2015 WWC – Group D: DE-FENSE Sweden- 0 0 – United States

18 Jun

First things first, I seriously apologize for the delay as I had some serious family things to take care of. But perhaps the delay will make this a better post, as I was SERIOUSLY unhappy by this match. I’m still not happy with the result but I can see that there are some good things to report – namely Julie Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn and Kristine Lilly – oops Megan Klingenberg.

2We should address that there was a lot of trash talk before the match. I can’t imagine that the US would really be disturbed by what some folks call “Pia being Pia” with her comments about Hope, Carli and Abby. The comments themselves were pretty mild, to be honest, or perhaps a few ounces of truth that sting a tad. To say Hope Solo is a “piece of work” seems pretty mild to me and the Carli Lloyd remarks are backhanded complements. My point is – if the US sees themselves as top shelf, they should be able to handle some chatter. Yes, Pia is close to them but she’s a fierce warrior. That wouldn’t change just because she moved to another team – especially her home team. I found it more amusing than a reason to get bothered. The Yanks responded well in the language with “responding on the field” but the starting XI seemed to respond to her criticism and Carli Lloyd did not step up to the challenge. Did Jill Ellis give too much respect to her former boss? Did Pia get into Carli’s head? I hope not.

But first things first.

Most of the reporting about the game talked about an evenly matched game. If that’s the case, that’s not really complementary to either team. I will also acknowledge that it was much warmer in Winnipeg than it was on Monday and we might want to take the turf into consideration. So I’ll share this fan’s sentiment found on the Twitter feed of our Friends at Dirty Tackle

However, it had to be better for them than for the Aussies and Nigerians who played earlier. Commentary mentioned that their game had a twenty degree difference between sun and shade. The US had most of their game in the shade.

There was pretty even possession throughout the first half and it was clear that Sweden was not going to underestimate the US like they seemed to do to Nigeria. They were able to really mark Rapinoe out of the match. She had a tremendous work rate throughout the match but she had no support from the midfield. Lloyd and Holiday did not look comfortable at all and did not contribute much to the match.

The second half saw more of the same but a bit bloodier. In the 65th minute, Samuelsson and Lloyd had a nasty head collision, which left Samuelsson with a big bandage for the rest of the match. I think she might have needed a stitch or two. Eek.

There was also a non-call for a handball for Sweden to match the one for the US in the first half. And then there was this piece of brilliance. With fond memories of Kristine Lilly in the ’99 final, Megan Klingenberg did this:

Holy Cow! In my opinion, that should give her Woman of the Match but throughout the rest of the half, Julie Johnston gave her all in what she was quoted in calling her “oh Crap” speed.

Here’s a great shot of that “oh crap” speed around the 88th min.

All in all, a draw is a fair result with what happened on the pitch but I can’t shake the crappy feeling I had at the end of it. This was not the play of a World Cup winning team and while this was “supposed” to be the “BIG” match of the group…it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I want a lot more from the midfield. A LOT. There’s no point in Rapinoe running her legs off if she has no support. My sister made a comment during the second half of “AGAIN! NO Blue Shirts” and she was right. Rapinoe can’t do it alone. With a strong defense, teams can mark her out of the game and that’s no bueno for the ForzaSisters.

Not disastrous but I look forward to the match on Tuesday to show me more of the team I know and love.

– ForzaSusan

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