XI WoSo Moment of 2016: USWNT makes earliest exit in world tournament

Allison Lee December 30, 2016 130
The USWNT is out of a major tournament at the quarterfinal stage for the first time ever. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

The USWNT is out of a major tournament at the quarterfinal stage for the first time ever. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

After the United States women’s national team’s stunning run to become the 2015 World Cup champions, many fans around the world thought the USWNT was poised to be the first team to win a World Cup and Olympic gold in consecutive years. After all, the USWNT had won gold in the previous three Olympic tournaments.

However, not only did the USWNT fail to win Olympic gold in Rio, but they failed to even medal, being eliminated by Sweden in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round. It was the earliest exit ever by the USWNT in a major world tournament.

Previously, the worst result for the USWNT in a major tournament was third place, where the USWNT finished in each of the 1995, 2003 and 2007 World Cups. The worst Olympic finish for the team was silver, which the team earned in the 2000 Olympics after falling 3-2 to Norway in the gold-medal match. Because of the team’s prior Olympic history though, even fans who were skeptical of the USWNT winning gold thought the team would at least return to the medal podium for the second time in just over a year.

The team seemed well on their way to do just that, opening their Olympic tournament with a strong showing against New Zealand. The USWNT played some of their best soccer all year, looking much more cohesive than in any of their previous matches. Carli Lloyd scored the game-winning goal in just the ninth minute, while Alex Morgan scored an insurance goal in the first minute of the second half to defeat the Football Ferns, 2-0.

However, the second match of the group stage did not go as smoothly for the USWNT. France was a much stronger opponent than New Zealand, and the U.S. suffered some of the same problems that had plagued them for much of the year. While the U.S. had trouble connecting passes and maintaining possession of the ball, France seamlessly controlled the ball in their own offensive half for much of the match. France also outshot the U.S. 14-7, but Hope Solo made five big saves to preserve the shut out. Lloyd also came through with the game-winning goal in the 62nd minute to once again win the game and put the U.S. at the top of their group.

{MORE: Solo hits milestone, gets fired in ’16 | Germany snag elusive Olympic gold}

Group play ended with the USWNT facing Colombia, who on paper should have been the easiest opponent the U.S. faced but turned out to be the most difficult. Unlike in the previous match against France, Solo seemed off her game and made a number of goalkeeping errors, allowing two shots by Catalina Usme to slip by. Luckily for Solo, Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn each scored a goal, ending the match in a 2-2 draw and progressing the USWNT into the elimination stage, where they would take on Sweden.

Sweden proved to be a dauntless opponent for the USWNT, and the U.S. attack was unable to penetrate the bunker-style defense implemented by former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage’s side. The match remained scoreless throughout the first half, but goals by Sweden’s Stina Blackstenius and Alex Morgan saw the match tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. Two goals negated by the offside flag and a lack of finishing by the USWNT saw the match still tied at the end of extra time, and the game was sent to a penalty kick shootout. Both Morgan and Christen Press failed to convert, while only Linda Sembrant failed to convert for Sweden. Sweden outshot the U.S. 4-3 in the shootout, sending them to the Olympic semifinal round and sending the USWNT home early.

Although the result counted as a tie and the USWNT would finish 2016 technically undefeated, the failure to medal in an Olympic Games undoubtedly felt like one of the most painful losses the USWNT and its fans have ever suffered.

  • Steglitz49

    From the other side of the Pond:

    England’s Rachel Yankey and Ireland’s goalie Emma Byrne have both left Arsenal after wonderful careers, according to Arsenal.

    Yankey helped the Gunnerettes win 8 League titles, 9 FA Cups and one Champions League (had a different name back then) during 20 years. That win in 2007 gave Arsenal the quadruple. She has played 129 times for England.

    Rachel has also worked thoroughly at the grassroots level of WoSo, running her own football programme and mentoring young players. Her efforts were recognised with an OBE in 2014, the same award as Bobby Moore and Gordon Banks got for their services to soccer.

    Emma Byrne played for Arsenal for 17 years. She helped the club to 11 league titles, 10 FA Cups, 5 League (now called Conti) Cups, as well as that Champions League and Quadruple as well as an earlier Treble. Internationally, Byrne has been Ireland’s #1 GK throughout her career. She has 125 senior caps.

  • Steglitz49

    More news from the other side of the Pond:

    5th International Turbine Hallencup 2017 will take place on January 28th and 29th with 8 teams. It is a ladies 5 à side tournament:
    — Group 1: St Pölten, Glasgow City, Fortuna Hjørring & Sparta Prag
    — Group 2: Potsdam, Stabæk, MTK Hungária & Sporting Lissabon

    The previous winners are: 2013 Brøndby 2014 & 2015 Potsdam, 2016 St Pölten.

  • mockmook

    Speaking of end of the year / beginning of the year “stuff”

    I see that the Technical Reports for both the 2016 Olympics and the U-17 WWC are at FIFA (no sign of the U-20 Report yet)

    http://www.fifa.com/about-fifa/official-documents/development/technical-study-group-reports/women.html

    And, for those “panicked” by the U-17/U-20 WWC results, it should be noted that of all the players on the 2008 U-17 and 2010 U-20 WWC teams, only Dunn and S.Mewii regularly play on the USWNT.
    (Well, Leroux was also on that U-20 team)

    ——-

    And, I think we should be seeing the Preliminary List of players signed up for the 2017 NWSL draft around Tuesday of next week. The draft is on the 12th.

