Planned Workouts and scheduled races

Every Wednesday: Bigfoot Cycle Workout (Dali) 5:15 am
Every Saturday: Bigfoot Swim Workout (Dali) 6:00 am

8/28 Vision Bigfoot Duathlon (Qingshui) 8:00 am
9/4 Taiwan P.E. University Cup 5000m 4:00 pm
10/1 Beauty of Taidong Triathlon (Olympic Distance) 8:00 am
10/30 Gaomei Wetland Marathon (Qingshui) - (Marathon distance) 6:00 am
11/5 NeverStop West Coast Bike Race (200km) 5:00 am *
11/13 Taoyuan National Marathon (Marathon distance) - TBA 11/20 Mizono Marathon Relay
12/18 Fubon Taipei Marathon (Marathon distance) 7:00 am (Boston Marathon qualifying attempt)

* reconsidering the NeverStop race due to the date change to November, which would result in four race weekends (perhaps five if the Supau Cup is on 11/27) in a row.

Monday, July 11, 2011

USA fights off Brazil, refs to make semis

Soccer is a great sport played by great athletes - male and female. However, the sport has long been marred by controversial officiating and decisions. The U.S. men's national team has been the victim of horrible calls in recent years - the uncalled German handball on the goal-line in 2002, the uncalled foul on Ghana which led to elimination in 2006 and the two disallowed goals in 2010 on awful offsides calls. However, what happened in yesterday's Women's World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil just well may take the cake.

Red Card and Penalty Retake

In the 65th minute, with the USA leading 1-0, Brazilian striker Marta is pushing into the penalty area with Rachel Buehler apparently having position shielding the ball. Both make contact and there seems to be jersey pulling by both. Should have clearly been a no-call. Yet, not only is a penalty called against Buehler (resulting in a Brazil penalty kick), Buehler was shown a red card, forcing the United States to play short-handed for the remainder of the match.

Then, Hope Solo made an amazing save on the subsequent penalty kick. However, she was called for coming off her line before the kick. It should be noted that some have claimed that an American was called for encroachment. It is true that one American player entered the box a fraction of a second before the kick, but have you ever seen that called? It happens all the time. (Without the referees report, we don't really know what was called) There was slight movement on her part before the kick, but was actually very modest, something that in decades I have never seen called. Solo was given a yellow card, the kick was retaken and made, tying the match at 1-1. Both plays can be seen on this YouTube link.

Thrilling Game-Tying goal

Abby Wombach scored a thrilling goal in the second minute of extra time added time to tie the match at 2-2 and send the match into a penalty kick tiebreaker. This despite the stalling and delaying tactics that have become such a hallmark of Brazilian football over the past twenty years. We have become used to cynical football from the men - fake injuries and diving - but this is the first time it has been seen from the women who were desparate to keep a short-handed American team off the board. To the delight of most outside of Brazil, it failed.

Spot kicks

Hope Solo is the superior goaltender and Brazil's chances of winning this was never good. However, there was one controversial moment which really reveals the farce of Solo's yellow card on the first spot kick. You can see how little she moved before the kick on that penalty.

On the final kick, the U.S. needed to score to win the match and advance to the semi-finals. Watch this video. Look at all of the movement off the line by the Brazilian keeper. The ref made no move to call her for anything, though the movement was blatant and with how early it was made and how far forward she jumped, clearly illegal. No call. Not biased? You be the judge.

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