Usually, the worst part about rooting for an underdog is watching them lose, inevitably succumbing to the fact that, at the end of the day, they’re just not that good. If you were watching the USMNT go up against Portugal, though, you’d know that the worst part about rooting for an underdog is watching them give away what looked to be certain victory. It happened in South Africa, it happened in 2002, and it happened last night as Team USA gave away a 2-1 lead in the last 15 seconds of play after a turnover from Michael Bradley lead to Cristiano Ronaldo, who spent the majority of the match trying as hard as he could to pretend like he wasn’t one of the world’s best players, landing a picture perfect cross (pass) right to the head of Silvestre Varela. Goal, two all, draw. Good game, thanks for coming out.
While it wasn’t quite as devastating a loss as it could have been — the U.S. team still has a solid chance to advance to the round of 16 — it stung. It stung because the U.S. played like warmed over excrement for the entire first half, then came out looking like world beaters in the second. Full disclosure, though: Portugal was down four starters and similarly affected by an inability to play near the top of their game. So it goes.
With USA gearing up to play Germany on Thursday, here’s how the Group (rounded out by former U.S. nemesis Ghana) needs to play out in order for the U.S. to advance. If they tie or beat Germany, they advance regardless of what happens in Ghana vs. Portugal. If Germany wins, the only way Portugal or Ghana can pass the U.S. is on goal differential: so if Germany wins, USA supporters are going to want to cheer for Portugal, since they’re further behind in goals scored. Odds are, though, that the underdog streak is going to continue into the round of 16. We believe, indeed.