Monday, August 18, 2008

Japan/US running blog - semifinals

Here we go, here we go.

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 17-Lori Chalupny, 15-Kate Markgraf, 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone-Capt.; 7-Shannon Boxx, 11-Carli Lloyd, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 5-Lindsay Tarpley; 16-Angela Hucles, 8-Amy Rodriguez

Japan: 1-Miho Fukumoto; 2-Yukari Kinga, 3-Hiromi Ikeda, 4-Azusa Iwashimizu, 7-Kozue Ando; 14-Kyoko Yano, 8-Aya Miyama, 10-Homare Sawa, 15-Mizuho Sakaguchi, 11-Shinobu Ohno, 17-Yuki Nagasato.

1 - Japan is moving the ball well from the start - the U.S. is chasing a bit, scrambling on defense.
4 - The U.S. is barely getting much of the ball. Miyama crosses! Ooh, a miss on a shot right in front of goal. Japan should have had a great shot on goal right there.
6 - Lloyd takes a shot after the FK gets touched to her - it's on goal, but Fukumoto handles it well.
7 - O'Rielly in the box! The bounce is high and she can't really shoot, so she goes down in a heap as Fukumoto grabs the ball.
9 - Japan gets another corner. The U.S. clear and get a counter going, but O'Reilly is taken off the ball trying to dribble past a defender.
11 - Tarp also taken off the ball. So far, Japan's defense has blunted the U.S. speed advantage.
12 - Mitts long ball to Lloyd, but the Japanese cut off the ensuing cross into the box. Still, the U.S. getting more of the ball.
13 - ARod, lays off a close ball in the box to Chalups, whose shot is rather poor, wide.
14 - After Japan had the early momentum, the U.S. has hung in.
16 - GOAL! It looked offside, but Tarp had stayed back, keeping Ohno on, and the little pass to her in front of goal left her with an easy finish. 1-0 Japan.
18 - Unlike Japan, the U.S. has not come back from behind once this tournament. They've been ahead every match they've won. When they trailed, they lost to Norway, 2-0.
22 - Ohno with a shot! Solo dives to make the save. She gets there, but Ohno is on fire with confidence.
24 - Japan possessing the ball well. They're taking their time, moving the ball around. They force the U.S. to chase and keep the Americans from getting any rhythm. Smart.
27- U.S. cross into the box cut off by Fukumoto.
28 - ARod into the box with speed - looks like she's going to get a corner on the deflection, but Japan catches up to the ball.
29 - Chalupny fouls Sawa, but it's a ways from goal. FK is too far for Nagasoto.
31 - I wonder if Sundhage wishes the U.S. could play Japan's possession game.
33 - Poor pass over the top by the U.S. They seem to have run out of ideas early. Perhaps the Canada game and the long delay took a toll. Usually the U.S. has an advantage athletically. They might not there if their legs are heavy.
35 - It does seem at times that Chastain is talking more than the play-by-play, which doesn't add to the game, really. Over-analysis.
37 - Playing in the rain also probably wore on the U.S. players. The Canada match was a grind-it-out affair, and perhaps it's not surprising that the U.S. looks flat.
39 - ARod isn't holding the ball well when she drops into the midfield.
40 - O'Reilly late on a tackle - gets yellow.
41 - GOAL! Then O'Reilly gets the assist! She makes the run, beats her defender on the wing, crosses the ball in. ARod misses the chance, Tarp dummies or gets confused, but the ball goes past her and Hucles is perfectly positioned for the easy putaway. 1-1
43 - I completely agree with Chastain - Hucles had a great, simple finish. "The little pass to the net", as the Brazilians say. None of her goals have really been impressive this tournament, but she has gotten the job done.
44 - GOAL! Chalupny! The defender makes the run, as her U.S. teammates have been threatening since their goal, and she cuts into the box with the ball, then rockers a laser into the roof of the net. Now that was a pretty, pretty goal. 2-1 U.S.
Halftime - Well, the U.S. has to feel good about the last five minutes of that half, while the Japanese are reeling. However, Japan has been down before and crawled back almost every time. Only against China did Japan lead the whole way. Of course, only against the U.S. did Japan fail to rally.
46 - ARod on the run - gets a corner as Fukumoto parries the shot.
47 - Japan counters on the corner clearance. The U.S. with some sloppy defending there, but they clear.
