Kick Off: USWNT provide another seminal soccer moment

Kick Off - Abby Wambach

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The US men’s national team had Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria in last year’s World Cup that ignited a viral soccer epidemic that will forever be remembered. Now the US women’s World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil has once again made soccer the No. 1 water-cooler discussion in sports.

The news of Abby Wambach’s stoppage-time equalizer in extra time (watch the highlights here) is the headline story in newspapers and web sites across the USA this morning. “I don’t know if you can write a better script,” Wambach said in reports after the match.

The result comes 12 years to the day that Brandi Chastain’s famous penalty kick won another World Cup shootout for the USA in the final against China back in 1999. It sets up a very winnable semifinal matchup against France on Wednesday (11:30 a.m. ET, ESPN) which will now have the entire nation watching.

The US-Brazil match has once again triggered the discussion regarding soccer’s place in American culture by many of the mainstream’s soccer illiterate. But even more interesting for the soccer fan in the USA is all the talk of an American soccer identity possibly emerging.

The soccer drama did not end with the early afternoon US World Cup victory. That was followed by a Portland vs. Seattle match which also delivered on rollercoaster emotions. In the end, the new mental makeup of the 2011 Sounders was on show, as they came back twice from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits: “In the last two years, the team might have folded and that's not the case right now,” Seattle’s Kasey Keller said.

While Seattle are riding an eight-match unbeaten streak, the Timbers are going the other way, suffering their seventh consecutive match without a win. “This is the worst loss by far,” said Portland’s Futty Danso.

Timbers supporters, who provided a memorable display as they hosted their first Cascadia rivalry match, will be disappointed with the result but perhaps just as crushing for them is the fact that the 3-2 loss may have represented the reawakening of Seattle star Fredy Montero: “I think he's starting to realize that a little more effort, a little more concentration, can make that difference,” one teammate said.

One positive to come out of Sunday for Timbers fans is the fact that it was revealed captain Jack Jewsbury was one of the leading vote-getters in All-Star balloting when the First XI was announced. At age 30, Jewsbury himself admits he never thought he’d be an All-Star: “To be quite honest, probably not.”

The biggest result of the weekend is arguably Real Salt Lake’s 2-0 win over FC Dallas, which was helped by a gaffe from the usually reliable Kevin Hartman in the FCD goal. While RSL may have seemingly turned a corner, FC Dallas are left to rue a goal line clearance which would have made it 1-1, “and I don't think Salt Lake scores unless the gods are with them,” FCD manager Schellas Hyndman said.

The soccer gods were with FCD goalkeeper Richard Sanchez and the Mexican Under-17 national team, which did not disappoint a sold-out Estadio Azteca and survived several close calls in a 2-0 defeat of Uruguay for the U-17 World Cup title.

The one blemish on Real Salt Lake’s victory is Álvaro Saborío storming off the pitch after being substituted and reportedly leaving the stadium before Jason Kreis even gave his postgame press conference.

One of the biggest goals from the weekend is sure to be David Beckham scoring off a corner kick for the game-winner in the LA Galaxy’s 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire. He claims he scored a similar goal once before in his career. He wound up playing 90 minutes with a spinal fracture but still had a hand in both his team’s goals. “That’s why we pay him the big money,” Bruce Arena said.

Here’s a day in the life of Beckham: In the span of 24 hours he went from scoring a game-winning goal off a corner kick, then was spotted at a gala dinner with Prince William and his new wife, which was followed by the birth of his first daughter, Harper Seven Beckham, a few hours later.

Beckham’s former club, Manchester United, arrives in Boston later today and MLSsoccer.com will have complete coverage as Wayne Rooney and the Red Devils touch down on US soil ahead of their first match against the New England Revolution on Wednesday in the World Football Challenge.

Chivas USA’s Nick LaBrocca continued his breakout season, scoring the 10,000th goal in MLS history on Saturday night. But it was not enough to overcome Sporting Kansas City, who stretched their unbeaten streak to 10 matches with a stoppage-time equalizer from Designated Player Omar Bravo.

LaBrocca might have a new midfield teammate if reports from France are to be believed: Laurent Courtois of Grenoble in France. (FRENCH)

There was probably no sweeter goal in MLS than Dwayne De Rosario’s game-winner against his former club, the New York Red Bulls, after he deked out the man he was traded for, ex-D.C. United captain Dax McCarty. He himself claims it was as “sweet as cherry pie” but for DC manager Ben Olsen, he was happy that United became the first team in three months to shut out New York.

No declaration may be more newsworthy this weekend than Toronto FC manager Aron Winter stating that, “I’m going to trade players. … We have a lack of quality.” TFC lost again, 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night.

Credit Vancouver Whitecaps manager Tom Soehn with providing a silver lining to his club’s fifth straight loss, 2-1 in Colorado on Saturday: “We had a really young team out there and to their credit they lived up to the things we talked about as far as how we want to play. They did a good job of competing.” Chinese forward Long Tan earned the most praise.

Lastly, here's an eccentric collection of people: MC Hammer, Jenny Finch, Andy Richter, John Kruk and USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra? The former Chicago Fire star could not dodge soccer talk at Sunday’s MLB celebrity softball match.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Dwayne De Rosario sends a parting shot via the media after match at Red Bull Arena

Sporting’s Matt Besler named to All-Star team thanks to text votes

American Exports: Bedoya is sent off in Örebro loss


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