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Besler: 'We could taste the second round'
by Paul Kennedy, June 23rd, 2014 3:12PM

TAGS:  men's national team, portugal


[USA-PORTUGAL: Reaction] The overwhelming emotion of U.S. players after a late goal gave Portugal a 2-2 tie with the USA Sunday night in Manaus was one of disappointment. A U.S. win would have clinched a berth in the second round. Instead, the USA likely will have to get a result on Thursday against Germany to advance.

“We’re still disappointed," defender Matt Besler told reporters after the game. "We could all taste it. We could taste the second round. We were right there. So we are disappointed. But we were on the other end of the things five nights ago in the first game. We have four points from two games, we’re in control of our own destiny. Huge game against Germany in our third game. I think we like to do things the hard way. It’s the American way.”

Goalie Tim Howard admitted the late equalizer hurts, but the USA would have taken four points after two games before the tournament started.

“I think we had one foot in the door," he said, "so there’s a small bit of disappointment. Realistically, we have given ourselves every chance to advance. We are optimistic; we are pretty much where we wanted to be when we started this whole process. We wanted to be going into this last game feeling like we have a chance, and we do.”

Fabian Johnson had the same mixed feelings.

“We’re kind of sad, I think," he said afterward. "If somebody had told us that we were going to have four points after those two games, I think we would take it, but at this point we are a little bit disappointed. We’ve got to look forward.”

Thursday's game will pit Johnson and Jermaine Jones against players with whom they played in the German national team program.

“It will be the next tough game," said Jones. "We want to go to the next round so we have to play a good game. A draw can push both teams into the next round, but we have to go there and try and win this game. We showed a lot of people that we play good football, and today everybody can see it.”

Michael Bradley said the USA will play for a win even though a draw will send both the USA and Germany in the round of 6.

“When you look back at the history of this team," he said, "it’s a team that steps on the field every day to win. Whether it was Costa Rica at RFK Stadium in 2009 when we were already qualified for the World Cup [late 2-2 tie that would end up costing the Ticos a berth in the finals] or whether it was last year in Panama [3-2 win with two late goals]. It’s a team that takes great pride in stepping on the field and playing the right way and representing ourselves and our country in a positive way. It’s important now to recover. We put so much into this game and on a physical level it’ll take a day or two to get ourselves ready and we’ll step on the field looking to win the game and looking to win the group.”

  1. Andrea Hana
    commented on: June 23, 2014 at 7:04 p.m.
    I was disappointed, too. :(

  1. James Madison
    commented on: June 23, 2014 at 7:07 p.m.
    Why nothing in the story about what happened to Bradley? Why was he so more noticeably out of gas than any other of the USA players?

  1. charles davenport
    commented on: June 23, 2014 at 8:56 p.m.
    Other teams know Bradley must be stopped to slow down/stop US offense. Out of gas could be due to harder match; Look for another tough game for Bradley against Germany. Possibly Klinsman can adjust to take the pressure off him; (glad it's his problem, not mine)

  1. charles davenport
    commented on: June 23, 2014 at 8:58 p.m.
    I fear loss to Germany coupled with big Ghana win over Portugal.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 23, 2014 at 9:14 p.m.
    To James M: Very good question. M. Bradley has been placed on a pedestal by many, and SA has made him its "fair haired boy" (pun intended. Sadly his performance for the two games has been very poor and as for him running "out of gas," is a very good point indeed; some say he may be ill, others will say its nerves. Yet, he seems to be the only one to have this "malady."

  1. David Quinn
    commented on: June 23, 2014 at 9:52 p.m.
    I am so sick about all this talk about Michael Bradley. Did any of you actually watch the game? The pace of the game at the end was pedestrian. Guys on both teams were walking or just standing around, I would assume because they were gassed. Michael Bradley is one of our best players and if you not smart enough to know that, then I suggest you stop posting here. He had a bad game against Ghana. He, like the USA was much better against Portugal. He lost a ball at the end of the game the I am sure he would like back. However, watch the game over & see how many chances we had as a team to waste time so that the 15 seconds that were left when Portugal scored would have been off the clock. We lost a chance to clinch the 2nd round. It hurt me as a fan and I now it must have hurt those guys. Know it's time to take down the Germans. Let's get revenge for Torsten Frings handball in 2002. Heck, the best case scenario would be if we found a way for the Germans to play Algeria in the round of 16 so they could get revenge for 1982. GO USA!

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 23, 2014 at 11:53 p.m.
    Nailed it David Q; I especially like your scenario with Germany and Algeria (though I have to admit, I think the non-call in 2002 was the right one).

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 24, 2014 at 10:37 a.m.
    Sweet Throwdown David Q.! Suck it the rest of you Bradley haters! We wouldn't be in the WC without the General, and either would Mexico since he played the role he did vs Panama. Losing the ball 30 yards from the opponent's goal with three defenders around you doesn't lose a game.

  1. Robert Heinrich
    commented on: June 24, 2014 at 1:44 p.m.
    After reading Ronaldo's dejected and disparaging comments, coupled with Ghana's impressive play against Germany, does anyone think Portugal will really give them a game? 3-0 will not surprise me.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 24, 2014 at 10:27 p.m.
    James, Bradley was out of gas because of how much effort he put in. Since they show how far players have run when they're subbed, I tried to find the stats; closest I found was this: "The Americans have had some interesting statistical results through their first two games. Michael Bradley is second in the World Cup in distance run (15.5 miles). Fabian Johnson is tied for third in fastest speed (one burst was timed at 20.5 MPH). Jermaine Jones is third in the number of times that he's lost the ball, though the fiery midfielder has made up for it by being in the top five in tackles." from Can't vouch for the accuracy, but don't know why they'd make it up. And given the Portugal game was in the most difficult environment, Bradley's efforts are impressive (even if he's not playing well, it's not for lack of effort).

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