USA vs Slovenia Ellis Park June 18, 2010

Today was our 4th Match of the FIFA World Cup 2010. We left for the Park N Ride around 11:55pm today. The Park N Ride’s open 4 hours prior to kickoff, so we were quite early today. There was no car line like the previous day. We went to the Wits University Restaurant after parking. It is a little grill/bar hang out on campus that had TV’s, etc… After Kat got some fries, we boarded the bus to the stadium. Today’s transport seemed quicker than when going to Soccer City. Ellis Park is in more of a centrally located unlike Soccer City which is a good 15 minutes outside town near Soweto. The walk from the drop off point was much shorter than at Soccer City also. At Soccer City, they drop you off about 2-3 miles from the Stadium. Here, we were probably about 1 mile away if closer. Since we got there pretty early, we walked into the Stadium where they were showing the Germany/Serbia game on a big screen. A lot of fans had gathered in the sun to watch the game. We also checked out a little exhibition of dribbling/juggling. A few kids got up there and it seemed like they could juggle the ball all day if you gave them a chance. One US girl who looked like she probably played in college got up and juggled for a good long time and the host kept saying and “she is a woman”. I guess South African’s are surprised that woman can play soccer too? They should check the FIFA rankings, the US Women are #1 in the world! With about 1 hr and 30 min before the game was to start we went ahead and checked out our seats. We were in block 28, about 7 rows from the field. Our view was pretty much right at the goal. Fortunately for us, all the goals were down on our end!!!! There was a huge US fan presence at this game. A guy was passing out red pieces of cloth to our whole section calling them rally towels. The national anthem was amazing. It seemed like the whole stadium was singing it word for word. It was sung the loudest of any crowd I have ever heard! It was a truly amazing and priceless experience to hear it in the stadium. It was probably the first time a US game at a world cup had more US fans than the opponent. Who knew the anthem would be the highlight for the next 45 minutes. The first half was pretty rough for the US going down 2-0. All the US fans were pretty down and disappointed at half. I think I remarked it would be unbelievable to get a tie in this game and a miracle to come back and win it. Well, as you now know, the 2nd half was amazing for the US. An early Landon Donovan goal in the 48th min and the eventual equalizer in the 82nd by Michael Bradley sent the place into rapture. Our whole section went bananas. Beer “champagne” was pouring down on us…Not exactly what I had in mind to celebrate but once again…all part of the experience. A few minutes later, the US thought they had scored the go ahead goal but it was disallowed by the ref. So once again, we got doused by the beer “champagne”!!! I think I had to tell 4-5 fans the goal was called back before they stopped celebrating. The final whistle blew and a remarkable comeback for the ages had occurred. Slovenia 2 – USA 2. After the game we hung around the stadium for a while knowing the park n ride would take a while to get on the bus at the stadium. However, this time it only took us an hour to get back to the Wits campus while it typically has taken 2-3 hours from Soccer City. We decided to go back to the Local Grill for dinner and ate a quick meal of hamburgers and fries. Now that England and Algeria tied, the US only has to WIN on Wednesday to advance. Hopefully that will happen.  We are now off to the safari.

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