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Archive for the ‘USA! USA!’ Category

Vladimir’s Plan Works To Perfection

Posted by Mike on May 16, 2008

Russian Prime Minster and former President Vladimir Putin speaks regarding Zenit St. Petersburg’s historic victory over Rangers Wednesday night to capture the 2008 UEFA Cup.

HA HA! HA! All hail the mother Russia! A club representing our great communist nation has captured the UEFA Cup for the second time in four years! And best of all, this time we vanquished a smelly capitalist in doing so.

NOW do you still think DaMarcus Beasley’s injury in November was an accident? No…I knew this day was coming, and the power of our great communist nation broke the American’s leg. Well, that and a metal pipe. A pipe is the true weapon of a Komrade!

Today is a great day for Russia, and we thank Coach Mr. Dutch Genitalia Whatshisface for his contribution. As a reward for his service, he will have the undying gratitude of the people…and Russia will annex his flat in Utrecht. All hail the expansion of the Russian Empire! Death To the Scottish Capitalist Pigs and their Fried Snickers bars! Long Live Zenit, the Champions of Europe!

What? What’s that? Lower Cup? The Capitalists will win next week? Oh. Well, at least I’m still in charge.

What do you mean I have to leave the President’s office?

Well who the hell did they vote for?

Hold on for moment. I need a moment to myself. (locks and loads with AK-47, practices Judo organ-imploding fist technique)

Hey, Dmitry! Yeah you, short guy…can you spare a moment with the “Prime Minister-Elect”?


Posted in Russia, UEFA Cup, USA! USA!, Vladimir Putin, Zenit St. Petersburg | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

US Soccer Federation Determined to Make Fans Ignore The National Team

Posted by Mike on February 4, 2008

UPDATE: It appears that FIFA is behind the scheduling of US national team friendlies, and not the USSF. That makes much more sense. Thanks to commenter Michael H for pointing this out.


This Wednesday, The U.S National Soccer Team has a big friendly match against heated rival Mexico. The game will feature many of America’s best young stars, including Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley (pictured above w/ Adu), who now holds the record for most goals in a season (16) by an American-born player in a top-flight European league. In addition, some of our top European players (including Dempsey, Bocanegra, Tim Howard, and Heath Pearce) will be on the roster. Many American soccer fans, myself included, are looking forward to watching this exciting match.

There’s just one problem. The US Soccer Federation FIFA, in its infinite wisdom, has scheduled the match at exactly the same time as one of the most important college basketball games of the year: Duke vs. North Carolina, Wednesday, February 6th at 9 pm. Most casual soccer fans and/or die hard college basketball fans will choose watching Duke-Carolina over this friendly. As a UNC grad, I fall into the latter category. Even diehard US soccer fans will have to decide whether or not to watch a game which, while exciting, is just a friendly.

I understand that the game needs to be in the middle of the week, but must it be the same day and same time slot as on of the most important games of another American sport?

My problem with the USSF FIFA is that this is not this first time they have questionably scheduled exciting U.S. friendlies. The major September friendly against Brazil directly conflicted with the opening week of the NFL season. The last friendly against Mexico was last February, on a Wednesday…at the exact same time slot as UNC-Duke.

If the USSF FIFA wants these games to be more relevant, the organization needs to go out of their way not to conflict with major dates in other major sports. Let’s assume, for example, that the game can only be on a weeknight due to the seasons in Mexico and Europe. If the USSF had scheduled the game at a 7:00 EST time slot for Wednesday, they would only have to compete with Texas vs. Oklahoma. While that is a major Big 12 matchup, it doesn’t command the same national attention drawn to UNC-Duke game. If they has chosen to play the game at 9:00 EST on February 19th, the biggest competing game would be Bradley vs. Drake. A major international friendly would command the attention of many more casual fans at either of these times.

There cannot be any doubt that the U.S. National Team is a rising power in the world stage. However, it is the responsibility of the US Soccer Federation FIFA to help promote national team matches not act in a vacuum. In order to make these competitive friendlies more accessible to casual American fans, the USSF FIFA cannot hurt themselves U.S. soccer by ignoring the rest of the American sport environment.

Posted in GOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!, Mexico, Skit Ocksa!, soccer, Things that are more fun in foreign dialects, U.S. National Team, USA! USA! | 8 Comments »

USA vs. Norway Live Blog: 2007 Women’s World Cup Third Place Game

Posted by Mike on September 30, 2007

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.

