It had all the ingredients of a blockbuster movie with drama, thrills and maybe even a remarkable love story after Donovan blew an on-camera kiss to his former wife, actress Bianca Kajlich.
Minutes earlier, with one flick of his right boot, Donovan was cast as the hero after sealing the most dramatic victory in United States men’s soccer history on Wednesday night with a stoppage-time goal in a 1-0 win over Algeria that sent the team into the World Cup’s round of 16.
Just a couple more minutes and the USA would have been sent packing in disappointment after a series of missed chances and another goal that was wrongly disallowed by the officials. Just a couple of more minutes and Donovan would have been branded as a player who fails to perform when it matters most.
The defeat probably would have allowed America to, for the most part, forget about soccer for another four years.
The victory sent the USA to the top of Group C, and it means they will face the second-place team from Group D in Rustenburg on Saturday. The USA last emerged from Group Play in first place in 1930. England’s win over Slovenia meant it also advanced as Group C’s runner-up.
The U.S. dominated Algeria but were repeatedly thwarted by bad luck, bad finishing and bad officiating.