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World Cup Matchday: USA-NOR/BRZ-GER

After three-plus weeks 12 time zones from home, one harrowing pedicab ride through the streets of Chengdu, intense jet lag, spicy food at Shanghai's South Memory restaurant that redefined spicy, hotel lounge singers covering Cristopher Cross, watching pandas wrestle, witnessing road rage with metal poles, Tianjin air that crawls, the best fried rice ever, a Pudong skyline view to die for, liters of Tsingtao, a stroll along gorgeous West Lake in Hangzhou, hilarious Chinglish, endless taxi lines, domestic airlines with six inches of legroom, pounds of noodles and dumplings, one filet-o-fish at McDonald's, a history lesson from bell hop "Danny", dodging motorbikes, college-aged volunteers eager to test their English, an apartment size statue of Mao, "Wedding Crashers" on HBO Asia, Rugby World Cup on Star Sports, Tiger Woods Buick billboards, Nicholas Cage watch billboards, cheap taxis, cheaper food, Marta's brilliance, Argentina's embarrassment, Germany's efficiency, North Korea's quickness, China's disappointment, Greg Ryan's brain freeze and Hope Solo's meltdown, we approach the end of our China adventure.

Barring late-breaking news (at this point, anything is possible with this USA team), I will leave you with this third-place and championship game thread. Some final tournament thoughts.....

Between his failure to get the team to the final, the bizarre goalkeeping decision, the ensuing fallout and the USA's underwhelming performance from start to finish, I don't believe Ryan can survive much longer. Sunil Gulati appears to have no choice but to make a change in the coming weeks/months. Keep in mind that Bob Contiguglia, the previous president, hired Ryan, not Gulati, so there are no personal ties here. It's all about expectations: After 16 years of unparalleled success, fans, media and the federation expected excellence from this women's team. They did not receive it.

That being said, Solo messed up: You just don't say those types of things in the heat of a tournament. It's childish. The team rallied around her after her brutal error in the North Korea game. She should have taken the high road after the Brazil match. The team was correct in essentially telling her to get lost for the rest of the weekend. Along those lines, the cheap shots from some former (bitter) players has been disappointing. The most glaring was Brandi Chastain, who was provided a forum by a San Jose Mercury News columnist. The author said Chastain's criticism of Ryan "wasn't sour grapes." Oh really? Ryan cut Chastain from the team two years ago and Chastain's husband, Santa Clara University Coach Jerry Smith, was passed over for the U.S. job in early 2005 when Ryan was promoted.

At every turn, this has been a sorry situation for U.S. soccer.

USA lineup: Scurry; Dalmy, Rampone, Whitehill, Lopez; Chalupny, Osborne, Wagner; O'Reilly, Wambach, Lilly. (Markgraf has an ankle injury, Boxx is suspended, Solo not here)

As usual, please share your pregame, in-game and postgame thoughts (on both matches).

Xie Xie Nee (Thank you very much)!

By Steve Goff  |  September 30, 2007; 3:02 AM ET
Categories:  Women  
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Next: Countdown to Chivas

Comments

All Hope lost on this team. (pun intended)

unless Ryan finally wise up and move away from his strategy today and play more strikers up top, i don't expect the US women team to do any better today against a very good Norway team. with or without Hope Solo.

2-1 Norway.

Posted by: justsayin' | September 30, 2007 4:11 AM | Report abuse

Let's take a reality check here. There is this common assumption going on that Hope Solo was "telling it like it was". Was she really? I don't think the facts support that assumption. Wasn't Hope central toward allowing the Koreans to tie the US? Wasn't a big factor in the shut outs since the Korean game the fact that the defense clamped down rather than Hope herself clamping down? Now, all of a sudden, Hope has become this rock of gibralter that everybody assumes is correct when she says that she would have "made the saves"? All of a sudden, Brazil's lights out performance was because our defenders were demoralized by the "bizarre" goal keeping decision? If anybody questions Hope's comments then it is because they don't want a woman to "tell it like it really is"?

Hope is not with the team because the team did not want her with the team. Ryan is doing exactly what Hope did not do, support the players when they need it the most.

I know that most people, Sunil included, are primarily fans of the game but this overwhelming public sentiment is out of control. At what point do people start to recognize how incredibly impressive the long win streak of the national team really was? The USA does not have the most talented team in the world, they were just able to keep winning the games in front of them for a very long time. They ran up against a team that was better than them. The team wasn't "demoralized" by a "bizarre" coaching decision. Ryan hasn't "lost" the team. They lost to a more talented team that came out ready to play the game of their lives. That happens in soccer. The political thing to do would be to not take any chances and change nothing so that nobody can focus in on you personally. As Ryan pointed out, he doesn't have that in him and his players understand that. He knew this game was going to be, at best, an upward climb and he did what he could to try give his team the best possible shot. If that, and supporting his players decision afterward to dismiss, Hope from the team get him fired, then so be it.

Bruce Arena was right when he called Sunil a "superfan". Classless at the time, but correct. Sunil does not have the savvy or desire to calm the situation down. Instead, he just keeps throwing gasoline on the fire. Here we are, getting ready to play an important match, and the distractions are greater than ever. The USSF is still a political amateur outfit with Sunil at the top.

Posted by: Reality Check | September 30, 2007 4:51 AM | Report abuse

Steve,
Did the band cover Ride Like the Wind or Arthur? I hope, for your sake, it was the former.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 4:55 AM | Report abuse

And Xie Xie Nee to you too Steve.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 4:57 AM | Report abuse

Abby got a nice little deflection on that goal putting the US up 1-0 in the 31st

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 5:32 AM | Report abuse

I guess we do have a midfield after all.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 5:52 AM | Report abuse

Who did Ellertson replace?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Great start to the second half. Abby 2 Norway 0

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Abby gets #2. Bad marking on the corner.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Rampone I think

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 6:05 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe how much composure this team is playing with on the back line and in midfield. Granted, Norway isn't pressuring much. But they aren't panicking in the back and passes are actually finding their targets. Did they feel the pressure of being the favorite in the tournament?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 6:13 AM | Report abuse

3-0 Chalupny gets a well-deserved goal.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 6:16 AM | Report abuse

4-0 in the 60'

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 6:17 AM | Report abuse

"If you're Norway and the Norwegian coach, you've gotta be disappointed."
Thanks for that insight Julie.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 6:20 AM | Report abuse

4-1 in the 63rd

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Very well placed header by Norway for what hopefully will be the goal of honor.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Goff: Do they have any good beers apart from Tsingtao? Did you come across any good craft breweries/brewpubs?

