We Believe, Man

Wait, wait, wait. You're joining something called the "Marines," and you can't swim?

Okay, no, wait, this is actually important. If you're at the game, and your team is about to suffer a result that will set the sport back fifty years, and you notice you're on camera and you start cheering and waving? GO THE ******** HOME. Give your ticket to some starving orphan. If you want to be on television that much, get into a freeway chase with the cops like a normal person.

I'm glad Breakfast with the Bradleys had something on the menu besides donuts and bagels.

It's the immediate aftermath, and this will probably be corrected in the oncoming hours, but so far Tim Howard is getting way, way too little credit for the winning goal. It happened so fast, and the emotional roller coaster from another damn Dempsey miss to Landon showing up to play at literally the last couple of minutes probably kept us from focusing. But Howard's outlet down the right side was the difference - that play doesn't come close to happening without him.

Ian and John had a pretty good game - the drama and controversy gave them a lot to talk about - but I still don't know whether they should have pointed out that Algeria was only trying to screw the Great Satan. They weren't trying to win. They were abject. Sure, they had a couple of counter-attacks, but those weren't the shots of a confident team. They didn't have a great shot at the second round, but they had one - something they had no right to expect going in. And instead of playing the game, they were as defensive as a WPS team on the phone with their bank. Shame about Africa - I think that continent is down to one realistic shot at the second round. And I'll miss hearing Algeria's pleasant little anthem, which I'm told translates into "Hey, France - suck it." At least Egypt would have tried, though.

By the way, thanks for absolutely nothing, Slovenia. We won't miss your stupid jersey and flapping gums, either.

Well, let's rate the players, because it's obligatory.

TIM HOWARD: Hey, a couple of those saves were point blank! Point blank paper clips shot with rubber bands, but, those could put an eye out! 10.

JONATHAN BORNSTEIN: I'll never say anything nice about him ever again, and I hope he doesn't see the field again, but hey, shutout. 10.

CARLOS BOCANEGRA: Geez, maybe he is better in central D. 10.

JAY DeMERIT: He still scares me. 10.

STEVE CHERUNDOLO: Okay, I don't have Hannover games beamed to my house, but this is seriously the best I've ever seen him play. He's been fantastic. 10.

CLINT DEMPSEY: Scored the go-ahead goal. What's with all these al-Qaeda refs? 10.

MAURICE EDU: Should I be handing out 10's like Mike 'n Ikes? I mean, it was only Algeria. Oh, well, too late to ditch the joke now. 10.

MICHAEL BRADLEY: Edu and Feilhaber should start ahead of him. He sucks. (He's probably not actually reading blogs this month, so the whole point of this negative reinforcement is probably lost, but it's still worth a try.) (Besides, we kinda do have to make room for Feilhaber.) -10.

LANDON DONOVAN: Everyone else on the damn field did the work, and he vultures on in and steals the glory. Makes you sick. By the way, the "Hi, Bianca" during the post-game interview. Was that "We're still friends," "I want you back, baby," or, "Now I'm the more famous one"? 10.

JOZY ALTIDORE: You know what would be awesome? Just, you know, really pleasant and delightful? Goals from our forwards. I think they would be really, really nifty. 10. But I'm not sincere about it.

HERCULEZ GOMEZ: I can't be objective with Herc, never could. Love the guy. But I genuinely think he shouldn't have been pulled. I also think he shouldn't have started, Herc is a late-game supersub. Ole Gunnar Herculez. Meh, he'll get his chances. 10.

BENNY FEILHABER: Should start. 10.

DaMARCUS BEASLEY: Okay, Jeff Carlisle gave both Feilhaber and Beasley 6 out of 10. I thought Benny was great and Beasley was a liability. It's this sort of snap analysis with no real thought that puts everyone's player rankings into question. 10.

EDSON BUDDLE: Should have started. Yeah, I know, he should have scored, and yeah, he had some ugly misses. Buddle starts, Gomez off the bench. How hard is that? 10.

BOB BRADLEY:
I've been pro-Bob Bradley for so long, and now I'm getting truly annoyed. You know why he's been doing so well motivating players to come back? Years of practice. Does he even have a speech ready if the US is ever ahead at the half? Comebacks are groovy, and all, but so is going ahead early and never looking back. Breaking out of jail is impressive, but even better is not going to jail in the first place. Is he borrowing Raymond Domenech's astrologer?

Having said all this - he's started the wrong guys three straight games in the World Cup, and still feels he needs to strand Donovan on the wing, he's gotten his teams off to hideously slow starts in big games - there are a couple of mitigating factors.

(1) Let's see, how does the song go...oh, yes.

We won the group
We won the group
Hi-ho, the merry-o
We won the group

Maybe the group was E-A-S-Y after all, but we've never won a World Cup group before. (EDIT - forgot that 1930 was a group deal, not a straight single elimination. Turns out we win groups every eighty years like clockwork.) Bob Bradley might have gotten us a seed for the next tournament, maybe, who knows.

(2) Unlike Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley didn't need a miracle goal in the other game in order to squeak through. Well, I mean, a miracle goal from a foreigner.

Grade: Incomplete. Which I guess is an A+, because we sure didn't want a complete score yet.

Later on we'll see which Group D scrub faces our juggernaut. We have unfinished business with three of them, conflating Serbia with Yugoslavia of 1998. I know people want another shot at Ghana, but...they're called the Sex Machines. I can't hate a team called the Sex Machines. I wish that was our nickname.

I don't know if you guys saw the other game at all, but either England fans beat the vuvuzelas, or South African fans have decided to actually enjoy the tournament, or both. It's nice to hear cheering after goals, and England fans were bringing it before Defoe's shot. I know it's a very low percentage move to salute England fans, but they did a fine job. No one believed in England but the fans, it seems.

I'm also glad I don't have to continue my call for South Africa fans to be banned from the World Cup. Thirty-one other sets of fans, each with their own different kind of unique passion, were being shoved aside. South Africa is the host, fine, but this is the world's party. The past couple of days, it seems like their fans have grasped that. Besides, with so much going on, why pay that kind of money to blow a plastic horn for two solid hours? Mexico fans know to mix an "Olé!" cheer with the horns, after all.

Besides, if South Africa fans don't steal chants and routines from South Korea fans, they don't know what they're missing.