As goes with all things soccer and Missouri weather, wait five minutes and things'll change...sometimes drastically.
I write tonight as I stare down the barrel of another snowstorm looking to dump a foot of snow upon me, ruin my week, keep my wife from school, and shut down a good chunk of the United States. It's going to be a long week.
This is why the game exists, to keep my thoughts organanized, structured, and entertained. From the US's strange, unlikely comeback in the Four Nations, to the hospitality of the W-League, all the way to a mind blowing signing yesterday. This will be full of entertainment.
4 Nations; 1 Place; 1 Winner
Perhaps it was the temperatures floating in the mid 30's, maybe it was a reorganized midfield, maybe it was because Amy Rodriguez came to play. We may never know what caused it, but the effect was this from the Four Nations Tournament in China: The US Won.
As written earlier, there was fear of the US not winning it's seventh tournament in a row. After dropping the first match 1-2 against top 5 global power, Sweden, and facing the northern sister of Canada, and finalizing against a growing, strengthening China team, the US looked to be in some trouble.
Dear Nicole Barnhart: Thank you.
If there was a defensive player that came alive during the tournament it was this young lady. Barnhart, the goal keeper for the US National Team while Hope Solo recoup's from right shoulder surgery, was named goal keeper of the match for good reasons. While dropped a game to Sweden, the young gal from Pennsylvania stole the show when she shut down Cristine Sinclair for Canada, and posted a shutout against China. The US walked away with a 2-1 after a first half goal from Lauren Cheney, and a game ender by Lindsey Tarpley. Going into the Canada match, Pia changed seven positions around between that and the former Swedish match. Hopeful future star, Alex Morgan got her first start for the national team. It was an overall shot fest for both teams (USA 12: 8 on goal; CAN 8: 5 on goal).
Afterwards Pia had this to say about the win:
“You have two things from the game, attitude over 90 minutes, which we emphasized after the Sweden game, and I think we brought that to the game, but also smartness. We kept possession with our two center midfielders. Carli Lloyd and Lori Lindsey did a good job at times and eventually we created chances and eventually we put them away as well.”
Heading into China's match the US was sitting in a four way tie as China had dropped Sweden, but lost to Canada, Canada had losto the US, but beat China, Sweden beat the US, but lost to China as well, the US needed a win.
They came up big with goals from Lloyd (her second of the tournament), and sometime frequently questioned, Amy Rodriquez. It was a tight match with both teams totaling just four shots on goal in the first half. Luckily for the US, one of those shots was good when Lloyd sent in a screamer from inside the box to make it 1-0 going into half. Pia, during halftime made a change up in her formation, originially the lady's were running a 4-4-2 making a attack heavy setup for the team. After half it was changed back to a 4-5-1, perhaps as a means of survival, stronger defense to keep out China's attacks, regardless it worked wonders. The nail in the coffin came in the 67th minute as Rapinoe sent a volley over the back Chinese line, with Rodriguez using her speed she flew past them. Yue came off her line after misreading A-Rod, and was shown the mistake as she chipped the shot in making the final score 2-0.
The US team will now head to South Florida next week to regroup, and begin the preperations on their road to the 2011 World Cup in Germany.
WPS: How can so few teams create so much insanity?
Easily, take the founder of the strange creation the magicJack, give him the ownership of the Washington Freedom, and just him loose.
Dan Borislow is now the proud owner of the Washington Freedom (to which he is renaming to the magictalk SC, but for sake of pride this writer will only call the team by the name Freedom until otherwise known). I'm afraid the WPS got a little more than they bargained for with this fruit. Borislow has already made a name for himself by proclaiming a few new ideas for his new team.
A. Playing home games at both Washington, and as well in South Florida. He believes that the latino population in South Florida would be willing to support a WPS team. However, I think no one has informed him that this is the same state that won't show up for games in which the best NBA team is part of (the Miami Heat had to put out advertisements via television asking their fans to show up), when he Tampa Bay Rays, a Major League Baseball team, made the playoffs in 2010, they ended up offering free tickets just to fill the stands at home games. Borislow, the rest of the country understands this simple fact: Florida is where sports teams go to die.
B. Working a international schedule playing teams from Damallsvenskan (Sweden), Women's Super League (England), and other global clubs. Dan-o, if you're going to blow off WPS teams, then get out of the league and take your business elsewhere. Global games...that's a thought tackled below. Check out some more insanity with an interview of Our Game Magazine, and thoughts by All White Kit.
Fear this man, fear him and then some. While I appreciate creativety, destroying a league so you can have your way, that's not how to be creative.
The other big news from the WPS this week concerned Marta. The two time WPS player of the year has been out on loan with the Brasil club, Santos, for the winter. Not a problem, right? If only life was that easy. Try to stay with me as I unclog the problems with Marta's recent actions.
Marta signed a contract with the LA Sol for 500,000 for 3 years. As we all know the LA Sol folded, so where did her contract go? It went to FC Gold Pride, as did Marta. Now with FC Gold Pride gone, the question once again was where Marta was heading? Rumors had her looking into Damallsvenskan, Brasil, and not even working with WPS. However, as of this past week it was shared that her contract has been sent over to Western New York Flash. This creates the Flash to be one of the most powerful teams up front; can you imagine a Alex Morgan/Marta front in a 4-4-2? It gives me the goosebumps.
