Normally, a draw isn’t a bad outcome in soccer. In tournament play, it’s even rewarded: A draw earns you a point.
Unless you had the win in your pocket with 70 seconds to go in regulation.
And unless your opponent was down a player for the last 33 minutes of the game.
And unless you’re the top-ranked team in the world.
In those circumstances, on home soil before a large, enthusiastic crowd, you should win.
After Thursday’s 3-3 draw with Japan, the best things U.S. fans could say were:
• The game had plenty of drama, especially in the second half.
• It easily could have been a loss. The three U.S. goals weren’t quite gifts, but Japan’s goalkeeper, Ayaka Yamashita, didn’t do much to prevent them. The first two were balls that could have been stopped; she got her hands on both. On the third, she got caught off her line, way out of position.
• It’s a good thing the Americans don’t have to worry about seeing Japan in Rio.
• Mallory Pugh, barely 18, continues to amaze with her poise, skill and soccer IQ .
The teams play again at noon CT Sunday (June 5), in Cleveland. The game is on ESPN2.
Here are five oddities, curiosities, or (possibly) interesting facts about the games and their participants:
When Yuki Ogimi recorded Japan’s second goal, in the 22nd minute, it was the first time in almost 16 months that the U.S. women trailed 2-0. The last time it happened was in their first game of 2015, when France, then the No. 3 team in the world, beat them 2-0 in Lorient, France.
The Americans hadn’t trailed by two goals at home in more than 11 years — not since a 3-1 loss to Denmark on Nov. 6, 2004.
Team USA’s all-time record against Japan is 25-1-7.
In those 33 games, the United States has outscored Japan 95-25.
Mallory Pugh’s assist on the first goal by Alex Morgan was her team-leading sixth of the year. Carli Lloyd has five; Tobin Heath has four.