USWNT win the most CONCACAF game ever

USWNT win the most CONCACAF game ever

We realize the enormity of saying “the most CONCACAF game ever,” as this particular region of the soccer world is literally where people throw ducks at balloons and nothing is the way it seems. Just about anything can happen when the North and Central American Federation is in charge, and boy did it on Wednesday night.

Photo: Getty Images

It’s weird enough to even talk about a torrential rainstorm in Southern California, but it can happen on occasion. A particularly aggressive one took place in the hours and first half or so of the USWNT’s Gold Cup semifinal against Canada, which turned the field at Snapdragon Field in San Diego into a giant version of what your yard looked like when you were done playing with the Slip n’ Slide (minus the cuts and bruises everyone got from the clamps. Maybe?).

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Photo: Getty Images

The opening minutes of the game were basically all 22 players looking at the ref with an incredulous, “What are we doing here?” expression, the same one you shoot your boss at least once a week. While the cover story is always that the referee is the one with the gas to call off a match, as Christina Unkel pointed out on CBS’s coverage it’s usually the match commissioner who gets the say. There was even a point early in the first half when ref Katia Itzel Garcia picked up the ball, ran over to the benches, and demonstrated for those officials how the ball would not roll through the puddles and seemingly begging to be given the go-ahead to call it. It didn’t come, so fans were treated to 120 minutes of performance art combined with trying to pull up a tree stump.

Image for article titled USWNT win the most CONCACAF game ever

Photo: Getty Images

With the standing water on the field, the ball couldn’t roll more than a couple feet, making dribbling or passing basically an afterthought and any attempt to do so a Sysiphian metaphor on the folly of life. There was a cartoonish “soccer” video game not so long ago entitled “Behold The Kickmen.” It was clearly designed by someone who had only been told what soccer is and what it involved but had never actually seen a game. While there was more to it, the main crux was that a player had to acquire all the skills involved in playing soccer one by one. So initial forays into the game saw a player only being able to direct his players to run and shoot, as shooting was the first skill that could be acquired. A player basically had to navigate how to shoot the ball up the field to sort of mimic passing and creating attacking moves, which was obviously inexact.

That’s what USWNT-Canada looked like after the first 10 minutes or so when both teams came to the realization of what they were dealing with.

If there’s anything to be drawn from the match, and there isn’t, it’s that at least the US figured out that any defensive tactic was nothing more than booting the ball out of bounds rather than attempting any backpass or pass of any kind. The US’s opening goal stemmed from Canada briefly thinking this was a soccer game instead of a rugby one.

Eventually, both teams figured out the only way was to simply hoof the ball forward at every opportunity, get it around the other team’s penalty area, and just hope for a slip, mistake, or bounce (perhaps yet another metaphor). Canada equalized when they were able to get the ball wide and Ashley Lawrence was able to lever a cross that Jordyn Huitema was able to convert. The US took the lead in extra time when a hopeful hoof found the head of Rose Lavelle and both Canadian centerbacks got caught going for it and left Sophia Smith all alone. And then Canada equalized after another punt forward in the general direction of the US net resulted in a penalty when Alyssa Naeher’s compass went off the boil and she ended up delivering both a right and left cross to Vanessa Gilles.

Then Canada took three of the worst penalties you’ll see that Naeher stopped with a yawn and the US won…or were declared winners, such were the conditions and the farce it was. Oh, and before penalties Canada was allowed to make a substitution after the 120 minutes were up, which is specifically not allowed! CONCACAF, where the rules are more like guidelines like the pirate code.

CONCACAF put every player in danger. Not only could any of them slip and bend any ligament or muscle in a funky direction, or have them run through mud for 120 minutes leading to all sorts of fatigue injuries, but considering the ball would just stick in the ground it was inviting players to crash into each other on 50/50 tackles as if they were in a Hadron Collider. It could have gone wrong in any number of ways.

Ridiculous field conditions, curious refereeing, very silly goals, risk of injury high…baby you got a CONCACAF stew going

Nadal pulls out of Indian Wells

In unsurprising but still sobering news, Rafa Nadal pulled out of Indian Wells on the eve of his first match. He had just played an exhibition with Carlos Alcaraz in Vegas, but even that mini-exertion was enough for him to declare himself unready for a tournament.

Nadal has been building himself toward the clay court season, which has been his domain for 20 years. But after having to wave off the Aussie Open after playing only three matches as a tuneup, and then missing a prime Masters 1000 tournament after only playing one match in the interim, it’s fair to wonder if he can make the bell for the European dirt in a few weeks.

Which makes it fair to wonder if this is it for Nadal, but we’re not there yet.

NYCFC unveils new stadium renderings

Finally, NYCFC unveiled renderings of what their new stadium in Queens will look like as it passed yet another hurdle toward construction. And what NYCFC seems to be asking is, “Is it about my cube?”

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.