30 Reasons To Watch: #20

Will the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team make up for the absence of their male counter-parts and win a third straight gold medal?

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

By Mike Tierney, Special to Universal Sports

A painful kick in the grass knocked the U.S. men’s Olympic team out of the Games before it even got there. In March, El Salvador scored on them at a qualifying tournament in Nashville during extra time that resulted in a 3-3 tie when a victory would have gotten the Americans’ passports stamped.

The U.S. women encountered no such ambushes enroute to London, where they are favored to caress another gold medal. All but one of the players who comprised last year’s World Cup runner-up are onboard. Cup champion Japan, Brazil and France stand in the way of a third straight for old hands Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Christie Rampone. Sensational newbie Alex Morgan has brought a welcome injection of youth and scoring.

The continuance of a pattern would please the Americans, though they would prefer that it cease at some point. They were less-than-golden girls at the 2003 and ’07 World Cups, but followed both with Olympic glory. A three-peat looms as the women look forward to hearing the announcers cry “Goooaaaalllll!” — a few months after the men’s team cried “Nooooooo!”

Both are supremely confident, which suggests there will be no bluffing about one not being able to compete with the other — except at the card table.

We will be counting down our top 30 Reasons To Watch each day until opening ceremonies. Check here for more!

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