Monday, July 6, 2015

U.S. Soccer Women Lucked Out With Coin Toss

VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Carli Lloyd of USA celebrates scoring her third goal with teamates during the FIFA Women's World Cup Final between USA and Japan at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Stuart Franklin - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Megan Rapinoe celebrates with teammates after 5-2 World Cup Soccer win over Japan.

When initial scenes of the Vancouver, BC Place stadium field appeared I told wifey flat out that whichever team (U.S. or Japan) wins the coin toss and chooses the shade area  - will win.  It is a no brainer that any soccer goalkeeper stuck in the sun facing furious shots from opponents out of the shade will most often misjudge them and be "bait" for the other team running up the score with a serious advantage.

This is exactly what transpired yesterday evening with the U.S. women's 5-2 victory, though many in the U.S. sports world will be more focused on the "romp"  forgetting what led to it. (Also forgetting how U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo herself boffed a Japanese shot when she was in the sun in 2nd half).

Well, the U.S. won the coin toss which was every bit as devastating to the Japanese women as say the NE Patriots winning the coin toss in overtime against an NFL opponent and with Tom Brady at the helm.  We know in football getting that one TD in OT ends the game with the opponents not getting a counter shot.

It was pretty well the same - given all the U.S. goals (by Carli Lloyd) in the first 16 minutes, all showed the massive advantage of shooting out of the deep shade leaving the Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori  flummoxed most of the time,  at least in the early going.

The U.S. decision to take the shade area was well considered and strategic. The fact they did shows they understood the distinct advantage - especially to an offense which up to that point had been paltry- and which Japan had to grasp as well. Their coach undoubtedly told the women - especially Lloyd- to "pour it on" - certain that Ayumi Kaihori would have her hands full. And so it was, Lloyd poured it on with the fastest hat trick in women's soccer history -  and the Japanese ended up in a ditch that was simply too steep to climb out of - even with Johnston's "own goal" (incredible in itself).

Anyway, kudos to Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and the other members of the U.S. Women's Soccer team who did what any team of special caliber would do: exploit to the maximum the conditions afforded them - even delivered via a coin toss. But bear in mind that had Japan won that toss, and also chosen the shade, it could well have been a different story with the U.S. having to climb out of a 4-0 "ditch"!

No comments: