Our beloved USWNT defender Ali Krieger is finally back with the national team!! In honor of her return, I’d like to take us back to the 2011 Women’s World Cup quarterfinal match between the USWNT and Brazil. And what a match it was!
July 10, 2011 marked the 12th anniversary of the USWNT win over China for the championship. Two of the world’s powerhouse teams in female soccer met for an epic quarterfinal game: Brazil vs the USA. The clash started quickly as an own goal by Daiane gave the US a head start.
It wasn’t until the second half when things really started to heat up. Rachel Buelher was sent off with a straight red and Marta was awarded a penalty kick. Uh oh! But then Hope Solo saved it! Only to be shown a yellow for coming off her line early. Marta made sure her retake landed in the back of the net.
As the seconds ticked by, neither team could break the deadlock even with the US playing a man down. The ref blew the whistle and off the game went into extra time! Talk about stressful. Almost immediately at the start of extra time, Marta scored a golazo putting Brazil in the winning position. But then came one of the most epic goals I have ever seen. Oh yes, that goal. Abby Wambach’s 121st minute header off a cross from Megan Rapinoe. The game was tied yet again. And we were headed to a penalty shootout.
I cannot stand shootouts. My nerves simply cannot handle the pressure. But I forced myself to watch as Boxx, Cristiane, Lloyd, Marta and Wambach all buried their shots. Then everything changed. Hope Solo, our last defense, saved Daiane’s shot. Suddenly, we were in a position to win it all. Then both Rapinoe and Francielle scored theirs.
It was all down to Ali Krieger. And here’s what happened:
Jubilation! Exhilaration! Chaos! So many emotions!! Ali Krieger saved the day and carried the USWNT on to the semifinals. (Sadly, our wonderful USWNT would lose to Japan in the final on pks, but that’s not the point.) I just remember screaming my voice hoarse and collapsing on the couch, exhausted from the nervousness. It was such a beautiful scene to see as our girls ran and jumped into each other arms in excitement!
Sadly, in the process of helping the USWNT qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics, Ali Krieger suffered a horrendous injury. Both her ACL and MCL were torn in a collision during the game against the Dominican Republic. As such, a year long rehab period saw Ali miss out on the gold medal this past summer. But time heals everything and this past week saw Ali suit up for the USWNT for the first time in year.
We all love Ali, especially her teammates. The best part? How they welcomed her home: