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

DOHA, Qatar—Everybody noticed it. Everybody heard it. Everybody who cares deeply about American soccer — and a ton of people that do not — can recall what occurred in Pretoria, South Africa, on Jun. 23, 2010, prefer it was yesterday, when Landon Donovan scored a aim of unimaginable drama and time stood nonetheless, damaged solely when commentator Ian Darke made a World Cup name for the ages.

“GO, GO, USA!”

Donovan’s injury-time strike in opposition to Algeria that pushed the USA to the highest of Group C and saved it from elimination stays essentially the most iconic second on this nation’s soccer historical past, with Darke’s phrases offering the right backdrop and unwittingly summing up the feelings of a nation again dwelling that was emphatically dropping its thoughts throughout a Wednesday lunchtime.

“It’s distinctive in my profession that one name has had that sort of impact, which, in fact, is due to what a dramatic, significant and impactful aim it was,” Darke, a part of the FOX commentary crew in Qatar, informed me .

“It was a transformative second for the way the sport was acquired in the USA. That sort of explosive second on the finish made lots of people understand what unbelievable drama soccer can supply.”



Coming in at No. 50 on the checklist of essentially the most memorable moments in World Cup historical past, Landon Donovan scored a aim in stoppage time to ship the USMNT to the Spherical of 16 previous Algeria.

Now, 12 years later, you possibly can nonetheless discover members of the American Outlaws fan group carrying “Go, go, USA!” T-shirts and scarves, and Darke will get reminded of it always, regardless of having referred to as lots of of video games earlier than and since. Hours after the match, Darke could not keep in mind what he’d mentioned on the published, puzzled why he had began trending on Twitter, and needed to have the decision performed again to him.

These three unforgettable phrases nonetheless strike deep into the guts of each USA supporter, and within the final dream state of affairs over the subsequent couple of weeks, might perhaps, perhapsget uttered once more?

Each World Cup crew is, in a approach, chasing the ghosts of the squads that got here earlier than them. That reality there’s a sure stage of expectation on the likes of Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams to get out of Group C and into the final 16 is, partially, because of the exploits of Bob Bradley’s 2010 group and the thrilling nature of Donovan’s late winner.

Attempt watching a web based replay with out throwing your arms into the air. Lump within the throat, too? Even higher.

Landon Donovan’s aim is remembered as essentially the most iconic second in US soccer historical past. (Picture credit score ought to learn TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP through Getty Pictures)

One of many twists to the story is that one of many final members of the American soccer group to observe the aim was Donovan himself. For years, the previous Los Angeles Galaxy ahead struggled with melancholy that he bravely detailed upon his retirement from the nationwide crew in 2014, and he tended to keep away from re-watching video games. Even such an epic and vital one.

“I did not see it till months later, and solely then when somebody despatched it to me,” Donovan, now a FOX analyst who can be paired with Darke for Qatar 2022, informed me through phone. “It’s iconic due to Ian’s name. It was good. It does not get outdated.”

Everybody remembers the three phrases, however there was extra to it than that.

As goalkeeper Tim Howard broke up an Algeria assault and hurled a throw to the toes of Donovan on the midway line, Darke regaled the motion, with almost a minute of damage time already performed.

“Howard … gratefully claims it. Distribution – good.”

Together with Clint Dempsey, Donovan was the 2010 crew’s major attacking drive and if not for his aim within the second group recreation in opposition to Slovenia — sparking a comeback from 2-0 to 2-2 — the marketing campaign would possibly have already got been all however over. That squad, laden with expertise, was markedly totally different to the one Gregg Berhalter has delivered to Qatar. Three of the 4 males within the transfer, Howard, Dempsey and Donovan (plus 20-year-old Jozy Altidore) have been arguably essentially the most vital members of the crew.

As Donovan collected Howard’s throw, Darke sensed one thing is perhaps brewing. Maybe.

“They have been going out of the World Cup,” Darke remembered. “The 90 minutes have been up. I recall considering that when Tim Howard received the ball this actually was the final probability. They could not do it. It was a kind of tales that was nearly too farfetched.”

“Landon Donovan…there are issues on right here for the USA. Can they do it right here?”

The 2022 People face Wales on Monday (2 pm ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities App), adopted by England 4 days later and Iran to complete off group motion. Most observers imagine England to be a transparent group favorite, with the USA-Wales conflict anticipated to have large repercussions for qualification.

In a matter of seconds, the People went from out of the World Cup to winners of their group. (Picture by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Pictures)

Within the lead-up to the match, Donovan traveled to Los Angeles from his dwelling in San Diego for some follow commentary classes with Darke. He’s relishing the prospect to convey the motion to the viewers again dwelling.

“It is sort of good the way it got here round full circle with Ian,” Donovan added. “Not many days go by when somebody does not reference that aim, and it’s particular to relive it, yr after yr.”

“Cross…and Dempsey’s denied once more.”

One other near-miss, which seemed like being the story of the 2010 crew’s match. Possibilities had gone begging in opposition to Algeria, in truth the crew’s worst efficiency of the group stage, together with one the place Dempsey put the ball int the online solely to be incorrectly dominated offside.

Nobody remembers that now, due to what occurred on the finish, and what was mentioned.

“I feel all feedback are of the second,” Darke mentioned. “Typically once you hear it afterward it sounds sort of biased. It felt like the proper factor to say in that joyous second for the USA.”

Donovan was within the good spot to drive dwelling a rebound for the game-winner. (Picture by Ian Walton/Getty Pictures)

Within the days that adopted there can be patriotic fever. Earlier than he noticed the aim on video Donovan had watched and re-watched a phase made by faculty pupil Robby Donoho, comprised of celebrations from followers all throughout the nation and which did greater than 5 million on-line views.

All of it a response to Dempsey’s shot bouncing off the physique of Algeria goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi and into the trail of Donovan, who had by no means stopped working.

“And Donovan has scored! Ooooh, are you able to imagine this?”

Cue unbridled rapture. Donovan sprinted to the nook flag, free for only a second earlier than being engulfed in a pile of screaming American gamers, substitutes and coaches. Large central defender Jay Demerit somersaulted onto the highest of the scrum. Algeria was completed. The USA was heading to the spherical of 16, the place it might face Ghana, however earlier than that there have been celebratory beers and cigars with former president Invoice Clinton within the locker room.

Former President Invoice Clinton was amongst those that celebrated within the postgame locker room with Donovan. (Picture by Jeff Mitchell – FIFA/FIFA through Getty Pictures)

The American sports activities public was going wild for not solely the efficiency of the crew, however for the half performed by Darke, who was greater than a little bit embarrassed and stunned to search out himself a part of the story, instantly in demand for dozens of discuss radio appearances in the USA.

“I can not clarify why that took off in the best way it did,” he mentioned. “When you have been making an attempt to pre-script a second you’d by no means utter that line, it is ridiculous. However with the adrenaline flowing, out it got here.”


Go, go certainly, USA, phrases to recollect and to use to this younger 2022 crew, ready right here in Qatar with future earlier than them.

Go, go declare your individual historical past, your individual second of magic. And, maybe, your individual golden verse to accompany it ceaselessly.

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Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports activities and the creator of the FOX Sports activities Insider e-newsletter. Observe him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the each day e-newsletterr.

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