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U.S. team and fans pay tribute to Davies in 2-2 draw

Davies Tribute (Reuters)


The U.S. national team's 2-2 draw against Costa Rica at RFK Stadium on Wednesday crowned the Americans as champions of the Hexagonal, but perhaps just as big of a story as the U.S. team's first-place finish was the tribute from the fans and players to forward Charlie Davies.

Davies was involved in a deadly car accident one day prior, and rather than come out dejected, the U.S. players came out with passion for their injured teammate and friend.

"We just used Charlie's situation to kind of motivate us. We are happy he is alive and that in itself gave us a lift," said goalkeeper Tim Howard. "Charlie would give anything at the moment to put on a jersey and have it all back, so we kind of feel lucky and privileged and that was motivation for us."

The U.S. team was clearly motivated, attacking Costa Rica relentlessly from the opening whistle, and in the ninth minute the Americans had a chance to truly make it special.

With a pre-determined fan tribute taking place, with fans cheering and holding up no. 9 signs (Davies' number) in the red, white and blue smoke-filled air, the U.S. attack received even more inspiration. In that moment, forward Jozy Altidore sprung down the right flank before feeding Conor Casey, who was unmarked at the top of the 18, but his shot went high and wide.

"It would have been true poetry," said USSF president Sunil Gulati. "But [the fans' tribute] was extraordinary, and it says a lot about our fans, the support the team has, and frankly, about technology these days, where a few people on Twitter can get 10,000 people holding up a number nine sign at the nine-minute mark."

Despite the U.S. team's fierce assault on Costa Rica's back-line, Los Ticos struck first, netting two goals in a span of four minutes midway through the first half.

The Americans would respond, however, though it came late in the second half. A 72nd-minute goal from Michael Bradley, and a last-gasp header from unlikely hero Jonathan Bornstein in the 95th would give the U.S. team the draw they needed to finish in first in the Hexagonal (Second place Mexico also tied Wednesday, making the U.S. team the Hexagonal winners).

Of all the performances on Wednesday night, perhaps Altidore's was most fitting. Altidore, one of Davies' best friends, put together an inspired 90-minute showing despite not having played much at the club level in recent weeks. When Altidore wasn't busy creating opportunities for teammates, or challenging the Costa Rican back-line with his strength and speed, he was putting constant defensive pressure on Los Ticos' defense.

"Just because of how close I am to the kid, it hurt that much more," said Altidore, who wore a Davies-9 shirt underneath his jersey. "For me tonight, it made me realize that you may not get another game, so you got to make sure you play every game like it is your last. I'm going to try and do that from here on out.

"I just wish Charlie could have been here for it. I think he was a big part of our success this year, so we did this for him."

The 2-2 draw may not have been the most ideal result, but given the circumstances, the passion shown by the fans and the players was truly something special.

"Whenever we come together there is a strong camaraderie, and they care about each other. It's one of the best parts of being the coach of the U.S. national team," said head coach Bob Bradley. "And when there's an accident, like the one that takes place the other day, one that affects one of your brothers, then there is a strong emotion. I think you saw that from Jozy and everybody else."


What did you think of the players' emotion-filled performances on Wednesday? Did you like the tribute from the fans?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If Jozy had scored and removed his shirt to show the CD #9, it would’ve been his second yellow and he would’ve been ejected and missed the opening match of the World Cup.

    I was even thinking this at the game because I knew he had to have something underneath.

  2. I don’t understand all the booing and hissing for Conor Casey. No one is more disappointed that he didn’t finish that ninth-minute goal than Conor Casey. If he’d drilled it–on the heels of his one-man-band performance to get us into the World Cup–Conor Casey would have cemented his legend. The man would never have to go to his pocket in any American soccer bar again. Everyone on this site, all the regulars, all the lurkers, even Ives himself, would buy him round after round.* There’d be countless YouTube slo-mo videos of those three goals set to stirring music. What’s more, if Landon had laid it off to Casey, where he was well-positioned in front of an empty net after a good off-ball run, instead of spraying a weak shot into the waiting arms of the Costa Rican keeper, Casey would have scored at least three goals in two games to cinch a World Cup berth at the head of the CONCACAF table. Imagine if he’d scored on his one-on-one chance in the ninth and also nailed a Donovan pass to tally back-to-back qualifier braces. We’d all be composing songs about the guy.

