Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Abby is out

Abby Wambach fractured both her tibia and fibula bones in her left leg and will miss the upcoming Olympics. The play happened in the first half of the United States' 1-0 win over Brazil.

Wambach, who was looking for goal number 100 in her storied career, will have surgery on Thursday and will likely require a minimum of 12 weeks to recover.

Losing a player of her caliber damages the United States' chances of walking away with even a bronze medal. Amy Rodriguez and Natasha Kai will probably have more pressure on them to put goals away but as Andrea was saying earlier nobody is the big power forward that Wambach is.


A.C. said...

Tib and fib broken is bad - my mother was a nurse on an orthopedic ward for many years. It's not a common sports injury though, but it does happen a lot when people fall - off a bike, for example. It's an impact injury.

Anonymous said...


A year ago this would have been even more catastrophic, but the changes in playing style instituted by Pia Sundhage have made the team less dependent on Abby and will pay in spades in Beijing...they are no where near as dependent on her for offense as they were in the past.

Anonymous said...

Bad karma.

Meredith said...

Bad Karma? WTF kind of comment is that. If your going to make such a nasty comment have the gonads to post your name. I also find it a little disturbing that people are so quick to dismiss her.

Her absence will hurt this team. Can they still win? maybe, but it is going to be much harder. I feel sick for whats happened to her right before the Olympics. It sucks.

MC said...

Whoever said bad karma is probably thinking about that whole Solo thing that happened in the world cup. I think they are way past that and losing AW hurts, but it in no way ends their hopes for gold in the Olympics. Someone else will step up and they will keep their high level of play going through the Olympics. Abby will be missed, but she's only one player.

MC said...

Yeah, Meredith, I see what you're saying. It sucks to be her right now. Horrible thing to happen right before an event that only takes place once every four years.

Coach said...

It really is unbelievable!

I was watching the way she was playing with reckless abandon prior to her being injured & I thought to myself, Abby, you keep playing like this, bad things are going to happen.

Sure enough, 5 minutes later ...

Hey, stuff like this happens in sport but in a "friendly", the last game prior to the Olympics, a bit of "self preservation" for lack of better word is required. This would be the kind of position you might put yourself in in the last seconds of a championship game, not a Friendly in the last game before the Olympics.

I also saw the borderline dirtyness that Brazil brings to there game, which I think also got Abby pissed when they weren't being called by the ref.

I do believe you're going to see this team rally like you've never seen before. Every single player will raise their game up a few notches to unbelievable heights! Just you wait & see!

Gold will be brought home!

Coach said...

Oh, I should have said unless of course Canada brings home Gold!


MC said...

Coach, to me it seems rare to see an actual clean game. It's like soccer has been getting progressively dirtier or something. A litle self preservation...I like the thought of that. I guess she doesn't think like that on the field, but I wish she had yesterday.

Coach said...

You know what, on further thought, you really can't write this stuff!

The WC Brazil fiasco, Solo banished, public outcry over treatment of a player, Lilly gets pregnant, likely conceived in China(OHH!), Coach Ryan fired, Pia hired, Wamback breaks leg.

USWNT wins Gold at the 2008Olympic Games anyway!

You really can't write or make this stuff up!

What a movie it shall be!

Coach said...

Hey M.C.,

I saw your comment after I posted my last comment about the movie that just keeps getting better.

It is absolutely true that athletes the calibre of Abby don't think like that in the heat of the game, but in situations like last nights game & whats at stake, they absolutely need to!

Just back off a little bit, that play wasn't going to change the outcome of the game, wait for your chances.

I could tell by the way she was playing that I think she wanted to notch number 100 last night in the U.S. of A., in front of the "home town fans"!

I completely understand what she wanted to accomplish but wish she had just toned it down a little bit, especially on that play.

It is so painful to watch the replays. Legs aren't supposed to look like that!

This Team is a Team of Champs. They WILL bring home GOLD!

ghostwriter said...

I didn't see the play (or game). Anybody got a detail of how it happened they want to share?

This is a big blow to US hopes. Abby (as I've said before ) is the best in the world at what she does. You don't lose a 100 goal scorer and not feel the loss. Also the other strikers are all far less experienced than Abby and that'll hurt, but her absence will accentuate the need for contributions from everyone and to control tempo and possession.

As for the "bad karma" statement, it's not clear (to me, anyway) that the poster actually understood the significance of "karma" and may just have been taking the term to be equivalent to "bad luck", or "star struck" (a la Shakespeare), or even that it was a "bad sign" for the team's aspirations. Absent other evidence, I'll give 'em the benefit of the doubt that there was no sense it which it was meant to mean Abby (or the team, I suppose) "earned" an injury of any kind, let alone one as bad as this. [If they did, well, I can't really say here what I'd think about that.]

