That was one of the most compelling games of international sport -- any sport -- in U.S. history. Hope you were watching. Hope Solo hopes you were watching, too.
Problem is, it was soccer. And not just soccer, but women's soccer. And so society being what it is, this game -- a U.S. victory against Brazil in penalty kicks on Sunday in a World Cup quarterfinal -- probably won't go down in history with some of the others unmistakably on that list, all-timers like the U.S. men's hockey team's win over the Soviets in 1980 and the U.S. men's basketball team's loss to the Soviets in 1972.
Sunday's soccer game wasn't for the ultimate championship, but neither was that hockey game in 1980. The gold-medal game was against Finland, but I digress.
This soccer game on Sunday, this women's soccer game, was the most compelling soccer match in American history. If you won't give me the first sentence of this blogg post, surely you'll give me that last one. The U.S. women have won world titles before -- two in the World Cup, three in the Olympics -- but there has never been a game like this one.
A game with awful officiating, flopping opponents, a goal in the final seconds of extra time in the latter of two overtimes to force penalty kicks, then a final penalty kick by Ali Krieger to finish off the Brazilians.
The Americans were screwed by blind officiating on at least one goal, then had to play 10-on-11 -- and I'm telling you, it was more like 10-on-14 counting the officials -- after Rachel Buehler was sent off the field with a red card on a penalty against Marta that probably wasn't a penalty and definitely wasn't worthy of expulsion. That led to a Brazilian penalty kick that U.S. keeper Hope Solo swatted away, only to be told to do it again because, well, as of this writing I'm not sure why Solo had to do it again.
All I know is she couldn't, and Marta scored on the retake, and a 1-0 U.S. lead became a 1-1 tie. Brazil eventually went ahead 2-1, but Abby Wambach buried a second-overtime header seconds before the game would end in defeat, and it was on to penalty kicks.
This was a victory for the United States, yes, but it was also a victory for class and dignity. Brazil showed very little of it with the theatrical flopping and bush-league stalling tactics.
I'm not sure the better team won. But I'm sure the classier team won. And if you're thinking to yourself, "This blogg post sure was written by an American homer," I'd tell you that you're damn right.