Playing For Charlie
Two days after the tragic events surrounding Team USA striker Charlie Davies, his teammates had to take the field for one of their last World Cup qualifying games against Costa Rica. Granted. the US had already advanced thanks to the Honduras win, but in light everything that has happened since, one could understand if Tim Howard and the gang came out a little flat. And that’s exactly what happened.
The Ticas, thanks to two sterling goals from Bryan Ruiz, jumped all over the United States by scoring twice in four minutes of match time. And for a while, it looked the US was too emotionally spent to meet the challenge offered by Costa Rica. And then the second half came and Team USA fought back. And fought back some more.
Finally, thanks to an injury time header from Jonathan Bornstein — four minutes into stoppage time — Team USA got its equalizer, sending them to the World Cup as the top team in CONCACAF. However, that wasn’t the significance of last night’s comeback draw. No, Team USA fought for Charlie Davies. In order to pay the proper respects for their temporarily-fallen teammate, Sam’s Army never quit fighting back against the Ticas. Granted, it took until the final seconds of the game for Team USA to get the desired result, but the fact they never gave up speaks volumes about their play and how much they respect Davies. Jozy Altidore, the US’ beast-in-waiting, had this to say about his injured roommate:
“Just because how close I am to the kid, you know,” [Altidore] said. “It just hurt that much more and for me tonight. That made me realize that you may not get another game so you’ve got to make sure you play every game like it’s your last. So I’m going to try and do that from here on out.”
Here are the highlights from last night’s emotional draw and a screenshot of the banner celebrating and commemorating Davies:
Next up for Teams USA is a friendly match against Denmark on November 18.
As for Davies, I’m offering this little pick: I have a strong feeling he’ll be back for the World Cup.
Granted, his health is the most important outcome here, but according to initial reports, his injuries aren’t career-threatening and should leave him with a recovery time of six to twelve months. The World Cup begins in 238 days. Six months equals 180 days, give or take a couple. Considering Davies’ work ethic on the field, I have no doubt he’ll attack his rehab like a defenseless goal-keeper and be available to the team when they travel to South Africa.
Whether or not Bob Bradley would/will use him is another story.