After four years of planning, two years of qualifying and months of training, Howard and the rest of the U.S. soccer team will wake up Sunday morning with nothing more to look forward to than a long flight home.
“We’re not getting up for practice, that’s for sure,” the U.S. goalkeeper said. “That part’s sad. It’s disappointing. It’s hard. It hurts.”"It’s hard to put your emotions into words,” he said, his voice catching. “We are going home.”
And for the second time in as many World Cups, they’ve been sent there by a speedy and resilient team from Ghana, which earned a 2-1 victory Saturday on a memorable goal from Asamoah Gyan three minutes into 30 minutes of overtime.
Four years ago, Ghana knocked the U.S. out in a first round in which the Americans went winless. This time the end came in the second round, which the U.S. entered unbeaten.
And although that might qualify as progress, it doesn’t make the result any easier to take. Especially because this was a game the U.S. thought it should have won.