The U.S. women scored 13 goals in their opening round World Cup win against Thailand on Tuesday, setting a new record in the process.
That resulted in a bazillion Twitter hot takes and 5,000-word think pieces about running up the score, American sporting culture, gender inequality, and whatever other topics people could think of.
Trying to keep it a little more simple, without going off on 35 tangents, here are some thoughts on what transpired yesterday:
- Goal differential is a tiebreaker in World Cup group play. Therefore, it’s logical to score as much as possible. Sweden is also going to crush Thailand, so it was important for the U.S. to build up their +/- number right off the bat.
- As such, the scoring was fine, but the celebrating that bothered me. They were cheering goal #10 as if it was goal #1, and that came off as a little bush league, in my opinion. If you’re generally superstitious and/or believe in karma, things like that might come back to bite a team in the ass, or simply provide motivation for future opponents.
- Put me in the camp of people who feel as though taking your foot off the pedal is disrespectful to the opponent. If I’m Thailand, I’d be more insulted if the U.S. stopped playing and just tried to kick the ball around for the last 30 minutes of the game.
- There is much less parity in women’s soccer than men’s soccer. Nascent programs like Thailand aren’t on the same level as the U.S., France, and Japan, so to compare the women’s World Cup to the men’s World Cup is generally a fruitless exercise, since there’s less competition across the board.
- You play to win the game, as Herm Edwards once said.
- One of the overarching pre-tournament themes was that people felt like the U.S. needed to begin by making a statement, which they did.
- On the uber-rare chance that the U.S. men scored 13 goals in a game, they’d be judged the same exact way as the women. There’s no “patriarchal” thing going on here.
To that final point, I’d probably agree with Alexi here, after the jump: