An instant classic. Christine Sinclair was a one woman wrecking crew for Canada as she scored a hat trick with the USA having to play catch up with each of her goals. They had a reply each time and then went one better with Alex Morgan’s 123rd minute header for the winner as seconds remained in the match.
Sinclair scored her first goal after a 1-2 with Melissa Tancredi in the 21st minute following a counterattack. Canada took that 1-0 lead into half time. In the 53rd minute, the USA leveled terms as Megan Rapinoe’s curling corner sneaked into goal. The Canadian captain then scored her second nodding the ball from a cross past Hope Solo with perfect timing and placement in the 66th minute.
Two minutes later, with the Theatre of Dreams patrons just about catching their breath, Rapinoe, the player of the tournament in our estimation, just belted the ball across the goalmouth hitting the upright and into the back of the net for a spectacular equalizer. It took just three minutes for Sinclair to drive Canada back in front, as the striker with another display of preternatural timing headed the ball past Solo from a corner.
The match’s turning point came on two controversial calls. The referee raised many an eyebrow booking goalie Erin McLeod for the rare offense of holding on the ball for too long. Through the indirect free kick, Rapinoe (who else!!), sent the ball crashing right into Eva Marie Nault who reflexively put her arm up for a spot kick. Abby Wambach calmly slotted the ball past McLeod to give the USA a lifeline into extra time which was finally settled when Morgan rose above the Canadian defense to put Heather O’Reilly’s cross over McLeod.
Brave Canada. Our northern neighbours would not be remiss in feeling hard done by. Those were two very debatable calls. But the USA were heroic. Women’s soccer has the perfect recruitment tool for the next generation. Brandi Chastain could only yelp in unintelligible sound bytes.
The USA face familiar foes Japan in the final. The Nadeshiko beat France, 2-0.
Here are the NBC highlights >>