Today Team USA faces Brazil in the Semifinals of the Women’s World Cup. The winner will face Germany in the final for all the marbles.
The big news is that veteran Brianna Scurry is playing goalie today instead of Hope Solo for team USA. I am personally perplexed by the decision; Solo might be the best goalie in this tournament, and she hasn’t allowed a goal in 300 minutes.
Although Brazil has yet to beat the USA Women’s team in major competition, any soccer team wearing those yellow jerseys has a chance to win.
8:04 am, 5th minute: The game got off to a fast start; Chalupny fired a long shot on goal 16 seconds into the game, but Brazil’s goalie makes the save.
Later in the 4th minute, A Brazilian player may have been fouled in the box. USA is very lucky not to draw a penalty kick.
8:06 am, 8th minute: Each team has gotten an excellent chance to score on a free kick. Shannon Boxx’s header is on target, but Andreia (Brazil’s goalie) makes the nice save again. One minute later, Marta takes the free kick on the other end; Brianna Scurry goes for the ball, but it slips through her hands. Fortunately for her the ball is kicked out of bounds.
8:12 am, 13th minute: Cat Whitehill is very good at these long free kick. from almost midfield, she forces Andreia to make a play on the ball.
Neither team has dominated possession so far. Brazil may have a slight edge.
8:14 am, 15th minute: Yellow card, Shannon Boxx. That was a fairly clear call; Boxx was late to the tackle. On the ensuing free kick, Scurry is there to make the save.
8:16 am, 17th minute: Elaine is down for team Brazil after landing awkwardly on the turf. She may be cramped up, It’s very hot and very humid tonight in Hangzhou.
8:18 am, 19th minute: If there’s one thing that tea USA has done wrong so far, is that they’ve given up too many set pieces in their own end with fouls. That may be an indication that midfielders are getting beat certain points in the game.
8:20 am, 21st minute: GOAL Brazil! The Brazilians get three consecutive set pieces, which is inexcusable. On the third corner kick, Leslie Osborne tries to head the ball out of bounds a bit too late, and instead heads it into her own goal. Brzil leads 1-0, and USA trails for the first time in over 300 minutes of WC play.
8:23 am, 24th minute: For the #1 team in the world, you’d think that team USA’s fans would travel well. This seems to be a definite pro-Brazilian crowd in Hangzhou.
8:26 am, 27th minute: Yellow card, Chalupny. Again, a bit too aggressive there.
Where is Abby Wambach in this game?
8:27 am, 28th minute: GOAL BRAZIL! Marts gets the ball in the box, and she takes a hard shot with her left foot. The strike gets just past Scurry, and Brazil leads 2-0. An unbelievable play by Marta, one of the best players in the world. But right now, Greg Ryan is looking pretty dumb for playing Scurry instead of Solo.
8:29 am, 30th minute: USA gets a decent free kick chance, but Wamabch can’t make enough contact to take a shot.
30 minutes into the game, and the Samba girls have all the momentum.
8:31 am, 32nd minute: Lilly draws another free kick, and almost score, but the good cross is just a few inches too high. It may not look like it, but USA has a very good chance to come back.
8:37 am, 38th minute: Right now, Brazil is dictating possession thanks in part to USa making a few ill-advised passes, preventing them from making a lot of attacks late in this half.
8:39 am, 40th minute: Marta is down after a collision with Osborne. It looks like she’ll be okay, though.
8:42 am, 43rd minute: right now, USA is having a VERY hard time of clearing the ball from their own zone. After a free kick, it takes them over 90 seconds before finally drawing a goal kick.
USA needs a good scoring chance before halftime, particularly for Wambach.
8:45 am, 45+ minutes: Four minutes of extra time.USA’s free kick is eventually cleared by Brazil.
8:46 am: RED CARD, Shannon Boxx. This was an absolutely terrible call. Cristiane actually trips behind Boxx, taking both players down. All the referee sees is both players down, and Boxx is sent off. Cristiane knew exactly what she was doing; she initiated the contact.
