[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 Howardadmitted 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.”