I hope she makes a speedy (and full) recovery and that the team rallies around the adversity.


PS, Love your confident attitude, Coach, but there are several very fine teams, hot keepers matter (even in soccer), and in a one game series anything can happen. I'm looking forward to the coming out games for several of the younger players like A-Rod and Heath as the next big American stars. Any medal will be a triumph if they play well and the gold would be a bonus.

charlton heston said...

Today's word is: Justice.

Can you use it in a sentence?

Coach said...


Both players went after a loose ball near the top of the box at full speed and had a violent leg on leg collision. I thought at first it was knee on knee.

Both players threw any sense of caution to the wind & Abby paid for it. :(

Unusual for Abby, but she wasn't the one that got up & walked it off this time.

Previous to this happening, Abby was playing her usual aggressive game but she appeared to have turned it up a notch. There were a number of collisions that could have resulted in injury prior to the fateful blow. I think she was pissed at some non-calls & wanted that goal # 100.

At any rate, she appeared to be on a serious mission out there, a mission that maybe should have been saved for the Olympics!

I had a sense that something bad was going to happen based on what I was seeing out there. Abby wasn't willing to back down one bit from Brazil's aggressive play, which under the circumstances maybe she should have? I didn't feel very good about what I was seeing.

Abby will be sorely missed. Having said that, I find it truly amazing how some teams can really turn it on when they lose one of their top players that maybe they have become too dependent on. My Leafs without Mats Sundin is an example of this. They always seem to play well without him which makes NO sense as he is a top notch player, one of the best in the world. A swede too - maybe a friend of Pia's? lol (They may just have to find a way next year without him as he hasn't re-signed!)

I truly believe this team is one of those teams - especially in the aftermath of the WC fiasco & all they have been through.

We won't have long to wait & see!

I understood what the Karma comment meant. When it happened, I had that brief thought also regarding the "soccer gods", etc. I'm not saying I agree, just that there are a whole lot of folks out there not happy with the conduct of Abby at the WC, as we have discussed ad nauseum. :)

Maybe Anons name is "Earl".

Go USA & Canada!

P.S. C.H. just made a post that indicates he is one of the folks I refer to above? Poetic Justice C.H.?

I wouldn't wish something like this on my worse enemy and this team WILL prevail!

Coach said...

Fox Soccer Channel has the game from Sunday on-line at 1:00 P.M. today.

I guess some of the enthusiasm has been dampered though? :(

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

To Meredith and all those who have no idea how "karma" applies to Wambach, let me explain:

Wambach (along w/Captain America, Lilly) instigated the vengeful conspiracy against Hope Solo in China. Read Grant Wahl's recent story in Sports Illustrated (to which a.c. linked earlier).

Now, it's very interested what has happened to many of the protagonists of that conspiracy:

Lilly: Pregnant and unable to compete in the Olympics. International future uncertain.

Briana Scurry, who could have ended the whole controversy with one public word yet refused to do so: Demoted to third on the depth chart. Olympic action unlikely, international career likely over.

Cat Whitehill, who sold out her "best friend" (Solo) by accusing her of manipulating her father's death to get publicity for herself: torn knee ligament. Out of Olympics, international career uncertain.

Wambach: Devastating injury. Out of Olympics, international career uncertain.

Now, I have no problem with such players competing in the WPS. I just want their sorry self-absorbed posteriors off the WNT, now and forever.

Karma, indeed. Justice, as Charlton Heston said, is the more appropriate word.

And, yes, I hope the U.S. wins gold in Beijing. That will secure Pia's tenure as head coach and spell doom for the international careers of Wambach, Whitehill, Lilly and Scurry.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

One more point:

The grist mills of the gods grind slowly, but grind finely, indeed.

And, no, I have no sympathy for Wambach.

Karma, indeed, is a bitch.

truth said...

All you people posting here that what has happened to Abby is karma and somehow deserved: If what you believe is true, your wishing her ill will come back to bite all of you in your collective -- donkeys. And you are all a bunch of donkeys.

All the best to the Wombat, the best power striker in the women's game. The USWNT will really miss her, and our chances of a medal nosedived as she went down. Now defenses will be able to concentrate on Kai and she and Rodriguez won't be getting service from Abby who has been playing wide a lot this year.

I'm bummed, for Abby and for the team.

Coach said...

lol Joseph, tell us what you really, really think of Abby & company!

