28 September 2007

3 points; 2 red cards; 1-0

LA Galaxy earned 3 points last night in Kansas City and only needed a two man advantage to do so. I think the look on Landon Donovan's face at the end of the game was a bit of shock ("OMG - we won!") mixed with a bit of "I can't believe you guys pulled it off, in spite of me."

I'd like to propose a new entry into the American lexicon. Let's say you are having a horrible day at work but then you finally get to leave work and when you get home you find that your live-in girlfriend has moved out and taken the dog. You think to yourself, "Man, what a Vagenas!" You know, because of all the bad things happening to you, repeatedly.

The best part of the game for me was the discussion of the USWNT v Brazil match where all three ESPN commentators (Tommy, Dave and Eric) let loose on Greg Ryan. Every single second of their analysis was dead-on correct. If Greg Ryan is fired before the Bronze Medal match it won't be fast enough and even if he is fired eventually, I'm still making up some "Fire Greg Ryan" shirts just so that everyone knows exactly how I feel and in case he somehow gets a job in the new WUSA league. I'm so pissed about the Hope Solo situation. And my wife makes a GREAT point that I hadn't gotten to... you know, on account of the overwhelming anger. Who is the keeper for the Bronze Medal match? You can't go with Scurry again, can you? But if you go with Hope, then isn't that an embarrassing admission by Ryan that he F-ed up by starting Scurry in the Brazil match?

Now, all of that said, I must admit I haven't watched the second half yet, so there may be more to this that just a goalkeeper controversy. But before the game even started and before I knew that the final was 4-0 against, I heard that Solo was getting benched and I thought: "bad idea". Whether Solo might have done better, or if the US would've done better offensively without the distraction of a controversy overhead we'll never know. But I think it was the wrong decision. If anyone reads any good analysis out there on the interwebs, let me know in the comments.

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At 28 September, 2007 12:22, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone out there, with the exception of Greg Ryan, defended the decision then, and anyone who did is certainly not defending the decision now.

The odd thing about it is that the goalkeeper wasn't even the problem. If Hope Solo had been in there and the score was 4-0, we'd be talking about the awful sending off of Shannon Boxx, the sluggishness of the back four (Christie Rampone excepted), and the impotence of the offense. Instead, we're all railing on Greg Ryan, who buoyed his bad goalkeeping decision with bad substitutions (but nobody's talking about those either). That's not to say he doesn't deserve it, because he does. He just wouldn't be at the fore if not for the goalkeeper change.

At 28 September, 2007 12:24, Blogger Justin W said...

Mmmm, not so sure that I want to call out "Man, what a Vagenas!" to reflect the mood....

That's too close to another phrase, one that technically would be correct, but that co-workers and friends might not admire so much.

At 28 September, 2007 15:11, Blogger Unknown said...

I like Julie Fouty's analysis:

The move wasn't unfair to Hope Solo. She's not goalkeeper for life and she's part of the team. Suck it up.

The move was unfair to Brianna Scurry, who was thrust out into the semis without playing at all during the Cup. It was unfair to put that much pressure on her shoulders, and it showed.

At 28 September, 2007 15:43, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 3rd string GK should play in the 3rd place game. It only makes sense.

At 28 September, 2007 15:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No deep analysis, but here's a link to the article written by the person who actually interviewed Hope:


At 28 September, 2007 15:57, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan's coaching throughout the entire cup was ridiculous. It was obvious from the NK game that the midfield was the team's problem, yet he never made any tactical changes to improve that. The 4-3-3 formation was a joke, he never made any decent substitutions throughout the tournament.
Frankly, the only two good players out there were Wambach and Solo. I just can't defend taking out a goalie who is on a hot streak. I think that it eroded the defense's confidence and timing. I haven't heard her comments and can't defend speaking out against the team, but Ryan needs to be fired now.
In his defense he still was a better WC coach than Arenas...

At 28 September, 2007 16:39, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good Yahoo article that quotes some former players.


As some might expect, Solo is now apologizing for her slam of Scurry. She said her comments were not intended to be critical of her teammate....what's implied is that her coach was the target.

A player taking the national stage to critize her coach. I guess soccer really has made it to the big times.

At 29 September, 2007 10:28, Blogger (j)on said...

well looks like Ryan is sticking with his decision, and benching Solo, not even letting her come to the game.

"Stay the Course"?


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