Posted by: Section 410 | September 30, 2007 6:29 AM | Report abuse

They just said on BSPN2 that total attendance at this tournament may end up exceeding the records set here in the States in '99. I'm curious about what the range of ticket prices was. After all, they drew over 60,000 fans for the '91 final in Guangzhou, but as I recall, ticket prices were the equivalent of a dollar or two in US currency.

Posted by: Section 410 | September 30, 2007 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Why did ESPN switch to the other announcing crew?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Ahhh. Audio difficulties.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 6:52 AM | Report abuse

USA-Norway is final with the US winning 4-1

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 6:53 AM | Report abuse

I actually liked the world feed audio better...

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 6:54 AM | Report abuse

thanks for the coverage.

Posted by: m | September 30, 2007 6:54 AM | Report abuse

I liked the no announcers at all feed. Just the game and stadium sounds. The English announcer was also an improvement.

We still haven't learned how to break away from the chatty-Cathy approach to covering sporting events.

Posted by: seahawkdad | September 30, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Brazil-Germany is scoreless at half

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

is it just me, or is the referee in the final completely calling this game for Germany? between the non-calls, the changed calls and Germany's apparent goal of brutalizing the Brazilians like Ronnie Dobbs, the calls have been completely one-sided.

and J.P. and Julie might think this game is being played evenly, but if they're watching the same game i am, then they should be seeing dominance by Brazil. Germany seems like they're holding on for dear life right now - they have no consistent possession, no attack and they have been under near constant pressure on the defensive end. the rest of the world should be very scared right now.

Posted by: jamie | September 30, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Prinz strikes first 52'
Germany leads 1-0

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

so of course Germany comes out a completely different team in the 2nd half and Prinz finally shows up. nice goal, though Andreia probably should have saved it (and Hope Solo definitely would have had it!).

Posted by: jamie | September 30, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Prinz with a pass to the keeper that goes in. 1-0 Germany. Keeper really should've had that.

Posted by: RK | September 30, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the officiating has been biased. I do think the ref has been inconsistent. Brazil has done quite a bit of diving and complaining while trying to draw fouls.

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

perhaps, but it seemed like there were a lot of hard challenges in the 1st half that went uncalled, plus that corner kick for Brazil that turned into a German free kick for some reason, etc.

now, though, i think Brazil will have a very tough time breaking through the packed-in German defense. they will probably come to rue that volley that ricocheted off the post in the 1st half. (cue Brazil goal)

Posted by: jamie | September 30, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

see! penalty for Brazil!

Posted by: jamie | September 30, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Huge save by the German keeper. Marta's PK was denied.

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

wow, bad take by Marta and the German sheet remains clean. crazy.

Posted by: jamie | September 30, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Angerer has another big save. But the Germans look more tired than the Brazilians. Brazil might open it up soon.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The Brazilians do a lot to try and draw fouls or make the ref think there is something. They also get away with a lot. The free kick that Daniela just took wasn't much of a foul and was probably more a result of the dive. Germany is a physical team, but Brazil definitely matches that physical play.

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Bresonik is lucky to still be on the field after that last tackle.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

One thing about Germans, men and women, is that usually when they are ahead there is no catching them. They know better than any team in the world how to close a game, even though Brazil was unlucky with that penalty shot.

Posted by: Mike | September 30, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Yeah. But these Germans don't seem to be slowing the game down. They're still running at the Brazilians. It makes teh match entertaining and I'll eat my words if they score. But they should be slowing it down and not tiring themselves out.

Starting to get choppy and Germany has two yellows.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

This match is over Germany 2:Brazil 0

Corner kick finished by Lauder

Posted by: sitruc | September 30, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

does the world feed ever show a replay of anything other than goals? it's pretty frustrating.

goal Germany - game over. very nice 2nd half from Germany. worlds apart from the first 45.

Posted by: jamie | September 30, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Robots 2 - Dancers 0

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Brazil should be proud to be #2. I am Brazil's number one fan. Marta is the greatest player in the world. Formiga is crafty the way she gets away with handballs in her own box. Christiane is very dangerous and was brilliant the way she ran over Boxx's legs to get Boxx out of the game. To honor Brasil I am attaching a song that sums up my feelings.

Vou Festejar
Chora, não vou ligar
Não vou ligar
Chegou a hora
Vai me pagar
Pode chorar, pode chorar (mais chora)

Chora, não vou ligar
Não vou ligar
Chegou a hora
Vai me pagar
Pode chorar, pode chorar
É, o teu castigo
Brigou comigo
Sem ter porque (êêê)
Vou festejar, vou festejar!
O teu sofrer, o teu penar
Você pagou com traição
A quem sempre lhe deu a mão

Posted by: Eugene | September 30, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

1. Eugene--I can't believe you'd credit Christiane with being "crafty" for the ejection of Boxx. In 80 instances, that play results in no call, in 15 instances a foul is called on Christiane, in 4 instances Christiane gets a yellow card. That ain't craftiness. That was just stupidity on her part (no looking where she was going) or an attempt to trip Boxx.

2. "Robots"? Well, robots had a very fine streak this tournament, going unscored upon. And winning two consecutive WCs--that's fine work. Even the Brazilian men rarely win two consecutive WCs.

3. Reality Check--I think you're being extreme here. You seem to imply that the team didn't care for Solo and she cost them the tie against N.Korea. Yeah, she had a terrible gaffe in that match. Ryan also let them play a man down for 10 minutes (when both goals game). I can agree that Solo should have stopped that shot against N. Korea. But to be fair, Solo's strenth is also with crosses and balls in the air--she'd have likely called "Keeper" and not let Osbourne head that ball that led to an own goal. And the second goal wasn't a superb shot by Marta--not weak but from distance and to the near post. I think most keepers who weren't rusty would have made that save. And you also ignore the cross that Scurry mishandled early in the match (which fortunately didn't lead to a score). Ultimately though, the US got their clocks cleaned against Brazil b/c Brazil was better--it wasn't about the GKs. And Goff was right--it was unprofessional and poor teammanship for Solo to say what she did after the semis match.

Congrats to Germany on winning the WC. Congrats to Brazil on making the final. Congrats to the USA on winning third place.

Posted by: JoeW | September 30, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I watched Germany celebrate, singing and waving the first-place trophy, and thought "That could be us, if we had a midfield and a coach."

Good on Germany too for beating the South American Grass Diving Team.

