An instant classic at Old Trafford

I’m just going to state for posterity what should be remembered about today’s Olympic semifinal, in which the U.S. women beat Canada by the odd goal in seven:

  • Christine Sinclair is a brilliant player, and it’s nice to see her finally getting a worthy showcase, even in a loss.
  • Fellow Portland alum Megan Rapinoe should now be alongside Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan as the stars of the U.S. team. She’s already one of the best crossers of the ball in any level of soccer. Her second goal today was simply superb.
  • Referee Christiana Pedersen wasn’t up to the task. Many of her calls, including the barely precedented delay of game call on Erin McLeod and the subsequent harsh handball call, favored the USA. But she also let far too much go uncalled, including a “Wambach sandwich” on a set piece in which the U.S. target forward was held and clobbered in the head by two different players.
  • The referee should not take away from the performance of the players. The game was a thrill to watch.
  • It’s a pity this game wasn’t the final. Canada deserves a medal. That’s the best game I’ve seen that team play, and it comes on the heels of a sturdy quarterfinal performance.

Classic games usually have their share of messiness and controversy along with the brilliance. This one certainly did. And it’s one in which both teams deserve to be remembered for their efforts.

Freedom’s misfortunes touch Gold Pride, too

FC Gold Pride wasn’t necessarily planning to turn the entire Saturday evening at the Maryland SoccerPlex into one large-scale counterattack. The game just turned out that way, with the Bay Area team on their heels in the first half and then taking advantage of opportunities in the second.

The 4-1 final score was deceptive, and with Freedom keeper Erin McLeod suffering a knee injury bearing all the signs of something serious, the visitors weren’t getting too giddy.

Yet the game showed how much is going Gold Pride’s way this season and how much is going wrong for the Freedom, who tumbled out of playoff position with the loss.

Sympathy for McLeod

McLeod’s injury was particularly tough on Gold Pride forward Christine Sinclair, her Canadian national teammate.

Continue reading Freedom’s misfortunes touch Gold Pride, too