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Matchmorning: USA-Brazil

For a preview of the gold medal women's match in Beijing (9 a.m. ET, USA Network, Olympic Soccer Channel), read Barry Svrluga's preview.

You know the drill: Give a prediction, assess the lineups and comment as needed.

You can also follow the action online through Dan Steinberg's Beijing Sports Smog. Yes, that is what it is called.

By Steve Goff  |  August 21, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Olympics , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Howard vs. Ruiz
Next: Morning Kickaround

Comments

Sorry to say but I don't see how the US can win over Brazil. Kai is the only one who has shown the attacking flair that can match them and she seems to have been relegated to the last few minutes of the game (when she nearly always provides the winning goal, however). Chalupny has shown some spark, but Heather O'Reilly doesn't seem the same player she was at UNC, Boxx is playing flat and can't control the midfield, and Hucles, for all her goals (unmarked in box vs Japan), has not impressed. Meanwhile, Hope Solo seems shaky and not controlling her box. Hopefully she won't take out any more defenders.

I think the best we can hope for is that it is a relatively close loss.

By the way, does Barry Svrluga realize that Brianna Scurry is not even on the Olympic roster? It sounds like he thinks she's on th bench waiting for her chance.

Posted by: :-( | August 21, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Vamos garotas americanas! Com garra e coracao podem ganham as sapatonas brasileiras!

Posted by: Eugene | August 21, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Svrluga also said that the USA's 11 goals were all scored by different people. In fact there have been 7 different goalscorers (Hucles 4, O'Reilly 2, 5 others with one apiece).

Posted by: tri-village | August 21, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

On paper, things do not look good for the US. But the game is played on the field, and not on paper. Here's to hoping Brazil gets knocked off their game somehow, the US can steal a goal or two and then bunker, bunker, bunker.

Posted by: Ron | August 21, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Love the optimism Ron, but it's on the field that Brazil embarrassed Germany, not on paper. Christiane also dribbled through four defenders so I don't think bunkering will work. The only chance we have is to attack full out, and possess the ball, which we haven't shown any ability to do.

tri-village: I thought that 11 goal scorers stat looked odd too. If only it were true.

Posted by: :-( | August 21, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

3-1 to Brazil, unfortunately

Posted by: Eric in Baltimore | August 21, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I think the US wins in Penalty shoot out.

Posted by: TCompton | August 21, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Steinbog's page is now up. Let's take the in-game commentary here:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2008/08/us_wsoc_meets_brazil_for_gold.html

Posted by: tri-village | August 21, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I guess now is Solo's opportunity to prove she would made "those saves."

Posted by: TCompton | August 21, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Why is Matchtracker AWOL? Those of us at work, unable to stream, need something...?

Posted by: 22206 | August 21, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Lots of kicking into space where no one is even close and lots of booting it down field where no one is. Nerves?

Posted by: e | August 21, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Isn't that how the first 30 minutes always start? The kickball stop light is hopefully about to turn red.

Posted by: dadryan | August 21, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Why is Matchtracker AWOL? Those of us at work, unable to stream, need something...?

Posted by: 22206 | August 21, 2008 9:12 AM
==========================================

Steinbog's play-by-play is at least as good as the matchtracker would have been.

Posted by: tri-village | August 21, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"Steinbog's play-by-play is at least as good as the matchtracker would have been."

True, better in terms of actual descriptiveness, but all of his talk about food is making me hungry.... :)

Posted by: 22206 | August 21, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

This is some of the worst passing I've seen by the US women. They're just kicking the ball because they have it. It's like they're playing with imaginary teammates.

Posted by: TCompton | August 21, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Thank goodness for Mitts, Chalupny and Rampone holding off Marta and Christiane. Lloyd is playing with confidence, and Rodriguez is winning balls in the offensive third. If she just didn't rush her passes (or if she had someone besides Hucles to pass to), we might have seen some scoring. O'Reilly couldn't seem to buy a pass in the first 20 mins since everything sent her way was at least 20 yards off target. No matter, once she did get the ball, she just passed it to the Brazilians.

Hucles somehow found herself with the ball to get the only shot on goal. Her lack of ball handling skills, passing ability and footspeed notwithstanding, she somehow seems to be able to score goals.

Let's bring in Kai or Cheney for O'Reilly after the half, tighten up those passes, and maybe we score one.

Posted by: calvester | August 21, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

What's striking to me about this match is how physical the Brazilian team is. Seems like they're winning all the 1v1 contact confrontations. Obviously Wambach's absence makes a big difference, but our MF is getting overrun.

