USA came within seconds of securing their progression to the knockout phase of the 2014 FIFA World Cup last night, leading Portugal 2-1 five minutes in to stoppage time.
That all changed though when their talismanic midfielder Michael Bradley was caught in possession on the halfway line allowing Portugal to break and grab a last minute equaliser courtesy of a Silvestre Valera header.
Speaking in the aftermath of the result though Bradley, who currently plays for Toronto FC, was adamant that he held no regrets over the crucial final play
HEART AND SOUL
"I put my heart and soul into every game every time I step on the field," said Bradley.
"It's a cruel game sometimes, you know? So again, I'm proud of that and proud of what I'm about every time I play and there's certainly no regrets in my book."
Bradley was a crucial part of Jurgen Klinsmann's US side as they qualified for the World Cup, but during the USMNT's first two games in Brazil the former Roma man has drawn criticism from some fans back home who claim he hasn't quite been up to par.
That criticism intensified in the immediate aftermath of the USA's heartbreaking result, with social media in particular awash with harsh words for Bradley.
Clearly downbeat about the outcome of the game Bradley gave further insight into how he saw the crucial loss of possession:
"The ball poppet up and I was able to make a few quick steps and get there. It was tight.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make a good enough play and keep it for us or get a foul and obviously at that point then the ball turns over and it's up to us to deal with the situation," continued Bradley.
Whilst Bradley was guilty of losing the ball (when maintaining possession for the final few seconds would have ensured the US progressed) the subsequent defending was questionable at best, with Stoke City's Geoff Cameron caught out of position for Cristiano Ronaldo's cross.
Former US player, and current media analyst, Alexi Lalas was quick to defend Bradley meanwhile, venting his anger at fan's frustration:
"Stop it. The goal was not because Michael Bradley lost the ball. It wasn't a complicated play. Defenders needed to defend."
Whilst the end result was ultimately a disappointing one for the millions back home who tuned in to watch, the USA are still in with a great chance of qualifying from a group they were given little chance of progressing from prior to the tournament.
A single point from their game against Germany on Thursday would secure second place in the group, and Bradley will be hoping he can put in a performance more typical of his career so far in order to appease the US fans.
With the World Cup continuing to gain major support in the country it would be cruel for the 26-year-old to be made the scapegoat in front of such a huge audience should USA fail to qualify. Especially considering the fact they were just moments away from doing so with a game to spare.
On such fine margins are games won and lost however, that is the nature of the sport. A fact Michael Bradley knows only too well after Sunday's events, with the midfielder having seen a shot from point blank range cleared off the line by Portugal as well as the more damaging turn over play in the final moments.
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