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In the round of 16 loss to Belgium, Tim Howard became the first goalie in the history of the World Cup to ever be forgiven for being scored on in a match. As we followed along, play after play, Howard turned in an historic performance despite the loss, with 16 incredible saves.

Here are all 16 of his saves:

The game hadn't even entered extra time yet before statistics like these began to trickle in:

Howard finished with the most saves by any goalkeeper in a World Cup game...ever. Naturally, despite the two goals, a mythology was born.

Then came the jokes:

In the end, the American squad came up just short:

Nevertheless, this game will be seen as a turning point for the sport of soccer in the United States going forward. What could have (and probably should have) been a very serious letdown was precluded by one particularly heroic effort. Cheers, Tim. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.