Women's World Cup 2019: Team USA's hero goalie applauded by Chicago teammates

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (WLS) -- As Team USA Goalie Alyssa Naeher made a miraculous penalty kick save in the World Cup Semi-Final Tuesday in France, her Chicago Red Stars teammates were watching back home.

"Oh my gosh this is so exciting. I think Alyssa is gonna save it, and she did," recalled fellow Red Stars Keeper Emily Boyd.

She was thrilled to see Naeher embraced on the pitch after protecting the US's 2-1 lead over England, sending the US Women's National Team to its fifth World Cup Final.

"I thought that moment was amazing," Boyd said, adding, "Saves don't really get celebrated like that."

Red stars striker Sam Kerr, who captained the Australian team into the Round of 16, watched the heart-throbbing moment at US Soccer's official Lincoln Park watch party.

"I think she's definitely one of the best keepers in the world and she's an even better person, so I was just really pumped for her," Kerr said.

To give you an idea of how hard it is to make a penalty kick save at the World Cup, the intensity is so great that 75% of the time, the attacker scores.

"It's not easy playing in an international team as a goal keeper, especially a team like the US that demands so much perfection, " Kerr added.

The pressure was ratcheted up even further Tuesday with US co-captain Megan Rapinoe injured. But Christen Press and Alex Morgan scored on a pair of first-half headers before Naeher delivered the exclamation point with her save in the 84th minute.

"I was able to get a good jump on it, good read on it and went my way," said Alyssa Naeher after the match, adding: "We fight together and celebrate together and it takes all 23 of us."

Boyd is happy her Chicago teammate and role model could silence detractors who compare Naeher to previous USWNT keepers.

"She's so explosive she makes things look easy," Boyd said, adding: "She's finally showing the world who Alyssa Naeher is and she deserves nothing but all of that praise from everyone now."

She has a chance to shine on a team that inspires so many young girls, including Emma Petrak.

"We can work hard and we can pursue our dreams too," Petrak said of the message the USWNT sends.

The Americans will live that dream Sunday when they play the Netherlands for the World Cup title.
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