Straus, who covered soccer at The Post for five years — including the 2003 Women’s World Cup and the three-year run of the WUSA’s Washington Freedom — discussed the controversies and significance of Sunday’s U.S.-Brazil match, Hope Solo’s play, the Americans’ style and strategy and more. There are some excerpts below; read the whole chat here:
A. The referee who called back Maurice Edu’s perfectly good goal against Slovenia and the referee who failed to see Frank Lampard’s shot against Germany go two yards over the goal line were both men. Refereeing suffers because the game is now too fast to be officiated by one person, regardless of gender.
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A. That was a brave decision by Pia Sundhage. Lloyd hit the crossbar with a header a few minutes later, so it almost paid off. Was surprised to see Cheney come out so early too, but like I said earlier, you can’t argue with the result. Once reduced to 10, the U.S. maintained shape and composure and at times looked like the better team.
Q. Just a comment that I would like your thoughts on: Marta’s skill is undeniable, really, her touch is amazing. But so is her flopping and CONSTANT arguing with the ref. I can’t help but think she would be unstoppable if she just quit it with that stuff.
A. I thought it was telling that she got a yellow card for dissent at the close of the first half. She was already heating up and, perhaps, losing the plot. But it was a WWC quarterfinal and the stakes were high. Different players have different personalities.
As far as her being unstoppable — she kind of already is. But you need more than one player to win in soccer, and Brazil didn’t have the mettle or the fitness to close out yesterday’s game. This is a team that, recently, has proven to be less than the sum of its parts.
A: My hunch is no, unfortunately. People love to see the U.S. win, but that doesn’t mean there’s an appetite for a given sport beyond the occasional patriotic fervor. For example, we all watched Michael Phelps in Beijing. But how many have gone to a swimming meet since? WPS really is struggling, and the loss of the Washington Freedom lessened my interest in the league considerably.