September 27, 2007
48 hours ago, it was all about Abby.
Abby was the "Talk of the Cup" according to SI's Mark Bechtel.
SI's Grant Wahl said that a US victory in this year's World Cup would elevate Abby to legend status.
The US head coach Greg Ryan made a Steve Sampson-ian move when he benched starting goalkeeper Hope Solo for Brianna Scurry. And questioning the move is not Monday Morning Centerbacking. Even members of the media that wouldn't know a through ball from a hospital ball were saying it was a dumb move.
And then today, whatever could go wrong for the US, did go wrong as they got destroyed 4-0 by Brazil and will now face Norway in the 3rd place game early Saturday morning.
The unraveling started in the 20th minute when defensive midfielder Leslie Osborne headed a Brazilian corner kick into the US net. It is unfortunate that one of the best players so far for the US was made to wear the goat horns early.
Then Marta, perhaps the most skilled female soccer player in the world today, pretty much put the match away before the 30 minute mark with a left footed strike that Scurry got a piece of, but couldn't keep out of the US net.
Then you had Shannon Boxx pick up the worst second yellow card ejection ever when a Brazilian player ran up the back of the US midfielder and fell over. Apparently the referee felt that Boxx took the player down intentionally, but replays showed that was obviously not the case.
Brazil's two second half goals and Joga TV calibre showboating in the second half merely added insult to injury.
Now the question is how will Greg Ryan and his team respond? Will Greg Ryan punish Hope Solo for her post-game outburst against the decision to change goalkeepers ? Or, will he make the right decision and play Solo in a match that still counts for something?
Here's hoping that Coach Ryan doesn't cut off his nose to spite his face.
Rhinos make moves to bring some players back in 2008
Heading into the offseason, the Rhinos only had Scott Vallow, T-Bone Bonseu, Kenney Bertz, Matthew Delicate, and Hamed Diallo under contract for 2008.
The team has announced that Scott Palguta, John Ball, Chris Aloisi, Kevin Novak, Johnny Menyongar, and Jason Perry will also be back in 2008. Also, the team is awaiting USL and US Soccer clearance to announce that Rey "Boom Boom" Martinez has been signed to a new 2 year contract that will keep the team's supersub in a Rhinos uniform through the 2009 season.
On the "Who won't be back" front, it appears that Aaran Lines and Josh Bolton will not be a part of the team in the future.
Lines played out of position out on the left wing for the bulk of his time in Rochester and it was obvious for a while that he wasn't in Calloway's long term plans. And Bolton went large stretches of the season where he wasn't in the lineup before starting the Rhinos final game of the 2007 season.
And if fan's want to fret, Scott Palguta and Kenney Bertz are joining NY Red Bulls camp and will be playing in an upcoming reserve league match for Bruce Arena's squad.
Seattle to leave the USL for MLS
If Ives Galarcep is correct, the USL 1st Division can once again look forward to lose a team that was in the finals.
A couple of years ago it was the Richmond Kickers opting to move down to the USL 2nd Division. Now it appears that the Seattle Sounders will take the 2008 season off as it will soon be announced that MLS will add Seattle as the 15th franchise in the league starting in 2009.
California real estate developer Michael Keston repoortedly had the MLS expansion rights to both Portland and Seattle and it appears that his chosen city is Seattle.
The interesting thing now is will he be able to get a stadium deal done? This could be the fourth out of the last five cities that MLS enters without a concrete stadium deal in place first. MLS has moved into Salt Lake City and Houston and is set to re-enter San Jose, all without stadium deals like Toronto had in place when they were granted an expansion team.
So much for a stadium being a requirement to join the MLS club. It's always been about the cash in hand with MLS and this decision gets in line with that philosophy.
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.