Friday, August 15, 2008

Canada/US running blog

Here we go, the U.S. versus the Canadians in the quarterfinals.

Erin McLeod, Emily Zurrer, Candace Chapman, Martina Franko, Clare Rustad, Sophie Schmidt, Rhian Wilkinson, Diana Matheson, Christine Sinclair, Melissa Tancredi, Kara Lang

Hope Solo, Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone, Kate Markgraf, Lori Chalupny, Lindsay Tarpley, Shannon Boxx, Heather O'Reilly, Carli Lloyd, Amy Rodriguez, Angela Hucles.

Game on!
5 - It's raining, by the way. Huge puddles on the sidelines.
12 - GOAL! ARod up the wing, crosses, O'Reilly flicks it on and Hucles taps it in. The U.S. lead 1-0.
19 - McLeod is off.
Karina LeBlanc comes in.
21 - Game is stopped. Rain delay.

Who knows if the delay will blunt the momentum of the U.S., because they were playing quite well up until the stoppage. The pause will certainly give Canada time to regroup and strategize. Still, losing McLeod and having to use up a sub is costly, no matter how welcome the rain delay breather might be.
21 - We're back! Already Canada looks sharper, but a foul stops an attack in the box.
22 - Canada FK, but Markgraf is fouled in the box going for the ball - goal kick.
24 - The U.S. finally work their way out of pressure, but Lloyd just lumps the ball up to ARod and loses it long.
25 - Chalupny overlaps, but can't get much of a square angle on the ball and LeBlanc catches.
26 - Tarp with a great pass springs O'Reilly, but a defender slows her up enough to let LeBlanc make the grab.
27 - Chalupny with another cross - it's cleared. The U.S. is looking more dangerous on the attack, no longer letting Canada dictate the way they were earlier after the restart.
30 - Markgraf knocks ball out for a throw near the box.
31 - GOAL! The U.S. gets it back, but a rather poor throw reception leads to a bad tackle by Lloyd and Sinclair pounces before anyone can close her down. She takes a crack on goal and Solo seems like the wasn't expecting the shot - she dives late and misses. 1-1
33 - Lloyd is losing too many balls in the midfield. The one she gave up near the U.S. goal was the most costly, but there are more.
35 - Ball behind the defense sets up Hucles who shows a strange shot choice - far post when it seems she had a better angle for a crack near post.
36 - ARod in the box - nearly gets on to the ball, but not quite.
37 - Scott French and I were discussing at the Dodger game how the U.S. players have regressed in terms of game awareness. Practice games don't stimulate real competitive conditions and the cost of mistakes and when to take the right risks. Basically, the residency program is just really weak competitive game training.
39 - Matheson two-foots Chalupny and gets yellow. The FK is far out and Lloyd hits it off a defender.
41 - U.S. is hitting the long ball again.
44 - Actually, the U.S. isn't playing that badly, but they're acting as if they still have the lead. There is no urgency in their attack. Canada looks like they want it more, though a bit less capable. If their heart combines with a solid chance, look out.
45+ ARod blows a scoring chance with a poor cross.
The rain delay did help Canada, but more than that, a U.S. mistake helped them. Similar to how the U.S. mistakes versus Norway created chances for their rivals. The U.S. won't get away with that in the future. It might even haunt them now, as Canada can counter all day on them and the U.S. is not creating a lot going forward.
47 - Well, the U.S. are getting a chance to prove how well of a game manager Pia is.
48 - O'Reilly earns the u.S. a corner. A foul negates the attempt, though. Goal kick.
51 - A really steady rain is falling. In these sloppy conditions, anything can happen.
52 - Canada caught offside.
54 - Not much soccer going on, just dealing with the conditions. Tha ball is incredibly slick. O'Reilly just tried to take a first touch and the ball slid right off her foot.
56 - ARod deals with the slippage enough to sent in a cross, but it's cleared away.
57 - Chalupny is fouled outside the box and the FK is touched to Lloyd for a chance. Her shot is way off, but it's likely the ball slipped off the foot the moment she struck it. It's super-wet.
59 - Tarp to ARod, whose shot is deflected for a corner. Here's where the team really misses Abby. Nothing doing on getting a shot on goal.
61 - The U.S. is keeping better possession and it pays off in a corner. The ball bounces on headers that go more to the sky than the goal. But the U.S. serves the ball back in and bodies bang in the box.
65 - Lang from distance. I guess that's not such a bad idea. It's rainy and that can cause goalkeepers to make mistakes even on simple balls. Solo catches.
66 - U.S. corner. Hucles sends it in and Boxx gets a piece of it, but only enough to send the ball glancing wide of the goal.
68 - Lots of passing amongst the U.S. back four. That urgency I spoke of is still missing.
