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Go For Two: Thoughts On Patriots Versus Falcons

I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little nonchalant about this game. It’s because I don’t have a dog in this fight, and I’m not actively rooting for one of the teams to lose (although, there are a LOT of NFL fans who are doing just that against the Pats).

Let’s start with the fact that my team, the Green Bay Packers, aren’t in the Super Bowl. First off, what a fucking crazy season. I went into the season saying anything less than winning the Super Bowl would be considered a failure. Then, in an unfortunate turn of events, I began praying that my team would even have a winning record for the year. Testing my true team loyalty, I sat in front of the television and rooted for my team despite some appalling games. I prevailed, successfully passing the loyalty test, to be rewarded with a profoundly sensational turnaround by the Packers. We went to the NFC championship game with one of the worst teams we’ve had in recent memory. It speaks to all the reasons why I love my team. Players and coaches remained committed to each other. Players worked hard and showed up. They didn’t turn on some obvious weak links in our secondary and stood by Rodgers when he played some horrendous games (let’s be real, people. He played poorly in some games, but he’s due. We’ve been spoiled for too long.) So, overall, I was pleased we had a winning record and managed to get to the NFC Championship game. I still, weirdly, don’t feel enthused about our season. It was less than ideal.

The second reason I’m a bit nonchalant about this game is that I’m not rooting against anyone. Hatred can be a true motivator.

Take for example when GB played against the Cowboys. Man, I did NOT want to fucking lose to Dallas. If I had to hear one more time about two rookies, how this was going to be a dynasty, about blah blah blah ….

I was gonna kill myself.

So not only did I want my team to win, but I really, really wanted the Cowboys to lose.

Also, on behalf of GB, you’re welcome, America.

Now take the Falcons. While I absolutely wanted my team to get the W in the Championship game, I didn’t hate losing to the Falcons. They are a good organization with good players and good coaches. I’m happy for them.

That goodwill continues to the Super Bowl. I wouldn’t hate it if they won. There are no glaring issues with players, the coach seems fine, and the organization did not take back Michael Vick after his prison term. These things make me happy.

Now, I know this is where I will differ from many, many people out there. I also don’t hate the Patriots. First of all, they aren’t in my division. I fully comprehend why I would hate them if I was a fan of the Dolphins, Jets, or Bills. Second of all, there is no arguing they are going to go down as one of the greatest organizations to ever play the game – from owner, to coach, to QB. They have consistently been an excellent football team.

One thing the Patriots do have going for me is that I really want Brady to stick it to Goodell. I was not a fan of the way deflategate was handled. Shame on the entire NFL for that fiasco.

So, there it is. My team isn’t in it and I don’t particularly hate the teams that are. I’m kind of leaning toward the Pats because I would like to see Brady stick it to Goodell.

Who do you think should win? Who do you like?

If you want to know what time does the Super Bowl start, just click the link.

Until next time!

** If you would like to read my other blogs, please find them at:
http://www.my-thoughts-blog.weebly.com.
http://www.ihatemyback.com.

**** Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at http://www.madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

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Congratulations to the USWNT!

What an unbelievable win!

I’m not gonna lie, I almost missed the first shot by Carli Lloyd! I also almost missed the second one too because I had to go to the bathroom … that never happens in soccer – so many goals!

I couldn’t be prouder of the team.

Also, I know I bag on Carli Lloyd and that’s not going to change. However, I feel like Coach made an excellent decision on giving her less responsibility in the midfield. She just owned the fact that Carli Lloyd will not run her butt up and down the field. It put more responsibility on the other midfielders, but in some ways, maybe not? I know when I played, I played with a few Carli Lloyd’s. You couldn’t rely on them to maintain their position on the field, but yet had to defer to them that they would possibly be there. In some regards, it’s just easier to reconfigure the field and know that you have a larger area to defend.

Also, you can’t take away from her those goals despite not liking her. They were fantastic.

She was also classy when she handed the Captain’s band to Abby Wambach when she came onto the field. Abby is a huge fan favorite, one of my favorites, that was nice to see happen.

Class abounded everywhere in regards to this USWNT. Abby then handed the badge to Rampone, as it will be her last cup (duh, she’s 40!) and then they were the last two to come onto the podium to raise the cup. It was emotional, and wonderful, and you just don’t see that in men’s sports.

Obama called the USWNT, too. Classy. Everything surrounding the USWNT was classy.

