The Yanks attempt to pluck the Steel Roses.
- Kickoff: June 26th, 7:30 PM EST • FOX, NBC Universo
- Location: Lansdowne Stadium; Ottawa, Canada
In 1999, China and the US met in the World Cup Final in Pasadena, California. The USWNT won in penalty kicks and Brandi Chastain cemented herself into sports history with an epic celebration. The teams have met another two times in World Cup history, both of which ended in draws. The US has outscored China five goals to three over those three games.
To get here, US defeated Colombia 2-0 with goals by Morgan (53’) and PK by Lloyd (66’)
The handwringing over the yellow card suspension of Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe is largely misplaced. There are fresh well-rested options on the bench that can step up, and let’s be honest, neither Rapinoe nor Holiday were much of a threat against Colombia. Instead, we’re likely to see Morgan Brian and Kristen Press, both of whom came on in the last 25 minutes or so of the Colombia game. Pundits are complaining about the lack of flair and scoring from the USWNT, while at the same time forgetting that the Lady Yanks ahve only allowed one goal, and that was in the first match against Australia. Soccer writer Steven Goff has an article that sums up how this team is playing and winning with its defense. This quote says it nicely.
Meghan Klingenberg said of the offensively challenged squad. “And if we keep teams to zero goals and only score one per game, I wouldn’t say that’s a deficiency; I’d say that’s winning.”
Alex Morgan scored her 52nd career international goal in 88 caps, and hopefully she’s getting close to full form because goals are definitely needed.
To get here, China defeated Cameroon 1-0 with a goal by Shanshan (12’)
Let’s be honest, this team has one of the best damn nicknames in the tournament, “The Steel Roses.” The nickname doesn’t really fit the team, which tends to play a fast game, and “Steel Roses” aren’t known for their speed. China pulled an upset over the Netherlands but looked less impressive against both New Zealand and Cameroon. This is one of the least experienced teams in the tournament but somehow has managed to stay disciplined versus more veteran teams.
The X FACTORS
China’s previous game was on Saturday, and the US played on Monday. That two-day difference in rest could make an enormous impact. Anyone that’s listened to the commentary during the games has heard over and over how tiring playing on turf is on the body. The Chinese have two extra days of recovery time, which means they’ll be better rested and able to push harder from the very first whistle. On the other side of the coin, the USWNT is arguably the most fit and deepest team in the tournament. But will it be enough?
Gus’ Bar and Grill home of the Richmond Chapter of American Outlaws continues to be go-to spot in Richmond. As a supporter of soccer, it’s disappointing that very few bars and restaurants aren’t doing anything special for this Women’s World Cup. Last summer, you couldn’t kick a ball without it hitting some tattooed bartender handing you a flier about their off the hook, “We Love American Soccer Beer-o-Rama.” I miss the rabid support I saw everywhere and the camaraderie of watching the best athletes in the world compete. Perhaps the hype train will get fired up if the USWNT makes it to the final, but in the meantime it’s an opportunity lost.