Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What a Headache

USA vs Poland

With five days (give or take a day) of rest, sightseeing, training, and seeing too much of teammates, we finally faced Poland in the last of the round robin games! Poland has lost to Germany and Russia and defeated Japan. One of the biggest fears I had for the team was a repeat of the Japan game. It was not our best game simply because we had thought nothing of Japan. Germany was our best game yet because we had made it out to be one of our biggest games.

This is Poland’s first appearance in any international competition, so we did not have any idea what to expect from them. Coach Yon spoke to us about the importance of focusing on this game and sending a message to the team we will play in the finals. The more goals, the more intimidating and the better. Assistant coach Brian highlighted the Germany game, telling us that he knew we would win before the kickoff. He said that the emotion on our game faces sent the message and that same face needed to carry over to the Poland game.

Unfortunately, the Poland game was not our best. We started off much too slow and were laid back. We had so many corner kicks and goal opportunities but just couldn’t follow through and finish. Poland’s first and only goal was fired from nowhere and hit the crossbar and somehow barely crossed over the goal line. We didn’t even know it was a goal until a much-delayed announcement from the refs. Probably was one of the most awkward uncelebrated goals I’ve witnessed. I felt terrible for Poland; they deserved something more than that. One of our forwards sustained a head injury from a head on collision with a Polish defender. She ended up going to the hospital for stitches afterwards (she’s fine, has 8 stitches and a wicked battle wound). Fortunately, we pulled ourselves together by the second half and responded with a fury of three goals!

It was not the prettiest game, but we’ll take the ‘W.’ The final score was 3-1, USA. Obviously, the way we played cannot carry over to the championship game on Saturday. When we learned that Russia beat Germany, 5-2, we knew that we would have to completely focus on the finals as much as we can.

Hopefully we will be able to play with heart and desire. I think we were missing those elements in the game. The most important thing right now is the fact that we have made it through round robin games and have finally made it to the Deaf World Cup final!

Stay tuned for a live feed of tweets via @USAdeafSoccer and we will play to dazzle the country of stars and stripes! #goingforgold #USDWNT

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