Sunday, June 15, 2003

U.S. 5, Ireland 0 (Women's Soccer)

The U.S. attackers used superior speed and deceptive moves to pick apart the Irish defense, producing a goal in the first 2 minutes of play and a 3-0 lead in the first 20 minutes or so. I was impressed by the play of Irish goalkeeper Emma Byrne, who made at least a half dozen quick, acrobatic saves. Without Byrne in goal, the final score could easily have been 10-0.

Sadly, American Heather O'Reilly suffered a broken leg after colliding with Byrne in the process of scoring the game's first goal. The replays convinced me that Byrne had made a fair play for the ball, and if anything it was O'Reilly who rushed in without regard for her own safety.

Mia Hamm came in during the second half and showed off her magic. She has a huge variety of moves, and has an amazing way of faking a pass and then launching a wicked long-range shot instead. I've never seen any other soccer player do this quite so well. The shot just seems to come out of nowhere. In this game, the shot barely missed, but she made up for it later with a close-range goal.

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