September 14, 2006
Just like in her last US Women's National Team game in Rochester, Abby Wambach didn't disappoint the home crowd last night as she had yet another two goal effort in the 3-1 US win over Mexico at PAETEC Park last night.
Abby's first goal was a PK that was created when Mexican defender Carmen Padilla ran up Abby's back just inside the penalty area. Mexican goalkeeper Sophia Perez guessed correctly on the penalty, but there was too much pace on the shot and it was too far into the corner for her to get to it.
The US had one defensive breakdown all night and it led directly to Mexico's loan goal. US goalkeeper played a ball to starting center back Amy LePeilbet. LePeilbet didn't realize that Mexican forward Monica Ocampo was so close and she let the pass run across her body. Well, Ocampo one-timed a shot through LePeilbet's legs and into the short side of the net before Solo could get back in net.
The US didn't take long to answer Mexico's goal and retake the lead. Just one minute later, Aly Wagner played a nice ball over the top that US forward Lindsay Tarpley ran on to. With Perez charging out to the top of the box, Tarpley calmly chipped the Mexican keeper to put the US up 2-1.
With three goals coming in a span of four minutes, the crowd was abuzz. And Abby wasn't done yet. In the 39th minute, Leslie Osborne found Abby on the left side of the Mexican penalty area. From a pretty severe angle, Abby unleashed a high, hard left footed shot that Perez got a piece of, but couldn't keep out of the back of the net.
The second half lacked a lot of the energy of the first. Abby had a couple good chances for the hat trick, but just missed getting a couple of shots on frame including one that rolled perhaps a foot or two wide of the right post. The US also had a header that Perez did well to touch just over the top of the bar. Many in the crowd thought the US had a fourth goal when that shot landed on top of the netting.
Last year the Rhinos finished second in the league and the only Rhino to be named to an All-League team was Kirk Wilson's naming to the first team.
This year, the Rhinos again finished second in the league. And all they got this year was captain Scott Vallow and rookie defender Kenney Bertz getting named to the second team. And to add insult to the insult, the league's official announcement misspelled Bertz's first name.
Someone needs to explain to me how the fourth best defense in the league (Vancouver) gets a defender named to the first team and a defender named to the second team and the Rhinos only get one defender named to the second team. I also need to figure out how one of the worst defensive teams in the league (Atlanta) get a defender named to the second team ahead of Frankie Sanfilippo.
And while many will complain that Greg Sutton didn't deserve to be named to the first team ahead of Vallow, I expected it. It all comes down to the fact that for some reason the USL uses goals against average to named their "Goalkeeper of the Year" and they don't want to look foolish by naming someone else as the first team goalkeeper.
At least they didn't name Dan Kennedy or Dusty Hudock to the second team ahead of Vallow like they did last season with Preston Burpo getting the honor ahead of Vallow.
The snubs of guys like John Ball and Greg Howes are less of an issue to me as it's apparent that the midfielders and forwards named to the first and second teams all had better stats than the Rhinos. And it's apparent that for the non-defenders, stats ruled the day.
Dempsey talks of never coming back to MLS once he leaves for Europe
Before last night's match versus DC United, Clint Dempsey took another shot at MLS' decision to not sell him to a European club prior to the transfer window closing. And this time Clint suggested that due to the way MLS has handled things, he won't be coming back to MLS late in his career.
It would be too bad if that were to happen. But, I have a feeling that things could happen in the future that makes Clint change his mind. Although, you never can tell how these things will work out.
It will be really interesting to see how MLS handles things once the transfer window re-opens in January after the 2006 MLS season is complete. Will players like Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Eddie Johnson, Josh Wolff, Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman, and others be on the move. Or, will MLS hold tight and try and keep these guys for as long as possible?
I'm sure the Revolution beat writers are hoping that Dempsey isn't headed anywhere!
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.