Outclassed were the men. It’s been everywhere in the news, but it bears repeating. The final had more viewers than the Men’s World Cup final and game 6 of the Cavs vs Warriors (that one really boggles my mind). Game 6 was the highest rated NBA Finals game since the Jordan era! Awesomeness!

The markets that watched the most were Kansas City, St. Louis, San Diego (yay! my new adopted town), Denver, and Austin.

22.86 million viewers. Sweet!

Another great thing on a social standpoint was getting to watch Abby go into the stands and kiss her wife. It just seemed so sweetly appropriate to be able to show their love for each other on a grand scale just after the ruling by SCOTUS.

Bittersweet though is that we will not see some very important returning faces. Lauren Holiday and Christie Rampone have already announced their retirements, and while it’s not official, Abby Wambach has eluded to her retirement as well.

Here is a great article by The Players’ Tribune with special contributor Christie Rampone. I love you girl! At 38 myself, I don’t feel like I’ve aged out of life either!

I think a final thought is congratulations to the Japanese women. You played your hearts out and should be proud of yourselves. You had a great tournament and even when you were down, you pushed on and were able to do your country proud by scoring two goals. You didn’t give up when other teams would have. Well done, ladies. Well, done.

 

Congratulations to the USWNT for making it to the finals against Japan!

Congratulations to the USWNT for making it to the finals against Japan!

Just some quick thoughts …

Abby did a great job setting up the goal that Lloyd fed into O’Hara for the goal. Abby may not be the fastest on the team anymore, but she does still have expert ball control and field awareness.

I’m glad they finally decided not to assign Lloyd anywhere. Not so she can “make things happen” as they say, but more so because she can’t be trusted to be where she is supposed to be. However, I will give her credit for having the unselfish moment of feeding that ball to O’Hara. Brilliant.

We won’t even speak about the poor England girl. She will be the one who will not be named. The one of which we do not speak. She doesn’t deserve to be named in every single article out there. It was horrifying. The world collectively got gut punched for her. I’m happy no one is blaming her or that she is getting hate texts/mail/tweets or anything.

Japan! I’m super excited we are playing them in the final. My favorite team USA against my second favorite team Japan.

I can’t wait!

My thoughts on the USWNT against Colombia

First off, I’m fairly certain I was watching men’s soccer with all the flopping that was going on. It was so apparent, because typically we get a reprieve when we watch the women play. It completely messed with the flow of the game, and, as a viewer, my enjoyment.

I get the strategy behind it — slow down the game. It is well documented the physical fitness of the USWNT. We wear people down in the second half and that is where we are finding success. With all the stoppage, Colombia got frequent breathers.

Colombia also played scrappy. If I was in the game, I’d probably have shoved one of the girls back — thank God I’m not. I would have gotten so mad – and a red card (since cards were being so freely handed out). Julie Johnston took a good hit in the backfield when the ball was forward that no one saw. I have mad respect for Julie Johnston. She is one tough girl.

As for the match itself, it was not what people expected, or was it? Everyone expected the US to win, but it was Colombia that was impressive. They moved the ball well, completed their passes, and had us off our game — especially with all of the penalties that we were getting.

Costly ones at that. We will now be missing Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday for the quarterfinals against China on Friday at 4pm PT. As much as we all can’t stand Holiday and Lloyd in the center, I’m assuming if we had better choices, we would be playing them. Who knows? Maybe someone will come onto the field and not so much be an awesome player, but their heart and their drive will encourage Lloyd to play harder, more focused. That would be a wonderful thing.

Missing Rapinoe will be killer. She has great ball skills, a wicked corner, and plays with fire. The other problem is, from what I’ve seen, is Holiday is the other player who takes the corner kicks. Who will be the player that takes them now? Johnston is needed for the headers. Maybe Lloyd can take them since she is always getting in the way of Abby to head the ball in on corner kicks.

Yes, the US was expected to win, but it was also expected that our game would be severely lacking a strong mid-field and an offense that clicks. Perhaps everyone should be paying more attention to the fact that we are winning in spite of our lacking offense and mid-field presence. How different would this game have turned out if the Colombian goalie hadn’t gotten a red card and the Colombians had to play with a man down?

On a positive note, great goal by Alex Morgan. She is such a joy to watch. Great defending by my girl Klingenberg.

