In a game they were not expected to win, the U.S. played their hearts out and upset the No. 1 team in the world tonight. We watched with our local chapter of the American Outlaws and although the crowd is louder for the men’s team, there was a lot of vocal support for the women’s team. Chants of U-S-A were sprinkled throughout the contest and after the U.S. took the lead, the “I Believe That We Will Win” chant rang throughout the bar.
The semifinal against Germany was billed as the greatest game in women’s soccer, featuring the top two teams in the world and ranked the highest by the Women’s Soccer Power Index. It was the precise attack of the Germans versus the impenetrable defensive wall of the Americans.
This is what I love about The Beautiful Game: the ebbs and flows, the highs and lows. I love how all of the details add up, from a player’s subtle move to the extra pass that leads to a shot on goal. I was so fired up after the first half, in which Team USA outplayed the Germans: the defense was solid again and the offense was generating enough chances that a second-half score seemed inevitable.
The good feeling quickly soured as the second half began and the Germans took their efforts to the next level. I was down in the dumps when Julie Johnston was carded, giving Germany a penalty kick. Johnston had played brilliantly throughout the tournament and for her to make such a crucial mistake seemed like a cruel gesture from the soccer gods.
Then something unbelievable happened: Celia Sasic pulled her penalty kick wide. The roar of our crowd was one of disbelief. Could the Americans take advantage of their new lease on life?
They did. A controversial foul (it looked like Alex Morgan was taken down outside of the box) led to a penalty kick that was converted by Carli Lloyd, then minutes later Lloyd set up substitute Kelley O’Hara for the insurance goal.
From depression to elation in a matter of minutes. I love this game.