Thirty seconds. That’s how agonizingly close the United States men’s national team was to securing its berth in the Round of 16. But as the game has continually proven in what has been a fantastically entertaining World Cup, nothing is guaranteed. Cristiano Ronaldo’s magical cross that found the head of Portugal substitute Silvestre Varela in the 95th minute sank any hopes of punching the USMNT’s ticket out of the "Group of Death" on Sunday, as the match in the Amazonian city of Manaus ended in a 2-2 draw.
The Americans battled back from a nightmare start when Nani gave the Portuguese the lead five minutes in. Midfielder Jermaine Jones slammed home a phenomenal right-footed shot in the 64th minute and captain Clint Dempsey gave the Americans the lead in the 81st minute.
But the world’s most-recognized star delivered in the waning seconds of the match, keeping Portugal’s hopes of advancing still slim, while keeping the Americans needing a result against Germany Thursday in Recife.
Player grades for the U.S.’s 2-2 draw against Portugal:
Goalkeeper Tim Howard (7) • The rock in the back couldn’t have done much against Portugal’s two goals, but did come up with huge saves in the first half to keep the U.S. in it.
Defender DaMarcus Beasley (6.5) • The 32-year-old outside back was an integral part of the Americans’ attack despite going down early. He’ll need to keep improving against Germany.
Defender Matt Besler (7) • Battled back from a hamstring injury against Ghana to put in a solid outing, often cutting out passing lanes for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Defender Geoff Cameron (4.5) • Stellar in the Americans’ 2-1 win against Ghana, Cameron’s poor clearance led to Nani’s goal and he missed Varela’s mark in the 95th minute that led to the tying goal.
Defender Fabian Johnson (6.5) • Again proving to be the most dangerous attacker outside of Clint Dempsey, Johnson’s teasing runs stretched the Portuguese back line. That’ll need to continue against Germany.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman (7) • The Real Salt Lake captain kept things cool in the midfield, making sound passes and cleaning up messes in the Portugal attack.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones (7.5) • We haven’t had a long-distance strike yet in this tournament, but Jones’ gorgeous strike in the 64th minute proved to be the jump-start to the Americans getting back in it.
Midfielder Graham Zusi (5.5) • The Sporting Kansas City player has two assists in two games, but struggled mightily against Portugal. Did come up with crucial cross to Dempsey’s goal in the 81st minute.
Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (5) • Didn’t do much for the second straight outing. He’ll need to improve to be more of a difference maker.
Midfielder Michael Bradley (5.5) • America’s top midfielder played better in the attack, but his giveaway in the 95th minute led to Ronaldo’s stellar cross and Varela’s goal.
Forward Clint Dempsey (8) • What more can you ask of the captain? Bruised and battered, the Seattle forward gave the Americans the lead with a stomach goal in the 81st minute.
Forward Chris Wondolowski (5) • Didn’t do much in his time on the field. Could’ve held the ball better during stoppage time.
Defender DeAndre Yedlin (6) • Utilized for his speed, the 20-year-old Seattle outside back did well in his World Cup debut.
Defender Omar Gonzalez (NR) • A stoppage-time sub to kill off time, Gonzalez wasn’t on the field long enough to do much.Next Page >
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