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US women's soccer wins gold medal with 2-1 win over Japan

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff August 9, 2012 02:36 PM

LONDON -- Members of the United States women's soccer team have spoken passionately about avenging its 2011 World Cup final loss to Japan virtually since the moment it was decided on penalty kicks.

Thursday night at Wembley Stadium, vengeance became theirs. And so did the gold medal.

The United States defeated Japan, 2-1, in the final of the Olympic women's soccer tournament.

Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the US, which took a 1-0 lead into halftime, built it to 2-0 in the 55th minute, and then held on for their third consecutive Olympic gold medal.

Yuki Ogami scored for Japan in the 63d minute, but despite a persistent offense that gave the US trouble for long stretches of time, that's all it could muster.

Japan's Mana Iwabuchi had Japan's best shot to tie the game in the 84th minute, but US keeper Hope Solo made the stop to hold the lead.

* * *

81:00 Rachel Buehler off for the US, with Becky Sauerbrunn subbing in. Have to figure it's an injury to the dependable Buehler.

79:12: Attendance is 80,203, meaning there are 2,797 open seats. Those 2,797 who had something else to do are missing a good one. Maybe they all went to watch Bolt run the 200.

76:12: Alex Morgan flashes some fancy footwork to elude one defender, but he shot attempt sails high, and she missed an open Wambach.

63:11, US 2, Japan 1: You thought Japan, which played so well in the first half, would settle for silver without a fight? Not happening Yuki Ogimi collects a loose ball and scores, and the margin is suddenly a single goal again.

59:12: Cheney subs in for Megan Rapinoe after the goal.

55:10, US 2, Japan 0: Carli Lloyd gets her second of the game, dribbling through three defenders at full speed and scoring with a bomb that crossed into the far corner.

47:00: The teams are back on the field for the second half. Amazing atmosphere here. Wembley holds more than 88,000 and this place looks full. It's expected to be the largest crowd ever to watch a women's soccer game.

Halftime, US 1, Japan 0: The US gets a second to exhale, but it must know it's fortunate to be at the break with a lead. Japan's swarming defense frustrated the US more and more as the half went on, and if not for a couple of shots hitting crossbars, this one might be tied or have Japan in the lead. The missed call on an obvious handball is also a significant break for the US.

41:03: Team USA coach Pia Sundage is letting her defense have it after Japan's Shinobu Ohno nearly ties it.

37:09: Solo gets an assist from the crossbar a second time, when Japan captain Aya Miyama appears to have an open net but shoots too high. Momentum is in Japan's favor right now, and has been for the last half of the game.

27:08: A break for the US -- Tobin Heath gets away with an obvious handball on a Japanese free kick. Missed call. Somewhere, Team Canada nods in agreement.

21:06: US is doing it everything it can to get Morgan the ball in the open field. Watching her speed reminds me of Tyler Seguin with open ice. Breathtakingly fast.

18:06: Two huge stops by Hope Solo on Hope Solo on Japan's Yuni Ogimi, including one point-blank.

14:33: There's something you won't see often -- Wambach whiffing on an attempted shot. The US nearly got something out of it, though, when Megan Rapinoe collected the bouncing ball and fired from the far post, only to have her shot sail high.

7:57: Correction: It was Carli Lloyd who scored in the crowd, not Wambach.

7:37, 1-0 United States: Well, that was quick. Make it 12 goals in 15 Olympic and World Cup knockout games for Abby Wambach, who takes a feed from Alex Morgan -- those two sure know how to work together -- and scores from 9-feet out at the far post to give the US a quick lead. Beautiful goal.

LONDON -- Checking in from Wembley Stadium, where upwards of 80,000 fans began filing in hours ago in anticipation of the gold medal match between the United States and Japan.

The US, which defeated Canada, 4-3, on Alex Morgan's header to advance to the final, is attempting to avenge a loss on penalty kicks to Japan in the World Cup final. "Im still heartbroken about losing the World Cup in the way we did,'' said Team USA co-captain Abby Wambach.

The US is 1-1-1 against Japan, a finesse team that defeated France to reach the final. "We think its fate that us and Japan are playing,'' said Morgan. "It could have turned out so differently.

The US has made one lineup change, starting Shannon Boxx in place of Lauren Cheney at center midfield.

Stat of the day, courtesy of Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl's twitter feed: Wambach has 11 goals in 14 career Olympic and World Cup knockout games. Mia Hamm had 2 in 19.

Stay right here for live updates.

Alex Morgan reveals who she would like to see in the crowd

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff August 9, 2012 02:29 PM

As superstar-in-waiting Alex Morgan prepared to play in her first Olympic gold-medal game, she was asked, of course, about her soccer heroes. There can be only one.

"Mia Hamm is a legend, she lauded. I remember becoming passionate [about soccer] because of Mia Hamm."

Mrs. Nomar of course, played for the national team from 1987-2004 and is widely considered the First Lady of soccer.

I hear that shes coming to our game and we inspired her to take a flight over to London to come to our gold medal match, said Morgan, who was hoping the real First Lady would also be watching.

