MEGHAN BRENNAN - Thursday, June 24, 2010
After the United States' big win over Algeria, striker Herculez Gomez was bursting with pride at his team's ability to go 'all in,' even with odds stacked against them.
South Africa has welcomed Bob Bradley's 2010 World Cup squad by dealing them one bad hand after the next. In their three group stage games and six goals scored, two were disallowed. Of the calls that resulted in the disallowed goals, both were deemed bogus.
And of the ump-teen shots taken Wednesday afternoon, only one went in.
"I was sitting there on the sideline and I looked up, it was minute 89, then 90. I started to think, 'this can't be the way it ends,'" Gomez told YA during a post-game press conference.
It would not be the end of US play in the South Africa as Landon Donovan clinched a 91st minute stoppage-time winner that put an end to their streak of bad luck and secured a birth into the Round of 16.
"In the end we got rewarded with a good counter, a good play, a goal that sends us through," said Gomez of Donovan's dramatic game winner. "Landon is just doing what he has done his whole career, just making big plays."
Donovan was not the only play maker during the must-win match against Algeria. In fact it was Gomez who volleyed his own rebound far post to Clint Dempsey for an open net, 19th minute goal. Seconds later the lineman disallowed the goal, calling Dempsey off-side.
"Unfortunately I've been hearing [Dempsey] wasn't off sides, that's how it goes sometimes," Gomez stated as a matter-of-fact. "Regardless, I'm very proud of our effort tonight. I don't think once this whole tournament we have put our head down and given up."
Give up they did not as Gomez, who made his second career start for the US, and the rest of the Red, White and Blue offense peppered Algerian keeper Rais M Bohli with 22 shots, waiting for him to fold. When he did, the US cashed in.
"I'm just thrilled and proud to be a part of this team. I've heard it from guys who have played not one, not two, but three World Cups, that this is one of the best teams they have ever been around," Gomez beamed with pride.
"We're very excited with all we've accomplished, getting first place in our group, it's not too shabby," he concluded.
Next up, the US faces Ghana in the Round of 16 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, for a chance to advance to the World Cup Quarter Finals.