Alex Morgan

USA’s win over Japan brings out the stars and stripes

United States’ Carli Lloyd, left, and United States goalkeeper Hope Solo celebrate after winning the women’s soccer gold medal match against Japan at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in London. The United States won 2-1. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

By JULIE JAG
jjag@santacruzsentnel.com

LONDON — They came wearing Uncle Sam hats and stars-and-stripes tights.
They came with flags on sticks and flags on their backs. They came with red-white-and-blue paint on their cheeks and hope in their hearts.
Somehow, some way, even though the organizing committee for the London 2012 Games made tickets nearly impossible for foreigners to purchase, the USA fans  found a way into Wembley Stadium to root on their women’s soccer team.
Then they roared louder than a jumbo jet as the players did the only thing they could to repay their fans’ loyalty: Win.
Carly Lloyd scored both goals for Team USA — one for each half — and Hope Solo served as a green-clad force field around the goal Thursday as the U.S. defeated Japan 2-1. The win served as a cup of revenge for a 3-1 shootout loss to the Japanese in the Women’s World Cup final last July.
“It’s amazing,” summed up fan Betsy Eisenhower. A Colorado native now living in Haslemere, England, about an hour away from the stadium, she and her husband, Frank, and their children Matthew, 14, and Laura, 12, waved red and blue cardboard U-S-A letters they had cut out the night before.
The players agreed.
“Man, I can’t put this into words. This is such an incredible feeling,” said Megan Rapinoe. “This is not quite redemption for what happened in the World Cup to Japan, but it’s a great feeling.”
“It’s great, and it’s going to feel extra good going home,” said Lloyd, a New Jersey native.
Lloyd missed her penalty kick in the World Cup shootout against Japan last year, sending it high over the crossbar. In the Olympics, though, she has been Team USA’s golden girl. She scored the only goal in a match against Brazil to bring home gold in Beijing in addition to her two goals Thursday.

The USA has won four of the past five gold medals, missing out in 2000.
Lloyd’s first goal against Japan came in the seventh minute. Cal’s Alex Morgan found herself directly in front of Japan’s goal but also in a swarm of traffic. So, she crossed the ball back toward Wambach on the far right side of the cage. Before it got to Wambach, Lloyd came barrelling in.
“I just ran for the ball. I passed Abby. I was just going for it,” said Lloyd, who scored the header past Japanese keeper Miho Fukumoto.
Solo got the rare assist on Lloyd’s second goal. Her long pass reached Lloyd just outside the box, where Lloyd made it a goal in two kicks by placing a high, arching punt over Fukumoto’s head in the 54th minute.
And the crowd went wild.
About half the 80, 205 fans — an Olympic record for a women’s soccer match — did all they could to make Lloyd and company feel right at home at Wembley. The other half cheered just as enthusiastically for Japan, making the stadium a rollicking place full of flags and camera flashes.
“It’s much better watching it here than on TV,” Matthew Eisenhower told his mother.
It was if you like drama. Solo played the heroine defensively, making just five saves, but doing it with flair. She punched two shots over the goal in the first 20 minutes and on another occasion stopped a two-on-one opportunity.
“If you have a keeper like her back there, you know she’ll save the day,” Lloyd said. “And that’s what she did.”
The players spent more than an hour soaking in the feeling after the medal presentation. They posed for pictures, fidgeted through interviews and danced across the field to the tune of Katie Perry’s “Fireworks” in celebration. Much of the crowd stayed too.
Nobody wanted to go home. Maybe because in a huge stadium in west London, they felt like they were already there.
“We had a lot of USA chants, a lot of friends and family that had travelled a long way,” said Christie Rampone. “To play in front of 80,000 people in a gold-medal match, it doesn’t get better than that.”

Categories: Alex Morgan, Athletes, Events, Olympics, Photos, Soccer | Leave a comment

USA defeats Japan, 2-1, for Olympic gold

By JULIE JAG

jjag@santacruzsentinel.com

LONDON — Cal’s Alex Morgan put the ball at Carli Lloyd’s feet and put the USA up early, Hope Solo  put a force field around the goal and then Lloyd also put on the exclamation point. The USA women’s soccer team got its sweet revenge — and the gold — with a 2-1 win in the Olympic championship match Thursday night at Wembley Stadium.

Lloyd scored her first goal in the seventh minute on Morgan’s near-goal cross in traffic and she put the USA up 2-0 with her insurance shot in the 54th. Hope Solo seemed  seven times wider than her svelte frame would suggest as everything the Japanese sent her way was tipped out. Shinobu Ohno, determined all match to find a way to score, finally uncovered a hole in the 62nd. She cut in for a wide open shot on the right side. Solo stopped that one, but the ball dribbled behind her slightly and was cleared by another USA player … right back to Ohno. She then crossed it over to teammate Yuki Ogimi for the goal.

That would be it for the Japanese, though. They attacked viciously in the first part of the second half, but the USA defense controlled the tempo and the ball most of the way until the end.

Canada, whom the USA defeated 4-3 on a Morgan goal in overage time in the semifinal, took bronze.

Categories: Alex Morgan, Athletes, Events, Olympics, Soccer | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

USA vs. Japan women’s soccer showdown NOW

It is on! The rematch of the World cup match that the USA lost to Japan is taking place for Olympic gold at Wembleystadium.

Cal’s Alex Morgan had played a huge role in getting the USA to this game, scoring the winning goal against Canada, and she has already pitched in here. In traffic right in front of the goal she shot a cross to Wambach who shot it in with the side of her foot. 1-0 USA.
The crowd here is amazing. Seems like a few more USA fans than Japanese, but actually it’s pretty close. Chants of USA everywhere and a constant excited hum. The pints must not have settled in yet.

Hope Solo is doing more than just looking pretty in goal. She’s made two punching saves that have kept the USA in front. On another, she got a little help from Rampone when a shot went wide. 39:00 and still 1-0 USA.

HALFTIME: USA 1, JAPAN 0

Japan’s keeper Miho Fukumoto has had to make, unofficially, four good saves. She just let that one early one through for Wambach.

Solo’s had a couple of doozies herself, and this is still anyone’s match.

54:00

Carli Lloyd gathers up the ball and sends a high fier from the left to the right side, right into the goal. USA up 2-0. Then, she rushes to the far end to celebrate with the bench.

63:00

Yuki Ogimi in the right spot for an easy goal after Shinobu Ohno cuts in and gets a perfect pass. It’s deflected by Solo and a Team USA teammate picks up the dribble but her clear goes right back to Ohno, who sends it over to Ogimi for the score.

2-1 USA

FINAL: USA 2, JAPAN 1

An epic game. Japan pressured the USA women the entire time, especially Ohno, but Hope solo woulcn’t let anything through and revenge — and gold –

belongs to the Americans.

 

 

 

Categories: Alex Morgan, Events, Olympics, Soccer | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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