Aug. 20, 2008
By Michael Lewis
A SECOND CHANCE
Boxx ready for Brazil in gold-medal match
Beijing -- U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo isn't the only one who has a second chance against Brazil in the women's Olympic gold-medal match Thursday night.
|Shannon Boxx could be the key to shutting down Brazil's Marta.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Defensive midfielder Shannon Boxx has an opportunity to take care of some unfinished business against Brazil at Workers Stadium (USA Network, NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, 9 a.m. ET), but she isn't making a big deal out of it.
Boxx was red-carded during first-half stoppage time in the women's World Cup semifinals. The U.S. was losing, 1-0 at the time. Forced to chase the game in the second half a player down, the U.S. went down to its worst defeat in history, dropping a 4-0 decision.
The former WUSA midfielder with the New York Power and San Diego Spirit said that what happened then is in the past and was taken care of in one of the 1-0 wins the U.S. recorded over Brazil earlier this year.
"I just want to play for my team and play well," Boxx said earlier this week. "We had a chance to play Brazil three times this year already. If any of that was there, maybe it was in our first game. Right now, it's whatever I can do for my team."
Boxx received her second yellow card from referee Nicole Petignat (Switzerland) for tripping Cristiane at midfield a minute into first-half stoppage time. Petignat worked the middle of the U.S.'s 4-2 semifinal win over Japan Monday.
"I was just upset that I let my team down," Boxx said. "I don't think it was a fair call, but it happened. I left them out there with 10 men to deal with a hard team like Brazil. They're so technically good, that 10 men is going to be hard. I watched the game. I had to make sure I was solid when they came in for halftime and showed that I was upset what happened to me. But my team was there for me after the game. It was great."
Boxx could be the key to shutting down Marta, the two-time FIFA women's player of the year who scored twice in that semifinal, although she downplayed her potential role. Under former coach Greg Ryan, Boxx played more of an all-around midfield role. Under coach Pia Sundhage, she has returned as a holding/defensive midfielder, a position in which Boxx originally forged her reputation at the 2003 Women's World Cup.
“I wouldn’t say that we’re focusing on one player on the Brazilian team," she said. "I think Brazil as a whole is a very good team. They are technical and we’re going to look at how we can beat them as a team. One part of that is to stop their top player. But as a group one thing we’ve done very well is defending together as well as playing on the offensive side together. If we can do that against Brazil, I think we’ll be successful.”
Compared to last year's team, Box stressed that the U.S. team likes to attack more and is stronger mentally.
"This team is so different from a year ago." she said. "We're very offensive minded now. We're not defensive-minded. It's not like anywhere like last year. the team has come together. We've had some heartbreaks. We've lost Abby [Wambach]. We've lost Leslie [Osborne]. We lost some big-time players. That has been a challenge for us. I am proud of the team of how we came together as a team."