The USWNT owed a massive debt of gratitude to under-fire goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher on Tuesday night, the Chicago Red Stars stopper keeping out a late Steph Houghton penalty to prevent their semi-final against England from going to extra time.
That save, coupled with another from a long-range shot in the first half, helped secure a 2-1 win for the USA to put them into Sunday's final in Lyon, where they'll face either Sweden or the Netherlands.
What They Said
"It was amazing. There's no words I can give you to explain how proud I personally am of Alyssa, and how proud our entire team is. It was so epic and big-time, and she's just shown so much courage and bravery through this tournament."
"She saved our ass. We knew after that moment that the momentum was shifting, and we had to put in a huge amount of defensive work to close out the game. It just shifted and we knew we were going to come out on top if we put in the work."
"Holy sh***t, that was a f**king huge moment. I didn't even move, I was so stressed out. I see her every day in training, stopping penalties and getting scored on, but to come up big in that moment – for her personally and for the team – it's just massive.
"Obviously she has a...particular person that she's following, who had so much attention on her. She hasn't really had moments like this to come into herself yet, but she's an incredible goalkeeper. She's so steady for us back there and for her to have this moment is so special, she'll never forget it."
"Dude, Alyssa Naeher has been playing out of her mind, this game was huge and her save in the first half when it was going top bins was incredible. The fact that she steeled her nerve and got the penalty save was huge.
"For them to even it up on a penalty kick would've been rough, and she's proving that she's the best keeper in the world. I'm proud of her and she deserves it, because she's the best."
"It feels good. You just take a couple deep breaths and you try to get a good jump on it. I got a pep talk from Christen Press about six months ago just telling me I need to be more positive on penalty kicks and just relax and just let instincts take over. I give her some credit for that one for sure, keeping me calm."