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United States 1, Belgium 2 - America's World Cup Dream Ends in Extra Time

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Kevin C. Cox

For ninety minutes, Belgium did not have an answer for Tim Howard in the United States goal.

At the start of extra time, Romelu Lukaku was subbed on and the Belgians had their answer.

Kevin De Bruyne and Lukaku scored in extra time to give Belgium a 2-1 victory over the USA and advance to the quarterfinals against Argentina.

Tim Howard was stellar in the American goal, with a total of 16 saves during the 120 minutes of action, but was unable to stop De Bruyne's effort in the 93rd minute. Matt Besler slipped while trying to slow down Lukaku further up the field and was unable to recover as De Bruyne slotted home into the side netting.

Lukaku doubled the advantage in the 105' minute right before the extra time break, catching the US on the counter as they pushed for the equalizer. This time it was De Bruyne setting up Lukaku who beat his defender and Tim Howard at the near post with a strong finish.

Just when all seemed lost, Jurgen Klinsmann subbed on youngster Julian Green and the winger made an immediate impact in the 107th minute. On his first touch, he volleyed a Michael Bradley chip past Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois to bring the US back into the game.

The US was unable to find the equalizer, despite several chances. Clint Dempsey was unable to get the ball out from his feet on several occasions, including following a delightful set piece situation. Chris Wondolowski also flew a shot over the bar from inside the six yard box and the end of regulation.

For the United States, it marks the second World Cup in row with a loss in extra time in the Round of 16. An amazing display from Tim Howard seems to have gone to waste but the overall positives of the tournament should not be forgotten just because of this one loss.

Fans will wonder what might have been without injuries to Jozy Altidore and Fabian Johnson, who had to be substituted in the first half against Belgium. John Brooks and Julian Green both scored goals and DeAndre Yedlin featured well at both right midfield and right back.

Still, the United States has not been able to get back to the quarterfinals since the 2002 World Cup at Korea-Japan. It appears the USA will have to wait four more years to try once more to get over the hump and make another deep run in the knockout stages.

But we're still proud of this team and what they accomplished. Getting out of the Group of Death, beating Ghana and holding a tournament darkhorse scoreless for ninety minutes. The US left it all on the field and that's all their country can expect of them.

And the US will be back in four years, still on a mission for that elusive quarterfinal spot.