OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — It’s been a rather short turnaround for the United States between Monday night’s 2-0 victory over Colombia in the round of 16 and Friday’s World Cup quarterfinal against China.
Tuesday was a lost day because of the nearly four-hour flight from Edmonton to Ottawa. That left two days of practice to prepare.
“This has been a shorter turnaround than we’ve had, but in a way I think the players are ready to get back on the pitch sooner rather than later,” coach Jill Ellis said Thursday.
China defeated Cameroon 1-0 on Saturday afternoon in Edmonton, so they have two extra days on the Americans.
It helped that the United States took a charter flight, Carli Lloyd said.
“At the end of the day you can’t have any excuses. It all kind of evens out. We had five days before our last game,” she said. “We just do everything possible to get ourselves recovered and ready. But the fewer days rest is no worry at my end at all.”
There’s another factor to consider: This is the first World Cup that is being played on artificial turf. Players have said in the past that playing on fake grass is harder on the body.
And there’s the toll it’s all taking on 35-year-old forward Abby Wambach, who started up top in the match against Colombia with Alex Morgan and also started the prior match against Nigeria.
“I think I’ve said from the beginning she’d start some, and she’d come off the bench,” Ellis said. “You’d have to ask her, but I think she’s looked good, she’d moved well.”
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn has played all 360 minutes of the tournament so far, along with midfielders Lauren Holiday and Carli Lloyd, fellow defenders Julie Johnston and Meghan Klingenberg, and goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Holiday’s streak will end on Friday. She must sit out the match against because of yellow card accumulation.
“We’re definitely ready to go,” Sauerbrunn said. “Luckily we’ve got the best strength and conditioning coach in the game. Two days of rest or not, we’re ready to go.”
REALLY!?! Amy Poehler reunited with former Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” co-host Seth Meyers on Late Night to reprise their “Really!?!” routine. This time the take was women’s sports and more specifically, soccer.
Responding to a Twitter controversy that erupted during the U.S. match against Colombia, Poehler and Meyers made a case for getting behind the U.S. team at the Women’s World Cup.
“Maybe there’s nothing in women’s sports that directly compares to a LeBron James’ windmill dunk,” Poehler said. “But women have a lot in common with LeBron. We wear headbands, we love to travel. And much like LeBron in the finals, we often find ourselves asking ‘Hey, can I get some help around here?’”