USWNT

Hope Solo Punished For Refusing To “Play Like A Girl”

Hope Solo has not only been suspended from the USWNT by the US Soccer Federation, but her contract terminated. Essentially her career stands publicly on the gallows cause she said an opponent had played “like cowards.”

You already know how I feel if you saw my tweets:

There is no “persistent infringement” clause in professional sports. Any argument that justifies this decision to suspend her and terminate her contract by taking her priors into account is bullshit. An athlete is judged on the severity of each individual criminal act and dealt with by their organization accordingly. See Mike Vick, Johnny Manziel, Ray Lewis, Adrian Peterson, Michael Irvin, et al.

This reeks of sexism. Our society still expects women to be good little girls. And the cognitive dissonance between strong, dominant women excelling at athletic competitions while revealing their drive, grit and anger is something we haven’t learned how to digest as a culture. We’ll allow women to be athletes, and great ones, if they are graceful (and scantily clad) swimmers or gymnastic (and besparkled) pixies. But god forbid if you play rugby or basketball and sweat and grunt.

Take Michael Phelps for example. A classic “repeat offender” of misdemeanors:

2004 – Arrested for drunk driving

2009 – Cited for public marijuana use

2014 – Arrested more drunk driving

What is Solo’s record:

2007: Insulted her USWNT teammate and fellow goalkeeper Briana Scurry, who shipped 4 goals in the World Cup semis: “There’s no doubt in the world I would have made those saves.”

2012: reported herself a victim of domestic abuse, later dropped charges

2012: insulted former teammate, and then tv analyst, Brandi Chastain “Lay off commentating about the game until you get better educated.”

2014: arrested for alleged abuse against her sister and nephew. charges originally discredited, but now reinstated pending appeal.

2016: Said Sweden played “like cowards”

So Solo has one criminal transgression, potentially was the victim in another, and runs her mouth. That’s it.

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Guess what? Athletes run their mouths. Michael Jordan and Larry Bird were infamous assholes. So was Ty Cobb. Richard Sherman was recently lauded (after some initial racist bullshit) for speaking his mind and publically disparaging his opponent on national TV calling a specific opponent a “sorry ass receiver.”
Terrell Owens may be the closest comparison to Solo. He was rarely in real legal trouble, but often in the headlines for odd things (OD’ing on sleeping pills in a was it/wasn’t it a suicide attempt) and running his mouth. He called one teammate with the 49ers gay in a magazine interview (saying “if it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it’s a rat)”, then questioned the masculinity of another, and the blackness of another (calling him an “Uncle Tom”). His antics like stomping on the midfield logo of certain teams, and mocking specific opponents with jeering dances were seen as the colorful antics of a “diva” receiver.

Aside from the serious criminals here (Mike Vick, Ray Rice), few of these men received the public censure and discipline that Solo has received. And some have come through legitimate legal troubles embraced by public opinion (Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin).

America’s sexual double standard is grossly apparent in sports. Women are allowed to be winners as long as they are ladylike first. Solo herself noted this in her autobiography saying, “In order for the world to pay attention in 1999, a female athlete had to be a role model loved by everyone. In 2012, she doesn’t. And that may be a weird form of social progress.” It seems she was wrong. Even in 2016, a women needs to be a lady first and foremost before she can be anything.

 

USWNT and the Future of the NWSL

The Women’s World Cup Final on Sunday was the most watched soccer game, men or women, in US history. 25.4 million viewers tuned in to see us capture our record third star, more than watched the USMNT draw Portugal last summer in Brazil. The summer of 1999 ignited America’s passion for the women’s game. And that final was watched by a solid 18 million, the previous record for a women’s soccer game.

And yet… the women’s game is still on life support in this country. Most of the women America watched on Sunday are returning to the National Women’s Soccer League to play in front of marginal crowds on YouTube streams. I could talk about how important these numbers and this game was to inspiring another generation of young women, but that won’t save the NWSL. 1999 was the Big Bang as young girls’ saw for the first time they could aspire to be legitimate world-class footballers. Some of the biggest names on our roster were high-school-age athletes that summer:

Wambach – 19

Solo -18

Lloyd-17

Krieger – 15

Sauerbrunn – 14

Pinoe -14

All those young women were inspired by Hamm, Akers, Chastain, Foudy, Scurry and all. And yet not even ‘99 could save the WUSA or WPS, two previously folded women’s professional soccer leagues.

