Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tasty Match-Up

Women’s soccer fans all over the world must be looking forward to the USA-Brazil game as it shapes up to be one of the best of the tournament. With high stakes, world class players on both sides, lots of history, a beautiful stadium and plenty of story lines, this game is what World Cups are all about. The U.S. team is rested and ready for a match that certainly will stretch both teams to their limits, but that’s what makes entertaining, attacking soccer.


MiamiGirl said...

I just want to say that I understand Ryan’s choice of Bri (probably the best keeper instinct in the world), although, I too understand Hopes frustration (she has played extremely well this WC, and is a huge asset with her feet). They really cannot even be compared to one another because they are each so unique in how they play. All I can say is that I believe in each of them as people and athletes, and I will support whoever puts on the gloves.
Here is a little quote for Hope (ok maybe two)
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved." (Helen Keller)
“We can never really be prepared for that which is wholly new. We have to adjust ourselves, and every radical adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem: we undergo a test, we have to prove ourselves. It needs inordinate self-confidence to face drastic change without inner trembling (Hoffer).”
And one for Bri too
Age is only a number, a cipher for the records. A woman can't retire her experience. She must use it. Experience achieves more with less energy and time (Mannes-modified from he to she)

Hudson said...

I don't understand why Ryan opted for Scurry over Solo. It seems to smack of managing by fear rather than managing with confidence. If the U.S. women's team is so good, and it is good because Solo has been the No. 1 keeper, then why make the change. The U.S. should be able to handle Brazil with their No. 1 keeper. I hope Scurry and the U.S. women prevail, of course, but I can't see how this change isn't disruptive to the team chemistry, and it creates unnecessary tension and doubt exactly at the time when the team should be rallying and building momentum for the game. Ryan is sticking his neck way out on this one. And I have to say, this questionable decision is the latest in several questionable coaching decisions Ryan has made at this World Cup. I really liked him and thought he was the best person for the job. But since the World Cup, his decision to rarely play any of his subs, particularly in the England game, is baffling. The team's inability to possess the ball for any length of time is disconcerting for a team ranked No. 1. It seems when the pressure is really on, Ryan is really feeling it and perhaps overthinking everything. Anyway, I hope my concerns are proven wrong and Ryan and the U.S. women come home champions. The answers will be left on the pitch tomorrow. Go USA!

valekendall said...

While I have every confidence that Briana can do this (she is an amazingly talented World-Class keeper) and I understand the reasoning behind the decision, I do worry about the affect the suddeness(shock) of this change may have on the team's mental game. Right when they are hitting their stride a huge sudden change like that can sometimes knock a team sideways. It is possible that Hope's attitude about this change may set the tone for the team. It is my hope that she will just look at this as a rest-up opportunity before the Final.

My friends and I are playing hooky from work to watch the game tomorrow and we'll be cheering you all on. Briana - you get on with your bad self & kick some Brazilian bootay! Hope - we still think you are awesome, take heart!

PLAY hard ladies and have a BLAST!!

angie said...

ahhhh i am so excited and pumped...i can only imagine what you players are feeling. ha I am so excited!!

MonkeyLCB said...

Remember to have FUN out there! You all seem to play much better when you have smiles on your faces! Good luck!

MiamiGirl said...

I’ve been thinking about this goalie switch all day (I know, I have no life). It just doesn’t sit well with me. No discredit to scurry, but Hope has earned the right to be in the goal. She has perfectly capable of playing against Brazil. Sometimes ethics should trump tactics (especially when the so called tactical advantage is not all that substantial). Nonetheless, I expect us to go on to the finals with Germany, and I hope for the love of soccer that Hope is back where she belongs, as starting goalie.

Jean said...

To the Golden Girls,
You will win because you are a team. A team that knows what it means- faith, trust and security that you are all together more than the sum of you as individuals.
American women, young and old believe in you and are screaming our heads off each early AM. Stand firm without hesitation!!! All the best from Southern California!! Jean

Raquel said...

18 all THE WAY!!!!!
Don't tlet this discourage you, your performace has been great, you ARE the best GOALKEEPER ever!! If we are on the semis is greatly in part for you streghth, power and heart...



