USA Woman defeat Canada in thrilling game to head to Gold Medal Match

Following my last trip to Manchester to shoot USA woman’s football/soccer (take your pick) I was excited when management told me I would once again be sent up to Manchester via a fast train to cover Team USA’s semi final matchup against their neighbor Canada. I was expecting a fun game but NEVER would I have imagined the thriller I was about to witness!

As you will notice, this isn’t a 10 Spot blog. I had far too many cool pictures I liked to narrow it down that much so enjoy a rare full blog posting from me!

Below, USA fans pose for photos in front of Old Trafford, one of the most famous stadiums in the world.

Nikon D4, 24-70mm, 4000iso, f5, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

A couple USA fans have entirely too much fun in the grandstands prior to the game.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

While waiting to shoot the team group shot before the game I noticed most of the players had different colored shoes.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f5.6, 1/800th, Manual

USA players Lauren Cheney (left), Alex Morgan (center) and Abby Wambach jump up and down prior to game against Canada in the semi finals during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Old Trafford.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f5.6, 1/800th, Manual

And here is the group shot that all teams do before each game. Wish I could get NBA, MLB and NFL teams to do that before each game!

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f5.6, 1/800th, Manual

Once the game got underway it quickly became apparent it would be a rough match.

Canada defender (4) Carmelina Moscato squashes USA player Alex Morgan as she lands on top of her.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual

USA midfielder (10) Carli Lloyd slides for the ball in an attempt to keep it in bounds.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Canada would get on the board first courtesy of a goal by Christine Sinclair. As you can see USA goalie Hope Solo gave it her all in an attempt to stop it.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual

It was a beautiful evening for a soccer game. Yes I said soccer and not football!

Overall view of Old Trafford during the first half of the game between the USA against Canada in the semi finals during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 1600iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual

USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe (left) battles for the ball with Canada midfielder Sophie Schmidt. Is it just me or did we find Rapinoes doppleganger?

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual

Once halftime hit I would switch sides to have USA playing towards me. It would be a good move on my part!

During the second half USA would finally tie the score at 1-1 courtesy of Megan Rapinoe who would score off a corner kick.

USA midfielder (15) Megan Rapinoe celebrates her goal with teammate Alex Morgan.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Canada forward (12) Christine Sinclair celebrates her second goal of the game to once again put Canada up on USA 2-1.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Was it time for USA to be worried?

No way!

USA midfielder (15) Megan Rapinoe celebrates her second goal in the second half to tie the game at 2-2.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

By this point Rapinoe from USA and Sinclair from Canada would have two goals each. Would we perhaps see a rare hat trick from one of them?

The answer was yes, unfortunately it would be by Sinclair. That put Canada up 3-2 as time was ticking away on the game.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

A few minutes later USA would again have reason to cheer as USA forward (14) Abby Wambach would score a goal on a penalty kick to tie the game at 3-3.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Regulation would end and we would be rewarded with two 15 minute halves of overtime.

USA forward (13) Alex Morgan leaps over Canada defender Carmelina Moscato in the semi finals during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Old Trafford.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Canada forward (14) Melissa Tancredi flies through the air as she collides with USA forward Abby Wambach. I told you it was a rough game!

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

As extra time was ticking away with the score still tied it appeared we may go into a penalty kick shootout to determine the winner.

In this photo of USA goalie Hope Solo she intently looked at the clock. Bet she was getting nervous!

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Canada midfielder Sophie Schmidt screams in pain after suffering an injury against USA late in the game.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

All the cool goal shots I had taken earlier in the game were cool but now the only shots that mattered was the winning goal and celebration.

In the waining minutes of extra time it would be USA forward (13) Alex Morgan who would be the hero of the nation as she headed the winning goal in extra time against Canada.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

She would quickly be mobbed by her extatic teammates.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

After the infield celebration started I noticed Rapinoe and Morgan heading over the fence and into the grandstands on the other side of the field from me. I ran as fast as Usain Bolt to get over there to get close up shots of the celebration.

USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe (right) celebrates in the crowd with girlfriend Sarah Walsh following USA’s win in extra time against Canada.

Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

USA forward Alex Morgan celebrates in the grandstands with her parents after scoring the winning goal in extra time.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/500th, Manual

As Rapinoe climbed back over the fence to the field she looked at me and made a classic “whew” face. She’s such a character.

Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

Lost in the euphoria of the USA win was the complete dejection felt by the girls of Canada.

Nobody could have felt worse than Canada forward Christine Sinclair, who had a career game on the world stage with a hat trick that still wasn’t good enough to propel them to the gold medal match.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

On my way up to the media room to continue transmitting images I had to stop and shoot this shot as Canada midfielder Chelsea Stewart cries as she is consoled by a family member. It was a truly sad moment but it made for a very telling photo of how it felt for the Canadian team.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 3200iso, f4, 1/500th, Manual

That closes out the best soccer game I’ve ever seen. It honestly made me a fan of the sport.

That wraps up my most fun shoot of the Olympics. Can’t wait to shoot the gold medal game!

I will close out this blog with some web clips from the game. I post these not to brag but to show how big of a deal this game was to all the major sports websites. The screenshots were taken within 15 minutes of the end of the game proving why us photographers have to get the images out to the wire as quick as possible. When it comes to right after a big game ends its not who has the best photos as much as who gets the images online quickest…

Even found a couple major newspapers that used my shots on A-1 above the fold.

I have a Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to “like” the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!

3 Responses to “USA Woman defeat Canada in thrilling game to head to Gold Medal Match”

  1. Sad faces from a Canadian…..

  2. Robert Daniels says:

    Awesome shots bro. How is it using the D4 vs the D3s?

  3. How do you find the Front Cover’s of the Newspapers Mark, do they publish them online ?

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