Monday, July 11, 2011

Epic Win for US Soccer

By now you've probably already heard about the incredible victory by the US Womens Soccer Team, tying 2-2 and winning 5-3 on Penalty Kicks.  It was an incredible game for an incredible team, playing not only down a man but down 3 referees, we came back and tied the game in regulation, and Hope Solo won it for us in the Penalty Kick phase by scoring a bigtime save on kick #3 by Brazil.  This was an incredible win, and ironicly, it was BECAUSE of the horrible anti-American refereeing.  Were it not for the referees awarding a red card for no reason, a penalty kick for no reason, then giving Brazil a SECOND penalty kick after Hope stopped the first one, we'd have had a pretty boring 1-0 win. 

Imagine it for a second, USA beat Brazil 1-0, of course we did, our women are good, its the men who suck, naturally the women won.  What's the score in the baseball game?  That would've been the most common reaction by American fans, were it not for the anti-American referees, and of course the Brazil team's incredibly terrible and unsportsmanlike antics as well.  It was because the referees literally gave Brazil that goal to force Overtime, then gave them ANOTHER goal in overtime, by refusing to call them offsides, that set up Abby Wambach for her incredible header at the end of Overtime, a goal that never would've happened if we had won the game 1-0 in regulation.  Then of course Hope Solo making the big save in PKs, and the strikers making all 5 of their PKs, giving us an INCREDIBLY dramatic victory.  And it's all thanks to the America haters!  This is something that is actually pretty common, as a Christian, we know about God's power to take something meant for evil, and turn it into good.  The anti-American refereeing seemed to be intent to cost us the game, and eliminate us from the tournament.  Instead, it served to make the victory about a MILLION times sweeter than it otherwise would have been!  They could hardly have helped us more if they had actually tried to!  Isn't that some REALLY sweet irony? 

So today we celebrate the greatest team in American Soccer history scoring perhaps the greatest win in American soccer history, even though this wasn't the finals, the dramatic and historic nature of the win is still very huge.  It was the greatest goalkeeper on the planet against one of the best strikers, certainly the best striker in womens soccer.  Hope vs Marta.  Today, Hope won, even though Marta scored two impressive goals, neither of which should've counted but still struck very impressively.  Hope came up with big save after big save, and got the final huge save in PKs, she proved once again why she should not only be starting at goalkeeper for the US Womens Team, but the Men's team as well.  After the game, Abby, Hope, and the Coach Pia all were awesome in their interviews, Pia suggesting that God is indeed writing the story of this great American team, and she's enjoying watching it unfold. 

Of course all the fans are enjoying it tremendously also.  Abby was especially effusive in her praise of Solo's incredible saves, and actually said what I've been saying, that Hope is indeed the best goalkeeper on the planet.  Of course our men's team would no doubt benefit from Wambach's abilities as well, her offensive leadership has been key, and while its true that up until that dramatic goal at the end of OT she had previously been the Queen of the Near-Misses in this tournament, having simply an unbelievable number of shots ALMOST go in, but somehow not quite scoring, today she came through when it counted far more than all those other shots put together!  And how fitting is it that Abby bears a striking resemblence (at least she did in her post-game interview on ESPN tonight) to a young, in-her-prime, Martina Navratilova, the greatest female player of all time in her sport of Tennis.

An incredible win for an incredible team, a history making win for a team that will hopefully make a lot more before this tournament is complete!  What a sweet win, an awesome win for America, and truly an Epic Win for US Soccer!

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