Cup excitement in the US

by Jonathan Sager

Jonathan Sager reflects on following Old Trafford clash from across the Atlantic.

Leading up to the game at Old Trafford, I knew it would be starting when I was working, so I had fully planned to listen to it on SAFSee.  I had the jitters all day and I couldn't concentrate.  I just could not wait for the game to start.

I saw pictures of the thousands of you who boarded buses on your way to Manchester. The lucky - and dare I say very much appreciated - few.

I counted down the hours and minutes and finally it started.  Off we were with a goal in our pocket and half a leg in the final.

Ah, but football can be so cruel sometimes.  The Jonny Evans goal ripped the wind right out of me.  But on the other hand, we all knew what we were up against now, so if nothing else, it made the Lads more determined and more headed toward the one conclusion, and that was that they quite simply had to score a goal. 

Half-time came and I was still at work, begging for it to be over so I could go home and catch whatever I could on television.  Thankfully it was being played on one of the extra soccer channels I pay for.

When United won the free kick at the start of the second half I started to get afraid.  But it was still early times yet, I thought maybe the Lads could push it back the other way. 

We pushed forward and we just couldn't get anything to go in.  We tried and tried and as time was winding down I was heading out the door hoping that I could get home in time to catch something.

My XM Radio in my car was tuned to the soccer channel. As we headed to extra time, I busted through the door and turned on my TV to see the start of extra time. 

What a scene to see all of you fellow Sunderland fans singing at Old Trafford and what a scene to see Gus and the Lads in one huddle. Talk about a team, it's turning more into a family.  It was awesome to see Gus in the huddle with them.

The first extra time seemed to come and go quickly. My mind was buzzing; I was begging for a goal.

Second extra time - I was freaking out at every corner, every free kick, every ball in the box, and then I saw Bardsley go down.  The ball goes around the box and finds its way to Bardo.  I'm thinking 'he can actually hit this'. Time just stood still and as the ball rolled toward de Gea.  Rolling...and in! I looked at the time, just a couple of minutes, it had to be!

Stunned silence in Old Trafford.  Stunned except for those loud and proud Sunderland fans!

Then right at the death, who else but Hernandez to tie it back up. Wow...I can't take it.  Now it's penalty kicks, and I'm thinking we have a shot.  

The rest is history.

What a match.  The Lads played their hearts out.  You fans there at Old Trafford, I applaud you for being loud and getting behind the Lads!  All of you watching and listening, I was there with you.  And to Gus and the players...keep going Lads, we're marching to Wembley and we're going to march up the table as well.