Christine Sinclair

Top USMNT USWNT moments of decade
FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP via Getty Images

Best USMNT and USWNT moments of the 2010s

Leave a comment

The United States men’s national team had some dynamite moments in a dreary decade.

The USWNT had just a few dreary ones in a dynamite one.

But what were the best moments of the 2010s for the top teams of U.S. Soccer? And what’s a bigger challenge: deciding what moment is No. 3 or choosing between Nos. 1 an 2.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Isn’t it wonderful that the USWNT  makes it so we have to choose which World Cup title is most delightful and impactful?

5. USWNT, Canada in seven-goal Olympic festival of soccer and officiating ridiculousness

Maybe it’s myopic and biased to call this the peak of the USWNT-Canada rivalry, but holy cow was this one a beauty. A guaranteed medal and a spot in the 2012 Olympic final was on the line when the U.S. fell behind not once, not twice, but three times at Old Trafford.

Christine Sinclair, arguably the greatest scorer in women’s history, had a giant-killing, nation-lifting day in attack, scoring in the 22nd, 67th, and 73rd minutes. The Yanks only equalized the third time because of a controversial handball penalty which was given after an indirect free kick was awarded for time-wasting.

An indirect free kick awarded for time-wasting. Abby Wambach was possibly given a second gold medal for intimidating the referee.

4. “And Donovan has scored. Oh can you believe this? Go, go, USA!”

The 1990s and 2000s each had their gateway moment for new fans of the U.S. men’s national team, the 90s being a whole tournament in the United States. Eight years later, it was beating rivals Mexico in the group stage.

The 2010s? Look no further than the current manager of San Diego Loyal FC.

3. Tim Howard goes Spiderman in memorable loss to Belgium

The Yanks have a decent history of putting up fine shows in World Cup knockout round exits, Ghana excluded. There was 1-0 to Brazil on home soil. Then, the 1-0 handball-aided loss to Germany in Korea.

But this was something else. The American goalkeeping position had always been a strength, but Tim Howard took it to the next level with a performance which inspired comparisons to Marvel Superheroes and Neo from the Matrix.

The U.S. lineup was good, but Belgium’s XI went like this: Courtois, Kompany, Van Buyten, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Witsel, Fellaini, De Bruyne, Hazard, Mertens, and Origi. The guys who came into the game? Lukaku, Mirallas, Chadli. Mousa Dembele couldn’t get on the pitch.

It was a performance big enough to earn this from Kompany after the game:

And Howard followed it up with an incredibly emotional post-match press conference. A U.S. Soccer icon.


[ MORE: USMNT Best XI of the 2010s ]


2. Megan Rapinoe caps World Cup title defense in iconic fashion

Megan Rapinoe was everywhere as the USWNT allowed just three goals in seven matches, ruffling plenty of feathers by scoring a ton of goals and celebrating them with vigor.

No recency bias here: A World Cup crown is a World Cup crown, but you’re nuts if you think this finale was as fun as our No. 1. The parade, however, looked on the level.

1. Carli Lloyd goes off in 2015 World Cup Final

Believe it or not, there was a three-tournament run where the Yanks missed two World Cup finals and lost a third.

So the relief of watching Jill Ellis lead the Yanks to a 5-2 rout against Japan was delicious

Carli Lloyd cashed in a midfield goal to cap a hat trick in the 16th minute, and… well… yeah. She had a rarefied day and year.

Canada’s Beckie: Sinclair asked if I wanted to take penalty v. Sweden

Photo by Marcio Machado/Getty Images
3 Comments

Prolific forward Janine Beckie didn’t dodge cameras after her missed penalty helped seal Canada’s fate at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, and she also explained why legendary striker Christine Sinclair wasn’t at the spot.

Beckie, 24, scored two goals in Canada’s run to the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and the Houston Dash forward and Texas Tech product has 25 goals in 57 caps.

[ MORE: Sweden tops Canada ]

The American-born Beckie was called upon to try to level the score against Sweden on Monday in the Round of 16, and took a solid effort which was parried by Hedvig Lindahl in an outstanding bit of goalkeeping.

“I’m confident in my penalty,” Beckie said. “I thought I hit it really well. I thought she made a really good save. It’s the big moments. It’s the moments that you live for. You get all the glory if it goes in, and you take the blame it feels like if you miss. That’ll stay with me for a long time.”

So why was she at the spot? Here’s Beckie on TSN, and Sinclair’s confirmation of the tale. As we expected, Lindahl’s success against Sinclair at the Algarve Cup played a role.

“Christine actually asked me if I wanted to take it. That’s a big moment for me and it’s gonna be hard for a while.”

Full marks for stepping up to both places: The penalty spot and the post-match interview.

Women’s World Cup: Netherlands wins group

AP Photo/Francisco Seco
Leave a comment

Late goals secured winners for Cameroon and Netherlands, as Group E completed its group stage at the 2019 Women’s World Cup on Thursday.


Lineth Beerensteyn’s late goal helped the Netherlands overcome a blown lead to win Group E of the 2019 Women’s World Cup with a 2-1 defeat of Canada on Thursday.

Anouk Dekker also scored for the Dutch, who will meet Japan in Rennes on June 25 in the Round of 16. Canada will meet the Group F runner-up in Paris on June 24.

Christine Sinclair scored for Canada, and is now two goals shy of Abby Wambach’s international record.