49 - Cross overhit by Japan, out for a U.S. goal kick.
50 - ARod shoots wide. Mitts then gets a yellow for kicking the ball away. The service confuses the U.S. defense again, but they eventually clear.
52 - ARod beats her defender, rounds in on goal - shoots. Fukumoto saves. ARod could have passed that, just to unsettle Japan by exercising more options. Still, very nice run.
54 - Hucles goes down from a Sawa tackle. She looks in pain, but she gets up and shakes it off.
55 - Chastain opines that the U.S. isn't tired from the Canada game. I differ on that. It's just after the half right now, when they've had a chance to take a breather. Watch for more signs of fatigue in twenty minutes.
56 - Hara comes in for Ando, first sub of game.
58 - The U.S. is controlling more of the play, but that didn't guarantee an advantage for Japan in the first half.
61 - Fukumoto punches out a ball in her box, but the U.S. is keeping the pressure on. If Japan is rattled at all, the Americans will take advantage.
63 - Chastain correctly diagnoses that Japan isn't playing the nice possession style to set up attacks the way they did before.
64 - O'Reilly shot sets up a corner. Hucles takes, foul in the box gives ball back to Japan.
65 - Nice buildup by Japan.
68 - Oooh, chances for Japan as they get back to the play that made them successful. The U.S. defense is scrambling.
69 - Kai is in for Tarp, by the way.
70 - GOAL! O'Reilly scores against the run of recent play. It looked like an attempted cross, but it spun into the goal in a tricky trajectory that fooled Fukumoto. 3-1 U.S.
75 - Arakawa has come in, with her crazy hair. It's probably useful in headers - nice cushion.
76 - Kai on the run, but her cross gets to O'Reilly on a 50-50, and O'Reilly clips her defender.
77 - Chastain campaigns for Boxx to be subbed out.
79 - Sakaguchi from distance, but Solo sees the ball in the whole way for the catch.
80 - U.S. corner.
GOAL! Hucles takes the corner, gets the ball back, cuts around her defender and hits a loopy little cross that spins into the goal. Fukumoto leaned one way, then backpedaled too late. 4-1, U.S.
82 - Sawa in the box - misses.
83 - Cheney coming in for ARod. That open-heart surgery tidbit about Lauren gets mentioned as often as "Kai is Hawaiian" and "Jay Heaps played Duke basketball".
84 - Mitts cramps up and tries to quickly stretch it out during the run of play.
86 - Cheney shoots from the corner of the box - high.
87 - Stephanie Cox comes in for the cramping Mitts.
88 - Kai shoots, gets a corner.
89 - "Six - one for the United States," says Dellacamera. Chastain doesn't correct him, but maybe he didn't mean the score, but CK.
90 - Cheney earns her team a corner. It's taken short, which is nice to see for variety, even though the shot doesn't quite come off.
Ok, I predicted both the U.S. and Brazil would advance, but did I imagine both would go down early and then storm back to score four goals? Um, no.
Off the crossbar by Sawa! Japan still fighting. Counter going the other way leads to a Lloyd shot, but Fukumoto stuffs her one on one.
GOAL! Desperate push by Japan, ball off the post, Solo scrambling, but can't grab the ball and the ball slips by Rampone, shot by Arakawa gets in. 4-2.
Final whistle
The U.S. is in the goal medal match, where they will meet a very tough Brazil team. Should be a good game. The U.S. defense can't be happy about that last, late goal from Japan, so that might serve as a good reminder on when to stay sharp. Considering that it's likely that two of the goals by the Americans weren't really intentional, the last thing the U.S. should get is cocky.


Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who wishes Brandi Chastain would be quiet some of the time? Her constant analysis becomes criticism by its sheer volume. Geez!

Dean said...

I suspect that a taller keeper would have saved those last 2 goals. Anyone think Hope Solo would have let them in?

The Hammer said...

Shot at redemption for the US National Women's Sorority. ;-)

I hadn't watched a full women's game in a long time, and must admit I'm quite impressed at how the level of play has developed. It's a lot faster, the women no longer look like they're about to fall over when they sprint and the passing/shooting quality has really come a long way.

