2010 Lasting Moment: Corner Flag Pile-On

Go! Go! USA! Oh....it's incredible!

My two fondest soccer memories of the past two years occurred at the same bar oddly enough. I typically like to take in games at my evil lair or with a small group of friends so I can make annotations.

However 2009 took me to Danny Coyles bar to watch, with great collective revelry, the United States officially qualify for the World Cup against Honduras. It was a special moment in that I was able to provide an account, at 3am West Coast time, for those of you who couldn’t see it.

The 2010 image occurred in the same locale and in fact in the same precise seat at Danny Coyles.

USA vs. Algeria.

This the Timmy-to-Landon-to-Jozy-to-Clint-to-Landon-to-corner-flag conduction that led to the ultimate fan eruption. I was with my good friend Chris Riedy and our mood was hopeful–for most of the game–until maybe three minutes to go.

It’s that time in a game where you know a team has one or maybe two good chances left and you start resigning–and preparing–for that eventual final letdown whistle. More for me, after what had been a promising effort from the Yanks to date I could envision the coming pessimism that arrives with getting sent out in the group stage of the World Cup.

On the heels of 2006, this would have been extremely tough for diehard fans and those that just recently got invested to swallow.

Didn’t happen as we know.

Landon swept his foot and Chris and I–despite what the screen was displaying–double checked not for a linesman (how could Landon be offsides), but to ensure that the ball, in fact, was actually nestled comfortably in the mesh, in-between the pipes.

Yup, happened.

We didn’t know what to do. We hugged, we teared–didn’t cry–at the magnitude of the event. Guinness went everywhere, fans ran straight in the path of the cars in the street outside Danny Coyles at whatever-time-AM it was as US players went airborne and crashed in celebration at the corner flag. The ultimate pile-on.

They did it the old-fashioned way....they earned it...

Confusion interlaced with celebration en masse. And then realization.

“Okay, who can I talk to! Who can I text!” I’ll put words in you, the reader’s mouth, “We all just wanted to share.”

And we did.

With fans across the nation and world….thanks to bombarding YouTubers.

And then word and feedback from the team as they shared a moment of positivity–how often do you firmly recollect those?–that will live forever.

In the history of civilization, sports teams are the glue of a community. Something that binds two people who perhaps have little more than geography in common.

The US goal against Algeria? A massive bucket of binding cement that will transcend generations.

Good night 2010.

24 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by chris on 2010/12/31 at 12:38 PM

    how is jozy that high in the air in the that picture.
    and isnt that dangerous?


  2. I was at ESPNZone Anaheim and remember jumping out of my chair to hug my friend, an England fan who despite being through at that stage was dreading what would happen if the US didn’t get through. It wasn’t like a joyous happy hug. It was more like a hug of relief, a weight off your shoulders.

    I then spent an hour crying while stuck in traffic on the 5 in Los Angeles. No, I’m not ashamed of that at all.


  3. Posted by Russ on 2010/12/31 at 1:31 PM

    “Go Go USA”? or “Goal Goal USA”.

    A mystery in the class of “THEY’RE DRUMMING(?) PORTUGAL”


    • Posted by Hodey on 2010/12/31 at 9:15 PM

      Ian has said it was actually “GO GO USA!” even though i thought he said “Goal” forever…Good times.


  4. Posted by Kevin on 2010/12/31 at 2:54 PM

    Does that video give anyone else goosebumps?


  5. Every time I watch that video the emotion of that game just rushes back.


  6. Posted by kaya on 2010/12/31 at 5:18 PM

    Hear, hear on both those. The Honduras qualifier @ Danny Coyles felt like 250 of your closest friends were in on something you couldn’t believe the greater public wasn’t outraged over [not being generally televised] and US Algeria was like the catharsis of being part of the Great Awakening =)
    I’m ringing in the new year with my newborn daughter, #2. Happy new year to all and cheers for being a regular part of my 2010, TSG & Co.


  7. Posted by sparkie on 2010/12/31 at 5:20 PM

    amazing, truly an amazing moment that does indeed give me goosebumps just thinking about it. the video brings it all back. that goal will certainly go down as one of the most important moments in US Soccer history. as you say matthew…the thought of going out at the group stage would leave the diehards gutted and the casual fans more reason to be disinterested.


  8. Posted by scweeb on 2010/12/31 at 5:59 PM

    Ha ha that day was amazing!


  9. Posted by Len on 2010/12/31 at 7:43 PM

    That’s my bar The Graduate in Davis. I was so happy to see that make the video. Donovan scoring that goal was perhaps the most cathartic moment of my life. Thanks for posting these again. Can’t watch them enough. Cheers!