    • JL

      The list of available draftees wasn’t released until 2 days before the draft this year.

      • mockmook

        Au contraire, Pierre.

        The PRELIMINARY list was released more that a week prior to the draft (and it contained all the actual draftees except a couple of late picks).

        http://equalizersoccer.com/2016/01/06/2016-nwsl-college-draft-eligible-players-list/

        • Steglitz49

          What happened to the ones that did not get selected? Have they gotten on with their lives and are well on the way to becoming attorneys, doctors or accountants? Or, just working in beauty saloons polishing nails and the nearest to soccer they get is doing a Brazilian wax?

    • Steglitz49

      Maybe if Sam Mewis had made the OG-16 roster, the gold would have been the US’s?

    • #1Fan

      Interesting read. Ty.

      • Steglitz49

        I read a few of them and their blind style reminds me of the National Geographical. The text skates over and ignores the key elements. In short there is no insight and no attempt at constructive analysis. At least the photos are of high quality, so let’s be grateful for small mercies.

    • Bruce

      Would love to be able to browse that full database. Really cool stuff.

  • guest

    Lawrence signing with PSG and skipping NWSL (as many expected)
    per Meg Linehan article on Excelle Sports site
    “French soccer news outlet Cœurs de Foot reported on Friday that Canadian midfielder Ashley Lawrence has officially been signed by Paris Saint-Germain of Division 1 Féminine. While the team has yet to officially confirm the move, Lawrence choosing to bypass the National Women’s Soccer League to head to Europe has been rumored for months.”

    Kadeisha Buchanan is also widely expected to sign to play in France.
    Given that Lawrence and Buchanan are already regulars on Canadian WNT and therefore would have been Canadian allocated players in NWSL, is perhaps another indication that whatever amount the Canadian federation pays to allocated NWSL players is not high enough to prevent some top players heading to Europe.

    • Bruce

      Any idea how much the Canadian federation pays allocated players? I’ve read before that it is not public info, but maybe I’ve missed something.

      • Rdalford

        no current info.
        not clear to me (and have not seen any recent published info) how the Canadian WNT pay is structured ( is it base WNT contract $$ with no additional federation $ for allocated players – or is it base WNT contract $$ plus additional federation $ for allocated players – or ?).
        also not clear to me how much the Canadian WNT players are paid (regardless of how it is structured)
        Some of the Canadian WNT players (Sinclair etc) also get additional $$ from sponsors.

        Back in 2014 when Canadian WNT player Desiree Scott left FCKC and signed to play with Notes County in FAWSL some articles reported that Canadian WNT player were getting approx $20K in 2013 to play in NWSL. The articles did not specify if this $20K was in addition to a base contract amount – or whether the $20K was the base contract with no additional $$ for playing in NWSL – relevant quote in Jeff Kassouf EQ article from Jan 2, 2014 “Almost every Canadian player earned less than $20,000 for NWSL play in 2013”

        My understanding is that Canadian players now have some sort of base contract with their federation and pay is somewhat better than before. I think the WNT players and Canadian federation have a good working relationship, but Canadian WNY players did form a “Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team Players’ Association ” recently to handle future WNT labor negotiations with Canadian federation.

        • Rdalford

          fyi –
          CBC Sports article published Apr 6, 2016 titled “Canadian Soccer Association opaque on women’s pay” includes a statement that might indicate Canadian federation pays one salary that covers both WNT activities and NWSL play.
          “The CSA pays the salaries of its players who compete in the professional National Women’s Soccer League ….
          The CSA told CBC Sports that the salaries it pays also cover players’ appearances for the women’s national team.”

          but article went on to note
          “The CSA declined to disclose either its salary range for the female players or the per-match figure paid to the men. It’s even unclear whether different players receive different compensation rates.”

          not clear from what I can find in published articles whether Canada federation WNT salary payments are contingent on NWSL play and/or adjusted if player plays in Europe etc.

          Lawrence and Buchanan could be making a choice to play in France for soccer reasons (experience with more technical, tactical style etc), but would expect that $$/Euro’s they are to be paid is also a factor.

          • Steglitz49

            What young lady would not love to live in Paris and be paid for the pleasure?

            Seeing that the next world championship is in France, she might as well play in France.

            Granted PSG no longer has Zlatan but the club invests in its ladies team and is in the QF of the ladies Champions League with a respected head coach.

        • Steglitz49

          $20,000 does not sound enough but goes a long way towards explaining why so many Canadian players plied and continue to ply their trade in Europe.

          Even moderate European clubs can find that sort of money to get a quality player from abroad. Seeing that WC-19 will be in France, the CSA and Herdman may well want players based in Europe.

      • Steglitz49

        Those two may well be playing abroad with CSA’s and Herdman’s blessings. Saves the CSA money and Herdman can allocate someone else.

    • guest

      lawrence could very well have taken the roster spot opening from crystal dunn. let’s wait and see if dunn is interested in any other french teams besides the big two.

      • Steglitz49

        “been given” not “taken”

        There is Montpellier, Juvisy and St Etienne, alos Marseille, Guingamp and Rodez.

