Monday, July 18, 2011

USA Finishes 2nd


All of the hard work, perseverance, and an entire country rooting for them and it all came down to PKs...

For all of you soccer fans out there, you know that a penalty kick is like a free throw in basketball:  free points.  A penalty kick is awarded when a defender takes down an opposing player who was about to score a goal. The player is awarded a free kick ten yards from a stationary goalie.  It is a given that the penalty kick will go in.  The referee has helped to even out the score.  But just like the NBA players who shoot less than 80% from the free throw line, there is no guarantee.

At the professional level there really is no excuse for not making the shot.  It is something that every soccer player has practiced since they were playing U10.  Take 3 steps, keep your head down, aim for the side of the net. 

The goalie is at a severe disadvantage during a penalty kick and often has to guess which way the ball will go before it leaves the shooter's foot.  Guess correct and you are a hero.  Guess wrong and the kick goes the way it was intended.  The goalie is never to blame for missing the ball; the blame lies with the defender that originally committed the foal.

The US missed its first 2 shots; one rather predictably because Shannon Boxx always goes right.  The other sailed high over the cross bar, a result of Carlie Lloyd's dead legs.  Abby Wambach did manage to get one into the net but it was too late.  The Japanese were victorious.

It never should have come down to the uncertainty of PKs.  The US had too many chances in the first half and committed 2 costly defensive errors in the second.  But that doesn't lessen the disappointment that we all feel.

The country cheered with you and we hang our heads with you.  But... We are still behind you!  You are still our team!  USA in 2015!!

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