Listen Live
WRNB HD2 Featured Video

(VIA CNN)PRETORIA, South Africa — Three thoughts after the U.S.’s 1-0 victory against Algeria, sending the U.S. into the second round of the World Cup for the first time since 2002:

The U.S. just keeps finding a way. Just when it seemed like the U.S. was doomed in this World Cup, the Americans somehow found a way to get a late goal and the result they needed. This time it was Landon Donovan scoring in the 91st minute to launch the U.S. from a third-place exit to first place in Group A ahead of England. You can’t say enough about the poise the Americans have shown in this tournament with their backs to the wall. How many teams would have crumbled after missing several gift-wrapped chances? How many teams would have gone into a funk after having a perfectly good goal disallowed for the second straight game? The U.S. kept pushing, though, and now Bob Bradley’s team has made history, becoming the first American soccer team to win its World Cup group in the modern era. (Sorry, guys, I don’t count 1930 as the modern era.)

How big is winning the group? Not only does the U.S. survive to fight another day, but it gets placed into a much easier quadrant of the single-elimination tournament that now takes place. With Germany winning Group D, the U.S. will meet Ghana, avoiding Germany, with the winner of the U.S.’s second-round game to face the victor of Uruguay-South Korea. Long story short: Which quadrant would you rather be in, the one with Ghana-Uruguay-South Korea or the one with Germany-Argentina-Mexico? I think we know the answer to that one.

Bob Bradley went for it—and won. For years Bradley has been seen as a pragmatic coach, but he has thrown caution to the wind in two straight games and gotten the results his team absolutely needed. Against Slovenia Bradley put on a forward for a defender in the last 10 minutes, and the U.S. got the goal. Against Algeria Bradley moved Clint Dempsey up top for the second half, put on Edson Buddle for Maurice Edu with plenty of time to spare and brought on DaMarcus Beasley late for Jonathan Bornstein. Nobody can say that Bradley hasn’t rolled the dice in the last two games, and now his team has done it.