On a negative note, really? Carli Lloyd had to be the one to score on a penalty kick? Anyone else, man. That girl does not need a bigger ego.

Poor Abby, I so wanted her to score on that penalty kick.

Here is a great YouTube video of the highlights of the match thanks to FIFATV

Hopefully we beat China and can move forward. A huge, huge game on Friday is also Germany (#1) vs France (#3). That game will be on at 1:00pm PT. A lot of people are saying that this match could be the biggest game of the World Cup.

Good luck USWNT!

My thoughts on the USWNT against Nigeria

Our favorite duo started the game! Wambach and Morgan!

The first few minutes of the game was super exciting. A set piece with a cross in by Carli Lloyd was almost a goal on the first possession. Nigeria did a good job of keeping their defensive line up, creating 2 off-sides situations.

That was the last time Carli Lloyd did anything of merit. Even the announcers were stating that she gave the ball away too much and her shots were poorly timed. She doesn’t play a full game, meaning she plays when she wants to play. She is a mid-fielder, and she either has to be a defensive midfielder, or someone who runs the full pitch. She does neither. She doesn’t run hard up and down the pitch, nor does she maintain a defensive position in the back. She had this same problem before, in the Olympics and previous World Cup. Why play a person in a position that requires motivation, the ability to run, and get back and forth who absolutely does not want that?

I’m not so super impressed with Holiday either. She equally does not seem to be in any type of mid-fielder position. Where is she half the time?

When does our mid-field even mark their player? It’s ridiculous.

Our mid-fielders also never seem to be forward when they need to be either. It’s like they don’t understand basic soccer. When you pass the ball, you are not done playing. I watched a few passes that should have been a great give-and-go that turned into nothing because there wasn’t anyone forward to pass the ball to.

Megan Rapinoe did a good job again. I have been noticing that she holds the ball too long. I’m not sure if she just doesn’t trust the people around her to pass to or what? I would love someone to answer that for me.

Julie Johnston played a great game. I was impressed by the beating she took by Nigeria. There were a couple of times that they just barreled right into her. That’s one tough girl. She plays hard. Lloyd and Holiday could learn a thing or two from her.

I have a crush on the defender Meghan Klingenberg. She plays so tough as well. I always look forward to watching how she defends.

Alex Morgan did fairly well with her first start. I think she will improve as she plays more games.

Sydney Leroux played terrible, again. She lost the ball, couldn’t keep possession, and just overall made bad passes. I find her incredibly beautiful and I love looking at her, but her game is crap.

As for Abby! Her scoring the goal could not have happened to a nicer person. All the haters out there saying she is washed up. Everyone complaining about her missed headers. Well, screw you. She made an amazing goal. Also, her passes were usually on target, unlike the rest of the team. Yes, she looks slow as shit out there, but, hey. She’s not done yet.

I feel like there is no respect shown to Abby. How quick everyone is to write her off.

Today’s matches will tell us who the USWNT plays going forward. I’m excited for the games to come.

Good luck USWNT!

 

 

Congratulations USA Women’s World Cup Team!

Oh my God! How amazing was that game yesterday! I could not believe it! I don’t know why it seemed like they were playing at lighting speed! Was it the turf? Was it just the enthusiasm? What was it!

I’m not sure if it was the turf, because I watched a few minutes of the England versus France game today and it was not nearly as exciting.

First off, Hope Solo made 3 phenomenal saves in the first half. Not saves of the fashion where a player essentially kicks the ball right in her hands. No. These were shots on goal that would test the best of the best goal keepers. Hope Solo made saves that solidify her position as one of the best goalies around. Men or women.

Also, I’m clearly not on the Rapinoe bandwagon after this game, because I have clearly stated in my past posts how much I adore her. I was loving all the media attention she was getting to the lead up to the World Cup. I feel slightly like I had a secret that no one else knew about going into this game, but that secret has been exposed for it’s full glory. Megan Rapinoe is amazing!

Not only did she score two goals, but her ball handling skills in the game were phenomenal. Her give and goes were flawless. Her field awareness was impeccable.

My only complaint was that her corners were a bit off.

I think that the criticism of Abby Wambach was unjustified.

I did call it for forward Leroux. She just seems to, I don’t know. She gets the ball and either loses it or doesn’t capitalize on it. She did have that one tackle that was outstanding. I hope she improves as the World Cup progresses cause I really still like her and want good things for her.

