Last Minute Goal Denies USA Soccer Chance To Clinch Berth in World Cup Knockout Round

Posted at 8:07 PM, Jun 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-22 20:07:40-04

USA SOCCERMANAUS, Brazil (June 22, 2014) — The United States national soccer team had its ticket to the Round of 16 all but punched. But a Silvestre Varela header with just seconds left in stoppage time gave Portugal a 2-2 draw, forcing the United States to try to clinch a trip to the knockout round in its match with Germany on Thursday.

Portugal struck first in this match by taking advantage of a United States mistake. U.S. defender Geoff Cameron was unable to clear a pass into the box, instead deflecting the ball right over to Nani who scored in the fifth minute to give Portugal a 1-0 lead.

The lead would stand until the 64th minute. American midfielder Jermaine Jones, collected a ball around the top of the box and ripped a long shot for the equalizer. It was Jones’ first career World Cup goal.

The United States would take its first lead of the match in the 81st minute. A scramble in the front of the Portugal net ended when Graham Zusi sent a cross pass over to Clint Dempsey who pushed the ball across the goalline with his body.

The Americans were seemingly set to win the match until Cristiano Ronaldo sent over a cross to the center of the box on the fast break that Varela buried with a header in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Just seconds later, the match was called with the game ending in a 2-2 draw.

The United States still controls its own destiny. USA Soccer can advance to the knockout stage with either a win or draw against Germany. The two leaders in the so-called Group of Death will play Thursday at noon.