Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Women's World Cup USA - North Korea

Predictions? Give them in the comments. This has been a low-scoring World Cup so far - 2-0 USA is my guess, and I think I'm being generous with the scoreline. To the USA, that is.

Lineups: USA - Solo; Le Peilbet, Buehler, Rampone, Krieger; Cheney, Boxx, Lloyd, O'Reilly; Rodriguez, Wambach

North Korea - Hong; Jong, Ri Un Hyang, Ho, Song; Ri Ye Gyong, Jo, Jon, Kim; Yun, Ra

I like Rapinoe's skill on the ball, but Cheney offers more of a finishing threat, so I'd guess Sundhage's move is to try to put more scoring punch into the lineup.

Team USA seemed to do wonderfully when Sundhage first arrived, and winning the Olympics got her an extended contract. However, she's hit a bit of a Bradley downturn, where her style of attack seems a bit dated and predictable - or maybe it's some the current players, the last of an aging generation hanging on for a final shot at glory, making it look that way. What I see of the American ladies right now is tough physical play, but it's too obvious what they're going to do whenever they have the ball and they are rarely surprising and creative.

Tobin Heath's play is one notable exception, but she's only one player, and not even a starter.

Ha! The start of this match cuts off blathering Drew Rosenhaus trying to convince the world Owens is just fine after an ACL injury. Sure.

Funny, again, to see Hope and Abby the central focus for the USA promos, considering what happened last World Cup. Oh well, I guess it's all water under the proverbial bridge.