Posted by: Jeannie1132 | September 30, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't consider Solo's comments childish just unfortunate that she actually said the obvious. That doesn't make her wrong but sometimes speaking the truth can get you in very hot water. Nor do I believe we got the true opinion from the squad as many players were not allowed to speak and those that did speak kept to the script. Worst many players don't won't to voice their true opinion on the matter for fear of getting the same kind of backlash Solo got.

Ryan should be fired and the team needs to trust more in its young players to get the job done.

Posted by: DG | September 30, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

JoeW -
Maybe English is not your first language, but first of all, Eugene said that Formiga was the one who was crafty to get away with a handball in the box, and second of all he said that Cristiane was brilliant for transferring her own yellow card onto Boxx.

Posted by: calvester | September 30, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

So who stood out for the US in this tournament?

Wambach, as ever, but didn't seem to be a factor in the Brazil game (just no service once down to 10?)

Chalupny seemed to me to have the best showing of the WC rookies. Glad to see O'Reilly get a score today; hasn't seemed like she's been able to replicate her collegiate prowess.

Posted by: Coach.Doug | September 30, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Ironic that the final came down, IMHO, to Goal keeping. Germany's keeper was solid, Brazil's was shocking.

Marta with a very poor penalty attempt as well. German keeper stopped it with her thighs. Low and towards the middle will do that.

Posted by: JkR | September 30, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

DG - I am with you. Scurry gave up at least two horrible goals. I own goal miscommuncation is patetic at that level and the near-post goal she gave up was something I would expect out of a high schooler.

After the first two goals, the US has to press and that had a lot to do with the third and fourth goals.

Posted by: BT | September 30, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I-270, Exit 1 -
I agree with your comment about Bresonik. That could have easily been her second yellow card. On the other hand, later in the game Daniela had a high kick to Germany's head that could also have been a second yellow card. I thought the ref was extremely inconsistent. You couldn't figure out what she was going to call. At first I thought she was letting Brazil get away with more, but then in the second half I think she let Germany get away with more.

Man of the match: Angerer. Granted, it wasn't a very well struck PK, but a goal at that point, plus a red card to Bresonik shortly after that could have totally changed the game.

Posted by: calvester | September 30, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Not too many posts about the US-Norway game, but here are some thoughts:
1) The US played well, but Norway is no Brazil. As long as we don't have people buzzing around forcing quick releases, we can play a possession game.
2) Wow. The US still knows how to score goals, although most of them were Phil Esposito type goals. If you're too young, or not a hockey fan this will help you with that reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_goal
3) Dalmy appears to be a good prospect for the future, at least in the midfield and defensive third of the field. Her passes and headers were right on the money. She didn't really get taken on 1 v. 1, but I sensed she might be a little slower than Lopez (but definitely faster than Whitehill).
4) Wagner finally makes an appearance, and plays respectably. Again, Norway is no Brazil, so faster players wouldn't have given her much time on the ball.
5) Kai comes on in the 88th minute? I know this is Lilly's last WC, but really. She was gassed after 60 minutes. Let the new blood get some experience.
6) Scurry played with much more confidence now that there was absolutely nothing (OK, maybe her legacy) riding on the game.

Posted by: calvester | September 30, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Now that the USWNT is back in "friendly season" healing process can begin. Ryan will once again become a mastermind and America's role models will once again dominate all-comers.

C'mon Mexico we're not afraid. We'll show you courage, heart, commitment and passion.

Who's up next Iceland? Fiji? Burkina Faso? It really doesn't matter. We are (outside the world cup) the best team in the world.

Posted by: Tommie | September 30, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

1. US can possess if they want (are allowed) to, even granting that flat Norway in outmoded 4-3-3 is not same as inspired NK or brasil with 4 or 5 fast MFs.

2. Tarpley and Wagner had immediate impact. Osborne is the better D mid than Boxx. Why were they on the bench for North Korea?

3. Germany was dominant. Back to back WC champions, clean sheet for the tourney. If I'm USSF, I'm studying that, not trying to find my Marta. Where are all the joga bonito groupies today? Neid is the best coach, Angerer is the best GK, their back line is the best, AND WHEN THE GAME IS ON THE LINE, PRINZ IS YOUR MONEY PLAYER, NOT THE DARLING MARTA. With the Cup on the line she hit a PK that would embarass a U-15. The German forwards and attacking mids laid open the Brazilian "defense" like a high school biology frog. It should have been 2-0 at the half if Smisek and Garafrekes don't whiff.

4. "Attractive football"? I tell you what I find attractive. A German slide tackle. I am ambivalent about this in the US youth game, because of the already frighteningly high rate of catastrophic knee injuries in our girls, but we clearly need to add this to our national team training. I don't recall Marta showing much "happiness" on the ball today.

5. The "Victory Tour" should be transformed into a "Lilly/Scurry Farewell Tour" so people can come out and see these giants off in proper style. To increase interest, they should make it US v. All-stars and make sure Marta and Prinz etc can play.

6. Our American Marta? Sure, I'll take that, who wouldn't. More concerned with who is our Neid? Who is our #10 Lingor? Our Prinz is Abby but she needs to watch lots of Prinz video and step it up.

7. US, in 4-4-2, with possession and disciplined defense, strong keeper. We could have beaten Brazil. Did you EVER see a German marker 1v1 without immediate cover? It's called team defense, and the Germans were frikkin AWESOME. We need to study THEM.

8. The US failures here were failures of the coaching staff, not the players. If Ryan really is the team-first guy that he says he is, he should do the right thing and step down this week.

9. The expression of our US style will not be in imitating a Brazilian samba queen of unquestionable gifts. Our sound track will be Eminem and Kanye West. "Success is my only %$#@ option." "That that that that don't kill me, can only make me stronger."

WELL DONE DEUTSCHLAND!!

GO US WNT -- CHINA '08!!

Posted by: WNT fan | September 30, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Soccer Insider. Thank you Washington Post. For covering WWC 07.

Posted by: WNT fan | September 30, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the World Cup actually matters, while friendies don't.

Nice job by the women to bring home 3rd place, but I can't help but think some of our coaching strategies weren't up to par. Our over reliance on Abby and Lilly is going to catch up with us next cycle. Not to mention the whole fiasco with the GKs. I don't honestly see how Ryan keeps his job, even after getting 3rd in a WC. It's kinda nice that our women have that kind of expectation though, it says alot of good things about our program.

Posted by: dano | September 30, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Can Nike change the campaign around to: "The Best Team You Wish You've Never Heard Of?"

Bravo to Germany!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

OMG. We need a new thread. How many games will Rico Clark get for pretending Ruiz's arm was the ball and he was trying to clear it is far as he could? If he had actually kicked him in the head instead.... I suppose a lot of people have wanted to do what he did over the years. That's gotta be 5 games though.

