Monday, July 11, 2011

not a mundane monday

I am sure Hope Solo is feeling redeemed today. Rewind to 2007 when USA faced Brazil in a semifinal game. Hope had been the US's starting goalie and then coach Greg Ryan made a flash decision to use Briana Scurry for the Brazil game instead of Solo. The outcome was grim, the decision fatal and what ensued were bitter words, by Hope, heard around the world.

Yesterday USA came up against Brazil again in the semifinal round -- history repeating hitself. But would it repeat itself in the same way? The first minute of the game would say no. The US found itself with the first goal and not even by one of our own. Brazil's Daiane found herself scoring the first goal in the game in favor of her opponent.

But during the second half Marta, declared Brazil's best female player since no one, got tangled with one of our own, Buehler, and was given a penalty kick. Buehler got sent off the field with a red card. The penalty kick was blocked by Hope Solo and the excitement of knowing the US was still up by 1 was short-lived. The referee noticed a US player entering the box before the kick had been taken and Brazil was given a re-do. We are still scratching our heads at that one but Marta connected and tied the game 1-1.

Marta then got a second goal in extra time to put Brazil up 2-1. At this point the threat level is beyond the blood red stage. It was more of a scarlett red. The US team could've given up and decided there was no way they would, in the next few minutes left of extra time, get a second goal to tie the game. But they didn't give up. They dug in deeper and took advantage of some injury time, courtesy of Brazil's Erika, who showed there is actually a worse actor in this world than Kim Kardashian. She faked a back injury, was taken off the field on a stretcher, only to be miraculously healed, and jump off the stretcher.

Knowing we wouldn't get those precious 2 minutes back, the US team kicked it into overdrive and in the 121st minute, this happened:

Penalty kicks were taken and Hope Solo blocked Daiane's weak attempt at a penalty shot. It ended with the US making 5 shots and Brazil only making 4. It was a nailbiter and one of the most anxiety-filled, exciting games to watch. The odds were stacked against the US but despite playing with only 10 girls instead of 11, and dealing with the frustration of dirty plays by Brazil, they stuck to their guns and came out on top. Victoriously amazing.

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