SCP said...

This is Hope's team. Plain and simple. Thanks Bri for being a great pro in supporting Hope. Abby and Hope have become my daughter's link to this national team. I am going to have a hard time explaining to my 7 year-old daughter, who is just now truly grasping the team concept, that no matter what you go through and accomplish together as a team, it can be stripped by a coach playing another individual based on past reputation. Bri is still great and can certainly lead this team to a championship, but so can Hope and this is her time.
In any event, thanks for getting us there Hope. And Bri, girls, play well.

WambachGirl said...

Hope hasn't lost a game in like 42 consecutive matches, she has only given up 2 goals I think this entire World Cup, she has made some AWESOME saves that kept the U.S from losing. Bri hasn't started a single game since June, and even then she only got the start because Hope was attending her father's funeral. So how coach Ryan can justify turning his back on her is insane to me.

Impedient said...

It would be good to see Briana back in action though and Solo should get some rest after starting all 4 games straight.

I can hardly wait for tonight's match up! I'm really confident of USA to just win over Brazil, even by a small margin!

All the best! Will be watching the match!

Elizabeth said...

I watched Kai's video a couple of days ago and can say she has the right attitude "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE TEAM". I will be getting up at 5a.m. tomorrow to see the game and expect that same attitude from all of you. Respect the coach, respect your team and respect the country supports you but most of all respect the young girls all around the country who will be looking to follow in your footstep.

I took 20 girls to the Rose Bowl when you won the World Cup and can truthfully say I was in tears at the sight of all the people who came to see WOMEN play. A victory for women's sports.

HMadass said...

It's possible I might have a heart attack before the game commences.

In which case, just wanted to tell the team what a pleasure it's been to watch you.

I know you ladies will do everything in your power and gut this thing out to the very end.

We're rooting for you. I even nose-tapped a British coworker in your defense. (It was on purpose.)

Anyway, I imagine the last thing you're doing is reading a blog but I'm happy to delude myself that some nice, WNT employee brings you the highlights.

Hopester, Bri: We love you both and you're incredible athletes. The team is lucky to have two of the very best keepers in the world on one team. Too bad we can't have you both in the goal against Brazil.

I'll shut up now. Or stop writing, as it were.

Go USA. I hope you listen to awesome pre-game music, maybe some 80's but whatever. Maybe something dramatic and angry sounding, I dunno.

We're behind you. And watch your backs! Not from me, or the fans but from Brazil.

We love yall and can't wait to read the apologetic editorials from the Sports Bloggers that are out to besmirch your name!


HMadass said...

Also, if I might add, I've been lurking dilligently around the internet replying respectufully, and wittily if I say so myself, to every British blog post regarding the Elbow Heard Round the World. Just doing my part to keep the sore losers of the world in line.

Go team, ducks fly together!

Island Girl said...

Bri will prevail, not saying that Hope wouldn't but we need to be supportive of both right now.

Remember the ball needs to pass thru 10 of her teammates before it gets to Bri.

My main concern is the midfield and Lilly and how they will play both sides of the field. They haven't been subbed enough and the coach thinks they're a bunch of machines. The men could run all these games but the woman's body is totally different story.

We have the world's best bench and would like to have seen him sub sooner against England. We had a 3 - 0 lead and he subs in the 78th minute. HELLO, WE SCORED THE THIRD GOAL IN THE 60TH MINUTE.

I hope fatigue doesn't bite us in the end, because I don't think it's the goalkeeping change that would have made the difference, it was the lack of subs.

Jaimeson said...

Well, I think everyone was surprised about Coach Ryan's decision to switch up goalkeepers. I'm sure that Bri will get us to the finals by shutting out Brazil, as would have Hope. One thing we should all remember that this is a team. Every single one of them. Whether they are starters or subs, they play as one. They are all awesome players and I have the utmost respect for each of them. Not only as superb athletes, but as amazing role models for every young woman and girl out there in the US and internationally. So whomever does start for the US, I know that they have what it takes to win.

So, good luck with the match today ladies! I know that you can beat Brazil AND Germany. So let's bring home the cup!

