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Sundhage's glass is half full
by Paul Kennedy, June 5th, 2011 10:07PM

TAGS:  college women, mexico, women's national team, women's world cup


[USA-MEXICO WOMEN] Lauren Cheney's goal in stoppage time gave the USA a 1-0 win over Mexico in its final international match before heading to Germany for the 2011 Women’s World Cup. The Americans thoroughly dominated the game, finishing with a 34-4 shot advantage, but until Cheney's strike from distance they could not beat 16-year-old Ceci Santiago in goal for Mexico.

“I think the road to the World Cup has been bumpy,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “In a perfect world, we should have scored a couple of goals today, but my glass is half full. When you look at the game, it was an excellent game because we played well and we created chances and it was a player coming off the bench, Lauren Cheney, who made the difference. That tells us how important every single player is on this team.”

Santiago held off the Americans all afternoon before a crowd of more than 5,000 at Red Bull Arena, but she could do nothing to stop Cheney's rising shot from 27 yards out.

Santiago was one of seven players Coach Leo Cuellar used from Mexico's 2010 Under-20 World Cup team.

Among them was Stanford star Alina Garciamendez.

The USA will depart on June 14 for a training camp in Austria and then will arrive in Dresden, Germany, several days before its Women’s World Cup opener on June 28 against North Korea.

June 5 in Harrison, N.J.
USA 1 Mexico 0. Goal: Cheney 90+2.
Mexico -- Santiago, Robles, Garciamendez, Vinti, Saucedo, Worbis, Morales (Ocampo, 46), Perez (Lopez, 46; Alvarado, 84), Dominguez (Corral, 80), Garza (Rangel, 71), Mayor (Noyola)
USA -- Solo, Krieger (Mitts, 46), Buehler (Sauerbrunn, 84), Rampone, LePeilbet (Cox, 61), O’Reilly, Boxx (Lindsey, 71), Lloyd, Rapinoe (Morgan, 76), Rodriguez (Cheney, 61), Wambach.
Referee: Kari Seitz (USA).
Att.: 5,852.

  1. John Munnell
    commented on: June 6, 2011 at 8:05 a.m.
    Despite the commentary to the contrary, I thought they played far better than in either match against Japan --- better thought (most of the time) and better execution. The finishing was not good, of course. So I came away encouraged, after being totally depressed after the Japanese matches. But Japan was a better opponent than Mexico, and the losses earlier in the year combine to make me think that this may not be a good World Cup for the US. And on a defense that is already suspect, I don't think adding Heather Mitts helps. She demonstrated that she is not match ready --- she didn't really even look fit. I was rooting for her, but I'd have to leave her home.

  1. Valerie Metzler
    commented on: June 6, 2011 at 8:08 a.m.
    I agree with you, John.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: June 6, 2011 at 8:29 a.m.
    If the US women expect to win this yr they have to be able to finish in the latter portion of the game. I wasn't impressed to see smiles on the US playes faces after missing many goal scoring opportunity. This was the third game I've seen them play in and while possession was good, finishing is also important, I wish them the best, they will need it. I think Pia should be starting Alex Morgan in every game, she has the fire and spirit to make the US a winning team.

  1. F. Kirk Malloy
    commented on: June 6, 2011 at 9:32 a.m.
    Physically dominated with pace, pressure and endurance, the hallmarks of US soccer. Unfortunately, not enough technical skill particularly in the final third. Where is the clever pass (Mitts did make a few), the rapid combination, the unbalancing run that creates space for a teammate who instinctively exploits it? These should not be exclusive Spanish traits, and make for very attractive, entertaining soccer, regardless of gender. The turnout for a final game before the World Cup, and at a great facility so near to legions of soccer fans, was dismal. US Soccer, and the entire women's game, needs to embrace the "new" soccer of Barca/Spain if it ever wants to bring in fans. Watching physical soccer (but not as physical as men's, by definition and physical limitations) just doesn't and won't cut it in the competitve world of sports entertainment. One Marta can't carry the entire league/cause. Embrace the beautiful game and the fans will embrace you! Yes, that may mean selecting technical skill over physical skill, quickness of mind and feet over strength, speed and endurance over size. Rant over, GO USA!

  1. F. Kirk Malloy
    commented on: June 6, 2011 at 10:28 a.m.
    BTW, agree with Kerry re Alex Morgan. She has all that, plus surprising technical skills and vision. May be just the magic we need.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 6, 2011 at 12:13 p.m.
    What was obviously glaring and missing is the lack of finishing, players leaning back, rushing their shots, or even looking up when bringing the ball up through the middle and then the attacking third. The midfield is so-so, the defense, well, it wasn't really tested. But one cannot take anything away from Mexico's GK as she was outstanding, especially at 16 years of age, she has a golden future ahead of her - so if a US college is looking for a future GK, there you have one. One negative aspect of the broadcast was the outlandish commentary from the Brit, who had some insulting, patronizing and biased remarks about the Mexican side, while his partner (July F???) was more diplomatic and she certainly knew more about women's soccer than the Brit. Other than that, being of Mexican origin, I was very proud of the Mexican ladies who held their ground, and admitedly were outplayed. To me, they're ALL STARS in addition to Alina Garciamendez! To Leo Cuellar, whom I met many years ago while he was at Cal State Los Angeles, bien hecho y buena suerte en Alemania!

  1. David Sirias
    commented on: June 6, 2011 at 1:33 p.m.
    Pia's side is pretty much doomed. When your central mids are Boxx and lloyd, you are basically female version of the american men, only worse. Those two are not even the best American central mids in WPS. Unless the USA women start blooding skilled players, not the biggest and fastest and those with the hardest shot, even Mexico will surpass us eventually. The ball always moves faster than people. Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, and Silva, Ozil, Snyder, abd Chicarito are not the biggest and fastest players in the respective leagues. Hint Hint ..... The college game won't cut it. The USA women's slide will continue unabated until the WPS clubs ( or more more likely the MLS clubs in the future) start placing young ladies in their academies at at 12 and up. The ladies are in for a world of hurt in Germany unless they get incredibly lucky.

  1. mmm mmm
    commented on: June 6, 2011 at 1:34 p.m.
    I was very disappointed in the game yesterday. Upfront, Abby W has lost her game. She has no ability to take defenders on off the dribble. A-Rod has the speed but just doesn't have the confidence to run at defenders. In the midfield, the combination of Boxx and LLoyd looks slow and cumbersome. In the back to me is where the real problem will be. Outside backs looked slow and indecisive. The middl Bueller shouldn't be playing there. Doesn't have the skill for that position. Allot of people took away positives from that game. Sure we out possessed Mexico. What happens when we play against Germany, England, Canada etc... Big problems. We have too very good size players in Boxx and Wambach yet we rarely won headballs. What ever happened to the players like Hamm, Milbright, Lily, player who weren't afraid to take on defenders!! We have lost that in all levels of the national team programs because the coaches value size more than skill and knowledge of the game. You wath, the group competition is going to get very scary for the US.

  1. John Munnell
    commented on: June 7, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
    Lots of good comments above. I was particularly disappointed with Foudy's talk to the problems Japan and Mexico would have, with the assumption that only the big physical teams could succeed. Is she not watching the game at all these days? I can't believe anyone pushing that argument any more, let alone a woman. Tough...sure, gotta be physically and mentally ready to play through a lot. But it's not about size and muscle. Julie has been drinking too much British tea.

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