Alyssa Naeher’s penalty shootout vs. Canada will go down as one of the most legendary in USWNT history

Alyssa Naeher had a penalty shootout performance against Canada in the Concacaf W Gold Cup semifinal that etched new lore in United States women’s national team history.

It’s important to add some context to what must have been going through Naeher’s mind before the shootout began.

She had just conceded and failed to save the penalty kick in the final seconds to send the game to a shootout.

She’s likely had nightmares over the past seven months of THAT shootout against Sweden in the Women’s World Cup where she was millimeters away from saving the decisive kick.

On top of all this she finished a brutal season with the Chicago Red Stars in 2023 that saw the team concede a league-high 50 GOALS. She kept just three clean sheets in 20 starts.

Most players in that mental state with those recent struggles would fold like a lawn chair under the pressure. But this is Alyssa fucking Naeher we’re talking about.

Naeher was a brick wall in the shootout saving three of Canada’s four attempts. The moment that solidified the shootout as iconic was Naeher saving goal scorer Jordyn Huitema’s penalty, not celebrating, calming stepping up to take her own penalty and nailing it.

This is what legends do.

Her heroics are nothing new. In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Naeher also saved three penalty kicks vs. Netherlands (one in regulation and two in a shootout).

Alex Morgan said that Naeher’s performance vs. Canada was one of the best she’s ever seen.

What a player.

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