The U.S. women's soccer team is like that old Eddie Murphy standup routine where he plays the little kid with the ice cream cone, saying to other kids, "You wanna lick?" And he tips the ice cream cone toward them just long enough before he lets out a roaring ... PSYCH!"
Perhaps this U.S. team is doing these "ice cream cone ... PSYCH" comic routines on purpose. I can see it now in the U.S. locker room before a game:
"Hey everyone, listen up ... let's give [insert team name here] a two-goal lead, maybe we'll even get a red card, just to make them THINK they are in it ... and then we turn on the burners [hearty laughter follows."
I am serious.
OK, I'm not that serious, but it does make for some entertaining soccer to watch. And with this team, France taking a two-goal lead in the first 14 minutes of Wednesday's Olympic opener doesn't even faze them. It helps when you have the likes of Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan playing together up top. Those two do not shy away from big moments. And speaking of big moments, the last time Wambach scored in an Olympic game was the 2004 Athens final (a header, of course). She missed out on the 2008 Olympics after suffering a broken leg in the team's sendoff game right before the Games (every Olympians worst nightmare).
So how fitting is it that the woman who fought to come back from a broken leg, who fought to come back emotionally from last year's Women's World Cup final loss against Japan last summer, who fought to carry the goal-scoring torch after Mia Hamm retired, would be the player to once again lift the team onto her shoulders when the team needed it most.
Big shoulders, indeed.
The U.S. will get through its group just fine, and those early goals from France will serve as a great reminder of the precarious balance that exists in a world championship. As the tournament goes on, the margin for error becomes smaller and smaller as we all know. You let two goals in early against Great Britain later in the tournament, and you may not get them back. But heck, with three points in hand, I'd take that early lesson any day. And I'll take my ice cream cone, as well.
It comes as no surprise that I am not sharing ... You wanna lick? PSYCH!