What an incredible semifinal match between the US and Canada! Canada's Christine Sinclair put her country up 1-0 by halftime. She would add two more great goals in the second half to complete a hat trick in a stunning performance. The player who saved the US in the second half, however, was Megan Rapinoe.
In the 54th minute, Rapinoe hit a beautiful corner kick from the left side that had lots of counterclockwise spin (as seen from above). The Magnus force on the ball pushed it left toward the goal. The Albert, as the ball is known, sneaked in between a defender's legs and then off the goalkeeper's knee. Rapinoe got the goal all by herself from a corner kick!
In the 70th minute, Rapinoe got the ball right of center, just outside the penalty area. She then smashed a "knuckleball" that wobbled its way toward the left goalpost. It ricocheted off that post and went into the right side of the goal.
In the span of about 16 minutes, my girls' favorite player, Megan Rapinoe, had delivered two equalizers for the first two of Sinclair's goals. Each of Rapinoe's goals was of a different spin variety that I mentioned in my previous post (click here for that).
Abby Wombach scored a penalty kick that equalized Sinclair's third goal. After a scoreless first extra-time period, the second extra-time period ended with no goals. Three minutes of injury time turned out to be just enough as Alex Morgan nailed the perfect header into the upper portion of the goal for the game-winner, just past the outstretched gloved hand of Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
Canada played a terrific game, and they should be congratulated. The US moves on to the goal-medal game against Japan on Thursday. It will be a rematch of last year's World Cup final. Let's hope this time around, penalty kicks won't be needed!