The Big Come Back? USWNT post-WC ‘23

67YAZ

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Mia Hamm is not walking through that door. Michelle Akers, Julie Fowdy, Hope Solo…not walking through that door. In fact, Ertz and Rapinoe are already on the other side and Naeher, Sauerbrunn, Morgan, and O’Hara are soon to follow.

Oh, and we don’t even have a permanent manger to get up there and give such a rousing press conference at the moment.

It’s a time of transition. There’s 2 September friendlies against South Africa here stateside, and given Crocker’s prolonged search process on the men’s side, we’re unlikely to see a new manager by then.

But the Olympic loom, and the next manager will have a short runway to figure out how to get this team back into fighting shape. Rely on the veterans to try and get the mojo back? Start a youth turnover and throw them in the deep end? Find a balance that solves the structural problems Vlatko couldn’t?

Big questions ahead to go along with big expectations.
 
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AB in DC

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Horan throws the former coach under the bus.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/_/id/38243465/uswnt-fully-prepared-women-world-cup-horan

"When a coach comes in, it's like, hey, how do we get the best out of every single individual player putting the most simplicity into a 10-day camp every few months and getting the best out of your team, and without overcomplicating everything?" Horan said.

"Because yes, I could talk about the last four-year cycle, and we don't need to get into every single thing, but that's not what we did.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Mia Hamm is not walking through that door. Michelle Akers, Julie Fowdy, Hope Solo…not walking through that door. In fact, Ertz and Rapinoe are already on the other side and Naeher, Sauerbrunn, Morgan, and O’Hara are soon to follow.

Oh, and we don’t even have a permanent manger to get up there and give such a rousing press conference at the moment.

It’s a time of transition. There’s 2 September friendlies against South Africa here stateside, and given Crocker’s prolonged search process on the men’s side, we’re unlikely to see a new manager by then.

But the Olympic loom, and the next manager will have a short runway to figure out how to get this team back into fighting shape. Rely on the veterans to try and get the mojo back? Start a youth turnover and throw them in the deep end? Find a balance that solves the structural problems Vlatko couldn’t?

Big questions ahead to go along with big expectations.
We simply have to keep going with squad turnover I think, there's simply not enough juice in most of the vets to be worth the squeeze, and even some of the under 30s I am not so sure about. Horan is a weird combination of characteristics that is hard to fit into a team (midfielder with a good soccer brain, good technique, former striker's instincts but her legs are completely, utterly shot), Lavelle was hurt for this tournament but has also quietly not been that good for club for years, Dunn is 31 and who knows if she wants to ever be a fullback again, so do you play her in the midfield or slide her off the team?

I expect at least one of those vets will stick around through the cycle against my inclinations and expectations for all of them (more of them in the Olympics probably, with the turnaround time), but if you're looking for World Cup winners to keep carrying the flame the only one I am that actively excited about for the next WC is a healthy Mal Swanson. A lot of the "youth" players for this tournament will be dead center prime-age players for the next one (Girma, Smith, Rodman & Fox are my four locked in examples of that), so it's about who else we surround them with. Mal Swanson & Cat Macario hopefully recovered from injuries will be a damn good start. From there we need to see who else steps up, both of the folks who were in and around this squad and the youngsters who weren't.

Then just have a tactical setup that puts players into positions to succeed instead of whatever the hell Vlatko was doing.
 

luckysox

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I would bet all my donuts that Rose Lavalle and Lindsay Horan are on the next WC squad, assuming they are not injured. It's entirely possible the whole team was not as fit as they should have been, but to say Horan's legs are "completely and utterly shot" based on her WC performance is hyperbole. She was the youngest US captain in, like, 30 years or something. I wouldn't write her off just because this was not a successful WC. The "kids" from this WC (and Swanson and Macario) will be the base that you build on, and of course not everyone will be back, but we don't need to throw the baby out with the bathwater to improve. Horan is 29, Lavalle 28, and they can and should absolutely be part of the core of the next cycle (assuming health and their desire to continue playing for the USWNT). Hopefully nerither one is in a position where they are required to play 90 minutes every game or every single thing on the filed goes to shit. The talent pool should and does have enough players to allow for WAY more flexibility with personnel - we should not all crap our pants when Rose Lavelle is suspended after two yellows!! I really think most of the issues were around coaching, in all facets. The one thing Andonovski seemed to have going for him was that everyone liked him - he's universally understood to be a nice guy (which is great given the ENOURMOUS amount of asshat men that are enmeshed in women's soccer, some of whom reside in the power centers of US Soccer). But the whole soccer world was quick to throw him under the bus for tactics, adaptability, and not having the team "ready" either physically or mentally. All of that stuff is on the coaching staff, including figuring out ways to handle the unparalleled pressure that comes with the expectations that the USWNT shoulders.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I am not saying Horan’s legs are shot because she had a bad World Cup (she had a pretty good one actually). I am just observing how extremely slow she looks as a midfielder, which already limits the ways the team can play, and am projecting 4 years onto that and wondering how it’s gonna go.

