U.S. versus Sweden
It's on ESPN Classic, so I get to make up the game. Obviously, it isn't live, but it's good to see the team's form.
5 - Early domination by Sweden catches the U.S. by surprise. They need to get used to that. Team's aren't really sitting back at the World Cup.
6 - First good U.S. attack results in a collision between Carli Lloyd and the Swedish goalkeeper.
8 - Too many boom balls to Abby Wambach. She's good, but why not even give the midfield a chance to do something?
10 - I met Tony DiCicco, who is doing some ESPN commentary, earlier this year. He's a personality, that's for sure. Very different from Greg Ryan.
14 - The U.S. is looking better, but still away from optimal sync, that's for sure.
16 - Nice work on the part of Sweden to discombobulate the U.S and earn a corner. U.S. clear is successful.
18 - Chins has these bands playing in the background. They seem to be aiming for folk music from the countries of the teams playing.
22 - The U.S. is putting more pressure on the goal, which is good, but the U.S. lacks cohesion still. It's athleticism and individual effort creating the attack, mostly.
25 - The William Tell Overture - also known as the "Lone Ranger Theme" plays as Lori Chalupny goes on the attack.
27 - Cat W. caught with a missed touch, but the Swedish midfielder doesn't do a great job with the cross and the U.S. recovers.
28 - There's no way the NK result didn't give all the U.S. opponents hope. Sweden keeps bringing it.
31 - Now DiCicco and Foudy are agreeing with each other and me about the U.S. team's lack of possession.
32 - Svensson misses on a frekick. Went for two much.
34 - Markgraff freekick misjudged by goalkeeper, Chalupny is right on it, and she gets cleared out by a defender. Abby steps up to the penalty kick and fakes right, but shoots left. GOAL U.S.
43 - The U.S. is playing better and had taken the sting out of the Sweden's attack, but the Swedes keep having chances on the counter.
44 - Meanwhile, some poor giveaways or overhit passes are plauging the U.S. in the final third.
Halftime - it goes to show how strong the U.S. that they can play less than their best and yet lead this game against an excellent Swedish team. Of course Lindahl made that very egregious mistake to give the U.S. a cushion. Honestly, the U.S. hasn't looked that dangerous or effective in front of the goal.
Whoops, sorry, got hungry.
Anyway, the U.S. scored a gorgeous goal, courtesy of Abby Wambach, in the 55th. The excellent play seems to have given the team more confidence, and they are all playing better.
66 - Ryan definitely looks more relaxed. Tarpley and O'Reilly switch off. I still don't understand why the sub for Tarpley didn't happen in the last game this early.
72 - Sweden looks tired.
74 - I think the Swedes need to bring back the pigtails that brought them such good luck in 2003.
77 - Solo looks hurt - she keeps swinging her arm like she's trying to shake something off.
79 - Corner nearly costs US, but Ljungberg header off-target.
85 - Double corners for the U.S. - Swedes clear.
86 - Lilly over the bar. The Americans are in control now, the early jitters forgotten.
89 - Late chance for Sweden, Hope out to collect, dives down on her bad arm.
Fulltime - much better by the U.S, especially on the second goal. Good teams punish mistakes and Sweden definitely made one. The U.S. needs to improve to win the title, though.