69 - Canada on the counter, but the U.S. is able to get back. That shot that defelcted off a defender might have easily slipped through, though.
Somebody shoot! The U.S has a counter of their own and three players pass instead of taking a shot on goal.
70 - O'reilly is down and Franko gets yellow for it. FK is cleared by Canada.
71 - Hucles is in the box with only the goalkeeper to beat. She has the right idea with the nutmeg, but she hits it a little high and the ball deflects back.
73 - The U.S. try to work the give-n-go off a throw, but offside is called on the final pass.
74 - The U.S. has better buildup now, but the final pass or attack is missing.
75 - Canada seems terribly unimaginative, but if one pass behind the defense connects with Sinclair, it won't matter.
77 - Lloyd misreads O'Reilly on a pass and hits the ball into the box just as her teammate cut to go wide instead.
78 - Sinclair! Solo makes the save, but on a rainy day, that wasn't a sure thing.
79 - Lloyd is looking weary. She should have kept the ball there, but was just out-hustled.
80 - There's more back and forth now - the U.S. isn't so onesided in terms of possession.
82 - A sub! Tobin comes in for Tarp.
83 - Boxx is such a gamer. I love how she competes.
84 - Lang gets a yellow for kicking Chalupney from behind.
85 - ARod and Tobi battle for the ball together, but ARod's cross to Boxx is too high.
86 - O'Reilly to Lloyd in the box, who has to elevate to try a volley flick and the ball goes wide.
88 - Lang send great pass through for Timko, but Rampone shields the ball just enough by crossing in front, so Timko bangs into a diving Solo blind. It looks like she hit Solo's knees hard, but that doesn't explain why she is down for so long.
90 - She never gets on the stretcher, though. She walks it off, so she's fine.
Pass to Sinclair, but her cross is picked off.
Tobs foul leads to Canada Fk, nervy moments in front of the U.S. box as ball pings around before it is finally cleared.
Lloyd to ARod entering the box. She shoots and LeBlanc makes the diving parry. CK.
Boxx can't get to it.
We're going to overtime!
2 - Lang is getting chippy. She fouls Chalupny again, but no yellow this time.
3 - Canada with a nice attacking run leaves the U.S. scrambling on defense.
5 - ARod into the box, but the ball is tackled away for a corner. Hucles sets up. Kai heads it high, loses it and can't get a decent shot off.
7 - ARod with a shot way high.
8 - Lloyd poor pass, trying to reach ARod.
10 - The U.S. is struggling to create anything resembling decent soccer in the muck.
11 - GOAL! Boxx finally hits that good cross this team needed and Kai dives to get down for the ball and head it well into the goal. 2-1 U.S.
13 - Now that the U.S. has worked so hard for the goal, they hopefully won't give the advantage away as easily as they did before.
Chalupny shot! LeBlanc saves.
First extra time period ends.
16 - The U.S. is trying to control the ball and play a bit of keep away.
18 - Lloyd shoots - LeBlanc catches. Too straight on of a shot.
19 - I love all of Tobin's tricky moves, but they don't really work in this rain. She just slipped, gave the ball away and landed on her butt.
ARod comes out for her buddy and college rival, Lauren Cheney.
20 - Kai is offside.
22 - Cheney gets a yellow for a tackle on Matheson.
FK for Canada, but it's cleared, shot back in is deflected for a corner, that's cleared, but only for a bit, because a cross comes back in, Solo tries to catch it and misses, but someone finally clears the ball out.
25 - Kai in the box - LeBlanc gets there first, but the collision knocks the ball loose. Canada clear, though.
26 - Replay shows how dicey the Canadian chance in the box was - Lloyd was the one who cleared the ball at last.
27 - Cheney with a shot - wide of goal. Decent effort, though.
29 - Kai caught offside again.
30 - Mitts rampaging up the wing - all the way into the box until leBlanc comes out. Mitts shoots - wide. Decent effort there, too, though. Best off all, keeping the ball in Canada's end late in the game.
Final whistle! The U.S. advance. It wasn't pretty, but the rain was to blame for a lot of that. Canada fought hard and Sinclair's goal was impressive, but ultimately, the U.S. had more time on the ball and finally got the winning goal out of it.
Aww, Jill Ellis is giving Kara Lang, who is crying, sitting on the ground, a comforting chat and hug. Lang plays for UCLA, where Ellis coaches.
Other Canadian players are also tearfully embracing. Canada didn't disgrace itself at all, but neither did they create a whole lot going forward.
As for the U.S., who knows if the extra half-hour of soccer is going to take a toll on their legs. Hopefully, the conditions in the next match will be try and they will not only appreciate it, but take advantage of the chance to use their possession play more to their advantage.


