U.S. Vs. Slovenia: The Ups. The Downs. The Agony. The Ecstasy. : Show Me Your Cleats! - World Cup 2010 Blog U.S. vs. Slovenia had our stomach in knots and fists shaking -- after referee, Koman Coulibaly disallowed what could have been the wining goal for Team U.S.A.
NPR logo U.S. Vs. Slovenia: The Ups. The Downs. The Agony. The Ecstasy.

U.S. Vs. Slovenia: The Ups. The Downs. The Agony. The Ecstasy.

Team U.S.A. protesting after referee Koman Coulibaly disallowed Maurice Edu's goal. Darko Bandic/AP hide caption

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Darko Bandic/AP

“I feel sick,” Daniel Meyer, 15, said at halftime.

There you go.

I’ve made my own son, my kin and legacy, sick in his heart. By allowing him to become a fan of the U.S. team – a U.S. team that allowed itself to go two goals down to Slovenia – Slovenia!!! – at the half.

I’ve already cursed the boy by brainwashing him to be a diehard fan of the Chicago Bears, a doom and pox on his sports life for the duration. I didn’t need to do this to him. It was a willful choice. He could easily have been a Brazil fan.

But, man, did he feel better after Coach Bradley’s son evened the score in the 82nd minute after a gorgeous, perfectly placed pass off that was headed on by  Jozy Altidore. Praise to fathers everywhere.

And, man, did young Daniel feel sick, along with the rest of this free and fair nation of pure hearts and open plains, after robbed of Maurice Edu's go-ahead goal by an incompetent referee.  It was beyond robbery: the U.S. was pillaged, victory was renditioned. And someone should check the Swiss accounts of one Mr. Koman Coulibaly of Mali who blew that whistle after a fair-and-square winning goal. (Message to staff: Can we get Robert Siegel to grill this character on ATC tonight?)

By the way, why was Edu’s goal disallowed, anyway? And, where was the penalty? A Slovenian defender had Michael Bradley in a bear hug, but that surely wasn’t what he called.

So we’re left with this: the 2-2 draw was by far the most exciting and dramatic game of the tournament so far. The U.S. comeback was thrilling. And hat’s off to tiny Slovenia. Both their goals were clean and handsome.

But the Americans looked plum awful in the first half, wobbly on defense, off the mark everywhere. Like many U.S. fans, I was delighted to see Jose Torres get the start over Ricardo Clark at center-midfield, but that didn’t work out too well. It felt like the U.S. had spent its gusto in the draw with England and wasn’t going to step up and be a world class team.

At the half, Coach Bradley brought in Maurice Edu and Benny Feilhaber for Torres and Robbie Findley, the swift but shaky striker who got his second yellow card.

But the tide of doom turned with a lethal shot from Landon Donovan in the 48th minute that nearly decapitated the Slovenian keeper. Lad Landon finally showed his finest stuff on the world stage.  Keep hope alive!  Twenty-four minutes later came the Altidore-Bradley goal. And then the heart-breaking Edu robbery.

The ups. The downs. The agony. The ecstasy.

A loss would have made it next to impossible for the U.S. to advance. Now they have a chance. They’ll need a win against Algeria and England will have to beat Slovenia. Given the karma and zeitgeist whirling around the U.S. in their hapless first half and then with the terrible officiating, they’ll need some big time luck.

“I'm a little gutted to be honest," said Donovan after the game, referring to the bizarre callback of Edu’s goal.

They’ll be plenty more gut aches in my house too. And it’s all my fault.

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