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2014 FIFA World Cup: Silvestre Varela stoppage-time goal rescues Portugal, salvages draw with USMNT

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(June 21, 2014 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images South America)
(June 21, 2014 – Source: Elsa/Getty Images South America)

MANAUS – Five minutes from new life in the knockout stage, the United States must now find a way to escape death once more, as a late stoppage-time goal from Silvestre Varela, Portugal broke the hearts of American soccer fans everywhere.

On a cross pass from Cristiano Ronaldo, Varela was able fire a header past USMNT goalkeeper, Tim Howard, to keep Portgual’s slim hopes alive in the “Group of Death”, and now force the United States to either beat or draw three-time World Cup champion, Germany.

Clint Dempsey’s goal at the 81st minute helped give the United States a 2-1 lead and seemed all but set to advance to the knockout round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

All the talk coming into the US-Portugal matchup was Ronaldo and the status of his thigh. Unfortunately, Ronaldo’s golden leg proved fatal for the Americans.

After surrendering an early goal to Nani off of a bad clearance at the fifth minute, the United States would draw level on a strike from Jermaine Jones at the 64th minute, before Dempsey’s dramatic would-be game-winner, gave the United States a 2-1 lead.

Coming into the game, the United States was 2-2-1 all-time vs the Portuguese, and defeated them, 3-2 in the 2002 World Cup. After failing behind, 1-0, the Stars and Stripes were 0-19-1 all-time when trailing against a European side.

Dempsey, who scored the 10th fastest goal in World Cup history vs Ghana six days ago in Natal, once again was in the right place at the right time for the Yanks, who unfortunately need to resolve their issues in clearing and on the counter-attack, if they have any hope of surviving and advancing in Brazil.

With the 2-2 draw, the Americans earned a vital point—and all teams in Group G are still alive—but would rather have all three and be preparing for the knockout round instead.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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