Marty here, residential eSports expert branching on out into the world of soccer/football. Let me preface this by saying I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to soccer, but I do enjoy watching it! So this is coming from a more casual watcher’s point of view.
The defending champions of the World Cup, our own Women’s National Team, took to defending their title these past couple weeks. Let’s just say that came out with some fire, arguably marking themselves as targets and possibly becoming the villain of the tournament in many people’s eyes.
USA 13 – Thailand 0
The only way to sum up this game would be to say that the US absolutely clapped Thailand. 13 goals. Even I know that’s an insane amount of goals for one game in soccer. The US had a record breaking 7 players scoring a goal, with 5 coming from Alex Morgan. Her first of 5 coming 12 minutes into the game, and another from Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan to close out the first half with the US leading 3-0. The second half is where the nail was hammered, and I mean HAMMERED, into the coffin of Thailand. 10 goals came in the second half, 2 from Sam Mewis, another from Rose Lavelle, 1 from Carli Lloyd, 1 from Megan Rapinoe, 1 from Mallory Pugh and another 4 from Alex Morgan.
Here is where the controversial issues come from. It’s one thing to run up the score when the goal differential matters, which it does! So that’s all fine and dandy, but to celebrate those later goals? Yikes. Not a good look from the United States in my opinion. If I was in a hockey game, and my opponent was annihilating us 8-0, 9-0, etc, and they chose to celly after that 9th goal I would hammer them into the ground. Not a second of hesitation. That’s also adult league hockey, this is the WORLD CUP we’re talking about here. So I can understand to a point the celebrations, some of these girls are scoring their first ever World Cup goals, some of them their first of the tournament. That’s fine, I can understand celebrating on that occasion because it’s 100% warranted, but the fast majority of the late goals were scored by USWNT veterans…now I’m not one who is in any position to judge them for what they do, but in my honest opinion, it did go too far and was disrespectful to their opponent.
That being said, those girls went out there to play their best and they certainly showed it. Kudos to them for clapping Thailand, maybe just be a bit more humble in victory. It certainly left a sour taste in many, many people’s mouths, which it being a hotly debated topic all over social media. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, including the women of the WNT, so in their case, yinz did amazing, ball out honestly.
United States 3 – Chile 0
This game was much more calm in comparison to the game versus Thailand. Carli Lloyd had 2 goals, becoming the first player to score in 6 consecutive Women’s World Cup games, leading the United States to 3-0 victory. The other score was by Julie Ertz. Despite the pressure the US pushed on Chile, Paris-Saint Germain’s Christiane Endler played phenomenally to keep the US out of the net in the 2nd half. With this victory, the US guaranteed themselves a spot in the knockout round, but still had to face the team that knocked them out of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
United States 2 – Sweden 0
This game solidified the force that is the United States in this tournament, with this being the big question of the group stage for them. Could they beat the team that arguably haunted them for years after the Olympics? The answer? Yes, yes they can. With goals coming from Lindsay Horan 3 minutes into the game and Tobin Heath (she scored, but technically it wasn’t her goal) just a few minutes in to the second half. Now the second goal is confusing, as I’m not honestly certain as to why it was considered an own goal against Joanna Andersson, the Swedish goalkeeper. The play was under review as Carli Lloyd was offsides on the play. Fortunately for the US, she was ruled to have not impacted the play enough to overturn the call. Tobin Heath got the ball from a redirect off a Swedish defender, just outside the post of the Swedish net, hesitating for a couple steps and quickly darting to the right of the Swedish defender and potting one over the head of Andersson from a sharp angle. It was a beauty of a goal, not going to lie. That goal, the 18th of the US in group play, broke the Women’s World Cup record for goals in group play, adding yet another broken record to the US’s tally this tournament. The one negative take away form this game is that Alex Morgan was taken out of the game and replaced at the beginning of the second half by Carli Lloyd. Morgan was involved in a couple collisions, and the removal from the game was seemingly cautionary only.
After going undefeated in the group stage, and not letting a single goal in, the United States face off against Spain on June 24th at 12pm EST. If the group play is anything to base that game off of, hail to the defending champions.
Photos courtesy of the game photos from FIFA’s World Cup website.