With Saturdays tie against heavily favored England, the United States have put themselves in an excellent position to advance past the group stage, something they failed to do in 2006. In order to do so, they must take care of business and get wins as favorites against Slovenia and Algeria.
Critics may consider Saturdays tie lucky for the United States due to Robert Greens gift of a goal but they must be commended for keeping the pressure on England, who looked poised to blow out the U.S. after a very early goal by captain Steven Gerrard. After the goal, the United States seemed to regain their composure when they very easily could have done the opposite. They managed to withstand a couple more dangerous English attacks and even had a few of their own before Clint Dempsey found space and hit a relatively soft shot on goal. The rest is history. English goalkeeper Robert Green failed to get his body in front of the ball and it inexcusably escaped from his grasp and slowly rolled into the goal. England seemed to be in a state of relative shock from the goal and almost conceded a second on a Jozy Altidore breakaway that was punched away from Green off the post in a relatively small act of redemption. However, his save will likely not be the contribution he is remembered for from the game.
Greens suspect play at goal was in stark contrast to that on the opposite end of the pitch, where U.S. keeper Tim Howard made great save after great save. Howard, who is widely considered to be one of the best keepers in the world, proved it on Saturday and will be depended upon for the rest of the World Cup if the United States looks to advance past teams as gifted as England. It has been announced that Howard will start against Slovenia. This news is promising after Howard was injured against England when Emile Heskey slid in after a cross and caught Howard in the chest with his cleats, bruising several ribs. Hopefully Howards play will not be affected by the injury when the United States goes into a must win situation against Slovenia on Friday morning. Slovenia leads the group with 3 points after the Algeria keeper let in a goal late that should have been saved. It was not to the degree of Greens, but nonetheless will be added to the ever-expanding list of goalkeeper errors we have seen thus far in this World Cup. Hopefully, Howard can continue his fine performance and with it keep the United States in the tournament as a competitive side that should not be underestimated…as England now knows.