Today was a big day in a lot of sports. From soccer, to tennis, to hockey, to baseball, these sports had many notable and rare occurrences on this day.
Early this morning, the United States World Cup soccer team played against Algeria with a chance to advance to the round of 16. In order to advance, the US either needed to win (which guaranteed qualification) or tie (with either an English loss to Slovenia or a tie by England in which the team scored less than 2 goals above that which the US scored today). However, with an England win, the US team would need to win to assure its spot in the next round.
The English won, 1-0, and the US was tied after 90 minutes with Algeria. The game remained tied shortly into stoppage time. At that point, Algeria had a good opportunity to put the game away with a scoring chance of their own, but US goalkeeper Tim Howard stopped the threat and quickly started a counter attack by feeding the ball to Landon Donovan. Donovan carried the ball down the field, passed to Jozy Altidore, who crossed to Clint Dempsey in front with the Algerian goaltender charging. The ball went off Dempsey’s foot and off the goaltender, rebounding to about 8 yards from the goal line. Donovan charged from the 18 to lace the ball on the ground into the back left corner of the net, and proceeded to slide headfirst into the left corner flag, at which point his teammates piled upon him. After a few more stops in extra time, the final whistle sounded, and the United States had assured itself a spot in the round of 16.
For a nation that had such high hopes for its team, and a nation that hasn’t had much success in the World Cup in recent years, the 2nd half of the game could not have caused more anxiety from its fans. The team had many chances that could not be converted, and the team saw its World Cup lives flash before its eyes. However, in a moment, Landon Donovan became a legend, the United States moved on, and soccer became the primary focus in American sports for the month of June. All because of a goal in stoppage time; that is the beauty of soccer. USA will play Ghana in the next round of the World Cup.
In tennis, the match of the day at Wimbledon was John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut. The match went 10 hours, and here is the kicker: It isn’t over. The match went 5 sets and is still tied at 59-59. The match was called as a result of darkness, and will be resumed tomorrow morning on ESPN.
Finally, New York Mets knuckleball starter R.A. Dickey pitched 8 scoreless innings en route to his 6th consecutive win. He is now 6-0 this season, and is the first pitcher in Mets history (which included names such as Gooden and Seaver, among others) to record a win in each of his first 6 decisions. In another NL East story, Jimmy Rollins hit a walk-off 2 run home run for the Phillies in only his second game back from the Disabled List.
In hockey, Henrik Sedin won the Hart Trophy (hockey’s MVP), Ryan Miller won the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender), Tyler Myers won the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year), Duncan Keith won the Norris Trophy (best defensemen), Pavel Datsyuk won the Frank J. Selke Trophy (best defensive forward), and Martin St. Louis won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (best behaved player).