Posted by: Glenn | September 30, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Where is Our Man's match report? The Post is running an AP wire report? Is he getting the Solo treatment from the Post? They must have read that stuff about the liters of Tsingtao.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 30, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

What a great final!

Germandy and Brazil are BOTH a class ahead of our USA team. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Brazil dominated the game and Germany, with its usual team play and grit, were superbly effective.

This is scaringly like the men's game.

Posted by: Carey | September 30, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I think these women play better than all the men's games I've ever watched in our domestic leagues. Just amazing technique (Brazil) and organization (Germany).

This does not bode well for the WNT going forward.... The world is starting to care about the women's game.

Posted by: Donna | September 30, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Germany were very lucky on having those balls blast off the post twice and Marta taking a poor PK.

This game was all Brazil. The beautiful game did not win but these Brazilian women have to leave this WC with their heads up high. They've taught us all how well the game can be played.

My two daughters (American) play soccer. They watched this world cup and cheered for the US but at the end they were cheering for Brazil.

I can't think of the reason for them to cheer against their own country if not the true appreciation for the technique the Brazilians exhibited. It was amazing to see my own children react that way...

Posted by: Jake | September 30, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

We will need to make MAJOR changes for the Olympics in order to be successful.

Within their own styles, both Germany and Brazil look a class apart from the rest of the world right now.

It's nonsense to try to copy each one of these countries in the short term. IN THe long term we need to learn to adapt the best they have to offer and innovate on our own.

I feel we have not kept up in our WNT and a gap has been establishe din the other direction. We need new leadership and approach.

Posted by: WNT Hopeful | September 30, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

WNT Fan,

Do you play soccer? Are you any good?

Even the Germans appreciate the quality of Brazilian players. You just sound bitter.

This has been a great WC. Gemany and Brazil today are the best teams in the world. We can learn a lot from both!

Posted by: Kelly | September 30, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse


Want to learn about soccer?

Watch this weekend's demolition of Arminie by Werder Bremen (8-0) in the Bundesliga (German Top League).

That means watching Diego (a Brazilian) put on a clinical display of set piece kick taking (German strentght?) that all Americans should study.

Learn from EVERYONE from EVERYWHERE, that's what the best teams (and countries)in the world are constantly doing!

Posted by: Soccer Apprentice | September 30, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Granting the different levels of expectation, 2007 has been a disastrous year for US soccer international, for men and women, at all age levels (senior, U20, U17)...

We have been mediocre at best. With the amount of money and resources we have invested in the game, we should be doing better by now.

What's wrong?

Posted by: Drew | September 30, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Jake,

I think your daughters reactions are normal. If you were not pressured to cheer for your own country by social measures, who would you cheer for? Brazil or Germany?

It's like deciding between dancers and robots (as was pointed out). I think as humans most of us tend to appreciate dancers... but you can still teach robots how to dance! :-)

Posted by: Loyd | September 30, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

stop being so damn politically correct. Solo says what she says and apologizes... Ryan made a bad decision - he deserves to lose his job. no happy ending this year but its not to late for next. I Hope!!!

Posted by: markinboston | September 30, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse


Ryan needs to resign or be fired.

The USA team needs to be adjusted, not a complete overhaul but a few creative players need to be inserted in the squad.

Tactitally they need to adjust as well. Play more advanced and let their midfielders have the opportunity to play more of a possession game. If they are unable to do it, sack them and get new ones. There is enough talent in our country we just need to find and use them effectively.

Posted by: JP | September 30, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

lousy coach, lousy efforts, christine lilly please go away, glad they lost

Posted by: bestmick | September 30, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The Brazilian media had some interesting points regarding this game. They think Germany was dominated but they were indeed the better team.

One commentator noted that the "beautiful game" was NOT played because it entails good goalkeeping, defensive organization and precision (i.e. - Marta should not have missed the PK)

In the end, they are still proud of this team and players because they had NO infrastructure to develop as a team.

I must say that it impresses me that the Brazilian culture does not look for quick excuses like we tend to do in the States. In their view, the other team was better and Brazil needs to work in its defficiencies for the future (team organization, goalkeeping, effectiveness in finishing)

"Jogo Bonito" does not exist with just raw talent.

Posted by: USA Fan in Brazil | September 30, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Kelly - I am certainly am not and never was remotely the player Greg Ryan was. That doesn't make my observations wrong. Yeah, too bitter, that's a good call on me. But again, doesn't make me wrong, perhaps just unpleasant since this WWC started. And I do appreciate the abilities of the Brazilian players, perhaps I just don't understand the fetish about emulating the Brazilians when the Germans have won back to back. I agree that WNT have a lot to learn from both, and should do so.

Posted by: WNT fan | September 30, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to Germany for the two-peat and also to Brazil. These two teams remain the future and face of soccer. Should be ranked 1 and 2 in the world. Why US was ranked # 1 is a mystery to me; if you can't win the big one(s), then it doesn't matter if it has a 100-0 unbeaten streak.

The US team could improve and be more respectable by -- bringing in a new coaching staff, develop speed, maybe that "killer instict" relentlessnes in scoring, and retire old players like Lilly who is past her prime and just occupies a space in the field.

And Greg Ryan, how about coaching prison inmates so they can use the aggression in a constructive way while they serve their terms. You're the perfect choice.

Do something good, mate.

Posted by: Pax Romana | September 30, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I wish I would have posted my opinion before the game but I told just about everyone who cared that there was no way in heck that Brazil would beat Germany.

This is not sore losing on my US fan part but Brazil left it ALL on the field for the US game. They played brilliantly and kicked our butts... froget about whining about the terrible call on Boxx... or the hope Solo controversy... Brazil showed in that game that they are here and I really hope their country embraces their team (even though that doesn't bode well for the rest of the world).

It was obvious to me though that the World Cup for them was about beating the US and once they did that it the fashion they did... there was nothing left to face a squad as strong as Germany.

Impressive World Cup... now maybe I can get some sleep as I've been watching the games live!

Posted by: US Fan | September 30, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Football is a game played by 22 players and in the end, GERMANY ALWAYS WINS!

Germany and Brazil (if their federation cares just a smidget) are the best teams in the world and they should continue to dominate from this point forward.

Posted by: Gary Lineker | September 30, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

The short-term solution to create a WINNING team for the Olympics is two-fold: 1. Beg Tony DiCicco (sp?) to come back to lead the team through the Olympics. It's a no-risk proposition. Find someone new after that.
2. Play a 4-4-2. And put two of your fastestt players wide at midfield. The back four is generally ok. We have plenty of keepers.

