Facing a team of—let me Wikipedia this—10 (plus goalie! right?) world-class athletes in possibly the most important game of their lives, he offered up a Sporcle’s worth of answers to the question “how many ways are there to block?” Buzzfeed, obviously, already has a gif gallery of the saves, though it doesn’t match what’s in my mind’s eye: ball after ball refracting at weird and shocking angles off of feet and hands and shoulder and head, with teammates and opponents and stadium spectators alike finding new ways to look impressed each time.
If my reverie at the moment seems a bit basic, or naive, or just inappropriate given that the nation’s soccer watchers just had their hopes snuffed by a 2-1 overtime loss—sorry. But considering the wild viewership gains the sport has seen this World Cup, with audience sizes for recent U.S. games exceeding that of the NBA Finals, I’m obviously not the only bandwagon hopper here.
Now that America’s out, will I follow MLS or the Premiere League or even, necessarily, the rest of the FIFA tournament? No, probably not. I felt similar excitement as an Orange County kid watching the Angels in the 2002 World Series, and as a Northwestern alum watching the Wildcats on New Year’s Day 2013. I follow neither MLB nor NCAA football now. So, diehards: Send your condescension this way, it’s warranted.