Tonight could've been the USA's chance to advance out of the dubbed "Group of Death" in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The American men needed a win against Portugal to see themselves through to the 2nd round, an achievement that seemed a bit laughable pre-tournament. A loss for the Portuguese would've knocked them out of the World Cup after a 4-0 thumping at the hands of the Germans put them at the bottom of the group.
A nightmarish defensive error from defender Geoff Cameron for the US saw them fall behind 1-0 inside 5 minutes on a hot and humid night in Manaus, Brazil. The US fought back and equalized on a sensational goal by midfielder Jermaine Jones, who hadn't scored since 2012, but picked a great time to end the drought. Clint Dempsey gave the USA the lead with 9 minutes remaining, but in the last minute of stoppage time, Cristiano Ronaldo put in a dangerous cross that was headed into the net by Varela to rescue Portugal from an early exit and prevent the US from moving on. Highlights of the game can be found here.
Back by popular demand, here's how the MMA's legion of fighters and commentators reacted via Twitter to what was ultimately a heartbreaking result for the USA. These tweets are presented in chronological order to show the ups and downs of this wild game:
Oops welp shit— Ike Vallie-Flagg (@IKEVF) June 22, 2014
GIMMMMEEEEEEDATTTTTTTTT— Matt Mitrione (@mattmitrione) June 22, 2014
What a goalllllllllll! #WorldCup— Chris Weidman (@ChrisWeidmanUFC) June 22, 2014
USA #goooaaalll— Urijah Faber (@UrijahFaber) June 22, 2014
Boooooom! Second nicest goal of the Cup... #USAvsPOR— Akira Corassani (@AkiraCorassani) June 22, 2014
Ronaldo shanks one and US comes back and scores...huge turning point...let's hold on...#TeamUSA— Mike Goldberg (@MFG16) June 22, 2014
Yessss! I don't understand soccer but some how it's still exciting— Phil Davis (@PhilMrWonderful) June 22, 2014
Fucking dagger #USAvsPOR— Kyle Kingsbury (@Kingsbu) June 22, 2014
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuukkkkkkkkkkk— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) June 22, 2014
Wow.. That's heartbreaking #TeamUSA— Chris Weidman (@ChrisWeidmanUFC) June 22, 2014
WOW how do you allow a goal with seconds left #USA. That was ridiculous we had it in the bag and blew it. Gotta beat the Germans now.— BrutalJohnnyBedford (@BrutalBedford) June 22, 2014
Great goal...damn..under a minute left...— Mike Goldberg (@MFG16) June 22, 2014
Ronal-NO— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) June 22, 2014
OMG!!! Portugual scores the equalizer on the verge of being eliminated! #WorldCup— Mauro Ranallo (@mauroranallo) June 22, 2014
In the grand scheme of things, the USA can still qualify for the next round with a draw or win against Germany (easier said than done). Alternatively, a Portugal vs. Ghana draw or a win for either team but not enough to overcome the tiebreakers of goal differential or goals scored can still see the US through.
Obviously plenty of UFC fighters are in touch with the sport, and even Mike Goldberg had a few words to say about "The Beautiful Game". The USA and Germany play Thursday at 12 PM ET, running simultaneously with Portugal vs. Ghana, a practice that FIFA has implemented since this little incident in 1982.