There are few rewards for doing exactly what you are supposed to do. Society, instead, rewards the exceptional – particularly when that is the only standard of measurement a team has ever known.
United States women’s national team players will not party into the night over their qualification on Sunday for the 2019 World Cup. They’ll be mindful enough to appreciate it, but the subdued reaction to a predictable – and still clinical – 6-0 drubbing of Jamaica in the semifinals of Concacaf qualifying was indicative of how this team is measured. Sunday was merely the first official step in what is now a nine-month process to defending their 2015 title.
And the two years of work prior to Sunday’s victory have led the Americans to this point of being the 2019 favorites not just by default, as defending champions, but through a style of play which even this exceptional program has not displayed even in distant memory.
It’s too easy to point to the level of competition at this Concacaf Women’s Championship and dismiss the Americans’ results. A 6-0 win over Mexico; 5-0 over Panama; 7-0 over Trinidad and Tobago; and, in the all-important semifinal, 6-0 over Jamaica. Lowly Concacaf competition. Let’s see what they do against real teams.
That’s surface-level context.
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