As we approach the anniversary of the USWNT’s historic journey through France to capture their 4th World Cup, I can’t help but think back to one of the most euphoric moments leading up to the tournament, which ultimately foreshadowed what was to come.

I’m talking about the USWNT vs. Mexico send-off match, the final game the national team would play on home soil before heading across the Atlantic.

It was ridiculously hot at Red Bull Arena. I showed up two hours before kickoff and was greeted with packed parking lots and a nice long walk to the stadium. It was at that very moment, as I strolled past one of the most decorated tailgate scenes I had ever seen, that I knew we were all about to witness history.

26,322 fans came to this World Cup Send-Off to shower this team with love and support in their last hurrah stateside.

The game itself was over before it even began. With the crowd rocking out, Tobin Heath got the party started in the 11th minute. What ensued afterward was just sheer dominance. Mallory Pugh chipped in a goal at the 76th minute and Christen Press added the cherry on top in the 88th. Mexico didn’t even get a shot on goal and was outshot 25–3 when it was all over.

At the time, it was just pure bliss to be in this team’s presence. Everyone in that arena and watching from home knew that this squad was special… they just had no idea what would be in store over the next few weeks as they continued their dominance en route to their 4th star.

If you’ve taken the time to read this essay and look through these pics, be sure to catch most of these incredible athletes, as well as the dozens of other amazing footballers in the NWSL, as they take part in the 2020 Challenge Cup beginning this weekend.

Details on how to watch: CBS All Access