I was so excited to see Alex Morgan in the game at the end! I hope she is 100% and can be a starter for Friday’s match.

As for Carli Lloyd. She was a non-issue. She seemed to be doing better than her other midfielders. She kept pace with the game this time and I didn’t see her being lazy. Kudos to her for actually being a team player.

The blonde, Johnston, impressed. I saw her in a friendly score an amazing goal so I was keen on seeing her play again. I really like her spunk, her ball handling, and her ability to, once she decides to move forward with the ball, take a shot. However, I feel very nervous about the defenders this year.

https://vine.co/v/eOWYEjp6UFO/embed/simple

I was not particularly impressed with Sauerbrunn or Krieger. I will withhold judgement until I can see more games.

I would like to see the numbers on the back of their jerseys more prominently displayed or apparent. I like to know who has the ball and who is doing what. It makes me enjoy the game more to know and be familiar with the players. I get that it is a team sport, and some people prefer to be anonymous, but that is not my preference. I like to be able to keep track of players and have favorites.

The next game is this Friday at 5:00 pm PT against Sweden. So far the standings are as follows (points):

USA: 3

Sweden: 1

Nigeria: 1

Australia: 0

Good luck USA!

FIFA Women’s World Cup to start Saturday June 6th at 2:30 p.m. PT – opening ceremony

Gorgeous!

FIFA Women’s World Cup to start Saturday June 6th at 2:30 p.m. PT. That is the time for the opening ceremony. You can watch on Fox Sports 1.

I just want to get that out of the way because I find that there is very little information out there about it. It’s shocking and not shocking all at the same time.

FIFA Women’s World Cup isn’t even regarded highly by FIFA. They fall all over themselves for the men, but not the women. Even the ex-president, Blatter acknowledged that more attention needed to be paid. However, he suggestion was one of absolute sexism, that the girls should wear shorter shorts if they want more people to watch. Wow. How does a sport expect to have a better and higher profile when the gentleman who runs it thinks so little?

I love her!

It is also clearly less regarded by the organization by forcing the women to play on turf. How ridiculous. According to the article I just linked, a company, free of charge to FIFA, offered to put in grass over the turf. FIFA said no.

Saturday’s games will be:

Canada (host nation) versus China PR at 3:00 p.m. PT

New Zealand versus Netherlands at 6:00 p.m. PT

USA will be on Monday at 4:30 p.m. PT

Here is the FIFA website for matches and their times. It’s excellent because you can change it to your time. As silly as it sounds, I have tried to find the game on multiple websites and a lot of them are hard to understand or just plain wrong. I downloaded a calendar to my iCal and it is totally wrong.

Groups:

Group A: Canada, Netherlands, China, New Zealand

Group B: Germany, Norway, Ivory Coast, Thailand

Group C: Japan, Switzerland, Cameroon, Equador

Group D: USA, Sweden, Australia, Nigeria

Group E: Brazil, Spain, Costa Rica, South Korea

Group F: France, England, Mexico, Colombia

USA Team:

I included the link above but the highlights for me are:

Wow. She is so beautiful

Megan Rapinoe: She is a Midfielder who takes a slew of corner kicks and happens to be my favorite player. She plays for the Seattle Reign FC when she is not amazing in World Cup or Olympic matches. She is 29 years old.

Abby Wambach: She is a forward and who everyone will be watching. She is one of the most recognized soccer players in the world and for good reason.  She is known for her headers. She played on the 2003, 2007, and  2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. You may have last remembered her when she got punched in the Olympics by Lady Andrade that did not even get a card, despite Abby having a black eye the next day. She has been awarded the 2011 ESPY for Best Play and was voted the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year.

Alex Morgan: Forward. She has had some ankle issues that I hope resolve. She is a fun player to watch and has an amazing chemistry with Abby Wambach. She always seems to be in the right place.

Sydney Leroux: Forward. I like her, but she does not have the same chemistry with the team that Alex Morgan does. I’m excited to see how her play has progressed.

She looks amazing

The player I do not like at all is Carli Lloyd. I’ve written about her before. I feel like she only half-asses her play. She runs when she wants to and I think the midfield suffers for it. I’m sure I will be posting again how much I dislike this player.

There has been some heat on goalie Hope Solo. I’m not sure where I stand on all of that. However, I am excited to see her play. I like her intensity on the field.

Let the games begin!