Philly Sports Live

USA vs. Japan the Ultimate Rematch

The US Women’s National Team is coming off one of the most sensational games in US Soccer history along with the most dramatic game in Olympic soccer history. A 123 minute goal scored by Alex Morgan to win the game and put the US through to the gold medal match is surreal. Coming from behind three times and winning 4-3 is unheard of. The type of drama and excitement that encompasses the USWNT is something out of a video game or movie.

Last year in the world cup these ladies put on a show filled with drama including an amazing goal from Abby Wambach in the 2nd minute of stoppage time in the 2nd half of extra time. Just like this year, last year the women advanced to face Japan in the final of the world cup. In last year’s final, the US loss in the most heartbreaking and cruel fashions on PK’s. Penalty Kicks are the most unjust way to decide a game. Japan showed great grit to rally twice to force ET and penalty kicks.

Since the epic WC finale Japan and US have faced each other three times in friendly matches in 2012. With an astonishing record of 1-1-1, thus making this Olympic match the ultimate tie breaker. A great series between two of the best teams and winner gets gold. The last match between the two nations was June 16th when the US downed Japan 4-1. Morgan and Wambach both scored two goals in that game. The duo up front have been able to get goals against Japan, Alex Morgan has 4 goals in 4 games and Wambach with 3 goals.
It is uplifting to know that the two most dynamic goal scorers have been able to get goals against Japan but it is a bit troubling that they are the only two. This game is going to be intense to say the least; Japan will have Abby marked tightly and playing her roughly. She has scored a goal in every game this Olympics, Japan will need to stop her.

Someone else needs to step up, someone who isn’t Abby or Alex Morgan. The pressure turns on Megan Rapinoe who is the catalyst in the midfield. Her and her flank mate Tobin Heath will have to play better, and create more. Megan has the speed the service and skills to score goals.

She scored two goals in the last game against Canada but her play has been sporadic over this Olympics. Tobin Heath has played well and showed why she is in the starting 11. She has great technical skill, and pace along with solid vision to pick out passes. Heath has gone off the radar at times; I would like to see more of her as far as commanding the ball and making plays. I have faith in her and her technical abilities. I strongly believe that she will be a great number 10 attacking midfielder in the future for US, now is a great time to show the world why. Speaking of number 10’s, I expect a big match from the US’s Carli Lloyd. Carli Lloyd has an absolute cannon of a shot, and is a great orchestrator of the game. It is unfortunate that Shannon Boxx was injured because there is no better holding midfielder in the women’s game but Lloyd brings an attack flair that will benefit the US.

On the defense is where US fans should be worried about the US. They played a tough game against Canada, and were consistently beat. The outside defenders were beat with ease at times; Beuhler and Amy Lepeilbet had rough games and logged big minutes. Due to the physicality of the game and the poor play it would not be surprising if coach Pia Sundhage starts Becky Sauerbrunn. A concern is the aging Christie Rampone. She left it all on the pitch; her body has to be exasperated from the physicality of that game. But let’s be honest Rampone is a warrior she gave birth to two kids she can handle anything.

Japan had a much easier time qualifying for the gold medal match. Japan beat France 2-1 in a dramatic game that ended in regulation. Japan committed a number of errors but ultimately France could not finish. The French missed a PK and could not convert several goal scoring opportunities. Japan will be significantly more rested and mentally ready for the biggest match outside the World Cup final.

This game is going to be must see TV. It will be a drama filled match that is highly competitive. The US may have tired legs but they have heart and great endurance. They will push Japan to the brink. Both teams will look to capitalize on mistakes making this a chess match for the ages. The beginning will be a touch and go feeling out period the US will most likely be on the offensive and trying to push the tempo and score early. As we know no lead is safe, the US will need to score multiple goals and continue exploiting the weaknesses of the Japanese defense.

Ultimately what I am trying to say is if you enjoy sports watch this game.

Via: Total Sports Live