  10. Posted by Hercules on 2010/12/31 at 10:55 PM

    Every time that I look at that video, the more that I am glad that Buddle was no closer to the ball, because he WAS offsides…

    But nonetheless, amazing goal, I remember screaming and getting everyone’s attention, poor sleeping dog too.

    May the New Year and Decade be even greater for the USMNT and TSG!


  11. Posted by chad on 2011/01/01 at 5:32 AM

    I’ve got lots of things to be thankful for in 2010. Maybe they are not on the level of having your first child, but 2010 is the year I found TSG and I’ve had a lot of good times because of it. Thanks TSG and the TSG community!


  12. Posted by chris on 2011/01/01 at 6:08 AM

    i love how tim howard is american, when i watch him play (because im a newish fan), it almost feels like we stole him from the collective other nations. hes quiet and good, and he loves the us. his reaction to the goal is priceless.


  13. Posted by Russ on 2011/01/01 at 10:44 AM

    I was watching at a friend’s condo during a VERY extended early lunch that day.

    His complex is full of crotchety old people and he spent 80% of the 2nd half trying to calm down an apoplectic old woman who was LIVID that our other co-worker who was there watching parked in “her” space.

    I just kept muttering over and over to myself over and over: “I can’t believe it’s going to end like this……I can’t believe it”. Dissapointment turned to rage as I contemplated going to the door, dragging my friend away and telling Almira Gulch where to go.

    Luckily, I saved myself the humiliation of bellowing at an old woman because Mandon decided it was time to end the charade. The two of us were standing in front of the 57′ from about the 80th minute on….The Counter didn’t even really register with me until the ball was in the net and I was left having to collect my jaw off the floor.

    The only thing audible I remember was us screaming “GOAL?” “GOAL?!?!” “GOAL!!!” “GOAL!!!” “WE F-ING DID IT!!!!!!” kind of like the Honduran radio broadcast of the Bornstein equalizer against Costa Rica (incredulous…disbeliving…shocked….euphoria).

    Our preoccupied friend promptly slammed the door in the old woman’s face, ran back to the TV and immediately rewound the DVR to Howard’s distriubtion.

    I waved my USMNT scarf out my window on the way back to many celebratory beeps from fellow drivers. Incredible.


  14. An amazing moment that I unfortunately didn’t get to see live, but instead had to listen to FBM Dan give me the play by play over the phone. I watched it up until the 70th minute then had to leave for a doctor’s appointment. When I couldn’t find it on the radio I called up Dan and made him tell me what was going on.

    I remember, quite clearly standing in the middle of the parking lot with my mouth agape when the end of the line went from noisy din to explosion of euphoria. One of the greatest moments of the past 12 months, second only to finding out I’m going to have the next Kristine Lilly on my hands.


  15. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/01/02 at 7:35 AM

    I remember I had spent the night at a friends house and that morning almost obliterating his couch with various combinations of melee. not to mention I woke up everyone in the house in the process


  16. Posted by mabeuf on 2011/01/02 at 11:34 AM

    I was at both games. It was pretty good.


  17. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/01/04 at 9:26 AM

    That was a bittersweet moment for me. I was in a pub in Cape Town and the *vast* majority of fans in there were American. But yet most of the TVs were tuned to the England game, including sound. My wife thought it wasn’t particularly democratic, which was an extremely fair point, but I also reminded her that the name of the pub was “Three Lions” – what did she / they expect?!

    The England game had finished 1-0, and the USA game still had a minute or two left – all TVs and volumes switched to the USA game. As it stood, England were through, USA were heading home. Not something that I wanted to be honest, (plus Mrs Cross would have been p1ssed off for the rest of the holiday). I still remember looking at all the glum American faces as the seconds ticked away. When Donovan played the ball to Altidore, I was shouting at the screen for him to play it to the back post for the man over. But he centred it to Dempsey, and his shot was saved, I thought that was it. Until I saw the ball trickle out, sort of in slow motion towards Donovan. I started to celebrate before he hit it, because Donovan doesn’t really missed those, does he? I say bittersweet because I waned England to finish 1st, and USA 2nd (although that was an unlikely outcome considering England weren’t scoring). But, I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I was happy for England to finish runners-up, if it meant my homeland, and my adopted country were both through – even though England went into a tougher quadrant.


  18. Posted by Chris R on 2011/01/05 at 12:48 PM

    Easily the best sporting moment in 2010 for me. Loved those mornings at Danny C’s.

    Great time Matt – well done.


  19. […] 2010, TSG picked Landon Donovan’s Corner Flag Pile-On which delivered a fanbase from the potential of four years of pain into a […]


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