“To nobody’s surprise, Brazil proved to be in a different class against the U.S.”
That’s the ESPN headline still up at soccernet regarding the recent friendly between our men’s national team and Brazil’s. I never in a million years thought the same could be said for our women.
But here we are. Yet totally surprised.
She could have been speaking about the effort given from the entire team, but no, Julie Foudy spoke this little nugget of truth in reference to Coach Greg Ryan’s decision to start Brianna Scurry – 7 games all year was the statistic that kept coming up - in goal replacing Hope Solo.
It proved disasterous.
I’ve never been a big fan of Julie Foudy in the broadcast booth, but clearly this is her wheel house the WWC, and this morning she was spot on with nearly everything. Channeling her inner Eric Wynalda, Julie along with every voice we heard this morning tore US WNT coach Greg Ryan apart.
Before the game started people were calling for an explanation; turning to cries, those calls are now for his job, as Steve Goff presupposed before the game.
I don’t see how he stays, though changing coaches so close to the Olympics won’t be easy for a team who takes that competition more seriously than most.
The images of Hope Solo on the bench said it all. Solo indeed. Her body language personified the play of her teammates, who even in a game where the style was working in their favor showed nary a sign of anything resembling a championship team. They appeared a team unsure of themselves.
Don’t want to lay complete blame at the feet of an inexplicable, idiotic, naïve substitution? How about the equally bad call made by the referee, sending Shannon Boxx off after a so-sad-it-was-hilarious yellow card? Are we at the point where FIFA should do something in World Cup games to fix this – be it a replay booth or extra referees – to ensure game-changing fouls aren’t botched as they were today?
Take your pick. There’s a strong argument there for both. Together they seem insurmountable. But the fact is Brazil out-skilled our ladies today. Marta and Cristiane were unstoppable; replay after replay showed our best defenders getting worked in slow motion. The U.S. had their chances on a few set pieces – a U.S. team depending on set pieces? Imagine that! – but those like their entire day, ended empty and flat.
I’d say head over to US Soccer for a game report and quote sheet which are historically thorough, but given the performance and tough questions the team is taking as I write this, we’ll probably better off with a third-party source. Goff is your man…
And then Hope Solo after the game on TV with tears in her eyes:
You have to congratulate the ladies for a nice tournament, for beating England, for reaching the semi-finals. Though that’s not much solace at the moment.The question I don’t like to think about, much less ask, but I can’t get it out of my head: What if anything does this cosmic hiccup - and the extremely poor media coverage of the tournament - do for the fate of women’s soccer in America, beginning with Ryan’s job and ending with the re-launch of the WUSA?
And has Brazil officially taken the reigns of the women’s game?
late note: it won’t be up for long, but at the moment, the game story is the lead, illustrated story on the front page of the NY Times. Goal Blog on the front page. Their decisions confuse me.