PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 23: Landon Donovan of the United States celebrates scoring the winning goal that sends the USA through to the second round during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between USA and Algeria at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 23, 2010 in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Yankee Doodle Landy: Donovan's 91st Minute Goal Wins Group C For The United States

The United States went from out of the World Cup to winners of Group C in one counter attack, with Landon Donovan's 91st minute goal beating Algeria 1-0 and putting the U.S. into World Cup 2010's knockout round.

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World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Algeria: Video Of Landon Donovan's 'Breathtakingly Exciting' Goal

On Wednesday, against Algeria, in the 91st minute, Landon Donovan scored the greatest goal in U.S. soccer history. This is best presented without further comment.

So many great moments.

  • Tim Howard's unbelievablly accurate outlet pass to Donovan.
  • Ian Darke's brilliant call: "And Donovan has scored! oh, can you believe this?! Goal, goal, USA! Certainly through! Oh, it's incredible! You could not write a script like this!"
  • Darke then handling the analysis for John Harkes, the former USMNT midfielder who was seemingly too overwhelmed with emotion to fully describe what just happened.
  • Oh, and, you know, the goal itself. It was indeed, "breathtakingly exciting." 

(Video via Dan Levy)

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World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Algeria: Landon Donovan Wins Group C For United States In 91st Minute

When the 90th minute came around, the United States was out of the World Cup England had beaten Slovenia to move to the top of Group C, and the United States’ 0-0 draw would leave them one point behind Slovenia for second place.

It took only seconds – one counter attack – to put the United States through to the knockout stage of the World Cup, with Landon Donovan cleaning-up the rebound of a Jozy Altidore shot to give the United States a 1-0 win over Algeria.

The play started in the U.S.‘s end, with an Algeria header saved by Tim Howard at his right post. Howard then sprung the States into a counter attack, where Donovan fed the ball to Jozy Altidore to the right of the penalty area. The striker’s shot was saved by Rais M’Bolhu, who gave up a rebound in front of goal. Donovan ran onto the ball and finished from nine yards out to given the United States their first group win in the their World Cup history.

The result comes as redemption for another frustrating match for the United States, who saw another goal controversially disallowed. Clint Dempsey’s apparent opener was judged to be from an offside position, though replays showed the attacker to be onside.

Meanwhile, England’s 1-0 lead on Slovenia meant the United States would finish third in their group without a victory, and for most of the match, it looked like the winning goal would not come. While the United States was exclusively creating the match’s best chances, luck such as Clint Dempsey hitting the post in the 57th minute or Edson Buddle heading a ball into the `keeper from four yards out seemed to point the U.S. to an early, if undefeated, World Cup exit.

But with his second goal of the tournament, Donovan made the bad calls and near-misses distant memory, putting the United States through to the knockout stage. When the whistle blew two minutes later, the U.S. had won a World Cup group for the first time in history, finishing with five points and beating England on the goals for tiebreaker.

For Donovan, who is now the scorer of the most famous goal in United States soccer history, it is a personal triumph that brings his year full circle. In that time, Donovan has regained the captaincy of the Los Angeles Galaxy, let the team to the MLS Cup final, won Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Player award, and silences his critics with a successful loan spell at Everton in the English Premier League.

And today, Donovan completed his legacy by leading the U.S. to the top of Group C, winning the group over England, and leading the team into the World Cup’s knockout stage.

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World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Algeria: Landon Donovan 91st Minute Goal Puts United States Up 1-0

The United States is almost certainly into the knockout stage after a 91st minute counter attack was finished by Landon Donovan to put the U.S. up 1-0.

Moments after the Algerians had their best chance of the match, a header at Tim Howard’s right post, the United States broke out on the counter attack, with Landon Donovan feeding Jozy Altidore to the right of the break. Altidore’s shot was saved by Rais M’Bolhu, but the rebound was finished by Donovan for a 1-0 lead.

With the goal, the United States in on track to win Group C, with England having beating Slovenia 1-0.

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World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Algeria: First United States Goal Called Offside

Clint Dempsey appeared to have put the United States ahead in the 20th minute, but a close offside call that went against the United States’ wiped Dempsey’s left-footed finished off the scoresheet, keeping the match scoreless.

Michael Bradley broke into attack at the edge of the box only to be collapsed upon by three Algerian defenders. The ball eventually found an open Herculez Gomez on the right wing, who had a point blank shot saved by Rais M’Bolhu. The rebound to Gomez found its way to Dempsey at the far post, who touched the ball into the open net.

Replays showed that Dempsey, three yards from goal, was probably even with Algerian defender Mahjid Bougherra.

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World Cup 2010, U.S. Vs. Algeria: Bornstein, Gomez And Edu Starting For USMNT In Final Group Play Match

The U.S. starting 11 has been named, according to Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, and U.S. Men's National Team coach Bob Bradley has made some changes for Wednesday's crucial match with Algeria: Herculez Gomez replaces Robbie Findley, Maurice Edu is on for Jose Torres and Jonathan Bornstein instead of Oguchi Onyewu. Your surprise likely matches Wahl's:

Gomez in place of Findley, Bornstein (!) in place of Onyewu & Edu in place of Torres in #USA lineup.less than a minute ago via web

 

While Gomez has had his moments, and should hopefully compliment Jozy Altidore up top, it's the inclusion of Bornstein that is especially troubling, even with Gooch's noticeable defensive lapses in South Africa.

Again, Wahl says it best: "Ton of pressure on oft-criticized Jonathan Bornstein today. Can he handle it?" We'll soon find out.

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