Thursday, September 27, 2007

Team USA Loses Its Hope

The USA Women's National Soccer Team was shelled 4-0 today by Brazil in the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup in China. The loss ended a 51 game unbeaten streak for the US women and was the worst loss ever for the US women in World Cup competition.

Surprisingly absent from the American squad was star keeper Hope Solo. US coach Greg Ryan benched his top keeper in favor of 36 year-old Brianna Scurry. To put this in perspective, Solo had not been scored on in over 300 minutes of play, while Scurry had not played a full 90 minutes in over 3 months.

Predictably Hope Solo was disappointed with the decision, and she let it be known:

"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. And the fact of the matter is it's not 2004 anymore. It's 2007, and I think you have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past. It doesn't matter what somebody did in an Olympic gold medal game in the Olympics three years ago. Now is what matters, and that's what I think."

As a fan, this is just the type of reaction I want from Solo. She had earned the start against Brazil and she was flat out robbed of the opportunity to play.

Apparently coach Ryan had decided to go with Scurry well in advance of this match (months allegedly) and had even met with Scurry about playing her against Brazil. Scurry's history against the Brazilians notwithstanding, this is an inexcusable move by Ryan. Quite frankly, this move should cost him his job. Whoever runs Team USA needs to inform Ryan that he will be allowed to coach the third place game, during which he will start Hope Solo, and he will then promptly resign afterwards. If he doesn't agree to that then you fire him on the spot. He cost this team the World Cup, that's all there is to it.

I am not trying to overlook the fact that the Americans were pretty much dominated by Brazil today, but I do think the switch in goal played a huge role in the defeat. I won't even begin to try to guess the kind of emotional impact this move had on the other 10 players for the US. I can only imagine how shocked they were that Solo was not going to be in goal. And now, thanks to Greg Ryan, the prohibitive favorite to win the World Cup will leave China without the championship they worked so hard to claim, and we are all left to wonder what could have been. At least we'll still have a Hope in 2011.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whether the coach made the right decision or not is irrelevant.
Did anybody notice that the Brazil women's team is as good if not better then their men's team???
The 4:0 can not be blamed on Scurry.....I am sure the same would have happend to Solo.
However, Solo lost a lot of fans with her self serving comments...