It’s one of the most incredible matches in soccer history. The 2012 Olympic Women’s Soccer semifinal was a highly anticipated matchup between the United States and Canada. Two CONCACAF rivals in the women’s game, the USWNT and Canada had played some epic matches throughout their history. But none have quite matched August 6, 2012 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.
The scoring started in the 22nd minute when a Melissa Tancredi pass found Christine Sinclair, who punched it home past Hope Solo to make it 1-0. That was the score all the way until the 54th minute, when Megan Rapinoe found the back of the net to equalize it for the USWNT. Christine Sinclair scored again in the 67th minute, on a header again from a Melissa Tancredi assist, to make it 2-1 Canada. Rapinoe wouldn’t let that stand for long, taking a nice Kelley O’Hara cross in the 70th minute and sending a rocket off both goalposts and past Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod to make it 2-2.
3 minutes later, Christine Sinclair completed her hat trick by taking a Kaylyn Kyle pass and sending it home to make it 3-2. In the 78th minute, Erin McLeod, who had been warned for time wasting earlier in the match, was penalized for time wasting again, giving the USWNT an indirect free kick. Tobin Heath tapped it to Carli Lloyd for a shot, but it’s blocked by Marie-Eve Nault’s arm, giving the Americans a penalty kick. Abby Wambach smashed it home in the 80th minute to level the score once again at 3-3.
The score remained that way through the end of regulation, and it went to extra time. Back and forth the two teams went as they searched for the winner. It finally headed to stoppage time in the 2nd extra time period, and the USWNT had one more chance. After Abby Wambach found Heather O’Reilly on the wing, O’Reilly sent a cross high into the box. Leaping over everyone near post was Alex Morgan, who headed the ball just over the outstretched arm of McLeod into the back of the net for the game-winning goal.
It was an iconic moment for the USWNT, one of the most famous goals in U.S. Soccer history. 20 seconds from a penalty shootout, the team took the game, and Alex Morgan was the hero. The USWNT would go on to beat Japan to win the gold medal, while Canada beat France in the 3rd place game to settle for bronze.
Before the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Alex Morgan took us back to that day and that miraculous moment. Relive it through her words and the wild details of that incredible match.