Monday, July 11, 2011

USA - Brazil; Reflections

1) To me, the shots of Abby Wambach and Hope Solo hugging it out in triumph after the USA's legendary and improbable win over Brazil yesterday are the most poignant. The two were at odds in the last World Cup, with Wambach one of the harshest critics of Solo's outburst, ignoring the honesty of her statements to lash out at the breaking of the team code. 
Four years later, the teammates have clearly rebuilt trust and appreciation for each other, and the joy in their ecstatic embrace and recognition of each other's heroics was clear for all to see. 

2) It took a win this crazy, this controversial, this flat-out miraculous, for women's soccer to garner the kind of headlines Solo managed in 2007 by daring to question what was clearly a terrible decision by then-coach Greg Ryan. 

3) Credit to Christie Rampone for still having the speed to catch some of the world's best, but Rampone aside, the current lack of swiftness on the USA's backline is worrisome. 
4) The refereeing issues at the Women's World Cup will invariably raise the issue of whether it's a good idea to keep preferring female referees for these matches instead of just appointing the most experienced and accurate officials available, regardless of gender. It's sexist to not make a big issue of mistakes that would horrify fans of the sport in any other context simply because they're made by women and in a women's tournament.

5) Where's the YouTube videos of the fan reaction to Abby Wambach's goal like the ones made after Landon Donovan's goal versus Algeria? Point me to a link if you know.

6) Rachel, Rachel - Rapinoe, that is. I was just remembering Megan's twin sister, herself a great college player until ACL injury issues proved too much to overcome, and how special it must be to watch her little sister (by a few minutes) have her heroic moment in the World Cup, bouncing back from the start of the tournament, where Megan lost her starting spot. The sisters used to also play basketball together, and Megan's pass to Wambach was as close to an alley-oop Hail Mary as one gets in soccer and could one day be remembered along the lines of Lorenzo Charles'  (RIP) game-winning dunk from a Dereck Whittenburg pass in terms of doing for USA women's soccer what that moment did for college basketball.

7) The USA seems to have become the default team for the Germans to cheer for, especially with Kriger, who plays in the country, knocking home the deciding penalty kick to clinch it for the Americans versus Brazil. 

8) Ah, the adrenaline rush of the sport where it's not over until it's really, really over, and then there's still a bit of added injury time. 

9) Shannon Boxx is a beast - never mind the botched first penalty kick. With that in mind, it recalls again how doomed the USA was in 2007 when the red card sent her off versus Brazil. 

10) This seems to be the tournament showcasing how much women's soccer has grown worldwide, which means that it should also be time to finally revise some of those crappy qualification criteria. That the USA was so close to being out of the World Cup tournament, due to one loss, while Germany is now out of the Olympics, is kind of ridiculous. Now that there's more legitimate parity, there needs to be a more fair qualifying system.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm SURE you have seen this by now, but if not, here you go.