Posted in Live Blog, Norway, Skit Ocksa!, soccer, USA! USA!, Women's World Cup | Leave a Comment »

Women’s World Cup Semifinals Live Blog: USA vs. Brazil

Posted by Mike on September 27, 2007

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.

Posted in Brazil, Futbol, Live Blog, soccer, USA! USA!, Women's World Cup | 24 Comments »

USA vs. England Live Blog: Women’s World Cup 2007

Posted by Mike on September 22, 2007

Today the U.S. Women’s Team begins the knockout stages in a quarterfinal match with England. This game features perhaps the world’s two best strikers, USA’s Abby Wambach and England’s Kelly Smith.

8:04 am, 3rd minute: The Americans are playing a 4-3-3 in this game, that same formation they used against North Korea.

8:06 am, 5th minute: It’s very early in the game, but England seems to be controlling possession so far.

8:10 am, 9th minute: Neither team has had any real chance at goal so far. Is it good defense, or are both teams still adjusting to the game?

8:12 am, 11th minute: USA gets the first real scoring chance, floating a kick into the box, but England’s goalie is there before any of the American strikers can make a move.

8:17 am, 15th minute: 15 minutes have elapsed. England is controlling possession so far, but USA have been the offensive aggressors. The England defense broke up another scoring opportunity for the US off of a throw-in.

8:20 am, 19th minute: Heather O’Reilly gives USA a corner kick, followed by a throw-in. England defended both set pieces very well, quickly dismissing any scoring chances.

8:23 am, 22nd minute: England gets the first real shot on goal…Karen Carney makes a great cross from outside the left corner of the box, and Hope Solo has to step in and make the deflection save. two players, including England’s Jill Scott, are down after the play, but they’ll be fine. Solo is holding her right shoulder, which means she may have re=aggravated her injury from earlier in the tourney.

8:27 am, 27th minute: Carney takes a shot on goal from way outside the box, but Solo makes the save easily. Neither Kelli Smith nor Abby Wambach have been factors in the game yet. England is still controlling the pace.

8:30 am, 29th minute: Oh! on the second straight corner kick, Wambach came, literally, within six inches of kicking the ball into the net, before the foot of an English defender stepped in front of the ball and deflected it away.

8:33 am, 32nd minute: England finally gets a corner kick of their own. Carney kicks it, but the ensuing header bounces harmlessly out of bounds.

8:35 am, 34th minute: Wambach fights her way into the box with the ball, and she draws a corner kick. Once again, the England defense clears it quickly.

8:38 am, 37th minute: An England player fell down like she had been shot. It’s Faye White, and it looks like she’s taken an elbow from Wambach.

8:40 am, 39th minute: It looks like She’ll be okay, but for now England is down 1 player. USA must take advantage.

8:41 am, 40th minute: Well, that was quick. White’s back on the field, and it’s 11-on-11 once again.

8:43 am, 42nd minute: Lopez gets a great ball deep in the England zone, she cross it into the box, and Wambach is right there for the kick-in…but it sails too high.

8:44 am, 43rd minute: Lilly takes a great strike from outside the box, and it takes all of Rachel brown’s extension to make the deflection save. USA can’t do anything with the corner kick, though.

8:46 am, 45th minute: 2 minutes of added time.

8:47 am, 45+ minutes: England gets a corner kick, and Hope Solo has to make a punch save in the middle of the box.

8:49 am, 45 minutes: Halftime hits, and we’re still tied at 0-0. Perhaps a bit of a disappointing start for the US, but England is playing well. We need to get more scoring opportunities in the second half, because the English will likely get more aggressive in the final 45 minutes (or 75 minutes).

9:06 am, 48th minute: USA gets two–make that three–quick corners early in the second half.

GOAL! The third corner is the charm. Wambach gets free in the box, head it at the right edge of the of the goal area, and the header goes in uncontested. USA leads 1-0 off a great goal by Wambach, her 4th of the tournament.

9:09 am, 51st minute: England has had a couple of chances in the second half, but untimely mistakes prevent a good shot on goal.

9:10 am, 52nd minute: Wambach gets taken down in the box, trying to play a deep kick. How is that not a penalty?

