Thursday, October 18, 2007

Not dressed

Another win versus Mexico for the U.S. team (of note, Nicole Barnhart got the start and shutout in goal) and still more focus on the one who didn't play.


Anonymous said...

No slight intended to you A.C., but I'm glad to see more sports writers weigh in on this issue (what's that 3 articles in 3 days now?).

Hopefully the Fed is listening . . .

Anonymous said...

Not dressed but she sure looked relaxed kabitzing with the fans in the pics posted here. Good stuff.

Also very impressive is the way the subs play when given the chance. Even if it is late in the game & Mexico appears to run out of gas. They are showing what they can do to all those future Coaches out there! Now if the USSF could just get that part right.

It wouldn't hurt to also issue a "public" team apology to it's fans for their disgusting behaviour towards Hope Solo, as we all know a public apology to Hope isn't coming.

Then the WTN will be all set for a run to Gold next year. If not, look out for Canada!

Would be great if Canada gets the 2011 World Cup. Any idea of the chances vs. Germany A.C.? I see Peru has dropped out of the running.


MC said...

It still irks me to see Solo treated this way. We have such a good team, but some of the best seem to be left on the bench. Why Kai didn't play more in the WC is a mystery to me. Surely the USSF will drop the politically correct BS and take a step toward fixing this by canning Ryan and hiring someone who knows what the hell they are doing. I just hope that Solo is able to overcome the way her teammates have treated her and perform the way she has in the past. I doubt I'd want to play with a group of catty mean girls like that.

Anonymous said...

A.C. or readers:

Last nights game, have you seen or heard anything about teammate interaction with Hope during last nights game?

Other then boos directed at Ryan, anything else? Signs? Were they not allowed last night in the stadium? I haven't seen any.

Does Freedom of Speech continue to take a beating with this issue?


Anonymous said...

One of the pics posted on the Oregonian does show some good banter with mates.

Anonymous said...

This is good, from a Dad who was at the game:

Since I am apparently one of the few here who saw the game last night, I'll come out of lurker mode briefly to share a few first-hand observations.

And the first is relevant to mercersoccer's post. I agree completely w/ your thoughts re Lloyd and Tarpley. I want to see them early and often. On Wagner we disagree. For my money, she was the best player on the field in the first half. Her control, passing and vision are exactly what this team needs more of. Her talents are, of course, wasted w/ Ryan’s thump-it-long-to-Abby game plan. She created many opportunities that were uniformly wasted. In particular, from tight spot along the right wing she lofted a deft chip over the defense to an on-running HAO, who managed to make nothing of a dangerous chance. Wagner’s work contrasted strongly w/ Chalupny, who look like a give away machine in contrast.

Other thoughts: Didn’t see much from Lilly, which didn’t surprise me. I have been under whelmed by her lately, notwithstanding her top XI award from the WWC. Abby looked imposing if not particularly motivated. HAO was, as they say, full of running, but her touch seemed a bit off. Not her best. Ellertson is a terrific athlete. Couldn’t really gauge her ball skills while she was in, but Mexico could do nothing on her side to over come her speed. At one point, a nice Mexico one-two sequence allowed a player to get behind Ellertson on the outside. Within four strides Ellertson caught and neatly dispossessed her. And the biggest surprise of the night for me was the play of Hucles who came in for Ellertson in the back. She looked very solid and her skill on the ball was a nice contrast to Cat “long-ball” Whitehill. Granted the Mexico attack might have something to do with her strong defensive effort, but I liked what I saw from a player whose mid-field career seems all but over at the WNT level.

In goal, Barnhart made one terrific save on a far post shot to her right. She got down quickly and held the ball well. Kinda struck me as the type of save that Scurry was supposed to provide … but I digress. Otherwise, Barnhart was OK. A few nervous moments brought on by poor communication and/or being too slow off her line. Her kicking game seems on par w/ Scurry’s (read, not good) and she doesn’t seem to have Solo’s range. In the end though, Mexico threatened very little.

I enjoyed the game overall, primarily because I took my 12 yr old daughter and 2 of her friends. The WNT target audience. It was not a pretty game though. A bundled in goal by Lilly and 3 long ball goals, one of which, admittedly, included nice work by HAO to get in a great cross from the right wing.

BTW, Solo was present wearing jeans on the far end of the bench. She doesn’t seem to go anywhere w/ the team. She comes and goes to and from the locker room at different times, doesn’t take part in the pre-game huddle, and doesn’t have much interaction with her teammates other than the obligatory high five for the players subbed off. I haven’t commented on the whole keeper gate thing to date, but this whole penance thing has gone on far too long. I’ll keep it simple: Ryan must go and Hope must play.