Carry on.

Posted by: MattC | September 30, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Hope Solo > Brianna Scurry

Tony Diciccio > Greg Ryan

Posted by: Phillip | September 30, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Hope was right to speak her mind for this specific situation and the team was right to vote her off the island. It's too bad though that Solo's (possibly unintentional) quip about Scurry is now overshadowing the boneheaded move that caused the entire issue. If the team had the opportunity I wonder if they would have voted Ryan off too?

Posted by: T. Fergusen | September 30, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

with two World Cup wins in a row, Germany has to be considered the top women's soccer country in the world at the present moment. Even more impressively, Germany won both of its titles outside of Europe (North American and China respectively). If Germany is indeed awarded the 2011 Women's World Cup then they could very well three-peat.

As for Germany being awarded the next Women's World Cup, it would make a lot of sense. The WWC hasn't been in Europe since 1995 in Sweden. In fact, Europe has only hosted the WWC once. The countries of the USA and China have both hosted it twice. Germany also has the facilities for the WWC (see WC 2006). Germany also has a pretty good fan base for the sport and an excellent team. For a United States team reeling from two straight disappointing Women's World Cups, a 2011 tournament in Germany would be a difficult proposition.

Posted by: diego r. | September 30, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Im sure Goff will be all over this and post a link tto the video, but everyone should see what that IDIOT Ricardo Clark did to Ruiz today. He's got to be done for atleast the season. Terrible cheap shot.

Posted by: Kenny | October 1, 2007 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Xie-Xie Ni to you too, Goff,

And Steinbog's been great and everything, but

GET HOME SOON

so you can get back to covering DCU!!!

Posted by: Juan-John | October 1, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Goff: I just don't understand this last post... maybe I should be banished even though I read your column almost daily.

Am I the only person who feels that the WNT terribly underperformed in this WC? Coming in to the Brazil game with a 51 winning game streak and ranked #1, Hope Solo seemed to be the only person extremely disappointed that the US got bounced from the tournament. She put words to those feelings. Words that to me said, I would have still kept us in it. This wasn't about her, and not playing. This is about someone who wanted very badly for the team to still be in it. Why you think this is the low road, I don't get it? Don't you want players on your team who want to win, and don't take losing easy?

The world cup only comes around once every 4 years. For Ryan to break chemistry and shuffle his line-up for Brazil is not the coaching of a #1 ranked team. If this was his plan all along (as he stated), then why not share his plan with Solo from the get-go in addition to getting Scurry in more games, and all the other things that a well planned strategy would entail?

To read (in other news) that the WNT is happy to end on a winning note for basically a useless game tells me we don't have team of winners. Just a team of "good-enoughers." Just off the top of your head, who won the bronze game in the Men's WC in Germany? How about the Women's WC in 2003 or the Men's WC in 2002?

This game was meaningless, and to be happy with this result, or even ending on a winning note, says that the WNT does not deserve their #1 ranking, does not play for it, and maybe like the MNT before 2006 filled up their friendly schedule with games that didn't give them a true measure of what they needed to work on.

I am extremely disappointed that the Solo remarks took on a life of their own. I'm hoping that the focus can go back to where it needs to shine brightest, on Greg Ryan. To let this guy off the hook, regardless of how classy you think he is, says to me you're happy with "good-enough." What's the value of a 51-game winning streak if you choke when it matters most? Aren't you glad someone was upset enough about it to call him on it? But then I guess that's the low road, and we all should get on with spiting out party lines.

Posted by: Brad J | October 1, 2007 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Yup; I really hope they drop Ryan, that was a very sad tournament. Not to mention, the coach can either motivate the team and keep them loose during the tournament or he can't, and if he can't then he needs to go. That was the first game where the US team looked like they were having any fun. He's not only tactically a bonehead, but he also has no idea, apparently, how to keep his team loose.

Anyway, that was just a really disappointing showing overall and no one is to blame but the coaching staff.

Someone needs to muzzle chastain. She's always been annoying, but give me a break. Talk about spoiled brats.

Posted by: Hacksaw | October 1, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why comments from Chastain and Foudy are "cheap shots"? Is it because the points they made are so obvious they don't need to be said? Who has more right to criticize what has happened to the team they labored so hard to build? Chastain acknowledges her bitterness, even if the SJ Mercury did not. Doesn't make her wrong. Does anyone seriously disagree with any of the following comments:

*"People say this is a step back, but I think Greg Ryan has put us three steps back - all the way to the starting gate He lacks the ability to communicate and is not in tune with his players, and he's obviously not a tactician or he wouldn't have made the decisions he did." (Chastain)

* "This will define Greg Ryan. He did not prepare his players to play in this World Cup the way they needed to be prepared. He was like a general who sent his soldiers into battle with no plan, and it showed. If they don't fire him, there should be a nationwide protest against U.S. Soccer because it would mean that they just don't care." (Chastain)

* "There was no flow to this team. I think that's because all three lines (forward, midfield, defense) practiced separately; they would all go off with their separate coaches, rather than work together. What Coach Ryan did tactically made no sense, and there were a lot of decisions he made that I think many people would question." (Foudy)

* "There are so many talented players out there, and you wonder, 'Is this program building? Is it growing? Is that the best soccer we can produce? Is this the direction we want to go in?' I don't think it is." (Foudy)

* Foudy and Chastain also criticized Ryan's strategic moves, from implementing an overall style that favored direct attacks and physical play at the expense of possession and passing, to the curious substitutions he made in the second half of Thursday's game. Both said the way he coached against Brazil reminded them of Heinrichs' stubborn refusal to change tactics in the team's previous World Cup defeat, a 3-0 loss to Germany in the '03 semifinals. "There's been so much talk about not being able to hold the ball or possess, and I read quotes from coach Ryan saying that if you try to play possession in the modern game you just get killed," Foudy said. "Then I see Brazil, North Korea or Germany, and they seem to be doing pretty well with that style. You have to be able to take a team apart on the ground, but in that first half everything was combative and out of rhythm and without flow. I had the feeling that they were just trying to go in and disrupt Brazil, rather than going out and playing soccer."

Posted by: WNT fan | October 1, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to the poster turned me on to this, but Beulah's match reports for the last two games should be required reading for the USSF Board.

http://www.beulahsports.com/wwc07_09_30_07.html

Posted by: WNT fan | October 1, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Why can't we all get along?

