With the eyes of the nation on her Tuesday, Naeher cemented her place in U.S. soccer lore with one huge save during the Americans' semifinal match against England.
England was awarded a penalty kick late in the second half after the referee consulted a video replay and ruled that Becky Sauerbrunn had fouled England's Ellen White inside the box.
Stephanie Houghton lined up to take the shot and Naeher shut her down.
The penalty save, the first by a U.S. goalkeeper in regular time at the World Cup, was the moment the U.S. needed to hold on to their 2-1 lead and progress to Sunday's final. The U.S. got goals from Christen Press and Alex Morgan to back up Naeher.
Before Naeher stepped into goal against Thailand in the tournament opener, she faced repeated questioning about how she was going to fill the void left by Solo. Finally, teammate Julie Ertz stepped in and pleaded for Naeher to be given a chance.
“No one’s just given her time yet. We know who she is. We train with [Naeher] every single day. We know how good she is,” Ertz said of her teammate.
Naeher had praised the legacy Solo had left but now is on the verge of creating one of her own. Naeher has only allowed three goals during this Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. will meet the winner of Sweden and the Netherlands in the World Cup final. The final will be played on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.