Photo credit: US Presswire
Redemption. Not because the US Women's national soccer team did anything wrong at last summer's Women's World Cup, but because they were the better team but were cruelly defeated by penalties. Redemption because today's win wrapped up a perfect tournament in which they defeated every team and outscored them 16-6, where at the World Cup they lost twice. Redemption because they were booted by Brazil in 2007 only to redeem themselves with the Gold Medal in 2008. Redemption because the American style of soccer was upheld and showed why this country sets the trend in the women's game as countries like Brazil do for men.
And today we had the usual suspects clinch the tournament: Alex Morgan with her nifty pass for the first goal and opening lanes for Rapinoe and Lloyd, Wambach for her presence, Solo for her reflexes, Rapinoe for her tireless work on the flanks, Buehler, LePeilbet, O'Hara and Rampone for holding a tough line and pressing forward when needed, Shannon Boxx for her spirit, Tobin Heath for her speed, and Carli Lloyd for being a number 10.
Yes, Carli Lloyd made the difference today by scoring the two goals that won the game 2-1. It wasn't the youthful energy of Alex Morgan, the commanding experience of Abby Wambach or the darting runs of Rapinoe. It was the number 10, the Pele, Zidane, Landon Donovan of this group. She made the difference in the final like all great midfielders do. Zidane scored twice against Brazil in 1998, Pele delivered 1958 to Brazil, and Donovan saved the US Men in 2010 twice. Always in the background working and always there at the time of need. Carli Lloyd may not be as flashy as Morgan or Wambach, but she knew how to win this game and redeem her team.