Even soccer critics probably know who Tim Howard is now

About 10 minutes before the United States vs. Belgium World Cup men’s soccer match on Tuesday, I had no television cable service for whatever reason, and ultimately missed practically the entire first half of the match. Upon phoning the cable company, a recording revealed that my area was experiencing some difficulty.

Great. Just great.

Being perhaps a little paranoid, I thought initially that the interruption was the work of Ann Coulter and the soccer haters. Sounds like a punk rock group, doesn’t it?

Ann Coulter? Before the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicked off, I’d never heard of her, to be honest with you. (She of course has never heard of me, either.)

Anyways, the 52-year-old Coulter is apparently a syndicated columnist, who has had some very unflattering opinions about the sport of soccer.

Turns out, though, that she was not responsible (I think) for my blank TV screen. In any event, service was finally restored after about an hour off the air.

Even nicer, as it turned out, I didn’t miss a thing, or a goal, as the score was tied 0-0. You’ve got to love soccer for that.

All’s well that ends well…although when the second half got underway and then later the extra time, that would not be the case for Team USA as it dropped a 2-1 decision.

As everyone who watched the match knows by now, Team USA was totally outplayed. Belgium was the better team, and deserved to advance to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. But as Clint Eastwood’s character (Will Munny) said in the movie classic “Unforgiven,” “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

If not for Tim Howard being positioned between the pipes, Belgium, which attempted 27 shots on goal, could have possibly scored in double digits. Howard in a word was “awesome” and even Belgium gave him credit.

Even Coulter, I believe, should be familiar with the name Tim Howard now.

Thing is, the Americans had their chances, and nearly, as unbelievable as that sounds, won the match before it went into extra time.

Team USA striker and non-starter Chris “Wondo” Wondolowski missed what in basketball lingo what would be termed a “bunny” in front of the goal. He was unmarked and had the Belgium keeper at his mercy and beat – but he failed to finish as his boot sailed high and over the crossbar.

Darn it!

There was a question of whether the U.S. was offsides on the play, but that’s a moot point now. Bygones.

Wondolowski didn’t lose the game with that miskick, but he could’ve won it, and become a hero.

Makes me wonder. Would Landon Donovan have shanked that potentially match-winning kick?

Doubtful.

Donovan, in my opinion, should never have been cut from Team USA by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in May. His soccer talents and pitch experience were sorely missed.

Surely, even Ann Coulter has heard of Landon Donovan?

Maybe not.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com