Impedient said...

We can do this and bring it back to 2-2 and then score another to win this! C'mon girls! you can make a repeat of the Korea match and add another goal!

deosoc said...

After recently returning from China to see our WNT play England I was not happy with coach Ryan's stategy. If it ain't broke don't fix it. As I watched the semi unfold I am even more baffled by the substitutions. Where were the wheels like,Kai and ,Tarpley ? I know we'll regroup , I'll be looking for more offense mindset and hope I see more from Kritine and Abby as well. BOXX WAS ROBBED!!! Hang tough ladies ,you can do it. GO USA. DEOSOC

susaned said...

Briana Scurry is the best women's goalkeeper to ever play the game. Too bad Ryan put her into such an awkward position (hurting the team's psychology by switching keepers in midstream and not giving Briana enough starts before such a critical match). I hope that she realizes that today's mess was not her fault. She deserved much better than the hand she was dealt.

Julie Foudy for coach of the USWNT!

Impedient said...

Heads up girls and now all we have to do is to give Norway a good fight! Hope all are alright :'(

Jaimeson said...

There's still one match to go, so keep your heads up! We're all still very proud of all of you! Go USA! :)

Mary said...

I think USA played a great game despite the disappointing outcome. And, please don't start blaming anyone. We can only get better after this by learning from our mistakes! I think our 51 winning streaks might have "blinded" us in some ways without us even being aware of it. Going into this tournament with the notion that we're #1 in ranking has inevitably created an invisible pressure on every player's mind. I've noticed that we just haven't been able to play at the highest level that we can achieve at this tournament. On the other hand, our team is relatively young, and to be able to reach this level of play in a relatively short period of time is already a significant achievement in itself. So, US-WNT, please don't feel discouraged at all. The Brazilians are amazingly agile and creative on the soccer field, but hey, WE ARE TOUGH!! We'll be able to make a comeback next year at the Olympics! GO TEAM U.S.A.!!!

valekendall said...

I would've written sooner but had to RUN to work after the game to make a 10am meeting. I cried all the way there.

I won't say I'm not shocked or disappointed, I am. I had a feeling the goalie switch had sent a major shockwave through the team and it would show on the field - but I still thought we would pull through this thing with at least a small-margin win. You could feel the tension through the tv screen at the beginning of the game. The Team Mentality was not prevailing today. No smiles on the field at all, no one was playing for the love of the game today - except for Marta...after the 3rd goal.

We COULD say it was the last-minute goalie switch and blame Coach Ryan. We COULD say Leslie's Own Goal took us down. We COULD say Shannon being sent off on a bad call and having to play with just 10 put us at a disadvantage. But what it all boils down to and what it looked like from outside is that this team was beaten before the first whistle sounded. They lost the game mentally before ever stepping out onto the field. What little cohesion that had been achieved in the England game was gone, the team more scattered than they were in the first 2 games.

A Brazilian friend of mine always says "football is 50% skill, 50% luck and 100% mentality". That's what we saw today. We know the skill is there and you don't get to the semi-finals undefeated without having some 'luck' on your side but the Team mental game just wasn't strong enough to get us to the finals.

Maybe another airing-out session is in order, I don't know, but I really wish there was something I could do to help the team through this. I know that if you really want to you can turn this around and show the world you are still one of the top three teams in the world. You're ALL in this together and need to support each other, good decisions, bad decisions, awesome plays and mistakes - not just a team but a family that will go to the end of the World (Cup) for each other! Here at home we are still with you, standing proud and strong and behind you all the way. You're still the BEST IN THE WORLD to us!

CC said...

Where was the Defense??

First, the decision to play Scurry in place of Solo is a just one. Scurry has so much more experience than Solo. Solo will gain more with time, but right now she is young and still learning. Scurry is the "wise sage" of this team -- she has faced Brazil and many other big powers in the past, including World Cup matches and has proven herself time and time again.

Second, keep in mind that there are ELEVEN members of a team on the field (or ten sometimes). The offense has to make its way past ten other players before arriving at the goal -- have all of those errors been analysed yet?

