Women are often viewed as enigmas. The USA Women’s national team continued that belief during their opening match of the 2012 Olympics in Great Britain. Playing against a good France team, USA began horrendously by going 2-0 down in the opening minutes. However with great perseverance the team roared back to a 4-2 victory, rekindling memories of an exciting 2011 Women’s World Cup, and they are now on track to compete for a medal during these Olympics.
The spark that has repeatedly lifted America to greatness is Abby Wambach. The veteran forward is a remarkable player and is extremely good at headers. During the 2011 World Cup, she gained monumental fame for her 120th minute header to equalize against Brazil, as well as a couple other headers including one in the semifinal vs. France, and one in the final match against Japan.
In yesterday’s match, Wambach scored a crucial header that got the US on the score sheet and began the comeback. The goal came five minute after we went down 2-0 and were appearing to crumble. Wambach displayed the type of leadership that is paramount to a team’s needs. Headed goals can come out of nowhere and her talent for scoring these types of goals in vital moments is simply amazing.
The goal gave USA a new sense of purpose. They began to play more open and were able to muster up more goals through Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd.
Alex Morgan is again playing very well, especially for her young age. She has a great calmness in front of goal that enables her to take advantage of every opportunity. She is already a superstar and will likely become the leader of this team in the future.
Although there is definite reason to criticize the USA after the way they started their first Olympic game with horrendously sloppy defending, there is an overwhelming sense of pride in how they restored the lead and won this match. With the ability to come back like they do, there is always a hope that America is never out of any game. This trait will draw fear into the opposition and will keep our confidence high.
I feel that it all starts with Wambach though. She is the defining character of this team and scores most of the important goals. I think that this will be her tournament based on the past and with the all-important header against France. Look out for her the rest of the way in Britain, because she makes women’s soccer incredibly exciting.
The San Jose Earthquakes have struggled to compete in the MLS during recent seasons, usually finishing in the bottom half of the Western Conference. But in today’s ever morphing MLS, a team’s fortune can change very quickly. This season, the Earthquakes happily reside in first place in their conference and could well be on their way to greatness.
San Jose has recently harbored the league’s best striker in Chris Wondolowski. The American has been leading the MLS in goals scored for the past three seasons and is currently atop the board with 14 goals in only 16 matches. He has nearly eclipsed his league-leading goal scoring marks of past years of 18 and 16, having only played half a full season so far. On this pace he could possibly break the MLS record of 27 set by Roy Lassiter in 1996.
But the Earthquakes this year go beyond simply their star striker. Other players have been in top form too. Recent signing Victor Bernardez has provided strength and steel in the defense. The former Anderlecht man also scored a fantastic volley off of a corner to get San Jose back in the California Classic right before half time. The Earthquakes built off of that momentum to earn a stunning comeback victory 4-3 over their rivals, the LA Galaxy.
Another Honduran player that has helped San Jose to this great start is Marvin Chavez. The winger hasn’t yet featured on the score sheet, but he has accumulated 8 assists on the season. His skill is paramount to the club’s success and has seen the Earthquakes net an MLS leading 36 goals for a two goals per game average. His pairing with Wondolowski has been giving defenses headaches all season.
Captain Ramiro Corrales is a versatile veteran of the MLS, who has featured since the inaugural 1996 season. He can play as a fullback, left midfielder, or a central midfielder. Although his speed isn’t what it once was, his leadership and forward thinking presence is also giving San Jose opportunities. He has five assists on the year so far.
Clearly this San Jose Earthquakes team has been smartly assembled for greatness. The team around Chris Wondolowski feeds him the balls and he can deliver the goals. They will be looking to continue their winning ways against FC Dallas tonight, who are in last place in the Western Conference. Where they go on from here is entirely in their hands and we can be sure to see to “wonderful” soccer ahead from this team.
LA Galaxy superstar David Beckham recently got some bad news as he was not selected by Stuart Pearce for the Great Britain Olympic squad. The manager decided to select Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy instead for his senior players.
Although the entire Great Britain team plays for clubs in England (most in the English Premier League), one would have thought that Beckham would be an ideal candidate for a spot. Yes at age 37, he is no longer the maestro that he was during his Real Madrid days, but he still is one of the best long range shot artists around.
For the 2012 MLS season, Beckham has netted on three occasions, each one more fantastic than the last. Two of his goals were on trademark free-kicks that swerved away from keepers’ grasps. His most recent effort was a dramatic kick that brought the Galaxy level during their hotly contested loss against the San Jose Earthquakes. San Jose’s goalie John Busch didn’t even attempt to save the ball as it came in so fast. The goal totally deflated the Earthquakes and was followed by two more quick scores that temporarily gave LA a 3-1 lead.
But apparently such a skill was not enough to merit a side in the Olympic squad that is set to feature in London later this month. It will be a hard blow for Beckham to accept this late in his career. The opportunity to represent your country on your home soil is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Stuart Pearce obviously had a bias towards the EPL in making his selections and disregarded the level of the MLS. But what surprises me is that he ignored a player who is so talented at free kicks. International soccer matches often come down to a single moment of beauty, and Beckham is one of the world’s best at directing free kicks. His accuracy is so good that I doubt any goalie could have saved any one of his three goals.
Beckham could have been used as a substitute and brought in late during a match if a free kick opportunity presented itself. Obviously using a player for such a matter is unprecedented, but we are talking about David Beckham here. The man had a movie named after his “bending” ability. He has continued to score these kinds of ridiculous goals for his entire career. I feel that Pearce has made a mistake in ignoring Beckham.
For America his snub is a positive event however. The LA Galaxy is struggling and could use Beckham’s help. Although his goal against San Jose was not enough to earn a victory or a place on Great Britain’s team, goals like that is what the Galaxy desperately needs if they want any shot at repeating as MLS champions.