The U.S. women's national soccer team won its quarterfinals match against the Netherlands Friday in epic nail-biting fashion, avenging a shocking loss on penalty kicks five years ago with an equal Olympic performance of their own in Tokyo.
The squad, beneficiary of the first-ever New York City ticker-tape parade for a professional female team, found itself facing the same fate in Japan that it did in Rio. It wouldn't allow history to repeat itself. Not when the team could be participating in the final Olympic run for a veteran core looking to restore a long-established gold standard.
And it was one of those gold-medal-winning veterans, Megan Rapinoe, who scored the winning PK, firing into the upper corner of the net to send the United States to the semifinals against Canada. So we get to do it all over again early next week.
You'll have to get up early, though. The U.S. women will take on Canada at 4 a.m. ET Monday -- so set your alarm clock. Here's how you can watch it live from bed.
If USWNT wins, they'll take on the winner of the other semifinal between Australia and Sweden (which didn't go so well for Team USA in the first round in Tokyo). That semi starts at 7 a.m. ET Monday (why couldn't we be so lucky?).
No matter -- they need our support. The win could be viewed by many as an upset for a U.S. team not accustomed to being titled the underdog.
After the USWNT won just one of its three group play games – getting shutout in a shocking opener by Sweden and in a scoreless draw with Australia – the team isn't quite the overwhelming favorite it was while winning four of six gold medals since women’s soccer became an Olympic sport in 1996.
But New Yorkers know them well. And might just be willing to get out of bed before dawn to cheer them on.
That first-ever ticker-tape parade for a professional female team came in 2019 when the group won the World Cup. It was the last great spectacle along the Canyon of Heroes before the most recent "Hometown Heroes" parade honoring frontline COVID-19 workers earlier this month.
New York remembers those 2019 champions -- and is rooting for them once again in the Tokyo Olympics, where Rapinoe, New Jersey's Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and company look to avenge their latest losses (or near-losses) on the global stage.
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The United States is vying for its fifth overall gold medal at these Olympics.
Christen Press, one of the team's most dangerous assets on offense who also scored a penalty kick, recently acknowledged the realities of playing tournament soccer.
“This tournament is really tough with the amount of games that you need to play without as many days in between as other tournaments. And so I think with that, there has to be tactical sophistication in how we manage," Press said.
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