FUEL Soccer Talk: SheBelieves Cup finale; No more excuses for USMNT; Colorado chill

Women, men and snowmen in this edition!

Breaking down Heath’s goal in the U.S. 1-0 win over Brazil

The match between the United States women’s team and Brazil on Tuesday night became a consolation game before it even started. The England Women’s National Team captured the 2019 SheBelieves Cup title with a 3-0 win against Japan at Raymond James Stadium. And they didn’t waste any time – scoring three times inside the opening 30 minutes.
Still, the United States played a solid game in a 1-0 win over Brazil. And the only goal was the result of big plays by several players for the U.S.
Let’s break down the goal.
Tobin Heath’s great speed helped set up the first goal by the U.S. Heath sprinted down the right middle of the field, taking a great pass from Mallory Pugh to get the counter attack off to a sprinting start. Heath brought the ball into the middle, drawing three Brazilian defenders with her before feeding a great pass to Alex Morgan who had to rush the shot when Brazil keeper Aline Reis came charging out. It was only fitting that the rebound bounced right to Heath who one-timed a shot from the 18-yard line that went just under the crossbar at 20:00. Megan Rapinoe also played a big part in the goal as well, cutting across the middle to the right side opening up space for Morgan.

What did you think of the U.S. effort on Tuesday night?

Column: “Time for USMNT to start showing progress”

Photo courtesy of MLS Soccer

The U.S. Men’s National Team has two games this month – March 21 against Ecuador in Orlando and March 26 against Chile in Houston – and it will be interesting to see the lineup new coach Gregg Berhalter puts on the pitch, and more importantly, how the group performs.
More than a few soccer fans in the United States are getting a little frustrated with what has happened with the men’s national team and the overall performance of the United States playing against countries much smaller and with far less resources.
Jon Marthaler of the Star-Tribune wrote an excellent piece on the frustrations of soccer fans in the United States. He rightfully says that it’s time to stop giving excuses and start showing results. It’s almost a generation removed from the U.S.’s last World Cup quarterfinal.

“All of that growth, all of those resources and the explosion of American fan interest in soccer in general have all combined to push the USA to exactly one knockout-round win at the World Cup,” says Marthaler. “That one trip to the quarterfinals, nearly two decades ago now, is all the USA has to show for all of its efforts. That one victory since 1990 is enough to put the USA in a class with 18 other members of the one timers’ club – not exactly an exclusive group.”

Read the rest of Marthaler’s piece:

What can Team USA do to up their game against the best or even better teams in the world?

Colorado, Portland play to 3-3 draw in coldest game in MLS history

The MLS opening weekend certainly had plenty of exciting moments and even a few surprises along the way but the game in Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City outside of Denver certainly ranks among the most memorable. The game between the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers had a little bit of everything.
Six goals. A game-tying goal in the final moments. Great saves. Just to name a few.
In the 94th minute with Portland leading 3-2, Colorado’s Andre Shinyashiki scored the equalizer for a 3-3 draw.
Exciting stuff.
Then there was the weather. Did we forget to mention the weather?
With a temperature of 18 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff and a field covered by snow as the game progressed, MLS confirmed that Saturday’s season opener was the coldest recorded temperature for a match in league history. The previous mark of 19 degrees was set by Minnesota United’s franchise opener on March 12, 2017.
It was fitting that Shinyashiki scored the equalizer. The Brazilian native never experienced that kind of weather growing up but he certainly did a few times during his career at the University of Denver.
The game was played while snow fell and covered the field. MLS said it was the 13th “snow game” in league history, and six of those have been in Colorado.

What can players do to alter their games in such extreme conditions?

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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Main photo courtesy of CBS Sports