I think we marginalize the women’s game when we only talk about the progress, legacy and inspiration. Yes. All of that is important; it is the grassroots passion that truly grows the game. And yet we don’t need to mention it when we discuss the USMNT or the NFL. We assume young boys everywhere want to be professional football players and soccer stars. We take a boy’s passion for sports for granted. We know a whole world of opportunity exists for the lucky guy with the genes of the next Ronaldo. But does that opportunity exist for a young girl?

Sunday we saw a dominant team of athletes. This was no different than watching Germany last summer or Steph Curry and company last month. A peerless group of athletes went out and dominated the field. And yet they happen to be women. Women who now have to return to playing on turf fields in college stadiums or high school stadiums with minimum capacity and non-soccer specific amenities.

Our best male athletes are treated like fat kings. Our women like interns. The NWSL has a very tight salary cap of only $265,000 (not including the few big stars). The minimum salary is $6,842 and the maximum (non-star) is $37,800. These are barely living wages. Clearly there is an interest in women’s soccer. If we want to make sure the game doesn’t stay marginalized under the dominant gender dynamic of this country, we need to support these athletes. We need to watch the NWSL. Not because it is politically correct, but because we are privileged to see such world-class athletes in action. And because the next Abby Wambach and Hope Solo are sophomores or seniors at a high school somewhere near you.

 

USWNT! Three Stars! World Cup Champs!

AMERICA! Hell yeah! The USWNT laid a good o’ fashioned beatdown on Japan, 5-2, to capture their record third World Cup.

America, and specifically Carli Lloyd, came out inspired and fired-up. Lloyd had a hat trick within the first 16 minutes and Lauren Holiday added a strike to make it 4-0 before the game was barely begun.

Japan did not roll over. Ogimi got a goal back in the 27th minute. Japan shut down our attack and then, in the 52nd minute, the all-world Miyama hit a dangerous freekick forcing US centerback Johnston into an awkward play that accidentally went in for an own goal. At 4-2, with almost 40 minutes left to play, the stage was set for an epic US meltdown.

Remember 2011. Epic meltdown. The final between the US and Japan was a nil-nil nailbiter before Morgan broke the tie in the 69th minute. The US had only to hold the lead for twenty minutes, but they cracked. Miyama equalized in the 81st to force extra time. Deep into the first extra period, Wambach slammed home the would-be winner. But the US held that lead for just the next thirteen minutes before Japan’s Sawa equalized again. Just three minutes before the final whistle, the US had yet again coughed up the lead. We caved during penalties, our spirit broken.

Back to 2015. At 4-2, Japan was dug in, chasing well and the game had gotten very, very real. The US attack had been stifled and Japan had notched two unanswered goals. Ghosts of 2011 began to haunt the minds of American supporters. Kudos to Lloyd and Wambach, but Tobin Heath’s 54th minute goal was the biggest of the game. Just 2 minutes after closing the deficit, Japan was down 3 again after Heath’s cold-blooded dagger. Such a quick, composed response exorcised all the demons.

Still the Nadeshiko are a proud team and never went softly into the evening. Despite the hype around Marta, Sinclair and Angerer, Japan has been the only real competition to the US for the crown. Yesterday’s game was the rubber match after World Cup 2011 and the 2012 Olympics. The case is closed and the USA staked their claim as top team of the second decade of the 21st century.

No one has forgotten 1999. No one will forget 2015.

 

USWNT v Japan: THERE WILL BE A RECKONING!!!

The USWNT is out for vindication today against Japan in the World Cup Final.

Bold Prediction: This game has been four years in the making. The penalty kick meltdown suffered by the US last World Cup can finally be rectified. After much American handwringing leading up to, and during the early stages of, the World Cup, the US finally looks like a champion.

The defense has always been solid (we’ve shut down every opponent since our first match against a very game Australia side), and now we have the attack to match. We were clearly the better team against Germany, putting two past Angerer.

Meanwhile Japan struggled to advance past England. Japan still has excellent discipline and defense, but lack the precise offense that made them so deadly in 2011. Never underestimate Americans on a mission. I see a red, white and blue victory. America! 3-1. First ever three-time champs!

USA Beats Germany Zwei Auf Null

The USWNT beat Germany zwei auf null to advance to back-to-back World Cup Finals. They await the winner of England and Japan’s match today.

