Cal Soccer: U.S. Women's 13-0 World Cup Victory Should Be Celebrated

Former Cal star Alex Morgan unleashes a shot in the World Cup.Photo by Michael Chow, USA Today

This powerhouse team should not be judged differently simply on the basis of gender

When the men’s basketball “Dream Team” obliterated Angola 116-48 in the 1992 Olympics, no one suggested Jordan, Bird, and Magic should have taken it easy on their helpless opponent.

OK, Charles Barkley took some deserved heat for his behavior, including a ferocious elbow he delivered to the chest of a 174-pound opponent. "If Charles would quit doing what he's doing, we'd get the cheers instead of the whistles," Jordan said.

The U.S. women’s soccer team didn’t deliver any cheap shots Tuesday, but some complained they were too talented — or too enthusiastic — after a 13-0 crushing of Thailand in their World Cup soccer opener on Tuesday in France.

Alex Morgan's post-match interview.

Folks, this is the World Cup, not under-8 recreation league soccer.

These are professionals. There are no participation trophies.

How is this any different than Kentucky basketball’s 83-44 win over UCLA back in December 2014, when the Wildcats led 24-2 on the way to a 41-7 halftime margin?

Or the 49ers’ 49-26 rout of the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, when Steve Young threw a record six touchdown passes?

These are women, not young girls, and to whine about their dominance on the field is a veiled sexism that has no place in 21st century sports. Or anywhere else.

Yes, former Cal star Alex Morgan scored a record-tying five goals. And she and her teammates seemed to enjoy every one of them.

I read a Tweet this afternoon from a Canadian radio sportscaster who called the U.S. women’s performance “pretty embarrassing.”

No, embarrassing is how Toronto fans — who had previously been praised for their class — stood and cheered when Warriors star Kevin Durant suffered a serious injury against the Raptors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

That did not happen Tuesday in France.

Also embarrassing is the fact that the U.S. women's players are paid less than their U.S. male counterparts, an issue that has prompted the women to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, arguing “purposeful gender discrimination.”

Tuesday's 13-0 score might have been a message to the Federation, given that the U.S. men's team -- which failed to even qualify for the most recent World Cup -- has never enjoyed a margin of victory on this stage bigger than 3-nil. And that happened in 1930.

Politics aside, what happened was that one of the world’s elite women’s soccer powers was too good for its overmatched opponent.

The U.S. team resumes pool play action Sunday against Chile, then faces Sweden on Thursday, June 20.

Awaiting later in the tournament are the likes of Brazil, England, Spain and others, all of whom will provide the U.S. squad with a much stiffer challenge than Thailand was able to muster.

If there is another 13-0 outcome the the World Cup -- and I doubt there will be -- these women should be cheered not jeered.