Saturday, April 19, 2003

WUSA Soccer: San Diego 2, New York 0

San Diego's back line started off the game looking very vulnerable. In the initial 20 minutes, San Diego relied time and time again on heroic one-on-one defense, a strategy that seemed almost certain not to work for the full 90 minutes. Luckily for them, "looking weak and sketchy" and "giving up goals" are two different things. The game soon turned to the other end of the field, where newcomer and number 1 draft pick Aly Wagner served up a perfect through ball to Shannon MacMillan, who found the goal to give San Diego the lead. MacMillan starred at both ends of the field for San Diego, later heading the ball off her own goal line to thwart what otherwise would have been a certain goal for New York. I'm looking forward to seeing her play for the U.S. Women's Team in the World Cup.

The award for most amazing new soccer technique goes to San Diego's Kim Pickup, who can do a front handspring while holding the ball and use the follow-through to launch a wickedly long throw-in. This technique is legal, in that her feet are firmly planted on the ground at the moment the ball is released. Using this throw-in, she twice threw the ball from near the midfield line into New York's penalty area. Near the end of the game she threw the longest throw-in I have ever seen in men's or women's soccer. Putting the ball into play from near the San Diego corner flag, she threw it past the midfield line into New York's half of the field! If I were a coach, I would have my players start practicing this technique.

There is a photo here of Pickup doing the "Pick-Flip" throw-in. The flip throw has resulted in a goal at least once.

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