The Big Save
Scurry continued to star for the National Team, posting a team-record 12 shutouts in 1998 and 11 more in 1999. During her six-year run (1994-99) as the U.S. national team's starting keeper, Scurry started 95 of the club's 132 international matches and appeared as a substitute in three others. In more than half of those games, 54, she held the opponents scoreless, and she allowed an average of just 0.6 goals per game. During the 2000 season, Scurry became the 11th U.S. women's player and the first goalie to appear in 100 international games. She had started more than three times as many games as any other U.S. goalie.
In the 1999 World Cup Scurry played every minute of the six games, posting four shutouts and allowing only three goals. She made six saves in an incredible performance against Brazil in a crucial semifinal game, including stopping a couple of point-blank shots. Coach Tony DiCicco said "Scurry was awesome, and she was for sure the number one star for us today." Scurry called it the best game of her career.
Thanks to Scurry, the championship game against China remained a scoreless tie through regulation and two overtimes. The World Cup would be decided on five penalty kicks for each team. On China's third penalty kick, by Liu Ying, Scurry moved immediately to the right and made a save that sent the largest crowd in women's sports history, more than 95,000 fans, into a frenzy. "I went fully on instinct," she was quoted in the Washington Times. "I had a feeling when she was walking up that I would get that one.… And I knew I just had to make one save, because my teammates would make their shots." Recalling it later for CNNSI.com, she said: "I experienced an almost indescribable calmness during that situation. I always believed I would make at least one save. I guess you can call that being in the zone or divine inspiration of whatever you want to call it."
Replays of the save showed that Scurry appeared to move forward off the goal line just before the kicker struck the ball. A kicker is allowed to move only laterally before a penalty kick is made. But goalies are at such a severe disadvantage during penalty kicks that most of them try to "cheat" a little, and referees often allow the indiscretion.