Unites States fall to Belgium, ending World Cup run

Matched up against one of the five best players left in the World Cup - Kevin C. Cox

The 2-1 loss showed the influence of both Sounders as DeAndre Yeldin entered in 32nd minute playing 88 minutes and Clint Dempsey went the full 120.

All three goals were scored in an action packed extra time with the USA nearly pulling the game level on several occasions. In the end, it is the end for a United States that could not become the only lower seed to advance to the quarterfinals. Belgium now advances to face Argentina.

An early injury to Fabian Johnson left Jurgen Klinsmann with the choice for a more defensive right back or insert Yedlin. He chose the Sounder and there was an immediate change in the attacking posture of the Americans. Yedlin surge up the side mimicking Johnson. His crosses created danger, but were not finished. That action would come in waves.

Most of the original scheduled 90 minutes would be defined by Tim Howard. He had one of the outstanding performances not just of the World Cup, but one that should go down in American history right alongside, maybe above, Keller's performance against Brazil in a friendly. Howard's 15 saves were the most of the World Cup. His positioning was impeccable.

Clint Dempsey was again on his island as the lone striker. Long periods of play continued with the Captain as a non-participant. That ended in extra time.

Everything changed in extra time. Belgium came out fast and furious with the subbed in Romelu Lukaku. His pace and strength couldn't be matched by Besler and Gonzalez. He created the Belgian first goal (though De Bruyne scored) and scored the second. Hope seemed lost and young Julian Green entered the pitch in what initially seemed to be a ceremonial role.

Quickly working with in the final 15 minutes of the match he scored the goal that gave the Yanks life and hope.

The final fifteen minutes were a flurry of activity that involved both Sounders. Yedlin's crosses were regularly blocked, but second balls fell in dangerous areas. A late free kick flashed Dempsey into empty space but the touch was quick and right at Courtouis. The Belgian keeper only made five saves, four of those against the Sounders FC forward.

It wasn't enough for a miracle, but it was certainly enough for pride. in America and two Sounders. Clint Dempsey showed that he could lead a solid side, but needs another forward to be truly great. DeAndre Yedlin demonstrated that he is perfectly suited to be a modern fullback blasting forward and rapidly recovering.

Sigi Schmid said the two could be on a plane as soon as tomorrow, but are unlikely to be back and rejoining the team in time to play against Vancouver on Saturday.

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