In Wellington, New Zealand, during a World Cup showdown between the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) and the Netherlands, tensions were already running high for the American players. DaniĆ«lle van de Donk’s aggressive tackle on Lindsey Horan in the 58th minute further fueled the frustration.

Horan, the USWNT captain, acknowledged that getting her angry on the field brings out her best football performance. After the crunching tackle, she endured a brief injury stoppage but returned with her frustration boiling, determined to rescue the USWNT from a 1-0 deficit against the Dutch.

The impact of the tackle extended beyond the physical pain; it ignited a change in Horan’s mindset. According to her and those present at the Wellington Regional Stadium, the tackle and the subsequent equalizing goal were deeply connected. Horan’s fiery reaction to the incident set the stage for her remarkable comeback.

Van de Donk defended her tackle, claiming she had fairly contested the ball and escaped punishment. Nevertheless, Horan was not pleased and confronted her club teammate at Lyon during a U.S. corner. The altercation resulted in a peacemaking conversation orchestrated by the referee, though both players felt it was unnecessary.

Horan’s teammates sensed that something was about to happen after the confrontation. Julie Ertz intervened, urging Horan not to receive another yellow card that would lead to a suspension in the next match. Instead, Ertz encouraged her to channel her emotions into scoring a goal and silencing the critics.

Inspired, Horan followed the plan and scored a vital header from Rose Lavelle’s precise corner, leveling the match. Her ability to transition from intense exchanges to goal-scoring prowess did not surprise her teammates, who recognized her capacity to “flip a switch.”

Overall, van de Donk and the USWNT were aware of Horan’s competitive nature and the impact it had on her performance, making for an intense and exciting match.

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