, who we had contained for most of the match. He gets that wonderful cross, and the tracking just wasn't there. And it was a good finish in the back of the net.
Were you surprised by Jurgen Klinsmann's choice to go with a five-man midfield with forward Jozy Altidore out injured?
(Graham) Zusi's got some pace on the right, and I think they were trying to create some service for Clint Dempsey. It seemed that was the right choice. We had several chances on goal.
Do you think there will be any hangover against Germany match from that late Portugal goal?
No, I think they should be thinking positive. Every game you make mistakes. This game's behind us. The turnaround is going to be quick. Germany gets an extra day rest after playing Saturday. The conditions where Germany played weren't as difficult as they were today for the U.S., so it's going to be interesting. Coming off an encouraging draw against Portugal, who is ranked fourth in the world, I think we should have plenty of momentum. We just have to keep that momentum going.