Still on Cloud 9 from the game, Lesle and I are at the computer trying to find a way to capture at least a small portion of the quarterfinal match.
The Nike commercial promoting the Women's World Cup rings more true than ever after the drama that unfolded last night in Dresden. Honestly, with seconds left before the USA's World Cup was over, it almost seemed as if the pressure was off. And then finally, one beautifully crossed ball by former Portland Pilot, Megan Rapinoe, found the head of Abby Wambach... and the pressure was back on... to the point of us almost being able to hear the collective heartbeats of players and fans. Ahhhh, the beauty of this sport. I am sure Rapinoe and Wambach would agree when we say it wasn't their best game, but had to have been one of their finest moments.
And then what about Hope? What could be a more perfect name for the U.S. goalkeeper and the pride of the Huskies but Hope Solo. No one near us could decipher what the call was that allowed the p.k. in regulation time to be re-taken. We had to text our Canadian Husky correspondent, Clare Rustad who is in the booth for Canada, to figure out what the heck was going on. Between yellow cards, red cards, p.k.s, playing a man down, and still.... having "Hope" when it came down to p.k.'s could not have been scripted any better for the 2 Husky coaches and their families sitting in the front row of the stands along with the crew from Richland, Washington! Thank you US Soccer, thanks Hope, and thank you U.S. Women's National Team!
Not quite sure how the players pulled it off. All of us at some point were out of breath, light-headed, exhausted and had lost our focus from doing our best to be the 12th man. Ever since my playing days were over I always think how lucky I am to coach, but how much fun it would be just to warm up with the National Team again, to play at the highest level ONE MORE TIME. Last night was the first time I was thankful I was not out there.
Many fans came to the game to see Marta in action. She truly is a phenomenal player, but her antics and "gamesmanship" and the predicament the U.S. was put in with more than 20 minutes to go in regulation changed the tune of the crowd. Boos and whistles emanated every time Marta flashed across the field with the ball at her feet and when the U.S. was able to generate an attack, their efforts were rewarded with deafening applause.
Our phones were blowing up during the game with reports of the 3G Network getting "airtime", and Jack Griffin's spectacular snag of an out of play ball! The boys were cheering their hearts out. Zach couldn't believe this game. Nicholas kept saying "Come on USA (pronounced OO-Suh), you've got one more in ya!" Benjamin looked over at me during PK's and said, "If we win this, I will be so happy". Such a simple statement, that's why ya gotta love kids.
By now you've all seen the game, first time through or on replay, so I won't drag out the drama again. But to literally be within speaking distance of Hope as she came in and out of the net between PK's, was something to behold. Harkening back to 2007 while we were left helpless back in the States as Hope was treated like a leper by her coach and some team members in China, made her being able to look at us and hear us say, "You have this Hope. You have this.", was worth it all. Pressure makes her. Pressure makes them all. Pressure is a privilege.
As we sit here this morning, utterly exhausted, we are realizing first hand the grind and difficulty of winning a World Cup. In less than 3 days, the. U.S. will take the field AGAIN in the semi-final versus France. I can't imagine them being recovered by then, but they will be and we'll be right there in Mochengladbach to scream our lungs out again. We promise. So happy to be along on this ride.
USA! USA! USA!