In fact, the Americans were at a deficit from the start of the tournament. They gave up the two quickest goals of this World Cup ”” in the fourth minute against England in their first match and in the fifth minute Saturday against Ghana in their last. Over 4 games and almost 400 minutes of soccer, the United States led for only three minutes, the final ticks of the clock against Algeria, in its only win.
The Americans had to come from behind in three of their four games, often playing better when their fortunes appeared most dire.
Early deficits against England and Slovenia forced Coach Bob Bradley’s team to play with more urgency, pressing forward in the attack rather than waiting for opportunities to counterattack. Throughout the tournament, Bradley encouraged his players to draw strength from what he called the “difficult moments” they encountered in the past. But like adrenaline junkies, they seemed unable to perform without them.
“The warning signs were there,” Landon Donovan said. “Getting scored on early, and it came back to bite us.”
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