Legendary author Charles Dickens began perhaps his most famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities, with the following words.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
If that isn't the perfect synopsis for the 95th & final minute of Sunday's World Cup match between the US and Portugal, I don't know what is.
The United States was literally seconds away from qualifying through the Group of Death, and advancing to the knockout stage of the World Cup.It was indeed the best of times......and then the worst of times.
I'm still not sure how to feel about the end result. Portugal's last second goal didn't just rob us of a win. It robbed us of the most remarkable result in recent US soccer history. Now the whole nation know what it felt like to be a Cubs fan in 2003, with Ronaldo playing the role of Steve Bartman.
But here's the thing.
That tie might end up being all the US needs! Ronaldo may have only delayed the celebration.
A win over Germany later this week puts the US through to the knock out stage.
So does a tie.
So does a loss, if Portugal and Ghana tie. And even if Portugal beats Ghana, a loss by the United States STILL likely gets them through.
Only an unlikely series of events will keep the United States from advancing in this World Cup. But having just witnessed a remarkably unlikely ending it's hard to feel good about the odds.
As much as it stings right now, that tie against Portugal will be completely forgotten if the US gets the result they need on Thursday. But, if they don't? It won't take the pen of Charles Dickens to describe the collective sentiment of American soccer fans. A few four letter words might do just as well.
So, how do I really feel about the tie? Ask again around two o'clock Thursday afternoon.