If you'd told any United States fan when he or she woke up this morning that the U.S. would play England to a 1-1 draw, they'd have taken it in a heartbeat.
Yet if Robert Green hadn't just barely managed to tip Jozy Altidore's shot off the post in the 64th minute after Altidore's electrifying run down the left flank, the U.S. might have won the game.
Then again, England squandered multiple chances to double its lead after going up 1-0 in the fourth minute.
It was a game replete with drama, tension and subplots. Both teams had multiple chances to win the game in the second half, and it took stellar goalkeeping from Tim Howard to keep the two teams level. When the final whistle sounded, the emotion among fans and players alike was relief as much as it was exhilaration.
The final result speaks volumes of the maturity of the United States, with central defenders Jay DeMerit and Oguchi Oneywu answering quite a few of the questions that had been asked of them coming into the match. Now there is real optimism that the U.S. can advance to the second round.
That is, if Bob Bradley's squad doesn't rest on its laurels. I doubt that will happen, but the U.S. has a history of playing to the level of its opponent. Slovenia and Algeria aren't as good as England, but they play dramatically different styles. The U.S. will have to keep the ball much better than it did today, while at the same time adapting to opposing offenses that are much more possession-oriented than England could ever dream of being.
For tonight, though, there is real cause to celebrate. The U.S. didn't just earn a point today, it proved to England and the world that it can indeed play at this level. It will be a heck of a lot of fun to read the hysterical reactions to Robert Green's gaffe in the Sunday English press.
As you know, I watched the game with a number of Union fans at PPL Park. After the final whistle, they shared their reactions to the match in the video below.