Finally, the Brazilian team have grown over the years, becoming more refined, creative, and a much stronger team. Until we see little girls in America getting out to kick a ball around, we will not have the same level of soccer culture that is in the blood of children in other countries. Perhaps, one day, there will be much less gender stereotyping in the US and we will see that girls can be great athletes, in many cases better than men! (note: How did the men fare in the World Cup??)

Good job, ladies. Congratulations on a great effort and on excellent publicity! See you at the next World Cup in 2012!

Lorenzo said...

My heart is heavy after today's game. Hope was right, this is 2007 not 2004. Brianna is a legend and this was a sad way for her to go out.

asiankp said...

you win some, you lose some. in this case, it was the latter. hopefully you can rebound against norway.

Ellen said...

Brazil was fantastic. The disappointment in losing to them is so great for us as fans because you are a wonderful team when you play "your soccer." Hopefully Norway gives you a chance to 'put it all on the field' and play soccer your way. We'll still be cheering you on state-side. Good luck!!!

angie said...

You know it is a bummer not to be playing for first, even though we deserve it, But you know 3rd is still pretty damn good, when you look at the road that this US team had to fight through to get where they are. This team resembles confidence, and we need to take that and play well against Norway. AND play our game, not the opponents game, I think that is what hurt us against Marta and Brazil. Ya'll are awesome and can get them back in the olympics! Play hard on Sunday! Much Love

John Daly said...

What a sad day for US Women's Soccer. Now that the dust is settling, let us recognize what a huge mistake Greg Ryan made. I know both Greg and Brianna and have high regard for both of them. The disruption to team chemistry must have been immense. The body language of the US team was clearly negative. Missing was the usual confident jaunt of women who believe they are the best. Instead, they looked totally dispirited as early as the second goal going in.

The sending off was disgraceful! This referee was sadly lacking in ability. Brazil should have had a pk (trip); the US should have had a pk (handball); Shannon Boxx should never have been sent off. That being said, it was noticeable how slowly the US was putting the ball back in play following goal kicks, throw ins, free kicks, ett., once they were behind. Another sign of questionable team spirt?

I find it hard to believe that there was not some other factor behind Greg Ryan's decision. He made a nonsensical decision to change goalkeepers, leaving Brianna Scurry, one of the finest servants to US Women's Soccer, in a hopeless no win situation. Brianna looked uncertain in coming for an early cross and was beaten by a shot from Marta that she would normally stop in her sleep.

Once the third goal went in, the Brazilians went on the rampage. Although their skill was sublime, their taunting of US players was the unacceptable face of international soccer. The commentators called it having fun. I call it belittling a worthy opponent.

We need to address the lack of creativity in the US team. Both Boxx and Osborne are athletic, good players, but there was so little creativity in the US midfield. Chalupny is in the same mould as Boxx and Osborne, although not as big as they are. Kristine Lilly was unusually ineffective and Wambach had to deal with balls driven at her when she was double and triple teamed! The substitutions made no sense. Overall, Greg had a bad day and that is a shame because he is a very genuine and good man.

It needs to be recognized that, on the day, the Brazilians were far better than we were. They were technically, tactically and phyiscally superior to us. Their speed left our noted "speedsters", such as Rampone, struggling to stay with them

We have a lot of work to do at the youth level to stand any chance of catching the Brazilians! It will take time and I hope US Soccer has the patience and good sense to appoint the right people to handle the race to catch up.

Greatest sport in the world said...

There was absolutely no 'we' in 'team' by the US today. There were just a bunch of individuals. What a shame. It's too bad there is no one on the team that could fill Foudy's roll as a cheerleader on the field to bring this team together. Nobody stepped up and pulled the team together. They didn't even huddle up on injury time-outs. Then we saw Hope pouting on the sidelines. I don't agree with Ryan's decision either, but come on Hope. You should have been supporting your team and Brianna. Even in the press conference you voiced your dissapointment. Where's the professionalism in that? You should have said I am grateful for the playing time I have gotten. I respect the coach's decision. Brianna is a great goalkeeper and I will be ready to go if I am needed (regardless of how you were feeling). Hope - you let your team down, too. Boxx was playing great defense prior to her wrongful ejection, but there was no team cohesiveness at all today.

