Late surge sees Germany end level with USWNT

Jeff Kassouf April 5, 2013 125

Megan Rapinoe (left) scored for the United States in a 3-3 draw with Germany. (Copyright Patricia Giobetti | http://www.printroom.com/pro/psgiobetti)

The United States women’s national team ended Friday’s game against Germany the way it began the match: in absolute chaos. Germany scored goals in the 85th and 87th minutes to tie the US 3-3 in Offenbach, Germany.

Abby Wambach opened the scoring in the 47th minute — her 155th career international goal, three away from tying Mia Hamm’s record — and Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan each added spectacular strikes for the US. Kim Kulig cut the US lead to 2-1 in the 63rd minute following Rapinoe’s half-volley, but Morgan’s brilliant chip in the 71st minute looked like it iced the game for the United States.

Defensive breakdowns blew the result for the United States, however. Celia Okoyino da Mbabi earned a penalty kick and finished it in the 85th minute and Anja Mittag slammed a shot past US goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart two minutes later to tie the game at 3-3. The frantic ending for the US was just like the match started, except unlike the start of the match, the Americans conceded.

Germany put a young US back line to the test from the start, targeting 22-year-old left back Kristie Mewis. Leonie Maier gave Mewis fits down Germany’s right flank and the United States failed to piece together much of anything by way of an attack.

An isolated effort from Alex Morgan is the only attacking chance the U.S. had in the opening 30 minutes. Germany collected the consistent long ball attempts from the US and restarted their attack immediately, not allowing the Americans to clear their lines.

Lauren Cheney had the best chance of the half in the 33rd minute when Morgan turned the corner and played a negative ball to Cheney, whose shot from 8 yards out went straight into the hands of German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer.

A scoreless opening 45 minutes gave away to the flurry of goals in the second half. Wambach opened the scoring just two minutes after halftime when she headed in Rapinoe’s cross. Nine minutes later, Rapinoe was on the receiving end of Wambach’s assist when she doubled the US lead in the 56th minute.

Kulig cut that lead in half seven minutes later when she took advantage of a poor Crystal Dunn clearance, but the shift in momentum was short-lived. Cheney finished a Rapinoe free kick with a strong header in the 66th minute, but was mysteriously whistled offside. Wambach and Shannon Boxx were offside, but both were uninvolved in the play.

Morgan’s goal came in the 71st minute when Cheney curled in a perfect through ball from midfield and Morgan found herself alone against Angerer. The 23-year-old calmly chipped Angerer from just inside the 18-yard box to give the US a 3-1 lead before Germany’s two quick strikes.

Sydney Leroux, who entered the match for Abby Wambach in the 80th minute, nearly scored the winner in the 94th minute on a header, but Verena Faisst cleared the ball off the line for Germany.

The United States will next play the Netherlands at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday in The Haag, Netherlands. The US is now 4-1-1 all-time in Germany.

USA XI: 18-Barnhart; 6-Dunn, 3-Rampone (c), 14-Engen, 8-Mewis; 9-O’Reilly, 7-Boxx, 12-Cheney, 15-Rapinoe; 13-Morgan, 20-Wambach

GER XI: 1-Angerer; 25-Maier 3-Bartusiak, 22-Wensing, 4-Peter; 10-Bresonik, 8-Kulig, 26-Keßler, 7-Behringer; 13-Okoyino da Mbabi, 14-Marozsan

  • randomhookup

    Feel sorry for the Dutch. They might get steamrollered.

    • Steglitz49

      It will be a great training experience for the Dutch ladies. Ladies’ football took a big step forward when Ajax formed a ladies’ side this season. Apparently, to the very first match a bunch of Ajax “Ultras” turned up to cheer them on.

      When someone pointed out that this was the ladies’ match and a family event, the Ultra replied that anyone who plays in an Ajax shirt has the right to some Ultra support. Some gentlemen’s agreement seems to have been reached and only a token four or five Ultras now come to the matches.

  • Marie

    Defense was a mess. Rampone was playing both flanks as well as center, is Tom trying to kill her? Without her covering for everyone else it would have been even worse. Mewis is not a defender and Dunn needs to spend some time with the U23s.

    • heremerawr

      I thought Dunn looked great, with the exception of the misclearance that lead to the first goal. Mewis did better once she settled down. But I agree that Krieger and Kelley as our flanks would’ve surely secured us a victory. Still, I prefer Dunn getting experience against top notch players during a friendly, rather than decent players in the u23 (putting it positively).

      • newsouth

        that wasn’t a missed clearance. her weight was going towards the goal and the ball was moving opposite direction. no one on the field could shift their body weight forward and cleared that ball properly, not even the great morgan. LOL.

        • Steglitz49

          It looked like a poor clearance to me but maybe I need to go to the opticians.

          • vert2013

            It was an attempted clearance but her weight was going in the wrong direction, she’d already passed by the ball and only got enough of a touch on it to change it’s direction but couldn’t put anything on it.

            That entire sequence was a defensive breakdown on all parts, not just Dunns.

    • Ash

      Dunn was terrific. She clearly is ready for this level, and has a bright future. Mewis I’m not sure about but most of her mistakes I think were down to her playing out of position. Kelly O’Hara used to struggle back there, too.

    • newsouth

      ha, rampone spent most of the game directing mewis and dunn, if you were watching. that wasn’t a penalty, but a nice home field call by the ref. that’s about it.

    • Nope. Rampone struggled today with her passing and defending in the box. US central defenders were unable to keep their feet at critical moments. Can’t see how you can put the blame on the outside backs. Mewis played well after a rough start and Dunn was excellent. Mewis may not be a defender yet (just two starts to her name), but she will a big improvement over recent players in that position if she continues to get the chance,.

  • yeah no

    The PK went like this: Rampone falls because of the GREAT field conditions, and the German player trips over her. Never a PK, horrible ref. Then Germany’s third goal? Yeah take down Engen and trip Barnhart, but no not a foul-okay. Take away Cheney’s goal for being offsides when she was onsides ok. 4-1,5-1 US is score with a good referee.

    • Anton

      It was the same ref who did the USA/Canada game in the Olympics. Guess she finally ‘took off the U.S. jersey’.