      • Guest

        unfortunate if true. I’d really like to see Crystal spend a season abroad. She is a player who could probably benefit from it.

        • Steglitz49

          There is no shortage of teams abroad that would love to have Crystal Dunn. Given her (lack of) size, maybe Japan or South-Korea would be obvious first ports of call?

      • guest

        Lawrence isn’t a better player than Dunn IMO… though she was probably asking for less money

        • DNG

          I think the bigger issues is UEFA team not believing they will be able to hold onto Americans who are already in the USWNT long term. USWNT players are essentially mercenaries if they play in Europe

          • Steglitz49

            “know”, not “believe”

          • Claire Fontaroo

            Besides Paris and Lyon no UEFA team is looking after USWNT players. And the rosters of those two teams will be full eventually

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. At the same time there are an awful lot of teams out there who would be pleased to take foreign talent.

            Those who do not ask, do not get.

        • Steglitz49

          The Emir ensures that PSG has more than enough money.

      • guest

        call me crazy. but i doubt dunn is interested in any french team not named lyon or psg. gotta collect that check and trophy.

        • Steglitz49

          There is always Japan and South-Korea though they play summer seasons which clash with the NWSL, as do the Nordic countries who have just bled players to the richer leagues.

          As I typed elsewhere, if she wants to master the art of the French kitchen there is no shortage of other teams in D1. The most obvious ones being Montpellier, Juvisy and St Etienne, but also Marseille, Guingamp and Rodez, though as you note, her pay would be less.

  • Steglitz49

    The article could be interpreted that the author did not watch the QF match as it unfolded.

    There is no mention of the appallingly bad referee crew. They set a new standard for uselessness even by the low ones of WoSo.

    As for the pso, there is no mention of Hope’s gamesmanship. Also, the description of the pso is actually faulty.

    Briefly Alex Morgan did not “miss” her penalty. It was saved by Hedvig Lindahl, the Swedish keeper (who was not included in the vote list for POTY). Christen Press did miss hers, hoofing the ball over the bar.

    Finally, the author provides no analysis why it could go so pear-shaped for the USWNT in a match where they totally dominated their opponents. The somewhat snide and derogatory “bunker-style defense” is a classic opt-out of providing a thorough analysis.

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    • anon

      Dude, shut up. I like Morgan but she missed her penalty. It was a very weak shot almost straight at the keeper. She is notoriously awful at PKs and never should have taken one. She would have been better off taking a stronger shot to Lindahl’s left which is more comfortable for her and usually less comfortable a save for the GK, esp if they are right handed.

      • HOFCToDi

        Christen Press sucks.

        Christen Press
        Summer Olympic Games
        Goals – 0
        Assists – 0

        Christen Press
        SheBelieves Cup
        Goals – 0
        Assists – 0

        Christen Press
        CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
        Knockout Stage
        Goals – 0
        Assists – 0

        Christen Press
        FIFA Women’s World Cup
        Goals – 1
        Assists – 0

        • anon

          wtf? i didn’t say anything about christen press

          • HOFCToDi

            Alex Morgan is the only individual in the entire USWNT player pool that has scored a goal against SWE in the last four years.

            ussoccer.com/stories/2016/08/12/19/37/160812-wnt-falls-to-sweden-4-3-in-penalty-shootout-after-1-1-draw-in-2016-olympic-quarterfinals

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup/150612-wntvswe#tab-1

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2014-algarve-cup/140307-wnt-v-swe#tab-1

            ussoccer.com/stories/2014/03/17/13/10/wnt-wins-group-b-at-2013-algarve-cup-to-advance-to-final

            By the way, Christen Press is not on the list.

          • Steglitz49

            Anon may not be a Christen groupie.

            S/he may simply not understand soccer.

          • anon

            sorry but you don’t understand soccer if you don’t think Alex missed her PK. give me a break. In some ways hers was even worse than Press’ (who also had a terrible kick) because it was so low and slow.

          • Steglitz49

            Though it amounts to the same result (0) and though it also may seem semantics, nevertheless there is a difference between having your PK saved by an alert goalie and missing the target.

            I am not defending the low quality of Alex’s poor kick but it is incorrect to type that she missed her PK when it was saved. The credit goes to the goalie. The fact that Hedvig Lindahl is an inconsistent goalie makes the save doubly embarrassing.

          • Steglitz49

            You implied it by claiming that Alex “missed” her penalty. Alex didn’t. Hers was saved. It was Christen who missed hers by hoofing it over the bar, like Carli in Frankfurt 5 years earlier.

          • anon

            No. If you don’t get a point for your PK, you missed it. See: those little red X’s on the top of your TV screen that appear whether the kick was saved or “sailed over the bar”. Alex and Press missed their PKs. Lloyd, Horan, and Brian made them. 2 reds, 3 greens. Bye.

          • Steglitz49

            The red X indicates failing to score. It makes no statement about how that was achieved. Get it? Failing to score. Please confirm.

            A pk can be saved or miss the target. The save is to the credit of the goalie. Missing means missing the target. It is owed only to the penalty taker.

            My point was a larger one: that the author probably did not watch the match live as it unfolded so did not understand the guts and bolts. She only typed from and fleshed out a summary sheet.