Despite the focus on Wambach, I look for Krieger to make an impact, partly because I'd like that to be an argument for more USA players to go abroad. I don't want all the USA players to leave the U.S., but more should try leagues abroad.
Holtzman had Pia's thoughts on the Cheney pick, yep, it's partly the offensive angle.
I think Solo is cagey about the info about her right arm having trouble on high balls for a reason. Watch her opponents aim high a whole bunch and miss. Seriously, it's hard to keep a shot low as it is. Most misses are high.
Scurry quite gracious about looking back on the Solo comments. DiCicco, not so much. I wish he'd just be honest that Greg Ryan was wrong, which was really all that Hope was saying, for the thousandth time, people.
Hey, that was Clint Dempsey's Modelo Especial commercial. I'm crushed. I was hoping he's speak some Spanish.
The USA look happy and excited in the tunnel, but as has been pointed out, they've lost a number of their matches leading up to this game.
Anthems. North Korea does look really young. But some of these players were the same ones who upset the USA U20 team (which included Cheney) in that World Cup a few years ago.
1 - Cheney tries to reach Wambach in the box, but Abby can't quite get there. The Wombat has lost a step.
3 - Lloyd gets pushed off the ball surprisingly easily there, but the USA recover.
5 - Kreiger with a good cross-kill starts O'Reilly on the counter, but her pass to Rodriguez is cleared.
7 - O'Reilly fails to catch up to a Krieger pass, and that ends the latest USA attack.
9 - Buehler misses badly trying to touch down a long Korean pass and it's dodgy for the USA for a bit before the ball is out for a goal kick.
11 - It's early, but Cheney is justifying Pia's pick so far. She's creating chances and just fired from outside.
13 - The USA are failing in the third pass. Passes one and two are fine, but the third is continually dodgy and North Korea tends to break up the play on that one.
14 - North Korea with a deep throw, but a foul in the box benefits the Americans.
15 - Cheney pass right into a defender kills USA chance.
17 - The USA are knocking on the door of getting the final pass right. From there, it's getting the finishing right. Baby steps, folks.
19 - Heather Mitts is a fine player, but is there any need to mention that she's on the bench, unless it's to keep her male fans hopeful of a sighting or game time to come?
20 - Cheney sets up for the game's first corner. The USA do what looks like an I formation in the box, then break apart as the ball is kicked. Not sure it helped a lot, the NK side eventually clears the ball.
22 - Lloyd muffs a good shot and then recovers to send a pitiful one on goal. Easily saved.
24 - Lloyd leaps for a ball and cartwheels down to land on her head. Ouch. Looked painful.
25 - Hwa shoots high, so maybe Solo's plan is already working.
27 - The USA is almost too eager, trying to take balls down high, instead of letting them drop, charging into the box instead of waiting for help, and taking too many hopeful shots from distance instead of looking for the pass.
29 - Solo looks good in purple - her old Washington colors. She's going to need to be sharp, as USA defense just looked really shaky there, finally managing to desperately clear a good NK cross.
31 - Krieger, O'Reilly & Boxx working hard to make something happen.
32 - They get a corner, but Cheney puts it too low.
34 - Cheney hammers a shot on goal, but it's right at the keeper.
35 - SAVE! Solo's defense cracks again, but she makes the near post punch.
36 - Game is more back and forth than many might have suspected. Lloyd fires a rather tame shot, easily saved. Didn't get any mustard on it.
38 - Jong Sun beats Lepiebet again, getting into the box and puts the ball past Solo, across the front of the goal, but no teammate is able to poke it home. USA escapes.
40 - Rodriguez in the box, but the NK defense is tighter than the USA, and they shut her down.
42 - Ra Un Sim shoots for the corner of Solo's goal, while she misses, it's not by too much.
43 - USA defenders let Solo down again, but she makes the tough close save and gets ball out for break - Rodriguez great work to get down the field and into the box, pass to Wambach is there, but unfortunately, happened right when Wambach was cutting to change direction and she sprawls awkwardly trying to reach ball. Misses it.
45 - Why does Wambach chase balls she has no chance of getting? She's a veteran, she should know what she can reach and not waste energy.
45+ - Last chance on a freekick for the USA, and it's a metaphor as the ball misses everyone but reaches the goalkeeper, who keeps calm for the catch.
Halftime - The USA have to step it up. North Korea's teenagers are tough, fast, and skilled.
47 - Cheney looking to make something happen for the USA - but yet another shot is right at Myong Hui.
49 - USA with a freekick - Kreiger lines it up. It's put back out and Boxx eventually fires off a shot. High and wide.
50 - Nice cross from O'Reilly leads to Cheney shot, but it's saved.
51 - Wambach in the box. Fires way high in her rush to get shot off before defenders block it.
53 - Lepeilbet with a crappy pass. Where's Cox?
55 - GOAL! Lloyd with a great long pass to Wambach, who does well to take a look around, and sends a cross to goal - Cheney heads it in to the corner. Nicely done.
57 - Gyong fires from distance, gets solo diving, but misses high.
58 - Scrambling, sloppy defense from the Americans, gives NK another chance. Yikes.
60 - Lepeilbet with another pass that makes life difficult for her teammate.
62 - Cheney lines up a freekick. Gets a corner out of it. Sets up for that. Boxx can't reach it, falls down.
66 - Ouch! Wambach heads a creat Lepeilbet cross on goal, but the keeper and the crossbar combine to deny her. Looked like a sure thing.
68 - Lloyed with another great long pass to Wambach, but Wombat's cross is poor and kills the USA chance.
70 - Speedster Rodriguez nearly catches up to a Solo goalkick in the box, but not quite.
71 - Crappy corner from Cheney.
73 - Wambach to A-Rod, who manages to check back for the ball and fire a shot that earns a save and a corner.
74 - Cheney takes the corner short with LePeilbet and the two make a hash of it.
75 - Alex Morgan in for A-Rod. Cheney and LP combine better now to earn a corner.
76 - It bounces around, and Kreiger puts it back in the mixer - and it falls to Buehler, who quickly fires it into the corner. GOAL! 2-0 USA. Check prediction above, folks.
79 - Rapino in for O'Reilly. I don't think the bright blonde hair suits her. She should try red. Go bright ginger, Megan!
82 - Wombot whiffs at the corner ball as it bounces in the box. Kreiger connects, but it's way wide.
85 - Rapinoe has good ball skill, but not quite the push forward Cheney provides.
86 - Morgan fires at goal, good turn, crappy shot.
87 - Solo saves as the USA defense gets a little lazy.
89 - Wambach jumps for the ball, doesn't really get it, but cleans out her defender.
90 - GOAL! Rapinoe - oh, its dissallowed because Rapinoe kicked it out of the goalkeeper's hand, though it wasn't really in the goalkeeper's control at all.
90+ Corner chance for North Korea, but the shot is off target.

Fulltime! The USA with a neat little win get their World Cup campaign off on the right foot.

1 comment:

L.B. said...

I'm going with 1-0 for the USWNT