9:15 am, 57th minute: GOLAZO! Shannnon Boxx intercepts the ball, shoots a death strike from outside the box on her left foot, and it whizzes right by the outstretched arms of the England keeper. 2-0 USA, as the Americans are now in complete control of this game thanks to Notre Dame’s only offense this season. ZING!

The English team will really to start getting Kelly Smith involved before it’s too late to come back.

9:18 am, 60th minute: GOAL! Rachel Brown makes a huge mistake fielding the ball, it sails over her head, and Kristine Lilly is right to take advantage and make the uncontested goal. USA leads 3-0, and the game has gone from a nail-biter into a laugher in a matter of less than 15 minutes.

9:26 am, 68th minute: England, finally, gets a free kick in this game. Kelly Smith takes it, but Hope Solo makes the deflection, and USA clears it. Considering that they’re down 3-0, England took way too long to set up that scoring chance.

9:29 am, 71st minute: Time is starting to run out for any comeback that the English can put up. They’re still making a good effort, so there’s that for English fans.

9:37 am, 79th minute: Faye White delivers a great strike and England’s best chance at goal in the second half, but Hope Solo is there to make the save.

9:39 am, 81st minute: Wambach very nearly gets a fourth goal aff of another mistake by England’s keeper. Fortunately for Brown, it deflects too high.

9:41 am, 83rd minute: Wow. A 3-0 lead and the USA is still in offensive and defensive control. The English team looks as though they’re powerless to stop it. The so-called “Greatest team you’ve never heard of” is finally starting to play like it.

9:44 am, 87th minute: Abby Wambach comes out of the game, replaced by Natasha Kai. Wambach had a great game today.

9:48 am, 90th minute: Kelly Smith finally gets a nice shot off of the deflection, but 1) it’s a bit high and 2) it’s way, way too late for her to make a real difference. Credit the US defense for shutting her down.

9:52 am, Full Time: And it’s over. USA wins, 3-0. The game was very close in the first half, and for the first 45 minutes it looked like England had a slight advantage. But the Americans absolutely dominated in the second half, taking advantage of every chance they were given. We finally got to see, in the knockout stages, how good team USA can be. They now await Brazil or Australia in the semifinals.

Posted in #1, England, Futbol, GOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!, Live Blog, USA! USA!, Women's World Cup | Leave a Comment »

USA vs. Sweden Live Blog: 2007 Women’s World Cup

Posted by Mike on September 14, 2007

For the first time ever, all four teams in a group drew in their first game. North Korea played valiantly against the Americans in a 1-1 tie. Both of these teams, two of the top 3 teams in the world, need a win today.

5:02, 2nd minute: The U.S. has already given away three corner kicks in two minutes. Sweden is really pressing the ball early, and we haven’t been able to clear the ball yet.

5:04, 4th minute: four minutes, four corner kicks for Sweden. Hope Solo has handled the pressure well, but team USA needs to regain control of this game.

5:06, 6th minute: Who’s playing “Jingle Bells” on their trumpet in the middle of the game?

5:07, 7th minute: The Americans get their first chance, but Carli Lloyd can’t quite get to the ball in the box. in sliding for the ball, she seemed to undercut the Swedish goalkeeper, and he’s clearly hurting. They’re going to keep her in the game, as Sweden in down to their second option at goalie to begin with.

5:11, 11th minute: Abby Wambach gets the first shot on goal for the U.S., but Lindahl makes the save easily.

Wait a minute…holy cow, a clear sun in China! It’s apparently rainy season around Chengdu, so sun this time of year is an anomaly.

5:14, 14th minute: The USA get their first set piece of the game, a free kick. Not a very good kick though, as the keeper stops it without problems.

5:16, 16th minute: The Americans get another shot, this time on the breakaway. Lindahl reaches out for the save, but she manages to “save it” by sitting on the ball.

5:20, 20th minute: Whitehill kick the deep free kick, and she very nearly gets the goal as Lindahl misplays it. She has to make quite a leap to make the save and force the corner kick.

5:22, 23rd minute: USA get a couple more set pieces in the the Swedish zone, but they didn’t really a threaten the goal with their shots. The Americans have definitely played better in the last ten minutes, but Sweden still seems to have an upper hand.

5:26, 26th minute: The Swedish back line is handling the ball well. Team USA hasn’t played the ball well, but it’s still tied and we’re gaining momentum.

5:27, 27th minute: Team USA very…nearly…tackled a Swedish player in the penalty box to force a penalty kick. That’s about the worst thing that could happen right now.

