The U.S. women, wrapping up their 2015 Victory Tour, had an easy time of it against Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday (Dec. 10) at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The game was 1-0 at halftime, but the Americans pounded T&T’s goalkeeper in the first half, launching 16 shots (seven on goal). and in the second half, the dam broke. The Americans won 6-0.
Here are five oddities, curiosities or (possibly) interesting facts about the two teams:
The U.S. team was almost forced to cancel its second Victory Tour match in a row. According to Julie Foudy on ESPN2, the Trinidad & Tobago players, fed up with not being paid — not even receiving their promised daily stipends — were ready to walk out en masse the day before the game.
The dispute was resolved, for now, with a quick loan from U.S. Soccer and promises from the T&T federation that it would rectify the situation.
Foudy rightly called the conduct of the Trinidad & Tobago federation unconscionable.
“This has been going on for years with this federation,” she said.
She added, pointedly, that FIFA does absolutely nothing to audit the use of funds it distributes to federations for the specific purpose of advancing the women’s game.
As Randy Waldrum, the volunteer coach of Trinidad & Tobago, can attest, neglect and deceit are, sadly, what the women’s team has come to expect from its national federation.
Lindsey Horan, one of the new kids on the block, scored her first international goal in the 92nd minute. Horan, in her second consecutive start, also had two assists and was the Budweiser Woman of the Match. She did a superb job in the midfield, making crisp passes and smart decisions (shades of Lauren Holiday!) throughout the game, and she may have taken a big step toward securing a spot on the 2016 Olympic roster.
The crowd of 10,690 was the smallest of the seven games thus far on the Victory Tour, and would have been the smallest of eight had the previous game in Honolulu not been canceled.
The victory extended Team USA’s home unbeaten streak to 103 games.
The streak began with a 5-0 rout of Mexico on Dec. 9, 2004. That was the final game for Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Joy Fawcett, three of the team’s greatest stars.
The Alamodome isn’t a total dump, but it’s close. (I was there for the game.)
Built 22 years ago in the vain hope of attracting a National Football League franchise, it shows its age. Everything about it is spartan.
I didn’t inspect the artificial turf, but from the stands, it looked like the stitched-together scraps of Astroturf that you’d find on the back patio of a cheap rental house. And nothing says soccer-as-an-afterthought more than a televised game in which the American football yard markings are still plainly visible.
The sparse crowd, in a bland concrete shell that seats 65,000, left almost 55,000 seats empty. The result was a cold, hollow, unwelcoming atmosphere.
If felt rather like a poorly attended party thrown by someone nobody likes to hang out with. Never before at a game of the U.S. women’s team have I felt more like a spectator at some minor, insignificant sport.