It was deflating.

It was brutal.

It was cruel.

It was a kick in a very sensitive area.

But, in reality, it was what we wanted.

It may not be what you believe right now - you may not realize that the U.S.'s 2-2 tie with Portugal was as good as a win - but it's true. Before the World Cup began, we talked about America's complicated path to the knock-out round - that they needed to beat Ghana, see Germany destroy Portugal, draw with Portugal, and lose to Germany by less than Portugal had.

We also talked about how little hope they had of such a dream scenario becoming a reality.

Let us talk, now, though, about how it has.  The U.S. beat Ghana.  Germany romped Portugal 4-0, and the U.S. tied 2-2.

Everything has gone according to plan.

Yes, the United States was seconds away from certain qualification, and Portugal's late equalizer makes the game feel like a loss, but the truth is, the result is really a win.

We're exactly where we wanted to be.

For more analysis, head to NoTicketSports.com.