5:31, 31st minute: Half an hour gone in this game…Sweden has held the ball for too long.

5:33, 33rd minute: What a mistake by Lindahl! She completely misplays the free kick, it sails over her head, and Lori Chalupny is wide open. But a Swedish defender is forced to make a tackle, and team USA gets a fortunate penalty kick.

5:34, 34th minute: GOAL! Abby Wambach takes the penalty kick, and she fakes out the keeper and scores easily. USA leads, 1-0 and has all the momentum now, thanks to a huge Swedish mistake.

5:36, 36th minute: Wait a minute, Julie Foudy…there are blogs dedicated to women’s soccer?

5:38, 38th minute: Team USA has gotten a couple of chancesin the box since the first goal, but either good defense or bad passing has ended any threats.

5:41, 41st minute: Wamabach manges to fake out a couple of defenders just outside the box, before making a cross pass to an open Carli Lloyd. The ball is deflected, and Lloyd’s shot is too high. Still, since the goal team USA is dominating possession as Sweden did in the first ten minutes or so.

5:46, 45+ minutes: It’s halftime, and USA leads 1-0. The Americans got their act together in the final 15 minutes after Sweden dictated the pace of the first 30. Then Lindahl, the goalkeeper, made a huge mistake on a free kick, at it led to Wambach’s PK goal. A win is very much in the USA’s reach, but they’ll need to stay aggressive on offense and keep the ball out of Swedish possession.

6:01 am, 46th minute: The second half begins, as team USa has made one substitution. Shannon Boxx is in for Carli Lloyd.

Nothing against today’s head referee, but he kind of looks like a fish.

6:04, 48th minute: Team USA isn’t handling the ball well to start the second half. Fortunately, neither is Sweden.

6:05, 49th minute: OH! Kristine Lilly had a very good look in the box, off a great pass. But she can;t quite get the shot across her body and low enough for goal.

6:08, 52nd minute: The Americans haven’t quite fixed their defensive issues; Sweden keeps getting set pieces in the offensive zone.

6:12, 56th minute: Sweden gets yet another free kick. This time USA’s wall blocks it, but Sweden gets a corner.

6:13, 57th minute: Complete chaos in front of goal on the corner kick, but Solo makes the nice save.

6:14, 58th minute: GOAL! What a score by Wamabach! She takes the ball in the box, and after bringing the ball down, she delivers a monster strike with her left foot to the top corner of the net. Lindahl stood no chance. Team USA now leads 2-0, and Sweden might be going into panic mode soon.

6:18, 62nd minute: USA is called for what I think is the first offside penalty of the game. What I want to know is, how can you get offside during a corner kick?

6:20, 64th minute: Sweden makes a substitution. Nilla Fischer is in. I have no idea who Nilla Fischer is.

6:22, 66th minute: Heather O’Reilly comes into the game, which I understand and don’t understand at the same time. While we could use some fresh legs, O’Reilly is a clearly offensive player when we don’t need offense right now. I guess coach Ryan wants to stay aggressive.

6:29, 73rd minute: Team USA has remained in control of the game, and after the second goal Sweden has yet to put a shot on goal.

6:31, 75th minute: Kristine Lilly very nearly scores another goal for the U.S. after a another long free kick for Whitehill. Only a slide in by Lindahl prevents the game from getting really out of hand.

6:33, 77th minute: Free kick for Sweden. Hope Solo is caught out of position, but the Swedish offense can’t take advantage. Solo is clearly favoring her right shoulder now.

6:35, 79th minute: Ostberg takes a curving shot from outside the box, and Solo needs to make a great save. On the ensuing corner kick, Hanna Ljungberg gets a very good look at goal, but she misses wide.

6:39, 83rd minute: the USA defense falls asleep at the wheel and Sweden almost gets a breakaway chance. Fortunately, the defense wakes up and prevents a shot. Sweden gets another corner kick, and again Ljungberg misses a great opportunity. It’s not looking good for the Valkyries, who have yet to score a goal in this tournament.

6:49, Full Time: And it’s over. Team USA wins, 2-0 over Sweden. Abby Wambach had a huge game, and Team USA got it together in the last 30 minutes, almost completely dictating pace in the end. An impressive win for the Americans, and now the #3 ranked Swedes must beat North Korea–badly–and hope that Nigeria doesn’t emerge with an upset.

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