The Unused Sub: From The Peanut Gallery


The following were my running thoughts and observations as I attended the Tournament of Nations double-header in Seattle as a spectator.

Japan’s kits are sweet.

11 minutes in and a decent amount of people here for the first game, given a good deal likely had to duck out of work early and we know the majority are here for the USWNT.

I am sitting in section 107. The last time I caught a soccer game of any kind from this side of CenturyLink Field was the inaugural Sounders FC game in 2009. To think that’s where my life with soccer began and where it is today.

14th minute and Marta gets a shot. The crowd claps. Yes, it’s still something surreal seeing a five-time FIFA World Player of the Year in person.

There is a yout in the next section over going HAM at a rice cake. Kid is living it up.

The first 20 minutes have been slow-ish. Kind of surprised at how much feeling out is going on given it is a friendly.

27th minute – Overheard someone saying: “With seats this close, they look like real people.” I have no idea where to go in terms of… analyzing that take.

As much as they lack quality or get interrupted at the last possible minute by Brazil, Japan’s attempts on goal draw oohs from the crowd.

42nd minute – Japan has had so many chances that they should be up like lots to zero.

WE HAVE A GOAL! What a snap header by Momiki.

The sun cannot set any faster here so the west facade of CenturyLink blocks it. It’s making me want to get a beer faster. I got a beer at halftime.

Seattle Reign FC’s Rumi Utsugi is going to go the full 90 and I swear, where would the Reign be without her?

My seat neighbor Whitney totally called that Brazil will get the equalizer in the final minutes and look what Camila did.

Maybe because it’s the mystique/reputation of Brazilian flair or the fact that it’s a friendly, but their attack seems… frantic in a way that if any other national team was doing it, we’d be raising an eyebrow and going, “Huh?” But it works for them and up until Camila’s strike from distance, it didn’t phase Japan. They looked composed defensively but as part of their youth movement and ushering a new era, you can tell there’s work to be done in finishing their chances. I do not exaggerate when I say that line should have finished with Japan claiming 3 or 4 goals.

The Americans are here. As are more people. A great deal of people are stuck in concession lines as we are less than 5 away from kickoff.

Saw some friends during intermission, waded through seas of humanity, got a burger AND STILL GOT BACK IN TIME FOR THE ANTHEMS!

I kind of miss the wrecking ball stylings of Lisa De Vanna in the NWSL.

It has to be an athlete’s superstition – Sam Kerr wearing a shirt one size bigger than she is has entertainment value.

A light jog to Casey Short is a full dead sprint to us plebeians.

The amount of real estate between the jersey numbers for Australia is weird.

And a nation holds their breath as the wonderyout Mallory Pugh got fouled hard.

The U.S. had their chances. Australia almost punished U.S. on their slip-ups. The cheeseburger I had was tasty.

50th minute – overheard someone telling Sam Mewis to shoot from 40 yards out. Heh.

Aussies scored. I imagine #FireJill is lit like a Roman candle. And I feel bad for the person that owns the Twitter handle @jill.

Lydia Williams ain’t here for your Carli Lloyd #BreakingBarriers Moment. Matter of fact, she ain’t here to roll over for the U.S. and that is awesome. Honestly it would have been great if Sam Kerr did it to Alyssa Naeher again with a header from the cross in the second half like she did to her/the Chicago Red Stars a couple weeks ago.

The crowd, which was 15,748 is now Mad Online at various things: the ref making lack of or outright bad calls. Time-wasting by Australia. The US squandering chances – really that attempt by Alex Morgan was bad.

As much as we deride “One Nation, One Team” it does apply to the type of goal the US (men’s or women’s national team) tends to concede. It’s always that one moment, about 3o seconds to a minute where everyone has a sloppy brain fart and the opponent pounces on. That’s how Australia got their goal.

And that’s all I got for the evening. Was the first night of the Tournament of Nations good for you? Probably not if you were rooting for the United States to win. I think we all went in curious to see what Jill Ellis means by experimenting and we got a dud up top with the Horan/Press combination. Mewis and Long in the midfield probably has a way to go to being something that lets us all sleep comfortably at night. Megan Rapinoe’s 2017 form is fun to watch, though for the national team, she cannot do it all on her own. Is the United States hosed come 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship aka 2019 World Cup Qualification? Who knows, but tonight in Seattle, Jill Ellis’ long term plans went as well as a FURT sandwich.

And since Australia won and is in the lead after matchday one of the Tournament of Nations, they get the music video break.

Song: “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” | Artist: Eskimo Joe

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