July 18, 2011
That had to be the overwhelming reaction to all those involved in yesterday's FIFA Women's World Cup Final on the US side. Whether it was the players themselves, the team's coaching and support staff, their friends and family, or all of the fans that had hopped aboard the USWNT bandwagon since last Sunday's dramatic quarterfinal win versus Brazil.
The fact that Japan was able to win and help give their suffering nation something to celebrate was nice. But, it won't make the pain go away for a team that was less than ten minutes away from claiming a third World Cup title for the US. Twice.
After a match like this, people want to figure out what happened. For me, it was as simple as Japan did to the US what the US had done to Brazil a week earlier.
How did the US not clear that ball on the first Japan goal is countered with how did Brazil score an own goal less than five minutes into the quarterfinal match? How did the US let the leading goalscorer in the tournament get loose on a late corner kick is countered with how can Brazil not mark the best header of the ball in the world when she's making a back post run?
As much as the US earned the victory over Brazil, Japan earned the victory over the US.
Random ramblings about yesterday:
- One thing that will drive me nuts will be all the people that a month ago were soccer haters, only to jump on the bandwagon when it was filling up last week, and will now jump off the bandwagon and go back to their soccer hating ways. Now, I don't want everyone to love soccer the way I do. I just don't want to hear the old tired takes of why soccer will never overtake the NFL in popularity in the US.
People underestimate the following the sport has in the US. Just look at the ESPN the Magazine article on the popularity of the Mexican Men's National Team in the US. Look at the popularity of the EPL and Champions League on ESPN. Look at the attendance of top European clubs on preseason US tours.
Also, look at all the kids that play youth soccer in this country. You wouldn't have that many kids playing the game if it wasn't big in this country.
- A World Cup title wouldn't have turned WPS into an MLS-light success overnight. A World Cup title wouldn't have created a huge change in the profile of soccer in this country.
A World Cup title would have meant a ton to Abby Wambach and the rest of the team. It would mean a lot to all the people that were supporting the USWNT a month ago.
But, life goes on. And now Rochester can focus on Wednesday's WNY Flash v magicJack match at Sahlen's Stadium.
And as far as WPS goes, the loss to Japan might be a good thing. It might get people to not get complacent and think that the win would give the league a bump without having to work hard to improve the league moving forward.
- Abby Wambach comes home with a 2nd place medal, a silver ball award (2nd best player in the World Cup), and a bronze boot award (3rd leading scorer in the World Cup) in her baggage. When the chips were down, Abby scored in the last four games, with the last three being really huge as she scored the equalizer versus Brazil, the game winner versus France, and the go ahead extra time goal versus Japan. If that is how Abby's World Cup career ends, there should be no question that Abby is one of the best players in US Soccer and World Soccer history.
- I think the loss cements the fact that Abby Wambach will be on the 2015 US Women's World Cup squad. Abby is so driven and a World Cup title is the last item on her soccer To Do list, that I would be surprised if she isn't on the 2015 roster. But, only time will tell.
- Captain Obvious says, WNY Flash F Alex Morgan is the next big thing with regards to the USWNT.
- The inability to finish and spotty defending came back to bite the US in the rear at the worst possible time.
- Pia Sundhage made a change that worked great (Rapinoe into the starting XI and Amy Rodriguez out) and didn't make one that might be second guessed (putting Rachel Buehler back into the starting XI after missing the semifinal due to the red card suspension). Buehler was a part of both goals as she could have cleared the ball out for a corner on the first goal and she was the defender on Sawa on the second.
- I don't want to hear about golden goal or ending extra time after the first 15 minutes if a team has a lead. In either of those scenarios, the US loses to Brazil.
- I can't wait to see what this team does next year at the Olympics.
Finals fall out link-o-rama:
- Jeff @ Equalizer Soccer has his match recap.
- Beau @ Sports Myriad.com has an interesting look at the World Cup's impact all over the place.
- Jenna Pel has a piece up on Grantland about the final.
- Ray @ All White Kit has what we learned yesterday.
- The USA 10 Kit has a nice little recap of the match.
- Grant Wahl has his three post-game thoughts up at SI.com.
- From A Left Wing has quick thoughts after the final.
- The Free Beer Movement looks at the impact that the US's success could have.
- US Soccer has captain Christie Rampone's reaction to the loss.
- I absolutely hate the title of this post at ESPNW.
- Ann Killion has a great post on the final at SI.com.
- Unprofessional Foul sums up a lot of my feelings from yesterday.
- The Behind the Crest Youtube video ahead of the final was awesome.
- The WNY Flash came thorugh late with a couple of goals to snatch three points from Sky Blue FC. The win snaps the Flash's two game losing streak and their three game winless streak. It also keeps them four points behind Philadelphia with two games in hand. Next up: magicJack on Wednesday at Sahlen's Stadium.
- Rise & Shine - The Jay DeMerit Story gets funded!
- The SportsCenter My Wish piece starring Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy is amazing.
- The Montreal Impact will have to start their first season in MLS at Olympic Stadium due to delays to upgrades of Stade Saputo.
- Edy Sebrango hit the 100 goal mark over the weekend.
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.