Monday, August 11, 2008

US Women Improve Against Japan In Match 2

USA Women Olympic Match Report from du Nord reader Adam.

Group Stage Match 2
Sat Aug 9
USA 1-0 Japan

When four minutes had ticked by in the match between the United States and Japan, US players and fans had to be relieved: the US wasn’t two goals down. In contrast to the mess of a team that came out against Norway, the Americans looked more aggressive and confident.

Determined to put the Japanese on their heels early, it only took eight minutes for the US to create a dangerous scoring opportunity. Heather O’Reilly sent a low ball across the face of Japan’s goal that defender Yukari Kinga had to knock out for a corner. Seconds later, Lindsay Tarpley forced keeper Miho Fukumoto to make a diving save.

Japan soon settled into the match, though, and exposed the US’ lax defense. After a series of beautiful passing sequences in and around the US box, Kinga’s low shot almost snuck into the back post. Japan’s playmaker Homare Sawa also found herself free in the US box, but her dipping shot was tipped over the bar by Hope Solo.

Finally, in the 26th minute, Carli Lloyd broke the deadlock. Lindsay Tarpley played a quick pass up the left flank to Stephanie Cox. Cox’s cross skipped past a couple defenders to the top of Japan’s box, and Lloyd cracked her volley into the top of the net.

The US certainly showed moments of promise, but the match was still not a complete performance from the team. The defense allowed Japan too much space and time in and around the US box. Japan’s quick, incisive passing looked threatening and seemed to catch the US defenders off-guard on numerous occasions. Heather Mitts played the best game of the back four; she was in position to make tackles on defense and had two good looks at goal. Her work with Heather O’Reilly on the right side of the field gave the Japanese fits throughout the game.

Amy Rodriguez also had a good performance, starting in place of Natasha Kai. Rodriguez did well to get behind the Japanese defense throughout the game and had at least four good chances to pad the USA’s lead. She didn’t score, but the speedster looked more dangerous than Kai ever did against Norway. And, at only 20 years old, Rodriguez showed she’ll be a future star for team USA. If she can gain confidence in front of goal, the US might have found the scoring threat it needs right now.

Next Match

The US faces a scrappy, athletic New Zealand side in its final group match. Considered the weakest team in the group, New Zealand is looking to spring an upset and qualify for the next round. The US cannot lose if it hopes to make the quarterfinals.
If the US continues to improve its play, it should have the upper hand against the New Zealanders.


Anonymous KirkBhoy said...

Here's the problem: if we win, we'll likely face either Brazil or Germany in the Quarterfinals.


I wouldn't put money on the US taking home a medal right now, given our form.

Winning won't be enough against New Zealand. They need to show some top shelf stuff. In the Olympics, if you don't come home with a medal it doesn't really matter where you went out, group stage or quarterfinals. Let's see some pretty soccer, ladies!

10:04 PM  
Anonymous KirkBhoy said...

Whoa, the unlikely has happened and we won the group.

Hopefully I can catch the game on Friday.

9:32 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts