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2016 Rio Olympics

USWNT fans console Christen Press with dog photos

Christen Press with her dog, Morena.

Christen Press with her dog, Morena.

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.

[LAULETTA: Five reasons the Olympics are over for USWNT]

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:

[MORE: Solo calls Sweden ‘cowards’ for tactics; Pia doesn’t care]

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:

Press showed her gratitude on Sunday morning in her first tweet since the loss:


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