Opinion Brief

Is soccer finally winning over Americans?

The most successful USA team since 1930 wins the most dramatic soccer game in recent memory. Is it time for America to stop worrying and learn to love the beautiful game?

Landon Donovan's dramatic end-of-game goal in yesterday's USA vs Algeria game may have done more than just put the USA into the next round of the World Cup — some commentators are speculating that the team's newfound success on the global stage could propel soccer into the top-tier of American spectator sports, alongside baseball, football and basketball. Is that wishful thinking? (Watch an ESPN report about Team USA's heroics)

This terrific team could be the key to soccer's success: "The growth of soccer in America simply cannot be denied," says Ken Gude at the Huffington Post. "Tens of millions" of Americans now play it and ESPN has "dramatically boosted" its soccer coverage. A "deep run in the World Cup when everyone is watching" might just "catapult soccer into the broader American consciousness.""Is this the breakthrough for soccer in America?"

We said the same thing about hockey, and it didn't work: Sorry, soccer fans, but it's not going to happen, says Favre Footlongs at Bleacher Report. Remember when the U.S. hockey team beat Canada in the early rounds at the Winter Olympics? That was supposed to "transform the sport back to its glory days," but "hockey didn't change one bit." One successful game isn't enough to transform soccer's fortunes, no matter how "intense" the drama. "I spent $400 to watch the meaningless USA soccer game"

Let's just enjoy the moment: Debate has been "raging" over whether or not soccer will appeal to mainstream America, says Andrew Leonard at Salon. "Soccer evangelists" say Americans are just too dumb to get it. Haters say "soccer just seems boring." To both, I say "this moment is good enough." "Goal! The thrill of World Cup victory"

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