Today’s Best: The Loss, the Hot Seat Under Ryan, and Why I’m Happy

As we all know by now, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) crashed out of the 2007 Women’s World Cup in a manner reminiscent of a car packed with C-4 going into triple roll-over. I only know what the few reports I read told me, so I can’t analyze the game or speak to factors in the loss…beyond acknowledging that the 4-0 score-line suggests several factors as opposed to one.

But one of those factors will, no doubt, get plenty of attention in the wake of the loss: USWNT coach Greg Ryan.  The question already being batted around is whether Ryan should keep his job.  Clemente Lisi, writing on, serves up an emphatic no – for reasons that don’t begin and end with the Solo/Scurry controversy.

All the same, I do have an opinion on the loss: it’s a good thing.

As much as I like the U.S. winning, I like my sports competitive a little more. Parity among women’s national teams, something that seems to be growing at a happy pace, makes for a more interesting Women’s World Cup. I’d go so far as to say that I feel like I missed out. While there’s something to be said in favor of great teams – after all, this is Wigan beating Manchester United means something – the more fundamental truth is there’s not much point in watching a sports if you know what’s going to happen.


4 Responses

  1. Brazil was great, Marta is an incredible talent. You can put her last goal up against any other goal scored lately, and it’s still awesome.

    The rise of Brazil, Nigeria, England, and North Korea will make the women’s game really interesting to watch over the next few years. It was already getting a little crowded at the top with Germany being right there with the US. Norway and China have always been solid as well.

    Changes need to be made in the leadership of the US program, the shift from attractive, attacking soccer to a defensive, long ball, physical style is very troublesome.

  2. The change that needs to be made is the coaching staff. This was an amateurish performance by Ryan who overplayed his key players in the group games, adopted long-ball tactics, played with only three midfielders (two of them defensive mids) and made defensive substitutions in a must-win game. He did not have the international qualifications to get this job in the beginning. USSoccer must stop hiring people they know and hire the best qualified coaches available.

    If USSoccer thinks Ryan is such a great coach, why don’t they fire him and bring in Tony DiCicco or Anson Dorrance for the 3rd place game with Norway? After all, DiCicco and Dorrance have excellent records against Norway in the past. That’s what he did to Hope Solo. What a dolt.

  3. You know, somebody with a tilde over the “a” in their name is going to lay into me for this, but Brazil didn’t exactly knock me out with their amazingality or anything.

    Yeah, Mar”Can Do Things No Other Woman In the World Can(tm)!!”ta!!1 looked good. Marta can dance, Marta can sing–Marta can come up with a sweet piece of a flick into the box when the game was officially over and followed that with a nice stroke past Brianna–although by that point in the game getting the ball past Brianna was kinda like beating Notre Dame in pointy ball.

    But all that other wiggle-giggle never beat any of her defenders–unlike passing the ball, which showed that the girls on the back-line were…off watching butterflies loop around the park or something. The US BTYNHO* was lost from the start and would’ve had their collective low-slung shorts handed to them by Argentina.

    And yes, the Other Nike Marketing Machine won. They looked “amazing” in the second half when the BTYNHO was crying out “not in the face–just not in the face!” Of course, everyone looks skilled and special when your opponent has given up and lets you have all day on the ball.

    But that first half–or at least the first 20 when the Best Longballers America has to offer still had some life–Brazil looked like a a bunch of fast women with reasonable ball-skills and an amazing ability to get injured by air convection. I thought I was watching a tumbling troupe. All that falling and crying made me think I was watching my sons’ U-6 team. If that’s what the future of the woman’s game has to offer, I’ll pass.

    Don’t get me wrong–The BTYNHO weren’t just “unlucky,” they’ve looked average all tourny. But average teams, with confidence and good luck can go forever–unless they suddenly realize that they’re just average. And they had a nuclear explosion of “you’re just average” heaped on them the day before by Greg “once and future AYSO coach” Ryan. So another average team with a skilled front line preyed on the US’ sudden realization of average-osity.

    Upshot: Germany sweeps the floor with Brazil.

    And I really, really wish I hadn’t paid all that $$$ for the “Victory Lap Tour” game in PGE v. Mexico. Not because I don’t want to see them now that they’ve lost, but because I know The Stupidest Coach In American Sports History will still be in charge. I suppose I’ll be wearing green, white and red that nite.

    *Best Team You Never…..etc

  4. That was gorgeous, Fred. Thanks for sharing.

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