Showing No Mercy

So, why not stop shooting when you’ve handily won the match? It’s unkind to keep pummeling away at a much weaker opponent. Here are some of the arguments made.

We didn’t come here to make friends. We have a job to do and we’re gonna do it.

We’re setting a tone and showcasing our talent. Take notice all future opponents: be afraid. Be very afraid…

It shows disrespect for your opponent. Letting up on the attack and playing keep away  is taunting and teasing. Play as well as you can to motivate your opponent to play better. Giving them a soft goal isn’t really a goal and they’ll know it.

A first World Cup goal is the dream of every player. Everyone should take their shot. (Well, Carli, this doesn’t really apply in your case…)

The rules of engagement have been set. Team USA is playing to win and winning is defined by the FIFA rules which reward GOALS. In group play, the winner is determined by:

  • a) greatest number of points (+3 for win, +1 for tie) obtained in all group matches;
  • b) superior goal difference in all group matches;
  • c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.
  • Then, if two or more teams in the same group are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings will be determined according to the results of head to head play.
  • If this is all even, then penalties assessed provide a tie-breaker.

The Golden Boot is being contested. As this rewards the player with the most goals scored, it encourages taking shots when the opportunity presents itself. One best take advantage of the “easy” games as opportunities in the tougher ones may be few.

Alex Morgan certainly set the tone with her team-leading performance in Game One of the tournament. In her after game interview, she alluded to each of the above reasons for her team’s resounding thumping of Team Thailand. The one she didn’t mention — written all over her face — was, “See that, US Soccer?”

And you got the impression she was prepared to repeat herself as many times as necessary. Five… and counting.

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