Missing your team’s final penalty kick in a shootout, with advancement to the Olympic semifinals on the line, can be a crushing experience.
Christen Press found herself in that situation on Friday, when she hit her spot-kick over the bar on the United States’ fifth kick of the shootout. A couple minutes later, after overt gamesmanship from U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, Lisa Dahlkvist sealed the shocking victory for Sweden.
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Press wasn’t the only player who failed to convert in the shootout — Alex Morgan had her shot, the first of the shootout, saved by Hedvig Lindahl — but her inability to keep the shot on frame made for a particularly cruel spotlight. So U.S. fans on social media decided to do something about it.
The day prior to the U.S.-Sweden quarterfinal, PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Pets — unveiled an ad campaign headlined by Press and her family’s rescued dog, Morena, titled “Adopt, Don’t Shop!” It included the following video:
So in an effort to console Press, fans started the hashtag #DogsForChristen, sending photos of their pups to Press. It purportedly started with this fan, and the replies snowballed in from fans, teammates and the women’s soccer community:
— mmw (@mmwilsner) August 12, 2016
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) August 13, 2016
— Meghan Klingenberg🍿 (@meghankling) August 13, 2016
— Jim Gabarra (@JimGabarra1) August 13, 2016
— arnim (@arnimiii) August 13, 2016
— Houston Dash (@HoustonDash) August 13, 2016
Press showed her gratitude on Sunday morning in her first tweet since the loss:
— Christen Press (@ChristenPress) August 14, 2016