JT (Chicago) said...

anon at 11:01am,

thanks for passing along that first hand account from soccer dad at the match.

It's funny how much the match differs from the USSF report and an independent observer. No excuses from the independent source about poor conditions.

Liked his comments about Wagner. Sounds like she'll be ready for next year.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome.


ghostwriter said...

I'll try to keep this short, but I don't buy this public appology and "voluntary" not dressing. If you refuse to dress when healthy haven't you breached your contract by refusing to play in a game you're under contract for?

There is more going on here than meets the eye. Eee Gad, listen to me! I sound like a looney conspiracy theorist.

But for me it goes back to the original decision to sit Hope for Brazil. It's (absent some secondary gain or unseen moving force) against human nature, even Ryan's. And nothing since has made any sense, given the way we all would have judged the character of the players involved pre switch.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Hope Solo Ryan's keeper? Didn't he install her as the starter when he took over the head coaching job, elevating the then 23 yr old relative unknown over the gold medal winning veteran on his bench, Bri Scurry? And she made him look good. She NEVER lost a game for him, including two pretty prestigious international events. She's got to be his "guy", no? He's got to have built up SERIOUS trust in her.... she's never let him down. I've seen coaches stick with their "guy" way past his prime, way deep into a slump, even though injuries despite having healthy alternatives on the bench. I've NEVER seen a coach take out his "guy" except under duress of some sort!

Worse, the whole team was coming off it's best half of soccer in the WC, beating an English side three zip who had previously played the defending WC Champions to a 0-0 tie in group play. What coach thinks under that circumstance, let's make a change? Coach from Canada, am I wrong? Don't you think: OK now we've got it going, we'll dust those Samba girls but good now that we're finally hitting our stride?

Given just those two circumstances, forget Solo has played 43 of 50 games under Ryan (and except for the death of her Dad would have played 44). Forget she's on a 300 point scroreless run. Forget Scurry hasn't played a meaningful game under Ryan's entire head coaching experience with the WNT. Just Solo's your "guy" and the team's on an upswing, it's absolutely against human nature to even have the IDEA of a keeper switch occur to you. It's not stupid, it's not a mistake, it's bloody damn impossible for the notion to happen.

So who told him? Who brought it up? Or (gulp) what circumstance arose that made him think like that?

If the USSF keeps Ryan and dumps Solo (which I still think looks likely, given the current status) or even dumps them both, something was more rotten here than ever in Hamlet's Denmark...

And by the ghost of the Bard himself, I hope I'm wrong, but I think it's WAY fishy.

Anonymous said...

Her is a great game summary from big soccer member

"It was a cold cold cold night, but it could have been a lot worse. It didn’t rain at all during the game. It rained before (the drive down was quite dicey at times), and then it started to rain again about 15 minutes after the final whistle. Due to the earlier rains, there was water everywhere in PGE, making field conditions very slick.

Let’s talk soccer:
Yes, Barnhart started. For me, it kind of felt like insult to injury to put the Stanford keeper in there. She was fine. Didn’t see a lot of action. In the first 15 seconds, she had to come off her line to punch the ball with two fists and a good deal of authori-tay. She miffed the first goal kick, surely due to the slick conditions. Early in the second half, Mexico turned a 1-v-1 half chance into a dangerous look from some 30-40 yards out (I think, didn’t really have the angle to measure, but she was deep). The forward nearly chipped it over Barnhart, who leaped to tip the ball over the crossbar and then tumbled backward into the goal. I thought Barnhart made a great play…but it turns out that she didn’t make a play. It was a goal kick.

Oh, and Barnhart was wearing pirate pants. A la Rafa Nadal.

Mexico controlled play early. Mexico fans were out in force, which is always fun. They were chanting, and little boys had their faces painted. Before long, we got going. We had some chances, but Mexico’s keeper made some nice plays. But being on the other end of the field, I couldn’t get a good look at our first half attacks. On Lilly’s goal, the fans didn’t really know what happened. We had a corner, and then the US started running back to the other half as Mexico put up a bit of an argument. The fans were all wondering, “Was it a goal? Was it not a goal? What? Huh??” We all looked up at the scoreboard, and then we broke out into cheering when we saw the score change.

I can see what is reporting as the US lineup, but it didn’t really look like that on the field. Tina was primarily on the right side…then sometimes she was on the left side. Cat was mostly in the middle. Chalupny was mostly on the right side up top, and then (when Tina was on the left side) she sometimes dropped all the way back. Occasionally Heather was on the right side up top, and then (when Tina was on the left side) she sometimes dropped all the way back. I didn’t have much of an angle to see the midfield configuration, but other than Chalupny and the subs, the middies were fairly quiet. At the end of the day, the scoreboard won’t show it, but Chalupny was very active.

