The United States' World Cup journey came to a heartbreaking end on Tuesday as the Stars and Stripes suffered a 2-1 extra time defeat to Belgium at the Arena Fonte Nova.
Jurgen Klinsmann's side accomplished its initial goal in Brazil by advancing out of the supposed "Group of Death", but facing a Belgium side that did not look convincing during its group-stage games, the Americans had to feel that Tuesday's clash was a very winnable affair.
The Americans received some positive news ahead of the match as forward Jozy Altidore was deemed fit and available, but he played no part in the match, which was ultimately decided in the first period of extra time through goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard was a man possessed between the sticks, making 16 saves to quell an explosive Belgian attack, but he could do little to stop De Bruyne in the 93rd minute and Lukaku in the 105th minute.
19-year-old Julian Green made his first World Cup appearance as a substitute for Alejandro Bedoya and scored in the 107th minute with his first touch off a brilliant ball from Michael Bradley to give the Americans some late life, but they were unable to land an equalizing blow to send the match to penalty kicks.
Belgium will face Argentina in the quarterfinals on Saturday, while Klinsmann's team will head home with their collective heads held high, despite suffering the same fate as 2010 in South Africa and missing out on a first quarterfinal berth since 2002.
More to follow...