“For me, I definitely think that the U.S. has more goals if we’re playing on grass.”
So says Abby Wambach, United States women’s national team forward and scorer of 182 international goals. This is the 35-year-old’s fourth World Cup, so you’d think she’d know that of which she speaks.
Previously, Wambach made it seem as though turf was a feminist issue, and such an insult would never befall the men:
Now, though, turf isn’t a women’s issue – it’s a U.S.A. issue. The U.S. has scored “just” three goals, all coming in its first game, a victory over Australia. Meanwhile, Germany opened its campaign putting 10 past Cote d’Ivoire, while Switzerland netted 10 against Ecuador. And yes, each game was played on fake grass.
The United States has long received praise for its plethora of talented forwards. In addition to Wambach, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez are all capable of danger. Trouble is, when placed up against other world-class strikers, the U.S. forwards fall short.
Wambach is undoubtedly frustrated. It’s her last World Cup, she took a year off from club play to focus on the tournament, and now her team isn’t performing as she’d hoped. She is not performing as she’d hoped. Yes, the U.S. is topping its group and should finish in prime position, but it’s not causing ripples of excitement across Canada’s fields.
So the easiest thing is to blame the turf. It’s the turf that makes it easier for goalkeepers to gather shots. It’s the turf that makes players hesitant to throw themselves into the play. It’s the damn turf that keeps the U.S. from scoring goals.
It’s either blame the turf or face up to the fact that the U.S. is no longer a stand-out; no longer the unquestionably best team in the world. Wambach’s found a scapegoat. Trouble is, anyone paying attention sees this as just an excuse for the lack of goals from U.S. strikers – not a legitimate reason that would stop the team from lifting the World Cup trophy.