""Even Jorge Barcellos took time from bemoaning his side's defeat to hail Angerer as "an excellent goalkeeper", while the 28-year-old's main rival, Silke Rottenberg, who was in goal when Germany won the FIFA Women's World Cup 2003, offered equally generous praise. "Back then it was me, now it's Nadine," she said. "Germany certainly has two world class goalkeepers and all the other countries are definitely envious of us. She fully deserved to be named the best keeper."" fifa.com

Posted by: Rodney King | October 1, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

WNT Fan,

Thanks for the post with Chastain and Foudy's quotes.

I normally don't agree with you but I think you're spot on in your conclusion! :-)

Posted by: JP | October 1, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Admit it. Before last week you had never heard of Greg Ryan. Only die-hard followers of the U.S. women's national soccer team had heard of the anonymous coach before his fateful decision to start Briana Scurry against Brazil in the World Cup semifinals last week. Now Ryan has quickly become as well-known an American soccer coach as you'll find, be it in men's soccer or women's soccer. Unfortunately now Ryan is well known for being an idiot.

I just couldn't help but wonder how much of a setback this World Cup was for the women's game in this country.

Unlike the 1999 World Cup and U.S. women's team, which had several stars capable of captivating young girls and making them want to play the sport, this World Cup didn't offer much of that at all. At least not from the American team. It has to be considered a little sad that, for all the resources at the disposal of the U.S. team, young girls in this country must look to Brazil's Marta, England's Kelly Smith and Germany's Birgit Prinz for inspiration as soccer players who truly play the game on an exciting level.

I won't get into everything that went wrong with the U.S. women's team, or with every mistake Greg Ryan made. Jen Chang did a pretty thorough job of that on his ESPN.com soccer blog. I'll just say that those folks who were planning to launch a professional women's soccer league can't be happy right now. And they shouldn't be. If WUSA, bolstered by the momentum of the 1999 World Cup, couldn't survive, then how will the new incarnation of the league make it in the wake of Scurry-Gate?

One thing does seem clear. That coach you hadn't heard of before last week is very likely to go right back to anonymity. Only he won't have that job you didn't even know he had. At least he shouldn't.

Posted by: The worst coach you never heard of | October 1, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I think this WWC is going to try the patience and loyalty of many fans of U.S. women's soccer. Those peppy ESPN advertorials at halftimes of the '99 and '03 cup games about how great a bunch of friends the players were, as well as teammates, laughing and making little jokes on the team bus, made me gag a little.

Now we see the downside of this, when friendship becomes cliqueishness and internal rivalries. Scurry and Lilly are old and ineffective, Wambach is going to back Ryan's ineffective long-ball style because she thinks (incorrectly) it favors her style of play, and there seems to be little leadership outside of Solo and possibly Chalupny in the younger players.

These U.S. women seem too used to taking orders mindlessly and unused to figuring out how to play the game and how to lead among themselves. There are problems starting at the soccer-mom / soccer-daughter stage where females avoid the pickup games essential to growing a style and love of the game ... as we have discussed here and as the BigSoccer.com forums are whaling on.

A great team has a great coach and great field leaders who keep the coach and the role players on track. Germany, England and Australia seem to be doing exceptionally well in this department, in terms of bright coaches and overperforming, loose, fearless players with fantastic understanding of tactics and strategy. Think DiVanna and Walsh and Salisbury for Australia, for example, they had no business doing so well (say the experts) but there they were requiring bad officiating to "lose" to Brazil.

How can we bring a change in the USSF before the Olympics?

And to those who accept their daughters rooting for Brazil, Marta didn't come up very large on her PK, and Christiane's gloating after tricking the ref into Boxx's yellow card was reprehensible.

Posted by: Jeannie1132 | October 1, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Hey "worst coach," we just about simul-posted our disappointment with this Women's World Cup!

Posted by: Jeannie1132 | October 1, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"There are problems starting at the soccer-mom /soccer-daughter stage where females avoid the pickup games essential to growing a style and love of the game."

Jeannie1132 do you know anything about this personally? I am involved every day, 365. I suspect you are not, or you are involved in a different universe than I am. I bit my tongue for a while on your earlier post -- out of character for me.

But when you say you watched the Washington Freedom play ONE game, in which they apparently won handily by playing possession soccer (which they did well enough to win the W-league handily) and you come away calling them "dancing robots," that makes me very angry. Not just because I personally know and admire some of the Freedom players (who I can tell you live and breathe the game, and sacrifice to continue to play it), but because they are among the most highly accomplished female athletes in our country (and elsewhere -- Kelly G from Australia, Sun Wen as guest, etc), who have played at the highest national and international levels. I would much rather have my players go out to watch Freedom possession-oriented, attacking soccer in person, than watch the WNT play Ryan bang-ball or (unbelievably) a 4-2-4 in a televised exhibition game. Why not just eliminate the midfield altogether? I do not want my girls to play like that. More importantly they do not want to play like that.

The female players I see, coach and live with LOVE to play pick-up, they love to play with boys, they are as passionate about the game as any Brazilian or German girl I could imagine. Watch them warm up free form, with balls, to an American sound track of their selection, and robotic it is NOT.

I am an old washed-up never-was, it ain't about me, but for those girls I am resentful about this WWC cup, because WE HAVE THE PLAYERS and we support the female game as much as any country on the planet. The coaches let down this team and the thriving US soccer culture that supports and built this team, NOT the other way around.

If you or your husband and his buddies have skills to contribute, which I do not doubt, great, grab a ball bag and come on out. There is a nation full of girls who love to play and to learn.

Posted by: WNT fan | October 1, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Silke Rottenberg's quote was far from "generous". It was self-centered. "Me, me, me, me, me. Her. Me, me, me, me, me."

As far as Jake's daughters cheering for Brazil. I am reminded of the USA-MEX (0-0) qualifier in Estadio Azteca for (men's) WC 98. Mexico was unable to take advantage of their man advantage and showed no creativity. So a very large fraction for the crown started to boo their home team and cheer the US.

I don't know how old your daughters are, but things are often black and white for kids. It may have been incompatible with their ages to appreciate Brazil without rooting for them. This changes as we get older and understand why our team deserved to lose. It's heartening that they watch sports with their Dad.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 1, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

There has been a lot of great talk on this board about the importance of pick up games in the development of players.

I am originally from Brazil and, believe it or not, this is an issue over there as well. As cities develop, space for pick up games has almost disappeared and the soccer coaches down there are very worried about that trend.

I coach several girls youth teams (here in the US) and I'd like to both participate and learn from this discussion.

