Sure as the swallows returning to Capistrano and the olds from Iowa, Minnesota, and Canada returning to their northern homelands, the steady stream of visitors ushered here today by the magic Google phrase "abby wambach girlfriend" signals that the Next Big Thing for the US Women's National soccer team is on the horizon, that being the World Cup in Germany in about six weeks' time.
US Soccer announced the final roster for the Cup this morning, so let's get right to it. No surprises here, except maybe the very mildly possibly unexpected inclusion of Lindsay Tarpley over Yael Averbuch in the midfield (depending on who you talk to) and Jill Loyden over Ashlyn Harris for the third and thus hopefully purely ceremonial keeper spot. Actually, my biggest surprise is that Pia Sundhage didn't find a way to simply list Carli Lloyd in every roster slot and call it a day. Maybe she'll pleasantly surprise me. Maybe the whole team will pleasantly surprise me. But we're shaping up for another invisible central midfield, given the inevitability of a Lloyd-Boxx tandem in the middle given this roster. Which leaves the backs to keep whanging the ball up as far as they can in the hopes that one of those boomballs will find Wambach's head, and the rest of us to hope that the side can just keep the score close until Sundhage grudgingly puts Alex Morgan on the field in the last ten minutes and she scores a couple of stunning goals, the memories of which will carry her through the first 80 minutes of the next match while she's sitting on the bench yet again.
I was voted Most Optimistic my senior year of high school.
No, not really. Again, maybe they'll surprise me. Maybe O'Reilly will turn her undeniable energy into something worthwhile. Maybe Rapinoe will find some consistency in both play and attitude across an entire match (the new hair can't do anything but help). Maybe Morgan will get a few starts or at least more quality minutes. Maybe A-Rod will find the back of the net. Maybe Lloyd will look like an actual center mid. I will happily eat my words if she brings home the Golden Boot. And I won't even talk about the hideous uniforms.
Until then, I'm nervous. Three friendlies in the next three weeks will either make me feel better or send me into full howling mode, particularly the sendoff match against Mexico. We will see.