The U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada at the London 2012 Olympics. That’s really all that needs to be said, but in case you were on a trip to the Outback last summer and didn’t have access to a TV, internet, newspaper or any other form of news media here’s a quick refresher.
August 6, 2012 … Old Trafford … Manchester, England ... Olympic Semifinal
Christine Sinclair gives Canada a 1-0 lead 22 minutes into the match in front of 26,640 fans at famed Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, and the teams enter the interval with Canada grasping a 1-0 lead and a chance to head to the gold medal match.
USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe equalizes in the 54th minute and the match becomes a slugfest with Sinclair and Rapinoe (both former standouts at the University of Portland) trading goals. Sinclair nets her second goal, putting Canada ahead 2-1 in the 67th minute … Rapinoe hits back with her second, tying the score at 2-2 three minutes later in the 70th minute.
Sinclair gets a hat-trick with the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute and Canada carries a one-goal lead into the final 10 minutes of regular time before the real drama kicks in. Canada’s goalkeeper Erin McLeod is called for holding onto the ball for more than six seconds – a rarely enforced rule, but one that awards the U.S. with an indirect free kick inside Canada’s penalty box. On the free kick, the ball strikes a Canadian player on the arm and a penalty kick is called.
Abby Wambach steps up and buries the spot kick to level the score at 3-3 in the 80th minute.
The two sides battled to a stalemate through 30 minutes of extra time, trading jabs before U.S. forward Alex Morgan rose up and looped a header into the goal in the third minute of stoppage time, the game’s 123rd minute to be exact and the latest ever goal scored in a FIFA competition.
Now, catch your breath.
The rematch is coming on June 2 in Toronto as the U.S. Women’s National Team faces Canada in an international (not so) friendly for the first time since that drama-filled Olympic semifinal match. Mark your calendar as several Thorns FC teammates could potentially clash on the field. Clearly, there are no medals on the line, but there's no doubt the intensity will be heightened as Canada will look to repay the USA for the match last summer.
Earlier this week, US Soccer announced the new head coach for the USWNT in Tom Sermanni. Taking over from the Olympic winning and team favorite Pia Sundhage, Sermanni has a tall order to keep the USWNT at the peak of women's global soccer. He spoke to USsoccer.com about taking over the team.
And while Sermanni is the coach, for a short while, KICKTV's Jimmy Conrad claimed to be in charge of the team:
While Alex Morgan is no stranger to joking around, it appears at the beginning of the video that she may have bought into the ruse for just a moment.
The actual USWNT will be coming to Portland on Nov. 28 to host the Republic of Ireland in a friendly at JELD-WEN Field. US Soccer announced their ticket pricing information earlier this week and the presale starts today. Neither Conrad nor Sermanni will be at the helm when the team is here, however, as US Soccer women's development director Jill Ellis will fill in in the interim.
Much has been made about the release of EA Sports FIFA 13 with special Darlington Nagbe downloadable custom covers, players talking about playing, and Snoop even getting in on the act.
However, another popular video game is nearing release and USWNT star and London 2012 Gold medal winner Alex Morgan joined talk show host Conan O'Brien to review it. As you might expect, it is genius.
Favorite line: "Puts the bird in its cage, shut the door, put it to sleep. Those are the moves that are going to make this game a winner."
The Oceania Football Confederation--home federation for New Zealand Football--wrote a nice piece about new Timbers signing Ian Hogg recently that makes for a good read. A starter in all three matches for the Oly Whites at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Hogg played alongside Jake Gleeson who was also a member of the team.
"I'm just looking to take any opportunities I get given," said Hogg. And with Timbers GM/interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson and assistant coach Cameron Knowles also being veterans of the All Whites New Zealand national team, Portland has a growing Kiwi contingent.
Read the article here.
The article refers to Hogg's first goal in his senior national team debut during a friendly against El Salvador earlier this spring in Houston. It's a pretty quick run down the left flank that leads to a confident strike. See it here (Fast foward to the 29:41 mark, commentary in Spanish).
Then watch Hogg's first training with the team from last week.
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer
As the US Women's National Team continues their run at London 2012 for Olympic gold, they'll have to go through Canada to do it. Unbeaten in the group stage and dispatching New Zealand in the quarterfinals, the USWNT now face a spirited Canada later this morning following the France-Japan semifinal (11:30am, NBC Sports Network).
The two teams know each other well. It was just about a year ago when JELD-WEN Field hosted a friendly between the USA and Canada in a match that had three University of Portland alums in it--Megan Rapinoe and Stephanie Lopez for the US and Sophie Schmidt for Canada. While Lopez is not on this Olympic squad this time around, Rapinoe and Schmidt look to feature heavily today in London. Moreover, Christine Sinclair, who did not play in last year's friendly in Portland, is another University of Portland player who directs much of the Canadians' attack.
Back at JELD-WEN Field last September, Wambach had two goals while Rapinoe was snakebit but with all the Cascadian connections on the field, it made for a decidedly special night in the Rose City. Take a look at the postgame video from last year then be sure to watch the Olympic semifinal later this morning.