      • heremerawr

        I thought she looked familiar. Well, it’s nice to know she makes consistently controversial calls lol. Although Cheney’s goal being called back was a linesman error. Still, if this ref had been as strong as the one in the Kirin Cup last year (when Alex almost had her goal called back against Japan), she would’ve overruled the linesman and called the goal.

        • Steglitz49

          Touchjudge errors are far too common in the ladies’ game, as witness the WC final of 2011. Generally, the refereeing in the ladies’ game falls short of that in the men’s matches. This is something FIFA and the other FAs need to address. Let’s see how €uro-13 pans out.

          • Anton

            Men’s refs aren’t much better.

            Koman friggin’ Coulibaly still makes my blood boil.

          • Steglitz49

            Glaring errors were made in the WC-11 final and in the OG-12 semi-final and final. If FIFA can’t fix errors in such important matches, there is little point in the ladies playing, and the women’ game will become a laughing-stock.

          • Anton

            I agree that women’s officiating as a whole isn’t up to par but my point was that by saying the men’s officials are better isn’t really saying much. They’re just as incompetent, especially in CONCACAF.

            There have been plenty of ridiculous decisions/non decisions in every WC/Olympics male or female. Ask any Spanish, Italian, American or Portuguese fan about the 2002 World Cup. The USA/Canada game this past summer looked like a fantastic officiated game in comparison to almost any game in Korea/Japan.

          • Steglitz49

            My abiding memory of the 2002 world cup was USA being denied an obvious penalty against Germany which, had it been granted and converted, would have won USA the game.

            Otherwise, the 2002 tournament has in common with the one 20 years earlier, that both the German managers were hounded out of office shortly after. Jupp Derwall went to coach in Turkey with amazing results while Rudi Voeller does something trivial at club level. Yet since 2002 Germany’s men have not done so well.

          • Anton

            Yep, Germany was up 1-0 despite getting thoroughly dominated by the U.S., then Torsten Frings committed a clear handball on the line to deny the equalizer that somehow went uncalled. Then you had the whole South Korea mess vs. Portugal, Spain and Italy.

            I’d say Germany has done well since 2002, they’ve finished 3rd in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, finished 2nd Euro 2008 and 3rd in Euro 2012. Obviously, they expect to win every tournament, but after the Euro 2004 disaster, they’ve been one of the top in the world and will continue to be for the distant future.

  • heremerawr

    This was hands down the most enjoyable match so far of 2013 for the USWNT. I had a blast watching it, especially once things heated up in the second half. I was outraged that Cheney’s goal was taken back, especially since the offside players were nowhere close to being involved in the play (plus Cheney deserved a goal with the way she’d been playing). But Alex shushing the Germans promptly got rid of my irritation, haha. Can there be an article just on that hilarious celebration (Pinoe’s was pretty great as well)? I busted out laughing when I realized what she was doing.
    It’s a little unfortunate that we conceded those two goals in the closing minutes of the game. Even though we tied, though, I feel like we came away with the win in spirit (which sounds really stupid but I’m not sure how else to say it). I mean, the ref took away one of our goals, the German penalty was circumspect, they’re training for the Euros while we’re in our ‘off season’ or whatever, and once we settled down, we pretty much dominated the second half. Again, I would’ve preferred an awesome 94 minute win from Syd’s header, but the tie is fine too. Wll played, Germany.

    • Stephy_Paola

      I don’t understand why everyone is talking about AM’s celebration? (shhh..) She did have a beautiful goal. And what was Pinoe doing? I think I missed it.

      • heremerawr

        Everyone’s probably talking about AM’s celebration because it’s a bit on the sassy side and was just rather amusing because no one expected her to do it. Plus the German fans were quite loud at the game. Pinoe did kind of a back pedal dance with her tongue sticking out. Just very nice, exuberant celebrations that gave me, personally, the warm fuzzies (although good matches always leave me in a fantastic mood).

        • stephy_paola

          OHHHHHHHHH…..i thought AM’s celebration had a meaning behind it or something special. I always love whatever Pinoe does when she scores, her celebrations are always unique.

          • Kernel Thai

            Pinoe is always spontaneous…the planned stuff can get old tho

          • heremerawr

            Pinoe singing “goooal in the USAAAA” is probably my favorite celebration of hers. No, wait, scratch that, I really liked when she whipped out the piece of tape wishing Ali Krieger a happy birthday in the Olympics. That was just really sweet and heart warming.

  • Anton

    Honestly, for both teams, a draw was a deserved result.

    Regardless of what anyone feels about the officiating, which could have given us a win. We were really fortunate not to concede in the first 30 minutes or so, so it kind of equaled out.

    And where has this Lauren Cheney been? About time it came back.

    • heremerawr

      I have to disagree with you. Even though we were disorganized in the beginning, the Germans never really got any shots on goal (on frame shots at any rate). I wouldn’t have minded the refeering if it was more consistent. If tripping over an on the ground Rampone is a penalty, then Engen should’ve gotten the foul for the equalizer. But oh well, the Canadians are probably amused. The defense made mistakes but recovered well. It was nice to see Cheney out there, notching an assist and a goal (that counts in my mind lol).

    • vert2013

      I missed Cheney so much. I haven’t really seen this version of her since 2011.

      • Steglitz49

        I agree. Apart from the usual suspects, the international press singled out the 20-year old Leonie Maier’s performance in the first 30 min, Nadine Angerer and Lauren Cheney. Ms Cheney got a lot of praise, and all the goals esp the American goals.

        The referee’s decisions were not commented on.

  • Beth

    Rapinoe was player of the match for me. It was a fun game to watch; I just hope Peterson does not ref any WWC or Olympic matches in the future.

    • Anton

      Agreed, her and Cheney were the two that stood out to me. Although I’m a little surprised she actually played at all. Didn’t she join the team there on Wednesday? Granted, she was only in France, but I thought it would have been more likely to see her against the Dutch.

    • heremerawr

      This was probably Pinoe’s best game of the year so far, in my opinion. Really nice runs and that roulette in the first half was simply beautiful. I’m more inclined toward Cheney, though, if only because she’s bounced back so nicely after dealing with family issues. The midfield was very nice in this game, much better than at Algarve, especially once they settled down.

