In a sign of how far soccer has come in the U.S., the bar was packed and people were lined up two and three deep outside to watch the game.
The U.S. dominated the first half , holding a 12-5 shot advantage but they were unable to get a goal despite Amy Wambach hitting the crossbar and Megan Rapinoe banged one off the post.
The Americans finally broke through in the 69th minute, with Morgan scoring her second goal of the tournament. Rapinoe long ball found Morgan, who beat Kaihori from 17 yards.
The bar erupted in chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” as it looked like the World Cup was coming back to America.
But with just nine minutes left in the game the U.S. gifted Japan a goal. Rachel Buehler tied to clear the ball right in front of the goal and knocked it to Ali Krieger, who botched her clearance, too. The ball fell to Miyama, who poked it in from five yards to tie it. A comical goal.
In extra time the U.S. went ahead once again from who else but Abby Wambach. As the World Cup had progressed Wombach has played better and better, at has been the one the U.S. has turned too when they needed a goal. And as usual, Wombach scored with a header, heading home Alex Morgan cross from the 6-yard line in the 104th minute.
Once again the bar erupted in chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”. Surely the U.S. would not throw away its lead again.
But they did three minutes later when Japan equalized through Sawa from a corner. The corner came about after Christie Rampone had cleared Yukari Kinga’s chip over Hope Solo off the line.
So we were set for penalties again. Boxx went first, and her shot banged off Ayumi Kaihori’s right leg. After Aya Miyama made hers, wrong-footing Solo, Lloyd stepped up and sent her shot soaring over the crossbar. As the crowd gasped, Lloyd covered her mouth in dismay. Solo saved Japan’s next shot, but Kaihori made an impressive two-handed save on Heath’s shot.
Solo came up with a save, and Wambach buried hers. But Japan need to make just one more, and Kumagai did and Japan became world champions.
A tough loss for the U.S. To throw away two goal lead twice is hard take, especially the first Japanese goal.