Thursday, September 27, 2007

Brazil Thrashes United States

Womens World Cup Semifinal Match

Match report by du Nord reader Adam

USA 0-4 Brazil

After going down two goals and losing a player in the first half, the US saw its hopes for a 3rd World Cup title dashed by a talented Brazilian team.

The nightmare started for the US in the 20th minute when Leslie Osborne, who had been one of the team’s best players in the tournament, awkwardly tried to clear a Brazilian corner kick and ended up heading the ball into her own net.

Seven minutes later, Marta beat several US defenders at the top of the box and slipped a shot inside the near post. Brianna Scurry made contact with the ball, trying to push it wide, but her effort wasn’t enough.

Quickly, USA captain Kristine Lilly pulled her teammates into a huddle, attempting to calm them and get their heads back into the match. But the US couldn’t possess the ball long enough to find any rhythm. In past matches, Brazil resorted to fouling the United States to disrupt their play. This time, it was the United States who frantically chased Brazil around the field and used physical play to break up the South Americans’ flowing attack.

Just before the end of the first half, the chance of a US looked even more impossible when Shannon Boxx picked up a bogus yellow card, her second of the match, on a baffling call by the referee.

Brazil roared out after halftime; Cristiane’s strike in the 56th minute further exploited the depleted US squad, as Scurry had no chance at stopping the unmarked striker.

Three goals and a player down, the US couldn’t match Brazil’s relentless attack. Carli Lloyd, the only offensive US substitute in the second half, made no difference for the US midfield. In what must have been an attempt to keep the score from becoming more embarrassing, Greg Ryan used his final substitutions to put two defenders into the match. Marta quickly tested sub Tina Ellertson, freezing the US defender at the top of the US box with a beautiful flick-on before beating Cat Whitehill and Scurry to score her tournament leading 7th goal.

Not to discredit the Brazilians—they deserved every bit of their 4-0 victory—but the US team looked stunned and out of sync from the beginning. The keeper controversy leading into this match clearly affected them. Without Hope Solo in goal, the US lost all the momentum they gained in their quarterfinal win over England. Throughout the tournament, the US has lacked chemistry and continuity on the field. Just as they started to find some, Ryan’s decision to start Scurry against Brazil upset the team’s rhythm.

The loss certainly wasn’t Scurry’s fault. There was little she could do on three of the goals she allowed. Really, it was the US’ inability to generate any offense or midfield possession that hurt them most. How can they expect to score when their forwards barely touch the ball? And what happened to the US’ speed? The Brazilians ran by the US players all game long (and they weren’t the only team in the tournament to do so). Of course, playing a woman down for the entire second half didn’t help.

Team USA has been criticized incessantly during this World Cup for their uncharacteristic direct play, and this game showed that the criticism is justified. Defender Kate Markgraf, for example, thumped every ball that came to her up-field and created 50-50 balls when a simple pass would have enabled her team to maintain possession. Face it…get the ball to Abby Wambach won’t always work. If the US wants to regain its spot as a world power in women’s soccer, they should look to the teams in the World Cup final. Brazil’s creativity and Germany’s technical precision look far more effective than USA’s kick and run tactic.

There are certainly positives the US can take away from this World Cup. The team made it out on top of the toughest group in the competition and younger players gained invaluable big-game experience. Also, midfielders Lori Chalupny and Leslie Osborne had strong performances and showed they’ll be important for the future of this team.

With the Olympics and the start of another professional women’s league on the horizon, the US Women’s National Team will be hungry to prove they’re still a force in women’s soccer.ry


Blogger James said...

I think the team recovered from the match with North Korea but I think Ryan never did. He lost his mind.

It has to be said that Brazil played world class soccer and seemed to be having fun. And I would rather go down to them than any other team in the world.

But, Ryan's immaturity and self-consciousness make him unfit for the international arena. This ain't Father Knows's about the team.

12:50 AM  
Blogger mamacita chilena said...

This was the first game I was able to watch. I streamed it online. Needless to say, I was extremely dissapointed. The U.S. team was not the high and mighty of the past. This was your basic kick it long and run on to it soccer. I couldn't believe my eyes. Now I'm wondering if that's how they played all tournament and just got lucky with their victories?!?

2:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The size of the brazilian victory only was non-typical. Victory itself was normal.
Two real factors have determined it. l) 03 days
"warnings" by Ryan thru the press an around about the brazil toughness and back tackling, no-will to just an effort to influence the ref. This was
loud enough to infuriate the brazilians. So in the first 15-20 mins. they tried to look passive and 'diving´just to convince the ref of the opposite: the violent ones were the other side. This strategy worked.
2) the fact that when the swiss referee yellow.carded
Boxxa a 2nd time it was already 2 x 0.
That, with the opponents full determination to win was what caused the wreck.
The otehr factors were circumstanticial. That´s my view.

7:25 PM  

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