Now lost in time after a thrilling runners-up finish in the 2011 World Cup and a 2015 World Cup title is a very important day for the United States women’s national team: Nov. 20, 2010.
Five years ago today, the U.S. women defeated Italy, 1-0 from a goal by Alex Morgan in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time. The match was the away leg of a home-and-home with Italy for the 16th and final spot in the 2011 World Cup.
The Americans, also then ranked No. 1 in the world at the time, found themselves in the precarious position of nearly missing the World Cup, after shockingly sputtering out of CONCACAF qualifying in the semifinals, losing to Mexico in one of the greatest upsets in women’s soccer history.
Morgan’s goal in those final seconds in Italy took some of the growing tension off of the situation. Had she not scored that, the U.S. and Italy would have went to Chicago for the second leg the next week scoreless on aggregate, meaning one away goal for Italy could have sunk the U.S.
Instead, the then 21-year-old Morgan — wearing No. 5 and not the iconic No. 13, to show how long ago this was already — scored to breathe life into the U.S., who recovered enough in the ensuing months to nearly win the 2011 World Cup.
Morgan now has 55 goals in 96 appearances for the U.S. and a World Cup title and Olympic gold medal to her name. Indeed, time flies.
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