The US played their best game when it mattered most. Germany had been a juggernaut in Canada: averaging 26.8 shots, and 4 goals, per game. But The US’s incredible back five continued their clean-sheet-streak and held Germany to 11 shots (just 1 on frame) and, most important, no goals.

Three cheers for Jill Ellis. This blogger, for one, has been down on our coach all World Cup. I stopped by the grocery store last night to pick up some crow. After dinner, I chased that with a heaping helpful of humble pie.

Ellis was brilliant yesterday, as she finally solved the midfield puzzle. The Americans came out in a 4-2-3-1, getting five dominant midfielders together to control the engine room. Morgan Brian, a natural centermid teamed up with Carli Lloyd as the holding pair, and the pacey and creative trio of Rapinoe, Holiday and Heath worked the attack. These five pressed high, connected pin-point passes and backed up the lone striker, Morgan. This was a helluva decision by Ellis and thoroughly confounded Germany in the first half.

Ellis’s innovated tactics didn’t end with getting all her best midfielders on the pitch simultaneously. When Germany had the ball, the US morphed into a strict 4-4-1 to shut down the Nationalelf’s vaunted attack. And at times, Lloyd joined Morgan up top in a 4-4-2. We had the Germans’ heads spinning.

But going into the break tied 0-0 after dominating for the first 45 hurt. I started feeling mighty uneasy and then Germany bossed for a long first 20 minutes of the second half. The time that really tried our souls was the 59th minute. The usually stolid Johnstone pulled a streaking Popp down in the box, giving Germany an obvious penalty. Thankfully, Sasic, the Golden Boot leader with 6 goals, missed her PK wide left. I firmly believe if it was any other keeper between the pipes, a player of Sasic’s pedigree would’ve iced her penalty. Hope Solo is so all-world, she has an aura about her. Her juju stopped goals before her hands do.

After the missed PK, Germany’s fatigue from going 120 in a nail-biter against France showed. The Nationalelf got tuckered out. Lazy defending resulted in the US’s first goal. The USWNT earned their own penalty just 15 minutes later when Morgan was taken down hard on a run into the box. Ice-cold Carli Lloyd buried it to Angerer’s left. The recently subbed-on O’Hara finished the scoring with a ninja kick off an assist from Lloyd in the 84th minute.

It was one helluva win. After we beat China, all the women in white walked off the pitch looking business. After yesterday’s game this team looked like giddy little leaguers. But captain and player-of-the-game Carli Lloyd said on her interview, “We have one game left.” Going into Sunday’s Final, I have full faith in our squad and, finally, our coach.

 

USWNT vs Germany: Matchd Preview

The USWNT plays Germany today in the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup. Prepare yourself for a doozy, as the US gets their first real test of the tournament.

To be fair, Australia and Sweden were strong opponents in group play, as both made it to the knockout round, but Germany is of the US’s caliber: a two-time champion and perennial contender. Today’s match pits the #1 and #2 teams in the world, unfortunately they are on the same side of the bracket.

The good news is the US put together their best showing against China on Friday. And they did so without Pinoe and Holiday, t’boot. US fans have been waiting for a coming-out party by the team, but this team only kept scraping by. Though Friday was just another 1-0 win, the US finally looked like the US. We possessed, we attacked, we passed cleanly and, best of all, we looked like we had a plan.

Jill Ellis’s management finally impressed me. Starting Rodriguez up top with Morgan, and committing to the high press was smart. Rodriguez has speed and energy to burn (and probably a huge chip on her shoulder for fuel). Her and Morgan play a similar style at forward, and though that can be a problem, both players complemented each other in the press. Our pressure kept an inexperienced China team frazzled, and didn’t allow the Chinese to play paddy-cake with the ball and bleed the clock in bunkered fashion.

I am sure China would’ve loved to milk a draw, looking for a quick counter or just settling for PKs. Instead, the game was way more open than I expected. Our game plan (wow it feels good saying that) forced China out of their mold, and opened up their tight defense to exploitation. The USWNT’s possession in the final third was lights out.

The team is finding itself. Tobin Heath is a starter. With Pinoe out, Heath was a major creator. Morgan Brian had a chance to prove her worth in the middle but was mostly, unfortunately, a nonfactor. Holiday’s return will be timely, considering Carli Lloyd is getting in a hot streak. The big lineup question now: will Ellis go right back to Wambach and the boot-and-chase? I’d like to see the swift-attacking Rodriguez and Morgan, but high-pressing Germany could be catastrophic. To press or not to press, that is the question.