Yes, the Soccer Gods appear to have spoken in all the cases you mention.

Did you by chance see the following quote:

“I was very emotional,” U.S. captain Lindsay Tarpley said of seeing Wambach taken off the field. “She is one of my best friends.”

Hmm, I wonder what "They" have in store for her? I again find it difficult to stomach the "she is my best friend" line. They aren't 14 any longer!

I still wouldn't wish anything like this on my worst enemy. I'm too damn nice a guy!

Enough said, for ever & ever, Amen

Joseph D'Hippolito said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coach said...

The guide is wrong, it's the game from last night being replayed!

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

No, truth, some of us believe in justice for those who cruelly mistreat others -- especially those of us who have spent much of our lives being bullied by people.

What Wambach, Lilly et al did to Solo was beyond despicable. It was diabolical.

Lisa said...

Jeez Joseph no need for the hating. The team will miss Abby for sure but they have the intestinal fortitude to pull through and win one for the Wambach. This is not the best case scenario for them but they will overcome this obstacle. Go USA.
And if I was a betting woman I'd put $ that Hope was one of the first to call Abby and check on her.

Ghost said...

Ghost, you will be able to see the play in about 20 minutes at the following link:

Coach said...

lol ... I typed in "Ghost" instead of Coach under my name!


Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Lisa, some things are more important than medals. And if Hope was one of the first to call Wambach, then she was a much better teammate to her than Wambach was.

ghostwriter said...


Thanks for the account. Guess I was wrong about the team not getting amped up too much for these friendlies and saving some "tricks" for the Olympics.

Justice... I don't think any of these guys who remain morally outraged because many USWNT members, Abby prominent among them, saw a team incident differently than they did would know justice if they fell over it.

There is NO justice involved in an injury occuring in the run of play. It's an accident and suggesting somone deserves the bad accidents that happen to them is not only callous, it's bush league, at best.

What was wrong with Abby et al's reaction to Hope's screw up at WC was that it was callous and over done, non proportional and, hence, not justice. No accident changes that, or makes up for it, or is "justified" by it.

Justice would have been if Abby, while defending a corner kick by Brazil in the 89th minute of an Olympic match US led 1-0, headed the ball toward her own goal only to have Hope Solo appear out of nowhere and flick it wide and have to admit (to herself anyway) latter (maybe while hugging Solo for preserving the W), jeez, maybe she WOULD have made those saves at WC...

In the meantime Abby is going to end up with a titanium rod in her leg. She may or may not ever be the same player again. No matter how we felt about the injustice to Hope after WC, we do noone any credit, certainly not ourselves, by rejoicing in that for the slightest instant.


Coach said...

Re-reading the "Always In Mind" blog comments from July 9 is scary! Premonition?

Watching this game again just re-confirms how damn "borderline" dirty - I'm trying to be diplomatic here - the Brazil team is.

A dangerous kick to the head broke the nose of "Tank" in the Canadian game I went to. She's one of the Cdn teams best. Hmm

I would not at all be surprised if their indeed was a method to their madness. Abby was taken down several times in the first 30 minutes of this game.

Although the play in question looked 50/50 as both players were aggressively going for the ball (Abby got to the ball just ahead of the Brazil player, thus her leg was more extended & exposed) only they know for sure what their intentions were.

There sure were a ton of aggressive tackles. Mostly directed at Abby!


Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Ghostwriter, I want you to read this opening to Grant Wahl's artile on Solo in Sports Illustrated:

Only the bathtub brought relief. In the days after the 2007 Women's World Cup, amid the grief and the anger and the despair, Hope Solo sought refuge in the one place that eased the pain afflicting her entire body. She repaired to a corner of her home in Kirkland, Wash., drew the hottest bath possible, lowered herself into the water and dozed off, stirring only to crawl out and lie flat on the bathroom floor when the temperature became too much. The routine would go on for hours: tub, floor, tub, floor, tub, floor.

"I couldn't sleep in my bed because my body just ached, so I'd start the bathtub," she says. "If that's what depression is, I think I hit it. I was a wreck."

Solo's world was collapsing. Her father, Jeffrey, had died of a heart attack in June, three months before the World Cup in China. Her best friend, Elizabeth Duncan, had been struck by a car and killed while jogging in Seattle in April. Now Solo's career was hanging in the balance. In late September, on the eve of the Cup semifinal against Brazil, U.S. coach Greg Ryan had made the stunning decision to bench her in favor of veteran Briana Scurry, despite Solo's three straight World Cup shutouts. After the U.S.'s 4-0 loss, Solo erupted.