She has a very odd set of strengths and weaknesses as a midfielder to me, and if they work in whatever the team concept is then awesome, but I think there are a lot of viable directions for how this team could go that don’t include her, at least as a key component straw that stirs the drink type player.
 

67YAZ

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If Horan threw Vlatko under the bus, there’s about a million cranky USWNT fans ready to slam the accelerator & then back up over the body. Several times.

Spain really did raise the bar - or more specifically Barca have really raised the bar - on the technical and tactical abilities of the best squads. Outside the still best in world attacking pipeline, where is the US going to produce these kinds of midfielders and defenders (Girma being our 1 back end player who could slot into Barca seamlessly). The NWSL clubs don’t really have academies yet, more like local pay-to-play ecosystems that they skim the a few top players from while the rest head to college. A big project on Crocker’s plate it pushing US player development forward in collaboration with the NWSL.
 
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67YAZ

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The US to play Colombia on Oct 26 in Utah & Oct 29 in San Diego. That should be fun.
 

67YAZ

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At his presser, Crocker said it would be “ideal” to have a new permanent manager by December camp. Which means we’re sticking with the interim through the September and October friendlies…and likely targeting an NWSL manger, who will be out of season then.

edit: for context, the European clubs have started preseason, so the time to recruit one of their managers was last month.

Other national team managers could have been recruited immediately post-WC, but those contracts through the 2023 cycle mostly expense on Dec 31 of this year. So it seems that if you’re willing to pay a buy out, what’s the difference between 3 and 1 month?

And while I dream of Wiegman, the English FA seems intent on not fucking up a good thing for once.
 
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67YAZ

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The US play 2 against South Africa this window.

out with injury are Soph Smith, K Mewis, Lavelle, and O’Hara. Jaedyn Shaw & Mia Fishel are the 2 notable additions. We’ll see how Kilgore sets things up and if the team plays differently.

Clock is already ticking on the Olympics. Can’t waste windows.

It’s also Julie Ertz’s farewell today. (Pinoe’s send off is Sunday.) Getting to see Ertz up close with the Red Stars was incredible every time. Legend

 

Ale Xander

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Foudy is really fired about developing 7 year olds because the world has caught up (pregame show)
 

67YAZ

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Thanks for posting. Couldn’t watch tonight. But those are two great moments.
 

InstaFace

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I'm gonna miss her terribly, she was my favorite USWNT player. There's nobody who plays like her, as Vlatko found out to his sorrow. Tyler Adams-like tenacity on defense, a phenomenal passing touch, great reads, and the strength to never get muscled off the ball. Came up as a centerback, but her field vision and ball-winning were too good to leave on the back line and so she became a one-of-a-kind do-it-all DM. The world cups in 2015 and 2019 were a team effort of course, but imo she was the keystone player, the team MVP, on both runs to a trophy. How many players can say that? Maybe just Birgit Prinz and Pele. And that's amid some very strong competition on those squads from your Lloyds and Morgans and Lavelles. At her peak, she was inarguably one of the best women's footballers in the world, getting nominations even if it was Lloyd and Rapinoe taking home the awards. Such is life for a non-attacker, as VVD will be the first to tell you.

In 2015 she was a CB starting opposite Sauerbrunn and playing every minute of every game, including the most intense and thrilling WWC match I've ever seen. After halftime of the USA's first match, we went on a 5 1/2-match run of shutouts, much of which was down to then-Julie Johnston cleaning up all problems (and the few she couldn't were cleaned up by Hope Solo). We didn't give up a goal until the Final was already a laugher.

In 2019 she was a CDM doing the work of two midfielders. We threw her at CB for the Thailand match, and we rested her for the dead-rubber final GS game, but come crunch time, she was instrumental in making both France and England just uncomfortable enough for us to win two games we had no business winning. We got out-xG'd first 1.6 to 1.1 in the QF, then by 1.7 to 0.9 in the SF, and yet every time a Wendie Renard would go up for a set piece, someone was there just barely beating her to the spot. If you want to know how we pulled off that semi vs England, look no farther than this immortal tweet:

View: https://twitter.com/PaulCarr/status/1146146079005708288


She was never substituted-for in the knockouts, because nobody could do her job. The USWNT was basically undefeated in major competitions with Ertz starting, with the exception of the 2021 Olympic semi vs Canada (and even then, we won the xG 1.9 to 0.8). And after those Olympics, Vlatko spent 2 years chasing the dragon, trying to find her successor using the same job description. After he came up empty, he ended up dragging her basically out of retirement to play the WWC. Many people have blamed Vlatko for this, but I see it more as a testament to how unique a player she was, in every way from her energy levels and tirelessness to her reading of a play. I have never felt more secure as a fan than when she was out there doing her thing... there was a kind of magic to it.

Happy trails, Julie.
 
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67YAZ

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I'm gonna miss her terribly, she was my favorite USWNT player. There's nobody who plays like her, as Vlatko found out to his sorrow. Tyler Adams-like tenacity on defense, a phenomenal passing touch, great reads, and the strength to never get muscled off the ball. Came up as a centerback, but her field vision and ball-winning were too good to leave on the back line and so she became a one-of-a-kind do-it-all DM. The world cups in 2015 and 2019 were a team effort of course, but imo she was the keystone player, the team MVP, on both runs to a trophy. How many players can say that - maybe just Birgit Prinz and Pele. And that's amid some very strong competition on those squads from your Lloyds and Morgans and Lavelles. At her peak, she was inarguably one of the best women's footballers in the world, getting nominations even if it was Lloyd and Rapinoe taking home the awards. Such is life for a non-attacker, as VVD will be the first to tell you.

In 2015 she was a CB starting opposite Sauerbrunn and playing every minute of every game, including the most intense and thrilling WWC match I've ever seen. After halftime of the USA's first match, we went on a 5 1/2-match run of shutouts, much of which was down to then-Julie Johnston cleaning up all problems (and the few she couldn't were cleaned up by Hope Solo). We didn't give up a goal until the Final was already a laugher.

In 2019 she was a CDM doing the work of two midfielders. We threw her at CB for the Thailand match, and we rested her for the dead-rubber final GS game, but come crunch time, she was instrumental in making both France and England just uncomfortable enough for us to win two games we had no business winning. We got out-xG'd first 1.6 to 1.1 in the QF, then by 1.7 to 0.9 in the SF, and yet every time a Wendie Renard would go up for a set piece, someone was there just barely beating her to the spot. If you want to know how we pulled off that semi vs England, look no farther than this immortal tweet:

View: https://twitter.com/PaulCarr/status/1146146079005708288


She was never substituted-for in the knockouts, because nobody could do her job. The USWNT was basically undefeated in major competitions with Ertz starting, with the exception of the 2021 Olympic semi vs Canada (and even then, we won the xG 1.9 to 0.8). And after those Olympics, Vlatko spent 2 years chasing the dragon, trying to find her successor using the same job description. After he came up empty, he ended up dragging her basically out of retirement to play the WWC. Many people have blamed Vlatko for this, but I see it more as a testament to how unique a player she was, in every way from her energy levels and tirelessness to her reading of a play. I have never felt more secure as a fan than when she was out there doing her thing... there was a kind of magic to it.

Happy trails, Julie.
Fitting tribute to a no doubt all time best starting XI player.

I was fortunate to see her at both Seat Geek Stadium and the tiny Benedictine University stadium, where the Red Stars played for a few seasons. Ertz was a true field general. When teammates talks about her leadership, at least in part they mean her non-stop communication on the pitch. She was constantly pushing players up, back, a few yards to the side as well as calling out exactly what was about to happen. Ertz was on of those players who could see the future and got her players ready for it. Really uncanny.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I know she was better as a DM, but that 2015 CB pair was just iconic to me. Julie playing CB so aggressively she was also basically playing DM and Sauerbrunn cleaning damn near everything up behind her.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Depressing nil nil with Colombia where we roll out the same players from the bad World Cup playing the same soccer. Team needs its new coach in the worst way.
 

67YAZ

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At least we know Crocker can’t rehire Vlatko. He’s taken the KC Current gig.
 

