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Crew Stadium Moment No. 8: 2003 Women’s World Cup

The Black & Gold’s home was the center of the world’s game in 2003.

FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 - United States vs. Korea DPR - September 28, 20 Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The countdown of the 15 most memorable moments in Crew Stadium history based on voting from the Massive Report staff coninutes. Join the discussion on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #MRStadium.

Historic Crew Stadium is known for many United States Men’s National Team victories, including four 2-0 victories against Mexico in World Cup qualifying. For three days in September of 2003, this venue played host to an actual World Cup, and one match stood out.

Nations from Groups A and C in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup played matches at the home of the Columbus Crew. In total, eight different countries were represented, but the main event sticks out: the U.S. against North Korea. It was a type of sports matchup that went beyond two teams playing on the field and aligned with the political storylines of the day. While the United States and North Korea went back and forth in news headlines, the Americans had a decisive victory. On top of that, it was the introduction of one of the greatest international soccer players of all time.

In a packed stadium of over 22,000 soccer fans, the U.S. beat North Korea 3-0. The reigning World Cup champions attacked offensively towards the north end of the stadium. In the 16th minute, a cross came into a 23-year-old Abby Wambach, who buried it into the back of the net. Before the finish, however, the referee called a penalty against North Korea. In the follow-through of Wambach’s shot, a defender’s boot struck the U.S. striker. Wambach appeared unphased by the challenge and confused at the awarded penalty. In response, she buried the penalty kick too.

The goal was Wambach’s second of the tournament. By the time her career ended in 2015, she scored 14 total World Cup goals, tying her for the fourth most of any man or woman and 184 international goals overall. She scored the most international goals in the world until Canadian forward Christine Sinclair passed her in 2020.

Both remaining goals against North Korea came in the second half, and both scored by defender Catherine “Cat” Reddick, the only two World Cup goals of her career. The first came at the far post off a pass into a crowded 18-yard box by midfielder and 1999 World Cup champion Julie Foudy. Reddick was the last player in the scrum and used her torso to drive the ball into the corner of the net. Just under 20 minutes later, she thumped a strong header past the North Korean goalkeeper to cap off a decisive victory for the United States.

Unfortunately, the victories for the Americans didn’t continue when they played in the semifinal against eventual World Cup winners Germany. At Providence Park un Portland, the Red, White and Blue went down 1-0 in the 15th minute. In stoppage time, Germany added two more to win 3-0.

Local Columbus supporters had their opportunities to see the German team in person too. During the group stage, Germany played two matches in Columbus with a combined score of 7-1 against Japan and Canada.

The United States played seven matches at historic Crew Stadium and left the venue undefeated, winning seven matches and giving up only two goals in its history.

With the growth of the global game and FIFA instituting a minimum size for World Cup stadium hosts, a stadium like the one on the Central Ohio fairgrounds won’t have the opportunity to host the biggest matches in the world. However, the first professional soccer-specific stadium in America will always have the distinction of having played host to the best teams in the world.

Read Massive Report’s previous Crew Stadium Moments

No. 9: The Legends Game

No. 10: Landon Donovan, Earthquakes win first MLS Cup

No. 11: The 2002 U.S. Open Cup championship

No. 12: Wil Trapp’s miracle game winner

No. 13: The scoreboard fire

No. 14: 2005 MLS All-Star Game

No. 15: The first game after Kirk Urso’s passing