Photo: Tony Manfred
After an exhausting 24 hours that included a gutting World Cup final defeat and a post-game flight from Germany, the U.S. women’s national team landed back in New York City yesterday.They arrived at the W Hotel in Times Square to a smattering of fans and curious passersby, along with the now-customary mass of reporters. Had they held on for those final three minutes against Japan on Sunday, this would have been a very different affair, featuring a much longer, more boastful crowd.
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But despite their obvious disappointment and exhaustion, the players stayed positive.
“I think that we are really proud of the way that we played. I think that we possessed the ball pretty well against a very talented Japanese team,” said forward Heather O’Reilly. “We thought we played pretty well, and Japan just had two great goals at very opportunistic times.”
Abby Wambach admitted the team was “obviously devastated” after the loss, but pointed to next summer’s Olympics as an opportunity for redemption.
“As soon as I got in the locker room I started thinking about 2012. London is going to be fantastic,” said the striker.
Many players echoed Wambach’s sentiment about the 2012 Olympics. But goalie Hope Solo still pointed to World Cup 2015 as the team’s ultimate goal.
“When it comes to World Cups and Olympics, no one seems to compare them,” Solo said. “So, for me, I want a World Cup trophy four years from now.”
Still, the outspoken goalie took pride in her team’s performance.
“I think we had our best game in the final, but unfortunately we didn’t come out on top,” she said.
Whether this widespread positivity is authentic, a gesture of good sportsmanship, a coping mechanism, or a little of everything, each player made a concerted effort to take the good from what was a stunning loss.
“I just feel so strong about this team. We really built something,” said Wambach. “So the things we take away from this are going to be big positives, and moving forward we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
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