67YAZ

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The Athletic is reporting a 3 person shortlist: Australia head coach (and former USWNT assistant) Tony Gustavsson, Juventus Women head coach Joe Montemurro and OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey,

They also note that 2 sources say Gustavsson doesn’t want to relocate to the US for the job. After years of requiring managers to live in Chicago, that would be quite a change. He’s also contracted through the Olympics.

Montemurro has no international experience, but fantastic club experience across Australia, England, and Italy. His Juve contract runs through 2026.

those factors make Harvey feel like the favorite. We shall see.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I’m in full-on “Jaedyn Shaw oh man build the team around her” mode right now. She is a special talent, feet are almost Rose Lavelle good (not the insane dribbler Rose is but as good or better in tight spaces), but she’s also a plus plus passer.
 

67YAZ

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I’m in full-on “Jaedyn Shaw oh man build the team around her” mode right now. She is a special talent, feet are almost Rose Lavelle good (not the insane dribbler Rose is but as good or better in tight spaces), but she’s also a plus plus passer.
Today pushed me further into the “play the kids at the Olympics” camp. The new manager is going to have a lot of big decisions to make very quickly.


https://twitter.com/optajack/status/1718773616404205584?s=46&t=GfuLFvTYcOxcFiCZjyIYZw
 

67YAZ

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Woah! Says here that Emma Hayes is set to become the new USWNT manager. I’ll wait for confirmation from other outlets before getting too excited, but damn. The deal is apparently that she’ll manage the US during the international windows and Chelsea through the end of this summer.

This is the part that makes me skeptical - why would Chelsea let their manager split her time?

None the less, Hayes has been world class at Chelsea. She does have some Americans experience - going to college here and working for the Red Stars in their early years. A risk is that she has only ever managed Chelsea…which also reflects the fact that she’s been so good the club hasn’t looked to move on in over a decade.

Hayes knows exactly what it’s like working with a roster stacked with world class talent and having to make hard choices about who gets on the pitch. She’s also turned over that Chelsea squad several times, so she understands how those transitions work.

this is a wild one if it actually happens.
 

67YAZ

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The Athletic now confirms Hayes is leaving Chelsea at end of year as backed up by a statement from the club.

But they frame it as Hayes taking over following Chelsea’s season. Which makes more sense, but means there’s a real crunch to get ready for the Olympics.

There’s some risk here in that Hayes has never managed an international side before. How will she handle the transition to limited training time? How will she function in a new environment for the first time in a dozen years?

she’s an incredible manager and it’s a surprise that she was even available. A home run hire for Crocker, one with some risk, but risk well worth taking given the caliber of manager we’re looking at.
 

67YAZ

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Here’s a nice overview of Hayes’ tactics over her tenure with Chelsea.

When I think of Chelsea, I don’t think of any one system, I think of a group of world class players lining up in roles that play to their talents. This piece does a nice job showing how Hayes has evolved from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 to 3-4-1-2 and back to 4-2-3-1 based on the talent at her disposal and the way opponents have lined up against her.

There are some Pep-like basic principles at play - in attack, try to get 5 players into the final third to stretch the defense the full width of the pitch. The 5 players back from the front line need to counterpress at speed to win the ball back or stop counters. The keeper helps circulate the ball in possession, but isn’t expected to be so adventurous as Nuer or Ederson. She will play over the top from the back, so the CBs will be asked to play long, accurate balls consistently.

in sum, Hayes is adaptable and shows a real talent for matching tactics to team. Of course, this season she has Macario and Fishel at Chelsea, so that should bode well for their roles in the USWNT. But I can also see Girma, Murphy, and Rodman being perfect fits.

The challenge of figuring out the midfield base remains.
 
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Ale Xander

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Here’s a nice overview of Hayes’ tactics over her tenure with Chelsea.

When I think of Chelsea, I don’t think of any one system, I think of a group of world class players lining up in roles that play to their talents. This piece does a nice job showing how Hayes has evolved from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 to 3-4-1-2 and back to 4-2-3-1 based on the talent at her disposal and the way opponents have lined up against her.

There are some Pep-like basic principles at play - in attack, try to get 5 players into the final third to stretch the defense the full width of the pitch. The 5 players back from the front line need to counterpress at speed to win the ball back or stop counters. The keeper helps circulate the ball in possession, but isn’t expected to be so adventurous as Nuer or Ederson. She will play over the top from the back, so the CBs will be asked to play long, accurate balls consistently.

in sum, Hayes is adaptable and shows a real talent for matching tactics to team. Of course, this season she has Macario and Fishel at Chelsea, so that should bode well for their roles in the USWNT. But I can also see Girma, Murphy, and Rodman being perfect fits.

