By Jacob Bigley and Terry Miller (Beacon Media News)
“I believe that we will win” could be heard throughout the streets of Pasadena Sunday as the United States faced off against Portugal.
American flags in every form, Landon Donovan jerseys, red, white and blue face paint as well as everything in-between could be found piling into the bars and restaurants of downtown Pasadena.
A “USA-USA-USA” chant spread throughout Barney’s Beanery and Lucky Baldwin’s respectively as the United States team took the field and the patrons waited for the match to begin.
The excitement quickly turned to concern as Nani from Portugal scored in the fifth minute.
The score would remain 1-0 until the 64th minute when Jermaine Jones made it 1-1 after a cross from Graham Zusi.
Jones’ goal caused an immediate celebration, which consisted of beverages flying, strangers hugging and unlimited high-fives. The infamous soccer chant “Ole” filled the bar for a couple minutes before residents finally took a moment to catch their breath.
The score remained tied until Clint Dempsey, who is playing with a broken nose, stomached in a goal at the 81st minute thanks to another cross from Zusi. The scrambled goal put the United States up 2-1 with the Americans inching closer to a win.
As the time neared the 90thminute, fans began debating and predicting the amount of stoppage time that would be added.
The capacity crowd that filled Lucky Baldwin’s Trappiste Sunday was perhaps indicative of the collective mood in the city and perhaps much of the US.
Hopes to beat Portugal were at fever pitch Sunday but the collective cry wasn’t enough to bring those expectations to reality. Despite the swift pouring of the amber nectar at Lucky’s by the ever-cheerful Tom Tom; maker of magical elixirs Malissa;
Hanna’s hypnotic humour and the shear speed of Tatianna getting the drinks to the dry-mouthed USA fans…all was not lost. To the majority’s surprise, 5 more minutes was added to the match. America frantically watched on as their eyes darted back and forth from game play to the clock.
Then, in the 94th minute, Ronaldo sends a cross from the right side of the field setting up Varela for header that found its way into the back of the net. The crowd deflated in disbelief as fans screamed in frustration. The United States was a mere 45 seconds away from clinching a spot in the next round and eliminating Portugal from the World Cup.
The somber mood spread throughout the crowd, trying to comprehend what had just happened. The United States now looks to face Germany this week, in hopes of advancing in the World Cup.