Posted on January 27, 2012
By Michael Lewis
VANCOUVER — Given the history between the National Teams of the United States and Costa Rica, Ticas coach Karla Aleman realizes her team will have an uphill battle in the CONCACAF women’s Olympic semifinals on Friday night.
Not only have the Americans recorded a perfect 7-0-0 record, but they have not surrendered a goal in those matches.
Uphill battle, indeed.
“The truth is that it’s very difficult,” Ticas coach Karla Aleman said before she used a common Spanish phrase to describe the task. “You can’t block the sun with a finger. We’re going to play in the match and see what happens in the end.”
Aiming for their fifth consecutive Olympics, the Americans aren’t taking anything for granted, even if they have ran ramshackle over the opposition. The U.S. has outscored its foes in this competition, 31-0.
“They are in our way of the Olympic dream, so they definitely an opponent you have to respect,” U.S. central defender and captain Christie Rampone said. “They had a great goal that we actually saw at the end of the game. the girl hit a long ball that she took off her chest, one touch in. We need to bring it. It’s definitely a semifinal. It’s a game that determines if we’re in the Olympics or not.”
Goalkeeper Hope Solo agreed.
“You can’t overlook any team,” she said. “If they can score one goal, I’m sure they can have more in them. So we have to be aware of that.”
But how about the U.S. domination? After all, the Americans have outscored the Costa Ricans, 34-0, in those seven encounters.
Rampone, however, cited some other history.
“Japan never beat us before, that World Cup game,” she said about the 2011 Women’s World Cup final. “I think we always throw those statistics out of the bag. For what it is, it’s a major match. It’s going to advance us into the olympics.”
One of the Central Americans’ weaknesses is that they become spectators at the wrong times.
“We also watched every goal Canada,” Solo said. “They are a little loose in the marking in the backline. They tend ot ball watch. And we have crafty players who can get in behind that I’m sure they will struggle with man marking in the defense.”
Photo: Christie Rampone: “They are in our way of the Olympic dream, so they definitely an opponent you have to respect.” Andy Mead/YCJ
Categories: Central America, North America, Olympic Qualifying, U.S.A., Women
Tags: Christie Rampone, CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying tournament, Hope Solo