Clint Dempsey came painfully close to sending Team USA into penalty kicks against Belgium Tuesday. Credit: Getty Images
There was no shortage of drama Tuesday afternoon when Team USA finally hit the pitch to vie for a spot in the final 8 of the World Cup.
In fact, there was rarely a drama-free moment during the final minutes of regulation and for all of extra time.
But an incredible goal from Julian Green to answer two straight Belgian goals at the 107 minute mark wasn’t enough to force penalties as the U.S. was ousted 2-1.
Tim Howard made save after save through the contest to keep Team USA in the game, and with every diving effort from the American goalkeeper, viewers all over the world knew the United States would not back down.
The wheels appeared to come off at the start of extra time, when the Belgians struck twice in the first 15 minutes, with a Kevin De Bruyne goal and then one from Romelu Lukaku.
But the Yanks struck back with Greens goal, and a bevy of incredible opportunities, including a near miss by Clint Dempsey on a slick set piece on a free kick from 30 yards out.
Team USA goalie Tim Howard was historically good, and the American’s offense was also record-setting. Howard saved a remarkable 16 shots, the most in a World Cup match since 1966.
"It's heartbreaking," Howard said on ESPN following the loss. "I don't think we could have given it more. We left it all out there."
Julian Green’s extra time goal was the youngest ever scored by an American in a World Cup match (19-years old).
Team USA was knocked out in the round of 16 for the second straight Cup.