          • Steglitz49

            In the sense that you disagreed with my analysis of the verb to miss as in “missed” her penalty. You equated Alex Morgan with Christen Press. You must know by now that that is like a red rag to a bull to HOFCToDi.

            Meanwhile, you also must have noted that the Pressgang has lain decidedly low if not under the surface of the sea since this fall. Fall from grace, indeed.

      • Gary Diver

        PK shootouts are a cruel way to end a major tournament match. The only thing that anybody remembers is who “missed” their PKs. Usually a team does not win a shootout – the other team loses it. In the OG16 QF match, USWNT lost it and they lost it because of Alex Morgan, Jill Ellis switching Carli Lloyd ahead of Christen Press, and Press’ stressed out field goal.

        Your comments about Morgan are spot on. How can a superstar forward be so bad at PKs? Christine Sinclair would never mess up an important PK as Morgan did. AND missing the first PK in a shootout is usually fatal.

        Not only was Morgan’s PK was extremely weak, it was exactly the same kick as she attempted at the end of the previous NWSL season against Kansas City where Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron claimed afterwards she “had secret information” that told her which Morgan was going to do before she attempted it. So strange and stranger yet that Morgan attempted the same weak shot against Sweden. Alex Morgan may be a superstar, but she is god-awful at PKs.

        http://www.oregonlive.com/portland-thorns/2015/08/portland_thorns_christine_sinc_4.html

        • Steglitz49

          You could argue that Alex Morgan is to WoSo what Charlotte Kalla is to skiing — unless you prefer the Blackstenius or Miyama analogies.

        • guest

          I think it cheapens the sport in some ways. It’s just such a lame way to win. The whole strategy of parking the bus and hoping for a PK shootout turns some people I know off of watching the game of soccer. I don’t know what a better solution would be … some have been proposed.

          • Steglitz49

            The quality of WoSo refereeing must be improved.

            If the QF had been refereed by a competent crew, a pso would not have been needed. Likewise, Carli would have been booked in the 10th minute, not the 110th.

            You must win the games that matter. Losing the ones that don’t matter carries no significant price tag.

            You play with the players you have, not the ones you would like to have but don’t. This determines your strategy and tactics. The winner takes it all; losers weep.

            Sweden came off their worst loss ever. Worst. Ever. They got into the QF by the skin of their teeth. Yet, the Swedes inflicted the worst ever and most embarrassing exit on the USWNT in spite of the sorry excuse for a ref crew. Worst. Ever.

          • Paul Klee

            You know my solution penalties before extra-time.

          • DNG

            I agree. It’s not perfect but it could definitely add some intrigue to extra time.

          • Steglitz49

            The first step is to raise the quality of the refereeing. Without quality refereeing games are meaningless.

          • Paul Klee

            Yeah you could always go into shell, but to repel a relentless onslaught for 30 min woud be tough. Kind of like 30 minutes of injury time with one team down by a goal.

          • Steglitz49

            Yawn. Why bother with the extra time if one side has won the pso 3-0.

          • mockmook

            From what I saw, you never fully explained you PSO before ET system and the rationale behind it.

          • DNG

            You do the PSO before extra time so that each team knows what the result is before starting extra time. If a bunkering team like Sweden loses the PSO they are then forced to play attacking football for extra time to try and win in extra time.

          • Steglitz49

            Please refrain from using the derogatory term “bunkering” for a superb defensive effort. The Swedish defense was highly organized and kept its shape. Defending so long is tiring.

            Please instead accept the USWNT impotence. They could not perform on the big stage when it mattered. Useless. The sorry excuse of a ref crew kept the US in the game and to a pso.

            You conveniently forget that with a ref crew, who had known and applied the laws of soccer, Sweden would have won the game in play. The refereeing of this match was a scandal — and even worse because it was in a major tournament.

          • DNG

            It’s bunkering. They were playing 9 and sometimes 10 women behind the ball. If you chose to take that as a derogatory description that is your prerogative. I have no issues with the way Sweden elected to play. Fair play to them since their chances in an open game with the US are not good.

          • Steglitz49

            I think we can agree that with a competent ref crew Sweden should have won the game in regulation — at worst in extra time.

            “Bunkering” is a loaded word. Such words are best avoided. It was, as you type, an expertly executed game-plan but the unmerited extra time took its toll by the final.

            Dunn was the serious threat to Sweden and, as has been noted elsewhere, Crystal seems to be the one player likely to join Alex on a decent contract with a major club.

            The Swedes showed early that their counter-attacks — transition play, if you prefer — were a real threat. Like at Stalingrad, the attackers failed to cover their back. The difference was that on the banks of the Volga there were no incompetent refs to pull their fat out of the fire.

          • DNG

            Eh even Dunn I didn’t always see as dangerous. She was able to get crosses in against tired legs but crossing into a box full of defenders waiting isn’t my idea of especially dangerous.

          • Steglitz49

            The painter has you blocked like s/he has me so you won’t get an answer.

            It is a daft idea. I can’t see how it adds value. Asinine, in short.

          • guest

            could always do what the nhl does. have an overtime with less players on the field for each team to encourage a result.

          • #1Fan

            Get better. Score goals. Win the game. Penos have been in the game for years, but because the US falls could of them we need rule changes? I dont think so. Big teams face this all the time and find a way to get it done.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. Sweden certainly did, and twice to boot. As for Japan …

          • DNG

            Not that I think the game should be changed but I’ve always hated PSOs. One of the many reasons I prefer league titles to single elimination tournaments.

