The coolest thing Alex Morgan did in yesterday’s women’s World Cup semifinal was score a goal, a 32nd-minute beauty of a header she earned after streaking through the heart of the English defense, much as Washington’s troops went through the heart of the English defense at Yorktown.
The second coolest Morgan thing she did was celebrate her goal. In the greatest American moment of tea-based protest since the Boston Tea Party, she stopped in her tracks and pantomimed sipping tea in the moments before her joyous teammates could wrap her in their arms.
Just two days before the Fourth of July Morgan put on a master class in both aerial play and trolling. The tea move was an obvious jab at England; 66 million U.K. residents drink 100 million cups every day. It was be the equivalent of Morgan pretending to tap a maple tree for syrup after scoring a goal on the Canadians (though we’re not sure how she’d pantomime that).
Alex Morgan scores her first goal since the opening game and retakes the lead in the Golden Boot race (6 goals, 3 assists)
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 2, 2019
Morgan’s troll was also a response to the haters who have criticized the United States for its raucous celebrations throughout the tournament. “You can celebrate however you want, but that for me is a bit distasteful,” Lianne Sanderson, an English soccer player, said of the celebration.
These criticisms reflect the dynamic that exists between the United States and Europe, particularly our former colonizer turned closest ally. After all, you don’t have to read de Tocqueville to know about the stereotypes of the boorish American and refined Briton. The USWNT is a joy to watch because they could care less about this.
So while much has been made — rightly! — of what the USWNT means to women and girls, they’re underrated as icons for everyone in this country. By ignoring and trolling their critics, Morgan and her teammates refused to feel shamed by them. That’s not arrogance, it’s defiance.
“I know Megan Rapinoe has the best celebration. I had to try and step up this game,” Morgan said after the game. “I feel like this team has had so much thrown at them and us. I feel like we didn’t take an easy route through this tournament and ‘that’s the tea.'”
Morgan’s goal turned out to be the game winner. The U.S. advanced to the final on Sunday. Every American should watch because there’s no better way to close out the Fourth of July weekend.