Greatest sport in the world said...

Brazil would have won the game regardless. Brazil has a better & faster team.

HMadass said...

I guess some amateur coaches or ESPN commentator hopefuls found there way in here. I try to keep the dissections saved for Big Soccer.

You played your hearts out which is all we can ask of you.

I know that might not be satisfying for players like you but it means a lot to the fans and we support you.

I have complete confidence that ya'll will rally. Ultimately this is not gonna ruffle you. You're a talented, mentally fit, physically dominating team and everybody has a moment they can't conquer.

I have faith that you'll use it as ammunition and go in guns blazing.

Good luck in y'alls upcoming endeavors.


Ref Bug Crista said...

The Cincinnati Ref Crew wanted to let you know, WE LOVE YOU!!!
We watched the game with interest and concern (as refs we vehemently disagree with the second yellow, but everyone makes mistakes). Okay, so we lost. There is another game. So, it's for third not first. So what!!!! Prove you are the US WNT, regroup. Come out against Norway and show yourselves you can beat adversity. You can learn from trial and come back to triumph! Regardless of what the next game holds, you are the chosen ones who are representing US Women's Soccer. We are so proud of you regardless.
GO USA!!!!
For your Coaches, give them a 'hug' (this can be a kind word, it doesn't have to be physical). We know what it means to be the leader and be 'beaten and bloodied' for the hard choices. Remember, that's our job. You know you had a decision to make, you made it. You have more decisions to come. You still have another game for WC. Know that you have supporters here, regardless of outcome! (Of course, we like to win! ;-)) Good luck against Norway!

Jen said...

This is such a typical case of a coach who cracks under pressure. Down 2-0 and sub in defenders. Solo should have played. He should have subbed in offensive-minded players. With that said, the Boxx card was so wrong. Lastly, we didnt have a prayer vs. Brazil. We were completely out-played and out of our league. Parity. Go Brazil. Kill Germany!

Island Girl said...

Hope owes an apology to Bri. When she screwed up against N Korea, Bri didn't call her out. I know emotions get the best of us but it was unclassy to say the least.

I would like to see Bri start against Norway and redeem herself.
I think Hope should sit on the bench and think about every word she said. She should also watch the game tape and really look if she could stop all those goals with the defense getting juked and leaving Bri alone to defend the net.

Hope better pray she plays well against Brazil the next time around or she'll never hear the end of it.

Megan said...

I am so sorry about yesterday's game. The entire team was put into a position that it never should have been.
Brazil had fantastic players. I don't know for sure if we would have been able to win if the ref hadn't made that atrocious call, or if Ryan hadn't decided to throw off the team chemistry with his suprise substitution. But the deck was stacked against the US.
I would like to say that I'm in favor of as many players as want to to talk trash on coach Ryan. But I really think it's unnecessary to say anything disparaging against team mates. It's understandable that Solo would be both hurt and furious, but let's remember that Scurry was put into that unfortunate situation, she didn't choose it. And she's suffering with the defeat as much as anyone else.
Please know that your fans support you (the players) all the way. I'm excited to see you against Norway on Sunday, and I'm excited to get the chance to see you back at home when you return.
But I do hope that Petignat is never allowed to ref another important game.

Soccernut said...

After the 3rd place game, Ryan should resign, fall on his sword so the women can move on as a team. It would send a signal that capital mistakes like the keeper change midway through a tournament and the, shall I say unusual, substitutions down 2-0 in the second half will not be tolerated on a squad with as much class as these women have. From now on, that Swiss referee should only be allowed to work YMCA matches ages 10 and under. Her assistants should join her there. They'll get free T-shirts.

irrlid2e said...

Good effort ladies! Would've loved to see you win, but you still have a game ahead of you! GO US WNT!
As for the Brazilian team: great soccer skills but too much acting so please limit it to playing soccer next time rather than deliberate dives. I don't even wanna mention the ridiculous red card. Therefore: GO GERMANY!!!