Everyone and their Mother tuned into the USA’s group play matchup with Portugal on Sunday afternoon which saw the American’s watch their 2-1 lead end in a draw after Portugal scored with just seconds left in extra time.
While the Arizona United SC is focusing in on their own season, they are also keeping as close an eye on the US team in the FIFA World Cup as much as any and are able to provide some great insight. Those on the team felt as much pain watching that last goal go through the net as if it was them out there on the field playing.
“It’s tough,” said AZ United SC Head Coach Michael Dellorusso. “It feels like a loss especially since it was the last play of the game. It’s Christiano Renaldo for you. If you take one play off, he makes you pay. But I am happy with where we are sitting.”
“The knee jerk reaction is that it feels like a loss but I think anyone would have taken that scenario,” mentioned AZ United SC defenseman Tyler Ruthven. “In the second game, we played proactively, we kept the ball, we created chances and that’s what people need to remember. Not the fact that we gave away two points at the end.”
As a goalkeeper, Evan Newton knows what it’s like to be playing with a lead and mentions while you have time to stand and get lost in your thoughts, you mind can get ahead of you in a game like what USA played in on Sunday.
“I listened to an interview of his (USA Goalkeeper Tim Howard) after the game and he said after the second goal, he was trying to keep himself fully, mentally in it because he already started thinking about qualification and all of that stuff,” Newton explained. “Sometimes as the keeper, you are back there thinking a lot and just like he did, you try not to be over excited.”
While AZ United’s next game is in Sacramento on Thursday night and their focus is primarily on that task ahead, they all say they will also be taking in the USA game that morning as they take on Germany as well. A win, tie or positive goal differential has them into the knockout round.
“I think that the US will matchup well,” stated Newton. “Both teams just need a tie. So they are not going to come out and try and kill us and we’re not going to try to kill them. You never know what could happen but neither team is really going to push it from what I assume.”
“I think we matchup alright,” Dellorusso added. “We have Jurgen (Klinsmann) so I’ll be very surprised if we don’t tie.”
As mentioned, AZ United SC is back in action on Thursday against Sacramento and return home to the Peoria SPorts Complex on Saturday to face Orange County at 7pm.