Does anybody know of any sites or blogs that discuss specifically what can be done in the USA to foster soccer pick up games?

Any direction would be appreciated.

Posted by: Pick Up Games | October 1, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

WNT -- I know Freedom players myself too -- who are on the bench frustrated because they don't play droneball. You honestly think the group playing in Germantown is interesting to watch? I don't. Oh well. Plenty of room for all views.

I am glad you know women who play pickup, I play on a women's team that grew out of a park pickup game. Fun! Let's keep supporting this wonderful creative activity among girls and women.

Posted by: Jeannie1132 | October 1, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Pickup games: This is a raging topic not only here but (if memory serves) at BigSoccer.com and possibly ESPN too? Actually this blog is arguably leading in the debate in wake of my anti-Freedom Lite, pro-pickup remarks earlier.

Posted by: Jeannie1132 | October 1, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to play pick up games in any sport in our country.

I've organized pick up games for adult men for the past 4 years. We now even have kids around 14 who join us in the weekends.

Finding a space to play without getting kicked out after a while is a hard task...

Funny thing is that this is how our league team was initiated and improved (with pick up recruiting) over time.

Now we have an O30 team that plays in a division 1 league and has won it for the past 2 seasons. This includes opposition with retired MLS and EPL players.

"True football is learned on the streets." - Thierri Henry

Posted by: Houston | October 1, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

What's the value of a 51-game winning streak if you choke when it matters most? Aren't you glad someone was upset enough about it to call him on it?

Posted by: Brad J | October 1, 2007 01:38 AM
_________________________________________

Huh? "Someone"? There were umpteen print and broadcast journalists covering the competition, not mention all of us fans on this and other blogs, who were calling Ryan on his mistakes. The difference is that we weren't risking team chemistry by doing so.

Posted by: Section 410 | October 1, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

This site has pick up games for every state. However, it's geared toward adult players...

http://www.socster.com/#US_KS

Posted by: Pick Up Site | October 1, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Interesting how the pickup debate highlights a constant tension in football: discipline vs. creativity.

German teams are highly organized and efficient because kids join local sports clubs and leagues at an early age - they learn discipline. Brazilian players grow up playing in the streets where individual talent counts - they develop creativity. At least that's the predominant model - there are of course very disciplined Brazilians (Dunga etc.) and truly creative Germans (Moeller etc.) in both systems.

But essentially, you should stick to your guns - for Germany it's being a terrific team, for Brazil it's having incredible talent. Likewise the WNT needs to develop its core identity.

Posted by: cpw | October 1, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

WNT fan, thanks for posting the quotes by Chastain and Foudy. Both are very knowledgeable of the game, experienced players, and one of them is paid to be a commentator. Looks to me like she's doing her job. Chastain spoke the truth, and was very forthcoming about her personal feelings with Ryan. Those do not diminish the truth of what she had to say. Ryan is not the caliber of coach needed for this level of play, and it showed LONG before the Brazil game. NEITHER of them took what could be construed as "cheap shots". Nothing compared to the cheap shots taken anonymously on this forum at the veteran players.
Bad blood does not negate a educated evaluation of the performance of this team.
And on a personal level, if I'd been the member of a great US team, and had been integral to bringing women's soccer to the forefront, fought for its recognition on the sports stage of this country and beyond, I'd definitely feel qualified to speak on the subject. Definitely more than some armchair players that fill up forum posts.

Posted by: longtime fan | October 1, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"I play on a women's team that grew out of a park pickup game. Fun! Let's keep supporting this wonderful creative activity among girls and women."

Good on you. I hope our current youth players love it enough to be playing/coaching in 20 and 30 years, that will be a true measure of what kind of job we're doing now. Plus, if I am still around, I would like to come to their games, leaning over my walker, and heckle the mids to track back and play some defense . . . .

Posted by: WNt fan | October 1, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Why FIFA (or was it USSF? or the Chinese organizers?) allowed the players to have to run a gauntlet of reporters before boarding their buses after their games I'll never know. Reporters will do their job and ask questions of the passing players, and players may or may not decide to answer.

That said, the same damage probably woulda been done via a player's MySpace page, or some other form of communication.

Posted by: Juan-John | October 1, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

First off, it's amazing that a women's soccer has garnered this type of attention.
Second, I think your spot on Goff about this whole debacle. Did Ryan mess up and make a huge mistake in changing keepers? Yes, of course he did. However, was Solo childish in criticizing Ryan and indirectly Scurry publicly after the game? Yes, despite the fact she was right. She should of taken the high road and spoke to her coach in private, not taking her frustration out in this manner.
However, I think how she now has been "banished" from the team is equally shameful. I think this whole thing has been a debacle and poorly handled from start to finish.

Posted by: Felix | October 1, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

One parting thought...

I think the US youth soccer circles have too many tacticians as coaches and not enough people who truly understand and love the game. This may come from our history of playing American football, where tactics are disproportianately important.

I have found that the best teams in the world are built around talented players. And the best coaches in the world build their tactics around these talented players, not the other way around.

This is a subtle but important distinction.

Posted by: JP | October 1, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

OK, a couple more and I'm gone...

Great News


Just days after U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati depressed us all by expressing concern that the new women's professional league wouldn't be able to afford Marta, there are rumors that AEG is working on bringing her into the league to play for the Los Angeles team. The league needs her. She's a highlight reel waiting to happen every time she steps onto the field and could bring much-needed exposure to the league.


More Good News


Tonya Antonucci, CEO of the new women's league, has said she hopes to bring Australian coach Tom Sermanni, Lisa De Vanna, Cheryl Salisbury and several other Matildas to the league in 2009. All good ideas. Next to Marta, De Vanna was the most popular international in China, and Sermanni was a solid head coach for the New York Power in the now-defunct WUSA's final year.

Posted by: JP | October 1, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Link to soccer america article on reviving the pick-up game.

http://www.socceramerica.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showTodaysArticle&art_type=88

JP -- Good news on the new league.

It looks like it's closing time at this bar.

Posted by: WNT fan | October 1, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Huh? "Someone"? There were umpteen print and broadcast journalists covering the competition, not mention all of us fans on this and other blogs, who were calling Ryan on his mistakes. The difference is that we weren't risking team chemistry by doing so.