          • #1Fan

            As do I. Its the US culture that created playoffs and single elimination to determine winners. In Europe, the league winner is far more exalted than the cup winner. Take MLS for example. The MLS Cup format makes the league pretty much irrelevant. I think a season says a lot more about a team or a player that an one off game. However, in WCs and Olympics, it is what it is.

            What you are seeing is that in WoSo the focus is shifting a bit to stopping teams from playing rather than outplaying them. The quality of attacking play needs to adapt to it. Its not good enough at present in my opinion.

          • DNG

            WC and Olympics are what they are. A big part of the excitement of those tournaments are the chance of upsets like Iceland at the Euros this year. I think playoffs work fine in sports that can have 7 game series but you can’t do that in Soccer.

            A tactical shift to stopping teams from playing as oppose to always trying to outplay your opponent was inevitable and a necessary step to grow the game. As you say, it’s now up to the players to adapt to the way the game has changed. AM seems to have recognized this in a 180 from her previous stance of not wanting to go to Europe. Who knows how much or even if it will help her but it seems the understanding is there.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden and Canada in OG-16. Let’s wait and see what the Icelandic ladies can do in Euro-17.

            Alex has played her hand to perfection.

            Alex Morgan has served the NWSL loyally for 4 years unlike other players that we can mention. She has settled comfortably into her marriage.

            By playing hard to get, Lyon have agreed to pay Alex an amount of money we have not heard of for a WoSo player since Marta in her heyday. She has raised the bar for all WoSo players, not just for herself.

            Stop being snide about Alex Morgan.

          • DNG

            By Alex Morgan’s on admittance, she knows she needs to improve.

          • Steglitz49

            All the great ones recognize deficiencies in themselves that they can improve on.
            — Marta would say the same. Stenmark still maintains he never skied a perfect race.

            Alex Morgan is WoSo’s superstar. It helps that she is American rather than Norwegian or Swedish, but even after this miserable OG, Alex’s star is brighter than Däbritz’s, Blackstenius’s or DZ’s.

            Alex will earn in 5 months with Lyon about the same or even more than any of the other USWNT players will make in the whole year. That is what she commands. In addition, her private endorsements will not be small.

          • Steglitz49

            The Cup and the League are co-equal and doing the so-called Double is a rare honor.

            The men’s FA cup Final is the singly biggest domestic team sports event world wide. It is the final of the time-honored challenge cup that made soccer what it is.

            The Champions League final exceeds the FA Cup final and ultimately the World Cup, of course.

            As for the change in WoSo pattern, what you are seeing is a greater equality between teams. Ultimately, WoSo at the NT level will be dominated by the big nations and small countries like Norway, Sweden, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands will have less bites at the cherry. For now those mice can still roar.

          • mockmook

            You can have a tie at 3-3 as easy as 0-0

            The problem still needs to be resolved.

            And, I don’t think the ROW is any more enamored with PSO’s than we are.

            “Win the game”

            What a simplistic, useless piece of drivel…

          • Steglitz49

            The ROW has accepted it. The Golden Goal failed. Nothing else has so far found favor.

            #1Fan is prone to making self-evident statements. The risk is that he blocks you, like the Painter has.

          • DNG

            With the limited number of subs, I don’t think there is a realistic way to just get rid of PSOs as much as I dislike them. If players could play forever and never get tired I’d fully support golden goal until there is a winner.

          • mockmook

            “I don’t think there is a realistic way to just get rid of PSOs”

            Yes there is, some variant of this:

            http://disq.us/p/1ex33ke

            And, clever minds can come up with many other proposals that honor the spirit of playing soccer while expeditiously concluding the game.

          • DNG

            Maybe. I feel as if your proposed solution is quite a bit different from the actual game still but I guess you would have a point that PSOs are as well. My stance is still the same as it is with Hockey regular season 3v3(which is effective but not hockey), I think it changes the game too much.

          • mockmook

            Right, it’s all bad choices — so, you need to pick one that is a bit less bad.

          • #1Fan

            I dont think penalties are bad.

          • mockmook

            I believe you are in a minority of a minority.

          • #1Fan

            on this site or in the world? Im not so sure you are right if you are talking the broader

          • mockmook

            I don’t think I have ever watched a broadcast (regardless of the country of origin of the announcers) where they don’t bemoan the fact that a game might be decided on a PSO

          • #1Fan

            Well you must watch a lot of single elimination soccer. Its not an issue in ANY league game in a major league. Many of the Cup competitions have replays or are 2 legged. So Im not sure what the big deal is. If over 2 legs you cannot figure it out then that on the players. As far as Im concerned, 90 mins plus ET should be enough time for the “better” team to win a game. Would fans/broadcasters rather see it decided before pens? Of course they would, so bemoaning it is not an indictment of penalties. Its a desire to have the game decided in regular time. I have yet to hear a better solution.

          • Steglitz49

            He is not — at least not world wide.

          • Steglitz49

            Psos are not bad. They settle a match with buckets of excitement.

            The fact that hte US generally are not very good at them, colors your view and clouds your thinking.

          • mockmook

            I love when people tell me what I am thinking…

          • Steglitz49

            We try our best.

