July 21, 2011
Rochester was Soccertown, USA last night. But, I'm having a hard time figuring out what last night was, what it could have been, and what it means for Rochester, the WNY Flash, and the WPS moving forward.
The love for Abby, the USWNT, and the Flash was on full display last night. Even the what will happen with Marta question had a happy ending last night.
USWNT & new magicJack MF Megan Rapinoe was impressed.
But, there were certain things that were less than ideal last night. Obviously, Abby didn't play and that likely left some people disappointed. If Abby's achilles injury is way worse than she let on during the World Cup, then taking last night off was the right call. But, if she goes the full 90 on Saturday night in Atlanta, there will be people that wonder how bad the Achilles injury was last night.
On the other hand, would last night have been any better if Abby had gone out for a 10 minute cameo appearance? I don't know that it would have. Although, Alex Morgan did come on for the last 18 minutes and she got a really nice ovation as she entered the match.
I still don't know what the 15,404 fans showing up at Sahlen's Stadium means for Rochester. Obviously it kills the argument that the neighborhood will scare people away. But, the Flash and the Rhinos won't have an Abby after the WWC drawing card likely ever again and certainly not on a regular basis. What can both those teams do to tap into what the soccer fans in Rochester will come out for? Did the poor sitelines for many in the temporary bleachers scare away fans? Did some people with tickets that couldn't get a seat last night turn people off?
I don't know what the big crowd last night means for WPS. Will we see a pop for the Philly @ Sky Blue, magicJack @ Atlanta, and WNY @ Boston matches this weekend? Or, was this just an Abby in Rochester outlier? If last night was just an outlier, what does that mean for the long term viability of the league and of the Flash in Rochester?
I was sitting with my family in the temporary bleachers last night. It wasn't our first Flash game of the season. My 7yo son, who was unhappy with the view, asked why all these people were there. I told him why and then said that the big question is how many of the people will be back in two weeks.
A young lady sitting next to us had a one word answer: none.
I hope that isn't true. But, I worry that it might.
And can the Flash survive on crowds of 2000 per game without Abby and 2 or 3 bigger crowds when Abby does come to town?
There was a game played last night
After last night, I'm on the Christine Sinclair as WPS MVP bandwagon.
Sinc's two goals ties her with Tasha Kai for most in the league. Her assist last night pushed her league lead even higher.
The win also brought the Flash to within one point of Philadelphia in the WPS standings with WNY holding a game in hand over the Independence.
The Flash may not have dominated the stat sheet, but outside of the magicJack goal, Ashlyn Harris was rarely tested. Granted, magicJack is far from whole with five of their seven USWNT players not taking part in the match.
It will be really interesting to see what happens down the stretch with Marta and Caroline Seger's calf.
Next up for the Flash are the Boston Breakers in the Fox Soccer Channel's Game of the Week on Sunday.
News & Notes:
- Steve Davis is sick of the choking talk and I couldn't agree more.
- Grant Wahl at SI.com takes a post-World Cup view of the USWNT.
- Jenna Pel at All White Kit looks at what the USWNT's run at the WWC means for WPS.
- Fake Sigi was gutted by the WWC final result.
- This Tim Howard meets his doppelganger story is funny.
- Brek Shea had a sick goal for FC Dallas vs Toronto FC last night.
- The USA 10 Kit looks at Brad Rusin's move from the Carolina RailHawks to Denmark.
- I wonder what this news means for the NASL & the USL moving forward?
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.