U.S. soccer team has united us

Division.

I haven’t liked it since my third grade teacher at Fairplains Elementary School taught us how many times two goes into four.

I’ve watched my hometown be divided because a river runs through it and because there is a high school located on each side of that river.

I’ve watched my state and my nation be divided because we have two political parties that don’t agree on anything other than they hate those who belong to the other party.

So it’s always heartwarming and comforting to see virtually our city, state and nation unite behind one purpose or cause.

That’s what happened ever since the World Cup got under way.

I haven’t seen a team representing America capture this much attention and create this much excitement since Herb Brooks coached the 1980 U.S. hockey team to the Miracle On Ice, leading a band of college kids to the Olympic gold medal including a stunning victory over a group of professionals representing the Soviet Union.

Perhaps no team ever will unite America the way that one did.

But the U.S. soccer team certainly has captured our hearts and has all pulling for them to make it into the second round.

Soccer, like hockey, really isn’t our sport. Our lack of success on the international level is well documented.

While the rest of the world plays futbol, we play football, which dominates weekend and prime time TV during the fall.

Soccer? You might find a late-night match between the L.A. Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders, but you won’t find it on one of the major networks.

Yet, an upstart group of American soccer players -guided by a coach from Germany – has taken us by storm.

Even those of us who think offsides is a five-yard penalty can’t wait for the next match to start.

We all tuned in to America’s opener against Ghana, even though the team from that tiny nation was supposed to win. That didn’t happen. Rather, American John Brooks Jr. scored with four minutes left to give the U.S. a 2-1 win and, more importantly, three points in the all-important Group G standings.

No doubt, America needed that one because its final two matches would come against European powers Portugal and Germany. Since 1990, the U.S. had played 14 matches against teams from Europe, winning one. So being competitive against fourth-ranked Portugal wasn’t likely.

Just five minutes into Sunday’s game, Portugal scored. This one might just be ugly. But first America tied the game then took the lead. It was literally seconds from victory when Portugal scored to salvage a tie.

Now, the U.S. must face Germany, perhaps the world’s best team outside the country where the World Cup is being played.

Once again, the odds will be against America on Thursday. So what else is new?

By now, we believe in miracles (sorry, Mr. Michaels).

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com