US falls to Belgium in extra time, out of World Cup

World Cup 2014 Round of 16 match kicks off at 1 p.m., PT

US players react after Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, right, scored the opening goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
US players react after Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, right, scored the opening goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — They captured the eyes and hearts of a suddenly awakened soccer nation, who gathered in unprecedented numbers to watch the world’s game.

But the end of the ride came at the exact same point as four years ago: with an overtime loss in the World Cup’s round of 16.

United States' goalkeeper Tim Howard (1) dives to make a save as Matt Besler (5) watches with Belgium's Divock Origi (17) during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. At left is Belgium's Axel Witsel. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
United States’ goalkeeper Tim Howard (1) dives to make a save as Matt Besler (5) watches with Belgium’s Divock Origi (17) during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. At left is Belgium’s Axel Witsel. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Kevin De Bruyne finally beat goalkeeper Tim Howard in the third minute of extra time, Romelu Lukaku scored 12 minutes later to give Belgium a two-goal lead, and the Red Devils hung on for a 2-1 victory Tuesday night.

Before exiting, the U.S. showed the spunk that captured America’s attention. Julian Green, at 19 the youngest player on the U.S. roster, stuck out his right foot to volley in Michael Bradley’s pass over the defense in the 107th minute, two minutes after entering the game.

They nearly tied it up in the 114th, when Clint Dempsey peeled off the ball and was stopped point-blank by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois after being fed by Bradley on a free kick.

But it wasn’t enough, and U.S. players fell to the field at the final whistle in their all-white uniforms like so many crumpled tissues.

—–

U.S. right back Fabian Johnson left the World Cup game against Belgium in the first half with a strained right hamstring.

Belgium's Jan Vertonghen (5) and United States' Graham Zusi (19) comfort United States' Fabian Johnson (23) after he was injured during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Belgium’s Jan Vertonghen (5) and United States’ Graham Zusi (19) comfort United States’ Fabian Johnson (23) after he was injured during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Johnson was chasing a ball in the 31st minute Tuesday when he pulled up and sat down on the field. He was replaced by 20-year-old DeAndre Yedlin, one of coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s surprise picks for the U.S. roster.

Forward Jozy Altidore injured a hamstring in the Americans’ opener against Ghana on June 16 and hasn’t played since. Klinsmann said he was available for Tuesday’s game off the bench.

Central defender Matt Besler also left the opener at halftime because of a sore hamstring but didn’t miss any other games.

 

 

 

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