By Larry Hawley
11:48 PM EDT, July 17, 2011
She could read the emotion some 15 feet and some thousand miles away.
On the major projection screen located in the private room at Mudsocks Grille in Noblesville, Annie Yi caught a glimpse of her old friend on a major stage.
"She had that face," said Yi when saw Lauren Cheney limping down a hallway with an icepack on her right ankle at halftime of the Women's World Cup Final in Frankfurt, Germany.
Second later, it cut to another shot of Cheney, this time sitting on the bench. She stared forward, motionless, with water gathering around her eyes.
"I feel very, very sad for her, because I know she wants be on that field right now," said Yi of the ten second update that Cheney would be out for the rest of the game.
It hit Yi and her friend, Kate Cunningham, a little hard. After all they played with Cheney both at Ben Davis High School and with the Carmel United Club team and have followed the forward closely during the United States' run to title game against Japan.
"It's emotional for all of us," said Cunningham. "We want to see her get out there again."
On this day, the pair were not alone. They were joined by around 20 players, coaches or even fans of Carmel United who came to Mudsocks to watch the team and root on their familiar players.
Yes, that's plural. Cheney is one of three on the United States' team that spent time with the club team in Hamilton County. Starter and former Notre Dame player Shannon Boxx along with reserve and Pike graduate Lori Lindsey are alums of the program, and had the specific attention of this particular crowd.
"It's just been amazing," said Carmel High School and United coach Frank Dixon, who watched the game with the others. "There were always great players and they've just gotten better and better through the years.
"Its great to have that connection here in Indianapolis."
Having this extra personal connection to a popular national story also meant some added heartache in a marathon afternoon of soccer. The United States missed a flurry of quality scoring chances in the first half, two coming from Cheney in the first ten minutes.
The US finally got on the board only to have Japan tie it ten minutes later to force the extra session. There Abby Wambach's header goal gave the United States a lead with 16 minutes left, but then only got 75 percent of the way there before Japan tied in on a deflected goal.
"A little bit nerveracking," said Emily Sochacai-a former Carmel United player-of watching the up-and-down game with people she played with.
Emotions went from on edge to sadness early in penalty kicks, when stunned faces and gasps greeting the United States' three consecutive penalty kick misses. Japan would convert three-of-four to take home the World Cup Championship, and send the Carmel United fans home disappointed.
"There's still all kinds of pride for these kids," said Gene Lindley, whose coached in the club for 18 years, as he put the loss in perspective. "They accomplished a ton."
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