Needing only a tie to advance, the U.S. played with 10 men for 87+ minutes of the match but came up short2-1 against Nigeria. In the thrid minute Michael Orozco elbowed a Nigerian player in plain view of the referee and was sent off. Despite playing probably the fastest team in the tournament, the U.S. hung in there, gave up two goals, got one back and came close to the draw they needed to advance, but came up just short.
This result, coupled with the Netherlands 1-0 win over Japan, put the U.S. at just 4 points when they needed five to advance.
I suppose the most gut wrenching call was not Orozco's but the call against Japan that gave the Dutch a penalty kick in the dying minutes of that match. From all the replays I have seen, Ryan Babel deserves an Oscar for his performance to draw the PK. Without that PK in the final minutes, the Dutch would have drawn against Japan and been eliminated.
More on the overall performance of the men later.