US Women’s Soccer Team Advances to Gold Medal Game in Epic Fashion
The U.S. women's soccer team defeated Canada 4-3 in dramatic fashion on Monday, when Alex Morgan put a header into the back of the net in the 122nd minute of second overtime play.
The US trailed Canada 1-0 at the half, after Canadian superstar Christine Sinclair put our neighbors to the north on the board in the 22nd minute.
The second half provided more action than any fan of either team would like, creating an uncomfortable seesaw effect.
The US was able to tie the game when Megan Rapinoe was credited for a goal in the 54th minute, after her corner was deflected off of a Canadian player and put back into the back of the net. Then Sinclair responded in the 67th minute to give Canada a 2-1 lead. Megan Rapinoe quickly countered to make it 2-2 in the 70th minute, with a laser from the right hand side of the field.
The tie game didn’t last long, Sinclair scored her 3rd goal of the match (hat trick) to put Canada ahead 3-2 in the 73rd minute. The third goal was Sinclair’s 143rd international goal of her career, putting her in a dead heat with Abby Wambach for No. 2 on the all-time scoring list.
From that moment on, the US was running scared until Wambach, who was abnormally quiet up to this point in the game, scored on a penalty kick for a hand ball violation in the 80th minute, tying the game at 3-3.
Neither the US or Canadian sides were able to convert through the end of regulation, sending the match into OT.
Both squads had a series of chances throughout the first and second overtimes. However, it was forward Alex Morgan, who was able to provide the game winning header in the 122nd minute of play, seconds before the match would have headed to the penalty kick phase.
The gold medal game is scheduled for 2:45pm on Thursday, August 9th, and it promises to be a battle for the ages. The US holds a 1-2 record against the Japanese national team for the 2011-2012 season, one of the losses coming in heartbreaking fashion during the penalty kick phase of the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
According to the AP, the U.S. team has played in the title match in every Summer Games since women's soccer was introduced in Atlanta in 1996, winning the gold in 1996, 2004 and 2008 and the silver in 2000.