Tina played with the quickness, technical skill, physicality, and aggression that I remember from her days at UW. Sucks that she had to be helped off the field in front of a “home crowd.” She was noticeably limping later, but in good spirits after the game. Pearcie and Cat were solid, with Cat working some free kicks.

Carli and Kai were instant offense. Kai was fiery and clearly entered the game knowing that she was going to get one. Kai’s first touch was a redirecting header that flew over the crossbar by maybe a foot or two. She responded with a howl of frustration. I was thinking, “Wow! After just one attempt…she’s so determined. Love that mentality.” Soon after, she chased down a ball, trying to save it from crossing the endline. She was just late with her sliding attempt, but her momentum carried her into and over the signboards that lined the field. Tumbled right over it. We’re talking about signboards that are a good 2 feet high. I think when she landed, she wasn’t quite sure where she was, but she just got up, hopped back over the boards, and went right back at it. Her determination paid off as she scored with Carli’s help. Kai responded with a howl of delight and the double-fist pump seen in that picture. She is INTENSE. A player of that caliber and with that intensity is just plain fun to watch.

Abby’s goal was a misplay by the keeper. With the keeper deflection, the ball may have gone in even if she hadn’t touched it. As always, she was a great physical presence, and she had a few chances before the one that went in.

After the final whistle, little Rylie Rampone and not-so-little Mackenzie Ellertson ran out to their mommies. It was absolutely adorable. Then, as my friend and I made our way to the field where players were signing autographs, I ran into Tina’s family. I greeted them and told them that I’m from UW. We all cheered, “Yay, go Huskies!!!” I got a similar response from Tina when I asked her to sign my Huskies cap. After which I nearly got myself into trouble a couple of times, but more on that later.

Let’s talk business:
I had no angle to see Hope on the bench—we were pretty much in line with the bench. All I saw was, after the game, Hope was playing with Mackenzie. Old friends, I’m sure.

I know we expected a lot more action on this front in Portland…but I was extremely surprised and disappointed. The fans who were there don’t really know what’s going on. A number of people asked what my sign (“Abandon Hope, Abandon truth, Abandon honor”) meant. I told anyone who would listen about Hope’s understandable mistake, her teammates’ response, and how all that has been caused by the USSF’s mismanagement of the team. When I talked about her teammates’ response, everyone was absolutely floored. One guy asked, “Are you sure that really happened?”

I was floored too. I expected “Soccer City, USA” to be a little more up on these things. The only other sign I saw was unrelated, unlike what we saw from St. Louis.

As Tina signed my Huskies cap, a woman next me pointed to Greg as he walked by and she told her kid, “Ooh, there’s the coach! Let’s get his autograph. Let’s get him.” My immediate response was, “Yes, let’s get him!” Which I knew full well was not what she meant, but I was tempted to get him. There he was just a couple of feet away. It took an extreme amount of self-control not to push past the kids, jump the fence, and beat him with my rolled up sign. It also helped that my friend was telling me, “Don’t do it. You’re my ride home.”

Of course, I realized that it would not solve anything. My goal is not just to see him ousted, but as well not to see history repeated and have the coach ousted only to be replaced with another imbecile.

Then my friend and I thought it would be funny to get an autograph or two on my sign…if I offered the corner of the poster to a player, would she sign it and move on? Admittedly it was extremely mean and underhanded, and I almost regret trying to do it. But if the players didn’t see the sign during the game, at least one player got a good look at it.

That's what I remember right now. I should actually try to get some work done today and some sleep tonight. If anything else comes to mind, I'll post it."

Anonymous said...

I agree completely Ghostwriter, this situation has made NO sense from the very beginning. Extenuating circumstances of some kind is likely?

I think the USSF just wants him to go quietly, so letting his contract expire accomplishes this. The negative publicity has already taken a huge toll.

So much rumour & innuendo out here, all brought on by silence.

Are you listening Ryan, WNT & USSF?

Anonymous said...

Coach is really an astronaut. I heard rumours of somebody in a dark wig, trench coat and glasses hanging out at the team hotel in China.

Yay NASA, training soccer coaches and Keepers now. :)

Conspiracy theory indeed.

Kidding, just trying to have some fun with this!

Contract won't be renewed. Hope will be back. USSF just wants to do it quietly, after things have died down.

The facts will come out. It WILL be a movie too.

Yes Ryan, WNT & USSF, you are causing more inuendo with your silence.

Anonymous said...


Have you heard anything about the WNT being interested in the China National Team coach Pia Sundhage, other then what's in a Swedish paper?