Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson for May 13, 2019
Parking the bus and what the U.S. is gonna face this summer — Did the officials muff Julie Ertz's bloody mouth? Plus must-click links and excerpts from Allie Long
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Parking The Bus
So we’re inching closer and closer to the World Cup. I’ve got lots of preview stuff to do and of course the Trail Blazers are making it interesting by heading to the Western Conference finals. This is because I’m totally jinxed.
I wasn’t able to go to Sunday’s USWNT match against South Africa because I was picking up my daughter from her freshman year at college (and also the NBA), but I watched (with my other eye on the Blazers).
Here’s what is apparent: Scouts for the rest of the world have reaallllyyy studied that match against Sweden in Brazil two years ago. We’re gonna see teams bunker in this summer against the Americans and try to ride it out.
And that’s a totally valid strategy. As Caitlin Murray noted in her analysis for Yahoo! Sports, even if teams have zero hope of beating the U.S., limiting those pesky goals against might be the edge that some of these teams need to advance to the knockout round.
I’d also like to suggest that the anticipation of the bunker may explain some of Jill Ellis’ moves toward experience. I also think that all the focus on defense may mean that the offense that the U.S. does get will come from players that aren’t named Alex Morgan. Like Sam Mewis.
The USWNT certainly still made the match interesting, even if the goal-fest many anticipated never materialized. And I’m pointing here to the bizarre situation surround Julie Ertz and her bloody mouth.
Most pro and amateur sports (Including the NBA! Just saying because I’m in the playoffs) have really strict rules surrounding actively bleeding players. Blood rules were adopted by many leagues decades ago at the height of the AIDS epidemic.
Ertz continued to play with bloody gauze in her mouth. FIFA rules state that any player who is actively bleeding must leave the field until the referee is satisfied “that the bleeding has stopped.” The bleeding clearly hadn’t stopped, so why was she allowed to play? The rule also states they players can’t have blood on their jerseys, which is why she was forced to change hers.
The bleeding went on for more than 20 minutes by my count. Why?
Impressed that Ertz is a warrior and played with what looked like a hand towel in her mouth, but that shouldn’t have been allowed by the officials. She was actively bleeding, she should have been held off the field until is stopped.
I understand mouth wounds are difficult to treat, but the rules are in place to protect all players.
This Week in Women’s Soccer
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First, a couple of links from me and my colleagues! I wrote about Allie Long making the team after doubts crept in that she might not.
Here’s my story on US Soccer’s response to the players’ discrimination lawsuit. (Hey, just wanted to clarify something for the record. I must be neutral in my reporting for the AP. This was a procedural response to a lawsuit. I kept it brief because that’s what it merited for a general audience. So no, angry DMers, I haven’t taken sides.
AP’s Rob Harris with a story on the England’s squad for the World Cup.
Josh Dubow covered the South Africa match for AP
Graham Hays brings his analysis after Sunday’s match.
Caitlin Murray weighs in for Yahoo! Sports.
Jonathan Tannenwald for Philly.com on the South Africa match.
Cheasea Bush with her take from The Equalizer.
Elliott Almond from the match’s hometown paper, the San Jose Mercury News.
Jamie Goldberg wrote about juggling motherhood with soccer. Waiting for the piece on juggling motherhood, soccer and the NBA, but that’s just me! 🙂
Nice story here from Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times about the World Cup journey starting at a swanky SF restaurant.
And that brings me to the Tweet of the week, because I’m guessing this was taken at the swanky restaurant!
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: More with Allie Long, longshot no more
So last week I mentioned in the IX that the Reign were gracious to set up a conference call with Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long. I thought y’all might be interested in seeing some more of the things Long said on the call, since she was far from a lock for the team (like Rapinoe), and we haven’t heard all that much from her on a national stage over the past year. Plus I really love these stories about players who beat the odds and prove themselves.
Question: How stressful was that process and how relieved are you to finally know that you are part of that 23?
Long: Well I think from getting injured last August, it was stressful just from being injured, and then not getting called in and finally getting called in. I felt like the offseason was a little bit more stressful than the past month or two, only because I felt like the last camp I did everything that I possibly could to give me the best chance to make the roster. So once that camp was over I was like, `OK, the decision is out of my hands. I did what I could.’ So I felt pretty calm. But I think the offseason, the uncertainty of everything was definitely harder than actually being in camp where you have somewhat control over showing what you can. But I am releived that it’s finally over.”
Question: What do you think about the opponents in your group in France?
Long: I think once you get to the World Cup, I’ve never been there, but whenever I’m watching, I think that you can never underestimate a team. And it’s almost like when you’re watching, you think that Oh, this the team’s going to crush it, and it’s kind of actually no they’re not. So going into it, for my first time, just knowing this is a world cup and you can’t take anything for granted. So maybe Thailand and Chile aren’t actually aren’t the most difficult opponents but that’s not to say that they’re not going to give us a good game and help us prepare. Then for Sweden, obviously we lost them in the Olympics last. It’s always going to be a good game. And you know I’m excited to play them again.”
Question: With a squad that had so many veterans on it, and yet it’s your first time, do you lean on somebody for experience?
Long: “I feel like going to the Olympics gave me the best experience, that I don’t think playing friendlies and even tournaments for us in the U.S. like SheBelieves or Tournament of Nations, that could ever prepare you for a knockout game feeling. So that experience and just that feeling, and perform and even lose, I feel like that was such a great learning experience. But I definitely also am always leaning on my friends. I’m always asking questions and they’re always helping me Pinoe and Alex and Kelley and everyone. I always want to be the best and I’m always asking advice and questions and talking to them. I definitely lean on them and they’re great. “
Question: How do you deal with the mental aspects of the pressure?
Long: “To be at this level, to be on this team consistently you have to be mentally tough. And so I think that that’s the one thing that will separate two people that are on the bubble and one person can hang and that much more mentally tough, they’re going to make it, even if the skill level and everything else there they’re equal. So I think that just being in the environment and being able to stay in the environment, you have to be mentally tough. And we’re used to that feeling.”
Question: How was moment you found out you were going to go?
Long: “When Jill called me on the phone, I was just with my husband and she sounded so happy. At first I thought this could either be good or bad but she sounded like really happy. So that made me feel a little calmer. And then she told me that I need it. And I told her Don’t tell me that’ because I was like so happy. And she was like, what? and I was Just kidding, tell me that. I was just teasing. Not gonna lie. And I said thank you and then I told my parents and then Pookie (Pinoe) called me, and I told Alex and Kelley. I think those were the three I told. And I thanked my head coach Vlatko for juts helping me the past year and being just a great mentor to me during this whole time.”
Question: How does it feel for you as a player, kind of coming into this tournament knowing that the expectations for this squad and this country and to be so high?
Long: “I mean, I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other country. I think that it’s exciting, but it pushes me to be my absolute best every single day. It always has, but just knowing that it’s a world tournament, knowing what this means. This has been a dream for me and it’s a dream for everybody else. You know ,I’m representing the country, but also I’m like having my girls’ backs, all 22 of them, so I have to be on point, on my A game like 24/7 and making sure I’m doing my best and being the best teammate and the best player that I can be every day and give everything I have to make sure that our team is as successful as it will be.”