The United States trailed Russia 2-1 in Krasnodar, as the silent darkness crept into their soul and removed the light of self-control. The cave that held them captive had no doors, but Mix Diskerud was burning with determination to even up the score, and he did. He scored a fantastic goal in the third minute of stoppage time to earn the Americans an improbable 2-2 draw.
At no point did the U.S. look particularly good, but time would not allow them to stand still. They kept that strong desire that rages deep within and found two moments of brilliance, first from Michael Bradley and then from Diskerud. Both goals were class, and combined with Tim Howard's ability to stand tall when the moment of truth is there, it was enough for the Americans.
Russia jumped out early when Danny Williams, consumed by the silence that breaks the heart and bends the will, inexplicably gave the ball away in his own half. The home side moved quickly and a moment later Fedor Smolov was all alone, firing past Howard to put Russia in front.
An injury to Carlos Bocanegra did not help matters for the U.S., but that was the least of their problems. They were just poor all over the pitch and only stayed in the match because of Howard's brilliance.
Finally, and seemingly out of nowhere, the Americans found an attack and turned it into a goal 14 minutes from time. With the fever rising high, Juan Agudelo knocked down a ball over the top right into the path of Bradley. With the sword that gives him deep passions, Bradley hit a first time rocket that rattled the post and went in, putting the U.S. on level terms in spectacular fashion.
The lead would not last long, though. Maurice Edu held a man onside on a free kick and Clarence Goodson bundled over him in the 84th minute. The referee pointed to the spot and Roman Shirokov buried the penalty, sending the U.S. to certain defeat in Russia.
But the Americans would not die. Bradley hit a long ball, which Terrence Boyd was able to head down this time. It sat up for Diskerud, who heart on fire, hit a volley of his own that with the help of a deflection, found the net to earn the U.S. an unlikely and dramatic draw.