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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

And like that.....the Stars & Stripes are into the Final!

    Off to the stadium to watch Canada / England.  This trip we were down one Jack and one Ben due to baseball.  We pawned one Nick off on the Stewart Family as they headed north to the match and gained a Missy Strasburg. So the Huskies (Amy/Lesle) headed to Canada with the Lobos (Heather/Missy) to meet up with our former UW Sports Psychologist who is now a Canadian citizen, Erin (Dunn) Walden.
Gallimore caught on tv 
The drive was smooth, and the conversation inevitably came back to one topic:  "Who are you going to cheer for?" This was tough.  Canada has always been, and will always be a rival.. and therefore, we assumed we'd be cheering for England.
Heather, Anne Schatz, Lesle, Amy

First we parked in her neighborhood and at E-Dunn's recommendation headed down the road from her house to the St. Augustine for some libations and to watch the Australia/Japan quarter. Australia is another team that has opened some eyes throughout this World Cup, and veteran Lisa De Vanna was as feisty and hardworking as ever.

The Japanese are so entertaining to watch. They are a blue-amoeba that work up and down the field in an almost ballet-like way. Their skill, their mobility, and their PURPOSE is truly fun to watch.

Similar faces + Amanda Vandervort, Andrea Rodebaugh

Go UCF Knights GK's!!! 
They play with a "serious joy" that has you hoping you get to see them again. They kept us on edge...and a little edgy to catch our train to the stadium, as they weren't able to net one until the 87th minute! Some of their other close chances were simply spectacular efforts to watch. Unlike the Penalty-Kick heartbreak for France v. Germany in a quarter we watched on a big screen at 60-acres in Redmond while "recruiting", the better team actually prevailed in this match.  France was left-gutted and many fans gutted too as Les Bleus were also an entertaining and quality side to watch.
UW Alumni: Terry Gleason Richardson

Onward two train-stops in 8 minutes to B.C. Place and  when we walked into  the stadium and heard and felt the vibe that we wanted to be replicated in the World cup for as long as possible, we found ourselves cheering for Canada
... and then they were down 2-0 in 13 minutes.  Hence Lesle being caught on TV yawning. (really, it was just the melatonin taken the night before)

The once animated, John Herdman was now back in his shelter wondering if he was going to get the opportunity to pump his fists at the crowd and attempt to pop each button on his Euro-fit shirt. It must've felt a little like showing up at a sorority mixer wearing the same dress as a woman you don't care for, as he and England manager Mark Sampson looked like twins....a tall and a short twin.

The game was heated and exciting. It wasn't the most fluid match, but it was fun to see former University of Portland Pilots, Christine Sinclair and Sophie Schmidt, do such a fine job of representing their country. We've always had so much respect for both players. They are true pros and the late Clive Charles would be so proud to know how much both have achieved.  Not to be slighted is another former opponent, England's Jodie Taylor, a former Oregon State Beaver, who did very well to pounce on the Lauren Sesselman gaff to finish the games first goal. As mentioned, it was heartbreaking for Canada and their fans, but the better team won on the day.
Canadian soccer icon, Christine Sinclair

Moving into the semi-final versus Japan,  the Lionesses have really staked their claim in world football and opened some gender-centric eyes in their country.  They'll be hard pressed to get past the Japanese, but this is football and nothing comes easy and they'll be up for the test.

We had many more awesome chance meetings: Amanda Vandevort (NSCAA and president to be), Andrea Rodebaugh (former Cal teammate and FIFA course instructor), Karen Richter Hoppa...YET another UCF goalkeeper and current Auburn Coach made the trip up from recruiting and sat with us. Heather and Amy were happy to have a run in with Sports Commentator Anne they are both in a competition to imitate her commentating the best!
Go Bears!

After the match we did our return two-stop awesome train ride back to E-Dunn's to drop off our contraband (she had requested some wine and beer from the States as it's much cheaper than in Canada) and Amy sure did her up right!  Back to the border we went and smooth sailing to rest up for another day recruiting and start to prep our heads for the biggest of biggies, the U.S. versus Germany semi-final Tuesday.  More long hot days at the fields and game day finally arrived.

