Thursday, July 21, 2011

US Women's soccer-Wambach welcomed home to Rochester

On a night where Abby Wambach not only represented the visiting team, but did not take the field, she still received a hero's welcome from 15,404 fans in her hometown of Rochester on Wenesday (she actually grew up in Pittsford).
(AP)-Abby Wambach signs autographs before the game.
The occasion - a Women's Professional League game between the Western New York Flash and Magicjack in Rochester four days after the US fell to Japan in the Women's World Cup final - was the result of scheduling genius and therefore drew a record crowd for a WPS game.
And while the discussions about the US women's soccer team choking in the final or the long term viability of soccer in America are valid, for one night it didn't matter.
Instead, the crowd celebrated the accomplishments of returning US players Wambach, supersub Megan Rapinoe, defender Becky Sauerbrunn and goalkeeper Jillian Loyden on Magicjack and forward Alex Morgan on WNY Flash.
The game was won 3-1 by the Flash thanks to the brilliant attacking play of Canadian international Christine Sinclair and the Brazilian five-time FIFA player of the year Marta, but despite the high quality soccer on display, the game was almost anticlimactic. It says something that Morgan was cheered just as lustily for being subbed into the game than any of the Flash goals.
World Cup soccer seems to bring countries together and that was certainly the case for this United States Women's team. Especially after the dramatic way they beat Brazil. 

Success at the event turned Wambach into an overnight star, twitter phenomenon and guest on multiple talk shows. But fame is not what Wednesday's game was about. 
For the people in attendance it was a chance to congratulate the returning players for their success and say thanks for representing America with pride. 
From the 40-second standing ovation, to receiving the key to the city, Rochester officially welcomed Wambach home.