On Friday, in the final quarterfinal game to be played, the US managed a 2-1 overtime win over Korea DPR, who went unbeaten in a group that consisted of Canada, Norway, and Argentina. The US emerged from group with a win, a tie, and a loss, in that order. This quarterfinal showing was not the best or worst from the US team this tournament. Given that this was the only quarterfinal game that could be considered a toss-up in terms of victory, it’s time to break down what we have seen from this 2012 team, both good and bad.
@WoSo95 (Chris) and I (Ruth) have tackled this analysis while looking beyond just this game. The good and the bad are impressions from the tournament as a whole, with both of us having watched the US games and a number of the other nations as well. We don’t have entirely the same biases and come at the game from somewhat different angles, so I figured that both of us approaching the U-20s together would make for some better perspective.
Since we have a long list of “talking” points, it’s probably best to break this into sections. So here goes.
Posted in 2012 U-20 WWC, U-20 WNT, US Soccer.
– September 1, 2012
Oh goodness, it’s a coach saying smart things. Imagine my glee! After New Zealand totally blew a great opportunity to progress into the quarterfinal round of the U-20 Women’s World Cup today, this is what NZ coach Aaron McFarland had to say about that:
“Going into that game as much as we talk about having a positive mindset, in the back of your mind it’s hard to get rid of that nagging thought telling you just need a draw, so when they score that first goal the mental focus now needs to shift. I didn’t think we were ready to take the game by the scruff of the neck from the outset.
“We’re happy to keep the ball but at certain times when we are talking about being positive and trying to win the game it didn’t feel at times like we had full belief in our own abilities to get on the ball in the final third and make things happen.
“That’ll come with more exposure. Playing more games, more frequently will help our players get over the fear of trying to play that style of football under that sort of pressure.”
There is so much truth in all of that, and I’m so, so happy that New Zealand can actually acknowledge what really went wrong for them.
Posted in 2012 U-20 WWC, media.
– August 26, 2012
Continuing the trend of coaches saying really stupid things, Canada’s Andrew Olivieri was not to be outdone. After Canada’s 2-1 loss to Norway, FIFA quoted him as saying:
“We should have played with more discipline tactically, and try to avoid the mistakes individually, and follow what we had planned. We could have tried to save one point, but I don’t think it would have been the right thing to do.”
Even a few days later, I do not have words to explain the WTF-ery there.
Posted in 2012 U-20 WWC, U-20 CWNT.
– August 25, 2012
You know how sometimes, coaches and athletes say stupid things in public arenas, and that’s okay because we know that’s what they have to say or how they have to think because of PR, or that sports mentality, or whatever. Everyone gets that there is a script, and just like when you’re watching a movie or a play, you have to accept certain fictions and omissions in order for the story to go forward.
But sometimes, stupid things are said that turn out to be true. And sometimes, these stupid and true statements explain so much that you’re just left shaking your head in wonderment that PR didn’t keep a tighter lid on that particular insight into what is really going on behind the the scenes. It was kind of strange when the China-USA game commentator kicked off the match by telling us that Coach Swanson said the changes in the US lineup were “not about injury or tactics.”
Not about injury. Not about tactics.
The choice of players on the field? Haha, no, don’t be silly. That was not about tactics.
Common sense says that “not about injury or tactics, but about getting players minutes” should be one of those lines that comes from the script. Maybe, just maybe, it was a line with regards to Swanson’s starters for this particular game. But as the game wore on and subs were made… that bit about personnel not being about tactics? That rang pretty true.
The second game of group play, with your final and toughest opponent coming up next, is not the time to ignore tactics.
Posted in 2012 U-20 WWC, U-20 WNT.
– August 25, 2012
Obviously, not as many links to round up as there were in Germany. Not because there is less coverage, really, but because the nature of it is different. And also, I am really busy. Definitely not at the beach this time around.
First up, daily recaps:
General conclusions? Group B is the group of “You might literally die out here.” Group A is going to break my heart. The US look way too much like the 2010 edition, and this is upsetting. Japan probably benefits having primetime slots more because of the weather than because of any home crowd advantage.
