Alyssa Naeher: The Hero in USWNT’s Semifinal Win

Let me just start by saying, folks, I was wrong. On Wednesday’s night show, I picked Canada to upset the USWNT and that almost happened. If it had not been for Alyssa Naeher going all Greg Jennings and putting the team on her back. 

Alright, let’s dive into this whirlwind of a game, shall we? My heart rate has only just returned to somewhere near normal. Last night, under the San Diego sky that wept almost as much as the fans in the stands, what a scene it was. The sky crying buckets, fans losing their minds, and the USWNT marched through to the Concacaf W Gold Cup final. Absolute madness as it was a drama-filled, nail-biting, penalty-kick victory over our familiar rivals from the north, Canada

First up, I have to tip my cap to Alyssa Naeher. If you ever doubted what a goalkeeper could mean to a team, doubt no more. Naeher was a titan between the sticks, a shot-stopping sensation that not only kept the Canadians at bay during the game but stepped up and slammed home her own penalty in the shootout. Then, as if she hadn’t done enough, she threw herself across the goal to deny Canada’s final penalty, punching the USWNT’s ticket to the final. Oh, and did I mention it was her own attempt that pushed us there? I’m still looking for my jaw. It’s somewhere on the floor.

As the rain poured down, turning the Snapdragon Stadium pitch into a waterlogged battleground, the conditions seemed to say, “Welcome to adversity.” But our women rose to the occasion. Jaedyn Shaw, remember the name because she’s not just making history; she’s rewriting it. First USWNT player to score in each of her first four starts? Check. The future is here, wearing Jaedyn Shaw’s bright smile.

And when the going got tough, the tough got going. Enter Sophia Smith, the super-sub who doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘pressure.’ She grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in extra time, following a sublime flick from Rose Lavelle, and buried the ball past Sheridan to put us up in the 99th minute. It was the kind of goal that had us all believing we were destined to go through.

But this is USWNT vs. Canada, and it wouldn’t be us without a heart-stopping twist. As the clock ticked down in overtime, the penultimate act of the night saw Canada awarded a penalty after Naeher’s collision in the box. Leon converted, and to penalties we went.

The shootout was the kind of emotional rollercoaster that you’d pay good money for at an amusement park, only this was free and just as scream-inducing. When Naeher blocked Fleming’s attempt, I swear you could hear the roar all the way back to the Commonwealth. 

We’re heading to the final against Brazil on Sunday, and if you thought the game with Canada had you on the edge of your seat, just you wait. Brazil are coming off a 3-0 win over Mexico, and they’ll be no pushover. Brazil glides into the final with flair, showcasing a diverse scoring lineup that hints at their untested defense.

But after what I saw from our women last night, after the guts, the glory, the sheer will to win, I say bring it on. The standard for this team is to win, and win they shall.

What we witnessed last night was more than a semifinal victory; it was a testament to the relentless spirit of this team. This group has faced down the gauntlet of expectation and come out swinging. Canada gave us a fight for the ages, but the USWNT stood tall when it mattered most.

So let’s do this. Let’s ride this wave of euphoria all the way to the final and show Brazil the indomitable heart of U.S. soccer. The stage is set for a clash of titans, and I feel it will be one for the history books. Let’s go, USWNT, bring home the win!


  • Jimmie Martin

    Jimmie Martin is a charismatic soccer podcast host from Kentucky who passionately advocates for Promotion and Relegation in US Soccer. With infectious enthusiasm and a lighthearted sense of humor, he engages fellow enthusiasts on the Bluegrass Soccer Cast. Jimmie's goal is to promote the growth of soccer in the US while entertaining and educating his audience.

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Alyssa Naeher: The Hero in USWNT’s Semifinal Win

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