    It didn’t happen. He opened his hips too soon. Landon, in a reversal of his Conferations’ Cup form, took a shot when he should have passed. Conor wasn’t alone in missing golden opportunities. Jozy talked about it post-game, saying that he wanted so badly to score for Charlie that “my eyes got too big.”

    Please, don’t hate on Casey for missing the kick. He’s probably kicking himself.

  3. Casey’s horrible miss also probably prevented us from going on to win 3-0, like we did in the corresponding fixture in Salt Lake 4 yrs ago.

    Then again, as Ives has said, gotta give credit to Bryan Ruiz for two great goals.they didn’t have him 4 yrs ago. Rolando Fonseca was great but Ruiz is probably their best striker since Wanchope and, going back further, Medford too.

  4. funny you can see me in that picture getting strept throat from screaming so loud.

    NASA also reported a UFO over RFK which they later said was just a cloud of smoke from smoke bombs…

  5. adidas releasing Mexico,Germany,Russia,Spain, Greece, Argentina and France jerseys 11/25.

    Nike releasing US, Brazil, Holland and Portugal March 1.

  6. (SBI- Big clubs always try to pull that every now and then to raise a stink about exposure, but it never gets anywhere. Considering A) Onyewu didn’t cost a transfer fee and B) hehe has barely played, the don’t really have a case anyway.)

    Really, it’s got to be a contractual thing. This isn’t the first time anything like this has happened, so I imagine there are relevant FIFA regulations that are incorporated by reference or explicitly in player contracts. It would also be the kind of thing insurance companies would want set in stone before they insure any players at that level. Either the contracts and FIFA rules do call for national clubs to assume some liability when they call up players, or they don’t. I don’t know the answer, but I’m sure it’s not about making a case. It will be in the contracts somewhere.

  7. Ives, although I know you’re loathe to mention anything associated with the NYRB this year, there was a very impressive similar display at the RSL-NYRB game ;-).

  8. Great tribute and also a great reputation the team is building itself to fight till the end.

    Did they learn something from the Brazil game? Or, the Mexico game at Azteca?

    I thought only the Germans did these things?

  9. @Jon M. Roberts

    Major manufacturers almost always release new unis before big tournaments (World Cup and Euros), and they tend to go in 2-year cycles. The current ones are 08/09, so we should see the 10/11 kits in Spring ’10.

    3rd unis aren’t that common (the red Don’t Tread On Me was limited to the send-off tour in ’06, and the pinstripes from ’07 never got that much play), and at the World Cup, you can only register two sets of uniforms, lights and darks.

  10. I was really proud to be there lifting my sign last night. And when Bornstein headed that goal in with like 3 seconds left, i got goosebumps. I’m so proud of the team, and can’t wait for the World Cup!!! USA USA USA

  11. I read where Milan wants “compensation” for Onyewu.

    Ives, how does this usually work on the international level?

    Seems like every international break a player comes back to club banged up. Obviously this is way more than banged up.

    I assumed that Lloyds of London would be involved.

    (SBI- Big clubs always try to pull that every now and then to raise a stink about exposure, but it never gets anywhere. Considering A) Onyewu didn’t cost a transfer fee and B) hehe has barely played, the don’t really have a case anyway.)

  12. i say bring back the Copa America kits. still one of my top kits! despite the memories…

    Ives, any chance you could find a clip of what Boca said to the crowd? I was at the game, but somehow I missed this!

  13. Jon,
    Historically, the US has gotten a new kit before the WC, at least it was that way for 1994, 2002 and 2006. If the 1998 WC kits were new, they only had slight changes. I would wait until spring or at least set aside funds to use at that time, too.

  14. Altidore was an absolute monster. He was terrorizing the CR defense from the start. His pressure when the ball was at their defenders’ feet was relentless, and he caused way more turnovers than you typically see.

