It was an hour or so after the game, on the ride back to the team hotel, that Alex Morgan found a moment to reminisce.
Her second-half goal had helped the United States defeat France, earning a spot in the Women's World Cup final Sunday, but Morgan was thinking of a less-pleasant time.
Eight months earlier, the Americans had lost a qualifying match to Mexico and were in danger of missing out on soccer's big party in Germany. Veteran forward Kristine Lilly noticed some sulking and delivered a message the younger Morgan will never forget.
"Lil' isn't very outspoken," Morgan recalled. "She looked us in the eye, one by one, and told us we were going to get...