    • Steglitz49

      Pedersen. Not all referees can be as consistently good as Palmqvist and Heikkinen. What FIFA can do about ladies refereeing is an interesting question. Let’s see how the NWSL and €uro-13 pan out.

      • Kernel Thai

        Add Bibiana Steinhaus to that list.

        As to Pedersen, she is way too big a part of the game. FIFA cant like her popping up again so soon on the crazy call train.

    • Allie

      Rapinoe is looking great. I think the time in France is doing her wonders – it’s making her playmaking ability even better.

    • vert2013

      Pinoe didn’t show up until the 30th minute (most of the team didn’t though). Before that she was losing possession and dribbling into the defenders. Her 2nd half was amazing though.

  • Baby Djojonegoro

    I like how Sermanni tries out new players and new combinations, but he barely subbed anyone this match. I thought Pinoe had a great match, Dunn proved herself, Wambach resurrected #ChasingMia, Cheney showed up, and Morgan was Morgan. Was Boxx kind of invisible, or was I not paying attention?

    • Anton

      If Boxx is invisible, that usually means she’s doing her job. When you hear her name (aside from goals), it’s often not for a good reason (i.e.. a reckless challenge, getting dispossessed, poor pass).

    • Short_Change

      They were limited to three subs in this match per agreement with Germany instead of the usual five for a friendly.

      • 6 is the usual for a friendly.

        Interesting that USSF didn’t mention this agreement in the pre-game notes.

  • Steglitz49

    The American goals show the importance of being able to use your left foot. Ms Rapinoe’s pass for the first goal and her own magnificent score was left foot as was Ms Morgan’s. The goal that won Germany the 1954 WC was a left-footed shot by a man known to use his right foot! In the middle-ages would you have been considered to have been in league with the devil if your were left-footed? You certainly were suspect if you were left-handed, and the trick was to have someone cut off your left hand just before you expired so as to avoid ending up in hell.

    Germany must fix its defense before €uro-13.

    The even score of 3-3 was in keeping with this being a friendly match but probably should be seen as an American victory. On the other hand it shows yet again that you can never count the Germans out until the final whistle has blown.

  • NYRick

    Really fun match to watch. After about the first 15-20 minutes, the US pretty much dominated the match and deserved the win but I have no problem with the result.

    Here’s a couple of things I took from it:

    1. Like the fact the TS is experimenting with lineups and giving young players a chance. Dunn is going to be a big-time defender for this team. Not sure if Mewis is a leftback. Prefer her as an attacking mid, but she’s getting experience. It was quite evident that the Germans were going right at her though, but she hung in there.

    2. Mids: Great game by Cheney. Her goal should have counted, that was a wrongfully called offside and the long ball to Alex was world class. Pinoe was a beast the whole game. Her best game since the Canada Olympic semi. I’d like to start seeing less of Boxx moving forward too.

    3. Defenders: Young and expected mistakes, but the experience is invaluable. Surprised that TS threw them to the wolves in that environment, but that will pay off in the long run. Rampone continues to make nearly one bad mistake a match. I know it probably wasn’t a PK, but it was close and clumsy on her part. Engen is a player too who held her own.

    4. I did not like AM’s shhhhhh celebration. I really can’t stand when anyone (male players too) do that. It’s kind of classless and disrespectful to a great and boisterous crowd who are supporting women’s soccer more than anything. Stuff like that has a way of coming back to bite you, usually at the worst possible time. If I was a German player I would remember it. That’s all I’m saying. And I really hope AM doesn’t start to let her talent go to her head on the field and get too cocky. Greatness is measured by class too. She didn’t do anything terrible, but just sayin.

    5. Expect about 8-9 different players starting against the Netherlands. Should be fun and like I said, I really think this coach knows what he’s doing.

    • Anton

      Agreed on everything here.

      Plus you better be ready to put on your flame retardant suit for #4. You know a couple people are going to take that completely out of context.

      • NYRick

        I’m a big Alex fan. She really didn’t do anything that bad, but it was completely out of a character. Especially in a big setting. She’s better than that. I know it’s nearly sacrilege to saying anything against her on these boards, and 90% of the time I praise her to ridiculous levels, as both a player and role model.

        But the shhhhhh thing is meant to really get under people’s skins. CR7 used to pull that crap and notice he’s stopped doing it. Great players should never have to. Their greatness on the pitch should do all the talking. I don’t mind celebrating with teammates and having some fun, but that is the #2 team in the world you are playing there in front of a home sellout crowd. A great event in general for women’s soccer. This wasn’t a pickup scrimmage match against Costa Rica. Like you said, my flame retardant suit is on for the comment, but so be it. You’ll also notice that the game went from 3-1 to 3-3 rather quickly right after that too. If the US winds up losing 4-3 that is major egg on her face.

        • Chris

          I guess you all haven’t seen Mia Hamm’s celebration back in the day. Great players do that thing all the time. Kobe does that shh thing. Michael Jordan did his MJ shrug. The SweWNT does this dance choreographed by Lotta Schelin after they score. People are so sensitive now a days.

          • NYRick

            Not sensitive at all. It’s the time and the age we live in. People love to celebrate themselves. I’ve seen all that you describe. I’m just a guy who loves a little humility and class, especially in a big star athlete. It’s so rare these days. Roger Federer comes to mind, so does Leo Messi.

            MJ only did the shrug only one time also, when he was unconscious with 3s in an NBA finals game.

        • Steglitz49

          NYRick, your 4th point is well taken. Peculiar celebration have been part of the game for 20 odd years now but they seem just that: contrived.

          More tickets were sold and at higher prizes for the recent Brazilian men’s friendly tour played on neutral grounds than in this match at home between Germany and the world’s currently best playing team. Till the ladies can pull in the punters, there is some value in keeping the spectators sweet because without fans (and bums on seats) there is no future for ladies’ football.

        • Anton

          Yeah, I’ve made the mistake of ‘criticizing’ Alex here before too, didn’t end too well.

          I really don’t mind when players taunt opposing fans, if the fans want to taunt you, you should be able to have a bit of fun at their expense. Today, I too just thought it was unnecessary, it’s not like they were blatantly taunting her or anything (even if they were, I doubt she’d be able to understand them anyways), or like this was some big rivalry either, if she wants to shhh or flip off Canada or Mexico fans, be my guest, I’d love it.