The challenge of figuring out the midfield base remains.
Also coached Dunn 2017-2018
 

67YAZ

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Meant to post this here…Hayes official. Let’s fucking go.

The Athletic reports that Hayes will be the highest paid manager in the women’s game & the salary is in line Gregg’s.

They also note that Hayes starts in May after Chelsea’s season, which led Chelsea to not request a fee for letting Hayes go.

Twila stays on as interim and will have a spot as Hayes’ assistant.

 
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67YAZ

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December roster dropped. The US plays China in Ft Lauderdale on Dec 2 & Frisco, TX on Dec 5.

A real infusion of youth here. This is Kilgore’s roster, but have to think Hayes has communicated some preferences.

Albert, Moultrie, & Nightswonger each have a shot at their first cap. There are 8 others with fewer than 10 caps, too. #PlayTheKids

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 7), Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 16)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 29/1), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC; 79/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 50/1), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 37/1), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 24/0), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 41/0), M.A. Vignola (Angel City FC; 1/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA; 0/0), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC; 5/0), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC; 6/0), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 137/30), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 91/24), Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Jenna Nighswonger (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 0/0), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 81/2)

FORWARDS (8): Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, ENG; 2/1), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 21/5), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 24/4), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 26/6), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC; 2/1), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 36/14), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; 8/0), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 58/17)
 
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graffam198

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Really glad to see no Alex Morgan on the list. Bummed about Ashley Sanchez, felt like she never really got a chance to be an impactful player.
 

67YAZ

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Really glad to see no Alex Morgan on the list.
Crocker framed this as Morgan, Dunn, Sauerbrunn, et al are still in the mix, but they wanted to get a slate of young player involved.

Makes sense to give some of the veterans a real vacation after the NWSL season.

And it opens up space, especially with Ertz & Pinoe retired, for the mid-career members to take on more leadership - Williams, Lavelle, Sonnett, Dahlkemper.
 

Ale Xander

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So deep at F wow
No real candidate to even drop for Sanchez
Will be interesting to see who they drop for Morgan come July
My guess is Hatch unless they want more secondary experience
Lots of talented youth

wish they could “trade” for the “back 8/9”

Also wish KM’s knees would start to get healthy but age is becoming a factor
 

InstaFace

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Also wish KM’s knees would start to get healthy but age is becoming a factor
Kristie Mewis? She's a 32yo midfielder who doesn't defend (and never has), I doubt Hayes is going to prioritize her unless she has a late-career resurgence of form like Heather O'Reilly.

Also I think she's out with leg problems and it's her sister Sam who has the (now long-term) knee injury.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Really glad to see no Alex Morgan on the list. Bummed about Ashley Sanchez, felt like she never really got a chance to be an impactful player.
Sanchez got plenty of chances last cycle and didn't really take them. Seemed like Vlatko went most of the cycle really wanting her to be the primary attacking midfield substitution and by the end was uninterested in playing her at the World Cup and she'd largely earned that with forgettable play. She's still young enough to fight back into the picture but I am more interested in seeing what Moultrie and especially Shaw have got in that position.
 

InstaFace

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I dunno, I'm bummed about Sanchez too, because I always see a spark of creativity and flair and vision from her when she's out there. She seems able to rise to the international level, even if she's not a world-beater for club. And yeah, she's 23, so lots of time to improve on the consistency. I just love how much she attacks and is brave about her attacking choices. I have no problems leaving her off for a window in order to audition others, but I hope Sanchez gets more of a run in turn, too.

Shaw is built different, though, no doubt. I see her as more of a winger than a midfielder though. Depends a lot on how Emma wants to deploy this absolute embarrassment-of-riches in her talent pool.

Agreed on Morgan. She sucks up all the oxygen in the room, which is fine when she's a Ballon D'Or candidate like in 2019, but there's been a long hard road since then.
 

67YAZ

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Speaking of KM, she just got engaged to Sam Kerr.

Not sure if there is some FIFA loophole we can exploit to get Kerr citizenship by marriage and into the national team, but worth exploring. Have to think Hayes will lobby hard for the switch, too.

