USA 2, Japan 1, and this blogger said it was going to be an epic battle for the Gold Medal for Women’s Soccer in the 2012 London Olympics. Indeed, it was an amazing game that the USA could have just as easily lost, as it won. But thanks to four timely and all-time saves by Hope Solo, and two very powerful goals by teammate Carli Lloyd, the USA avenged it’s 2011 Women’s World Cup Soccer loss to pretty much the same Japan team.
Since Oakland was lacking of places to watch the game (I tried to find some place, but no go) I went over to San Francisco and the Kezar Pub on Stanyan, where a sizable crowd watched the incredible contest.
Even though much of the first half was played on the USA’s side of the field, Hope Solo’s heroics kept Japan out of the box, while Carly Lloyd ran through a thicket of players to score!
And while the Kezar audience enjoyed the result:
Nike’s Heidi Burgett, who calls herself “Nike PR Chic” was Touting the moment from her seat at Wembley Stadium:
But even with that goal, everyone knew it wouldn’t be enough with the tough, scrappy Japan team. Another goal was needed.
So while Hope Solo continued her super streak of saves…
Carli Lloyd found a way to get it done, this time with a rocket shot of a kick:
But just when it seemed safe to relax and think the USA could coast to a Gold Medal win, Japan scored a goal that seemed to come out of a rugby scrum, with Hope Solo blocking one time, Christie Rampone another, but then the ball was kicked to Yuki Ogimi, who was in perfect position to score, and did.
Suddenly, it was USA 2, Japan 1. It would remain that way, even with a lot of great Japan ball moves and questionable referee calls, and some errors on the part of the USA.
The USA won the Gold Medal against Japan, and ended a year-long wait to play in the London Olympics, and reclaim not just respect, but pride.
For Hope Solo it was a particularly hard road because the 2011 Women’s World Cup propelled her to a weird kind of stardom. She was center stage in the shootout that was lost to Japan, but wound up being on Dancing With The Stars. While Hope performed well, and came close to a win, she was treated unfairly by the Hollywood PR system, and her dance partner was a little too rough on her. Eventually, after being eliminated, Solo broke down and cried.
What she pointed to then were these Olympic Games, and a return to her stage: the field of play, where she excels.
As much bullshit as she had to deal with (and let’s toss in her own tendency to lose her cool and say the wrong thing that makes it all interesting) and as much criticism as was thrown Hope’s way, even at these Olympic Games, it’s so very nice to see her come out on top!
It’s even more gratifying to see Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambaugh, Heather O’Reilly, and even Rachel Buehler (who almost scored herself) battle back both in this game, and in the entire Olympic games series.