Following a gut-wrenching 2-2 draw against Portugal deep in the Amazon, the #USMNT had just two days of training and rest before departing for Recife in preparation for its match against Germany, where a number of scenarios can either send the #USMNT into the Round of 16 or back home.
June 23, 2014
Thanks to all the supporters out there for pushin us today!!! Only 30 sec more and we done it!! but… http://t.co/EInowVg6au— Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior) June 23, 2014
The match-up against Portugal that put the #USMNT in the predicament against Germany was a roller coaster ride. The mistake for Portugal's early goal, the two goals to put the U.S. up and the last-minute dagger that leveled it.
Kramer tries not to watch the World Cup after "overdosing" in 2010. "The highs are high, but the lows? Oh, they're low! They're low, Jerry!"— Modern Seinfeld (@SeinfeldToday) June 12, 2014
The team has traveled about 3,300 miles in less than three days, and somewhere in between, the starters and reserves found a way to get a few practices under their belt.
No matter how far the team traveled, #USMNT fans wanted the players to know there was always support from home.
WONDO!!!!!!!!— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) June 22, 2014
The support and a few good training sessions that concentrated on Germany got the players right back on track.
Before the team left, one thing had to be figured out; who would win the team soccer tennis championship?
Easy win at training today!! ⚽️⚽️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/HN5PQO2KJC— Aron Jóhannsson (@aronjo20) June 24, 2014
And just like that, the team boarded its third flight in as many days, getting to Recife two days before the showdown with Germany.
Onto Recife! Focused on Germany... Leggo ✈️✈️✈️✈️— DeAndre Yedlin (@yedlinny) June 24, 2014
Hello Recife! #LetsDoThis— tim howard (@TimHowardGK) June 24, 2014
The welcome wagon in Recife was truly amazing.
Another scenario the #USMNT and Jurgen Klinsmann must deal with on Thursday is banged up defender Matt Besler and the absence of forward Jozy Altidore following a hamstring injury in the early stages of the Ghana match.
However, the @ussoccer just might have an ace up it’s sleeve… or maybe it’s a king…
One thing is for sure: fans, clubs, businesses and celebrities are excited for The #USMNT to #LetsDoThis.
After record-breaking TV records for the match against Portugal, fans and fellow athletes have taken to social media to build-up the momentum for Thursday’s crucial game.
Even the Hulkster go on board with the #USMNT.
The USA-Germany game has received so much attention that even folks who are off planet are tuning in - that's right our astronauts are excited!
Once it arrived in Recife, the team wanted to relax a bit. Whether it’s playing cards or watching good ol’ television, players took their mind off all the pre-match hub-bub.
"The office" is my show during this World Cup— Mix Diskerud (@MixDiskerud) June 24, 2014
In the end, the motto stays the same: win and we’re in. The #USMNT can advance with a win, a tie or even a loss. But, the easiest way to advance according to Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic? #RiskEverything.
On Feb. 9, 2013, the U.S. Women’s National Team kicked off the new year with a 4-1 victory against Scotland in Jacksonville, Florida. Christen Press, then 24-years-old, was responsible for two goals that day, scoring in the 13th minute and adding another in the 32nd to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead at halftime.
The early goal was Press’ first for the USA, coming in a match that was also her first cap.
Becky Sauerbrunn hugs Christen Press in the aftermath of Press scoring on her WNT debut.
Earning that first cap is special for any player, but a debut and a goal in the same game? That’s a rare feat. In the 30+ year history of the U.S. WNT 21 players have scored in their first caps.
NOTHING TO LOSE
Press’ path to that first game three years ago was an interesting one. In early 2012, she made the decision to move to Sweden after U.S.-based Women’s Professional Soccer folded. Press thought leaving the country might negatively impact her hopeful National Team career, but little did she know, it was only just beginning.
“I think just because I always thought that the National Teams would be watching the American league, I thought that going abroad was kind of like saying goodbye to my dream of playing for the National Team,” recalled Press. “I left around this time, in February, and I thought I would not get a call, I sort of thought that I would fall out of U.S. Soccer’s radar.”
As it turns out, head coach Pia Sundhage kept tabs on players in Europe, especially in her native land of Sweden. Press got off to a hot start with her new club, and it wasn’t long before she was on her way back home.
Press returned to the U.S. and joined the WNT in Florida in April during the final stretch of what had been an intense fitness camp. She kept to herself and tried to quickly learn as much as possible despite only being there for five days.
“I had nothing to lose,” she said. “It was my first camp, it was warm and I was so happy. I don’t think I spoke to anybody. I was not nervous, I was just happy to be in Florida and my dream was coming true. I’m always quiet when I don’t know my surroundings, so I just kept to myself trying to learn the rules, how to behave; it was all so quick.”
That short stint turned out to be the only one for Press before she was named an Olympic alternate in 2012. The following February, Tom Sermanni took over as WNT head coach, and it was then Press learned she would start against Scotland. Her chance had arrived.
“I went on the field, the crowd was so much bigger than I’d ever played in front of, and for me it was so much bigger than life,” said Press. “But I kept telling myself, ‘I’m not nervous, I’m confident, I’m a good player and I believe in myself.’”
Years and multiple goals later, plus one Women’s World Cup title to her name, the dream is alive and well for Press.
Press celebrates scoring her first World Cup goal against Australia in the USA's opening match of the 2015 Women's World Cup