74103
 

graffam198

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Sanchez got plenty of chances last cycle and didn't really take them. Seemed like Vlatko went most of the cycle really wanting her to be the primary attacking midfield substitution and by the end was uninterested in playing her at the World Cup and she'd largely earned that with forgettable play. She's still young enough to fight back into the picture but I am more interested in seeing what Moultrie and especially Shaw have got in that position.
See, I thought she had 0 chances at the world cup. I had to look it up, and sure enough, averaged 50 minutes per match in the 8 leading up, but 0 appearances in the World Cup. And I thought this was pretty telling:

While Sanchez declined to elaborate on her World Cup playing time, she made a statement in her NWSL return with the Washington Spirit, scoring 40 seconds after she subbed into Saturday’s match.
She is no Horan, but I do think she has a certain flair/energy/something that is exciting to watch.

Not sure I buy the "resting the players" after NWSL. Current Roster is chock full of players that went deep into the season. Average age of 26.16 (Median is 26 too, kind of fun). I mean, Lavelle is kind of a tell. Not that I disagree at all. I think this team needs a reset and the reliance on the vets was an absolute exercise in madness.

Player Name Position Professional Team Age
Aubrey Kingsbury Goalkeeper Washington Spirit 31
Casey Murphy Goalkeeper North Carolina Courage 27
Alana Cook Defender Paris Saint-Germain 26
Abby Dahlkemper Defender Manchester City 29
Tierna Davidson Defender Chicago Red Stars 25
Emily Fox Defender Racing Louisville FC 25
Naomi Girma Defender Portland Thorns FC 23
Casey Krueger Defender Chicago Red Stars 30
M. A. Vignola Defender Washington Spirit 41
Korbin Albert Midfielder North Carolina Courage 24
Sam Coffey Midfielder Portland Thorns FC 27
Savannah DeMelo Midfielder OL Reign 25
Lindsey Horan Midfielder Lyon 29
Rose Lavelle Midfielder OL Reign 28
Olivia Moultrie Midfielder Portland Thorns FC 18
Jenna Nighswonger Midfielder Orlando Pride 24
Emily Sonnett Midfielder Washington Spirit 29
Mia Fishel Forward San Diego Wave FC 22
Ashley Hatch Forward Washington Spirit 28
Midge Purce Forward Gotham FC 26
Trinity Rodman Forward Washington Spirit 21
Jaedyn Shaw Forward Houston Dash 26
Sophia Smith Forward Portland Thorns FC 22
Alyssa Thompson Forward Los Angeles Galaxy 18
Lynn Williams Forward North Carolina Courage 30
Average
26.16​
 

67YAZ

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See, I thought she had 0 chances at the world cup. I had to look it up, and sure enough, averaged 50 minutes per match in the 8 leading up, but 0 appearances in the World Cup. And I thought this was pretty telling:



She is no Horan, but I do think she has a certain flair/energy/something that is exciting to watch.

Not sure I buy the "resting the players" after NWSL. Current Roster is chock full of players that went deep into the season. Average age of 26.16 (Median is 26 too, kind of fun). I mean, Lavelle is kind of a tell. Not that I disagree at all. I think this team needs a reset and the reliance on the vets was an absolute exercise in madness.

Player Name Position Professional Team Age
Aubrey Kingsbury Goalkeeper Washington Spirit 31
Casey Murphy Goalkeeper North Carolina Courage 27
Alana Cook Defender Paris Saint-Germain 26
Abby Dahlkemper Defender Manchester City 29
Tierna Davidson Defender Chicago Red Stars 25
Emily Fox Defender Racing Louisville FC 25
Naomi Girma Defender Portland Thorns FC 23
Casey Krueger Defender Chicago Red Stars 30
M. A. Vignola Defender Washington Spirit 41
Korbin Albert Midfielder North Carolina Courage 24
Sam Coffey Midfielder Portland Thorns FC 27
Savannah DeMelo Midfielder OL Reign 25
Lindsey Horan Midfielder Lyon 29
Rose Lavelle Midfielder OL Reign 28
Olivia Moultrie Midfielder Portland Thorns FC 18
Jenna Nighswonger Midfielder Orlando Pride 24
Emily Sonnett Midfielder Washington Spirit 29
Mia Fishel Forward San Diego Wave FC 22
Ashley Hatch Forward Washington Spirit 28
Midge Purce Forward Gotham FC 26
Trinity Rodman Forward Washington Spirit 21
Jaedyn Shaw Forward Houston Dash 26
Sophia Smith Forward Portland Thorns FC 22
Alyssa Thompson Forward Los Angeles Galaxy 18
Lynn Williams Forward North Carolina Courage 30
Average
26.16​
Vignola is 25. 41 made my eyes pop!
 

graffam198

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Vignola is 25. 41 made my eyes pop!
Dude, I can't even claim a fat finger there. I have no idea what happened. BENCHED :)

In any case, I don't care how they frame it. I'm just glad they are mixing things up. It is clear the WC Roster was not the best of the best and too much deference was given to those that had come before. There is a lot of young talent out there and it is going to be great to see what they can do.
 
