USA 1, Algeria 0: A Look Back

USA 1, Algeria 0: A Look Back

World Cup 2010

USA 1, Algeria 0: A Look Back

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LandonDonovanAlgeria (ISIphotos.com)

Photo by ISIphotos.com

Yes America. Yesterday did happen.

The U.S. men's national team did score in stoppage time to beat Algeria. The USA did win Group C, making it the first time (since 1930) an American team won a World Cup group. Landon Donovan did score the biggest goal of his career. The Americans did put themselves in great position to potentially make a run to the World Cup semifinals.

Yes, that all happened.

The United States is waking up today to the fact that its soccer team has become one of the best stories and most inspirational teams of this 2010 World Cup. The work isn't done yet, not with a second round match (and a chance for revenge for a 2006 World Cup loss) against Ghana awaiting on Saturday.

For now, let's look back at Wednesday's thrilling victory. Here is my Fox Soccer column on the match, as well as five things we learned from the match.

For player grades, go to the jump:

USA Player Grades vs. Algeria

Tim Howard (6.5)– Didn't have much to do, but he helped keep the defense organized and his clutch long throw helped start the game-winning sequence.

Jonathan Bornstein (6) – Very solid effort with none of the mistakes that have plagued him in the past. He did get caught forward a few times, but he still did well overall.

Carlos Bocanegra (7) – The defensive leader in the back, Bocanegra was steady throughout and made some key interventions. Will probably move back to left back against Ghana, but he's shown he's still a standout centerback.

Jay DeMerit (6) – Has some serious jitters early, but settled down and proved vital to holding off Algeria's attack.

Steve Cherundolo (7.5) – Defended very well and spent plenty of time in the attack. Won the battle of his flank with Nadir Belhadj.

Landon Donovan (7.5) – Wasn't having one of his best games ever, but he stepped it up late, and his goal won the game, the group and the hearts of fans

Clint Dempsey (5.5) – Was cheated out of a perfectly good goal, and put in a ton of defensive work. He still missed some chances that could have come back to haunt him.

Michael Bradley (7.5) – Was all over the field, breaking up attacks and sparking them for the USA. His work rate was unmatched and he neutralized the middle of the field, leaving Algeria to attack from the flanks.

Maurice Edu (5.5) – Steady, if unspectacular. Good positioning, though his passing still isn't as sharp as it could be.

Jozy Altidore (7) – A handful for Algeria's defense all match long, he was a key figure in the game-winning sequence. Grade would have been a tough higher, but that close-range miss was tough to ignore.

Herculez Gomez (5.5) – Was quick and active and put himself into some good positions, but he didn't finish his best chance.

Benny Feilhaber (6) – Played very well off the bench. His passing was sharp and his aggressiveness led to some good opportunities. He just might have played himself into a start against Ghana.

Edson Buddle (5) – Put himself in some good spots, but his touch was off and he sent his best chance right at the keeper. Didn't do enough to justify starting any time soon.

DaMarcus Beasley (NR) – Didn't do much in a cameo besides draw a yellow card for a handball.

Give the above stories a and share your thoughts on them, the grades, as well as on the USA victory, in the comments section below.

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