          Oh trust me, I know how you feel about Alex the player and person (I’m still taking Marta ;)), that’s why when you said that about her celebration, it’s semi-surprising and one should take it with more than a grain of salt.

          • NYRick

            It was such a brilliant goal too. An incredible piece of skill. It didn’t need that type of nonsense. Even the last Germany game at Algarve where she hoped on Syd’s back and rode her like a horse after the first goal in that goal. I don’t like where this is starting to go for this girl. Karma is a real thing and it has a very big memory.

          • I’m just curious but where would you rank the shhh and horse back riding celebrations, with the ones the team did at the Olympics? In my opinion the Olympic ones were much more disrespectful.

          • NYRick

            I would rank the Olympic ones much more disrespectful. I mean they did the “worm” at Old Trafford. That was tacky. Than they did the stupid gymnast thing the day after the US women’s gymnastic team won gold. I agree with you, considering the setting of the Olympics and the visibility, the Olympic stuff was worse.

            Some will call it good fun, etc. I’m just someone who doesn’t like when anyone shows up an opponent. Not at this level. They are playing the sport at the elite level and there is no need for it. Pre-orchestrated celebrations always look incredibly foolish. Anyone who enjoys them never played competitive sports. I keep pointing back to karma. At some point karma pays you back a visit for that type of stuff at the worst time.

          • NYRick

            I also don’t think the German fans deserved it. I wasn’t there obviously but I don’t recall them hurling projectiles or mistreating the US players the game. They do boo very loudly and kind of hiss when a German player is taken down on a hard foul though.

            Also, remember Alex’s 123rd minute goal. She will probably never score a bigger or more impactful goal in her life. But her reaction was so genuine and humble. It was the perfect response of shock, emotion and pure passion without showing up the Canadian team who worked so hard in that game and nearly pulled off a monumental upset, even with absurd calls against that put them in OT to begin with. That was the reaction of a rising star caught unguarded in a historic sports moment. Today’s reaction after her brilliant goal was something someone getting a little full of themselves starts to do.

            If I was TS I would talk privately about it with her. Nothing major, but just a minor reminder of the standards the US program would like to uphold as the best team in the world. Especially from the team’s best player. It’s kind of important. However, today star players are bigger than any coach and I doubt that he would even think of mentioning it.

        • Weston John

          CR7 just did the same celebration this week in champions league after scoring against Galatasary. AM probably watched the game with teammates and told them she’d do that if she scored against Germany.

          • NYRick

            I guess he’s still an a-hole. My bad.

            In all seriousness, that’s where the role model stuff comes in for AM. Young soccer playing girls idolize her in this country. I personally don’t give a toss what she does after a goal, it’s a free world, but young girls and boys see it and think it’s cool. It’s not. CR7 is one of the more arrogant jerks to ever enter the sports arena. I respect his brilliance and greatness. I’m a huge Man Utd. fan and saw nearly all of his games with them. But once a jerk, always a jerk. AM should take notice.

        • LCLondoner

          Really? I adore Alex, and I thought the shush was hilarious. And not so out of character. She can get pretty chippy on the field (thinking of interactions she’s had with defenders in the past year or two), which I ascribe to the fire she plays with. She’s not a porcelain princess, or some anodyne role-model (SI shoot, anyone?), and we shouldn’t set her up as one. Just my opinion, obv.

          • Anton

            I think some of her interactions with defenders could be part of his reasoning too. Look at one of the Scotland games, one of the Scots committed a moderate foul at best on Alex and she’s all up in the girls face for no real reason. Meanwhile Abby got sucker punched against Colombia and did absolutely nothing, when she had all the right in the world to go Mike Tyson on that chick. That really has nothing to do with fire either, because Abby plays with as much fire as Alex does.

            She’s the marked woman now when it comes to other teams, it’s not Abby anymore. She has to understand that she is going to be the victim of some hard and questionable fouls, it comes with the territory of being a star player. If you get in the defenders face each time you get fouled, other teams are going to realize that and keep fouling you, knowing it gets you off your game.

          • LCLondoner

            But I don’t think it gets her off her game. She is self-confessedly ultra-competitive, and I think that type of interaction drives her. She and Abby are simply different people, with different reactions. The shush was both funny and mild, in my book. Of course, as Steglitz says somewhere here, the English would find it funny. And I’m English, so there’s that . . .

    • heremerawr

      Although I found AM’s shush amusing, I actually thought the same thing as you in that I’m sure she never would’ve done it a year ago before she blew up as the US star. I think you’re a bit hard on her, though, she’s 24 (yes, Steglitz, I know that’s not that young in soccer terms) and didn’t mean any harm. However, I’m with you in that it worries me as a possible sign to come, and hope she doesn’t try anything beyond that.
      Hopefully that wasn’t too much for your flame retardant suit, I doubt they’re cheap.

      • Steglitz49

        The Germans do not have a sense of humour so it was wasted on them. In an English stadium the crowd would have laughed. Horses for courses and all that.

        One reason the plucky Nadehiko are popular is that they enjoy their soccer in all simplicity. Although one of the implied meanings of Nadeshiko is a shy young woman, there is nothing shy about them on the field. I still want the explanation of how they could win the Fair Play award in 2011 with one player sent off and another cautioned in the very final. The Canadians are seen as demented beavers and the Japanese as ideals of femininity …

        • sol1711

          zum glück haben wir keinen humor.
          in deutschland ist lachen nur am sonntag oder im keller erlaubt, sonst muss man strafe zahlen.

          • NYRick

            Here’s my Rosetta Stone translation: “I didn’t like that shhhhhhhhhh.”

          • Steglitz49

            Wrong. Sol is being self-ironic.

            He could have typed “Very interesting, but stupid” or “We have ways of making you laugh” but he chose irony. Since the Americans do not understand or appreciate irony, it was an odd though illustrative choice.

      • Kernel Thai

        I didnt find it amusing. The brilliant goal was enough of a dagger. She may be watch a little too much of the men’s game.