I would love to see Michelle Obama at our game because [she] is all about fitness and making sure that youre healthy and that youre living an active, healthy lifestyle.

"We met her last year in the White House and so I would love to see her watch us."

Today at the Olympics: Bolt goes for double in 200, US women's soccer looks for revenge

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff August 9, 2012 05:36 AM

LONDON -- Welcome to Day 13 of competition, during which 10 sports will award medals. The schedule is dotted with exciting events all over the city, including the women's soccer final against Japan, the gold-medal women's water polo match, the final five events of the decathlon (American Ashton Eaton enters with the lead), and, yes, the more compelling athlete here sprinting for another slice of history.

Thursday's must-see event: At first, I had trouble deciding between a couple for this designation this morning, but then somewhere after the first cup of coffee the truth, as obvious as it should have been all along, became evident: Anytime Usain Bolt is involved, it is the must-see event. And that goes double when he's going for a double -- Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter and world-wide icon whose status here exceeds even that of the Team USA basketball players, will try to become the first ever to win the 100- and 200-meter races in back-to-back Games. He'll be in pursuit of more history, starting with the Olympic record in the event (19.30 seconds). In pursuit of him will be his countryman and training partner Yohan Blake, and it would be a shock if anyone else in the field challenges them. Bolt says this is his favorite race because it's more tactically challenging than the 100 meters. Chances are he'll reaffirm that after winning it Thursday night.

Also worth watching: The United States women's soccer team takes on Japan in the Thursday's gold medal match. Japan beat the US in a shootout in the World Cup final. How hungry is the US to avenge that loss? Abby Wambach can tell you:

"Every single player on this team, whether they're even here or not, even players that are left back in the United States, they've given us all an opportunity to train, to work, to dedicate, to sacrifice, every single day since the World Cup, so that we can have this one chance, the one more chance, the 90 more minutes," said Wambach, who scored the tying goal in the US's thrilling 4-3 win over Canada in the semifinals.

"All of us have dreamed about it. We've had nightmares about it even, what happened last summer. This is an opportunity for us for not even redemption, but to prove ourselves, to let whatever happened last summer go -- and be in a position to go after and take the gold medal because we believe that we've earned it. It's going to take 90 minutes of a great performance of the best team in the world, and that's going to be the team that's going to be sitting on the top podium."

Yeah, I'd say they're ready for this. But it almost seems destined to come down to a shootout again, doesn't it?

Wednesday's big story: Allyson Felix is just 27 years old, but she's been the golden girl of US track and field for nearly a decade. Yet until Wednesday night, she had never won an Olympic gold medal in her signature event, the 200 meters, having finished with a silver medal in 2004 in Athens and four years ago in Beijing, the latter a disappointment that left her in tears after the race. So when Felix breezed to gold in 21.88 seconds, beating a field that included two-time defending gold medalist Victoria Campbell-Brown, it was both cathartic and fulfilling.

"Gosh, it's been a long time coming," said Felix. "I think the moment that motivated me most was losing on the biggest stage. At the time I said I'd give all my world championship medals [10] for that gold. Now I can say I embraced the journey."

Tweet of the day: I want to apologize for my stupid act at the end, I showed a bad image of France and myself, Congrats to team Spain. -- France forward Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum), apologizing for punching Spain's Juan Carlos Navarro in the groin during Spain's medal-round basketball victory Wednesday. He wasn't quite so remorseful at first, saying he did it because Navarro and the Spain guards wouldn't stop flopping.

Mind the gap, and stick around right here for further updates throughout the day.

U.S. leads at half

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 18, 2008 09:53 AM

Goals by Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.) have brought the U.S. women's soccer team back from a 1-0 deficit to lead Japan 2-1 at halftime. Shinobu Ohno opened the scoring in the 16th minute, but Hucles found the equalizer from 10 yards out in the 41st. Chalupny pushed the U.S. out front three minutes later by carrying the ball in from the left wing and ripping a 15-yard shot under pressure from two Japanese defenders.

U.S. women in semis

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 15, 2008 10:23 AM

Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii) scored on a diving header in the 101st minute to give the United States women's soccer team a 2-1 overtime victory against Canada Friday night at Shanghai Stadium.

The U.S. opened the scoring when Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.) found the net in the 12th minute. After a delay due to weather conditions, Christine Sinclair scored the equalizer for Canada in the 30th minute for a 1-1 halftime score. That stood at the end of regulation, prompting the 30-minute overtime. Kai came on as a substitute for Heather O'Reilly at the beginning of the overtime, and 11 minutes later found herself on the receiving end of a long ball from Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.). Kari dove to direct the ball past Karina LeBlanc and give the Americans the margin for victory.

The U.S. will face the winner of the China-Japan match in the semifinals on Monday, August 18, in a match scheduled for 9 p.m. at the Workers' Stadium in Beijing.

US women advance

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 12, 2008 10:27 AM

The U.S. women's soccer team tallied a 4-0 victory over New Zealand Tuesday evening in Shenyang, closing out Group G play and advancing the Americans to the quarterfinal round of the 2008 Olympic Games tournament. The result gives the U.S. six points in Group G and a tie with Norway at the top of the table. Thanks to Japan's 5-1 victory over Norway, the U.S. gains the advantage in the tiebreaker based on goal differential.

