As a diehard sports fan, few things are better than waking up to American Soccer. There is something about patriotism in the AM that makes getting out of bed and cracking open something domestic that much easier. First of two US National Team games on the docket was the Women’s World Cup Final against the Netherlands.
The WWC Final started out pretty slow. And by slow, especially by USWNT standards, I mean they didn’t score in the first 12′ like every other game in the competition. As poised as ever, the Americans never faltered. They picked their chances on offense and never got frustrated. They were so concise on defense. I have never seen a back line play so consistently and converge as a unit on every ball played in the box.
In the second half the floodgates opened. A high boot to the shoulder of Alex Morgan gave the US a penalty kick and a Megan Rapinoe goal in the 61′. Moments later, Rose Lavelle ran past a Dutch defense that looked like it had no interest in defending her as she netted a bottom corner beauty. Don’t let the 2-0 score fool you though. After wearing down the Dutch, the US squandered about a dozen more chances. Should have been 6-0 US easily. Either way, our women proved once again that they are the best in the world. And deservedly celebrated as such.
Not only is the USWNT winning on the pitch, they are winning off of it too. They bring home just about every trophy every season, but also are starting a discussion. Equal pay, LGBTQ rights and overall equality for all. They are an amazing positive in the United States and gives young girls the hero they never knew they needed. Pure class as always.
Several hours later, American Soccer headed back stateside. More specifically, Soldier Field and the Gold Cup Final with another installment of the US v. Mexico rivalry. Everything was going the Americans way to start the game. Opportunity after opportunity all culminating in a disappointing 0-0 tie at the end of the first half.
The second half went almost entire Mexico’s way. There just wasn’t the same spark as in the first half. Less runs to the box were made, possession was spotty, touches were less clever and Christian Pulisic had far less of an impact. For the US to have success, Pulisic needs to be involved in the build up of every chance and that did not happen until after the game’s only goal by Mexico in the 73′. Yet another Gold Cup silver medal.
If the USMNT played the second half the same way they played the first, this game could have been an easy victory for the Americans. It is hard to consider a second place finish a success even though it did show promise. The Americans that went abroad to continue their professional careers had a great tournament. McKinnie, Pulisic and Miazga in particular had impressive showings. Hopefully this encourages other players like Morris and Cannon to take the leap and play in better leagues. Also, the Americans refused to be pushed around by Mexico. The Mexicans have reigned supreme in CONCACAF for too long and we finally showed that we aren’t going to take it anymore. The chippiness in the first half of the final better stick around for more than just rivalry games.
Congratulations to the USWNT on their fourth World Cup Championship. The most important day of American Soccer in a very long time did not disappoint.