        • heremerawr

          I agree that the “shush” was probably inspired from watching men’s matches, which is worrying, because men’s celebrations are incredibly arrogant in comparison to the women’s. Even after AM did the shush, where did she go? To her teammates. Someone from the men’s team would’ve run to a nearby camera or the crowd or something.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe it is a reflection of how much AM earns? Maybe her agents have advised her to keep being noticed in ways other than scoring goals? Maybe AM should have signed with Gold-Lena’s agents? (Sol1711 can explain.)

      • NYRick

        Just a slight singe in the flame retardant suit. It should be good for future threads. Also, I’m not trying to make a big deal out of it because it was basically harmless. But if Pinoe or Cheney did it or even Abby, I would care less. AM is the star of this team and the biggest name in the sport right now. She has to be held to a higher standard whether she likes it or not. If Press or Mewis was the big star of the team and they did that, I would say exactly the same thing about them.

        She has major influence on young girls in this country. Americans are positioned as jerks unfairly by too many foreigners through jealousy and also rightfully when we celebrate our fame, money and celebrity. I just don’t want to see our younger generation being influenced and thinking it’s all right when you show up an opponent. And make no mistake, whether she feels she was having fun with the crowd or not, she was showing up the opponent and the goalie who she made looked silly on that chip shot. Players have long memories.

        • heremerawr

          I’ve always been impressed by your thoughtful comments, you definitely care about the future of women’s soccer and your posts reflect it. Kudos for that (consider that my attempt at patching the suit before going in for another blast lol).
          However, while I agree that the stars of sports teams should be held to high standards, critiquing a modestly tame goal celebration that was a couple seconds long and ended with AM hugging her teammates on the sideline seems a bit unfair. The celebration also possibly had something to do with the fact that this game was roughly AM’s 3 year anniversary. I see where you’re coming from, but I think that being too severe on our best star dappens her enthusiam for the game. It’s equally important that Alex continues to enjoy herself while playing soccer, or, as Steglitz has mentioned, we could run the risk of her losing motivation. If the Germans can’t handle the celebration they should prove it on the pitch, which is what they did (with a bit of help from the ref). Really, I suppose it all comes down to defining what Alex should and shouldn’t be doing as the star of the team, and in my opinion, a semi-mocking (if looked at in the most negative light possible) goal celebration just doesn’t make the cut.

          • NYRick

            OK, fair enough. I can buy that angle. But ask yourself one question: Would Alex have done that at her 2 year anniversary last year? The answer is a resounding no.

            Although she may be developing into the female Cristiano of her respective sport, I don’t want to see her develop his deplorable persona. When asked last year why opposing fans boo him, do you know what his answer was? Instead of saying something that a big star like him should say, “Well, I feel that’s a show of respect. They are great fans and support their team well and enjoy competing at such a high level and I understand it.” (Do you have to be a PR agent to be train someone to say that? I think not.).

            Instead he says (almost verbatim), “Well they are jealous of me because I’m young, a great player and very good looking.” True story. Not saying Alex is going to turn into this, I seriously hope not for her sake, but young celebrity and that type of fame (of which she is currently experiencing) does strange things to people. She has over 1.2 million twitter followers. That can mess with your head when the average footballer (even our US mens players) have a tenth of that if they’re lucky.

          • heremerawr

            Upon thinking over your reply, I’ve come up with a question of my own. Where do we draw the line? We want our athletes to be good role models, but how far does that extend into the facets of their lives on and off the pitch? I suppose in the end that’s what this discussion really comes down to. Obviously Cristiano’s behavior is terrible and I would never in a million years want Alex to behave that way.
            Which brings up another point both you and I have vaguely been getting at. Is this the start of a slippery slope or are we overreacting? Could AM’s fame lead to a degeneration of good sportsmanship and modesty and everything else that makes Alex such a great role model, “the girl next door” so to speak?
            I, personally, don’t think so. Or at least, it’s far too early to tell. Especially since Alex has Abby as a role model, one of the most modest and class act athletes I’ve ever met (err, not met, but you know what I mean). Abby isn’t just teaching Alex how to be a fantastic forward, she’s teaching Alex how to behave on and off the field (something far more important in my opinion, since Alex is extremely talented and could probably do well even without Abby if you ask me).
            As an example, I watched some highlights of the Mia Hamm celebrity soccer game. Obviously Alex was playing on a team comprised of people where not everyone was good (nicely put) at soccer. When she passed the ball to her teammate, who promptly watched it roll out of bounds for no discernable reason, it was clear to me that Alex was ticked off. Abby, who was on the other team, immediately comes over and puts her arm around Alex, talking to her and calming her down. Part of this has to do with Alex’s competitive nature, which is both a blessing and a curse. Another factor is her youth.
            Alex has handled herself incredibly well as the star of the USWNT, really the star of US Soccer, but that doesn’t mean she won’t make mistakes. And in my opinion, as long as Abby (and also level headed friends/teammates such as Cheney and Tobin) is around to ensure she recognizes and recovers from said mistakes, AM is going to be a fine, well-grounded star. Not to say I think the shushing was a mistake, as I stand by my earlier opinion that it was in good, light-hearted fun, I just got to thinking about the points you brought up and found myself unable to stop from writing an essay on said thoughts lol.

          • NYRick

            Now we are getting to the nitty gritty of the discussion. Where do we draw the line for athletes as role models? In the famous words of Joe Pesci in the movie JFK while playing the very creepy David Ferrie describing the Kennedy assassination, “It’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma.” If you haven’t seen it, google the scene it’s incredible.

            First off, I do think Alex is a great role model. The only reason I am citing her in this instance is because it was completely out of character, and in my opinion a low rent move in a game of this nature. She’s too good for that. If that’s holding her to a higher standard unfairly, so be it. If I was TS I would even say something about it privately to her, but he probably won’t. I just think like all of us that women’s soccer (it’s survival and popularity) are not only at an all-time high but more importantly, at a crossroads. What happens in the women’s game with the new league is of massive importance to draw in new fans. Personally, one of the reasons I started watching the women’s game more closely was because I saw the sport for its purity again. Not as fast or as skillful, but devoid of the drama queens who pervade the men’s game. I think the women (especially the big stars like AM) should form their own identity (they’ve really done a good job with this already) and avoid the silly celebrations and posturing the men do in their sport. As the name of this site implies, “Equalizer,” it is about equality for the women’s game, but at the same time that will only be achieved when the women forge their own identity as well. They can never match the men for skill, but they certainly can for entertainment and competitiveness. And in reality, what more can you want from any sport.

