August 7, 2012
Wambach: 'I don't know why we make things so dramatic'
By Michael Lewis
MANCHESTER -- Abby Wambach, philosopher, raconteur and soccer player deluxe, was holding court in the mixed zone outside of Old Trafford on Monday night, trying to find the words to describe the United States' stirring come-from-behind 4-3 triumph over Canada in the Olympic women's soccer semifinals.
|Abby Wambach: "This is what we're working for"
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Like her on-the-field persona, Wambach was right on target.
"You can’t put words into this experience," she said.
Then she found the right words.
"It’s epic. This game, this win, getting into the gold medal game – this is what we’re working for.”
The Americans were working for the gold-medal match and another shot at playing Japan. They lost to the Japanese in last year's Women's World Cup final in penalty kicks after playing to a draw in regulation and extra time.
"This is an opportunity not for redemption, but to prove ourselves, to be in position to go after and take the go medal because we believe we deserve it. It's going to take 90 minutes of a great performance on behalf of the best team in the world and that's the team that will be sitting on the top of the podium."
Wambach had something to do with that, firing home a penalty kick in the 80th minute to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 3-3 deadlock. It was Wambach's 143rd international goal, tying her with Canada's Christine Sinclair, who had a hat-trick. They trail only Mia Hamm (158).
“I’m not sure she could’ve done more for her team," Wambach said. "She literally put the Canadian team on her back and carried them through 90 minutes. Credit to Canada, they’re a great team."
That great team forced the U.S. to come back three times.
"I don't know why we want to make things so dramatic, but we do," Wambach said.
But the Americans certainly have a knack for doing that.
"We are unwilling to give up and that says a lot about who we are as a team," Wambach said. "Even when Canada scored their third goal there was something in me that knew that we had more, that we could give more. This team has belief in itself, even when the going gets tough."
Wambach had no problem with Canada coach John Herdman claiming the U.S. had used illegal tactics on dead ball situations.
"To Canada's credit, the coach prepared them very well for their set pieces," she said. "He had a very good tactic yesterday, making it a media ploy to say that we do illegal stuff. I give him credit for that, something he was trying to do to rally his team behind him."