Women's World Cup: Five Other Seeming "Game-Winning" Scores That Weren't
The USA's run in the Women's World Cup seemed to be finishing in grand style when Abby Wambach put in an extra-time header to give the team a 2-1 lead.
It didn't last, and Japan won in overtime.
Wambach's late goal joins a storied list of scores that seemingly iced a game or a series, only to be overshadowed by an unlikely comeback.
Here are the top five such scores, and (of course) Houston plays a prominent role:
5. World Series Game Six, 1975: Cesar Geronimo's Icing on the Cake That Got Left Out in the Rain Game Six of the 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds was already terrific by the time the eighth inning rolled around. The Reds had a 5-3 lead and a strong bullpen. Cesar Geronimo put the icing on the cake with a solo homer that had Reds fans all but assured of the Series title. Someone, however, left the cake out in the rain, and I don't think that I can take it 'cause it took so long to make it...
4. U.S.-USSR Olympic Basketball: The Most Clutch Foul Shots of All Time, in Vain In 1972, one thing was as sure as death and taxes: The U.S. would win the gold medal in Olympics basketball. They'd been winning it since the dawn of time, it seems, always with a team of college players who rolled effortlessly to the title.
By the time of the Munich Olympics, though, the USSR had begun to mount a serious challenge. In the title game they had a one-point lead with three seconds left when the USA's Doug Collins was fouled.
Talk about pressure: Two foul shots to save the team from becoming the first USA team to lose. Collins calmly hit the first and -- even though the scorer's horn blared just as he was shooting -- the second. It was all for naught, however, as some of the most obviously crooked officiating outside of the WWE let the Russkies win.
3. 2005 NLCS: Damned Be the Name of Pujols (and Lidge) In 2005 the Astros were finally tasting playoff success for the first time in a long time. They needed to beat the hated St. Louis Cardinals to advance to the World Series, and by Game Six at Minute Maid, fans had already been put through the wringer more times than they could count.
Down 3-1 in the seventh, Lance Berkman hit a three-run homer that seemed like the ticket to the series, in part because closer Brad "Lights Out" Lidge had been shutting teams down all year.
Lidge set down the first two guys in the ninth, as Minute Maid was set to explode. The next two got on base, and then came Albert Pujols, who dramatically and unforgettably sent one out of the park, sending Astro fans into the despair that can only come from 45 years of losing.
People still remember that moment; it amounted to little, however, as the Astros won Game Seven and advanced to the Series. (Let's just leave it there.)
2. Oilers-Bills 1993: Bubba McDowell's Pick-Six You know the sad story, Houston. But for others: The Oilers stormed out to a 28-3 halftime lead against the Buffalo Bills in a 1993 playoff game. Add in the score from the teams' meeting in the last game of the regular season, and the Oilers had outscored the Bills by that point 55-3, and the Bills were down to their back-up QB.
But comebacks can happen, and there was a chance the Bills might come roaring out of the locker room fired up for a comeback that they had plenty of time to achieve.
That seemed very, very unlikely 1:41 into the third quarter, though, when Bills QB Frank Reich threw a pick to the Oilers' Bubba McDowell, who returned it 58 yards for yet another touchdown.
Oiler fans: DO NOT watch anything past the first 20 seconds of this video.
1. Game Five, 1976 NBA Finals: Come Back Out of the Locker Room, Boys The 1976 NBA Finals had as bizarre an ending as the 1972 Olympics game. The Phoenix Suns and the Boston Celtics had won two games apiece as they faced off in the Garden. The Celtics led by three with 20 seconds left (in the second overtime), and the three-point shot wasn't part of the NBA then. After a heart-stopping series of fumbles and bounces, the Suns' Curtis Perry got the ball and sank a 15-footer to give Phoenix a 110-109 lead with six seconds left. Celtics legend John Havlicek hit an awkward running shot as the buzzer sounded, sending the Garden into ecstasy and the Celtics into their locker room celebrating amidst fans storming the court.
But replays showed there were two seconds left on the clock when Havlicek's shot went in. Chaos erupted, with one fan attacking a ref. The Celtics were called back on the court, still up 111-110. Suns coach John Mcleod called a time-out he didn't have, giving the Celtics a tehnical foul shot but moving the in-bounds pass to midcourt.
Gar Heard sank a shot to send the game into a third OT. The Celtics did manage to eke out a win, but their fans will never forget the team being dragged back on the court and Heard's unlikely dagger.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.