The United States defeated Japan 2-1 this evening at Wembley Stadium capturing the gold medal in the 2012 Women's Olympic Football Tournament. Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the United States, but it took some amazing saves from Hope Solo to keep the team in the match. Japan played a great match, in a tournament where the teams from gold to bronze were separated by so little.
Alex Morgan got the assist on the opening goal, controlling the ball by the end line next to the goal. Her chip across the face of goal have Japan's keeper no chance, and with Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd waiting in the middle, it was Lloyd who got to the ball first with a leaning header to put the US up 1-0. The celebration was joyous.
It took some amazing saves from Hope Solo to keep it that way. Yuki Ogimi found herself unmarked in the box with a cross coming in. She got a head to it, and it was heading to the top corner until Hope Solo got a fingertip to the ball to push it over the bar. In the second half, after Christie Rampone carelessly lost the ball just outside the box, Solo was able to square up Mana Iwabuchi's shot and keep things as they were with a great diving save.
The US went up 2-0 on Japan as Carli Lloyd completed her brace. She dribbled the length of the offensive zone, and finding herself unmarked outside the box, let loose a screamer that flew past two defenders and out of the reach of the diving Miho Fukumoto into the top far corner.
Japan got one back, with Yuki Ogimi able to smash in a rebound after Christie Rampone failed to clear the ball that had been saved off the line. That's as far as the Japan comeback got, as both teams showed fatigue in the final 15 minutes of the match.
The United States' 2-1 victory over Japan comes a year after Japan's victory over the US in the Women's World Cup. These two countries have developed premier women's soccer (or sakka) programs, that will be going at it for many years to come.