    Then, offensively, he showed a combination of technique and muscle that was simply overwhelming. Even when the ball was at the touchline, if he was nearby the CR defense could not rest easy.

    What I regret most is that he didn’t put in a goal so that he show off his CD9 shirt.

  15. Cheers to the MNT and I’m glad we could help Honduras in the mix too. The ticos made me mad in the dying minutes with their time trimming tricks and what not. Davies I hope all is well, and I wish gooch and you swift recoveries.

    QUESTION, Ives, any idea on the US getting a third kit??? Or when our uniforms are changing? Will we be wearing the same one to the word cup? Don’t get me wrong I love ’em now, especially the dark gray (that is not seen as often as I’d like). But last time around we had the three kits, navy blue, white and the….to my taste horrible baseball looking light blue one. So any ideas on that?? Im about to buy a jersey or to for S.A. and I’d like to know if I should just wait a bit just in case we have some new style coming in. Thanks man, love the site!

  16. great game the US stood tall and fought back for the draw. really wish cooper started casey sucks hes just a gaint rock of a guy he really cant move. i mean 16 caps and 2 goals hope hes not coming to south africa with us.

  17. Watching replays, I guess I’d say that Altidore’s performance was better than I realized at the game. His finishing still needs work, but he was better on the ball and more determined than I realized. If he takes inspiration from this, that’s will be great. Davies was that kind of player. now, it falls to Altidore.

    As for the fans — Much credit to those who put out the word and tee Baltimore Brigade who put up the internet #9 for all to print. Do I get any credit for suggesting the idea on this blog in response to someone who wanted to set off smoke bombs to honor Davies? 😉

    Ives seems overwhelmed by the fans’ noise — Honestly, I think the Barra and the Eagles sometimes do better for DC United games, but mostly I think that’s a coordination thing. With a bigger crowd, it was harder to coordinate. The Barra would be doing one thing, people behind them (where I was) would be doing another chant — and it was because we couldn’t hear each other and we lack an agreed song set. That will come. Then, you’ll really see something. Wait until DC hosts the USA in a World Cup match.

  18. Not sure if I can ever forgive Casey for ruining a storybook goal at 8:58 which would have been remembered as legend for the rest of American soccer history.

  19. @ advocat: Sochaux would have no claim against either Davies or USSF, as the injury suffered by CD9 is not soccer-related in any way. If Wayne Rooney went into a Manchester grocery store to buy a loaf of bread and was shot during a store robbery, Man U would have no claim against the robber or the store.

  20. I predicted Sochaux FC would pull a MUTU and request compensation for Davies personal problems. Well, AC Milan is already requesting monies from the USSF for the loss of onjewu, his salary, and diminished free market valuation. However, Sochaux could litigate against davies and the USSF for damages.

  21. Great job Sam’s Army. Great job USMNT fans. I love this team. I love US Soccer. I love that I can be patriotic and (generally) cheer for the underdog at the same time. Soccer is the only sport in the world that isn’t dominated y the U.S. generally. I love that.


    God bless the USMNT.

  22. The elder Bradley usually cuts a stoic figure, but that was raw emotion he showed after Bornstein’s goal, pumping his fists and hugging his assistants. And that was raw emotion on Bradley’s face when he was asked about visiting Davies in the hospital on Wednesday not long before the game. Bradley described a scene in which Davies’ doctor was performing rounds and being given reports on Davies’ condition.

    “We weren’t in the room at that point, but I could hear him,” Bradley said. “I could hear him say, ‘Charles! Can you open your eyes? Open your eyes.’ And sure enough he did. So when he was done and he was talking to the family, he said that the responses continue to be good, that in some cases the ones that aren’t there yet have more to do with the fact there’s still a lot of medication to keep him comfortable.”

    “I made sure that Charlie and his family knew that every player, every coach, everybody involved with U.S. Soccer is thinking about him. And we have to think he’s going he’s going to be back with us pretty fast.”

  23. i really really really wish there was some panoramic shot of the stadium in the 9th.

    @ matt, same here dude. someone should get on that.


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