Friday, June 23, 2006

Ghana 2, U.S. 1

When I was a little kid playing soccer, my mom would tell us, "don't mess around with the ball in front of your own goal. Clear it out of there." The U.S. team could have used my mom's advice in their last game. Claudio Reyna, standing just outside his own penalty area, chose not to pass or clear the ball, but stood there frozen while a Ghanian player stole the ball, dribbled in one-on-one against Keller and easily scored. Reyna was injured on the play, but instant replay showed that the two players had collided knee to knee as they passed each other. I don't think there is any way that could have been intentional on the part of the Ghanian player, and the referee was correct to not call a foul.

The penalty kick awarded to Ghana later in the game was a bad call. But U.S. coach Bruce Arena seemed to think it made the game unwinnable. "It left us chasing the game when we had worked so hard to get level" he said. But there was plenty of time left in the game. That's soccer -- sometimes you're down a goal, sometimes you have to come from behind. Can you imagine some of the other teams in the tournament expressing this attitude? Brazil was down 1-0 to Japan, but came back to win 4-1. Picture Brazil saying, "yeah, once Japan took the lead we were screwed. We were just chasing the game at that point." Ridiculous, right? Australia was also down 1-0 to Japan but scored 3 goals at the very end of the game to win 3-1. The real problem was that the U.S. team wasn't able to score goals in this tournament.

1 comment:

Squidley said...

No, the real problem is that soccer is boring. ;-)