Janine Beckie thought she’s earned a first minute penalty, but a lengthy review by VAR didn’t change the awarding of the foul, rather moving it outside the 18.

Speaking of 18, teenager Jordyn Huitema was caught offside after slotting a 1v1 goal through the legs of Dutch keeper Sari van Veenendaal.

Dekker nodded a Sherida Spitse free kick home in the 54th minute, a lead that would only last six minutes.

Sinclair made it 1-1 with a sliding back post finish with aplomb. The cross from Ashley Lawrence off a perfect Huitema lay-off set-up the captain.

Desiree van Lunteren sent a cross into the box that Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe couldn’t handle, allowing substitute Beerensteyn to run onto the ball at the back post.

Cameroon 2-1 New Zealand

An own goal nearly made sure neither Cameroon nor New Zealand advanced as a third place team, but Ajara Nchout had other ideas.

Nchout’s early second half goal had looked to have been the difference, but Aurelle Awona’s clearing attempt ended with her hammering a cross into her own goal with 10 minutes to play.

It would’ve been a rough way to go out, but Nchout danced around a few defenders to score a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Thorns seek redemption after last year’s early exit

Twitter/@ThornsFC
Leave a comment

When the season started, Portland Thorns captain Christine Sinclair said anything less than a championship would be a disappointment.

That’s because last season’s exit in the National Women’s Soccer League semifinals – at home – was a regret that needled the Thorns over the winter and into this season.

[ MORE: Previewing the USMNT crucial match against Panama ]

“Losing in the semifinals here was disappointing,” Sinclair said. “But it’s things like that that motivate you.”

Last season, Portland went 12-3-5 and finished with the league’s best record but fell 4-3 in the semifinals to the Western New York Flash. The Flash went on to win the NWSL championship before moving to North Carolina as the Courage in the offseason.

This year the Courage won the Supporters’ Shield after finishing the regular season atop the standings at 16-7-1. The Thorns (14-5-5) finished second in the 10-team league.

The Thorns will host the third-place Orlando Pride (11-6-7) on Saturday in the first playoff semifinal, while the Courage host the Chicago Red Stars (11-7-6) on Sunday in Cary. The winners will go on to meet on Oct. 14 at Orlando City Stadium for the final.

“We’re not letting what happened last year happen again,” said Portland’s Tobin Heath, who recently returned from injury to a loaded lineup that includes fellow U.S. national team regulars Allie Long, Meghan Klingenberg and Lindsey Horan.

The Thorns also opened the season against the Pride, with Sinclair scoring in a 2-0 victory. It was the first of a league record 10 wins at home for Portland.

But the Pride would go on to get a boost from the return of Alex Morgan, who started the season playing in France, and the chemistry she developed with Brazilian star Marta, a five-time FIFA World Player of the Year.

There was a bit of trash talking this week between Thorns coach Mark Parsons and Pride coach Tom Sermanni in advance of the semifinal.

Sermanni fired first, saying he thought referees were intimidated by the big crowds at Portland’s Providence Park and favored the Thorns. Parsons texted him back with a magnifying glass emoji and the words “I see you Tommy Boy.”

Portland, which won the inaugural league championship in 2013, has never lost to Orlando, going 3-0-1.

The Pride was hurt when it was revealed this week that Brazilian midfielder Camila is out with an ACL tear in her right knee.

The Courage won its first four games and stayed atop the table for almost the rest of the way, led by Lynn Williams – last season’s league MVP – with nine goals and five assists.

“No one has ever won the NWSL Shield and won the championship in the same season,” North Carolina coach Paul Riley said. “We’re 0-3 against Chicago, so we’re the underdog, which is great. I don’t mind the underdog tag.”

Chicago, paced by forward Christen Press with 11 goals, stumbled in August with three losses at home but went undefeated for its final four games. U.S. teammate Julie Ertz had four goals and three assists playing a defensive midfield position.

The NWSL is wrapping up its historic fifth season. No other professional women’s soccer league in the United States has lasted as long.

Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr, also a standout on the Australian national team, won the Golden Boot award with an NWSL-record 17 goals this season, including two hat tricks. Marta had 13 goals and six assists for the Pride.

This season was the first that the league has had a national broadcast deal. The Lifetime channel featured an NWSL game each Saturday as part of a deal struck with A+E Networks, which bought a stake in league and became a sponsor.

Lifetime will televise both semifinals.

WATCH: Sinclair’s gorgeous spinning goal sends Canada to Olympics

Leave a comment

Christine Sinclair did what she does best, make the tough look easy, and the world’s leading active female scorer helped Canada to the Olympics.

[ MORE: Barca’s Enrique talks Neymar’s Brazil summer choice ]

Sinclair’s 17th minute chest trap and finish gave Canada a 1-0 lead, assisted by Josee Belanger, and John Herdman’s side saw something even better in the second half en route to a 3-1 win on Friday in Houston.

Costa Rica won a PK to make it 2-1 with 15 minutes to play. The decision was treated with some controversy, but we’re fine with the awarding of the pen.

Raquel Rodriguez converted, but that was as close as Las Ticas would come. It would also go down as the only goal Canada allowed in qualifying.

Sixteen-year-old Deanne Rose popped in a winner from Nichelle Prince.

Canada faces the winner of the  8:30 p.m. ET kickoff between the United States and Trinidad & Tobago in the tournament’s championship match on Sunday.

Regardless of that result, the Canadians are off to Rio.