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WSN247 Blog: USA Soccer, GOLD OR BUST!!
Posted By: Amy Maestri
August 6, 2012
The day: August 6, 2012.
The event: Olympic women’s soccer semi final USA vs Canada.
The moment: Alex Morgan scoring the winning header with 30 seconds left of stoppage time in overtime.
The reaction: The ugliest hysterical cry laughing you can imagine. (At least from me, anyways)
USA Soccer 4, Canada 3
A game of this magnitude and of these epic proportions reminds us why we live for this sport. I have quite a daunting task ahead of me now. I know with certainty that there is nothing a writer can say after a game like this that hasn’t already been said by the players on the pitch. But now that I have collected myself and have gone back to being able to speak intelligible words in complete sentences, I will do my best.
The US played Canada for the semifinal match of the Olympics where the winner would advance to play Japan for gold. USA won 4-3. No fan, no analyst, no player and no coach could have predicted how epic it turned out to be. Let me start by saying that Christine Sinclair is one of the best players in the entire world. That woman was a creature from another planet today. She carried her team and she should be proud of her hat trick and her leadership. She should also be proud of her intimidation face after scoring her third goal which almost made me cower behind my ottoman. Every time I thought we had the breakthrough goal where we would continue on and score another, she was the one scoring. It was a ping pong game of scoring back and forth between the USA and Christine Sinclair. She gave us more than a run for our money and if I wore hats, my hat would be off to her right now.
Now, onto the good stuff! My girls sporting the red white and blue are beyond a team. They are a collective unit of fight and determination. They are a family packed full of talent and grit and a winning spirit within them that will never die.
Megan Rapinoe, Megan Rapinoe, Megan Rapinoe. Scoring our first goal off of her own swirling corner kick and our second goal with an amazing strike to the far post that bounced in, she was in the zone. She has been nothing short of astounding this tournament and if I wrote 5 pages about her I still wouldn’t find it to be superfluous. Next was Abby Wambach on a penalty kick that some are calling controversial. The replay shows the ball hitting not one, but two different Canadian hands in the penalty box. And let’s be honest; if it wasn’t given for that it should have been given for the Wambach sandwich that Canada’s defense made on a corner kick or for one of the two times Alex Morgan was plowed down in the PK area while attacking net. Whether people agree or not, the call was made and Abby did what Abby does. (She scores. That’s what she does. And that’s what she did. Just in case anyone missed that) That’s where the score stayed until the 123rd minute. With 30 seconds left in overtime and in stoppage time, with penalty kicks looming; Heather O’Reilly had the ball on her beloved right flank. After a few touches and a look to the box she sent a pinpoint cross directly to the 6 yard line and directly onto the leaping head of Alex Morgan who would not be denied this goal. Baby Horse can run and Baby Horse CAN JUMP. With a perfectly placed header just over the keeper’s reach, she pushed the USA to the finals and pushed me to my emotional edge; where all I was able to do was let out a yelp and fall to my knees before crying like I just watched the end of Remember The Titans.
The USA soccer team is incapable of giving up and you could feel the American fighting spirit coming through stronger and stronger while you saw Canada’s legs get weaker and weaker. Although the commentators decided to focus on talking about penalty kicks as if they were inevitable for the last 10 minutes of the game, the USA had a different ending in mind. I remember the first time I saw Alex Morgan. It was almost 4 years ago and I knew I was watching our next big star. Little did I know 4 years later, she would be scoring a game winner at the Olympics and be slowly proving her case that she could very likely become the best player in the women’s game. Her goal came from strong legs to lift her after 120 minutes, calmness to compose herself in a moment of intolerable pressure, skill to place the ball perfectly and also let’s not forget; from a gorgeous cross from Heather O’Reilly. I wanted to see O’Reilly all day and this is one of many reasons why. She knows how to find players and how to get them the ball. Plain and simple.
Now I’d quickly like to address Canada’s coach John Herdman. Remember when he mentioned all of the “illegal tactics” we use? I wonder if he was watching within the first 5 seconds (Yes, 5 seconds) when Lauren Cheney had already been taken down by Melissa Tancredi on a tackle where Tancredi didn’t even seem to care where the ball was. Each team had their cracks at one another and it was a highly, highly physical game. But I found it interesting that Canada was the one crying foul before the match even began, and then in the opening minute had already decided they were going to play American football and act as linebackers.
I could probably write for 10 pages about this game. This game had more highs and lows than a Spanish soap opera. Every time I became elated I quickly became heartbroken. Every time I felt like laughing I also felt like crying. Every time I threw my laundry basket across the room, I broke it; which of course brought me more heartbreak. The sheer determination and fierce play of the USWNT silenced me, overwhelmed me and overtook my speaking and thinking capabilities. If I could type what I sounded like after the game I believe this is the closest interpretation: “I- Cause- If- When- She- *laughter* The- I- From- *crying* And- They … YEAAAHOOEYYYYY!!!”
Thank you, to each and every player on that field today. Well, maybe not Tancredi. If I had a pink pre wrap roll for every time she flattened a player and missed the ball, I could be Alex Morgan’s pre wrap supplier for the next 2 years. Ok, ok…she did have some great set ups to Sincy that I can appreciate. But each team fought with all they had and Canada should be proud. The USA just had more fight in them and more goals.
To the ladies of the US team: You have left this writer wanting to write forever about one game while also leaving me with not a clue of what to say. I am eagerly awaiting the Japan final with excitement that exceeds what a normal human should be capable of. Go rest those legs, rest those minds and sit in absolute satisfaction that you all played your hearts out today. Thank you for an amazing game and for leaving me rolling around on my floor laughing hysterically like a crazy person. Only you can do this to me. GOLD OR BUST!! GO USA!!