The moments of electrifying speed that make men’s soccer a worthwhile enterprise instead of a low-scoring dirge just don’t happen. It’s like watching soccer in slow motion. It almost seems as though the women’s game would be better if they made the field smaller. The space that 11 men cover with apt acuity feels like an ocean that swallows the women’s game.
Now, to be fair, I also feel this way most of the time watching Major League Soccer in the United States, where mediocre North and South American players and the occasional aging ex-European superstar attempt to approximate a compelling soccer match. But even the measly efforts of the MLS occasionally produce a moment of compelling skill or strategy. The goals produced in the women’s World Cup more often feel like lazy mistakes made by drunk Foosball players.
The overall quality of play is just one of the problems. Another is the utter lack of parity. Does anyone really need or want to watch the U.S. women’s team beat Thailand 13-0? I mean, maybe Germany or England, but Thailand? I felt like Apollo Creed’s trainer in Rocky IV: “Throw the g-d d-mned towel!” I cringed, I yawned, I watched Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre talk about the NBA on my iPad.