Fans' View

Fans’ View: Heart of Deuceness 2 — United We Stand

Photo: Courtesy of US Soccer

After the news of Hack’s firing settled in and I thought through all of what it meant for my hometown club, I realized it wouldn’t really matter for several weeks. It was time to turn my attention to the union in a bigger sense. Not those wearing the blue and gold, but the red, white, and blue.

The buildup to the World Cup in Brazil has been long, confusing, and arduous. It kind of mirrors what it will take for the US Men’s National Team to realize the once-every-four-years dream of US fans’ to bring home the World Cup. Monday night, they took the first step toward that dream.

What follows is my (mostly true) running diary of the US-Ghana match. Welcome to Heart of Deuceness 2.

5:25 pm: Arrive at St. Stephen’s Green, slightly sweaty from my bike ride from work. I greet my good friend and big-time US supporter, Brad. We procure seats at the bar with a good view of the proceedings. Beverages are ordered. The bar crowd is light, but there are a few US jerseys in the mix.

5:45 pm: Lineups are shown on the TV. US is exactly what we were expecting thanks to the Nigeria tilt. Ghana, on the other hand, is a different story. No Kevin Prince Boateng or Michael Essien in the midfield creates an inkling of confusion and excitement. Basically like we were given a small gift that might be the Trojan horse.

5:55 pm: My stomach has begun its roller coaster. And we are in the midst of a serious dip. Brad commiserates. Together our stomachs are in knots. Thankfully the bartender was quick with refills. The bar is loaded up with folks at this point and the tension is rising. I think we’re not alone in feeling a bit nervous. Drinks are draining fast. My leg begins to twitch.

6:00 pm: Kickoff. Nerves haven’t subsided.

6:00:35 pm: THAT JUST HAPPENED. The DEUCE is loose. St. Stephen’s ERUPTS. People haven’t been able to settle in, but no one is thinking about comfort. The US has had the sixth best start to a World Cup game in HISTORY. Captain America, Clint Dempsey, has done it. 1-0 USA.

6:25 pm: My high is wearing off after the initial goal and second chance, Ghana has pinned the US back on their heels. It feels as if the goal was in a different game as Ghana has been running at the defense for what seems like an eternity. General concern is palpable throughout the bar.

6:29 pm: Remember that earlier valley? We’re back there. Altidore pulls up lame and I flash forward to all potential realities at once. None are pretty. I hope that he is faking it, which I’ve never hoped for in my entire life. I just hope he’s faking it. Crap he’s not faking it. COME ON ICELAND!

6:50 pm: After five minutes more of extra time and what appears to be a broken nose, the US holds off the Ghanian onslaught until halftime.

7:00 pmish: I am shocked to see John Anthony Brooks enter the game for Matt Besler. Klinsmann was serious about his youth movement. Having been unimpressed with Brooks’ very minor contributions in a USA jersey, I am, to say the least, nervous. His early play does nothing to dissuade my fears.

7:10 pm: BEER PLEASE.

7:35 pm: Brooks has settled in nicely. But Ghana seems to be whipping in cross after cross, all of which the center backs and keeper deal with handily. Their chances seem inevitable, but a goal is far from a sure thing. Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones are playing like men possessed. Their quality is the reason the US remains in front.

7:46 pm: S***. NOT AGAIN. On a slick play and run, Ghana has leveled. Given there are about 10 minutes left in the game, our chances for 3 points are limited.

7:50 pm: Graham Zusi lines up a corner kick. My friend Caroline realizes her hair was down for the first goal. I force her to take it down. THEN SOMETHING AMAZING HAPPENS. John Anthony Brooks finishes the corner with a textbook header. I fully admit to my idiocy and repent at the altar of Klinsmann. St. Stephen’s Green erupts. My hand is sore from high fives.

11:00 pm (at least that’s what it seemed like HOW LONG WAS THE END!?): FINAL WHISTLE. Third time’s the charm and the first step to glory has been taken. Was it pretty? No. As we Union fans know, 3 points is 3 points. Caroline swears to wear her hair down for future games.

The time spent in this bar was a reminder of how incredible it feels every four years to be part of something like this.

It reminded me of the time I woke up early to watch the US dispatch Portugal back in 2002.

It reminded me of four years ago and the incredible Donovan goal against Algeria and celebrating with my then-co-worker, now-girlfriend, during that storybook moment.

It reminded me that even if we only get together once every four years, we can still celebrate with the rest of the world.

And for a few weeks during that span, we are a soccer nation, as rabid as many others. The goals mean more, the tackles crunch harder, and we are given a common purpose. And isn’t that the point of sports? It brings people together in the best of ways. These 11 men bound by a common goal serving a nation full of (some temporarily) real fans.

One nation, one team.

90 minutes played, 3 points bagged.

One nation, one team.


  1. Well captured, Seth. I’ll add one additional moment for me…hearing the American Outlaws be the loudest fans in the stadium on TV for probably the first time in a World Cup. Gave me chills. I know it’s cliche, but it finally feels like soccer is no longer America’s “sport of the future.” It’s here, now, and it’s awesome!

  2. This World Cup has been extra special because its the first we’ve watched as a family. My younger son’s friends are all talking soccer, trading Panini stickers and really getting into it. I will be so lost when its over. There will be nothing on tv to watch.

    • Seth Finck says:

      Given that my other volunteer writing gig is pop culture-related, I feel I have to answer this. If you have cable and like those sorts of things, I can suggest Fargo from FX and is incredible.

      Playing House is a very funny show on USA.

      Orange is the New Black just released its second season on Netflix.

      And my all-time, forever recommendation for anyone who hasn’t watched it and they think they could never like it and they always love it is Veronica Mars- currently only available on Amazon Prime, but totally worth the one month you’ll pay for it because you will watch it that quickly.

      Hope you find some joy there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: