Three Thoughts: How the US advanced from the Group of Death

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't pretty but in the end, the US took a big step forward on Thursday.

I don't know about you all but I'm pretty pumped up at the moment. Not only did the United States advance out of their Group in the World Cup but they did so with a lot of moments that made me proud as a fan. Sure it wasn't always pretty but the results speak for themselves right now when most people had counted this group out back when this group was drawn up in December.

How the US managed to lose to Germany and still advance came down to math and previous results. Still, there were a ton of positives to look at in today's game against Germany.

Weathering the storm

There were no shaky moments early on like we've seen in past World Cup games out of the US. The defense line looked good with Omar Gonzalez (yeah Dallas boy!) getting the start over Geoff Cameron. That move was as much about fresh legs as it was about getting someone in there with some serious height. Gonzalez was the right call from head coach Jurgen Klinsmann as he looked calm and cool in the defense while dealing with the likes of Thomas Muller, Phillip Lahm, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil.

Gonzalez had several big moments in the first half when the Germans were pressing. Two big stops in the 14th minute on Muller and Germany stand out in my mind.

Tim Howard also came up big when he needed to in this one (outside of the Muller goal of course). Matt Besler had another strong showing in the defense as well.

The US didn't see a ton of the ball in the first half but at least they didn't start out as flat as we've normally seen in past games.

Beckerman and Jones still beastly

I think it is safe to say that Kyle Beckerman belongs in the US starting eleven. There really is no debate. The guy continues to show up big in spots when the US needs him to and today was another example of how good he can be for your club when he is on the field (I continue to point out how bad RSL has looked without him as further proof).

Jermaine Jones as well continued his strong World Cup for the US. He may very well be the best player on the field for the US in this tournament.

Because of the way Beckerman, Besler and Gonzalez played today really limited what Germany could do up the gut, which is where they love to score and create chances from. Their ability to limit the Germans on the ball and clog up the gaps where they like to pass to in the middle.

About that goal

It is hard to not point out that the Germans still won this game 1-0. Muller's rocket of a shot was impressive to say the very least but outside of that the US contained the attack very well on the day.

But really, what can you say about a goal like that. It was just a typical German goal. Set piece that saw a shot rebounded out past the top of the penalty box with a guy like Muller licking his chops to finish it home. To me, that is how you do a set piece like a corner. Text book even.

Bonus thought:

The extra day of rest is huge for the US going into the knockout round, but so is the placement of being the runner-up from this group. Yes, they will have to deal with Belgium and yes that side of the bracket does see Argentina as a potential quarterfinal foe but it does avoid the murders row of playing a smoking hot France side, and then likely Brazil.

I may be crazy but I'd take my chances with Argentina over Brazil in this tournament any day of the week. I may be one of the few thinking that this is a better path for the US but I believe it.

One final thing...please get healthy Jozy Altidore.

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