Long ago (1988) I moved to Berkeley and started sending a monthly "newsletter" to my Boston friends. When I returned to Boston (1993), I continued the tradition for about five more years (or until I had kids). Looking back, I realize that I was actually blogging. Each newsletter contained anywhere from a few to several blog posts. Having been silent for the past decade or so, I've decided to resume these activities. Don't expect anything profound -- I tend to focus on what I find entertaining or amusing and perhaps sometimes informative. We shall see!

Sunday, July 30, 2023

WWC23: USA v Netherlands

It was a spectacular day in Wellington! We did not join the official fan parade to the stadium, but did walk the roughly 30 minnutes, along with hundreds of our best friends, who were also crawling through the city to Wellington Regional Stadium.

Our seats were on the 6-yard line near the Dutch goal for the first half of the game. We were hoping it would be a really busy goal. We were also sitting in the sun, and for the first time at a game, were able to watch most of the game wearing only a single layer of clothing. It was downright warm. We also saw that about 3-4 sections closer to midfield, they were having a sun shower. And we later learned that the folks on the shady side of the stadium were also on the windy and cold side of the stadium. We felt pretty lucky!

Well, until the game began. The US started with the same lineup with which they started against Vietnam, and while that lineup did score some goals, they had looked distinctly uninspired. They did not look a whole lot better against the skillful Dutch. In fact, it was a bit terrifying. The Dutch looked better organized and more creative. And sure enough, seventeen minutes in, a beatiful ball from Jill Rood went through the legs of Lindsey Horan and into the net.

The good news is that we got to see wha the US and Andonovski do when they are behind. The bad news is that I'm not super happy with the answer. The rest of the first half saw the US unable to play cohesively, making them outmatched by the Netherlands, who dominated in possession.

At halftime, Rose Lavelle came in for DeMelo (in fact, she was the ONLY sub of the entire game, which did not strike me as great coaching, but what do I know?), changing the entire tenor of the US play. And, in a moment of poetic justice, a few minutes after the ref has a chat with Horan and Netherlands' Daniƫlle van de Donk to avoid further rough play and in the 17th minute of the second half, Lavelle sent a beautiful cross that Horan headed in. USA/Netherlands: 1-1!

In fact, there was a bit of a role reversal -- suddenly it was the USA dominating possession, looking threatening on corner kicks and making some creative play. Sadly, Andonovski made no other subs, and Lavelle was unable to carry the team to a second goal. The game ended at 1-1, setting up an intense dual for the final games of the group. The USA and Netherlands each have four ponits, Portugal has 3 (having beaten Vietnam), and Vietname has 0. The US needs a BIG win over Portugal to take the group -- if both the USA and Dutch win, it comes down to goal differential. Stay tuned!

We had some great views of the opening to the game, so I'll toss in a few fun videos and photos here. In New Zealand, at the beginning of each game, the Maori (the indigineous peoples of New Zealand) welcome everyone with a combination of song and conch shell sound. It's been quite moving.

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