Posted by: Ben | August 21, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The US has got to get rid of Markgraf. She's just passing the ball straight to Brazil.

63rd minute, Daniella faking a head injury to try and get Mitts ejected with her second yellow. Luckily the ref isn't buying it.

Posted by: calvester | August 21, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Go Cheney!

Posted by: dadryan | August 21, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Who is that woman in the gray shirt?

Oh! That's Brazil's goalkeeper! First time I've seen her.

Posted by: Joe Doc | August 21, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Someone runs over the back of Lloyd to stop a counter. I guess that's no longer a yellow card.

US defends for 86 minutes and then shows some offense. Two excellent chances by Hucles and A-Rod that they should have finished.

Posted by: calvester | August 21, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

As the announcer says, this is the way a final should be. This is the way the World Cup 2007 match with Brazil should have been, if it weren't for nutjob Ryan's overthinking things

Posted by: Eugene | August 21, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

This game reminds me of Rocky. The "good" team keeps taking punches as the "bad" team tires out. Then the "good" team starts to fight back slowly. Let's hope it ends like Rocky II - IV (I never saw the later ones) and not the first Rocky.

Posted by: TCompton | August 21, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Can someone just gag Brandi? She is just awful. Enough of "what she should have done is..." How bout mentioning how many balls the US has given away and their inability to string a pass from the back up to their forwards.

Ugh.

US is going to take it in OT. We're more fit and

GOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!

Posted by: Hacksaw | August 21, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Que golaso!!!!!

Posted by: Eugene | August 21, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Is that the knockout punch? USA! USA!

Posted by: TCompton | August 21, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

This has been great to watch!
Go USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dadryan | August 21, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Who scored? I was up from my desk. Came back and it's 1-0.

Posted by: Matte | August 21, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

POST!!!

Posted by: bob | August 21, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

USA WINS!!!

Posted by: bob | August 21, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

For all of you Brazil nuts - Chora, nao vou ligar, chegou a hora, vai me pagar!

Posted by: Eugene | August 21, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

She did in fact make those saves ...

Posted by: Matte | August 21, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Is it me, or did the Brazilians play a nasty match toward the end? They looked like our neighbor directly to the south, kicking everything in sight when they're losing. I hate to generalize, but with Ruiz's behavior last night, this match, and Cobi Jones still walking with a limp from Korea, I'm starting to question the culture of sportmanship everywhere south of the Rio Grande.

Posted by: Grotus | August 21, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Dear Sunil,

You have five minutes to extend Coach Sundhage's contract through WWC2011.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 21, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"Are you serious? No way this team can compete with Brazil. Too slow on the ball. Not enough pressure on the ball. We're gonna get eaten up. Again."

"Look for the USA and their disjointed coordination between the defense and midfield to give the ball away repeatedly to the Brazilians who will make them pay. Once the US gets behind by a couple of goals, look for a lot of futile bootball."

"Today Germany joined the list of women's soccer "powers" to be embarassed by Brazil. I say embarassed because it is beyond losing the game. It encompasses being controlled and toyed with through long stretches of a game, where it seems that girls are playing against women... women who play better than most men. Scary. God save us against embarassment in the final! It's OK if we just lose. Posted by: Robots 1 x 4 Skill | August 18, 2008 5:51 PM "

"love my US girls but let's be real. One word: Marta. Posted by: Andrea | August 19, 2008 9:12 AM"

"... the one who doesn't want to see… Museums make a living out of the past, Brazil looks like the present and future of the game. Now go back and teach your youth team to be mentally tough and square their bodies befor ethey make a pass. Posted by: Worst Type of Blind... | August 19, 2008 1:32 PM"

"I am not alone in my assessment that Brazil is better than the US. I wish it weren't so, but it is. Sorry, but the truth hurts. Too many people in the US Soccer Federation have on the same rose colored glasses you do. Which is why the US has slipped to being a second rate team in womens international soccer. Posted by: Ron | August 19, 2008 1:33 PM"

Posted by: OWNTF | August 21, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I would have won the silver medal.

Posted by: Greg Ryan | August 21, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Lunchtime menu in the Soccer Insider cafeteria: Crow and Humble Pie.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 21, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Goff: Give U.S. Soccer a call and find out why their Web site appears to have crashed, willya? :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | August 21, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

USA 1: Brazil 0

USA Olympic Gold, again. Brazil, The Best Team To Never Win A Major -- STILL.