8:49 am: We’ve reached halftime, and Brazil leads 2-0. Perhaps more importantly, they will have a one man advantage on this hot and humid night.
The first half could not have gone worse for team USA. i don’t know if they need to make substitutions, perhaps put some fresher players in. But the front line of Wambach, Lilly and O’Reilly haven’t gotten any great chances. Brianna Scurry hasn’t necessarily played badly, but I wouldn’t mind to see Hope Solo in goal for the second half.
Team USA can still win this game with one or two more attacking players. Remember, they score 3 goals in 12 second half minutes against England on Saturday.
9:05 am, 46th minute: The second half begins, and team USA doesn’t seem to have made any substitutions. Let’s see how they play with a man down.
9:08 am, 49th minute: Abby Wabach is given a yellow card for a tackle on Renata Costa.
9:09 am, 50th minute: It’s clear that Brazil are the aggressors right now, having taken the only shots of this second half. It’s not looking good for team USA.
9:12 am, 53rd minute: The Leaky Brain has Babes of the World Cup, if you’re into that sort of thing.
9:15 am, 56th minute: GOAL BRAZIL. Cristiane is left all alone, open in the box. Scurry comes in to make the play, but Cristiane makes the goal easily, and Brazil leads 3-0. This game is pretty much over; team USA can’t come back from three goals and one player down.
9:18 am, 59th minute: It’s a shame. Coach Ryan has made a lot of good decision in this tournament, but he seems to have made one bad decision at the worst possible time.
9:20 am, 61st minute: USA substitutes a striker (O’Reilly) for a defender (Tina Ellertson). This the the opposite of the kind of substitution that they should make.
9:21 am, 62nd minute: USA finally gets a great opportunity, but Lilly fires her shot…right into Andreia’s torso.
Where is Abby Wamabch in this game? I have not seen her get a single scoring chance in this game.
9:28 am, 70th minute: Things are not looking good for team USA right now…they need to sub in an attacking player, and get as many offensive chances as possible, even at the risk of going down even more.
9:33 am, 74th minute: Why is USa putting in another defensive player? They need goals!
USA finally gets a corner kick in the second half, but they can’t make anything of it. Again, Wambach has been shockingly silent in this game.
9:37 am, 78th minute: Even at this stage of the game, Brzil is getting nearly all of the scoring chances, Marta in particular.
9:38 am, 79th minute: GOAL BRAZIL. Wow. Marta made some unbelievable moves, she made several USA defenders look really really bad, and she put her right-footed kick right past Scurry for the fourth goal of the night. Brazil leads 4-0. I don’t think that, in USA’s worst nightmares or in Brazil’s wildest dreams, the game could have ended up like this.
Coach Greg Ryan, who has not lost as team USA’s coach prior to tonight, might not be able to live down his bad decision making in and leading up to this game. Brianna Scurry is one of the best goalies in the history of the Women’s game; it’s a shame for her WC career to possibly end this way.
9:47 am, 88th minute: A potential fifth Brazilian goal hits the post.
Team USA gets a chance on the other end, catching Andreia out of position. Unfortunately, they can’t get control of the ball in time to take advantage.
9:50 am, 90+ minutes: We get two minutes of extra time before this game mercifully comes to an end.
9:52 am, Full Time: The game is over, and Brazil wins 4-0, earning a trip to the final. They absolutely dominated this game, and while The Solo-Scurry controversy was a bit of a mental block, I think that Brazil absolutely dominated this game independent of that decision, and they certainly deserved to win this game. They simply outplayed team USA in every facet of this game. Marta helped to dictate the offensive pace, and Abby Wambach wasn’t allowed to become a factor.
We now get a matchup on Sunday that we would expect for a Men’s WC final: Brazil vs. Germany. That will be an exciting game. Meanwhile, the Americans will have to settle for the third place game against Norway.