Posted by: Section 410 | October 1, 2007 11:46 AM
-----------------------------------------------

Yes, but after we had lost the chance to compete for the gold medal, what team chemistry was being risked? What I said, is that I didn't hear anyone else mentioned anything about being upset that they got bumped from the WC. Like Jeannie1132 noted, U.S. women seem too used to taking orders mindlessly and not sure about taking ownership and leadership of a game and tournament. Gulati even said that the USSF only creates the environment, but the coach manages it. After aggregating it all, Solo reacted in a singular way that showed her desire to win the WC. I like that in a player that represents my country. Most other countries put out all the players that haven't gotten much or any playing time to enjoy the moment of a 3rd place game. To talk about bouncing back, rebounding after adversity, misses the point. At any other point in the knock out rounds there wouldn't have been another game to "rebound." Solo, like others in the men's tournaments, displayed a consistent nature of disappointment at not accomplishing the goal they had set out for themselves. With all the chat about how the US game needs to regroup, training methods, and so on, the first place to start is with a coach that wants to win, and who surrounds himself with players that want it just as bad.

Posted by: Brad J | October 1, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

This link seems to shed some light, if in fact true, on the nature of leadership both of Ryan and the team.

http://womenssoccerusa.blogspot.com/2007/09/ryan-lilly-and-wambach.html

Posted by: Brad J | October 1, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Brad J-
Who is this Jen Striker, and why should we believe her? Just when I thought this was over, she comes up with this apocryphal conspiracy theory. If true, it would mean that Lilly says it it's not ok to air your grievances about a teammate in public, but it's OK to stab them in the back in private. While I think Lilly's retirement is overdue, I also respect her as someone who understands the team dynamics of the WNT better than anyone. I seriously doubt that either Wambach or Lilly was the instigator of getting Solo benched. If that were true, I suspect that Solo would have mentioned it in her infamous interview.

But, I can't resist adding a conspiracy theory of my own.....if Osborne was one of the younger crowd siding with Solo, did she commit the own goal deliberately?

Posted by: calvester | October 2, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

*Letterman is trying to book Solo, so Jen Striker says (no clue who that is). This kind of supports a theory that the guy in the Chicago Trib has, which is that Keeper-Gate has been as good or better for womens soccer than a gold medal. I would take issue with that substantively, but it's not crazy in terms of public attention. This Blog went from like 20 comments on a summer womens soccer post, half of which were haters, to some posts in WWC getting over 200 comments. By and large the haters have stayed away as requested.

*The Dorrance harassment suit will proceed to trial, say the Supremes. As long as that is hanging over him (and the allegations in the publicly available complaint are ugly) he is not a candidate for Ryan's job, if in fact he ever was.

Posted by: WNT fan | October 2, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The thing I liked about previous teams was the balance of players. This team seems too much oriented around Abby Wambach, both in playing style and now with the goalie controversy. I get the feeling that Abby will get to decide if Hope Solo continues to play for the USA and that is too much power.

Posted by: Eugene | October 2, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

WNT Fan: It's interesting that you put those two items together. Debbie Keller joined the lawsuit, which essentially ended her career on the Tar Heel-laden WNT. A number of the WNT Tar Heels swore affidavits or testified on Dorrence's behalf and Keller may have been ostracized by her teammates. We could have a similar situation with Solo's career being in the hands of some of her teammates.

Solo is young. She should be penalized for her outburst, but she will gain some wisdom and maturity from this. Lilly and some others have made their marks on the national team, but their time is over. As long as the WNT maintains direct ties to the past, it will not move forward.

The team has to play for itself now. The motivation to give the old guard a winning send off should have ended in Athens.

Closing time for me on this topic.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 2, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Ryan's goal was to make it to the semifinals (and then look really great in a third place game?? Mission accomplished) Ryan putting in defenders in the Brazil game when we went down was all about a loser trying to save his job, not win the game. He said he never spent any time trying to keep his job. A lie.

We used to have third place games in the NCAA basketball tournament until people woke up and realized that it is pointless. And this one was pointless except for Abby trying to catch up on the golden boot award.

I want the President of US Soccer to make a "reaction type" move and fire Ryan's butt when he steps onto the tarmac.

Posted by: Eugene | October 2, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Eugene-
Your 'reaction-type' move comment had me cracking up.

Posted by: calvester | October 2, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

There is almost nothing to admire about this team. They play lousy soccer, (bomb it to Wambach and she will muscle it in) are trying to live off the glory of the Foudy/Hamm era, are hypocrits when it comes to Being team players (we are with you Hope until we are not)and delusional about their abilities (get real on the 3rd place game, Norway didn't care and we still couldn't play thru the middle).

Ryan perfectly reflected the mentality of this team, self-centered and delusional about his abilities and fully ready to blame any failing on something or someone else.

Go away!

Posted by: Ruthie | October 2, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Is it too early for an Olympics 08 thread?

Australia's move to Asia cost them a spot in the Olympics, as I read it. Asia spots go to NK and Japan.

Argentina is in, but Brazil has to play in, by beating an African team likely to be either Ghana or Nigeria. Brazil/Nigeria could be very interesting, especially if it is played in Africa.

So that means we should try to get 08 friendlies against AUS and ENG, right?

Assuming of course, that we can get past one or the other of Mexico and Canada. I guess we can take nothing for granted.

Posted by: WNT fan | October 2, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Quality on the internet:
the Beulah Sports posts = quality soccer analysis you'd expect
the "Jen Striker" post = Star magazine, The National Inquirer, other cheap gossip rags.

Really folks. Obsession with the Hope Solo saga and team conspiracy theories are not the stuff serious fans of the game want or need to discuss.
This sounds like bad High School drama.

Posted by: tired of it | October 2, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

A few good articles from SI.com

Even in Cup loss, women move game ahead in Brazil
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/tim_vickery/10/01/brazilian.women/index.html

As Brazil emerges as a power, is U.S. on way down?
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/grant_wahl/09/28/us.brazil/index.html

U.S. not as bad as semis loss; Solo saga far from over
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/mark_bechtel/09/30/final.thoughts/index.html

Posted by: Gary | October 2, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

WWC is over and Germany deserves the title. The rest of the world is catching up to the front runners. The FA in England has stepped up their support of their womens team and you can see the marked improvement in their womens side. The US loss to Brazil, in the end, will be a good thing for both US and Brazil. For Brazil perhaps, just maybe, the CBF may take notice that they have a womens team and give them the support they deserve. For the US its time to take a good long look at the system in place in the US which is not finding the Marta's of the US. Anyone who knows the route girls take to the National Team know that a poor girl has nil chance of navigating even close to the system. Girls are required to pay thousands of dollars a year to be involved in elite soccer in the US. Marta comes from a poor family in Brazil and had she been American, in our system she would never have ended up on our WNT. We need to find the best talent in the US, not just the best affluent talent

Posted by: Deborah | October 2, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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