The tournament winning goal scored by an on-rushing mid, who picks up a back heel flick from a forward in the attacking third, wrong foots a lead-legged defender with a deft touch on the fly, and then lashes a blistering dipping rocket past a helpless keeper. Check the shirt, it wasn't a Brazilian, it was a Jersey Girl. USA!!!

Hope Solo is a freaking GODDESS!!!!

Posted by: OWNTF | August 21, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations to the US Team. They found a way to win, they proved me wrong, I am glad to eat a generous plate of crow with a heaping side of humble pie.

Posted by: Ron | August 21, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

How vindicated must Hope Solo feel right now? She stuck to her guns, paid her unjust penalty for speaking the truth, then came back, worked her @$$ off, and anchored an incredible run. She should find Julie Foudy and every other butt smooching US Soccer drone and laugh in thier faces. Let's just hope she has a nasty enough streak to call everyone on it.

Posted by: grotus | August 21, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Gutsy performance by the USWNT who were not intimidated by Brazil's superior speed and athletic ability. They stay well organized especially on defense and continually frustrated the Brazilians. Solo had a great game...some redemption at least for the debacle in the WC last year.

Posted by: sbg | August 21, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"The way the Brazilians play in terms of creating off the dribble in the penalty box and making a goalkeeper make reaction-type saves, I think Bri is the best goalkeeper in the world in those situations," Ryan said.

Check the tape of today's game, bro.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 21, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I told you so.

Posted by: Hope Solo | August 21, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess i've got to eat my words. I said they couldn't do it. But man, those ladies played their hearts out. Every single one of them left everything they had on that pitch. Kudos to them.

Posted by: Matte | August 21, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"Solo wasn't allowed to play or train with the team during the tour, and only midfielder Carli Lloyd broke ranks to sit next to her on the bench, visit her in her room and join her for meals. Before the meeting in St. Louis, Lloyd sat next to Solo and tapped her on the shoulder. Stay strong, Hope, she whispered. Lloyd was risking her own standing within the group, but, she says, "I just knew she was a great person and a phenomenal goalkeeper, and we need her on this team."

Posted by: Karma | August 21, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

How vindicated must Hope Solo feel right now? She stuck to her guns, paid her unjust penalty for speaking the truth, then came back, worked her @$$ off, and anchored an incredible run. She should find Julie Foudy and every other butt smooching US Soccer drone and laugh in thier faces. Let's just hope she has a nasty enough streak to call everyone on it.

Posted by: grotus | August 21, 2008 11:55 AM
==========================================

Actually, she should now have the sense to keep quiet and let everyone else do the talking for her, secure in the knowledge that she has been vindicated.

Posted by: tri-village | August 21, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

USA wins 1-0!

Posted by: Prescient | August 21, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Great win.....but Brazil was sooooo much better, it's very evident that if we don't change the way we play we're going to get run over in the future.

Horrid first touch, elementary clearing, no flair or creativity, and if I see one more aimless long ball to no one I think I'm going to puke. I don't think there's one person who knows anything about soccer who can say with a straight face that we deserved to win. We got lucky, i'll take it but clearly our 'style' of play needs to evolve for these ladies to be relevant on the world stage in years to come.

Posted by: Locke | August 21, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I have been reading Hope has been romantically linked in the Olympic village to Korean soccer player Han Dongwan. If they marry, wouldn't their kids be known as...

(wait for it)

Han Solo

Posted by: AM | August 21, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure which is worse -- that joke, or the fact that I laughed at it.

Thanks, AM.

Posted by: Joe Doc | August 21, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I see your points, Locke. Against every other national team, the U.S. is pretty much better. But Brazil's technical ability and their man-to-man defending are tough combinations to overcome.

But consider this: take Marta, Brazil's best attacking player, off the field and Brazil is not as strong (but still very good). Take the top U.S. attacker, Abby Wambach, off the field and... well, the U.S. wins.

Posted by: Joe "I'm eating like Michael Phelps today" Doc | August 21, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Great win.....but Brazil was sooooo much better, it's very evident that if we don't change the way we play we're going to get run over in the future.

Horrid first touch, elementary clearing, no flair or creativity, and if I see one more aimless long ball to no one I think I'm going to puke. I don't think there's one person who knows anything about soccer who can say with a straight face that we deserved to win. We got lucky, i'll take it but clearly our 'style' of play needs to evolve for these ladies to be relevant on the world stage in years to come.

Posted by: Locke | August 21, 2008 1:08 PM
----------------------------------------------


I find this a little arguement weak. Just because Brazil plays with more flare, doesn't mean they're better. That goes for their mens team too.