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67YAZ

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Dude, I can't even claim a fat finger there. I have no idea what happened. BENCHED :)

In any case, I don't care how they frame it. I'm just glad they are mixing things up. It is clear the WC Roster was not the best of the best and too much deference was given to those that had come before. There is a lot of young talent out there and it is going to be great to see what they can do.
I’m also glad they’re being aggressive with squad turnover for the Olympics (so far…we’ll see what the final roster looks like). And I’m excited to see this happening with a top grade outside hire. This is a culture & program reset.

Not that the US had a bad or broken culture & program, but you have to shake things up periodically and seek new advantages in an increasingly competitive era.

Which brings me back to US players marrying foreign superstars…can Mewis convince Kerr to take it easy on the US?
 

InstaFace

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I’m also glad they’re being aggressive with squad turnover for the Olympics (so far…we’ll see what the final roster looks like). And I’m excited to see this happening with a top grade outside hire. This is a culture & program reset.

Not that the US had a bad or broken culture & program, but you have to shake things up periodically and seek new advantages in an increasingly competitive era.
It's also continuing the leadership that our women's program has shown for decades, by stretching the definition of what women coaches can be paid and going out and getting the best one, damn-the-cost. Emma Hayes wasn't available, until we broke the bank and made her an offer she couldn't refuse. That's exactly what you want our program to be doing, throwing its weight around like the 800lb gorilla that it is. We can outbid anybody in the world for women's coaching talent, even oligarch clubs, because it's worth that much to us financially to have the incremental success that can bring.

Last week after the announcement, The Athletic put out this essay by Nancy Froston arguing why Hayes deserves to be paid the same as Gregg Berhalter. It's interesting reading:

https://theathletic.com/5062311/2023/11/15/emma-hayes-uswnt-coach-salary-equal/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

Not least for the research she was able to do in uncovering WNT head-coach salaries, which are very hard to find public numbers on:

74112
 

67YAZ

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It's also continuing the leadership that our women's program has shown for decades, by stretching the definition of what women coaches can be paid and going out and getting the best one, damn-the-cost. Emma Hayes wasn't available, until we broke the bank and made her an offer she couldn't refuse. That's exactly what you want our program to be doing, throwing its weight around like the 800lb gorilla that it is. We can outbid anybody in the world for women's coaching talent, even oligarch clubs, because it's worth that much to us financially to have the incremental success that can bring.

Last week after the announcement, The Athletic put out this essay by Nancy Froston arguing why Hayes deserves to be paid the same as Gregg Berhalter. It's interesting reading:

https://theathletic.com/5062311/2023/11/15/emma-hayes-uswnt-coach-salary-equal/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

Not least for the research she was able to do in uncovering WNT head-coach salaries, which are very hard to find public numbers on:

View attachment 74112
Great pull. Look at England and ask, who would you rather have managing your team?
 

67YAZ

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The US dominated China this afternoon, though the twitterati thought we should have potted a few more. 3-0 with 65% possession and massive advantages in all the relevant stats is pretty good.

The kids got in the match, too - Shaw, Moultrie, & Fishel subbed on and Nighswonger got her first cap.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Smith was either kinda wasteful first half or was creating scads of good chances and getting hit by variance, depending which statistical church you worship at.

Shaw is the one in that group that stands out to me as being ready to just be a superstar of this team right now. I like the others as well, at a more developmental/depth level, and I also like how they play together. Between the new blood and the substantial coaching improvement on the way I think this might be a quicker comeback than some people are fearing.
 

67YAZ

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The US had a slightly harder time with China last night - gave up a goal in first half stoppage time, but scored twice in the second half to pull out the win. The US dominate possession and passing stats, but really struggled to break down the “Great Wall” of China’s defense. (Thanks, I’ll be at the Chuckle Hit all week!)