I know, that’s not much. By and large, the interesting stuff is happening on twitter and facebook. (Like Canada rooting for Japan. What do you guys have against the Kiwis?) No surprise, right? It’s not like twitter was new in 2010, but it’s getting a lot more mileage now.
The real surprise is that FIFA actually has some nice little features for perusal.
US Soccer’s coverage is mainly video (also on youtube) and the WNT blog, where none of the entries are tagged. But remember, it’s the WNT blog, not the YNT, which is the twitter heading the U-20s fall under. Look, US Soccer never claimed to be consistent or particularly concerned with accessibility. Just deal with it.
In conclusion of the roundup, can we all just bask for a moment in the fact that the goal that Brazil’s Amanda scored in the opener against Italy was ranked among the top 5 goals of the weekend amid goals scored in men’s professional leagues, and it was actually clearly superior to any of the others except maybe the bicycle kick.
Posted in 2012 U-20 WWC, media, U-20 CWNT, U-20 WNT, US Soccer.
– August 22, 2012
Discussed: We use performance enhancers! Post-Olympics wrap up, The Bee in Hope Solo’s Book Sales, 2012 College season begins!
Shownotes are below!
Posted in 2012 U-20 WWC, CWNT, International Tournament, media, Olympics, Penn State, podcast, Portland, Santa Clara, Stanford, U-20 WNT, UCLA, USWNT, Virginia.
– August 19, 2012
The D-I college season officially kicked off with games that counted yesterday, and the results were less than stellar for some of the top teams. Of course, there are a lot of reason for this: first game of the season, weather, soccer gods, injuries, refs, coaches, the other team was just better,etc. But since the U-20s are top players for their college teams, it’s not fair to overlook their absences as a factor as well.
- UNC 0-1 Portland
- Villanova 2-0 American
- Texas 3-2 Dayton (OT)
- Santa Clara 1-6 Stanford
- Florida State 3-2 Minnesota
- Duke 4-1 William & Mary
- Notre Dame 0-1 Wisconsin
- Illinois 1-0 Western Michigan
- UCLA 2-3 UConn (game was canceled on account of weather, so this result is not complete and does not stand)
- Penn State 3-1 Virginia
- Wake Forest 4-1 Richmond
Keep in mind that some of these teams (such as Santa Clara and UCLA) have players with other countries’ U-20s as well. Canada and Mexico in particular impact NCAA teams (Memphis took a heavy loss, and South Carolina was held to a draw).
Posted in 2012 U-20 WWC, NCAA, U-20 CWNT, U-20 WNT.
– August 18, 2012
Discussed: Olympics, Olympics, Olympics! The Bee in Hope Solo’s Bonnet Returns! Also, we’ve got U-20 rosters galore!
Shownotes are below!
Posted in 2012 U-20 WWC, CWNT, Olympics, podcast, U-20 WNT, US Soccer, USWNT.
– August 6, 2012
Discussed: July episode is a month late. Sorry! Olympic and YNT preview, plus Travels with Ruth. You can probably ignore this episode since the new one is coming within an hour or so.
Subscribe in iTunes
Shownotes are below!
Posted in CWNT, Olympics, podcast, U-17 WNT, U-20 WNT, US Soccer, USWNT.
– August 5, 2012
Because I am impatient for a text link, here’s the roster according to twitter:
Goalkeepers: Cecilia Santiago; Alejandra Gutiérrez, Itzel González;
Defenders: Arianna Romero, Christina Murillo, Bianca Sierra, Valeria Miranda, Olivia Jiménez, Ashley Kotero, Kenia Sánchez, Mariel Gutiérrez, Amber Hernández;
Midfielders: Nayeli Rangel, Ariana Martínez, Natalia Gómez-Junco, Amanda Pérez, Yamile Franco
Forwards: Sofía Huerta, Chrystal Martínez, Tanya Samarzich, Daniela Solís
Posted in 2012 U-20 WWC.
– August 3, 2012