Well guys, we did not get a story book ending for Bruin alum Lauren Cheney and her USWNT team-mates this evening in Frankfurt, Germany. Instead it was a dream ending for Japan in what was yet another heart-stopping and scintillating soccer match. The game started out awesome for Cheney and the US team as Coach Sundage moved her up as a forward to compliment Abby Wambach upfront. Cheney and her team-mates blitzed the Japanese defense from all angles and created chances after chances. It just didn't work out as we headed into half time at 0-0.
Cheney's amazing World Cup run ended after first half as she had to sit out due to an ankle injury. Although Cheney looked to be in tears with her ankle wrapped up ice, she has had a dream run with 2 goals and (I believe) 3 assists. She is only going to get better. Former Cal superstar Alex Morgan was inserted in her place to start the second half. Morgan immediately paid dividend with one of the more spectacular goals in the second half. But the Japanese players - who have been riding their own magic carpet ride into the Finals - gave the US team a taste of their resilience by coming back to tie the game.
The game went into OT when Wambach put up top with yet another spectacular header at the 104th minute. Yet again the Japanese came back with their own version of heart-stopping, spectacular goal when their own superstar, their team-captain and the Golden Boot winner Homare Sawa scored the game tying goal. The end story did not go according to the script for the Americans as it was the Japanese who rose to the occasion and clinched their first World Cup Title in PK. For extended coverage check the SB Nation story stream.
As heart-breaking as this loss was, we feel nothing but pride in the way Cheney and USWNT charged into Finals this past 3 weeks. They left everything in the field today and it was our privilege to see them winning hearts and minds of not just soccer fans, but capturing the imagination of Americans all across the country. I watched the game with my little girl who is little more than 5 weeks old. We are already making plans to head to Canada for the next World Cup to see Cheney, Morgan, and rest of the USWNT win it all next time up.
Congrats to Team USA from Bruin Nation. We couldn't be more proud of the Red, White and Blue.
USA! USA! USA!
Oh and as always GO BRUINS.