words_Nick Engvall

One of the smallest players on the field, but with one of the biggest hearts, Landon Donovan’s determination to take the US Men’s National Team to the next round conquered all today. Donovan not only saved the United States’ world cup chances today, but he might have solidified his place at the top as the all time greatest US soccer player.

USA Win's Group C in World CupIn the 91st minute of today’s match against Algeria, Donovan started a counter attack that had fellow Americans Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey on the attack. Landon took a quick pass from goalkeeper Tim Howard placed it nicely for Altidore who set up Dempsey, on the rebound Donovan put one in from about eight yards out to lead the US team to the second round.

“Clint made a good run in the middle, the ball fell to me … time kind of stopped,” Donovan said. “You can’t miss from there.”

Donovan’s goal not only moves the US into the second round, but gives them their first Group win since 1930.

The US team was persistent and attacking the entire match. Although the US finished with just a 1-0 victory, the score is deceiving. The US team once again had a goal called off, in the 21st minute Clint Dempsey was called for an offsides that took a point off the board. Dempsey and Altidore also put shot attempts off the goal post and crossbar earlier in the game as well.

The repeated near-goal attempts and called off goal had the US team on the edge of another disappointing World Cup showing, especially after England went up 1-0 in their match, which meant the US team had to score and had to win in order to move on to the second round.

For Donovan, the goal was his 44th in international play, which adds another to the record for most goals in US team history.

Landon will lead the US team’s relentless never quit attitude into the second round against the runner up from Group D.

USA Wins Group C in World Cup - Jozy Altidore Jozy Altidore in the adidas F50 adiZero.

USA Wins Group C in World Cup - Clint DempseyClint Dempsey after a missed opportunity in the Nike Superfly.

USA Wins Group C in World Cup - Landon Donovan Landon Donovan celebrates in the Nike CTR 360.

USA Wins Group C in World Cup - Landon DonovanLandon Donovan acknowledges the fans after the US Wins Group C in the World Cup.