Bold Prediction: Germany barely beat France, so they are vulnerable. I didn’t catch the entire game, but that was France’s match to lose. The Germans played all 120 minutes, and so will be less rested on three days off. I doubt Ellis wants to go for the throat, she seems too conservative. But she can still take advantage of our fitness by starting slow with Wambach up top, before subbing in Rodriguez for the last half hour to really harry Germany when their legs start to fail.

Germany is a juggernaut. Ask Ivory Coast, Thailand and Sweden. Les Bleus were a quality opponent, but their D was shaky and Germany pounced. Germnay steamrolled us 3-0 at home in the semifinals of the 2003 World Cup, but this year our defense is a rock. We’ve only allowed one goal through five games. If we keep our shape and discipline, Germany will have a difficult time getting one past Solo. And we have the firepower, whether it’s Abby’s head, or Pinoe’s genius, or Llyod’s golazos or Morgan’s hustle. USA 1-0.

 

Faith No More: USWNT vs China

The USWNT plays China today in the quarterfinals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Ottawa. With the yellow card suspensions to both Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday, prognosticators seem to be down on the US.

Rapinoe is our MVP. Though Solo is incomparable, the backline the strength of the team and the forward position stacked, Megan Rapinoe, is the franchise. Holiday has been doing yeoman’s work for the USWNT since 2011, but her star really ascended last year in the NWSL leading FCKC to the championship (over Pinoe’s Seattle’s Reign). Missing both will hurt, as the midfield has been a mess.

I don’t know how the US will compensate. Jill Ellis has proven somewhat inscrutable with some of her roster and lineup decisions. We won’t be at our very best, but we should beat China. China hasn’t been that good for a long while. They are currently ranked 16th in the world and, other than memories of 1999, have been mostly irrelevant. And yet, pundits doubt the United States’ chances against China.

Whether they doubt or believe is irrelevant. The USWNT’s record stands alone: objective, excellent. The USA is the Brazil of women’s soccer. Winners in two of first three World Cups (and never off the podium), dominating the Olympics (always gold, except for silver in 2000) and the Algarve cup (10 championships, the record). These are the premier competitions for women’s soccer, and we just plain own.

Oddly, one of the only chants I heard in BC Place during the US-Nigeria game was the Nike-spawned “I believe. I believe that…” It was fun last summer for the USMNT. They stink. They’ve gotten better lately, serious contenders in CONCACAF, relevant on the world stage, and they have a plucky charm. But the men have only won 1 knockout game in the last 81 years. Contextually that chant doesn’t work with the USWNT.

Saying you merely believe the USWNT will win is at best, weak sauce; at worst, solipsist. The US should win. They have talent, infrastructure, culture and recent form on their side. I always assume they will win and when they don’t it’s an upset.

The chant “I believe that we will win” also puts all the agency on the fan, the I. It is weird to make you, the spectator, the subject of the chant. All you are doing is espousing the virtues of your faith. Okay? Traditionally chants are imperatives, exhorting the home team to excellence: “Let’s go Cubbies” or “Fight and win!” These women don’t need your faith. They have proven, time and again, their championship bona fides: Wambach’s header against Brazil in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Cup, Morgan’s ice-cold strike in stoppage time of extra time against Canada in the semis of the 2012 Olympics. They don’t need us, we are along for the ride/

Bold Prediction: If China bunkers and the US flounders, this game may be ugly. I am worried about Wambach’s minutes, but this game should be key for her. We can win if we pump crosses into the box and hope to find Abby’s towering noggin. This is the style of play that has been cheesing me off lately, but should work against China: USA 1-0.

 

USWNT vs Colombia: Match Recap

Yesterday the USWNT beat Colombia 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Things have yet to click for the US as they punched in another grinding, hiccupping performance against a very game Colombian side.

One of the most refreshing aspects of the women’s game is the lack of cynicism. The men’s game, especially the World Cup, is a world-class diving exhibition. Players, even the very best (*cough* Neymar *cough*), selfishly flop and dive and roll around in histrionics. Yesterday Colombia made up for years of solid, honest play at the Women’s World Cup with a flop fest for the ages.

If an American sneezed on a Cafetera, she went down screaming. It is being reported that forward Ingrid Vidal just got a call from Hollywood. The ref was a sucker for all the diving, as the US was charged with 22 fouls. In the entirety of group play, we averaged only 10 fouls a game. We somehow managed to commit more than double that.

The gamemanship of Colombia and inconsistent officiating had me terrified of a fluke upset. Especially after Abby Wambach missed her penalty (actually her whiff preserved my bold prediction streak (and if you believe my bold predictions are infallible, I have a MLS franchise in Miami to sell you!)). Luckily, the ref was forced to call the egregious penalties that allowed us to go a player up and ice the victory.

Again, just like against Australia, Rapinoe and Holiday both got soft yellows in the first half. Now both will be out for Friday’s showdown with China. Coach Jill Ellis is going to have to get creative with her lineup, as Pinoe and Holiday have started every match so far. The US, even with their ideal eleven, failed to create much of an attack yesterday. Against the bunkering defense of China, the absence of both creative midfielders will be felt. Almost every goal scored by the US this Cup has been somehow affected by Pinoe. I’d love to see us overload on forwards in a 4-3-3, get Morgan, Press and Leroux (or Rodriguez) pressing high and making runs, but I doubt Ellis gets that out-of-the-box. The US just hasn’t been creative this World Cup.

In Ellis’s postgame presser, when asked what she thought of the US’s attack and ball movement, she said she was pleased. That was the wrong answer. Through 4 games, the US has failed to sustain an attack. We have three goals in our last three games, the last two against subpar defenses. We’ve benefitted from red cards in our last two games and two penalties yesterday. We have three goals to show for it.

Ellis preaches strong defense. This is great. But it seems she just kinda lets the offense do its thing. She reminds me of Rex Ryan coaching the Jets: merely focusing on fielding a formidable defense while settling for a mediocre O. But it’s not like the USWNT only has Mark Sanchez to lead the attack. Maybe the better analogy is Buddy Ryan and the 1990 Philadelphia Eagles. Buddy coached the hell out of a star-studded defense, but couldn’t be bothered to worry about offense. He wasted prime years of Randall Cunningham, Mike Quick, Fred Barnett and others’ careers. It is almost a coaching crime to let Pinoe, Morgan, Holiday and Press lie fallow.

 

USWNT vs Colombia: Match Preview

The World Cup is about to get real. The USWNT plays Colombia today in the win-or-go-home knockout round. Though we haven’t looked great lately, we won the “Group of Death.” Australia, a team we beat on a bad day 3-1, advanced past Brazil yesterday. The US should, should, have no trouble with Colombia.

The big narrative for the Yanks is whether coach Jill Ellis can figure out the lineup. Against Nigeria, our eleven was the strongest of our Cup so far. Alex Morgan, making her first start in over a year, grabbed the headlines, but it was Tobin Heath who made the difference. Our midfield finally worked together against Nigeria. Coach Ellis had been forcing out-of-position players to the fill the winger role opposite Rapinoe. In the first game it was natural forward Christen Press; in the second, natural centermid Morgan Brian. The confusion in the midfield snuffed the connection between the center third and attacking third and limited the strengths of midfielders like Lloyd and Holiday.

Tobin Heath is a winger. Occupying the space along the touchline, flying box-to-box and pumping in crosses is her bailiwick. She is positionally aware and has a high soccer IQ. That said, I don’t think as an individual player she is exactly top flight: at times she gets beat 1v1 and has limited technique. But just having her on the pitch makes the whole team better. She allows the midfield to be a midfield, she allows Holiday and Lloyd to be at their best.

The US has a wealth of riches up top. I understand why Ellis was trying to get Press on the pitch earlier: she is very, very talented (that goal against Australia). You have the US goals-scored leader in Wambach and the speedy quality of Sydney Leroux also on call. And, oh yeah, Amy Rodriguez, only the highest scoring American in the NWSL last year. With Alex Morgan back, the logjam at forward further congests.

Ellis has tried Leroux and Wambach up top, Press and Leroux, and Morgan and Wambach. This last duo has made the most noise for the Stars and Stripes, but looked rusty against Nigeria. Hopefully they can rediscover their chemistry on the fly. Morgan has energy and hustle and she fought her whole 65 minutes on Tuesday, which is a great going forward. I think Wambach starts again up top because Ellis is so committed to boot-and-chase.

