Tuesday, July 31, 2012

USA - v North Korea

Here we go. . .

USA: Solo; LePeilbet, Rampone (c), Buehler, O'Hara; O'Reilly, Lloyd, Cheney, Rapinoe; Morgan, Wambach
North Korea: O Chang Ran; Kim Nam Hui, Kim Myong Gum, Choe Un Ju, Ri Ye Gyong; Jon Myong Hwa, Kim Chung Sim (C), Pong Son Hwa; Kim Song Hui, Choe Yong Sim

2 - Megan Rapino with a great run up the wing - leads to an angled shot that's out for a corner kick. Wambach was crying out for the pass before the shot. 
3 - Corner out for another corner before Korea clear. 
4 - Wambach taken down.  
5 - Lloyd to Morgan, who gets a shot off as she's falling, earns a corner.  
6 - "They don't have jukes," says Ben, who is watching the game with me, "even though they're aggressive." He's talking about North Korea
7 - Wambach tries a half-bike and it bounces past the goalkeeper and in! Offside, though.
10 - Ok, I have this to say about Brandi Chastain's commentary - though I don't agree with Solo slamming her on Twitter. Players need to learn to take criticism, and Rachel B. is a big girl. But Chastain is partial to the players she played with or knows personally. Like she just said that Wambach, a master of stealth fouling if there ever was one, a professional for not retaliating to the physical play of the North Koreans.
11 - Actually, that's valid. A pro plays through the pain and then dishes it out at the next opportunity.  
13 - Amy LePeilbet goes down and her defender is shown a yellow for the slide/scissor kick. 
15 - Great passing gets the USA into the box with Morgan against the goalkeeper, and she winds up quickly, shoots, and it's off the post.  Dang that was close. 
17. - Lauren Cheney gets tugged down - and speaking of retaliation, the camera catches her swinging her cleats back into ther opponent.  
20 - Another build up play, but the cross from OHara goes straight to the goalkeeper, OchanRan

22-  The rain is coming down harder. 
24 - This could be a mess - given that the USA hasn't scored yet. They're dominating, but without a goal as insurance, they're vulnerable. 
25 - AND THEN THEY SCORE! WAMBACH!. Morgan races and takes down a long pass, does a great turn on her defender, but instead of shooting, slips the ball through to Wambach, who dinks a simple shot past OchanRan and into the goal. USA 1 - NK 0
27 - Great team play on the goal, though Morgan did the most impressive bit on the job. 
30 - North Korea looking more aggressive now, but to no avail. 
35 - OHara with a nice move to dispossess a Korean player. 
37 - Bored with the game, the commentator is filling the audience in on North Korea's woes with steroids and FIFA. We get it - they're evil and the American girls are angels and doubly deserving of victory for their goodness. 
39 - How did that not go in? Morgan feeds Wambach again, and her sliding shot is off the post via a goalkeeper deflection. OReilly tries to clean it up and poke the ball in, but it's into the side netting.
42 - Lloyd shoots! Too high.  
43 - Corner for the USA, off a free kick after Song Hui Kim given a yellow.  
44 - North Korea work their way out of trouble, all the way back to the USA end. 
45 - Solo calmly catches and quickly gets the ball going the other way, understanding the need to score before the half ends. It would be nice to put the game into safer territory.  
Solo again gets the ball, off a pass - it's probably the third time she's touched the ball all game. 
It's been a nice performance by the USA thus far.

46 - Right back at it, and the USA doing well again. Good balance to their passing and movement.
48 - OReilly fights for the ball, gets it to Wambach, who slows down the play a bit by getting it stuck under her feet, before finally passing to Morgan, who dishes to Tobin Heath, who tries to get too cute with the shot and gets it over the bar in a 1v1 versus the goalkeeper. Keep It Simple, Tobs.
51 - North Korea looking hapless right now. They need to regroup.
53 - Then again, for all the USA passing prowess, it hasn't led to another goal. They've been wasteful.
55 - Lacking a bit of killer instinct, perhaps.
57 - Also, they're not actually creating that many chances. No shots for quite a while.

80 - Oooh! RED CARD - CHOE MI GYONG It was her second yellow.
Cheney is taken down and the free kick is wasted because the ploy with OReilly and Cheney didnt work out.
82 - ARod is on for Cheney.
85 - In a way, it looks harder now for the USA to score - North Korea holding back, pretty much, not trying to score as they did before. 
90 - done! An efficient, if close, victory for the USA.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Not So Money

It's funny, right after I've been going on about how the USA women's soccer team needs to keep things real instead of presenting a plastic image of perfection, an interview with Hope Solo comes out that definitely depicts the players as flesh and blood. 

Be careful what one wishes for, I guess. 

Well, it's really no different than what the guys do - champagne showers are standard for victory moments, and it's easy to drink the fizzy stuff and get wasted.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mighty Megan

I remember when I first started covering women's soccer and another reporter mentioned the girlfriend of a top player. He seemed surprised at my confused look, then calmly explained that a few of the USA women's national team were gay. 

My confusion, though, wasn't because I was surprised that some of the team's players were lesbian. My first thought had been, "Really? Why is anyone hiding someone they love from the public?" 

When I voiced this question out loud, my fellow reporter smiled, "Well, they aren't really hiding. I mean, their teammates know. If you cover the team long enough, you'll see their girlfriends often enough that you'll figure out which players are gay. They just don't really make it obvious to fans or anyone else."

Basically, the world at large was kept in the dark. I'm all for privacy in people's personal lives, but frankly, that's not what has historically happened with the straight members of the USA women's team - or the men's team, for that matter. Engagements are trumpeted and marriages are announced regularly on the official blogs for both squads. 

It's especially the USA women's team has sold to the public an image of themselves as "good girls". I've long thought that it should be more about athletes as real people. 

In doing so, Rapinoe is setting an example not only for some of her fellow teammates, but also for young soccer-playing athletes everywhere to be true to themselves and to who they love.