The problem begins back with FC Gold Pride though, because the team never filed for Chapter 11 (bankruptcy) they still had sole control of Marta and her contract. Because of FIFA and the US Soccer Federation, they have the right to agree to loan her out, or not to allow it. They never gave her the ok to go play for Santos. Because of this, the Flash have alerted US Soccer and eventually FIFA about this issue. It does violate points 9 and 10 in the FIFA section about player transfers. If FIFA comes down hard on Santos and Marta, will the WPS see her? If she's gone will this completely damage the WPS and show them of being uptight and unwilling to expand the global game? Only time can tell, but for my indepth coverage on this issue check out Equalizer Soccer for a better breakdown.
Finally, the most up-to-date news, this writers favorite athlete, Hope Solo has signed with the Freedom for this next season. While I'll be thrilled to see Solo do work, like she will during the World Cup, it has caused some concern in these eyes. I respect Solo for the fact that she is not afraid to speak her mind, she's the anti-Mia Hamm in many ways, except in play. We're all aware of her calling out certain coaches in '07 and being dismissed from the national team. If you don't follow her via Twitter, @hopesolo, you should for the sake of entertainment. Point being is this: with crazy in charge of Freedom now, do we really want to see him and Solo go at it? We all know that they will, but what will the outcome be? Expect some fireworks out of nation's capital, or South Florida, or...eh...
X-Treme X-Game-like X-Pectations
This weekend, when not listening to W-League games across the globe, I found myself entrenched in the winterscape that is Aspen, Colorado for the 15th X-Games. For those not familiar, it is a winter olympic style entertainment bent around extreme sports; snowboards, halfpipe, ski jumps, snow mobile races, etc...It's absolutely insanity, and in its beginning it was seen more like:
"A bunch of overgrown hippies, no respect for the law, devil worshipping, California dropouts"
-Deacon at the local church while I was growing up
That may have been the entire point of the X-Games though, they went out and dared to be different. They didn't get sponsors by Pepsi and Coke, they didn't want them. They got Mountain Dew, Red Bull, and Monster Energy Drinks. X-Games became this generations staple of attitude in the sports world. I say this because of the entertainment value I get of seeing someone flip a 500 pound piece of machinery in the air, and also because I think it speaks volumes of the future of women's soccer.
In the beginning X-Games were rather frowned upon across parts of the country because it wasn't traditional, it wasn't football, basketball, it didn't need a court, or tended to sometimes break the law, and it was constantly energetic. For baseball fans that can be uncomfortable. However, as time moved on, sports were entered into literal Olympic events, and then somebody by the name of ESPN decided to pick up the coverage.
X-Games is now global.
Women's soccer can take the same path. The secret behind X-Games was that they refused to follow the norm, since when does women's soccer ever follow the norm? Maybe in the '90's, but this isn't the pretty little girls game anymore. As stated many times over, the WPS primarily, needs to set a standard, an image, and most importantly a voice. Not a voice transformed by the likes of commentators and journalist of ESPN and heaven forbid Sky Sports, but something that is strong enough that can stand on its own.
The voice of this game will be the x-factor.
91st Minute: Former Freedom GK Meagan McCray signed to Valur, a women's team over in Iceland, making the GK position open, enough that Solo slipping is of no surprise.
92nd Minute: Alex Singer is heading over to Dalsjöfors of Damallsvenskan (Sweden) in 2011 after spending the past winter with Perth Glory in Australia's W-League. Singer spent time with the Freedom, including thirteen starts. Yet another American talent that hasn't got the patience for the WPS, or vice-versa. I understand that the US enjoys outsourcing, but doing that with our athletic body isn't helping the cause. -Our Game Magazine-
93rd Minute: Mad props to the radio voice of the W-League match between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United. Take a minute and visit the site and check out what W-League is doing. Perhaps it is just because it is Australia and there is no sad soul in the country, but the folks were incredibly nice, and even interacted with myself digitally during the match. Final's start next week between Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, and Melbourne. Good luck ladies!
94th Minute: I had a dream several nights ago, I was watching ESPN at two o'clock in the morning. ESPN was showing a pro women's game between the Boston Breakers and the Perth Glory. I awoke with the fascinating sensation of trying to understand this concept. In turn I was in a dream where several programs, Damallsvenskan, WPS, and W-League to name a few, were in a global tournament on non-World Cup years. Could this be the future? As the lads in Australia said, "I'm game fa it, but tell ma who's gonna bankrawl the bit?" Which like all other issues is the key at hand, find the money, and it'll happen (paging magicTalk SC for a reality check). Maybe in time, but it's going to take that, time. Heaven knows if it ever happens, I will not be watching from my tv, I'll be front and center.
95th Minute: The one sad side of the world this week, Sky Sports commentators extemely disrespecting female officials and players. Former England National Player Kelly Smith sounded off on the "Daily Mail", and nails it. Someday the generations of the past will be just that, the past. Our generation will pick up the torch and will bring light to this sometimes very dark world.
Eyes hurt yet? Want to let me know about it? Find me over at Twitter: @CoachDaugherty
Add a Comment