Thursday, June 25, 2015

The nil set

Look, the Blob's as big a homer as you are. You chant "U!", I'll add the "S!A!"

Which doesn't mean I like what I'm seeing so far from the U.S. women in the World Cup.

What I'm seeing is false advertising, in the sense that all we heard in the run-up to the tournament was how much firepower this team had, and what we've seen so far is not the 3rd Armored Division but the  Lichtenstein navy. They simply can't score. Were it not for Tonya Harding back there in goal, they'd likely be out of the tournament already.

I don't know enough about soccer to determine if this is because the pre-tournament analysis was wildly off, or if  it's a scheme issue. I suspect the latter.

What I do know is they're in big trouble if Tonya ever lets in a goal. This is  not a team that appears capable of playing from behind. They don't even look like a  team that's comfortable playing when it's not behind, at least on the attack.

A nil-nil tie with Sweden after the Swedish coach trash-talked them to a fare-thee-well said nothing good about either the U.S. team's ability to pressure opponents, or (and I hate to say this) the fire in its belly. And the women were headed for more nil-nil hilarity against Colombia until Alex Morgan was tripped on a breakaway by the Colombian goalie ... which led to a red card ... which meant the U.S. got to play a woman up for most of the second half.

Given that advantage, they put two goals behind the backup keeper and won 2-0.

But now they're shorthanded themselves, with  midfielders Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe out for Friday's game against China after picking up their second yellow cards of the tournament.  This bodes extremely ill for a team struggling to find the net already. And it puts even more pressure on Tonya to keep her own net clean.

I'm not yet enough of a non-homer to pick against the U.S. women. In a perfect world, I'd have them winning the final 3-2, with Tonya (who shouldn't even be playing, in my estimation) giving up two really bad goals.

But if you're a bettin' man or woman and you put some coin down on China in this one, it might not be the dumbest wager you've ever made. Just sayin'.     


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