Alyssa Naeher makes huge saves as U.S. soccer team wins

Megan Rapinoe converted the deciding penalty in a shootout and the United States advanced to the semifinals of the women’s Olympic soccer tournament 4-2 following a 2-2 draw with the Netherlands on Friday.

United States goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher stopped Vivianne Meidema’s opening attempt in the shootout. She then saved a shot from Aniek Nouwen before Rapinoe put her penalty away.

The team tweeted a video of Rapinoe converting the winning goal, saying: “WE’RE NOT GOING HOME YET.”

After Rapinoe scored, she turned to her teammates, folded her arms and grinned in triumph.

Afterward, she joked about the pressure.
 
“I just try to stay calm. I always say to myself, `The worst that’s going to happen is you’re going to lose the whole thing,'” she smiled.  

Meidema scored a pair of goals in regulation time for the Netherlands, giving her 10 goals for the tournament – an Olympic record.

Miedema put the Netherlands ahead in the 18th minute but the Americans equalized when Sam Mewis headed in a goal off a feed from Lynn Williams in the 28th. Williams then gave the Americans the lead in the 31st.

Meidema, who was playing in her 100th game for the Netherlands, made it 2-2 in the 54th.

Naeher saved a late penalty kick by Lieke Martens that could have ended the Americans’ quest for gold.

Soccer Football - Women - Quarterfinal - Netherlands v United States
Lieke Martens of the Netherlands misses a penalty as Alyssa Naeher of the United States saves it during the Tokyo Olympics at International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan, July 30, 2021. CHRISTIAN HARTMANN / REUTERS

Naeher downplayed her own performance while lauding her teammates.
 
“This team just kept pushing for 90 minutes, 120 minutes, and we just kept believing that we were going to find a way to get it done,” Naeher said. “Very proud of the four players to step up and score their four penalties to go 4-fot-4. That is huge.”  

The United States will next face Canada, which advanced to the semifinals 4-3 on penalties after a scoreless draw with Brazil in Rifu.