US Women’s Soccer Cruising to Quarterfinals
Despite a ridiculous cheap shot on team captain Abby Wambach, the US Women’s National soccer team clinched their spot in the Olympic quarterfinal round. With a match to spare, no less.
After their comeback win against France on Wednesday, the Americans set their sights on another three points in preliminary pool play. With Colombia standing in the way, the United States decided to make a statement – that they were still one of the best teams in the world.
From the word “Go”, the Americans peppered the Colombians with shots on goal, ending with a 9-1 advantage in the match. With such statistical dominance, the only surprise was that the score was a mere 1-0 advantage for the United States, after a Megan Rapinoe goal in the 33rd minute. However, a shutout by goalie Hope Solo and second half goals by both Wambach (74′) and Carli Lloyd (77′), within three minutes of each other, sealed the blowout win.
Now, with 6 points in Group G, the American women are guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinal round. Their final round robin match against the People’s Republic of Korea will be somewhat inconsequential, if not for seeding in the next round. However, one thing is clear: the Americans are here to play, to win, and to avenge their loss in the Women’s World Cup.
About that Cheap Shot on Wambach …
Perhaps it was unintentional. But the incident – and the immediate reaction by the victim – was undeniable.
Despite the Americans’ statement victory, the match was marred by an apparent punch in the face on Abby Wambach, by Colombian defender Lady Andrade. The incident occurred in the 39rd minute, with the Americans leading by 1 goal, in what was shaping up to be a physical match. The event became more obvious on the replay, as Wambach lay on the ground, clutching her face in pain. Nonetheless, Wambach played the rest of the match with an increasingly-visible welt below her right eye.
Andrade called the event unintentional:
“Nothing happened. It was just a normal part of the game. We were both running, she ran across me and we collided. I had my hands in the air. It was an accident.”
However, footage of the incident doesn’t leave much doubt that Andrade threw a punch at Wambach’s face. If there is any doubt, you be the judge:
Personally, I usually give the benefit of the doubt in cases like these – maybe she really didn’t mean to throw that punch. Maybe it was an accident.
The key word being “usually.”
Judging by the footage, I can’t see that as unintentional. In fact, the incident was just malicious. Furthermore, I am shocked that the referees missed the infraction in the first place, let alone do something to rectify the situation. While this isn’t really on the same level of malice as the Zinadine Zidane headbutt, it was definitely as obvious.
Funnily enough, Wambach got her measure of revenge by scoring the second goal of the match, breaking the record for most Olympic goals ever scored by an American woman. Even with an obvious welt on her face, Wambach got the last laugh, helping her team reach the quarterfinals.
Internet Phenomenon meets Swimming Phenomena
So far, the swimming events for the U.S. Olympic team have been exciting, inspiring and, above all, unpredictable. From Ryan Lochte’s dominance over the field – including uberswimmer Michael Phelps – in yesterday’s 400m IM, to Dana Vollmer’s world record performance in the 100m Fly, the Americans have been making headlines early and often to start the Olympics.
However, the swim team has recently been able to make headlines away from the pool – more specifically, as an overnight viral sensation. And they did it by lip-synching to the summer’s most viral phenomenon.
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I don’t know what is more improbable: the idea that anything could revitalize the Canadian singer’s viral presence, or the fact that swimmers like Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps subjected themselves to participating – albeit, light-heartedly.
In any case, the fact that they created this in between practice sessions before the biggest event in their young lives speaks to the magnetic personalities of the men and women of the American swim team. And with household names like Dana Vollmer and Missy Franklin being made as we speak, it is only one more thing to supplement their wild success.