Mexico is going to the 2011 World Cup in Germany! And the US Women? Well, they must play and win at least 2 more games to get there. And, yes they must feel like they are in the middle of a nightmare, but there is no waking up from this devastating loss to a strong, fast, driven Mexican team.
Mexico played incredibly well from the beginning and scored within 4 minutes into the game. Even when the US found the equalizer, Mexico came back a few minutes later to go up 1. Mexico fought furiously to hold onto the lead until the very end.
The United States had won 24 of the 25 previous meetings with Mexico, but with the incredibly large and noisy crowd at Estadio Beto Avila rooting for the Mexicans, including Mexican Football Federation President Justino Compeon, they were very motivated.
In the 2nd Half the US played much stronger and held possession the majority of the time, but couldn’t find the second goal. You could see the desperation combined with pure shock as Megan Rapinoe, Shannon Boxx, and Christine Rampone all got yellow carded. (Yes, maybe they got some bad some calls, but the U.S. gave some hard fouls too.)
Abby had a terrible head to head collision that had both players drawing blood, though it appeared Abby got the worst of it. (I admit I had a flashback of when Abby broke her leg in a friendly game right before the Olympics. I was livid.) But after 60 seconds she got up, barely phased as she jogged off the field to get cleaned up (10 stitches in the head, entire head wrapped in tape, and whole body washed down to remove every trace of blood), but to no avail. Stoppage time was running out and the officials wouldn’t let her back on the field. Her jumping up and down and screaming fell on deaf ears.
So there it is, the U.S. is in a position they haven’t been in in quite some time. To move ahead they must play Costa Rica and 2 games against Italy.
Italy is 11th on the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking. The final play-off will be played over two legs on 20 and 27 November, with the first leg in Italy.
I wish my U.S. the best of luck.
THIS COULD ACTUALLY BE A GOOD THING. Coach Pia, hear me out. The US needs to practice against difficult teams and needs to be challenged more often, so they will know how to dig deep for the big games, especially against a scrapping, skillful German team that they are destined to see if they make it to the WC championship game. Enough of the Cancun resorts with their beautiful beaches and cabanas — it’s time to get serious.
For now U.S. WNT, get some rest, heal up, and get ready to handle your business. I’m ready to buy my airline tickets to Deutschland.