KSAT Ball Hog Blog: US women battle Colombia; Mexico crashes out at Copa America
Four years ago, I wrote an article called the Summer of Soccer to highlight the amount of international tournaments taking place during those brutal sports months after the Spurs season ended and the start of football.
Basically, I was just bored out of my mind and felt compelled to help make soccer happen in San Antonio. Well, a lot of things have happened since.
The Alamo City now has a pro-soccer team in the Scorpions. World Cup fever took over the city last summer and the Alamodome has hosted US men's and women's national team friendlies along with a Mexican national team friendly.
(Video Courtesy: FOX Sports/YouTube)
Soccer is becoming more popular in SA. I know they've been saying that for years, but soccer youth participation has reached all-time levels.
My allegiance to soccer wanes when football season begins and basketball becomes relevant after Christmas, but during the summer, futbol fever takes over.
Here's a recap of what we've seen so far and what's ahead as the play on the pitch heats up.
The FIFA Women's World Cup: The US women take on Colombia Monday in the Round of 16 after finishing first in the so-called "group of death."
After missing time in the group stage, forwards Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan are expected to play for a US squad that has lacked offensive firepower.
These are now win-or-go home matches, but I can't see the US losing here especially with the bad blood between these two countries. I expect the US to be ready.
China is waiting in the quarterfinals and fellow world powers France or Germany are on this side of the bracket so there should be some great matches ahead, no more 10-0 shellackings (always wanted to use that word!)
If we can get some more moments like Wambach's 2011 last-second header or Japan's surprise title run, then we are in for a fun ride.
(Video courtesy: ESPN/YouTube)
The US women have been on a quest for redemption since letting that 2011 title slip away. It's not an easy path, but they have the depth and experience to get this done, especially in front of pro-US crowds in Canada.
Copa America: Soccer's oldest international competition is now in the quarterfinals after a drama filled group stage that featured a multi-match ban for Brazil's Neymar after his head-butt against Colombia.
How crazy is this? It's like the NBA banning LeBron for the Finals.
The South American championship is always ultra-competitive because these squads are extremely talented, know each other well and do not like one another.
Chile is the host nation and heavy favorite. Other favorites like Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Uruguay all had early struggles, but advanced to the knockout rounds which begin on June 24.
Mexico, playing with its "B-Team," battled to a pair of draws before bowing out against Ecuador. One of those draws was arguably the most exciting match of the tournament, a 3-3 shootout against Chile.
Nonetheless, this was still a major disappointment for El Tri. Their stars are loading up for the upcoming Gold Cup and now there is immense pressure on Miguel Herrera to win that tournament after crashing out at the Copa.
My only issue with this tournament has been the TV access. What the heck is beIN Sports? I realize they bought TV rights, but you're telling me the Mexican TV stations couldn't cover this thing.
It's frustrating, but there are ways to watch online and I would suggest doing so because you will not see a better collection of talent in any other tournament this summer.
We're talking Messi, Aguero, James Rodriguez, Falcao, Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Cavani, Thiago Silva and so on.
Passion, pride and continental bragging rights are on the line. This should be good going forward.
The FIFA Under 20 World Cup: Chances are you blinked or slept through this tournament entirely. I don't blame you. It was played in New Zealand and during overnight hours.
The big takeaway here was the US team advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007 after defeating Colombia and losing in penalty kicks to Serbia, who won the tournament.
The US has solid players like Gedion Zelalem, Rubio Rubin and Emerson Hyndman coming up the ranks and the future looks bright.
CONCACAF Gold Cup: US-Mexico, US-Mexico, US-Mexico and oh yeah, US-Mexico. I'll get more into this tournament before it starts on July 7, but it's shaping up to be the biggest (possible) US-Mex match in years. Stay tuned and get into the soccer madness!
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