Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Look who showed up

And there my internal pessimist goes, tumbling off the cliff. Have a nice trip, dude. Yes, you're finally right. This isn't going to end well.

You're in for a sudden stop down there on the rocks, because the U.S. women's soccer team finally got off their duffs. I don't know where it's been, but the team we were all supposed to see finally showed up in the semifinals last night, and Germany is packing its bags because of it.

The U.S. beat the top seed 2-0 and now it's on to the finals, and, yes, I was wrong. I've been predicting doom for the U.S. women all tournament long, because they struggled to score and at times didn't even look like they were trying to. But something changed in the China game, and it kept on changing last night, when the U.S. got much the better chances and made it pay off with Carli Lloyd's penalty shot and Kelley O'Hara's header off a neat bit of ball movement in the box.

To be sure, we can all wonder how it would have gone had the Germans not gagged on their own penalty shot, Celia Sasic sending it wide of the post even after Tonya Harding down there in the U.S. net guessed wrong and dove the other way. Put the U.S. behind for once, and it might have been different. But somehow I think they would have gotten it done anyway, if only because they were finally pressing the attack.

Taken as a whole it was their best performance of the tournament, and now they'll go into the final as the presumptive favorite against either Japan or England. They're confident, they're playing their best soccer and Tonya now has five straight shutouts.

(And before we go on: Yes, I know her name is Hope Solo. I also know she shouldn't be playing, for reasons the Blob outlined some time ago. And I know it was a journalistic low point for Fox last night when it allowed her to basically tape her own player feature after refusing to be interviewed by Fox. At that point you say, "Sorry. We're not your spin doctors. You want to tape a segment, we're asking you questions about your inner Tonya. You don't want to do that, we're not putting you on the air." Thank God for Alexi Lalas, who, at the end of the Solo piece, pointedly mentioned the way she was allowed to control her own message).

I don't see the Americans losing now. I don't see them losing unless they go back to tiptoe soccer in the final, and I can't imagine their brain trust being dumb enough to do that.

The pessimist is dead. OK, not dead, but he's not moving around much down there.

Good riddance.


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