Thursday, August 21, 2008

Return to the Silk Road 2: Tarnished Gold?

I haven't seen the game yet, but I couldn't wait to find out the result.

USWNT 1, Brazil 0 in extra time

While I'm happy for the U.S. gals - and especially Hope Solo, who has played spectacularly in goal this tournament after having drained a bitter World Cup thanks to Greg Ryan's incapability - I have to feel for the brilliant Brazilians. Possessed of the finest women's player in the world - Marta - and a terrifically talented squad they seem to have a hell of a time figuring out the U.S.

The commentators over at ESPN Soccernet, never ones to neglect to mention any USWNT accomplishment, weren't hesitant: Brazil outplayed and out-skilled an overmatched U.S. team that had to rely on luck, a bunkered defense and a red-hot goalie to stay in the game for 90 minutes. As I mentioned before, this game should have ended there and been replayed tomorrow. Instead, the tired players were required to play on and on until Carli Lloyd hit what seems to have been a rocket and that was it.I'm thrilled for the US gals, and Solo, and smarting for Marta and her teammates' disappointment. But I question if this is really a good thing for the U.S. women.

It seems to me that the U.S. team's play wasn't really all that great in this tournament. They lost a disgraceful game to Norway, only managed one against Japan (who, admittedly, were playing above themselves) and looked graceless and often lost against the Kiwis. Their win over Canada was another game that was ugly for long stretches, an especially bad sign given that Canada has always been a very flawed team with one great player (back in the day it was Charmaine Hooper, now it's UofP's own Christine Sinclair). And now this.

I'm glad when the U.S. team wins; it's good for the sport here, and it's good for U.S. women's sports in general. But I'm not so sure if I want us to win if we're going to become the Italy of women's soccer, playing 90 minutes of ugly catennacio. Is that what we want to show the world? Is that what the "91ers" worked so hard to create?

So...good luck to the "08ers"...and personal wishes that you can reach inside and find the "beautiful" in the Beautiful Game.

You love your kids just because they're yours: as the Peeper says, "family are the friends who have to love you even when they don't like you so much. But the love is always a little better, a little broader, a little deeper...when the love can come with real pride.

No comments: