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.
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.
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.