One more thing...We would be remiss if we didn't thank the kind people of Juarez who made our stay very warm and comfortable. This city has gotten some very bad press in the past, and deserved or not, the U.S. team always felt very safe and welcome in this border city just below El Paso. Our Mexico hosts were fantastic, the security tight but not overbearing, the tournament was well-organized and of course the fan support was phenomenal, even though most of the time they were cheering against us. Still, after the penalty kick shootout last night, chants of USA! USA! USA! rose from the fans in appreciation of an exciting game and a great performance. When would you think that would happen in Mexico? "We won them over," said a smiling Heather O'Reilly after the game. I think for all the people we met on this trip, that would be an accurate statement. So, thanks Juarez...We say adios, muchas gracias, and Nihao.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
It was a game worthy of a Final tonight at Estadio Olimpic Benito Juarez. Give full marks to Canada for some inspired play, some tough defense and a marvelous performance from goalkeeper Erin McLeod. In the end, the fans were treated to a game that shows why people love soccer...full of passion, some great attacking ball possession from the USA, close chances for both teams, great saves by both goalkeepers, a few goals (including Carli Lloyd's magnificent free kick), lots of drama, and yes, penalty kicks. (No matter that they say, most fans love penalty kicks. Maybe not players, though). Speaking of penalties, the USA took some great ones tonight under huge pressure, as did Canada, but kudos to U.S. GK Nicole Barnhart for her huge save to end the match in the biggest match of her career for the WNT to date. The USA stays unbeaten so far under new head coach Pia Sundhage and heads into a well-deserved break after 25 days on the road, which included a training camp in Los Angeles. The team is extremely excited as after three months of traveling abroad, they finally get to come home and play in front of the home fans. First up, Australia on April 27 at WakeMed Park in Cary, N.C. See you there...
Posted at 12:38 AM