Sports

In Praise of Christiane Endler, Chile’s Incredible Goalkeeper Who Frustrated the U.S. All Day

Christiane Endler claws away another U.S. effort at Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Christiane Endler claws away another U.S. effort at Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The United States cruised to another World Cup victory on Sunday, but the star of the show was wearing a Chile jersey. Goalkeeper Christiane Endler stonewalled the U.S. in the second half, parrying away shot after shot and patrolling the box like a Boston Dynamics robot intent on overthrowing the human race. The final scoreline was 3–0, but it could have neared double digits without Endler.

Endler (along with Argentina’s Vanina Correa) is one of the tournament’s standout keepers, and she showed why on Sunday. Chile barely ventured outside its own half, but she stood tall as her defense rolled out the red carpet for the United States’ many attacking threats. Endler was especially cruel to Christen Press, and the American forward saw a hat trick’s worth of chances hit the Chilean’s gloves. How Endler saved Press’ second-half header is still a mystery. Perhaps magnets were to blame?

Press was also denied a goal-of-the-tournament contender when Endler clawed away her peach of a first-time volley.

Endler didn’t even need to use her gloves to deny Lindsey Horan an open shot at goal. Instead, the keeper kept her at bay with a kick save worthy of the Vezina Trophy.

The U.S. was awarded a dubious penalty in the 78th minute, but Carli Lloyd fired wide of Endler’s post and wasn’t able to claim her hat trick.

Endler won’t be credited with a save, but let’s give her props for getting in the head of the U.S.’s most experienced and confident goal scorer. It was going to take something special to cross Endler’s saran-wrapped goal line in the second half, and Lloyd may have felt the need to put a little extra mustard on her spot kick as a result.

Teams don’t get points for losing by a respectable scoreline, but Endler’s saves did help Chile’s goal differential, keeping them alive to be one of the four third-place teams to advance to the knockout stage. The USWNT, meanwhile, has now advanced to the knockout round, and they’re surely thankful that it’s unlikely they’ll have to see Christiane Endler again .