How do you know someone in Brazil isn't saying, "if Brazil didn't spend all their energy dancing on the ball, maybe they wouldn't have tired out and lost the game in extra time."

We have our strengths, and we play to them. Brazil has their own stregths, and they play to theirs. We were stronger today.

I don't think you can say that any team that makes it to the finals of a tournament, and then wins is lucky.

We played our game, ugly as it may be, and beat the flashy, showing Brazilians.

It's a cop out to say the flashy team is always better. Marta may have been the best player on the field, but that didn't help her team win the Gold today.

Posted by: TCompton | August 21, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Who thinks we played a better style of play because Queen Bee Abby Wambach wasn't out there?

Posted by: Eugene | August 21, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Eugene | August 21, 2008 1:46 PM

I certainly think the style changed. Better? Who knows, their style in June may not necessarily mean that would have been their style today.

And I see no need to abuse Abby, who's been a fine representative of the US WNT, warts and all.

Posted by: JkR | August 21, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Man, that game made my day! Everyone in the office keeps telling me I haven't stopped smiling since I came in. Which was after that game!

Those girls deserved to take the gold home!

Posted by: kris | August 21, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Rock hard, stone cold, raw-boned, quick-footed, quick-witted team defense 1: "flair and creativity" 0.

At the end of the day, the 13 corners, dominating possession, dominating the midfield, beating double and triple teams off the dribble, right backs dribbling through the US box -- that wins deserved admiration, not medals. At the end of the day, it ain't how, it's how many.

"I don't think there's one person who knows anything about soccer who can say with a straight face" that the US DID NOT deserve to win. EITHER team deserved to win. It was an epic game. And you can mock all you want Brandi and all the others who talk about it (and know something about it), but in the end, the US was mentally tougher than Brazil. "Mentality" -- it matters.

The US didn't get lucky -- they scored a brilliant goal, they missed an easy chance at the end of regulation, they hit the post in extra time.

The style of play does need to evolve, and therefore it is a wonderful thing that Pia will soon sign a big deal.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 21, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how Wambach feels at the moment. I assume in public she'll express 100% happiness with the result. But privately - she might be slightly bitter about missing the Olympics, and watching Solo turn in a star performance to win the gold.

Posted by: New Queen on the Block | August 21, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how Wambach feels at the moment. I assume in public she'll express 100% happiness with the result. But privately - she might be slightly bitter about missing the Olympics, and watching Solo turn in a star performance to win the gold.

Posted by: New Queen on the Block | August 21, 2008 2:06 PM
=======================

Is this Oxygen, E! or a soccer blog?

Posted by: Mysterian | August 21, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

What the over/under that Hope Solo drunk dials Greg Ryan tonight?

Posted by: John | August 21, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I work at an undisclosed federal office building in SW DC and in our lobby there was a crowd of about 10 people for most the game. (I actually had some meetings so I kept coming down inbetween.) But when that final whistle blew man the place was loud. Even the Brazilian visitors at our office were congratulating us. A great day for our WNT the fought hard and hushed the doubters!

Posted by: Beltwayrob | August 21, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

OWNTF, you were right, I and a number of others were wrong. As I said above, I am glad I was wrong. Once again congrats to the US team.

I was following Steinbog's PBP and I thought it was very telling that at the end of regulation most of the Brazilians lying on the field, getting fanned with towels, and getting leg massages from the coaches, while, according to the Bogman, none of the US players even took a knee.

The US went with and won with their strengths -- team defending, and superior conditioning. Hats off to them.

Posted by: Ron | August 21, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Man what a difference a year makes. Last year at this time this and the NYTimes site were invaded by Brazilian fanatics. I remember one guy said USA only knows how to make money, not play futbol. The silence from Brasil today is deafening. Calaram-se as bocas.

Posted by: Eugene | August 21, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Ron, it's all good by me. Happy there's lots of informed interest on this blog in the womens game, happy for the epic final, all great for the womens game, and hopefully for the WPS. I hope I'm right about the WPS as well, but we'll see. "That's why they play the game."

Wonder what the attendance was today.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 21, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I think Steinbog said something along the lines of 51k attendance.

Posted by: Ron | August 21, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Attendance: 51,612

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

. . .
I don't think there's one person who knows anything about soccer who can say with a straight face that we deserved to win. We got lucky, i'll take it but clearly our 'style' of play needs to evolve for these ladies to be relevant on the world stage in years to come.

Posted by: Locke | August 21, 2008 1:08 PM
--------------------------------
Anytime someone* says "anybody who knows anything about soccer . . ." it is a clear indication that they:
1) Don't have a good argument; or
2) Don't, in fact, know anything about the game themselves.

