The USWNT was ROLLING heading into the Round of 16. When the conversation surrounding your squad is about you celebrating too much because you can’t stop scoring, it’s safe to say you’re mad decent.
Monday’s matchup with Spain was supposed to be cake. Spain doesn’t really have an impact player skilled enough to apply pressure on USA’s offense. The only thing that could beat USA is USA themselves.
Andddd that’s exactly what happened. The untested newbie keeper, Alyssa Naeher had a sloppy clear. She panicked, rushed and essentially handed Jenni Hermoso a free goal tying the game 1-1 in the 9th minute.
USA would eventually win from a penalty kick on a ticky-tack foul that could start a whole new rant about VAR and how inefficient and borderline pointless it.
Rose Lavelle tripped over her own feet after grazing a defender. VAR should’ve recalled the penalty. Its existence serves no purpose if it’s not even getting the calls right.
But shout out to Megan Rapinoe for scoring on both penalty kicks and taking advantage of a bad whistle.
But if the USWNT wants to get past France, they can’t rely on the refs to be the wind beneath their wings. Spain was sloppy and committed an absurd amount of penalties. France is far more disciplined and skilled. Oh, they also haven’t lost to America in their last three contests.
This article could condemn USA’s defense but we knew they were the weak link before the tourny started. Becky Sauerbrunn is an OLD 34-year old who didn’t do Naeher any favors with her awful touch that led to Spain’s goal.
Crystal Dunn isn’t a left back. She’s a forward in the NWSL who can play defense and her offensive prowess gives USA a huge advantage as they basically have an extra striker on the field at all times but when they aren’t pressing and they aren’t winning the possession battle then you just have a woman on an island defensively.
But again, we knew the defense was weak. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. But Monday’s nailbiter with Spain exposed an even bigger flaw with this team.
Hey coach Jill Ellis, uh, the hell are you doing?
From the second the game began, it was clear that Alex Morgan didn’t have it. She spent more time on the ground getting bodied by Spain than she did with the ball at her feet.
Jill Ellis didn’t sub Morgan out until the 85th minute. Most teams in the World Cup would kill to have a Carli Lloyd on their roster and Ellis waited until about stoppage time to put in her fresh legs over Alex Morgan’s limping legs.
Lindsay Horan is the best player on the team and no one can tell me otherwise. She played 9 minutes at the very end of the game.
What is the purpose of saving these bullets? Use all three subs you have.
Bring in fresh players to work the final 30 minutes of the game against players who are fatigued. I’m not a soccer expert and I understand that simple premise.
ESPECIALLY when you’re USA and everyone is praising you for the amount of depth you have, maybe don’t wait until stoppage time is over to replace Rapinoe, who was so gassed by the end of the game that she was walking to through balls with zero energy or urgency.
It’s probably also worth noting that the temperature was in the low 90’s and it was the hottest game of the World Cup thus far. And that’s the game Jill Ellis decided to ride her starters to the ground.
Jill Ellis, do better.