I am on my back, on the living room floor, pounding the hardwood with my fists, tears running down my face, and I am laughing. The US has just beaten Brazil in the most wrenching, draining, tornado-in-the heart rollercoaster wreck with bombs thrown in soccer match you will ever see.
The web is full of recaps, so I won't reinvent the wheel here. Jesus Christ. I was completely with Sundhage and Wambach at the end there. There truly were no words. Just laughing and howling and being drenched with tears and sweat and disbelief and joy, the outcome still so improbable and tenuous even after the fact that I was afraid to watch the replays for fear that somehow it might turn out differently the second or third time through. There were no words.
But I do have three words now, plus a followup. The three words are: thank you, Erika.
Thank you for your ever-so-artful dive, with an added technical merit score given for walking away from play and furtively checking over your shoulder to make sure the ball was safely out of bounds before crumpling to the ground like you'd been hit with an elephant dart. Thank you for rolling around and twitching for a full two and half minutes before being stretchered off, because that was conveniently ten full seconds more than the US needed to score the tying goal. And thank you for definitively proving that such odious cheating theatrics not only lose you the respect of your opponents and every person watching from the stands, but also lose you the match as well.
Fuck off, Brazil. You have the most technically and physically gifted player on the planet and a supporting cast that can dribble circles around most of the US defense, but instead of beating us with your superior skills and instincts, you chose to bring the most repellant aspect of the men's game into your own and tried to cheat your way to a victory. That is not "gamesmanship." It is cowardice. The only person among the 26,000 in attendance who fell for your bullshit diving and screaming was the referee, so it almost worked. But in the end it didn't matter. You lost. Try playing straight-up football next time, because you're actually quite good at that.