Foudy is doubtful with aching ankle



The U.S. women's soccer captain likely won't play in the gold medal game.
IRAKLION, Greece (AP) -- Julie Foudy left the game with a limp, and then the stadium on crutches, her spunky attitude nearly as big as the bandage wrapped around her sprained right ankle.
"I think I'll just have them chop it off and I'll drag my stump out there if I have to," the captain of the U.S. women's soccer team said.
Nice try, but unless the ankle heals in a hurry, the Fab Five will be without a key member Thursday when they play for the gold medal.
Foudy's injury was one of several head-smacking developments late in a game that had been going the Americans' way.
After giving up a last-gasp goal and blowing an easy scoring chance in overtime, the U.S. team finally beat World Cup champion Germany 2-1 Monday night on Heather O'Reilly's goal nine minutes into the extra period.
Grand finale
The win gives the Fab Five -- long-standing stars Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett, Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly and Foudy -- a chance to go out as champions in their final tournament together.
"The whole year it's kind of been our focus," said O'Reilly, the youngest player on the roster. "What these women have done for the last 10 years has been remarkable, and this is it for some of them. As young players, we wouldn't be happy putting them out with anything but a gold."
The Americans face an interesting rematch with Brazil, a 1-0 winner over Sweden, for the Olympic title Thursday in Athens. Brazil's coach accused the U.S. team of deliberately trying to hurt his players in a 2-0 loss last week in the first round.
Germany will play Sweden in the bronze medal game.
Even though the young players on the U.S. team had spoken of their mission to send the veterans out on top, the vets themselves and coach April Heinrichs had downplayed the topic because they felt it put unnecessary pressure on the team as a whole.
Then, in an unexpected twist, Heinrichs raised the matter in her locker room speech before kickoff against Germany. Her voice cracked with emotion as she repeated her words following the game.
"It's fitting for these players to go out on top," Heinrichs said. "We owe it to them."
Off guard
Hamm, for one, was caught offguard. She had genuinely tried to stay focused on each game as it came, without thinking of how close she was to the end of her career.
"I had an emotional reaction," Hamm said. "Because you don't want it to be your last game. You're kind of putting it out of your mind, and then someone just puts it front and center."
The speech sure didn't hurt. The Americans dominated most of the game and were unlucky they didn't win it in regulation. The Germans' tying goal came on a shot from Isabell Bachor that deflected off Fawcett's hip two minutes into second-half injury time.
O'Reilly then had an open net in front of her early in overtime, but she rushed her shot and hit the post. A few minutes later, she scored the game-winner, a 6-yard right-footed shot with an assist from Hamm.
It was an appropriate pass from old to young, from a 32-year-old retiring superstar to a 19-year-old college student who was screaming Hamm's name as a fan just a few years ago.
"Her love for this game, and her love for this team, inspires us old bags a lot," Hamm said.

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