How USA transformed its team into the World Cup's ‘Point Break'

"This was never about the money, this was about us against the system. That system that kills the human spirit. We stand for something. We are here to show those guys that are inching their way on the freeways in their metal coffins that the human spirit is still alive."

-- Bodhi

"I've been to every city in Mexico. I came across an unclaimed piece of meat in Baja, turned out to be Rosie. I guessed he picked a knife fight with somebody better. Found one of your passports to Sumatra, I missed you by about a week at Fiji. But, I knew you wouldn't miss the 50-year storm, Bodhi."

-- Johnny Utah

"Point Break" is about an FBI agent without an identity who develops a complicated relationship with the Jack Johnson of bank robbers, who has too much of one...

Bodhi just wants to surf, man. He wants to live outside the lines. Johnny Utah wants to redefine himself as more than a college football star with a fabulous name. He needs a mentor. He thinks Bodhi could be it. Unfortunately, he finds out a little too late that Bodhi probably shouldn't be giving anyone advice on how to live life, man.

Things end badly, very badly, but not before Utah spits out the greatest speech anyone has ever delivered on an Australian beach in the middle of a rainstorm.

Oh, then Bodhi catches his last wave.

"Point Break" just might be the Pinkberry of cable television movies. No one channel surfing on a Friday night has ever landed on "Point Break" and kept going. No one. It delivers. Its characters are unforgettable. The acting is just the right amount of painful, sprinkled with campy, and topped with the perfect level of over-the-topness. Its lines are always quotable.

It's aces. It is to movies what Piano Man is to karaoke bars. Twenty-three-years later, it still holds up. Director Kathryn Bigelow did what she set out to do: Make an entertaining-as-hell bank heist cop buddy movie. She'd have to wait another two decades to win her Oscars, but that's not the point. She made a film that was clear about itself, its audience and its limits. It did not stray. That's what makes it great. It knew exactly what it needed to be.

Yes, you know where I'm going with this: The U.S. men's soccer team is officially the "Point Break" of the 2014 World Cup. Bold. The U.S. eked out its 2-1 win over Ghana Monday by sticking to a game plan and executing it flawlessly.

Coach Jürgen Klinsmann knew that Ghana was deeper and more talented, sporting players like Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew. It's so deep that FC Shalke's Kevin Prince Boateng and AC Milan's Michael Essien came off the bench. Ghana had already kicked the U.S. out of the last two World Cups. Ghana had to be brimming with more confidence than our friend Bodhi during a skydive.

So what did Klinsmann do? He ignored the USA’s weaknesses and played to its strengths: Discipline and conditioning. The U.S players were fitter than Ghana's and it showed Monday night. They were more organized on the back line and in the midfield.

Klinsmann's gamble to leave Landon Donovan off the squad turned out to be the right call, at least for this game, because it allowed the team the freedom to take on a tougher, more aggressive personality.

Then, even when striker Jozy Altidore was lost to a hamstring injury early, the U.S. was able to adjust on the fly because it was so prepared.

Ghana, on the other hand, often looked discombobulated and tired. It didn't bother to put a man on 6-foot-4 substitute James Brooks, allowing the 21-year-old to put in that improbable header that gave the U.S. the go-ahead goal in the 86th minute.

In stoppage time, Ghana could barely muster any effort to get an equalizer. It was tired and worn down. Ghana lost despite taking 21 shots on goal to USA's 8. It lost despite controlling 59 percent of the time of possession.

It's fitting that "Point Break" starred Keanu Reeves, an actor who has never been as talented as his peers, but is notorious for working harder and always being prepared. It's the reason he's had such longevity. Let’s go a step further and call USA the Keanu Reeves of the World Cup. Bold.

Ghana didn't crumble because the U.S. scored a "'fluky" goal in the first minute. The more talented team lost because it did not play with purpose.

“At the end, our competitive spirit, our mental determination, our willingness to fight was really good,” U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley said after the game.

That sums it up.

The U.S. will get out of the Group of Death because it has something it never had before, mental toughness. That is Klinsmann's doing. This is a nation that has won a total of six World Cup games since 1950. Six.

Again, Sunday's U.S. opponent, Portugal, is more talented. But as its meltdown versus Germany proved, not as disciplined. Portugal will be without star defender Pepe, who was thrown out during Germany's 4-0 thrashing.

Remember, this is the same Portugal side that was part of the infamous Battle of Nuremberg in the 2006 World Cup, in which a Russian referee lost his mind and turned into a disgruntled traffic cop, handing out a record 16 yellow and four red cards during its second round bash with Holland.

All the U.S. needs is a draw. If it pushes the right buttons – and it should – it will get it, and maybe help divvy out a couple red cards to Pepe's friends along the way.

Bodhi was all about fighting the system. Ultimately though, it wasn't the system that brought him down, it was himself. Conversely, it could be Klinsmann's system that saves U.S. soccer.

Just one more wave.

-- Follow Faris Tanyos @OnlyFairchild

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