Soccer Sundries and a US Women's B-ball Preview

The USWNT kicks off against Japan tomorrow morning at 5AM ET and will (hopefully) field a team with its heads screwed on more securely than on Wednesday! I like to think that Wednesday’s game was a collective test, to see whether “Boom Ball” really doesn’t work. Lesson learned, guys?

Gayle Bryan has written about Wednesday’s game in her Fair Game Blog, while on the WNT Blog it appears that after a very somber night-after, the players are energetically preparing for tomorrow’s match. Check my previous post for Beulah’s excellent match report (if you haven’t already read it).

And Lindsey Dolich has weighed in with her take on tomorrow’s prospects.

Keys for the United States will be mobility and space. The Japanese women will have a difficult time keeping up with the Americans’ extended, high-energy running game, especially in oppressive conditions. The Yanks also need to better stagger the wings and central midfielders so they provide more depth for curving runs and oncoming balls.

After the game, Sundhage acknowledged via e-mail she might change the lineup for Saturday’s match, but emphasized she wanted to give the starting personnel a second chance. It would be an intelligent move on Sundhage’s part if she were to break out playmaker Aly Wagner, possibly even starting her in place of Carli Lloyd to give the U.S.’ midfield a different look. Defender Lori Chalupny, who took a hit to the jaw after a collision with Hope Solo, is currently day-to-day. Chalupny suffered from blurred vision and dizziness and had to be replaced by Stephanie Cox. If Chalupny is ruled out for Saturday’s game, Sundhage should plug in Stanford University’s Rachel Buehler, a capable, strong defender with surprising speed.

Here are Pia, Carli and A-Rod previewing tomorrow’s match, and here (straight from the Jersey Shore) is a pre-Norway profile of Christie Rampone.

Meanwhile, the US men won their opener with a 1-0 victory over Japan. They sit atop their group heading to game two.

On the basketball front, here’s a nice preview of the tournament format, and the competition! The US women face the Czech Republic tomorrow morning at 8AM (if I’m reading the time correctly).

That’ll be fun to watch on the heels of the USWNT’s drubbing of Japan!!!

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