(Updated at 10:00 a.m.) Offices around the county came to a standstill at 4:00 p.m. yesterday to watch the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team play and lose to Belgium, 2-1 in extra time.
Watchers packed bars, gathered around TVs in their offices and came together in hordes in public places and watched U.S. goalie Tim Howard save a World Cup record 16 shots on goal, smashing the previous record of 13. Legions of new American soccer fans watched as 20-year-old DeAndre Yedlin injected speed and energy into a U.S. team that seemed like it had none. Everyone decked out in red, white and blue cheered as 19-year-old Julian Green scored a magnificent goal to give the Americans some hope in his first career minute on the field in the World Cup.
The World Cup is over for the Americans, although there are still eight teams, eight countries, still fighting for soccer’s most coveted prize. Tim Howard may have played the best game a goalie ever has on a World Cup stage, but it will likely be his last game under the world’s spotlight. Thanks to players like Yedlin and Green, 2018 in Russia could have a different ending.
Arlington and the rest of the country will be watching.