            It bears repeating.

          • Steglitz49

            FIFA tried the Golden Goal for a dozen years and eventually abandoned it. I think Carli may have had the honor of scoring the last one — at least in a major intercontinental competition.

            Oliver Bierhoff scored the first in 1996. OG-2000 and WC-2003 were both decided by Golden Goals.

          • #1Fan

            Not really. Like I said. you have 90 mins to assert your superiority. Win the game. And to your 3-3 point, i dont sense people are complaining about that as much as they are teams PLAYING for 0-0 and penalties. In essence people are dying they thin penalties allows weaker teams to set out for pens from the outset. I can think of a situation where the stronger team would do that. So I repeat..win the game. You are ore likely the stronger team by a margin and the other team thinks pens is the only way to compete. So assert your dominance. Win the game.

            Not really drivel at all.

          • mockmook

            Except, one team won’t always win the game even if they are both playing attacking soccer — THERE WILL STILL BE DRAWS — this is so self evident that even S49 recognizes it.

            How do you resolve those draws?

          • #1Fan

            im not trying to resolve draws by any other means. Penalties are fine for me. Im only addressing those who say its easy to play for them. It isn’t. This is only a big talking point because of the US Olympic KO. Resolving draws in only an issue in single elimination events.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

            You could add WC-11 final for good measure — though not one of the QFs in that tournament.

          • Steglitz49

            By a pso AET.

      • Steglitz49

        Alex Morgan is WoSo’s equivalent to Charlotte Kalla.

        “Missing” means missing the goal. That is what Christen did and Carli did in 2011. “Failing to score” is what Alex did and Boxx and Tobin did in 2011.

        Got it? Please confirm.

        • ABCDE

          you are so obnoxious. Getting even more obnoxious if that is possible

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe you could be constructive by explaining to the readers of the EQ who Charlotte Kalla is and how she fits into the subject matter.

  • Gary Diver

    Isn’t the January camp suppose to start next week? (Traditionally it has been the end of the first week of the year.)

    • Steglitz49

      Is there a need for a January camp before Jan-2019?

      • Gary Diver

        SBC occurs during the first week in March. USWNT won all three SBC matches in 2016. USWNT better be prepared for this tournament, for if they loses 2 of the matches, the criticism will be severe.

        • guest

          unlikely that jill ellis will hear the criticism if the uswnt lose. that’s because she won’t even show up to answer post-game questions from the sports media.

          • guest

            ellis will just do a print interview with grant wahl at a later date where all the questions have already been prescreened so she only has to answer the questions that she wants to. and the us sports media doesn’t call out the uswnt on it.

          • Steglitz49

            The US sports media do not give a red cent for WoSo so why should they waste energy on calling out the USWNT?

            If the USWNT continues to embarrass itself, the US media may dig up all sorts of extra-curricular activities around certain high profile players and reprint pictures in the buff.

          • Steglitz49

            The weakness and strength of the SBC is that losing to either England or France or Germany would not be seen as a disaster and shame while beating them can be trumpeted with pride if not glee.

        • Steglitz49

          The SBC matches are glorified friendlies and the US is not used to friendlies in sport. They call them pre-season matches and the like.

          I wonder whether 2017 will turn out to be an orchestrated year that cements Europe’s ascendancy in WoSo?

          UEFA already controls BroSo. Gone are the days when South-American soccer was of an equivalent standard. The big money is in Europe.

          Maybe UEFA hopes to control WoSo too? At least club WoSo.

  • Gary Diver

    2016 was American WoSo Annus Horribliis

    PK shootouts leave a very bad taste. They feel unsatisfying. They are like using a foul-shooting contest to determine the winner of a tied basketball game. (And a little like Pele famous comment about PK goals feeling cheap.) As far as an alternative, ice hockey faced the same problem and they have found alternatives that are more satisfying than shootouts. I have not heard a single person lament the decline of the use of hockey shootouts at top level tournaments.

    It is mind-boogling the consequences of Alex Morgan’s pathetically bad failed PK. It was 30 seconds that changed American WoSo forever. (For the lack of a nail, the shoe was lost, and for the lack of a shoe . . .)

    1. Any team that “misses” the first PK in a PK shootout is immediately more likely to loss the shootout. (Before Morgan’s attempt, the likelihood of USWNT winning was about 50%, after her “miss” it immediately dropped to around 20% or less.)

    2. Sweden’s GK was quoted as saying she felt that if Press had scored her PK, USWNT probably would have won.

    3. Christen Press became the tournament’s goat, though Morgan’s failed PK had a much bigger impact on the outcome.

    4. According to FIFA, USWNT did not lose a single match in 2016. (Compare 2016 with 2015 where they lost two matches: the first and last matches of the year.) Though not losing a single official match, the general feeling is that USWNT had an embarrassing bad year.

    5. Hope Solo made her ill-advised, frustrated comment after her teammates (and Jill Ellis) crapped out and she is now history. Ironically, Solo made the single best save during the shootout.

    6. USWNT CBA negotiations have gone nowhere. If USWNT had won OG16 gold, I believe the negotiations would not be in a stalemate on January 1, 2017.

