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Volume 26 No. 62
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USWNT Criticized For Late Goal Celebrations In WWC Rout

Megan Rapinoe sprinted to the sideline to celebrate with teammates after scoring the ninth goal of the match
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The USWNT is facing some criticism for both running up the score and for some of their goal celebrations during a 13-0 win over Thailand yesterday in the FIFA Women's World Cup, and while goal differential helps determine who moves on to the elimination round, the team "could have tempered that celebration a bit at the end," according to ESPN's Julie Foudy. She said, "It's like, 'Alright ladies, it's 13, like settle down. It's 13, you're good.'" ESPN's Kate Markgraf noted she had no issue with the number of goals scored, but said, “We really don’t need to be celebrating like that on the 13th goal.” Both Foudy and Markgraf were members of the winning U.S. World Cup team in '99 (“ESPN FC,” ESPN.com, 6/11). FS1’s Kelly Smith said, “Once you get to a certain level … then you don't celebrate as much." Smith: "The joy of the celebrations was a little bit excessive from the senior players” ("FIFA Women's World Cup Today," FS1, 6/12). NBC EPL announcer Arlo White tweeted that teams should "absolutely score as many goals as you possibly can," as they "can't cater for how poor the opposition is." However, maybe the U.S. should "cease the big goal celebrations after 6 or 7." ESPN's Taylor Twellman wrote, "0.0 problem with the score line as this is THE tournament BUT celebrating goals (like #9) leaves a sour taste in my mouth." ESPN’s Max Bretos: "I would tone down the celebration on the 9th goal, but that’s just me" (TWITTER.com, 6/11).

The N.Y. TIMES puts the USWNT above the fold on its front page this morning: "It Wasn't Even Close"
Photo: n.y. times

WHAT CAUSED THE COMMOTION? In N.Y., Andrew Keh notes U.S. F Alex Morgan after scoring her third goal, which made the score 8-0, "turned around and walked toward the center circle." After her fourth goal, she "held out her fist and emphatically unraveled her fingers -- one, two, three, four -- before being mobbed by her teammates." After her fifth, she "ran all the way to the sideline and took her place in a hastily choreographed group dance" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/12). FS1's Maurice Edu, who was on the U.S. roster during the '10 World Cup, noted it is "difficult to score a goal." Edu: "To score a goal on that stage, on that platform, you're asking someone to now check their emotions, saying, 'Hey, take into consideration your opponent and what they're feeling.' No. I'm living in the moment. ... I'm going to celebrate the way that I see fit" ("Fox Soccer Tonight," FS1, 6/11). SI.com's Grant Wahl wrote, "Personally, I wouldn’t have been as exuberant as I had been on earlier goals. You run the risk of looking like a bully rubbing it in, of showing up the other team. But I’m also not a professional soccer player, and I don’t feel comfortable policing the natural emotional reaction of someone who has just done something that may be the pinnacle of her career: Scoring in a World Cup" (SI.com, 6/11).

TAKE A PAGE FROM THE PAST: In San Diego, Mark Zeigler writes the U.S. gets a "pass on their 13 goals," but what is "not excusable is what happened after they scored them." The previous record for most goals in a Women’s World Cup came in '07, when Germany beat Argentina 11-0. But after each German goal in that game there was "no sprinting, twirling, sliding, kicking celebrations." There were "no choreographed dances on the sidelines" and "no coaches pumping fists and screaming in injury time" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/12). FS1’s Ariane Hingst was coaching the German team in '07 and said, “We would still give the high five and be happy about scoring but not really going wild because this is what you don't do” ("FIFA Women's World Cup Today," FS1, 6/12).

UNIMPRESSED UP NORTH: The CP's Neil Davidson notes TSN's Kaylyn Kyle was "one of those not impressed by the unbridled American jubilation after goals." She said, "For me it's disrespectful, it's disgraceful." TSN's Clare Rustad added, "This was disgraceful from the United States. I would have hoped they could have won with humility and grace but celebrating goals 8, 9, and 10 the way they were doing is really unnecessary." Both Kyle and Rustad previously were members of the Canadian national team (CP, 6/12). But FS1's Leslie Osborne said this is "part of the game, and if you're Thailand, you're not upset, you're not disrespected" ("Fox Soccer Tonight," FS1, 6/11).

SPECTACLE UNLIKE ANY OTHER: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay writes the scene around the USWNT's opener yesterday was "special." Before the match, fans surrounded the USWNT bus and were "screaming at them like they were a teenage pop band." Then the fans "marched -- down the avenue, across the bridge, over the Vesle river, to Stade Auguste-Delaune." They were wearing jerseys of various USWNT players and had "stars and stripes on their faces, in their hair, on their sleeves." Some fans were "middle-aged, and older, but mostly they were young." Gay: "I have been to the Super Bowl, and the Super Bowl does not look like this." There is "something about the USWNT that moves Americans to cross oceans and bring families ... in a way that makes this team fundamentally an utterly different phenomenon" (WSJ.com, 6/12).