Ahhhhhh, Vacation 

Amy did an amazing thing....she organized an "impromptu" viewing party at our house and we had an awesome mix of people show that truly could be connected within less than 6 degrees of separation! She ordered up QDoba...lying that we were catering a "work party" and when the guy showed he earned a bigger tip for not griping it was at someone's house. Good work Amy.  We all settled in and finally realized how nervous we all were! Most of those in attendance have tickets for the final and as much as a World Cup Final is awesome regardless, we clearly all would be devastated if the U.S. of A were not participating. So the following group settled in: Lesle, Amy, Jack, Nick and Ben and Nick's buddy Mason ...residence: Jenny Sneeringer (childhood friend and soccer teammate of Lesle) and her soccer-playing daughter, Margaret. Chris Russell (and his wife Allison and son Logan)..Chris being the best-man at Amy and Jack's wedding, along with being an Oregon Duck Tennis coach with Jack, as well as currently a co-worker with Amy and Lesle at UW...his college-teammate, and dad of a current Surf soccer player, Scott Morse was also here, along with Olivia and her friend Annise....we'd all been out watching these girls plays as Heather Dyche, current UNM Head Coach...a program that Amy started, at the place where she met Jack, and her Assistant, Missy Strasburg (our former UW Intern) were here as well recruiting the ECNL tournament.  The best cameos were by:

Cassie (Giles) Hall a former Husky who just happened to be in town from Montana and staying down the street.....she brought her almost 1 year old Annabelle,
who was not only adorable, but very much into the match; our neighbor and Husky Team Doc, Kim Harmon popped up the hill; Kim Wyant and her partner Christa and their two girls were also here...Kim lives in NY but has been vacationing in Vancouver and Seattle...she is a former goalkeeper and teammate of Amy's on both the National Team and at the University of Central Florida; Sue Montagne Patberg, who coaches at Emory University in Georgia, also popped in which prompted jealously from one of our first World Cup guests, Debbie Belkin Rademacher, who is, like Sue, a Umass and National team alum!  SOCCER really is the great connector!

Happy Fans!  Thanks Jen Sneeringer for taking the photo.  Peek! I see you Annabelle!

What a game we were treated to by the U.S. women! Hope played well and was as calm and focused as could be, as she got in Sasic's head when a Julie Johnston foul in the box awarded Germany a PK. A miss wide left and Hope's hand to Julie's shoulder to assure her everything was okay....and a 0-0 draw and blood bath (literally) continued. Morgan Brian, another young superstar along with Johnston, bashed heads with the young German phenom Popp and their was blood everywhere...both players carried on in the match!  A tale of two penalities, Megan Rapinoe drove the box, was fouled and Captain Carli Lloyd was ice and buried her pk in the 67'!  The teams continued to battle and as Tobin Heath bonked physically,  Coach Ellis was reading our minds and in came former Stanford stand out, Kelley O'Hara to replace her. KO had done well in the previous match and earned this first off the bench status! She didn't disappoint.  Carli Lloyd, the player of the match, was unreal and was everywhere on the pitch. Abby Wambach, a late sub for Alex Morgan who is finding her form, ran a ball down deep to keep it alive. Lloyd did some fancy work into the box, beat a few players pulled a ball back that KO beat her defender to in order to put the U.S. up 2-0 and put the nail in the proverbial German coffin! ON TO THE FINALS!
USA! I'm ready. Are you?
     We ate, we drank, played badminton, and did a lot of reminiscing. Our final guests didn't depart until almost 11 pm. The system change to 3 central midfielders and getting Carli Lloyd and Lauren Holiday more "comfortably" into the attack really pleased us as fans, and it was apparent in the U.S. performance that this staff and this team are peaking at the right moment.  What a fun night and even though we didn't want to say it out loud in advance......the U.S. in the final has just made a lot of people's summer.

The next "wave" of guests begin to arrive today and this 4th of July weekend promises to be one to remember: with the U.S. looking to get their 3rd Star and many, many more reunions of friends and family, we are ready for Vancouver and the WWC Final 2015! Oh wait,  need to go to the store, we have to prep for our opponent (we're calling a 2011 Germany rematch of Japan/US) today at 4pm.
Gotta post now as all hell is about to break loose! The CAL crew is arriving soon. What is shocking (NOT) is how many people are suddenly looking for tickets :) GO USA!

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