Perez gets to re­al­ize her dream

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Kevin Bax­ter

ED­MON­TON, Canada — Grow­ing up in Florida, Catalina Perez said she of­ten day­dreamed about play­ing against the U. S. na­tional team.

Mon­day she fi­nally got her chance, start­ing in goal for Colom­bia in a World Cup elim­i­na­tion game. So did she do bet­ter in the dream or in the game?

“I think in the game,” she said with a laugh. “Other than the red card. That was never in the dream.”

In fact the red card, which came two min­utes into the sec­ond half, turned Perez’s dream into a night­mare.

Af­ter mak­ing three bril­liant saves in a score­less f irst half, Perez was pe­nal­ized for a hard tackle on Alex Mor­gan. The call not only forced Colom­bia to go with just 10 play­ers, but Perez’s re­place­ment, Ste­fany Cas­tano, gave up goals on the first two shots she had a chance to stop.

Still Colom­bia, which had never won a game in World Cup or Olympic com­pe­ti­tion be­fore beat­ing third- ranked France in group play here, isn’t go­ing home a loser.

“We showed a lot of char­ac­ter and a lot of pas­sion,” said Perez, who plays for the Univer­sity of Mi­ami. “We’re leav­ing here with more re­spect than we came in [ with].”

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