Pia Sundhage's crew showed well in their final tuneup before the 2012 Olympic tournament in London.
SANDY, Utah -- It was hot - brutally hot - for the final U.S. women's national team game before they head off to London. So when Amy Rodriguez scored a dramatic winner just five minutes before the final whistle, how did they celebrate?
By doing snow angels on the field, of course.
The unorthodox celebration was a tribute to the last time the U.S. ladies came to Rio Tinto, in a spring snowstorm that blanketed the pitch in several inches of snow. When Abby Wambach scored the game-winner in that one - a 1-0 victory over Mexico - the team celebrated by doing snow angels.
"Salt Lake City fans are special," said forward Abby Wambach. "[The snow angels] was our celebration with them to show them how much we care about them coming and supporting us."
The match itself was pretty much everything you could ask for in a final tuneup before a major tournament. Canada played well and kept the match tight, which is good preparation for the pressure-packed games the U.S. is sure to have at times in London.
"Canada is such a great team," said Rodriguez. "They always put up a great fight and they're difficult to play against. We want to be as best prepared as possible, and I think this game did that for us."
The U.S. controlled most of the match, but it was the wide play from midfielder Megan Rapinoe that consistently unlocked the Canadian defense. Rapinoe was a terror for the visitors and she whipped service after service into the box. One of those crosses was deflected by Canada's Carmelina Moscato into her own goal, giving the U.S. the 1-0 in the 15th minute.
"Today I think she was splendid," said head coach Pia Sundhage.
It was a physical match as well, and the hearts of U.S. soccer fans undoubtedly skipped a beat when star striker Alex Morgan went down hard and stayed down early in the second half. She was immediately subbed out in favor of Rodriguez. After the match, all signs were that the injury was nothing serious.
"She got a knock on her knee but she'll be fine," said Sundhage.
So despite a few tense moments, the U.S. ladies agreed that the game served its purpose and that they are where they need to be heading into London where the expectation is that they will take home the gold medal.
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