'What a run!' MLB reacts to the USMNT's final World Cup match
The U.S.A. came very, very close to moving on to the World Cup quarterfinals, but just couldn't hang on against a brilliant Belgian team. The Belgians won the match 2-1, despite American goalkeeper Tim Howard putting in one of the best performances of his career, recording 16 saves in two hours of soccer.
Obviously, the whole country was glued to their television screens to watch the match take place: even MLB.
Before the game got underway, spirits were high:
Even MLB's lone German player, Reds utilityman Donald Lutz, was cheering for the Americans:
But once the game was under way, everyone had to watch:
The first half ended 0-0, with Belgium playing far superior soccer. As the game continued into the second half, Belgium were still outclassing the Americans; however, Howard was completely dominant in the goal for the U.S.A -- keeping the game scoreless despite an offensive onslaught from his opponents.
His countrymen in MLB took notice:
Tim Howard!!!- Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) July 1, 2014
Tim Howard hates his teammates.- Brett Anderson (@BAnderson_30) July 1, 2014
Tim Howard is BEAST!!!!! #ProtectOurHouse- Bill Hall (@BillHall_III) July 1, 2014
Tim Howard.. You have been the man today! Win or lose.. Tip of the cap to you sir!- Jason Kipnis (@TheJK_Kid) July 1, 2014
Even the Mariners franchise was cheering for Howard:
As was Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow:
Oh boy. Tim Howard. One of the great goalie performances of this tournament!- Jeff Luhnow (@jluhnow) July 1, 2014
There was a bit of trash talk as the game continued to the final minutes of regulation:
"What is Belgium even known for, their waffles?" @JaffDecker22- Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) July 1, 2014
But most people were still just really, really nervous:
This game is intense! #brownpaperbag- Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) July 1, 2014
As a rule, all of baseball should cancel BP so no one misses the end of this game!- Justin Maxwell (@JustinMaxwell27) July 1, 2014
And still believing in their team:
I Believe That We Will Win, I Believe That We Will Win, I Believe That We Will Win- Vinnie Pestano (@VinnieP52) July 1, 2014
As the game entered extra time, Tim Howard continued to deny everything at the goal, prompting some very high praise:
Tim Howard saves like Mariano Rivera #USMNT- Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) July 1, 2014
great job howard super good- Ozzie Guillen FND (@OzzieGuillen) July 1, 2014
Well, almost everything.
In the 93rd minute of the match, Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne put one past Howard to give his team a 1-0 lead. Then, in the 105th minute, striker Romelu Lukaku followed it with a goal of his own.
The U.S. was trailing 2-0 and people were sad:
Oh no! #USA- Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo7) July 1, 2014
No matter what happens the last 15 min Howard had an amazing game! #IStillBelieveThatWeWillWin- Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) July 1, 2014
But still hopeful:
Tim is going to have to score the equalizer too.- Justin Maxwell (@JustinMaxwell27) July 1, 2014
Minutes later, American forward Julian Green scored his first World Cup goal on a beautiful volley, cutting the margin to 2-1. There was much rejoicing:
GOAL!!!!! #USMNT- Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) July 1, 2014
Oh wait....- Justin Maxwell (@JustinMaxwell27) July 1, 2014
Still alive #USA- David Aardsma (@TheDA53) July 1, 2014
Fans cheered the team on:
C'mon boys. Keep grindin. #USA- Jerry Hairston, Jr. (@TheRealJHair) July 1, 2014
Fight On Boys!!! #USMNT- Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) July 1, 2014
This game tho!!!!⚽️⚽️⚽️- Andrelton Simmons (@Andrelton) July 1, 2014
But it wasn't enough. Despite grabbing a few late chances, the U.S. lost to Belgium 2-1 in extra time.
Nevertheless, both the team and its fans could hold their head high:
What a run!- David Aardsma (@TheDA53) July 1, 2014
Stop underestimating a team .... Team USA played a good world cup...- Sir Didi Gregorius (@DidiG18) July 1, 2014
And, even after the match, all anyone could talk about was Howard's amazing performance:
But now, according to Canadian minor league outfielder Tyson Gillies, it's time to get back to more pressing matters:
Now we can continue with Canada Day!! ��- Tyson Gillies (@TysonGillies21) July 1, 2014
Thanks for an awesome run, USMNT!