        • vert2013

          See I don’t agree that Alex should be held to a higher standard than everyone else. She’s definitely shoved into the spotlight more so than everyone else, but everyone should be held to a high standard, not just the faces of the team.

          I know that’s not the case and we wouldn’t really be talking about this if Pinoe, Carli or anyone else had done it.

      • JoeyP

        Alex’s sush was classless and not needed. You would never see that out of Mia or Abby. The US holds its self to a higher standard and she clearly still needs to mature a bit. She needs to play and act above anything rude that the German fans may be doing.

        • heremerawr

          Never see that from Mia? USSoccer recently posted an older game against Germany in which Mia ran to the sideline doing some sort of fistbump to the crowd. It seemed far, far ruder than what AM did today in my opinion. Abby probably wouldn’t ever do a shush, though, I’ll give you that. Plus it seems more than a little harsh to call the celebration, which only lasted a couple seconds, classless. I could buy that it wasn’t needed, however.

          • stephy_paola

            If a man player did this people wouldn’t be talking about it. There was nothing wrong with her celebration. Here we go again with the double standars in soccer.

          • heremerawr

            Actually, NYRick wrote a lengthy paragraph criticizing Cristiano Ronaldo for his celebrations. It has been mentioned before that one reason people prefer the women’s game is because they are far more modest in their celebrations in comparison to the men. Also, I only brought up the celebration because I thought it was funny, I have nothing against AM for it.

          • Steglitz49

            The only double standard in soccer seems to be that men prefer to watch 3rd-rate men’s teams to first rate ladies’ sides. Women soccer teams thrive in places where there is no men’s team, or where the men’s teams are so poor that they are a laughing stock. The exception is, well understood, where wealthy men’s teams subsidize ladies sides.

    • Don B.

      This was the first time we’ve played in Germany since the World Cup. I don’t know if any of you remember, but a large contingent of the German fans were very rude and obnoxious during the final against Japan, cheering and celebrating whenever the US missed a penalty kick. .I’ll give Alex a pass on shushing them, even though it was a bit out of character.

      • sol1711

        deutsche fans sind unhöflich, geh mal zu einem spiel von dortmund-schalke
        da sind die fans unhöflich, ich habe im deutschen fernsehen nur biersaufende amerikaner gesehen die deutsche fans angepöbelt haben.

      • Steglitz49

        Seeing that Japan put Germany out in the QF which also meant that Germany lost the chance to play in the OG, one would have expected the German crowd to cheer for USA.

        The plucky Nadeshiko had the world apart from USA behind them by then including on account of the disaster to their country, but it does not excuse cheering other player’s misfortune.

    • Steglitz49

      Agree about Cheney. Playing in Lyon seems to agree with Rapinoe.

      15-20 minutes is a bit generous to USA. I would have said 30, but OK. Leonie Maier is a name to watch in 2015.

      Events in the penalty area can be a toss-up. Generally the referees get it right on balance, so the times when they do not stand out. We expect top referees to get it right — after all, that is why they are allowed to take top matches.

      I was missing a few names. Were they on club duty? Or, is TS sending a sign?

    • Don’t agree about Cheney. She plays attacking mid like False 9. She really hurts the team anywhere but in the attacking third. And she is one of the least efficient players I’ve ever seen in scoring positions, producing miss after miss. She cannot hold the ball in the midfield under pressure and does not know how to pace and organize a team. Cheney does have good qualities and they were on display against Germany, but her game falls way short of the position’s requirements.

      • necron99

        She had some good moments in this match. However she had 3 open shots where she put no mustard on the ball at all. Completely weak shots to the near post each time. It would have been hard to get much more on that one timer on the cross, but overall needs to do much more with her shots. It isn’t only in this game either.

        • NYRick

          Good point on Cheney. Her finishing in not just this game but in really the past year has left much to be desired. Her header goal is this game however was legal and the offsides was the wrong call.

          • necron99

            Yes, her header was onside and it was a bs call. It is weird but she just doesn’t seem to put anything at all on her shots in the box. This is true in any game I can remember in the last few years. She does hit a powerful shot from outside the box on occasion. I cant reconcile the two. Hell I would have thought she would put more on the second shot after the first failed.

          • NYRick

            I honestly thought after WC11 that she was going to be the player the USWNT built around. But her game has gone backwards for nearly two years. It may have something to do with Pia jerking her around between forward and attacking mid. I think as somewhat of a hybrid her confidence and scoring touch disappeared.

            I guess for her AM arrived in a big way too. That kind of put her in limbo as well. She does have talent and vision, but is extremely slow of foot and tends to look awkward and flop a lot lately when easily touched. Maybe she is starting to turn the corner with this past game. I thought she played pretty well. Especially the long ball to AM for the goal. Tremendous touch and bend on that long pass.

  • NYRick

    Anyone else think Boxx is a dirty player? Take another look at the hit she put on Marozsan that took her out of the game. That was dirty and Boxx does it continually game in and game out. I think she is starting to account for a lost step or two with chippy play. Plus, when you hurt the other team’s star, you put on bullseye on AM. It really needs to stop. Personally, I think we have better options in midfield too.

    Not hating on her at all. Totally respect her for all she’s bought to the program and courageously dealing with her illness too. That is incredible. Just starting to think it’s time for her. What is really left to accomplish with the national team for her other than hinder a younger talent’s progress. I know I’m going to get hit with what a great holding mid she is, but quite frankly, I don’t see that anymore.

    • Chris.

      She’s there to mentor the young players , same with Rampone. As of now no one can replace her position, and that’s one of the hardest positions to fill.

      • NYRick

        Well if mentoring them means teaching them to play chippy, she’s doing a good job lately. And her position can and will be filled, and filled quite well. Everyone is replacable. The USWNT is a well funded and deep machine right now. They will continue to spit out incredible talent 3-4 deep at every position for years to come. Every top female athlete in the this country will at one point in her youth dabble at soccer. Not so for our male top athletes.