The Nigeria game was boring, it was mid-Century footy in the worst possible way. After we got the header from Abby, Ellis showed no desire to push for another score. In a way, I can understand. Nigeria attacks well, so why keep pushing and open yourself up to an unnecessary counterattack? And yet we didn’t just park the bus, we parked the whole damn cruise ship. We ceded all possession to a quality attacking team for a little over half an hour. Normally this would be a recipe for disaster. But we have a great defense and it worked Tuesday. Let’s hope it works again today.

Bold Prediction: To Colombia’s credit, they have done something we haven’t at this World Cup: scored in every game so far. Los Cafeteras advanced from a difficult group, getting results from the 33rd and 25th best teams in the world. They only lost to #6 England. This team is not a push over, especially with Andrade on the pitch.

However. This game will be decided by the USWNT. If we field a team that works together and knows themselves, we win in a rout. If we are still working the kinks out against a team that shocked France 2-0, we could be the next big team to suffer an upset. I think Morgan is the catalyst and I hope Heath starts. If so, US 2-0.

 

Live from Vancouver: USWNT at the World Cup

old glory out in force. no i am not calling Wambach old ;)

old glory out in force. no i am not calling Wambach old ;)

The USA beat Nigeria Tuesday at BC Place to clinch a spot in the knockout round of the 2015 FIFA World Cup, and your humble blogger was there.

Walking down Robson amid the throngs of red, white and blue was an experience. Mrs. Ravinggreen had hit the party store on Roosevelt earlier and took advantage of pre-July 4th swag, so the lot of us were decked out in jingoistic finery. Earlier in the stroll, still far from the stadium, we received odd glances from the Canadian passersby. As we got closer to the stadium we blended in. The Americans were out in droves. It was a Tuesday. We were from different cities, different states, but we’d skipped work or school or whatever to come together and support our team. The random Vancouverite strolling to the bus after work must’ve thought the invasion had started in earnest.

The atmosphere of the game was… okay. It was no Sounders game. BC Place was a beautiful stadium, easily accessed and understood. But boy was it quiet. I have no idea if the calmness came from tension over the game, or the lack of supporter culture amongst the traveling fans–judging from the license plates all over town the majority of whom were from Washington and Oregon­, so you’d assume they’d bring some raucous energy. There were also many Californians, and families with young kids.

My party was surrounded by kids. They were cute in their Wambach and Morgan jerseys, painted faces and patriotic pig-tails. But I like to get rowdy at games. In the stadium, you set aside your ego for an afternoon and merely become one of many. You channel that visceral monkeybrain to yell at refs or dives or for your team. But this is difficult without the implicit support of your stadium neighbors, and especially with kids around. There was no community at the game. Unlike at Sounders games, I rarely chatted with the stranger next to me. Like in a city, I was self conscious of my place as one among many. I couldn’t dissolve into the game. I had to keep my civilized filter firmly in place.

Maybe this was the atmosphere MLS always intended before Cascadia: Soccer moms and little ones fidgeting in their seats while that after-school, suburban sport was politely taken in. Soccer games in the States are now known for their crazy energy, even the casual sports fan knows us soccer nuts get crazy. But without the feedback of a throng of unfiltered roaring supporters, the energy was dulled. I was at CenturyLink for the WCQ match against Panama and that was one helluva wild stadium (thank you AO Seattle!). At that game, the energy was just as good as the most intense Sounders game and the patriotic fervor definitely took it up a notch. This game… sure it was on a neutral field, but the stadium was 80% star-spangled. You could see the Americans, you just couldn’t hear them.

The crowd lacked energy and the AO didn’t exactly exhort any. Not to be a hater, but the AO representing the heart of American support was the San Diego chapter. They didn’t quite cut it. There were long stretches of quiet at the game, long stretches without a song. In fact, the only song I heard was an early, “We will follow you.” Some of the only chants heard was the old saw “U-S-A” and “I Believe” (the “I Believe” chant really rankled. I am working on a separate post about that).

The game itself played out to a solid, if lackluster, 1-0 conclusion. I’ll write more actual game analysis later. Leaving the stadium was almost more entertaining than the game. Once again, we were in a red, white and blue sea. We strolled through YaleTown to Indian Bistro, meh, then back to the car. The car with the dead battery. We were stranded in our costumes in a chain-linked lot off Davie. Thankfully another group of Americans (a hearty shout out to Margo and Clay) strolled into the lot and gave us a jump. Clamping the cables onto the dead battery, I channeled the most energy felt that afternoon. Strangers were chatting and working together because of a game.

 

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