"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that," she told a Canadian reporter, adding that it was no longer 2004 -- a jab, many thought, at Scurry, the keeper on the U.S. team that won the Olympic gold medal in Athens. Then came the kicker: "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves."

Dissatisfied with her qualified apologies, Ryan and Solo's teammates banished her from the third-place game against Norway, from attending the medal ceremony, from eating at team meals, from the team's flight home. Solo returned to Seattle and faced a decision. With the Olympics less than a year away, should the U.S.'s top goalie give up soccer at age 26? Leave America for a club team in Europe? Or rejoin her still-angry U.S. teammates in St. Louis for a three-game tour just two weeks after the World Cup, as her contract called for.

For two weeks she retreated to the bathtub. She lost 10 pounds. She stopped answering phone calls and e-mails from friends. "I wanted to give up," Solo says. "Why show up somewhere where 20-plus people hate you? But I was going to be there to prove to everybody that you can't determine somebody's career by whether you like them or not."

I have suffered from depression. I know what it's like to feel lethargic, isolated and constantly sad. I even know what it's like to have suicidal feelings.

This is why my reaction is so strong. If Solo's teammates knew what she was going through personally with the death of loved ones before her outburst and really cared about her as a human being, then they wouldn't have tortured her the way they did -- and torture, I believe, is not too strong a word.

A broken leg, by comparison, seems a small price to pay. Sorry if that bothers you but that's not my problem.

ghostwriter said...


I suppose I should let it drop and just say we'll agree to disagree, again. That, however, concedes some authority to your position which I cannot accord.

Your attitude, allowing no latitude for human emotional frailty, is precisely that which fueled the torture of Hope in response to her "transgression" of team protocol. Was the mental torture of Hope Solo more obnoxious than your celebration of a serious physical injury to Abby Wambaugh? I'll leave that to your contemplation, but at least Hope Solo had acted in a way that directly infringed on Abby and the rest of the team. What, pray tell, did Abby Wambaugh do to you?

And just as an aside, though we disagree rather sharply here, I certainly don't hope you break your leg or anything of the sort. :)

And that'll be 'nuff said on this topic (at least by me).


Meredith said...

Joseph and Charlton,
You make me SICK. I am as big a fan of Solo as anyone, but I still love Abby. Like Solo, she made a mistake, and I don't plan on holding it against her for the rest of her life. You guys need some freaking anger management or something. you should also look up the definition of karma because wishing injury on Abby or anyone else for that matter is its own bad karma. Abby is a great player AND a great person. It is going to hurt this team and make it a hell of a lot harder to win gold period. If you want to continue to complain about Abby or anyone else for that matter, be my guest but I will no longer read your comments.

Coach said...

Joseph, I have some experience with depression, bullies, etc. from raising my kids & coaching.

I understand your strong reaction to what happened. But one of the most important human traits is the ability to forgive which will allow some closure to the past.

I'm not sure if this helps at all but I hope it does and it would make my day.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

coach, many thanks for understanding where I'm coming from, regardless of whether we agree.

meredith and ghostwriter, unless you've been there, then sod off.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Besides, Meredith and ghostwriter, there's a big difference between "making a mistake" and deliberately conspiring against another person!

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

One more thing, Meredith: If Abby is such a "great person," then why did she participate in the conspiracy against Solo? Carli Lloyd is truly a great person for resisting it!

Coach said...


I do agree with you to a degree. As you may or may not be aware, I (and Ghost as well) were outraged at the treatment that Hope Solo endured because she had the odacity to speak what was on her mind at a very emotional time for her.

Coach Ryan's decision was wrong or at best a very bad coaching decision. Hope Solo speaking her mind to the press was wrong because you MUST respect your Coach! The reaction by some of her teammates & Coach were completely wrong & over the top.

Three wrongs, more so then two, will never make a right. But to not forgive would be a fourth wrong. I do believe the ladies of the WNT are doing a good job of working on this aspect to this day and the fans of the WNT should too.

That is why I made up that little song a while back - to lighten the load - to move forward - and to encourage forgiveness.

Win GOLD USWNT!! As long as it's NOT Canada you're playing in the Final!


Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Coach, I do understand what you're trying to do. It's just that the behavior of the WNT reminded me of much of the behavior that I saw and personally experienced in my life. If I'm guilty of anything, it's perhaps in over-empathizing w/Solo. In any event, my blood boils when I see the innocent being abused and I want to do something about it.

Coach said...


I wish you nothing but the best for the future.

I hope you were also able to empathize with the incredible inner strength Hope Solo showed by getting through it all.

That just may be the one postive all of us can get out of that very difficult and sorry situation?