A pingpong play finally ended the frustration at Rio Tinto Stadium.
After nearly 85 minutes of missed headers and wide shots on Saturday, the U.S. women's national team earned its 2-1 win over Canada on a chaotic sequence one that saw the ball bounce off three players before finding the back of the net.
U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe started the exchange form the corner, sending a crossing pass behind the Canadian back line. With almost half a dozen bodies jumbled within 15 feet of the goal, forward Abby Wambach back-heeled the ball, hoping a teammate would cut in for the finish.
"For a split second, I thought maybe [my pass] would go in," Wambach said.
Instead, the ball ricocheted against a Canadian defender. A split second later, it was forward Amy Rodriguez subbed in when leading scorer Alex Morgan twisted her knee in the 51st minute who found a clear path for the go-ahead goal.
"It was jumbling around and I got my toe on it," Rodriguez said. "It was like a volley, but it was so close to the end line, it was like 'How could you miss this?' "
"I'll take the assist for that," Rapinoe joked.
After the goal, the entire team lay down in the left corner of the pitch, making snow angels in the turf. The celebration was a callback to the last time the women were at Rio Tinto, a 1-0 win over Mexico in March 2010. After Wambach scored in the 60th minute, she and her teammates swung their arms and legs through the snow that had slowed them down through the game. If someone had scored a second goal, they would have started a snowball fight.
Despite the 95-degree weather Rapinoe said it felt like "a fireball in my throat" the U.S. planned a reprise before Saturday's game.
"It was pretty funny," said head coach Pia Sundhage, who was left in the dark until the celebration commenced. "It's fun to be around this team, I can tell you that."