starinyourfire said...

i like the way the US was creating chances and keeping possession of the ball

Anonymous said...

Cmon REDS!!!!

Anonymous said...

rtt281 here, watching from work before my boss gets in..

They gotta just shoot the damn ball! Have they really even tested LeBlanc yet?

starinyourfire said...

the US seems to be getting it's attacking form again, AC do you think it would be a good time for the US to make a sub and see if they can finish there chances?

ghostwriter said...

Blogus interuptus. It's 10:20 in the East and the game's just over a few minutes ago. US 2-1 in OT.

US had lots of chances in regulation time, the last being a semi break by A-Rod in injury time that the D got just enough of her to leak it wide.

In the OT, Pia's withholding of earlier subs and two injury forced subs by Canada were, perhaps, decisive. After hard work by A-Rod won the ball at the offensive left side of the box, she laid it back to Boxxster for a beautiful dipping cross in front of the keeper that the fresh legs of Kai allowed her to get to for a diving header past LeBlanc. Pretty goal.

US played with so much more possession today and looked for passes on angles into space for their speed players like O'Reilly, A-Rod, and eventually Kai. The D played well and pressed up in the offensive zone with some regularity.

Canada had a couple chances. Solo made a nice diving save on a low shot ticketed for the far corner in OT, couldn't hold it though and was fortunate there was no Maple Leaf crashing that back post. She also won a very dangerous high ball in a crowd that she couldn't hold onto but it was eventually cleared by Carli Lloyd (I think).

Lauren Cheney got in late and should have had the 3rd goal off a thru ball to Kai that she corraled and laid back to a wide open LC at the top of the penalty area. She had more time than she thought, could easily taken the extra touch to settle it and pick het spot, but she shot early and missed wide.

Tough, long game on a very wet field. Those girls will all be tired tonight. Very good work by the US.

Coach said...

Well, that was bitter sweet, no matter the result that was going to be how I felt. About to check out of Watertown - fun times!

Great game Canada - you can be darn proud of the way you played in all your games!


Anonymous said...

Beating Canada feels almost as good as beating Mexico. Now if only Canada would go get its own league, too.

Coach said...

Anybody home? lol

Congrats USWNT - GREAT effort today! A rematch of the WWC07 semifinal - doesn't get any better than this with one possible exception! :(

Bring home the Gold USWNT!

They WILL do it too!

Coach said...

A.C., for what it's worth, from the "USWNT" page, which is the one I always visit thus have seen no problems, you get all the older posts, but not from the "All" & "Olympic Soccer" pages. These stop at the "Glitch" page.

Blame l.b.!! lol

USWNT labels on the Olympic Soccer posts that relate to USWNT maybe? ;)