The 2020 SheBelieves Cup began with the expectations that we would see the United States Women’s National Team be tested against 3 tough opponents as they began preparations for the Tokyo Olympics. Of course, the final match took place as the NBA made the announcement that they were suspending their season due to the coronavirus outbreak and the world was taking quick steps to implement safety restrictions. Before that, Christen Press dominated the tournament with two acts of wizardry.
In the opening match for the USWNT against England, it was a tight affair for the entirety of the first half. Early in the second half, Christen Press decided to do something that was chapter out of the book of magic, collecting the ball about 25 yards from the goal and unleashing a dipping ball that England goalkeeper Carly Telford could merely watch elude her outstretched arm as it entered the goal.
ESPN’s Sebastian Salazar, calling the game for the network alongside USWNT legend Julie Foudy, gave us all the soundtrack of our reaction to that goal:
“CHRISTEN PRESS, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”
What she did was break the hearts of the Lionesses. 2 minutes later, Carli Lloyd broke their spirits with a goal to make it 2-0, which would be the final score. After the match though, the buzz was all over Christen’s goal, matched only by the recalling of Salazar’s call on the air. Christen’s celebration, her walking away from goal with her hands in the air triumphantly, became a t-shirt on BreakingT within an hour of the final whistle.
The USWNT went on to beat Spain 1-0 in their 2nd match of the round robin tournament, which left them with a chance to win the trophy. Still, they had work to do while sitting on 6 points entering the match. Both Spain and England, who had each won a match against Japan during the tournament, were playing each other in the first match of that evening. Spain beat England, which put them level on 6 points with the USWNT. The Americans would need a result for the team to lift the SheBelieves Cup trophy.
They got off to a hot start with a Megan Rapinoe goal in the 7th minute, but there was still plenty of time for some more magic from Christen Press. She didn’t make her fans wait long. In the 26th minute, Rapinoe was pushing the ball towards the goal, did a turn and found Christen Press, who was standing at the top of the penalty. She collected her ball with her back to goal, one touched it blindly as she turned to her right, and she unleashed the chip of all chips.
What a goal by Christen Press. Such vision, creativity, and mischief. 9 goals in her last 10 US games. Such artistry, like a footballing Georgia O'Keeffe pic.twitter.com/7xUePAqwX8— roger bennett (@rogbennett) March 12, 2020
Golazo. Bonafide golazo. Sebastian Salazar, once again calling the match with Julie Foudy, entered another dimension of incredulity.
“NO, NO, NOOOOO! CHRISTEN PRESS...WHAT DID YOU DO?!”
Magic, that’s what she did. The no look chip was a goal that made everyone violate social distancing in celebration. The team would later add a 3rd goal in a 3-1 victory, but once again, the story as the USWNT lifted the SheBelieves Cup trophy was the magic that was once again displayed:
Christen Press...what. did. you. do?!
For more Black History Month stories, check out our Black History Month hub. We will be bringing a story each day this month to highlight some of the biggest moments in black American and world soccer history.