Sunday night, members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team attended the Lynx game at Target Center. Tuesday night, the Lynx attended the USWNT’s game at Allianz Field.
There hasn’t been so much gold in one place in America since the last time Flavor Flav smiled.
Between coach Cheryl Reeve, Lynx stars Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus and the USWNT, you’d need calculators and exponents to total the medals won.
Game recognizes game, gold reflects gold, and underpaid women support underpaid women.
When Reeve and 1999 World Cup hero Brandi Chastain posed for a photo Tuesday night, or when Alex Morgan chatted with Augustus, greatness and hope converged.
“I do think that there’s a trend,” USWNT star Carli Lloyd said. “You see the WNBA doing better, doing well; women’s tennis, the LPGA as well. So, yeah, I think it’s a really good time for women. Especially our team. Our team has been on this path upward, and trendsetting as well.”
Lloyd scored the first two goals in the Americans’ 3-0 victory over Portugal on Tuesday night before a sellout crowd at Allianz Field that included the Lynx.
“To have us all come together and make sure we hold each other accountable for a lot of things, that means a lot,” Fowles said.
Accountable? “Just making sure we stand up for what we want,” Fowles said. “… Making sure we hold each other accountable as women. Making sure we go out there and get things done.”
The USWNT is nearing the end of its Victory Tour. If there was a downside to Tuesday’s game, it was that a few of the team’s biggest stars, including Megan Rapinoe, Morgan and Rose Lavelle, didn’t play because of injury or fatigue.
The good thing about all-star teams is they’re filled with stars, so a loud sellout crowd got to watch Julie Ertz, Tobin Heath and Lloyd, the Vikings’ future kicker/punter.
“I don’t have many heroes, but I would say that Megan Rapinoe being here up close and personal — for our players and our fans, it was exciting because of all that she stands for,” Reeve said. “And the way that she’s not only advancing female athletes but women as a whole.
“This is such a crucial time. We shared that with them when they were here for our practice, how meaningful it is for all of us that they’re using their voices the way that they are, and Megan is at the forefront of that.”
The Lynx, who have won four titles this decade, play in an arena built for men and make what NBA players tip their personal chefs. The USWNT, which rivals the U.S. women’s basketball team for international dominance, get paid far less than their less-successful male counterparts.
Both teams know that merely winning won’t effect change, nor will silence. “We’re all in this together,” Reeve said. “That’s probably the biggest takeaway in sharing some time together. Each of us going to one another’s games — that’s what it’s about — supporting women and trying to get to the place where we all think we should be.”
USWNT coach Jill Ellis tied the U.S. record for victories in program history with 105, meaning there were at least two record-setting coaches in attendance.
“They’re rock stars,” Reeve said of the soccer players. “The same is true of the women’s national basketball team. The amount of success these two teams have had — these are dynasties. Considering the quality of play, there’s no reason not to support these teams.”
The Lynx just finished a homestand notable for loud, if not sellout, crowds. The USWNT produces crowds and ratings wherever and whenever they play.
Women’s basketball and women’s soccer are now like the NBA in the mid-’80s, when the league’s games were played on tape-delay at midnight. They’re like the NFL before Johnny Unitas handed off to Alan Ameche in 1958.
They’re future moneymakers waiting for the powers that be to figure out the financing.