    • heremerawr

      I agree with you that Boxxy is losing her touch. The only problem is… we have yet to find someone to replace her. Broon did well in the spot when she tested it out, but she’s even better as a central midfielder. Someone suggested Julie Johnston as she plays the defensive midfielder in college, but she’s also untested. Averbuch is more of an attacking midfielder and I can’t really think of anyone else to step in quite yet. Sermanni needs to start grooming a replacement, but as of right now, Boxxy is the most qualified in that position.

      • soccerlove101

        Becky Edwards should she play well for the Thorns I think she will be called upon duty for the full team.

        • heremerawr

          I have not seen much of her play. I’ll be sure to watch out for her in the opening match against Kansas City.

    • Anton

      I don’t see anyone on the current roster who could play DM half as well as Boxx can. If Becky Edwards plays as well as I expect her to in Portland, she’ll be Boxx’s replacement before long.

      • Steglitz49

        Amber Brooks maybe?

      • Silly to call Boxx a dirty player, physical and not naive is how I would describe her. But it’s time to transition to a new player. Averbuch is excellent as a holding center mid, a great passing player with vision, and Keelin Winters is another superb candidate. I would love to see a bit more experimentation as suggested above with Brooks, Edwards, and Johnston. Boxx is still great, but it is unrealistic to expect her to carry on at the age of 35 at the same level.

    • Steglitz49

      Your point is well taken. Last year the Canadians lost sympathy because of their assertive play in friendly practice matches.

      Teams that win a lot are often envied. It does not take a degree in astrophysics to figure out that one way of hamstringing USA is to take their top player out of a tournament for good. Because of the envy factor, such behavior might not get the censure it deserves.

    • Kernel Thai

      I have to admit my feed was spotty but I didnt see it as a dirty play. Marozsan stuck her foot in Boxxes arm pit trying to reach around for the ball. Boxx goes down which she does a lot and Marozsan gets caught under her weight. Ill have to check it out again when I get a chance to watch the match again.

    • vert2013

      I wouldn’t say she’s a dirty player, I just think she’s slowed down a little bit and hasn’t changed her game accordingly. Her tackles have been a little bit off recently but I think it’s just an adjustment thing, she needs to approach the play a different way that she used to.

  • Allie

    Anyone know what Abby was talking about on Twitter? She said something about “being gutted that the team didn’t get the 3 points”. I thought it was a friendly? https://twitter.com/AbbyWambach/status/320256989873709057

    • heremerawr

      Perhaps just another way of saying she wished they got the win? I dunno otherwise.

    • LCLondoner

      I think it was nothing more than a soccer figure of speech.

      • Allie

        OK, makes sense. I just thought it was odd she specifically said “three points” when she could’ve said “gutted we didn’t get the win”.

    • vert2013

      I think it’s 3 points in the FIFA ranking system. Could be wrong though.

      • Steglitz49

        The FIFA ranking points depend (mainly) on the quality of the teams and whether it is in a competition or a friendly. (Home ground may count in a friendly.)

        An oddity of the FIFA system, at least for the ladies, was shown by Germany’s rating points not changing in 2012 when they did not play in the Olympics while Japan’s fell because they drew with South-Africa; reaching the OG final did not make up for that group-game draw. Another peculiarity is that the ladies’ ranks include matches all the way back to 1971, and is not a running 4-year average as for the men.

        In 2015 being ranked 5th and not 6th will matter because Canada as hosts are automatically seeded in the top flight, thus making spot 6 a second ranked seed independent of where Canada lies on the seed-table.

        • vert2013

          It’s FIFA and women’s soccer. It’s a miracle that they have a ranking system at all for them, having it make sense would just be a bonus. I was aware that the ladies goes all the way back to 1971 which I would guess was the first FIFA sanctioned international match, could be wrong but that would make sense.

          • Steglitz49

            It is sponsored by Coca-Cola. The idea behind the system is to show a country improving (and, as a corollary, a country falling) from time immemorial. Japan illustrates this well.

            In Oct 2007 Japan was 11th, in Mar-08 10th, Sep-08 9th, Mar-09 7th, Sep-09 6th, Mar-11 4th and Dec-11 3rd, where they have remained. Sweden was sliding but seems to have steadied.

            The weakness of the ranking is illustrated by Japan. In spite of winning the world cup and being 2nd in the olympics, Japan has not gotten beyond #3. In football, being world champion is what counts.

          • Anton

            That’s because the FIFA world rankings are a complete and utter joke, for both men and women, more so for the men though. The only point of it is to squeeze some more money out of Coca-Cola and make some countries seem better than they really are.

            The current Men’s rankings have Brazil in 18th….. 18th, while they have Portugal 7th, the same Portugal that’s currently 3rd in their group behind Russia and Israel and is in danger of not even qualifying for the WC.

            Back in 2006, they had us 4th, which got the whole American media going crazy thinking we were a possible favorite for the WC. When in reality, that team was not even close to being the 4th best squad in the world, as shown in the group stage. Even beforehand, most with half a brain back then knew that that team was getting severely overrated. Now they have us 33rd, which is severely underrating us.

          • Steglitz49

            Another example is that Japan remained in 4th spot below Brazil in the rankings after their World Championship (Sep-11). The reason for that was that the Nadeshiko lost to England in the group game and that matches settled on penalties count as draws.

            If there was a perfect way of doing the rankings, no doubt FIFA would use it. The rankings affect seeding for WC qualifiers and also the seeding for the groups at the tournaments, so the rankings are not academic.

        • Kernel Thai

          Good! Im still miffed about Norio’s tactical draw.

  • Steglitz49

    Today is Pillow Fight Day and the Danish FA has bought 200 pillows and invited spectators to a pillow fight with the Danish WNT. Hopefully there will be some pictures or video of the feathers flying. A new form of soccer training with a smile, obviously.

  • NYRick

    Anyone else want to see Press and Morgan upfront as forwards against the Netherlands? For a full 90, and at least for one game. It really needs to be seen and this is a game the US should dominant handily anyway. Why not?

