USA women’s soccer in World Cup scoring slump

August 4, 2023

Tape and text - Many years ago, I began interviewing coaches post game without using a notebook. I just stood there and listened in rapt attention. Once a coach asked me, “How come you're not writing this down?” I’d answer, “When you say something I haven’t heard before I’ll wish I’d written it down, but if your commentaries are that brilliantly unusual, I’ll remember it anyway.” And then I  met the soccer professor Gary Montalto when he arrived at Cape after a career in New York state with 600 wins in his back pocket. I bought a digital recorder to capture Gary. There was no way I could ever remember what he said. Soccer talk is mostly metaphysical, because in the actual physical world of more than 90 minutes on the pitch using a big old ball and a giant cage, not much really happens. I started a post on social media after the United States tied Portugal 0-0 after playing Netherlands to a 1-1 tie. Montalto weighed in with an analysis. “More a matter of tactical alignment, Fredman,” he wrote. “Defensively, two main problems: One is allowing Netherlands and Portugal too many penetrating passes to bypass numerous defenders; secondly, unlike past times, this team is finally winning the ball back in their back third 80 to 90 yards from their attacking goal and without interconnecting with each other offensively. They are not creating dangerous services from the flanks or combination play between the mids and the strikers. Only my observation and this very professional staff should be able to break down some of these problems.”

Tell me what I saw - I have written more game stories on field hockey and boys’ and girls’ lacrosse than any other human in my hemisphere. In fact, if the word “hemisphere” means half the earth, how come we are standing in two at the same time with two left over? I know the games of hockey and lacrosse are about ebb and flow and field position, but I’m weirdly non-analytical for an educated guy with two master's degrees who took every undergraduate class three times. I’ve taken to saying to coaches post game, “Tell me what happened out there, because I’m sure I have no idea.” And then I’d get schooled. But there are times in other sports when I listen to a coach’s version and analysis of a game, and it’s my job to report the words, not to come back with, “What the heck are you talking about? That’s not the game I just saw.” But it’s all fun, and it sure beats retail sales.

Cape basketball camp - Coach Steve Re will be running a camp at Beacon from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday-Wednesday, Aug. 7-9. The camp is coed for grades five through eight. The cost is $125. Call or text Re at 410-430-7852 or just show up early Aug. 7 with checkbook or cash. Don’t plan on going all Venmo with your phone; just keep it simple. 

DE Turf fall league - The Cape girls’ lacrosse players are offered a chance to play in the Sunday fall league. Contact Coach Lindsey Underwood or a teammate if this comes as news to any players, which I doubt, because the network is strong. 

Free sports physicals - A quick and cursory assembly-line physical for sports happens in quick time and is hardly worth the time. Neurological and cardiac screening should be part of the evaluation, along with medical histories, since each athlete is unique. I have been saying for the last 20 years that full-body scans should be an option in the supermarket checkout line. Parents, put down your travel brochures and make sure your kid shows up with a physical on day one; otherwise, they are not allowed to practice. 

Snippets - Darby Klopp will return for her fifth year (COVID get-back) at Franklin & Marshall to play field hockey. She will play alongside her younger sister Riley. West Chester University field hockey lists Henlopen Conference players Hayden Parker of Lake Forest, Laura Rodgers of Delmar, Cam Smith of Cape and Ella Shockley of Delmar on the 2023 fall roster. Terrique Riddick of Slaughter Neck, who spent a year at Cape before transferring and starring at Woodbridge, is a senior running back at the University of Delaware. Terrique did his training at OutTrain in Harbeson. Terrique is a rocket and needs to see the field. His uncle is Haywood Burton and his great-uncle was former Cape great Anthony Burton. Go on now, git!

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