Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Disappearing Act And Quick Recap

Hey all. I look back at the time I spent away from the blog, and I feel nothing but complete disappointment. However, I think its safe to say that after the WWC Final, featuring our beloved USWNT and Japan...I needed a little mental holiday. Talking about the match is STILL a touchy subject for me, and I'm sure this is the case with many other fans, maybe even some of you currently reading. But as college is about to swing back into session, its back to business. Also, now that I have an iPhone, I feel like I'm at a computer only once a month, whereas pre-iPhone, I'd be here at least once every week. So, as I've told you all many times, I apologize. You've been good to me and have actually read my posts, and you've showed interest, but I was just too lazy and I regret it. This time I'm seriously going to try and be consistent. I love to write about the sport but I've been so caught up in my vacations etc. to even report on the stuff. I have been keeping up with all the info, but I should have been writing about it. My last post left off at the Semi-Finals. So, to do the WWC some justice without getting cold sweats myself, here's a quick recap.

Semifinal: USA vs. France- A great game, although admittedly, France played better for quite some time. We capitalized early, but France eventually equalized. Later in the match, Wambach pulled another rescue with a header off a corner kick. It was Abby doing what she does best. The USA went on to be finalists.

Final: USA vs. Japan- I can already tell I'm going to have a problem even just writing a quick description. To be honest, after that game was the worst I had ever felt. Anyway, the game was absolutely splendid, when looking at the way each team conducted themselves, and played. It was an excellent advertisement for the Women's game. It was beautiful, passing accuracy, talent, organization, it was everything you'd want in a great soccer game. I feel the USA played the better match however. And I'm not even being biased. I can admit the USA was not the better team against France for some stretches of time in the Semis. I can honestly say the USA played better against Japan. We had more chances throughout the whole game, and we had more possession and attacking. We just couldn't finish. And it came to haunt us. Morgan scored our first goal to put us ahead. It looked like we were in the clear to win the WWC, as there were only 10 minutes left about, maybe 15. But then a defensive error led to Japan's equalizer, and ET. In ET, Wambach once again came up big, and scored a clutch header. The USA was 2-5 minutes from lifting the trophy, to becoming Champions after their long, hard journey. But Japan again equalized, forcing it into penalties. Boxx kicked first. She was blocked. Lloyd kicked, she missed. Tobin kicked, she was blocked. Only Abby got her penalty in. Hope made one save. Japan won. In the most cruel way to go, the USA lost the trophy, which they probably could practically feel in their hands. I cried for a good 20 minutes after the match. It just sucked. It sucked really bad. Especially after the USA's journey. It was incredible. Almost not qualifying for WWC, struggling to make it, struggling with consistency before the WWC, enduring criticisms, then to proving everyone wrong, making the greatest comeback of all time, to reaching the Final. They were going to be THE team. It was going to be THEIR year. The trophy was going to be in THEIR hands. But it all vanished. And it wasn't even like we got blown out like 3-0. We HAD IT. We played better. We dominated. We just couldn't finish early on. And we couldn't hold the lead with 2 minutes to go. I still think we deserved that cup. I still think it was our year. With the way we played, the stuff we pulled off...I don't know, I look back, and I think that's what pains me so much. We were 2 minutes from that podium, and it slipped from our grasp. It was almost stolen. It was literally heartbreaking to see the USWNT utterly crushed and devastated from the loss. And it pained me to see Japan lifting that cup on the podium while the USWNT stood on the field, watching what could have been theirs, what was going to be theirs if they held on for 2 more minutes. Credit to Japan though, who played a fantastic tournament and were good sportswomen all the way through. Its just...soccer didn't award the best team that day. As many people said...something bigger was pulling for Japan. This is my honest opinion: Both teams won that day. Think about it...Japan needed that win to bring hope and morale to their devastated country. We needed to make a legacy of our own, apart from 99.
We needed to bring interest to the sport in the USA. In my opinion, we did both. We may not have won, but in the fans' eyes, The USA were Champions. After that Brazil game, where they displayed such heart and faith and determination, they won over the hearts of so many people. It really felt like the whole country was behind the team, for the first time since 99. Everyone will remember the heroics of Solo, Wambach, Morgan and Rapinoe...everyone will remember the tenacity of the entire team, really. This team, and their World Cup run, has and will, go down in history. They may not have won the cup, but they didn't have to. They left their own legacy behind. Its not always about winning a trophy. It would have been a more fitting end to their journey, and I feel like it would have done them justice, unlike a devastating loss, but I beleive everything happens for a reason. They gained so many fans, and the whole country got behind them. They showed the World how talented they are, and how inspiring they are. Their determination, fighting spirit, and hard work won everyone over. They showed everyone what they're all about. Interest here in the states spiked, and WPS felt the effects with numerous sell-outs at games. General rising in attendance has come to the league. They accomplished their goal without getting the WWC, and they had a hero's welcome upon their arrival. I think the loss was undeserved, and that their run, and their legacy deserved nothing less than to end with them as World Champions, holding the WWC 2011 trophy, but sometimes you have to think that maybe it wasn't meant to be. Ending it on penalties is the worst. It can literally go either way. It was Japan's year, sure, but it was ours too. They just happened to bring the trophy home to their country. That's the only difference.

Next post will deal with WPS. I know I haven't covered that at all either. All the news is coming up next. Sorry again for the huge delay.


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