Sorry but I had to get that out of the way. Basically that is my reaction after watching the US Men’s team fall to Nigeria by a razor thin 2-1 margin; but as you know in football, the margin doesn’t matter – only the result.
With this morning’s result – the US Men become spectators in the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, but all is not lost with this performance.
The Yanks are walking away from the group with a respectable 1-1-1 record, but it is in the details where they will find most of the hope and anguish.
Details like a direct free kick in the 92nd minute that skims under the wall to give the Netherlands the equalizer in a match that otherwise would have guaranteed the US advancement.
Details like a thoughtless elbow in the 3rd minute against Nigeria which forced the US Men to play a man down for 90 grueling minutes.
Details like a mistimed strike in front of the Nigerian goal or a flashing header which met the crossbar rather than the net, either of which would have given the US the push they needed.
What separates the good teams from the great teams however, is the ability to neutralize those details, to bend luck in your favor, and to get out of group play to face another day of competition.