With just minutes before the U.S. soccer team would have faded from the nation's consciousness again, team captain Landon Donovan came through with a clutch goal in the 91st minute to advance his team to the knockout round of the World Cup and possibly even to lasting legitimacy.
"Wow. What a moment," Donovan told reporters after the match. "I'm so excited that you all are still here. And that you remember my name. This is everything I've dreamed of."
Donovan's goal came in stoppage time as many U.S. media members were packing up their gear or were on the phone trying to book earlier flights back home. That's why the play-by-play of Donovan's goal was: "NEVER MIND, SOUTH AFRICA AIRWAYS TICKET AGENT! LANDON DONOVAN JUST SCORED!!! AND, NO, I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO TAKE A SHORT, CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY! GOODBYE!"
Back home, casual fans who were watching the game were also overjoyed at the turn of events.
"Yesssss!" yelled one patron watching at a Washington, D.C. bar! "Now I don't feel stupid for paying $14.99 for this U.S. soccer t-shirt!"
Yet despite making what is possibly a huge step for U.S. soccer in terms of popularity at home, some players pointed out that the U.S. national team has advanced this far in the World Cup before and as recently as 2002.
"That was the year we beat Portugal and Brandi Chastain took off her shirt, right?" said DeMarcus Beasley. "No? Look, I honestly don't remember either. Whatever."
Prepare to see a lot of Landon Donovan.
He is the captain of the men's national team. He scored the dramatic goal to put the U.S. through to the knockout round of the World Cup.
And, his biggest attribute: he's got as much billboard space as our most prolific endorsing sportsman.