The Americans applied pressure from the first whistle as Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.) tallied the first U.S. goal a mere 40 seconds into the match. Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.) added a second goal in the 43rd minute to give the USA a 2-0 halftime lead. Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.) made it 3-0 in the 56th minute, and Angela Hucles rounded out the scoring with a goal four minutes later.

The next U.S. match will be at Shanghai Stadium on Friday, August 15, at 6 p.m.

US rolling

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 12, 2008 09:06 AM

Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.) gathered a rebound shot off the post and sent it back in for her second goal of the night as the USA now leads New Zealand 4-0 in the 60th minute of women's soccer.

Rodriguez gives U.S. a 2-0 lead

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 12, 2008 08:37 AM

Amy Rodriguez ran on to a long ball sent from the defensive half and rifled it past the New Zealand goalkeeper from the left wing to give the U.S. women's soccer team a 2-0 lead in the 43rd minute.

US women bounce back

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 9, 2008 07:08 AM

BEIJING -- A goal by Carli Lloyd in the 27th minute was all the US women's soccer team needed to post its first win of the Olympic Games, claiming a 1-0 victory over Japan at Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Center Stadium early this morning.

With the win, the US earns three points and for the moment joins Norway at the top of the Group G table. Norway plays New Zealand beginning at 7:45 a.m. today. The American side will close out group play against New Zealand at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday at Shenyang's Olympic Stadium. The top two teams in each of the three groups and the top two third-place teams advance to the quarterfinals.

Parkhurst's Olympics Diary: Smog is a reality

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff August 6, 2008 09:56 AM

Michael Parkhurst of the New England Revolution is a member of the US Olympic Soccer Team. Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year in 2005 and Defender of the Year in 2007, the 23-year-old Providence native and Wake Forest graduate will be writing a diary for us while he competes in the Summer Games. Here's his first post:

Here's a small glimpse into where we are and the much-talked-about smog here in China:

We are currently staying in a hotel in the city of Tianjin, where our first two matches will be played. Our third game will be in Beijing, where we'll stay in the Olympic Village.

Now I have never been to Fort Knox, but I would assume it's about as tough to get into as our hotel here. The only people staying at our hotel are the seven other Olympic soccer teams who are playing in Tianjin: three men's teams (all our opponents) and four women's teams. Thus, I'm not joking when I say there are multiple security checkpoints and airport-like metal detectors outside the entrance for any visitors brought in by players. Needless to say, we feel quite safe.

Inside the hotel, we rarely interact with the other teams. We are all on different floors and have rotating schedules for practices, using the gym or pool and meals. When we do cross paths, there is a mutual respect felt with, most often, a nod of the head or a simple "hello."

And now onto one of the most talked about issues regarding the Olympics: the dreadful smog. Let me remind you we are about an hour outside Beijing. That being said, the smog does exist and it is noticeable.

There is no such thing as a bright blue day around here, although I did see a small patch for a bit yesterday. But for the most part it is just a gray haze. The visibility out into the distance from our hotel does not span more than a couple miles. So the smog is a reality. However, it's not something that will greatly affect us during the Games. It is one of the reasons we came China a week early and I think most of us, by now, have adapted to the heat, humidity and ... smog.

We are enjoying our time here in Tianjin and the hospitality demonstrated by the hosts has been nothing short of first-rate.

Got a comment? A question? Have your say in our comments section.

Michael Parkhurst's Olympics diary

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff August 5, 2008 02:20 PM

Michael Parkhurst of the New England Revolution is a member of the US Olympic Soccer Team. Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year in 2005 and Defender of the Year in 2007, the 23-year-old Providence native and Wake Forest graduate will be writing a diary for us while he competes in the Summer Games. Here's his first post:

Greetings from Tianjin, China! We are currently in this city about 45 minutes south of Beijing where well play the first two games of our round-robin group play. We have been placed in a tough group in which we face Japan, the Netherlands, and Nigeria.

The top two teams from the group advance to the quarterfinals. It will be a tough test for us but were confident we have the ability to medal for the first time in US history.

For soccer, the Olympics pose a unique and challenging test for each team. It is an Under-23 tournament in which each team is allowed to add three over-aged players (yep, I'm one of them!). The core of our group is around 22 years old with the youngest being 18 and eldest 36 yes, hes a player -- not the coach.

We come from all different club teams throughout the world and have been together a mere two weeks in preparation for the Games. And one of the biggest challenges each team faces is bringing each and every individual personality together to create a good balance of team chemistry. The belief is that chemistry off the field results in better teamwork on the field and a greater ability to really dig deep in tough times and fight through tough stretches that are inevitable in every match. Its a formula that works for us at the Revolution. Hopefully, it will bring success to our Olympic Team, as well.

Our run towards the gold begins Thursday morning. Stay tuned for more updates and a further look into the Olympic experience.

Got a comment? A question? Have your say in our comments section.

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