Looking forward to getting up on Thursday, is it?

Dean said...

Heh, I hope someone on the team is joking about Nicole Barnhart playing keeper against Brazil!

ghostwriter said...

Yes, Brandi talks too much (watch the NBC online feed, no announcers at all). Yes, a taller keeper would've saved those lob balls and maybe even this one would have if she'd have moved her feet better.

Anybody think Hope Solo is playing less than stellar?

Anybody think Lauren Cheney has made a bit of a case for some more playing time?

Does anybody give the US much chance at all v. the Brazilian side that DISMANTLED Germany today? They looked like they were playing 12 or 13 vs. a German side with 10. Ohmygod were they good today.

AC, you picked 'em again!

Coach said...

WTH A.C., you dropped USWNT from your "Labels" for these posts! :( I thought you had gone on vacation!

Congrats "USWNT"!

Bring home the GOLD!

Coach said...

Ghost, in answer to your question - ABSOLUTELY - the USWNT is going to beat Brazil's butt on Thursday!

I've missed all the posts that are labelled Olympic Soccer but not also labelled USWNT! lol I've got some catching up to do!
Way to mess me up A.C., my bookmark is to the USWNT page! lmao

Hope is also doing just fine, she had no chance on the 2 goals - goal mouth scrambles - not much you can do - note the diving save when it mattered.

My only concern is going for more goals when it was 4-1 in extra time (Carli) instead of controlling the game - which allowed for the counter that resulted in the last goal - which I believe put the USWNT in a tie for GA for the tourney instead of allowing the fewest?

GOLD on Thursday for the USWNT!

A.C. said...

Sorry to throw you off, coach, it's just that I've been previewing some Olympic soccer stuff that didn't include the USWNT, so I just decided to put everything under the Olympic soccer label.

ghostwriter said...

Welcome back Coach. I thought you were on vaykay or some such.

Nice job by your gals. They were surely the best side the US faced (so far) in this tourney, even allowing for the 2-0 Norway debacle. If you'd have taken care of the Chinese when you had the chance it'd been you guys yesterday and who knows...

Next CWNT coach probably ought to be undertaking a similar remolding as Pia's doing down here. The Canadian women have the talent to be top four and life will get even more interesting for the US gals.

We'll see about Thursday. Brazil did to the Germans pretty much what they did to us at WC, although the Germans had no excuses. It seems obvious that you just can't give Brazil time and space or they really start feeling their oats and they just are too much to handle. If they get a little tight and frustrated and insecure, perhaps...but to do that the US possession game will need to be very good and the D will need to be better than they were v. Japan 'cause Barbara ain't 5'5'' and the Brazilian strikers won't miss opportunities.

And, in my view Hope still looks occasionally tentative. It seemed that on the first Japanese goal her first instinct was to rush the shooter. She started out, then changed her mind and retreated. As you know yourself from being between the pipes, you're better off sure than right much of the time. If your instinct in that instance is to try and smother the ball (or puck) off the shooter's foot (or stick), you've got to go with it. You've got to try to take away something. Admittedly she's made some fine athletic stops... on Sinclair and then again yesterday. It's not like she's played badly, but I'd like to see her totally committed all the time.

They've been fortunate with the draw, but it's nice to see Pia's charges begin to grow into themselves without Abby as a crutch. Have they grown enough to play with Brazil for 90? We'll see.

Coach said...

We were away for a short vaykay last week. I think I mentioned it in one or two of the posts that I was aware of! lol

I borrowed my daughter's new laptop (which I paid for so I guess I'm worthy! lol) & kept up on things while the ladies in my life shopped!

Hope didn't want to play "Rocky" on somebody's head again, that's why she retreated! ;) lol

Seriously though, that was a very difficult bang bang play which Hope had no chance on - maybe if she had kicked her legs out in a stacked pads kinda way instead of the dive! lol

Don't get me started on that Canada vs China game - things "coulda, shouda, woulda" been so different based on many games, that one being one of them! Same thing happened in the WC last year, but at least this time we got to the QF's!

I here Coach Ryan is coming to Canada! lmao - totally kidding! Please NO!

