Today team USA plays for 3rd place against Norway after a disappointing loss to Brazil. Brianna Scurry is back in goal for the USA.
5:05, 4th minute: USA seems to be dictating the pace early. They’re the only team to have gotten scoring chances so far, and Norway has yet to truly play in their offensive zone.
5:07, 6th minute: Brianna Scurry gets her first action of the game, and she makes an easy save.
5:08, 7th minute: The American s very nearly on the possession from the corner kick. Kristine Lilly runs to the left side of the box, and she puts her pass directly in front of goal. But two Norwegian defenders are there, and the U.S. can;t do anything with it.
5:11, 10th minute: Ten minutes into the game, Norway has apparently dominated possession (67%/33%). It certainly hasn’t felt like kept the ball that long.
5:14, 13th minute: Greg Ryan apparently stands by his decision to put Scurry in for Solo against Brazil on Thursday. I still disagree vehemently, but you have to give him credit for sticking to his guns. Even if its to his own detriment.
5:16, 15th minute: USA gets another scoring chance, this time from the throw in. But They can’t their headers down to goal level, and eventually Norway clears.
5:18, 17th minute: Oh! The Americans get their best chance yet. Abby Wambach gets taken down in the box (but the ref gives no call), and off the cross, Kristine Lilly was six inches away from getting her foot on the ball and getting a goal. Nordby makes the save.
5:21, 20th minute: We’re 20 minutes into the game, and Brianna Surry has yet to be challenged.
Heather O’Relliy gets a decent shot on the right side, but it’s from a bad angle, and Nordby is there for the easy save.
5:27, 26th minute: The Americans get another chance. Kristine Lilly gets deep into the box, but she has to give it up, and Wambach’s cross is a bit off. On the ensuing corner kick, Wambach’s header goes wide. Believe it or not, that’s more significant touches that she’s had in that one minute than in the entire semifinal against Brazil.
5:31, 30th minute: GOAL! A great corner kick deflected to the top of the box, a perfect shot by Chalupny back into the box, and Wambach deflects the ball away from Nordby and into the net. USA leads, 1-0.
5:33, 32nd minute: Goal or no goal, team USA is playing very well in this game compared to the semifinal. Brazil may just be that good, but we’ll find out about that later today.
5:36, 35th minute: Whitehill takes the free kick, but it sails over everything. 35 minutes into the game, and time of possession is even.
5:37, 36th minute: Kristine Lilly finally gets the chance to take a shot on goal, but Nordby is there to make the save.
5:38, 38th minute: Wow. Suddenly America is on the attack, taking three shots in three minute that come very close to getting in. Kristine Lilly has been particularly aggressive.
5:41, 40th minute: Scurry gets her first real challenge, having to go up against a Norwegian forward to the ball. She punches and clears the ball in mid-air. Certainly, she hasn’t been challenged as much as she was against Brazil.
5:43, 42nd minute: Norway puts a ball into the back of the net, but the officials call them offside; replay clearly shows that was the right call. Still 1-0 USA.
5:46, 45th minute: If Norway wants to prevent this game from getting out of hand, they need to shut down the left side of the attack. That’s where almost all of USA’s good scoring chances are coming from.
5:47, 45+ minutes: We’ve reached halftime, and USA leads 1-0 after the first half. Unlike against Brazil, the Americans are dictating the pace of the game with a much more attacking style against an, honestly, less speedy opponent. If they keep attacking in the second half, USA should be able to put this game away.
6:07, 48th minute: GOAL! USA scores to start the second half, as Abby Wambach gets another goal After Whitehill’s shot hits the post. That’s 6 for her in this tournament. The Americans lead 2-0 and are in full command of this game.
6:09, 51st minute: The referee gets tackled by a Norwegian player. Good thing she has a sense of humor.
6:10, 52nd minute: I remember hearing someone say that a 2-0 lead was the most dangerous lead for a soccer team, because it’s a big enough lead for them to feel like they can rest on their laurels, yet close enough that the opposing team can come back fairly quickly. Of course that assumes the the opponent can make plays, and so far the Norwegians have not.
6:13, 56th minute: Chalupny attacks and crosses the ball into the zone, but no one is there to receive it.
6:14, 57th minute: GOAL! This time it’s Chalupny, go gets the goal off of the Wambach cross and the Aly Wagner deflection. USA leads 3-0.
6:16, 59th minute: Tarpley comes in for Wagner. Great NOW Ryan makes an aggressive substitution.
6:17, 59th minute: GOAL! Tarpley makes an immediate impact, directly attacking Nordby at goal. After the initial save, O’Reilly puts it in the back of the net. USA now leads 4-0, and they’ve been playing insanely good soccer for the last 30 minutes.
6:19, 61st minute: Uh-oh, some bad defense by Marian Dalmy, and Huse nearly scores. USA forces a corner kick.
6:20, 62nd minute: GOAL! Norway fires a deep pass from near midfield, and Gulbransen’s header at the top of the box sails over Scurry’s head and into the net. Nothing any goalie could do about that. USA now leads 4-1, but they’re still stand little chance of coming back.
6:25, 68th minute: The crowd in Shanghai has begun to cheer for Norway. Only now, when down big, have we begun to see some aggressive play from the Scandinavians.
6:30, 73rd minute: An interesting fact; USA has outshot Norway 20-5, or a ration of 4-1. Interestingly enough, that’s exactly the score right now.
6:31, 74th minute: Another interesting fact: Chinese women’s soccer fans really like “the wave”.
6:34, 77th minute: Team USA has dominated this game, but right now, I’m thinking: Where that hell was this kind of play against Brazil?
6:38, 81st minute: The Americans get a sneaky pass onsode, and Wambach is wide open down the field. Only a slide save way outside the box by Nordby stops goal #5.
6:40, 83rd minute: Apparently, USA’s team psychologist didn’t join the team in China; instead, she decided to stay in the states and correspond with players online. The team probably could have used her presence after coach Ryan’s goalkeeping decision ahead of the semifinal.
6:44, 88th minute: Natasha Kai is about to come into the game. Out of the game for team USA is Kristine Lilliy, who will walk off the field in the World Cup for the final time.
6:47, 90th minute: Kai is only the second Hawaiian to play for the U.S. National soccer team, men’s or women’s. The first is Brain Ching, which makes Univision’s Pablo Ramirez wonder of Kai is Hawaiian for the sound the ball makes when it hits the post. CHING!
6:50, 90+ minutes: Aaaaaand we’ve lost the ESPN feed, and we now hear the international commentators. That’s pretty much a microcosm of this tournament for the U.S.; performing well for most of the tournament before things go horribly wrong at the end.
6:52, Full Time: And it’s over. USA wins 4-1, earning third place, Making the Norwegians look bad, and ending their World Cup on a high note. Next is Germany-Brazil in the final. I’ll be live blogging that as well, so stick around.