Sunday, July 10, 2011

Despite the Odds, U.S. Women Prevail

I was ready to do it. I was ready to come on here and start talking about how much I hate soccer. Ready to go into a rant about how crooked FIFA is, ready to start criticizing the game for how much power the referees really do have. Ready to talk about how unfair it was that this United States team wouldn't get a crack at a title. Ready to go on and on about how lame soccer can be in regards to people faking injuries and the horrible gamesmanship that is somehow allowed.

I was ready to do all of that, and more, but the American soccer side did something that will go down in the history books as one of the greatest wins in women's soccer history. Hell, maybe even all of soccer history. After going up 1-0 early, the American women were put in a terrible situation when Rachel Buehler was ejected with a red card due to a controversial penalty in the box. That set up a PK for Marta, and even though American goalkeeper was able to save the shot, the dumb box of a referee proclaimed that Solo came off of her line early, something that is rarely if ever called in soccer, especially on a stage like this. The shot was retaken, the goal was scored, and Brazil and the United States were soon headed to 30 minutes of extra time with the U.S. playing a woman down.

Within minutes, Marta notched her second goal and it began to look like that the United States would be ejected from the World Cup earlier than ever before. They fought and fought for an equalizer, but it was not to be. Not until two minutes of extra time during the 120nd minute that is, when Megan Rapinoe hit a beautiful cross to Abby Wambach who then buried the shot into the back of the night with the toughest of headers. The United States had tied the game, and to penalty kicks they went.

With the momentum on their side and the once-neutral crowd now fully invested in an American team who they recognized had wrongly been served, the United States put Brazil away in PKs 5-3. The impossible became possible, and the new reputation that the American soccer side is never out of a game until the final whistle (in both men's and women's soccer) only strengthened with this win.

Now I know that not everyone was into this game today, but a lot more people watched the game today than you would have thought. People that don't even like the sport came up to me today to talk about the game, and Facebook and Twitter definitely blew up with posts and tweets during the crucial moments of Sunday's match. It doesn't matter if you like soccer, Americans like to root for a winner, no matter what the competition. With a game now on the horizon against France and a potential finals match against either Japan or Sweden, the chances for this American side to become that winner has never looked better.

The beautiful game indeed, even though I was fully ready to swear the sport off for good.



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