The best news is that Shaw opened her account! And the new kids got thrown into the mix successfully.
 

67YAZ

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Gold Cup roster dropped with a mix of vets, prime aged stars, and young’uns.

One confusion - the Red Stars tweeted out that Mal made the roster, but she’s not on the roster the USWNT sent out.

Edit: The full press release explains - "Three non-rostered players will train with the USA before the tournament begins including forward Mallory Swanson, who makes her return to U.S. training camp for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury last April..."

77759
 
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Batman Likes The Sox

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I’m pleased that Alex is not on this roster. I don’t doubt she’ll be back at some point but USWNT needs to move on from her as a starter. She’s lost a step or two and I also don’t see her play style fitting anymore except as a sub.
 

Ale Xander

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I’m displeased that Morgan isn’t on the roster. Anything to read into this?
 

InstaFace

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I’m displeased that Morgan isn’t on the roster. Anything to read into this?
Yes: she's old and not playing at an international level anymore.

The Forwards lineup is a murderer's row of very young and extremely fast / technical talent. Sophia Smith is easily Morgan's superior today. Jaedyn Shaw is a future star in the making. We no longer have to be ride-or-die with our top vets and just hope they rise to the needed level, we have a very very deep pool, deepest in the world. The only two players on the roster about whom I'd say "we just need to run them out there and hope they're fine, because if they're not, we have no replacements anywhere near their level" is Girma at CB and Horan at CM. And if Lavelle is healthy, you can kinda even argue Horan. Girma would be a Ballon D'Or contender if the vote weren't a Eurocentric popularity contest or if the USWNT went farther at the WWC, she was quite visibly our best player in that competition - she's the only one written into our starting lineup in pen. Everyone else needed to keep earning their spot during 2023, and Morgan didn't.

I wonder if Chelsea won't miss having Mia Fishel out there, given that she's largely been playing CF in the Sam Kerr role since Kerr popped her ACL. The WSL and UWCL don't take a break for this W Gold Cup, it's a bit like AfCON. The competition runs 2/20 - 3/10, and Chelsea has league matches 2/18, 3/3 and 3/17 (vs Arsenal), with a Cup match on 2/11 and UWCL QF match @ Ajax on 3/19 (yes, 2 days after a crucial league match). Maybe they keep her through the Cup match, and then let her join USWNT training a day or two late and hope she's recovered and ready for Arsenal and/or Ajax. If only the USWNT manager and the Chelsea Women manager could talk this through together and come up with a plan!

Emily Fox likewise for Arsenal. She waltzed right into the starting lineup for them within a few days of signing, and has (to my eyes) been one of their best players, which I choose to believe is due to the NWSL being a much better league than even the big WSL clubs and definitely not because she's had 6 weeks off and Arsenal's team is worn down in mid-season. They have the same WSL match schedule and Cup schedule (but no UWCL, having gotten knocked out in the qualifiers), so perhaps even more than Chelsea, they will need Fox back and ready to go for 3/17.

My real hope for this competition is that we try out a new goalkeeper. Naeher is pretty clearly not a top goalie in NWSL anymore, if she ever was. Abby Smith of Gotham had the best 2023 by PSxG +/-, at +8 and not far behind were Jane Campbell of Houston (who's on the roster) and Katie Lund of Louisville (who's not), both around +6. Naeher was meaningfully above average in 2019 and 2021, but has been league-average by that measure in 2022 and 2023. Last year (2022), Katie Lund was a runaway league leader in shot-stopping (+9.5), while Campbell was good-but-not-great (+1.7). Close WNT watchers really want to give Aubrey Kingsbury (Seattle) a shot, as she has had a steady 4-year run of great shot-stopping stats. But either way, if Campbell has earned a shot, then Katie Lund definitely has - and Naeher should be at home until and unless she turns her career back around.
 
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67YAZ

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If Alex comes out guns blazing for the NWSL season, she can force her way into the Olympic set up. Hayes is pragmatic. She’ll make the tactics work for an in-form goal scorer.

But like @InstaFace said, look at this lineup. And consider Mal Swanson is seemingly deemed important enough to the program to earn a training spot. This hands down the deepest attacking unit in the world.

Happy to see Albert get the call. She could be the Horan replacement, though not immediately.

Surprised that Naeher continues to hold on. But she’s the hardest worker out there. No one is ever going to out compete her. They’ll have to pry this position from her gloves.