Call it change. Call it luck. Call it redemption. Call it bravery. Call it what you will – it’s gold and it’s real and it stays! The USWNT defeated Brazil 1-0 yesterday in extra time after putting on a gritty performance on the pitch on a wet, humid, Beijing night. Pia Sundhage and her 18 players turned a rocky tournament start into Olympic glory, putting to rest memories of a Women’s World Cup debacle, and stepping out from the long shadow of glory days past into their own, golden light. This is a new team, an evolving team. They did it without Mia or Julie or Carla or Brandi … even Lil. And to cap it off … they even did it without Abby.
It’s an amazing accomplishment … testimony not only to their fitness and soccer skills but, perhaps most importantly, to their mental toughness. And lest we forget, testimony to the inspirational leadership of Pia Sundhage.
Kudos to everyone involved. Kudos, most especially, to Hope Solo – who came through in amazing fashion after a journey from October 2007 to August 2008 that has to have been excruciating. Kudos to Angela Hucles, who stepped her game up and stepped into an unfamiliar role and played herself into history! Kudos to Carli Lloyd for coming through when she needed to, even when struggling. Kudos to the staunch USWNT defense … and to A-Rod and Kai and HAO and Chalupa. I’m sure I’m forgetting people … it was a whole team effort. That’s the beauty of it.
Commentary about the match is all over the web … nice to see (and a tad overwhelming at the moment, I must admit)! I’ll just post a few items that stood out for me. (And I’ll post a link to Beulah’s write up as soon as it appears … it ain’t up just yet …)
- Boltgirl did a great write-up on her site … once her breathing slowed down enough!
- Here’s some PBP from the USA Today Blog … my heart rate is going up again!
- Jere Longman writes in the NY Times about Hope Solo’s vindication (still a major storyline … but hopefully soon-to-be history).
- Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post weighs in with his take on the USWNT story.
- Mechelle Voepel of the Kansas City Star (another great soccer writer) writes of the team unity displayed by the USWNT – in contrast to the last time they played Brazil in a big tournament!
- Meanwhile, David Ramsey of The Gazette (Colorado Springs) celebrates Pia’s work!
- Here’s a nice photo gallery (from Yahoo Sports).
- The WNT Blog has some nice updates … 🙂
- Then there’s the US Soccer write-up and quote sheet.
- And here are Scott Ostler, a bit from AFP, John Henderson, John McGrath, Jeff Blair of The Globe and Mail, Brian Homewood, Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News, Jeff Carlisle, George Vecsey on the team and Pia, Jim Souhan, Helene Eliot from the LA Times (and Helene again – focusing on Solo), Martin Rogers, Nancy Armour (Huffington Post), Parke Brewer (Voice of America) … and it goes on and on.