”We only need one chance," was all USA striker Abby Wambach had to say to her team as they headed into the second and final over time. They understood what had to happen by the look in her eyes.
August 6th, 2012. One of the most epic games in women’s soccer history. One year ago we watched 123 minutes of the most intense soccer the Olympic games has ever had. Canada scores. USA scores. Canada scores. USA scores. Canada scores yet again. USA answers yet again.
Then in the 123rd minute of a wonderfully physical match, Abby Wambach sends the ball to a faster-than-lightening Heather O’Reilly. With a quick look she sends one of her renowned, perfectly placed crosses into the Canadian six yard box, just in front of the net. USA striker Alex Morgan is the player on the pitch who decides that O’Reilly’s cross would be the last big play of the game. She shoots herself straight up into the air and finds O’Reilly’s cross with her head. As she falls to the ground, the ball floats over Canadian goalkeeper Erin Mcleod and falls into the back of the net. The American players congregate at the top of the 18 yard box and embrace each other with sweat, tears, and hugs. The Canadian players disperse to their positions on the field with only sweat and tears.
The newspapers, websites, twitter accounts, and fans who said one team won and the other lost on August 6th were correct. We were all witnesses to that. But, the game of women’s soccer won as well. These two teams involved all of their fans into the game and gave them something to be excited about. That is a fact that can’t be overlooked, nor will it ever be overlooked.
Box score and roster of the 2012 Women’s soccer soccer Olympic semifinal courtesy of SI.com
Photo: REUTERS/David Moir