U.S. Women’s Comeback Win Against Brazil in World Cup Embodies American Spirit

by abournenesn

Jul 11, 2011

U.S. Women's Comeback Win Against Brazil in World Cup Embodies American Spirit It is the kind of thing that sticks with you.

A former Manchester City player once told me at a soccer camp in Connecticut: “Players win games.  Coaches can lose games. Referees can ruin games.”

It almost happened Sunday, but the U.S. Women’s Soccer team showed the stuff that makes America great: to rise above the rubbish, ignore injustice, focus on the moment, and drive relentlessly toward the prize.

Wronged on a red card call that forced the U.S. to play a man (and yes, the women on the U.S. team call it “a man”) short; dumbfounded by an agenda-driven referee who made the most incredible (make-up for Brianna Scurry coming off the line in ’99?) call for a penalty kick retake that yellowed-up goalkeeper Hope Solo, giving Brazil a second chance after a legitimately saved PK; outraged by Brazil’s Marta horse-collaring a U.S. player in the second half and not getting even a verbal reprimand; incredulous that Brazil had a player offside in the opening moments of overtime, leading directly to the goal that put it ahead 2-1; offended by the obvious fakery of Brazil in its slimy attempts to run out the clock… the U.S. never wavered in its determination.

Megan Rapinoe to Abby Wambach, a left wing cross with a fadeaway tail to a leaping icon in perhaps her last time around the World Cup horn, the latest goal ever scored in the World Cup at 120 minutes plus two (thanks for that totally bogus faking that brought the long-overdue yellow card and a few extra moments, Erika).

Jacqui Melksham of Australia was the referee. She was the one who ticky-tacked Brazil into the lead, make no mistake about it. She forced herself into having to call Brazilian keeper Andreia for jumping off her line (she actually came off on all six attempts she faced) when this quarterfinal went to PK’s. She darned near ruined the game. But she was just a bit player in a grand drama. And she should be happy to disappear into obscurity, as now she should -– never to officiate another game on this level for the rest of her life.

Soccer is the only sport that can raise passions that compare to the Stanley Cup, because it bares the character of the individuals, the administrations, and the countries that compete. There were a lot of proud U.S. citizens Sunday because these women validated everything we teach our kids about paying your dues, working extra hard, not giving in when it seems the world is against you. And finding a way to get ‘er done. It was epic. It was beautiful.

It’s the kind of thing that’ll stick with us.

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