Coach Even indeed is a Route One coach, just like Ryan, & we just might benefit from a change, as he himself has stated.

On the Draw, I without a doubt believe the USA would be in the final regardless! Must always be positive! That being said, I do wonder why they don't do a criss cross for the semi's ike they often do in hockey?

I can't wait till the game Thursday morning! Regardless of what happens, they have done great & should hold their heads very high! Pia will be back regardless & if she isn't, WE'LL take her!


PS - Argentina just did to Brazil what the USWNT is going to do on numerous occasions on Thursday! They SCORED! :)

Coach said...

A.C. - oh my, Argentina just scored again [the first one went off his arm (!!), that one looked off-side maybe(??)] lol

Yes, I understand the putting "Olympic Soccer" as a label, but why not more than one label as you have always done? There are also some Olympic Posts with just "USWNT" as the label - Chalups recovery & the New Zealand game play by play I do believe?

I've now book-marked both but it's easier to go to the one page! Oh, and that page isn't broken! lol

Coach said...

Well A.C., what happened to your 604,800 Seconds blog?

Was rather humerous reading about SBD & such!

I tried to leave a comment but, unlike this blog, it wouldn't let me. lol

ghostwriter said...

Rocky, indeed, Coach. Hope on Timko was true Rocky... a body shot to the ribs.

What bad luck there for CWNT. Early injury to McLeod, one sub gone. Subbed Tancredi's bad ankle(s), two gone. Then Tancredi's replacement get's KO'd by Solo, the one woman wrecking crew, and all three Canadian subs are gone, leaving no fresh legs available in ET. That may very well have spelled the difference in the game right there.

At least Thursday the US shouldn't see that idiot Petignat again. She really does see things pretty strangely at times and seldom in US's favor. Brazil/US is usually pretty rough and tumble. Hopefully, both sides will finish with all eleven on the field.

A.C. said...

Point taken, coach, I'll add the label.

And um, I dropped the ball a bit on my other blog. I kind of thought no one noticed. . . I'll get it going again next week.

Coach said...

Ghost, I haven't heard for sure but I suspect Brittany T. has cracked ribs! Good thing I'm a Hope fan! :(

Tank's ankle did appear to be giving her problems. Surprisingly, our best game was against China when Tank was out - the old everybody else steps it up a notch or two thing - Rhian Wilkinson (who I think is AMAZING) was moved up with Randee Hermus taking Rhian's place on D. Rhian prefers an attacking mid position to D so I'm not sure why Coach Even insisted on playing her back? She's good everywhere - takes all the set piece kicks - might just be our MVP?

Anyhow, Rhi up really seemed to click - but Coach Even apparently didn't think so as he didn't go to Randee again?? She was the one that almost saved the China goal - went over the line by an inch if that!

Three subs used for injury may have made a difference but I'm more inclined to believe that the better team on that day did indeed win. The delay helped us too - seemed to take the momentum away from you guys & let us re-group after your rather over-whelming start. Karina L. also played well in place of Erin, which was great to see.

Regardless, oh so close but yet so far. Close is only good in - ummm - horseshoes! lol That's been the history - why change it for something as important as the Olympics!? :(( lol

Even in equestrian show jumping - we went to overtime for Gold against you guys - and LOST! :(

Back to the USWNT - I'm sooo impressed with how they've come together - I never doubted them for a second - not even one - & I am convinced they will bring home GOLD on Thursday - I really do but I'll cross my fingers just the same! Can't ask for anything better than this - a second chance to play Brazil with all the marbles on the table after everything that happened last September!

Yes, Ghost, this is indeed fate - or Karma if you prefer! Or not! lol

There are some things they need to do & clean up - but they can do it & will do it! Hope will also have a splendid game - she will respond to the enormous pressure she has to be feeling on her shoulders! She's one tough young lady - she will come through - I have NO doubts!

lol A.C., I came across your other blog when I had a peak at yours & l.b's profiles this morning - had a quick read, had a good laugh - hope you do pick it up again again next week.

Keep in mind it wasn't my intent to imply pressure of any kind but trying something new each & every week I do believe is a splendid approach to life - just may take it up myself - thanks for the inspiration! :)