We are suckers for that USA women’s soccer team.
Not in the sense that we’ll watch a Wednesday-night friendly match against Barbados, but when the big tournaments roll around we’re all about the stars, stripes, and bouncing ponytails. Because they are awesome! (Even when they lose to Japan, they are still awesome.)
Hope Solo — you knew about her.
Heather Mitts — you probably knew about her.
Mia Hamm — you knew about her.
But have you checked out this new one, Alex Morgan?
22-year-old Alex Morgan is not just the future of U.S. women’s soccer in terms of hotness (which, let’s face it, would be enough to get her onto this page), she is also one of the best players on the team. And if you caught the five minutes of coverage on NBC last night, you know what Alex did.
Winning goal. Header. In stoppage time. To dismiss a Canada team that had pulled ahead three times. Whether you like women’s soccer or not — or any soccer, for that matter — you have to admit that a play like that is the definition of clutch. And she looked good doing it.
(It was an interesting game — all three of Canada’s goals were scored by Christine Sinclair, the best player in the women’s game. The late game-tying goal was scored on a penalty kick that was set up when the ref whistled the Canadian goalie for holding on to the ball for too long, which is a very rare call. The Canadians basically feel they got rooked. And Megan Rapinoe of the USA scored a goal directly from a corner kick, an also-rare feat which is sometimes known as — and here is your ounce of knowledge for the day — an Olympic goal.)
Next up, in tomorrow’s gold medal match, the same tough Japanese babes who sent the USA women home at the 2011 World Cup. For now, enjoy these shots of the lovely Alex, including some in body paint for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Perhaps we should have mentioned those in the first paragraph.