By J. Levi Burnfin |Sports Editor|
“That is a perfect example of what this country is all about,” said US Forward Abby Wombach.
It was supposed to be easy.
USA is the best team in the world and they were guaranteed to make it to the semi-finals, at least. After all, they had never been eliminated prior to the semi-final in any World Cup.
Today was not easy. It was an absolute fight until the very end as the US took on Brazil.
The US took an early lead after Brazil’s Daiane scores an own goal, in the second minute, off a cross from Shannon Boxx. It was a fortunate bounce for the US but it seemed to be the only that did go the United States way for the rest of the match.
For 60 minutes, the US and Brazil traded chances back and forth with Brazil starting to gain some momentum. Five-time winner of the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta seemed to cause the US backline fits.
But Brazil was never able to score the equalizer. Until that is, in the 65th minute US defender Rachel Buehler was given a red card and Brazil was given a penalty kick (the validity of the call is in question but at this point, who cares?).
Solo saves it!!! US Goalie Hope Solo was able to stop the Penalty Kick and the US team and fans erupted in joy. It was short lived.
The referee’s ruled that Solo had stepped off her line and Brazil was given another Penalty Kick. Marta took the kick this time and of course knocked it in.
Now the US was down one player and was tied with Brazil. They needed to hold on to the tie and hope for Penalty Kicks to win.
But Brazil took the lead early in extra time off another brilliant Marta goal.
The US was against it now. They had less than 30 minutes to score the equalizer, down a player. It was impossible.
There were several chances missed to score as the US was putting tons of pressure on Brazil. Brazil was just trying to hold on as several players seemed to get hurt pretty badly all-of-a-sudden and after several minutes of time clicked off the clock, would bounce back up and get on the field.
But it was getting late. The pressure was on, but as the great commercial, that has been playing all tournament long, pressure makes the US team. In the 122nd minute, the US scored an equalizer off a brilliant cross by Megan Rapinoe and a calm header into the back of the net by Wombach.
The US had tied the game, a man down, with the latest goal in women’s world cup history.
It was left up to Penalty Kicks, but there was not a moment of doubt that this was going the US’ way. Solo saved the third Brazilian Penalty Kick and the US scored all five of their tries to end the game and send the US to the semi-final.
It was an absolute miracle.
“A perfect example of what this country is all about.”