    I know Press will play, but probably as an attacking mid, with Syd up front with Alex. I don’t think TS will sit Alex. He definitely should sit Abby in this game. But if Alex didn’t play, then Press-Syd would be kind of interesting too. If TS could experiment with Dunn and Mewis on the backline against Germany in Germany, then there is no reason not to at least give AM-Press a try up top. I think it’s one of those things US women soccer fans (especially me) would really like to see.

    • Steglitz49

      The NL are not terribly highly ranked, so TS should experiment wildly and widely. The NL are likely to benefit more from this match than the USA.

      • Anton

        Experiment wildly you say?

        Morgan
        Heath – Wambach – Lloyd’s work ethic – Rapinoe
        Rampone – Barnhart – Krieger – Sermanni
        Harris – Sauerbrunn

        • Steglitz49

          The crowd expect to see Alex so play her for the first half. Play no-one aged >28. Agree as many substitutes as possible and use them liberally.

          • newsouth

            Who said that? They aren’t play a friendly in the USA. Press and Sydney’s turn at forward. Also, it would put Press in her natural position and give her a squad to carry.

          • Steglitz49

            Holland is a football-loving nation. Their men have played in 3 WC-finals, though unsucesfully. The Dutch gave us the off-side trap and Total Football (though some would say that the Great Turin side already played that way). Ajax have just started a ladies’ section.

            It is said that when the emperor Augustus visited Alexander the Great’s sarcophagus, he laid a crown of gold on it and scattered flowers to pay his respects. When they asked if he wanted to see Ptolemy’s tomb too, he said: “I wanted to see a king, not corpses”.

            In the same spirit, it would be a disrespectful for USA not to field Alex for at least for part of the game.

          • heremerawr

            To add on to what Steglitz is saying, it seems very clear that TS wants to build his final starting line up around Alex, which can be seen in the fact that Alex has started every game except the 2nd Scotland game as TS prudently wished to avoid worsening Alex’s injury. Press should play with Alex because we all want to see how well the duo work together.

          • newsouth

            wambach is being phased out, as the primary forward. that’s why morgan gets the starts. press just barely has 1 hand full of caps. you wont see her real impact until early – mid 2014, and sydney is just too raw, so by default morgan is the primary forward. who knows what the future holds when press and sydney are comfort on the pitch and game plans are adjusted to their skill sets. but it’s time to give press a squad and see can she replicate her sweden, stanford and wps success, as the GO TO girl.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Press has changed teams in Sweden. Soon we shall see how brightly her star shines. In the curtain raiser to the new season her old club bested her new club on pso (though she scored the equalizer).

            TS has a different headache in attack, namely Lindsey Horan, because if that young lady continues to develop, it will be a brave manager not to pick her for the 2015 squad. It is, admittedly, a nice headache to have, but one that will only go away owing to a serious injury. TS does not seem too interested in Sarah Hagen.

            Finally, if there are no fans and spectators we have no sport. The customer is always right. The Dutch spectators would no doubt feel short-changed if Alex did not play if only for a token 15 min at the end, just as Americans would if they paid to watch Sweden’s men and Zlatan did not play.

          • heremerawr

            Morgan is also only the second person to become part of the 20/20 club and has a higher goal aggregate after 3 years in comparison to Wambach (in comparison to anyone actually). Alex Morgan is an amazing player and until Press and Syd prove otherwise, I’m skeptical that they will be able to measure up. Syd has yet to prove herself in a pro league and the Swedish league is like every other European league — several very good teams followed by a drop-off in talent. I want to see Press prove herself at the national level the way Alex has, not have people telling me she’s as good as Alex because she did well in leagues that weren’t nearly as competetive as the national level is. This team is and should be built around Alex, much in the way Barcelona has built their team around Messi, because she is the best player the US has, both as a goal scorer and distributor of the ball. If AM does well the US will do well.

          • NYRick

            I agree with all you said. I’m a big supporter of Press and feel she not only deserves a chance, but she will deliver big time when she gets it. But this is Alex’s team. Everything should revolve and go through her. TS is no dummy, but he’d surely have to be one not to understand that. As she goes, so does the US team. She is really the only player they can’t afford to lose to injury.

            If I was an opposing coach playing the US (and it seems only the Japan coach fully understands this), I would gameplan everything (and I mean everything) around just stopping her. If Abby scores off a set piece or if Pinoe beats me, so be it. I would assign one defender just to purely mark her on the pitch and make sure she is always 10 feet in front of you at all costs. Tell that defender to ignore everything else including the run of play. It still might not work, but It is the only way to beat the US team. You can’t match them for talent, but hopefully you can smartly gameplan against them. And the one game plan that should be put in one foot high letters on a blackboard in the lockerroom for any US opposition is “STOP #13.”

      • vert2013

        NL isn’t highly ranked but their ranking isn’t a really accurate portrayal of their ability. They played very well and almost beat Canada in the Cyprus Cup last month. I don’t think they’re going to be a real challenge like Germany but I think they’re probably level with Australia even though the rankings say otherwise.

        I also really want to see Alex and Press up top. Press is quick and has shown to have a better 90 minute game than Syd although it’s been at midfield. Press also doesn’t have flank midfield down yet, she sometimes gets caught high leaving her defender out to dry but she’s still new to it. I’d like to see her up top though.

        • Steglitz49

          Your point is well taken that after €uro-13 we shall know where the NL stand. Nevertheless, only a couple of teams apart from Germany and Japan can consistently give USA a run for their money, so this is a golden opportunity to experiment against a good though not outstanding team.

          Let’s trust it is an enjoyable match. Is it known whether any distinguished persons will attend such as Cruiff or Schenk?

          • vert2013

            US Soccer released a video earlier today and it looks like TS is going to do the same thing he did at Algarve with a total lineup change. Not a big shocker.

            The way it worked out though, between the Algarve final and the friendly the other day he saw everyone start against Germany except for Harris, Kling and Johnston, 2 of which weren’t even in Portugal. I’m feeling that was planned.

    • heremerawr

      Agreed. I really want to see Press playing as forward, especially with AM. Then I feel I’ll finally be able to form a true opinion of her attacking prowess as she won’t be playing out of position.

      • Steglitz49

        What profits it a team … but for to beat the NL?