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Subject: 2010 World Cup Yanks Replay rss

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Timothy Sullivan
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The USMNT got off to a tough start, dropping a 2-0 decision to the Three Lions. After a number of early chances, Steven Gerrard converted on an 17th-minute opportunity to put the English team up 1-0. Only 8 minutes later, Wayne Rooney was hauled down in the box by Oguchi Onyewu. The English attacker nailed the PK and made it 2-0. The Yanks had the momentum and several goal scoring opportunities in the second half, including three consectutive corners in the 85th minute, but Robert Green managed to stand tall and keep the clean sheet.

Scoring:
Steven Gerrard 17'
Wayne Rooney 25' (PK)

Discipline:
Steve Cherundolo YC 28'

Next up: Slovenia
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Timothy Sullivan
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A dramatic 62nd minute goal by Clint Dempsey was enough for a 1-0 victory as the Yanks kept their World Cup chances alive in Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg. The US had the better of the play for most of the game, registering 19 shots while Slovenia struggled to mount much of an attack. Much of the play took place in the Slovenian end, and the US thought they had a breakthrough when Landon Donovan put the ball in the net in the 38th minute. But the tally was waived off on a mysterious foul call by Malian referee Koman Coulibaly. Replays showed nothing unusual, but the marker came off the board. The Yanks came out firing in the second half and came close on three consecutive corners starting in the 49th minute, but Slovenian keeper Samir Handanovic made dazzling saves on Dempsey and Jozy Altidore. The goal came 13 minutes later when a Donovan cross from the right flank found its way to Dempsey's foot. Dempsey slid his shot into the left corner to put the Yanks up.

While most of the second half centered around the Slovenia net, the US dodged a bullet in the waning seconds when Slovenian midfielder Robert Koren found himself uncovered 20 yards in front of net. His shot appeared to beat Tim Howard, but sailed inches over the bar.

Scoring
Clint Dempsey (US) 62'

Discipline
Zlatan Ljubijankic (SLV) YC 34'
Robbie Findley (US) YC 82'
Marko Suler (SLV) YC 90+2'

Next up
The 3 points puts the US level with Slovenia in second place in Group C as England tied Algeria 0-0 to hold the top of the group with 4 points. The Yanks next move on to Pretoria to take on Algeria. A victory, combined with an English victory or tie against Slovenia guarantees the US a spot in the knockout round.
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Timothy Sullivan
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23 June 2010: The US sealed its spot in the knockout round with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Algeria in Pretoria. The Yanks attack was completely listless for the first 60 minutes, and a porous defense gave up several chances to the North African squad. The Algerians were unable, however, to finish their chances, and the teams finished the first half square at 0-0.

As word reached Pretoria that Group-C leaders England were up 1-0 against Slovenia, the Americans looked as though they were comfortable settling for a tie that would put them through the group. That comfort,however, was nearly shattered in the 75th minute when an Algerian corner nearly became an own-goal off of a poor clearance by Steve Cherundalo. The near-miss seemed to be the wakeup call the US needed as a few minutes later sub Edson Buddle forced a dazzling save by Algerian keeper Raïs M'Bolhi.Clint Dempsey nearly notched the lead on the ensuing corner, but rattled his shot off the post.

Sensing that a victory was in the works, the US attacked with a renewed sense of purpose. Midfielder Landon Donovan broke into the box in the 89th minute only to be hauled down by Algerian defender Antar Yahia. Belgian referee Frank De Bleeckere wasted no time pointing to the spot, and Donovan buried the kick for the winning goal.

Scoring
Landon Donovan (US) 89' (PK)

Discipline
Madjid Bougherra (ALG) YC 3'
Maurice Edu (US) YC 45+2'
Hassan Yebda (ALG) YC 58'

Next Up:
With 7 points, England wins Group C. The Yanks finish second with 6. Slovenia finishes with 3 and Algeria finishes with 1. As the second place team, the US plays the winner of Group D -- Germany.

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Timothy Sullivan
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June 27 2010: The US's World Cup Effort came to a crashing halt as the Yanks lost a 4-1 decision to Germany in Free State Stadium in Bloemfonteim. Germany won despite being without Lukas Podolski, who was unavailable due to injury.

Germany jumped on top in the 6th minute when Thomas Müller found himself on the end of a Bastian Schweinsteiger corner.The quick tally seemed to stun the Americans, who had trouble gaining any possession for most of the first half hour. Following the 30-minute mark, the US seemed to gain some momentum as Landon Donovan forced a reaching save by Manuel Neuer. A few minutes later the US found the equalizer as a lobbing pass by Steve Cherundalo found Michael Bradley just past the German backline. Bradley's quick shot beat Neuer and the Americans drew level. Germany nearly took the lead shortly before the half as a Muller found himself alone with the ball amidst a flurry in the US box. However, Tim Howard made saves on Muller's shot and a shot by Cacau off the ensuing corner to preserve the tie at halftime.

The Germans, however, dominated the second half, producing a number of good scoring chances. finally breaking through in the 70th minute when Müller picked Bradley's pocket in the US end and buried the chance. Germany never looked back, as Müller made it a hat trick seven minutes later when he caught Howard off his line trying to catch a Schweinsteiger cross. Miroslav Klose finished the scoring in added time to put Germany through to the quarterfinals.

Scoring:
Thomas Müller (GER) 6' (assist:Bastian Schweinsteiger)
Michael Bradley (US) 36' (assist Steve Cherundalo)
Thomas Müller (GER) 70' (assist:None)
Thomas Müller (GER) 77' (assist:Bastian Schweinsteiger)
Miroslav Klose (GER) 90+3' (assist: Jérôme Boateng)

Discipline:
Tim Howard (US) 8' YC
Landon Donovan (US) 11' YC
Oguchi Onyewu (US) 33' YC
Sami Khedira (GER) 45+3' YC
Michael Bradley (US) 66' YC
Bastian Schweinsteiger (GER) 81' YC
Benny Feilhaber (US) 90' YC

Final Thoughts
I think the game did an excellent job of simulating the US's 2010 World Cup experience. The actual US tie versus England required a miracle botched save by Robert Green. So, in some ways, the Classic Soccer result was more "believable" than the actual game. Slovenia and Algeria were weak sides in 2010, with neither having many scoring threats. The US strategy in real life and in Classic Soccer was to (1) try to get the ball to Donovan or Dempsey enough times that one of them would eventually score and (2) pray that Donovan's and Dempsey's goals would outnumber the inevitable defensive lapses in the US backline. Losing 4-1 to Germany in the Round of 16 seems reasonable, since that was the actual final score when actual Group-C runners up England played Germany in the Round of 16.

Next up:
I've purchased the 1977 North American Soccer League set for Classic Soccer. As a resident of St. Louis, this is a special season to me, as it was the last year that St. Louis had a top-tier professional team -- the St. Louis Stars. The Stars moved to Anaheim the following year. (Despite having one of the strongest soccer traditions in the US, St. Louis doesn't have a team in any of the professional leagues in North America: MLS, NASL or USL-Pro.) My plan is to replay the Stars' 1977 season. Since NASL teams only played 26 regular-season games that year, I think the project is doable.
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