* except me, of course.

Posted by: Hope Solo | August 21, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you OWNTF. I didn't think they could do it and was never so happy to have been proved wrong. I still think US soccer has a lot to do to improve the game. We need more Kais & Chalupneys, etc... with flair. Here's hoping the WPS can ride this wave!

But TCompton, I'm sorry to say that just because we won doesn't mean we are the better team. We need more of what Brazil has, we need to stop making so many bad, aimless passes, because as Germany found out, even solid tactical play can be broken down by individual flair.

I think the difference is that the Germans thought they could just stick to that game plan and win. The US (Pia) realized that you need a rock solid defense to disrupt the Brazilian samba rhythm.

Posted by: happy to be wrong | August 21, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how Wambach feels at the moment. I assume in public she'll express 100% happiness with the result. But privately - she might be slightly bitter about missing the Olympics, and watching Solo turn in a star performance to win the gold.

Posted by: New Queen on the Block | August 21, 2008 2:06 PM
==========================

Actually, from all reports Wambach has long since come around, more or less. But according to a story by Jere Longman in the NYT a few months ago, if there is a holdout (i.e., someone who still thinks of Solo pretty much the same way she did 11 months ago), it is Cat Whitehill.

Posted by: tri-village | August 21, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the win probably wasn't "deserved" as they say in standard soccer parlance. Soccer is a complicated game where, and I think most knowlegable soccer fans agree, the winning team isn't always the best team, even in that game--and this sets it apart from most team sports.

Brazil had more individual talent, skill, speed and, I think, played a more thoughtful game. I don't think this is a case of US men vs. Mexico men (Mexico with more possession game after game after game, all the while getting beat). My sense is that right now, Brazil wins any series of games against the US.

But, we did create some good chances. As someone pointed out on the pbp thread, our goal came off of one sequence of "flair." We played pretty good defense. Solo was very good.

Posted by: Frustrated | August 21, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure this has been asked and discussed many times before but why can't the MNT be as good as the WNT?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The MNT and WNT both turned in very courageous performances within the last 24 hours.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 21, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

My silver lining view of the US offensive performance (well besides the obvious part that they scored and Brazil didn't!) is that they at least were not lobbing constant Abby-Balls to the front line, but were trying (albeit often failing) to work it to feet and possess. I found the CONSTANT long balls infuriating even when they had a potential target. In the early rounds of this Abbyless tournament they were making me completely insane. If this is signalling a sea change in their playing style, I say hallelujah.

Posted by: cat | August 21, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

It's more than ironic that Hope Solo, whom that idiot Greg Ryan brazenly sat on the bench against Brazil in the WWC semifinals last year, kept the U.S. in the game for 85 minutes.

It's more than ironic that Carli Lloyd, perhaps the only player on the WNT who supported and befriended Solo during her "exile," scored the winning goal.

This is called divine payback.

What makes this even more gratifying is that the victory came without the lead troublemakers who persecuted Solo (Lilly, Wambach, Whitehill) and the person who could have ended the whole controversy with some public comments (Scurry) but didn't.

All four of those "persons" need to come out right now and apologize publicly for the cruel way they treated Solo.

And none of them should ever wear the national uniform again in international competition. Ever.

Posted by: Joseph D'Hippolito | August 21, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who says the US team was the better side is out of their gourd. The USA was thoroughly outplayed for the first 87 minutes. Brazil's domination was total. The only thing keeping the USA in the game was Hope Solo. She was phenomenal. The way she managed the box, getting her hands on all those corner kicks was extraordinary. And that one save was jaw-dropping.

That said, the USA played the classic counter-punching football game that less talented sides must play to win. They survived and took their few shots when they had them. Really, the USA should have had 3 goals.

In past games, I've thought that Marta could play with the men. Despite her dimunitive size, she has some skills that rival any male player. Reminds of Wayne Gretzky. Today, there was another player who showed that level of skill. Hope Solo. I realize that she's too small, can't move quickly enough or jump high enough to play with the men. Given those limitations, though, she looked fantastic. If Zach Wells could control his box like that, he'd still be DCU's #1.

The Brazilians really looked very talented. If Cristiane, Marta, Simone, Renata Costa, Formiga, Fabiana, Daniela and Tania come to the WPS, there will be some football worth watching.

The USA has some talented players. I'm particualrly impressed with Kai's skills. The rest of the team really needs to work on their passing skills. As good as Brazil is, the USA made them look much better with their own atrocious passing. Any decent pushes forward were killed off by errant balls, or by poor decisions to try and push through the middle when there were options out wide. There were also a number of Brazilian attacks that began with US misplays, passes right to Brazilian players. The USA lacks Brazil's speed, so they have to be more precise. The American gals stole one today. They won't be so lucky the next time. This was a Brazilian team like so many of their mens' teams. Great players, sytmied by good goalkeeping on the other end, and undone by their own woeful goalkeeping. If Brazil can develop their own Hope Solo, this won't even be much of a rivlary.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | August 21, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Fisch Fry: After the 2004 Olympics, I said the USA won't be so lucky against Brazil next time. And yet, we won again. I think if you take the jackass Ryan out of the equation last year, and stipulating that soccer scoring does not incude style points, we had a 50/50 chance to win in 2007. As Al Davis once said, just win baby!

Posted by: Eugene | August 21, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

errr....rivalry.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

A Brazilian Solo? Yum.

Posted by: RK | August 21, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Joseph D'Hippolito: I couldn't disagree more. What is with all these people saying that Hope Solo playing great today, which she did, somehow excuses her atrocious behavior last year? None of her teammates had a problem with her skills, but with her inexcusable comments. Scurry appologize? You've got to be kidding me! She got slammed by a teammate after a very bad game -- that is what I call cruel treatment. Think about how you would feel in that situation. Solo is lucky Scurry forgave her privately. Shows what a big person she is, in addition to having been a great keeper. But why should she need to make a public apology.

Solo has showed some contrition, and showed she learned her lesson by some very nice comments after the game. Glad she's playing well back there, but don't let it get to your head.

Fisch Fry: agree with most of your analysis completely, but Brazil did not control the first 87 minutes. The first half was mostly played in the middle third, and the US wisely never let them get into a rhythm.

Posted by: no way, no how | August 21, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

U.S. Defender Heather Mitts
“They are an amazing team and we knew we were going to have our work cut out for us. When we went into extra time, we looked over and saw their body language and could tell they were tired. We knew that our fitness was going to pay off.”

U.S. Forward Amy Rodriguez
“Pia told us to stay strong. Brazil was sitting on the ground before the overtime. We knew they were tired at that moment, and that this was our chance to shine. Americans are always known for having great fitness and great endurance.”

120 mins 8/15; 90 mins 8/18; 120 mins 8/21

as long as it takes to win

Posted by: Will to Win, versus Will to Prepare To Win | August 21, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tri-village | August 21, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

If Hope plays like that she can say whatever she wants =) She messed up she shouldn't have thrown Scurry under the bus like that but she was spot on. Not very mature of her but it wasn't very mature of the old guard to treat her like a leper either.
Hope Solo FTW!!!!!!!

Posted by: Locke | August 21, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah. Brazil played with more flair. Sexy football is great - until your opponent disrupts your game and you can't adapt. Pia's game plan was to press the Brazilians and take away their time and space. The team, especially the defense, executed that well. Sure, Marta had a few moments. But, as they say in gridiron, you can't stop her, you have to contain her. She did not have the freedom or the passing lanes that she's accustomed to. The defense showed a lot of composure in staying with the game plan. The few times Mitts was beaten, Rampone was right there to stuff the Brazilians.

Anyone who knows anything about soccer would not say that the better team lost.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 21, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

The WPS should also go after Coach Barcellos.

Posted by: Mysterian | August 21, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I DID make those saves

Posted by: Hope Solo | August 21, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to the USWNT on a well fought and well deserved win and gold medal. They did the business and brought home the gold. Congrats and thank you, ladies.

Posted by: Kosh | August 21, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Fisch Fry! Stop biting my style...Whawh, Whawhhh...
Did some hot American soccer chicks turn you down in highschool or something? Take it easy on the Haterade please.
Pretty please! Steve Goff come home and save us from this mess that the Insider has become.
Anyone see Kamara's sweet goal last night?

Posted by: Debbie Downer | August 21, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree with D'Hippolito, divine payback is right.

The disagreers don't understand or except women for who they really are. I think it's total horse crap that so many have admonished, shunned, and straight up dissed Hope for speaking her mind about a Coach who was a stupid MORON! I applaud women breaking the passive aggressive mold that women seem born with. Hope did that. Her confidence, courage and strength is far more inspirational to me than anything the US men have done since the Gold Cup. Last night included! All the women hating fans out here need to give it a rest. Those ladies made me proud today, and I can only cross my fingers that my daughter will find role models as awesome as some of those beautiful ladies on the USWNT.
And YO, YO, YO! I just spotted Eddie Lewis standing tall, and chillin' @ the Gals/Fire match. Donovan was drinking wine and dancing a little bit! Was that his wife sitting next to him? Brunette? Sweet.
Thorrington Goal.

Posted by: dadryan | August 21, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

classy to trashy in a heartbeat... Sorry I'm always surprised at all the star chasing that goes on at HDC.

Posted by: dadryan | August 22, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

That was a great match. I though the U.S. played really solid and that despite the amazing skills of Marta and Christiane they were able to out man Brazil overall.

I've spent a couple of hours reading comments on this site and I think that people are right to say that the WNT's style needs to and is changing. As opposed to the WC, and perhaps it's just the absence of Wambach because I haven't watched games in between, we stopped trying to pound it as often and seemed to want to build offense a little more.

However, I think it is a work in progress. I don't think, as some people suggest, that we need to be exactly like Brazil. The thing I thought they did a lot better than us was diagonal passing. Our passes, while better than in the past, seemed to be straight passes up the field that were too hopeful. On the bright side, it seems like we have improved dramatically in less than a year under PS.

Another thing that I like seeing was the the strategy when the US took a lead. In the WC, we did a lot of standing on the ball and crap that does nothing other than take a few seconds of the clock and open you up for injury (I remember one where someone clobbered Wambach). In this tournament we seemed much more willing to keep the pressure on when we got the lead. I actually thought bringing in Kai was a great move after the goal, for instance. The best defense is to keep the pressure up and not let the other team build any offense, IMO.

Okay, so that's the opinion of the fifth grade soccer champion, who retired on top, for what it's worth.

Posted by: Fawkes316 | August 22, 2008 2:50 AM | Report abuse

Also, did anyone else notice that Solo was not invited into the group party with the rest of the team as Foudy interviewed them, but had to do a separate interview with a reporter. They also seemed reluctant to let Kai into the huddle either, as she sorted of stood behind it for a while and then ran off and celebrated with the fans.

Posted by: Fawkes316 | August 22, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

probably silly even to bother typing at this stage, but Solo was interviewed separately because she was the hot story. To me it appeared that Kai left the group interview because she was bored; I mean, you can only have so many people speak in an interview. I'm guessing Foudy just wanted to interview her old friends.

At Algarve Cup last spring, Solo was fooling around and chatting with everyone. There was certainly no overt tension amongst the players.

Last, as a former goalkeeper myself, you have to believe you can make every save. Solo's comments were what everu goalkeeper is always thinking. Shame she said it when she did, but the whole thing was blown way out of proportion (which I add to by continuing to talk about it a year later).

We are lucky to see such a talent play.

Posted by: troy | August 22, 2008 4:04 AM | Report abuse

/Hey Fisch Fry! Stop biting my style...Whawh, Whawhhh...
Did some hot American soccer chicks turn you down in highschool or something? Take it easy on the Haterade please.
Pretty please! Steve Goff come home and save us from this mess that the Insider has become./

The Insider will indeed become a mess when and if it is considered acceptable to make ad hominem comments about what may have happened to someone in high school. Please show a little more class.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Dear Sunil,

You have five minutes to extend Coach Sundhage's contract through WWC2011.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 21, 2008 11:38 AM
==========================================

According to the New York Times, Gulati actually met your deadline:

"Only minutes after the gold-medal game, Gulati said: 'After every Olympics we hold a major review. That review is now over.'"

Posted by: tri-village | August 22, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

full NYT article about Pia, a good one. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/22/sports/olympics/22vecsey.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

"that review is now over", perfect

@Fawkes, re "work in progress" -- yes, Markgraf was quoted in today's Post as saying the game was only a "steppingstone"

dadryan speaks truth

Posted by: OWNTF | August 22, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Fisch Fry:
It's a stretch to say that Brazil was "undone by their own woeful goalkeeping". The one goal that Barbara let in was a hard knuckler that was dipping. I don't think we can fault her on that one. She caught A-Rod's chip shot, and the only other shot that had her beat hit the post.

I'm not sure what skills Kai has that would impress you. All she does is run around aimlessly. There's a good reason why she wasn't starting. A-Rod showed much more promise with her speed and ability to win balls in the offensive third. She even came way back in the corner to help Chalupny out on defense in the waning moments of extra time.

I give woman of the match to Lloyd who showed some excellent dribbling skills both in midfield, and in the box.

Will someone please tell Kate Markgraf it's time to retire?

Posted by: calvester | August 22, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

On the subject of Class: Leave your handle, and if you're going to quote someone, "qoute" them. I was just pointing out that it's MY job to sour every lovely moment, not Fisch Fry's... Besides Mr. Fry knows that I was just poking him with his own stick, right?

Posted by: Debbie Downer | August 22, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what skills Kai has that would impress you
=======================

Shortly after she came on, Kai received a ball in the air and flicked it on over the left shoulder of her defender with the outside of her right heel and laid it perfectly into the space behind the defender, and tried to cut around her other side (almost the same move Marta made in WWC 07). The only way she didn't get in 1v1 on the keeper was that the defender laid her out with what we used to call in pointy football a "full body block." Not exactly joga bonito but it was her only choice. Should have been a card IMO, but there was no doubt it was a mad skill play by Kai. And a diving header for the game winner within the last week. What games are you watching bro? Or are you watching at all?

And Kai was marking in the back just like A-Rod, although she picked up a stupid foul to give a free kick in a dangerous spot.

Markgraf was superb yesterday. The whole back line was. I have to laugh when people talk about the "slow" American team and then I watch Mitts, Rampone and Chalupny. Line the US and Brazilians up on the end line and race them to the half. I bet Rampone wins that race. Then do it after 90 minutes of play and you might see 11 white shirts cross before a single yellow one.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 22, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

OWNTF:
Yes 'bro', I have been watching the games. Granted, Kai's heel flick was a great move, but one move doesn't make you a great forward. If she was able to beat defenders regularly, and do the other basic things like positioning and passing, I guess I would join you in your Kai love-fest. All I'm saying is that I see a whole lot more potential in Rodriguez than I do in Kai, even though Kai has been with the team longer.

On the subject of Markgraf, I'd have to ask you if YOU'VE been watching the games. There's more to being a fullback than the defensive aspects, which I'll admit she's good at (not as good as Mitts, Rampone or Chalupny, but better than Cox, Buehler and Whitehill). The offensive aspects of her game are horrible, and always have been. I found myself yelling at the back line to not pass the ball to her since she gave away so many balls to Brazil senselessly. By senselessly, I mean she wasn't even under pressure when she did it. Granted, she wasn't the only one on the team doing this, but she does this so consistently it drives me nuts.

Posted by: calvester | August 22, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I understand why Pia puts A-Rod in ahead of Kai, and brings Kai off the bench. I question sitting Hucles in the hole instead of either sitting Wagner there, or playing either Kai or Cheney as a true forward. Kai needs to be harnessed, but what she's got is hard to teach, and what she lacks Pia can teach her.

When the US produces another center back better than Markgraf, let Pia know. Until then, I'll take a clean sheet across 120 minutes against Brazil, and count on the attacking players to score. Under Ryan, she wasn't asked to pass to a midfielder for many years, it's been a tough adjustment ;)

Posted by: OWNTF | August 22, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

3 years to the WC - as great a win as the olympics was, the story going forward is going to be who retires in the next 3 years, or *should* retire.

And the WNT still does look like a work in progress ... a really strong work in progress.

Pia has quite a challenge - how to improve passing and finishing as well as bring in enough new faces to cover those retiring.

Clearly some play beyond their prime - how does Pia nudge them into retirement? The younger players really provide the spark, but at times their passing and finishing need work.

MVPs - [never thought I'd say this] - our back line -- every one of them!

My favorite / best all 'round: Chalupny.

Hope is the single best women's keeper in the world ... if anyone on the WNT still bears a grudge they need to grow up or get out.

She's my Courage Award winner.

Posted by: Eastmont | August 22, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The print version of the Post has a large color picture of a scene from the Beijing Workers' Stadium above the fold on the front page. Not the front page of the Sports section, but the front page, period:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/print/asectionfrontimage.html

Posted by: tri-village | August 22, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

1) What a great game!

2) The USA prevailed and I did not think it would.

3) If Wambach comes back, I think she needs to adapt to the team, not the other way around.

4) USA and Brazil is becoming a great rivalry. Good for the sport, everywhere.

5) There is a lot these two teams should learn from each other, while keeping their unique core.

Posted by: Carl | August 22, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

all my footballl friends think ya'll NFL dudes are a bunch of Pinche Hotos>?
Screw Argentina, I hope this Nigerians block these enitled idiots out.
Vamos
United!

Posted by: dadryan | August 23, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

I really don't hate to say this...
I hope Nigeria rips a stinking hole in these crap for brains defensene....

Posted by: dadryan | August 23, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

why is it when Messi passes to his own team with fowl flavor it's ok, but when the US women do they are totallly lame?

Posted by: dadryan | August 23, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: esxznrevip | August 27, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

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