    7. Jill Ellis was exposed as a strategic nincompoop. She made several bad mistake leading up to OG16 and many during the tournament, especially in the QF match against Sweden. If USWNT had won gold, few people would have cared about how badly Ellis had managed the ship. Compare OG16 with WC15. Up to and including the Columbia game, the criticism of Ellis’s choices and decisions during WC15 was white hot. She then makes a couple of forced personnel changes in the China match (which she would not have made on her own), beats China, and uses the “new roster” to beat Germany and Japan and all is forgiven. Winning covers a multitude of sins.

    8. Meghan Rapinoe’s status and future with USWNT is up in the air. Her performance at OG16 was unacceptable by any standards. Her stupid foul in the Columbia match led to the free kick that got pass Solo.

    9. USWNT players may have lost their unity as an organization.

    10. A lot of Americans have lost interest in USWNT and in some cases lost interest in WoSo in general.

    11. Add in the poor performances of USWYNT at WC16 for U17 and U20, 2016 was a very bad year for American WoSo.

    • Steglitz49

      #11 — Always look on the bright side of life: the U20s reached the SF where they lost to the ultimate winners.
      #10 — is your assertion true?
      #9 — time will tell.
      #8 — but, she got away with her foul in the QF which led to Alex’s 1-1 equalizer
      #7 — you win some, you lose some — can’t absolve the players of blame in that QF
      #6 — are you of Irish descent by chance?
      #5 — a matter of opinion. Hope saved one pk in the WC-11 final and she saved one here
      #4 — the USWNT did not lose the WC-11 final either but the Nadeshiko still made off with the silverware
      #3 — one was saved and the other hoofed over the bar — but, it is easier to survive if you have the campaign medals and the reputation, like Carli 5 years before
      #2 — who cares? It did not happen, so words are easy.
      #1 — the one statistic borne out by time is that the team that goes first wins more often than loses. In this case, when the starting team fails to net their first pk, all bets are off and your stats may well be right

      I wish you would drop your diatribe against pso. It came back from the dead and has stood the test of time.
      — What you might have mentioned is that with a competent ref crew the QF should have ended 1-0 in regulation and certainly 2-1 in extra time.
      — thus, FIFA’s priority for WoSo is to get the refereeing up to scratch.

      The first golden goal was cored by Oliver Bierhoff in 1996 and Carli scored the last one in 2008. A golden goal decided OG-2000 and WC-2003, plus played a significant part in WC-98 and other male tournaments. FIFA gave the golden goal plenty of rope to hang itself.

      • Gary Diver

        Thanks for your feedback. Your comment about refereeing is certainly valid, but bad refereeing occurred throughout much of WC15 and OG16, not just OG16 QF match. I would argue that Kadeisha Buchanan getting away with pulling down Eugénie Le Sommer in the box without even getting a yellow card was worse. (But difference of opinion makes horse racing a sport.)

        I disagree with your characterization of my view of PK shootouts as a diatribe. I am not “bitter” about them, I just view them as a totally unsatisfactory to decide important tournament matches. Unfortunately for USWNT, there are only two really important tournaments in each four year cycle. Every else is essentially exhibition. (I wonder if the number of goals per game during knock-out game has dropped in recent years? In the past two tournaments there seemed to be a lot of 1-0 and 1-1 matches.)

        You refer to FIFA’s decision to go back to shootouts. When has FIFA been know to do the right thing about anything including doping, awarding WCs to Russia and Qatar, and tolerating terrible refereeing during major WoSo tournaments?

        In the spirit of the new year, I will refrain from repeating “my opinions” about the unsuitability of PK shootouts. But I hope that soccer will learn from hockey that the future does not have to look like the past and if you work at it you can find a better way to end tied matches.

        • Steglitz49

          In WC-11 there were plenty of goals in the knock-out phase.

          Euro-17 will give us a chance to compare.

        • Steglitz49

          Your point about Kadeisha Buchanan is interesting. She did not play in the group game that Canada won over Germany. In the SF, she induced the penalty which gave Germany the 1-0 lead. It was a needless foul and it cost Canada the match.

          It is rumored that this lady will join either Lyon or PSG. Let’s trust that whichever club it is, they can knock some sense into her. If Ms Buchanan can’t change her approach, she will remain an accident waiting to happen and a lose canon.

        • Steglitz49

          Regarding this QF match, a match that will live in infamy, my own analysis is probably not original and I have posted versions of it before.

          Firstly, and probably most important, the USWNT totally underestimated the Swedes. This is understandable because of how badly Sweden had played in their group games.

          Secondly, as the match wore on a sort of defeatism descended on many if not all US players, a bit like Germany when they had not defeated the Soviet Union before the winter of 1941.

          Thirdly, the US captaincy was weak and counterproductive, even self-defeating.

          Fourthly, like at Stalingrad everything had been thrown into the attack so no simple reserves to cover the unforeseen were available. This is a particular censure because early in the match Sweden had staged a couple of counter-attacks though they did not result in goals.

          Added to this was the sorry excsue for a ref crew. Teams have a right to expect refs, centre and lines(wo)men, at least to know the laws of the game and apply them.

          As you have noted yourself, where does this leave US WoSo? You suggest that Americans have lost interest in the USWNT and WoSo too. I tend to agree but would like to see some hard figures, like attendances at NWSL games and the SBC. This would be dangerous for WoSo because WoSo needs the US to be on board. That was something that Blatter and his cronies realized 6 years ago if not 10.

