Women's World Cup, Quarterfinal, USA v Brazil, Dresden, Germany.
For a while it looked like the eyesight of the officials was to be the signature of this astonishing soccer match. Add Brazil's outrageous gamesmanship, the red card for American defender, Rachel Buehler, the resulting penalty saved by U.S. goalie Hope Solo, then ordered to be retaken resulting in a Brazilian goal, the offside in Brazil's second goal -- total this and the Karma God was forced to get up from his bed and act. The stars were lined up -- today was the anniversary of the USA's World Cup win in 1999, almost one year to the day since Landon Donovan scored his famous last second goal against Algeria, now here in Dresden, the USA was down 2-1, seconds left on the clock, deep in extra time, and from the left came Megan Rapinoe's sublime cross to be met by Abby Wambach, and the cries of USA! USA! traveled across the soccer world one more time -- the most stunning of goals, "back from the dead, a miracle!" as ESPN called it. The game tied, the penalties shoot out, the U.S. had mastered that action back in the days of the Wild West. Hope blocked their shot. Brazil were gone. And justifiably so.
The great slow arc of American soccer curved higher, high to the heavens. American true grit, unwilling to bend, the American spirit of finding a way. "Phenomenal," said team coach Pia Sundhage, "Somebody is writing this script. It's the American attitude. Finding a way to win." Soccer follows the plots that countries shape for themselves, the resonance of "who we are, and where we're at." In the land of Hollywood endings, the USA keep finding a way to roll the credits on nail-biting soccer drama. Reach higher. The World Cup is in reach. Hope lives and saves!
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