USWNT vs Nigeria Preview

Happy Monday Raving Readers! Sorry for the tardy post and being incommunicado lately. I’ve been doing more travelling than usual and, with the quarter coming to an end, grading papers. The important travel takes place tonight however, as Mrs. Ravinggreen and I hit the road for Vancouver to watch the USWNT.

Tomorrow at BC Place, the US and Nigeria face off to settle the seeding in Group D. The US can, and should, win Group D with a win. It’s a long shot, but even Nigeria can escape the group if they get a very favorable result against us and between Sweden-Australia.

Tomorrow, the US’s last game in the Group Stage will be pivotal. Aside from the huge contextual reasons for this game’s significance, it will also be my first World Cup game. I am understandably stoked. I attended the WCQ qualifier between the USMNT and Panama at CenturyLink Field back in 2013. That was fabulous: the pageantry, the energy, the result. But this is an actual World Cup game whose result will directly determine seeding for the knockout round.

Being in the stadium to watch athletes of this caliber, in games of such significance is always intense. The heartbreak of the 2012 Western Conference Finals still haunts me. Keane! That handball?! I couldn’t be there last year and so our loss/win to L.A. hasn’t indelibly stained my subconscious.

Long story short: I really wanted us to beat Sweden last week. I wanted the peace of mind knowing our advancement was pretty much a gimmie. But I’ll be honest. When the game was still a draw in the 75th minute, I got hopeful it’d end in a tie. Then we finally started looking dangerous and I found myself surprisingly anxious. I realized I wanted the Nigeria game to be epic, and that if we drew Sweden, it would be. Now we’re all in for this game.

Maybe I shouldn’t push my luck. This World Cup has been topsy-turvy: Teams like Costa Rica and Colombia are looking strong while we’ve looked shaky, Canada’s been bad, France was embarrassed and even the Germans  hiccupped. We should beat Nigeria, and yet we could very much be on the other end of some extremely unlucky history. Here’s hoping we can cheer loud enough to urge the Stars and Stripes on through the perilous fight.

 

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