‘Go, go, USA!’: How Landon Donovan’s 2010 World Cup goal became iconic

Doha, Qatar – Everyone’s seen it. Everyone heard Everyone who cares deeply about American football — and a lot of people who don’t — can remember what happened on June 23, 2010, in Pretoria, South Africa, like it was yesterday, when Landon Donovan did the impossible. The play scored and time stood still, only broken when commentator Ian Darke called for a World Cup for the ages.

“Go, Go, USA!”

Donovan’s injury-time strike against Algeria that propelled the USA to the top of Group C and saved it from elimination remains one of the most iconic moments in the country’s football history, with Darke’s words providing the perfect backdrop And unknowingly bring back the sentiments of a nation. The house that was loudly losing its mind during Wednesday lunch.

“It is unique in my career that one call has had that kind of impact, certainly due to a dramatic, meaningful and impressive goal,” Darke, part of the Fox commentary crew in Qatar, told me.

“It was a transformative moment in how the sport was received in the United States. That kind of explosive moment at the end made a lot of people realize what incredible drama football could offer.”

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Go, Go, USA!

Go, Go, USA!

Coming in at number 50 on the list of most memorable moments in World Cup history, Landon Donovan scored a stoppage time goal to send the USMNT out to Algeria in the round of 16.

Now, 12 years later, you can still hear members of the American Outlaws fan group chanting “Go, Go, USA!” Can be found wearing. T-shirts and scarves, and Dark is constantly reminded of it, despite calling hundreds of games before and after. Hours after the match, Darke couldn’t remember what he had said on the broadcast, wondered why he had started trending on Twitter, and had to recount the call back.

Those three unforgettable words still go down deep in the heart of every USA supporter, and in the ultimate dream scenario over the next few weeks, just maybe, Perhapsspoke again?

In a way, every World Cup team is chasing the ghosts of the team that came before it. The fact that there is a certain level of expectation on the likes of Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams exiting Group C and into the last 16 is due to the exploits of Bob Bradley’s 2010 group and Donovan’s thrilling nature of late. the winner.

Try watching an online replay without throwing your arms in the air. Lump in throat too? Even better.

Landon Donovan’s goal is remembered as one of the most iconic moments in American football history. (Photo credit should read Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

A twist in the tale is that Donovan himself was one of the last members of the American football community to witness the goal. For years, the former Los Angeles Galaxy forward struggled with depression, which he bravely detailed following his retirement from the national team in 2014, and he tended to avoid watching sports again. So epic and important too.

“I didn’t see it until months later, and only then when someone sent it to me,” Donovan, now a Fox analyst who will be paired with Darke for Qatar 2022, told me via telephone. Told. “It’s iconic because of Ian’s call. It was perfect. It doesn’t get old.”

Everyone remembers the three words, but there was much more to it than that.

As goalkeeper Tim Howard broke down the Algerian attack and fired over Donovan’s toes on the halfway line, Darke resumed the action, with almost a minute of injury time already played.

“Howard … gratefully lays claim to it. The delivery – superb.”

Along with Clint Dempsey, Donovan was the primary attacking force of the 2010 team and if not for his goal in the second group game against Slovenia – coming back from 2–0 down to 2–2 – the campaign would have already been over. could. That team, loaded with experience, was markedly different from the squad Greg Berhalter had brought to Qatar. Three of the four men in the move, Howard, Dempsey and Donovan (plus 20-year-old Jozy Altidore) were arguably the most important members of the team.

As Donovan collected Howard’s throw, Darke sensed something was brewing. Perhaps.

“They were going out of the World Cup,” Darke recalled. “90 minutes were over. I remember when Tim Howard got the ball it was really the last chance. He couldn’t do it. It was one of those stories that was almost a thing too far.”

“Landon Donovan … things are in store for the USA here. Can they do it here?”

The 2022 Americans will face Wales on Monday (2 p.m. ET on Fox and the Fox Sports app), followed by England four days later and Iran to round out group action. With most observers believing England to be a clear group favourite, the USA-Wales clash is expected to have a huge impact on qualification.

In a matter of seconds, the Americans went out of the World Cup as winners of their group. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

In the lead-up to the tournament, Donovan traveled from his home in San Diego to Los Angeles for some practice commentary sessions with Dark. He is relishing the opportunity to bring the action back home.

Donovan said, “It’s kind of cool how it came full circle with Ian.” “Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t refer to that goal, and it’s special to re-live it year after year.”

“Cross … and Dempsey denied again.”

Another near miss that looked like the story of the 2010 team’s tournament. The chances went begging against Algeria, in truth the team’s worst performance of the group stage, with Dempsey putting the ball into the net for a foul ruling.

Because of what happened and what was said in the end, no one remembers it anymore.

“I think all the comments are of the moment,” Darke said. “Sometimes when you listen to it afterwards it sounds kind of biased. It felt like the right thing for the USA to say in that happy moment.”

Donovan was in perfect spot to drive home the rebound for the game-winner. (Photo by Ian Walton / Getty Images)

In the days that follow, there will be a fever of patriotism. Before he saw the goal on video, Donovan watched and rewatched a segment created by college student Robbie Donohoe, which included celebrations from fans across the country and which had been viewed more than five million times online.

It was all a reaction to Dempsey’s shot which bounced off the body of Algerian goalkeeper Rais M’Boulhi and into the path of Donovan, who never stopped running.

“And Donovan scored! Oh, can you believe it?”

Cue unbridled enthusiasm. Donovan ran to the corner flags, free for just a moment, before being engulfed in a screaming cacophony of American players, substitutes and coaches. Big central defender Jay Demerit turned over at the top of the scrum. Algeria was done. The USA headed to the Round of 16, where it would face Ghana, but before that there were celebratory beers and cigars in the locker room with former President Bill Clinton.

Former President Bill Clinton was among those celebrating in the postgame locker room with Donovan. (Photo by Jeff Mitchell – FIFA / FIFA via Getty Images)

The American sports public was going wild not only for the team’s performance, but for the role played by Dark, who was a bit embarrassed and surprised to find himself part of the story, suddenly in demand for dozens of talk radio appearances across the United States. .

He said, “I cannot tell why it happened.” “If you were trying to pre-script a moment, you’d never utter that line, it’s ridiculous. But with the adrenaline flowing, it came out.”

Go, Go, USA!

Go, really go, USA, words to remember and to apply to this young 2022 team, waiting with destiny before them in Qatar.

Go, go, claim your history, your moment of magic. And, perhaps, your own golden verse to accompany you forever.

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Martin Rogers is a columnist for Fox Sports and author of the Fox Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX And Subscribe to the Daily NewsletterR,

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