U.S. team headed to Women’s World Cup final in Vancouver

Megan Rapinoe and other members of the US Women's National Team celebrate victory over Japan in the 2012 Summer Olympics. The team is hoping to bring home it's first World Cup victory in over 15 years. (Photo from REUTERS)
Megan Rapinoe and other members of the US Women’s National Team celebrate victory over Japan in the 2012 Summer Olympics. The team is hoping to bring home it’s first World Cup victory in over 15 years. (Photo from REUTERS)

On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Women’s National Team punched its ticket to the FIFA World Cup final next Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Germany.

For the uninitiated, this isn’t something that happens often. The U.S. also made the final of the last Women’s World Cup four years ago — losing to Japan in a penalty shootout after playing to a 2-2 draw in regulation. But they haven’t won it all since beating China in 1999.

That match 16 years ago provided one of the most iconic images in women’s soccer history, with Brandi Chastain celebrating her game winning penalty shot by ripping off her jersey in front of a crowd of more than 90,000 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Whether you’re a diehard, longtime Team USA supporter, Sunday’s final match will be worth watching.

Take note Seattleites: You’re just three hours away from the action!

Canada’s stint as World Cup host wraps up at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver at 4 p.m. Sunday, when the U.S. will take on either Japan or England.

Update: Japan defeated England 2-1 on Wednesday, so they will face the U.S. team in the final.

Have questions about the big game? Want to be there in person as the U.S. Women’s Team makes history?We’ve got answers:

How do I get there?

If a solo drive north of the border and back doesn’t sound ideal, there are several other options for the short trek to British Columbia.

Bolt Bus trips between Seattle and Vancouver are selling out fast, but tickets for most offerings between now and match day remain. That includes a 6:30 a.m. departure on Sunday for $30 that would have you in Vancouver by 10:30 a.m. for the 4 p.m. match.

Seats also remain on Amtrak Cascades train service between the two cities, starting at around $40 each way.

No matter the method of transport, remember that a passport or enhanced driver’s license is required.

I’ve made it to Vancouver. How do I get into the game?

Unfortunately, it’s too late to buy tickets through the tournament organizers, with the final seats for the final snapped up earlier in the week.

While that doesn’t leave you entirely out of options, third party sellers are charging a pretty penny. As of Wednesday morning, the cheapest ticket on StubHub, for a seat in the stadium’s 300 level, was going for over $350.

There are, however, more wallet friendly options if taking in the atmosphere around the stadium is enough for you.

The Vancouver Fan Zone in the shadow of BC Place is free and open to the public from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Located at Larwill Park, the zone offers concessions, live music and entertainment, and most importantly, a large viewing tent.

U.S. Soccer will also be hosting pair of parties for fans in Vancouver, both at the Commodore Ballroom, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

What if I want to stay close to home?

In a soccer-hungry city like Seattle, there’s no shortage of local locations to take in the final.

The Atlantic Crossing Pub (6508 Roosevelt Way NE) and Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant (801 1st Avenue) are both officially recognized by the U.S. Soccer Federation as gathering spots to watch U.S. National Team games with fellow fans.

For a family friendly, all ages atmosphere, the Phinney Neighborhood Association will host a showing of the final on its 14-by-8 foot movie screen at the Phinney Center (6532 Phinney Ave N). The event is free, but donations of $2 for children under 18, $3 for adults, and $10 for families of four of more are suggested.

Are there any local players to root for?

Absolutely! The USWNT’s 23-man roster includes a pairing that suits up for the National Women’s Soccer League’s Seattle Reign FC when they’re not on national team duty.

Goalkeeper Hope Solo (also a University of Washington alumna) and forward Megan Rapinoe are both expected to start for the United States on Sunday, before returning to Seattle for a homecoming match against the Western New York Flash at Memorial Stadium on July 11.

However, they’re not the only familiar national teamers for Seattle fans.

Forward Sydney Leroux played for Reign FC last season, before being traded to the Flash in a deal that sent the league rights to forward Abby Wambach to Seattle.

Wambach hasn’t yet donned a Seattle jersey, and her professional plans for after the World Cup remain up in the air.

Forward Alex Morgan also has local connections, having appeared in three games for the Seattle Sounders Women in 2012 alongside Solo, Leroux, and Rapinoe. She’s also married to former Seattle Sounders midfielder Servando Carrasco.

Anything else I need to know?

It’s been an impressive stretch for the United States in the tournament. The Americans have gone 2-1-0 in group play — with victories over Australia and Nigeria, and a scoreless draw with Sweden. Then they knocked off Colombia 2-0 in the round of 16, and China 1-0 in the quarterfinals, before their big win over Germany on Tuesday.

While Sunday’s match certainly won’t be easy, it promises to be an exciting affair you won’t want to miss, whether it’s in Vancouver, or in the comfort of your own living room.

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