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Team USA: Reasons to believe (and do we need TV review in soccer?)

July 11, 2011 – 6:36 AM

By Laura Pappano

Suddenly, the story lines need tweaking.

Admit it: We had resigned ourselves to remembrances of the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Who didn’t watch grainy video highlights and years-later interviews with players and wonder if the Dawn of US women’s soccer and its Golden Age were one and the same?

There may be hundreds of little girls playing soccer in towns across America. We may have seen a professional women’s league born, die, and resurrected. But just because we could provide a living (sort of) and a showcase for the best women’s soccer in the world, could we – Team USA – contend? Really?

Was all the talk about a US underdog team just – well – to whip up interest? Did anyone believe?

The US-Brazil game offered some lessons, reminders — and raises some questions (is refereeing adequate?)

1.     Women’s USA soccer is as good as it’s ever been, despite the retirement of greats like Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain.

2.     Women’s soccer is riveting entertainment. It offers athleticism, talent, and intensity to rival any sporting event. Anywhere.

3.     Abby Wambach still rules. She’s clutch.

4.     Hope Solo IS the real deal.

5.     Refereeing in soccer is problematic. In such a low-scoring sport (unlike basketball or football), critical judgments can be game deciders. Team USA overcame the red card and the troubling call to redo the PK, but it does make you wonder: Are there enough eyes on the field to make calls accurately enough (remember the men’s World Cup?) Flopping is annoying, but it exists for a reason: Refs often can’t REALLY tell. Is it time for TV review in World Cup soccer?

6.     Stoppage time, it turns out, can be a lot more than a game of a keep-away on the way to the inevitable end.

  1. 2 Responses to “Team USA: Reasons to believe (and do we need TV review in soccer?)”

  2. gotta tell you, of course there are so many reasons Soccer just doenst make it here in the US, but a major part of it is the flopping. I forget who barely touched her from behind, from Brazil, but Wambach went down like she was shot. Then stayed down while the Brazilian who barely touched her got a Yellow Card. She continued to stay down, as if she broke her leg again, while Marta ( a true talent), correctly abuses her verbally telling her to just get up. The resust, another Yellow card, not for the flopper, but for Marta. Sad, very sad. Yourt quote ” Flopping is annoying, but it exists for a reason: Refs often can’t REALLY tell.” So you are saying, the flopping helps, thats just wrong.

    The only thing that makes this intersting is to see if Japan can continue its incredible run, that might make it, for me at least, care about this World Cup. I really dont think there was one flop from the Japanese, and some of the Germans seemd to have about a foot of height and perhaps 75 lbs on each Japanese player, on average.

    Actually, in the US-Brazil match, both sides had some incredible calls and none calls. Truely pathetic how it decides the game. Perhaps we use reply too much, or have the refs spend a great deal of timeout time talking about the calls, but i thing most of us want to see them ” Get it right”, that doesnt seem to be soccers interest. I agree there are just not enough eyes on the game, too few refs watching the match, and they cant seem to keep up.

    By Rpb Kingsley on Jul 11, 2011

  3. Women’s soccer is riveting! What an awesome game. I’m always wondering who else is watching? Isn’t that why women’s professional soccer (along with so many other sports) can’t quite make it here in the U.S.? I’m hoping this World Cup will have even the most skeptical fans watching!

    By Katie Culver on Jul 11, 2011

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