This post will be a little different from my other ones on the World Cup. Previously, I watched the games as a neutral party, but this is #TeamUSA #1N1T (sorry for the hashtags – it had to be done)! I have a strong vested interest in who wins this match! So, sorry Nigeria. You don’t get much coverage here.
Once again, Jenny, Lara and I drove up to the Canadian border, this time heading out at 7am! The match didn’t start until 5pm, but we knew America was invading Canada and wanted to get there ahead of the lines.
We were in luck and got through in great time. Since we were so early, we decided to get food and drinks at Boston Pizza, right next to the stadium. It’s also where the Seattle Reign FC was meeting before going in to the stadium together, so it was perfect for us to hang around and meet the team. Plus, their Bloody Mary’s, or a Caesar’s, as they call them in Canada, are fantastic and delightfully spicy.
As we sat, countless people wearing red, white and blue walked by. Occasionally chants of “USA! USA! USA!” would randomly break out. You really couldn’t tell we weren’t in America.
Some of those people turned out to be Jenny’s coworkers, so they joined us for lunch.
Eventually I wanted to check out the fan-zone set up nearby. It didn’t end up having much to do, just a kids soccer match in one corner and the ECU vs JPN game projected in the beer garden, but it was fun to walk around, seeing all the people getting excited about soccer and their national team.
Finally it was time to head inside!
Definitely a different atmosphere from the last time we were here.
The stars and stripes were out en masse. It makes me so proud of my country and my region that we can get so many people out to root for women’s professional sports. I will take this crowd any day of the week!
Soon, the flags are being carried out, and the teams are lining up for the national anthems. Everyone sang loudly!
Then it’s a quick huddle before kick off!
Nigeria had a few fans out, visibly noticeable in their green.
Our team definitely dominates the game, but it’s not quite the performance I was expecting from the #2 team in the world. They have looked better since, but I really hope they step it up before they play Germany in what my opinion, is the real World Cup Final.
Gooooooaaaaaalllllll!! Megan Rapinoe (from the Seattle Reign!) puts one up for Abby Wombach to head in. It’s beautiful!
The second half was fun, with a lot of great runs by Alex Morgan and ‘Pinoe (I can call her that, cuz she plays for Seattle).
In the 66th minute, Alex was subbed off for Sydney Leroux. The few Canadians in the stadium booed her loudly as they still feel she should have played for Canada (she was born there).
Nigeria played a rough game. Eventually they end up getting a red card and going down to 10 players.
But we can’t seem to get another goal. Finally the game ends, 1-0 USA! It’s all we needed, but I still think we could have played better.
This was such a special moment for us, getting to see our team move on to the knock out round in the biggest championship in soccer. I can only hope that we will get to see them again in the finals. But first, they have to get through Germany!
Thanks again to Jenny for this photo!