Tim Howard Breaks the Internet, DeAndre Yedlin Impresses Despite U.S.'s Exit

DeAndre Yedlin fights off a challenge during the USA's 2-1 loss to Belgium. - Kevin C. Cox

DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green gave the USMNT hope for the future and Tim Howard sets a World Cup record and immediately became America's next fascination.

As disappointment began to set in across the streets of America on Tuesday night, another feeling was evident in the air: hope and pride.

Although the USMNT's journey in Brazil ended after a 2-1 extra-time loss to Belgium, the Stars and Stripes showed many encouraging signs of life and had multiple solid, individual performances.

Tim Howard set a modern-era World Cup record with an incredible 16 saves, the most in recorded World Cup history, and looked like an impenetrable wall during the majority of the original 90 minutes. The introduction of Romelu Lukaku proved to be too much for the USMNT as he scored Belgium's second goal and helped to set up the first, but Howard was world-class throughout the whole game, denying the Red Devils clear chances and doing his best to keep the Yanks in the tournament.

Despite the loss, the Everton 'keeper was named FIFA Man of the Match and even received praise from Belgium captain Vincent Kompany shortly after the final whistle.

Another individual worthy of note is the MAC's own DeAndre Yedlin. After Fabian Johnson was forced off with an apparent injury in the 32nd minute, the Seattle Sounder was put in at right back and proceeded to work the Red Devils defense all game.

The 20-year-old used his blazing pace and solid crossing ability to keep Kompany and his compatriots busy in the USMNT's final third. It was an inspired showing from the former Akron man and he gave the Stars and Stripes something to look forward to in the future.

And who could forget the youngest goalscorer in USA history, Julian Green, who finally showed why Jurgen Klinsmann has been so adamant about the youngster's skills.

Shortly after being brought on, the Bayern Munich second team player capitalized off a Michael Bradley over-the-top ball and volleyed the ball into the net to create stress for the Belgians and hope for the Americans.

Both Green, 19 years-old, and Yedlin represent a bright future for the Yanks and show that youth in a side can occasionally be just as important as experience. With the Gold Cup and Copa America coming up soon, youth will be important for this USMNT team. With the exceptions of Howard, who is 35 years old and Clint Dempsey, who is 31, the team Klinsmann picked is a relatively young outfit with the likes of Jozy Altidore, Mix Diskerud and others waiting for their chance to shine.

So while the nation may be in a state of relative disappointment after the loss, there is much to look forward to from  the Stars and Stripes squad. Don't forget that the team wasn't even picked to get out of the group of death, it wasn't expected to actually put up a fight with the likes of Germany and Portugal and it was even slated to lose against Ghana.

But despite the pundits and former players showing little hope, the fans came out in droves and showed their pride for their country and a sport that many had only paid attention to when it became convenient for them. Now the USMNT has a growing fan-base and soccer seems to really be taking hold in America.

With that being said, don't forget that there is more to the Stars and Stripes than the World Cup every four years. As this smart post by the SB Nation World Cup site says, there is quite a bit to satisfy the new soccer fan in the time before Russia 2018 and if you fancy yourself a new soccer super-fan, then we'll see you soon.


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