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Four Years Later: Revisiting US Soccer, Isner-Mahut and One of the Wildest Days in Sports History

By |2018-12-09T08:34:04+00:00June 23rd, 2014|Comments Off on Four Years Later: Revisiting US Soccer, Isner-Mahut and One of the Wildest Days in Sports History

U.S. Soccer earned a key point in its 2-2 draw with Portugal during the 2014 World Cup group stage, but in heartbreaking fashion, after allowing the equalizer to Portugal’s Silvestre Varela during the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time.

While the U.S. Men’s National Team still has a great chance to move on to the round of 16, the end result left many fans with a bitter taste in their mouths.

To help distract – at least, until Thursday’s group match finale with Germany – it’s best to direct attention to another exciting moment in U.S. Soccer history, which occurred four years ago to the date.

It would end up being one of the wildest and most memorable days in American sports history, as not only did Landon Donovan and the U.S. Men’s National Team defeat Algeria 1-0 to win Group C in dramatic fashion, but it was also the day when American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut shattered tennis records at Wimbledon.

Revisiting June 23, 2010 when I had the following to say about that day (also presented below), and to further assist with this refreshing stroll down memory lane, I’ve provided a few YouTube clips to help clear the cobwebs and take everyone back to that happy, wild and crazy day.

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June 23, 2010: Landon Donovan, U.S. Soccer and Isner-Mahut made for one of the wildest days in sports history

June 23, 2010: Landon Donovan, US Soccer, John Isner, Nicolas Mahut and an Unlikely Day Etched in Sports History

Historic, unlikely and nearly unbreakable records in sports only come along every so often – but two in one day?  That’s why June 23, 2010 will be etched in sports history forever.

The sun rose just like any other day.  Only, this time, it was a bit different.  Thousands of Americans were hopeful that the United States soccer team would soon find a way to advance out of Group C and into the 2010 World Cup’s next round.

In the first half of its match with Algeria, the US team ran into the norm – missed opportunities, wide-open nets and yet another disallowed goal due to a controversial (and incorrect) call by a World Cup referee.

The second half was more of the same.  The boys in red, white and blue had plenty more chances, most notably a Clint Dempsey shot off the post – followed by a rebound that sailed wide left of a wide open net.

Then, with the clock hitting the 90th minute, it was down to extra time, or a disappointing World Cup exit.  That’s because England was leading Slovenia.

That’s when history happened – as the United States executed a perfect play, ignited by goalie Tim Howard, who tossed the ball halfway down the field to the soon-to-be hero Landon Donovan.

Donovan quickly passed it over to Jozy Altidore, who crossed it to Clint Dempsey – who then attempted to get the ball by Algerian goalie Rais M’Bolhi.

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Landon Donovan celebrates the USA’s game-winning goal against Algeria (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

With the ball squirting out of the goalie’s hands and Dempsey flipping over him (and almost into the goal) – thousands of American hearts skipped a beat in unison.

But Donovan was there to follow on the rebound – and launched it into the back of the net, leaving the stadium in a complete frenzy – and an entire nation, too.

In the 91st minute, the United States had taken a 1-0 lead in the game – and only a few short minutes later, the US had stolen away Group C.

The win marked history for US Soccer.  It was the first time that an American team won its World Cup since 1930.

80 years!

Call it the “shot heard around the planet”, and also the latest goal score in US World Cup history.

But even after history was made, the day was not over.

At Wimbledon in England, even more history was being made.  American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut were locked in a grudge match of longlasting proportion.

This tennis match didn’t just break records – it completely shattered them… and the match isn’t even over yet!

4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 59-59 – they almost as numbers that could match that of the LOST television show phenomenon.

With the records they hold within them, it’s possible that they do.

No, the above is NOT a typo.  There’s no need to clean your glasses or wash your face.  Isner and Mahut have indeed posted 118 games in their record-breaking fifth set.

That’s approximately three times the total of the previous record in a Grand Slam tournament.

And again, must we remind you that the match is NOT over yet?  It’s heading into its third day, including over seven hours of play today.  In fact, the seven-hour stretch only featured a short bathroom break.  Only darkness could end it (for the time being). 

Good luck breaking this new record.

The funny part is: Stephen Strasburg was on the mound for the Nationals later in the day.  He pitched six strong innings, striking out nine and giving up one run.  Still, the running joke was that with the way this day was going, Strasburg would likely throw a perfect game or a no-hitter.

It was instead the first loss of his young baseball career.

It was an early summer day.  Basketball, hockey and football (American football) are all on hiatus.  The only unbreakable record in people’s minds was Dimaggio’s hit streak.

Instead, June 23, 2010 brought us two incredible new records – in two unlikely sports.  Two sports that are often not among the country’s first choices to view.

Perhaps that will change going forward, thanks to US soccer, Landon Donovan, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.

Mark it down – a day etched in sports history… June 23, 2010.

Update (June 24, 2010 – Noon Eastern):

The tennis match finally came to an end, with John Isner defeating Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the 5th set.  Both players will receive an honor following the Wimbledon match.

It’s easy to see why the absence of Landon Donovan from this year’s roster was such a big story.

Still, this year’s team has presented us with plenty of new names and faces to cheer for.

FIFA Recap of Landon Donovan’s Heroics and the 2010 USA-Algeria World Cup Match

Isner and Mahut Shatter Records at Wimbledon

Ian Darke’s Call of the Donovan Game Winner

Fans Across the U.S. React to the Donovan Goal

Here’s hoping that there are many more chances to root on the good ol’ U-S-of-A, and that no one will instead be cursing Ghana or Ronaldo until the time the next World Cup arrives.

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