Friday night in Yokohama, Japan (morning in Chicago), Red Stars and United States Women’s National Team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher saved three penalty kicks, including two in the decisive shootout, to help send the US past The Netherlands and into the Olympic Semifinals. A few hours after the game, the Red Stars had the chance to share their thoughts on watching one of their own excel in such pivotal moments.”
“I watched with my daughter,” said Chicago Red Stars head coach Rory Dames. “We yelled on the first PK save, we yelled a little louder on the second PK save, and got up off the couch and ran around a little on the third PK save. I watch those games as a fan not as a coach, although a little as a coach when Julie keeps playing 90 minutes, or 120 today… Super excited for Alyssa. There’s a lot of personal time an energy invested into her. She’s a great human being, an exceptional goalie. I’m old enough to remember when Alyssa Naeher was the weak spot on the national team and that’s why they wouldn’t win the World Cup, so it’s fun how that’s come full circle… Very rewarding to know how happy she feels and that the team is moving on”
As for the Red Stars players, they’ve mostly watched the games on replay rather than at the early-morning local kickoff times. For midfielder Sarah Woldmoe, that was the plan today as well…until it wasn’t.
“I was awoken by my husband who said ‘It’s 2-2, get up!” Woldmoe said.
“That was awesome,” she said of Naeher’s saves in the shootout. “That’s why she is where she is… It’s inspiring for us too, knowing she’s out teammate.
None of Dames, Woldmoe or Makenzy Doniak were willing to commit to being awake for Monday morning’s 3:00 AM kickoff for the semifinal against Canada. After all, earlier on Sunday night they’ll face the Washington Spirit for the third time in six weeks looking to get back in the win column.