        • Thean

          That’s why hockey is most poular sport in the world? Oh wait….

          • Gary Diver

            At the professional level, hockey is more popular in North America than soccer.

          • Thean

            Easy conclusion

            North America: sticks to hockey
            Rest of world: soccer

            There are around 200 countries in the world with over 7 billion people. I see NO reason why one country with a population of not even 350 million should dictate the rule of a game which is loved by everone (almost)

          • Steglitz49

            Verily.

            But, you must remember this, the north-Americans control Grid-iron, Baseball, Basketball and Ice-hockey. Thus, they consider it natural to control soccer too, not least because they have been a power in WoSo.

            Let’s trust that the meltdown that was 2016 will bring realism to USSF and their players.

          • Steglitz49

            Field hockey?

          • Thean

            Of course. Else he would have written ice hockey

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed.

        • guest

          i also would like to see fifa try the nhl overtime idea of having less men on the field during overtime to encourage a result. do you have any ideas how it could work? 9 vs 9 for the full overtime? or 9 vs 9 for the first 15 minutes then 7 vs 7 for the last 15 minutes? then if still tied, the game would go to penalty kicks.

          • DNG

            I like Hockey. I hate regular season overtime rules. Taking players off the field or ice completely changes the game. I much prefer the ice hockey playoff overtime rules but they wouldn’t work in soccer.

          • Steglitz49

            Borje Salming rules OK.

          • Steglitz49

            According to Gary Diver a pso is an abomination and has no right to life. Then, why do you drag the pso into a discussion with him? It seems pointless.

    • mockmook

      The purpose of OT/PKs is to bring the match to a close in a reasonable amount of time.

      But, as you say, PKs are not representative of “real” soccer.

      And, OT typically disadvantages a team if it makes it into the next round.

      So, let’s kill two horrible things with one stone.

      ————-

      If teams are tied after regulation, we go to a series of 5 timed possessions per team.

      Call the first attacking team, Team X. The first defending team is Team Y.

      X starts with the ball at the center spot. They have 7 field players.

      Y is defending its goal with 5 field players and a GK

      X has 1 minute to score a goal. If they lose the ball before 1 minute, their turn is over (Y is not allowed to attack X’s goal)

      ——

      Then Y gets an attacking turn, same rules.

      This goes on for 5 turns each — the team with the most goals wins.

      If it is still tied after 5 turns, then it is sudden death — alternate turns until one team scores and the other doesn’t.

      ————————-

      So, you preserve most of the characteristics of real soccer, but you conclude the match in a timely manner.

      The specifics of time per possession and numbers of players on the field aren’t important — just adjust them for the league/tournament (after some experimentation) so that each turn has around a 50% probability of scoring a goal for a typical team.

      • Steglitz49

        In Euro-13 they were forced to draw lots for the last team to go into the knock-out phase. Denmark got the lot and Russia lost out. Denmark went on to put out the hapless French.

      • Sir Ragout

        The charme of soccer is, that it is an easy sport without many advertising interruption.

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you. I can’t see that his proposal is in the spirit of soccer as we know it and would destroy it. His system might suit north-American audiences but not the ROW.

          • mockmook

            You imbecile, how is “my” system worse than PKs?

          • Steglitz49

            It is one not so thin end of a very big wedge to introduce ad-breaks between each change.

            Hopefully, someone from FIFA or UEFA reads your comment and decides to test it. I doubt it would get a trial of a dozen years to prove its worth. More like one season.

      • #1Fan

        just another contrived way of trying to get a result. No better than penalties in my opinion. Im not sure how staging a scenario preserves the characteristics of real soccer any more than penalties do .

        • Steglitz49

          It doesn’t but it keeps him happy.

          The pso allows for upsets, which the crowd loves. Terms like “giant-killers” belong to soccer vocabulary — at least the English one.

      • FlyingSquirrel42

        I think there’s an easier solution that preserves more of “real soccer” – lift the cap on substitutions once you get to OT and play four 15-minute periods instead of two.

    • HOFCToDi

      TV Ratings Saturday

      tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/daily-ratings/tv-ratings-saturday-december-10-2016/

      It seems the American public cares more about Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf the Reindeer than MLS Cup.

    • HOFCToDi

      Home Matches (Sep, Oct, Nov)
      Sports TV Ratings (FS1, ESPN2)
      USWNT – 1,184,000 viewers (6 matches)
      USMNT – 2,366,000 viewers (3 matches)

    • HOFCToDi

      Time for you to follow another women’s sport:

      nfhs.org/ParticipationStatics/PDF/2014-15_Participation_Survey_Results.pdf

      page 55

      Track & Field
      Volleyball
      Basketball
      Softball
      Tennis
      Swimming
      Diving
      Golf

      #Toyko2020

    • FlyingSquirrel42

      It seemed like they were actually playing better soccer and bringing better players onto the roster in 2016 than 2015 up until the Olympics – their ride to the WWC championship hadn’t been a smooth one, and several of the veterans were off their game or riding the bench during the WWC.

      And I think PK shootouts are even more skewed and arbitrary than resolving a basketball game with free throws would be, if only because free throws aren’t quite as easy to make. PKs would be like baseball players trying to hit home runs from 100 feet from the fence, with pitches lobbed by a batting cage machine.