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October 22, 2014

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U.S. sent packing at World Cup, eliminated 2-1 by Belgium

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AP Photo/Felipe Dana

United States’ Jermaine Jones walks off the pitch at the end of the extra time during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

Updated Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | 3:31 p.m.

2014 World Cup: U.S. vs. Belgium

United States' Omar Gonzalez (3) and Geoff Cameron (20) watch as goalkeeper Tim Howard makes a save on Belgium's Jan Vertonghen shot on goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Launch slideshow »

There are no consolation prizes in the World Cup.

Yes, the U.S. soccer team made things interesting — and respectable— late today in a 2-1 loss to Belgium in extra time of a knockout-stage game.

But the simple truth is they were outplayed in regulation and underachieved in the tournament. The World Cup is over for the red, white and blue. They didn’t deserve to move on.

While you can easily argue the American brand of soccer had progressed over the past decade, it clearly isn’t to the level of the world’s elite teams.

Belgium helped prove that point today.

Belgium dominated most of regulation, spending a majority of the first 90 minutes on the U.S. side of the field. They had 31 shots in regulation, forcing American goalie Tim Howard to make about 10 saves. He was brilliant, showing he’s one of the world’s elite netminders.

It wasn’t the same fate for his teammates.

Belgium finally broke through in extra time with goals about 12 minutes apart from Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.

Give credit to the U.S. for not throwing in the towel.

In the 107th minute, Julian Green scored on an assist from Michael Bradley in cutting the deficit to 2-1 with more than 10 minutes to play. The Americans spent those 10 minutes mostly on the attack, having some near-misses to nearly force penalty kicks.

The U.S. should be commended for making it out of pool play at the tournament, especially when they were considered the weakest of the pool’s four teams.

It gives them something to build on for 2018. The roster will surely be made over with players such as Green — a 19-year-old strike full of potential — as the cornerstone of the national team moving forward.

US on the board, trails Belgium 2-1

The U.S. soccer team still has a chance.

After falling behind against Belgium 2-0 in extra time at the World Cup and 15 minutes away from their tournament ending, the Americans finally scored.

Julian Green got the US on the board, scoring on an assist from Michael Bradley to trim the U.S. deficit to 2-1.

Time, however, is not on the Americans’ side. There’s about 12 minutes left. If the U.S. doesn’t score, they’ll be eliminated.

If they do score, penalty kick will determine the winner.

US has two-goal deficit in extra time of knockout game

The U.S. soccer team is likely finished at the World Cup. They'll need to score two goals in the next 15 minutes to stay alive.

Belgium finally turned its goal-scoring opportunities into goals, finding the back of the net twice in the initial 15 minutes of extra time for a comfortable 2-0 advantage.

With the U.S. already trailing 1-0 and taking chances to score a would-be tying goal, Belgium increased its lead to two goals in the 105th minute its scored on the counter-attack on Romelu Lukaku's goal.

Time running out on US soccer

The U.S. soccer team has to score in the next 28 minutes against Belgium or its World Cup will be over.

After surviving Belgium for 90 minutes of regulation, the Americans finally surrendered a goal two minutes into extra time. Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne found the back of the net on a right-footed shot from about 8 yards out, scoring past U.S. goalie Tim Howard into the lower left corner for a 1-0 lead.

Howard was brilliant in regulation with about 10 saves, fighting off the constant Belgium pressure to keep the U.S. in the game. But it seemed like only a matter of time until Belgium scored — it had 31 shots entering the extra time.

We'll keep everyone posted as time slowly ticks away on the U.S.

Still scoreless, US and Belgium will play 30 minutes of extra time

We’re heading to extra time.

The U.S. and Belgium are scoreless after 90 minutes in their knockout-round World Cup game today, sending play into two 15-minute extra sessions. It’s not sudden death, meaning multiple goals — like in Germany’s win Monday against Algeria — are a possibility.

If the game is scoreless after the extra time, penalty kicks will decide the outcome.

The U.S. has been mostly dominated from start to finish, but goalie Tim Howard is having a brilliant game, recording about 10 saves and single-handedly keeping the Americans alive. Belgium is outshooting the U.S. 31-11, including 11 shots on goal to force Howard into action.

In its best goal-scoring opportunity game of the half, striker Chris Wondolowski missed a point-blank shot from about 5 yards out with a minute to play in regulation.

The winner advances to face Argentina. The loser is eliminated.

We’ll keep everyone posted.

US soccer fights to advance in World Cup

The United States soccer team was outplayed today in the first half of its World Cup elimination-round game against Belgium.

Still, the poor play hasn’t cost the Americans, as the game is — somehow — scoreless at halftime.

Belgium is controlling the pace and has had most of the game’s goal-scoring opportunities. It is out-shooting the U.S., 9-3.

Striker Clint Dempsey and midfielder Michael Bradley, two of America’s top players, have been nonfactors. Dempsey, the captain and one of the national team’s most celebrated goal-scorers of all time, has been defended perfectly. Bradley has struggled all tournament organizing the attack, with those difficulties continuing today.

The U.S. is down to two substitutes after defender Fabian Johnson left with a hamstring injury in the 31st minute, being replaced in the back by 20-year-old DeAndre Yedlin. It’s his first World Cup appearance, meaning Belgium will surely game-plan at halftime on ways to attack the perceived weak link on the U.S. backline.

It should be an interesting second half. We’ll keep you posted.

US soccer trying to avoid being knocked out of World Cup

It’s a simple formula: If the United States soccer team beats Belgium today in the World Cup knockout stage, it advances to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

If the U.S. loses, its World Cup is over.

And, according to odds in Las Vegas, the Americans aren’t expected to advance. Belgium closed at a -170 favorite at William Hill to win straight up, meaning gamblers would have to wager $170 to win $100.

Striker Jozy Altidore was declared fit to play earlier in the week for the U.S. after injuring his hamstring in the World Cup opener. Altidore, however, isn’t in the starting lineup.

The U.S. are 1-1-1 in World Cup games, opening with a 2-1 victory against Ghana, despite being outplayed. It tied Portugal 2-2 in its next games, but should have won after surrendering goals on defensive miscues. And, in its most-recent game, the U.S. was defeated 1-0 by Germany, still advancing to the knockout stage on a tie-breaker.

We’ll keep everyone posted as the game progresses.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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