Tom Sermanni released his roster for the upcoming Algarve Cup in Portugal, and Hope Solo will miss the tournament with a wrist injury that may require surgery.
The good news: This isn’t a new thing and it’s not hugely serious. The American No. 1 damaged ligaments in her left wrist some time ago but it makes sense to get her situation sorted out now. According to a release from U.S. Soccer, “with Women’s World Cup qualifying not until the end of 2014, the team medical staff advised that now would be the time to address the situation.” Goalkeepers Nicole Barnhart, Jill Loyden, and Ashlyn Harris will battle for the starting job next month in Portugal.
So, it’s not the worst thing in the world. But it does make you reflect on the U.S. sans Solo. She is the single most important player on the roster, and the one whose absence creates the biggest drop in talent. It’s both a matter of skill and experience. Consider this: In 2012, Solo started 31 of 32 games. Barnhart was between the pipes during a 4-0 victory over Sweden in the third-place match of the Algarve Cup.
The American women are deep enough that they don’t drop-off significantly skillwise if you replace one of the 10 field players with a second-stringer. They might have to play differently if, say, Abby Wambach wasn’t on the field, but they would be okay. You might be able to make a case that the center backs are thin, but I don’t think it’s as big as the drop from Solo to the No. 2 goalie.
So here’s hoping Solo returns successfully if and when she needs surgery. And let’s pray she doesn’t go down with something more serious. There isn’t much help coming on the horizon.
Ronaldo after Champions League win: “Our team showed more experience”
The world was treated to the rare sight of a shirtless Cristiano Ronaldo as he celebrated the clinching penalty in a win over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final in Milan on Saturday.
Jokes aside, one of the greatest players of his generation did get a moment to remember despite having a rather forgettable 120 minutes beforehand. Ronaldo buried the final penalty to give Real a 5-4 win in kicks after a 1-1 score line post-regulation.
“The penalties are always a lottery, you never know what will happen but our team showed more experience and we showed it by scoring all the penalties. A fantastic night for us.
“It is the end of the season and people are not fit, we have to rest and we have to go for the Euros.”
Then again, when you’re a superstar and have a trio of UCL crowns, you can feel however you like. Ronaldo’s never been a man for John Wooden-style quotes — heck, we’d even take David Beckham’s personality from him — but he’s won it all thrice.
And to be fair, the other two were better games (and performances from him). Ronaldo scored for Manchester United against Chelsea and capped off the scoring in the 2014 Real win over Atleti.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the match-clinching penalty kick after 120 minutes couldn’t separate Real and Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday in Milan.
Sergio Ramos scored an early goal before Yannick Carrasco equalized late, and it took penalty kicks to separate Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty kick early in the second half, and Juanfran was the only player to miss in kicks.
Here’s how kicks played out:
Real Madrid — Lucas Vasquez scores
Atletico Madrid — Griezmann scores
RM — Marcelo scores
AM — Gabi scores
RM — Gareth Bale scores
AM — Saul scores
RM — Ramos scores
AM — Juanfran hits the post
RM — Ronaldo scores
Chippy was the name of the game early, and Atleti clearly wanted to do whatever it took to perturb and even wound Real.
Jan Oblak made a fantastic instinctive save on a sixth minute free kick from Gareth Bale that Casemiro redirected on frame.
Real’s Dani Carvajal picked up an 11th minute yellow card for a late slide tackle on Antoine Griezmann.
The opener came in the 15th minute, as Gareth Bale flicked Toni Kroos’ header onto the doorstep and Ramos ever-so-slightly redirected the chance across the line. He may have also been offside, but the goal counts.
The 33rd minute found Griezmann trying his luck on goal, as Keylor Navas caught the ball for his first real save of the day. Griezmann was firing at will, though the majority of his chances were off frame.
It stayed 1-0 into the break, but changed soon afterwards.
4 – Sergio Ramos is the 4th defender to score in two different #UCL/European Cup finals (Gemmel, Phil Neal and Vasovic). Courage. #uclfinal
Savic just missed being the toe to Diego Godin and Griezmann’s tic-tac when his left-footed tap went wide of the frame in the 55th minute.
Saul knifed a shot wide from the center of the box with a fantastic athletic shot, as Atleti kept control of the play but not the scoreboard.
Real countered with a rare chance in the 70th minute, but Oblak stopped an onrushing Benzema point blank to keep the deficit 1-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo was fairly anonymous for most of the match, and saw Oblak stop his first real shot in the 78th minute. Gareth Bale then tried a cheeky finish that failed when perhaps an easy shot would’ve done the trick. Would it haunt them?
Sure enough, Atleti dialed up an equalized moments later when Carrasco slid onto the end of Juanfran’s cross to make it 1-1 in the 80th.
We headed to extra time, where an advantage was distinctly in Atletico Madrid’s hands. Diego Simeone had used just one substitution to Real’s three, as Zinedine Zidane exhausted his options in trying to close out his rivals.
The first 15 minutes saw Atleti have some success working down the right side, but Real had the better of the dangerous chances aside from Griezmann flashing an overhead kick high off a corner, the last act of the frame.
The second segment was just as Real-framed, and several chances fell to a trigger shy Lucas. Aside from more silliness from Pepe, the only conclusion was penalty kicks.
In celebration, Carrasco raced toward a pitch side suite and into the arms and lips of what we presume is his partner for a gift that must count as much as a few dozen roses (but probably smelled much worse).