Editor's note: A suburban soccer coach is attending the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. His first game was Chile's upset of defending champion Spain. Today he shares another report.
Put an enormous TV on famous Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro showing the World Cup game between Team USA and Portugal -- and watch what happens.
You have a fanfest where more than 20,000 arrive 2 hours before the match and every square inch of space is filled with soccer fans from all over the world -- ready to see if the USA can do the improbable, win Game 2 and advance to the round of 16.
What a disastrous start as Portugal takes an early lead off a defensive mistake. The crowd is stunned. But the second half gets the fans back on their feet as the U.S. ties the score off a bomb from Jermaine Jones.
Then with 14 minutes left, the place is up for grabs as Team USA takes the lead. Everybody is waiting for that final whistle, ready to celebrate a great U.S. victory -- but with mere seconds left Portugal scores to forge a stunning 2-2 tie.
Have you ever seen 20,000-plus go completely silent and wonder what just happened? I did, in that very second that Portugal scored.
But not all is lost. The U.S. is still in the hunt. With a tie or a victory Thursday against Germany, or a tie in the Portugal-Ghana match, the Americans will qualify for the second round.
What will this World Cup bring us next? Only time will tell.
• Mike Taylor is the boys and girls soccer coach at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights.