Megan Rapinoe holds up her birthday message after scoring. (Lynne Cameron/PA Wire)In its second group match of the Olympic soccer tournament, the U.S. women's team opened the scoring against Colombia with an excellent goal from midfielder Megan Rapinoe in the 32nd minute on the way to a 3-0 win. Rapinoe launched a shot from outside of the box over Colombia keeper Sandra Sepulveda and into the net to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead and a much better start than it had against France on Wednesday, when it had to come back from 2-0 down to win 4-2.
After scoring, Rapinoe pulled a piece of paper out of her shoe and held it up for the cameras as her teammates gathered around to celebrate with her. The message on the paper read "Happy B-Day Kreigy, we liebe you." July 28 happens to be U.S. defender Ali Krieger's birthday (and this happens to be her 28th). Krieger was not selected for the Olympic team after working her way back from a torn ACL and MCL she suffered as the result of a harsh tackle in the team's first Olympic qualifying match against the Dominican Republic earlier this year. Krieger, who plays club football for FFC Frankfurt in Germany's Frauen-Bundesliga, has the word "liebe" (German for "love") tattooed on her arm, which is why Rapinoe used it in her message.
Krieger was an important part of the 2011 Women's World Cup team and scored the winning penalty in its improbable late comeback win against Brazil in the quarterfinals. Even though she's not with the team now, Rapinoe's message (with its mixed up "i" and "e" placement and all) shows just how tight this group is, whether it's all together in London or not.
In the second half, the U.S. added goals from Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd in the 74th and 77th minutes, respectively, for a comfortable 3-0 win against a combative Colombia side. Wambach scored her goal with a sliding toe poke between two defenders, then celebrated by carrying Rapinoe on her back and holding her right eye open, which took a nasty blow from Colombia's Lady Andrade earlier in the match and caused Wambach problems until she was substituted in the 78th minute.
By taking the maximum of six points from its two group-stage matches, the U.S. has already sealed a place in the quarterfinals.
UPDATE: Krieger tweeted about how touched she was by Rapinoe's gesture, saying, "Wow. knock me off my feet and make me cry why don't u! @mPinoe I have the best teammates in the world, thank u for makin my bday so special!"
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