Monday, June 07, 2004

Mowed Down by the Plastic Grass

Playing soccer on artificial turf is like playing racketball inside a grass hut. It's just wrong. The ball bounces wrong. The players even run a bit oddly.

I'm hoping the turf explains the U.S. women's soccer team only managing a 1-1 tie against Japan on Sunday. If not, they are going to be in for some trouble in the Olympics. Japan played a great game defensively, using their speed to double and triple-team against the U.S. attack. For some reason, the U.S. kept trying to advance the ball up the wing, where the attack would usually get smothered by 2 or 3 Japanese defenders.

I kept wanting to see the signs that the U.S. would be on their way to Olympic gold, but instead I saw what looked like a vastly improved Japanese team creating all kinds of space on the field. The tied score is misleading. This was a game Japan could have won, if not for some great saves by the U.S. keepers. I'm hoping the U.S. can improve in time for Athens.

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