USWNT post-World Cup

67YAZ

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I’m very interested to see this one, but am on a road trip with the family so unlikely to see it.

A lot of pundits have been underwhelmed and critical of the USWNT’s performance this month. It is hard to properly assess things when the US is so much more talented than it opponents. Are we comparing this current squad and coaching staff to the impossible, mythical standards of past teams? Or are we just in the midst of major generational turnover plus a new coaching crew still getting their bearings?

Canada is a real measuring stick. We’ll learn a lot from this match.

Edit: Also, the very best US player, Cat Macario, is out.
 
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Dummy Hoy

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I don’t watch the women enough- does Lavelle always play as far back as she has tonight?

She does it well but I want her more advanced I think.
 

67YAZ

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They won and created loads of chances against a very talented and accomplished Canada side. This should answer a lot of questions.

The real trick is going to be scheduling high quality friendlies over the next year. The World Cup draw is in October. Hopefully a few of the big Euro teams or Brazil will agree to play if they end up on opposite sides of the bracket.
 

Ale Xander

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Man that was disappointing, and I only saw the highlights. Looked like a lot of missed finishing opportunities, especially by Mal.

Thank god for Rose,the ref, and Alex.

Looked like they missed the finishing of Lloyd, MegRap, Press (and Cat).

If I had watched that live, every minute, I would have passed out with frustration.

Survive and advance.
 

InstaFace

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It was actually a really entertaining game, I thought. End-to-end action. We haven't played a peer opponent since Canada beat us in Tokyo, not unless you count friendlies last fall vs Australia. I don't think you can watch last night and see "did not dominate the game and give the other team no hope at all", and from that read "we played poorly, finished poorly, and it was disappointing". We had better-quality chances, more numerous chances, and our defense was solid (other than Huerta getting skinned by Prince a few times). Fox looked great, Lavelle was her usual brilliant self, and our forwards absolutely had the better of Canada's defense. We had issues in midfield, but part of that was player selection (Horan just can't be a single-6 with her mobility right now, so Lavelle was called back to help), and part of it was the fact that the other team is on scholarship too, and Quinn and Fleming are really good. Canada's goalie Sheridan also made a few superb saves. C'est la vie. The field was still tilted in our favor, even if not as much as it usually is, and we had the better of the run of play, and that held up (eventually) in the score.

This is the best win in the new-generation era, post-Tokyo. And now we're going to Paris 2024, while Canada has to sweat out a rematch vs Jamaica next year. I think we can be happy about it, unreservedly.

The match wasn't an ugly foul fest or time-wasting tutorial, either, so it was a very attractive game to watch. I dunno, I had fun, I think most people posting in this thread had fun or would have had fun watching it, too.
 

67YAZ

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What this squad needs is a midfield destroyer or more specifically, Julie Ertz in the role she played in 2019. She’s taking this NWSL season off to have a baby, haven’t seen when she is planning to return. Joining some of the winter camps could be a way to ease back in and be ready for the WC.
 

67YAZ

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Huge international window ahead. After spending the last few pummeling minnows, the US is traveling to Wembley to take on England (3pm est Oct 7, Fox) and Pamplona to take on Spain (3:30pm est Oct 11, ESPN2).

Wembley is sold out and should be absolutely rocking. Will be an incredible match. Watch for Andonovski to start a number of vets in that atmosphere...and see Rapinoe soak it all in. She was built for these moments.

US call-ups:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy(North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Savannah DeMelo(Racing Louisville FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis(NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan(Washington Spirit)

FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy)

No Alex Morgan, who has some sort of minor knee issue. Andonovski said that if this were the WC, Morgan would be on the plane, so this is really just recovery time.

But no Morgan means 17-year-old Alyss Thompson gets her first invite. Welcome to the big time, kid.

During the November window, Germany comes stateside to play twice - Nov 10 in Miami and Nov 13 in Jersey.
 

Ale Xander

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Should be noted on this Boston-centric site that Sam Coffey played for Boston College for two years, leading the team in points both seasons as an underclass, before transferring to PSU. She was an-AllAmerican and ACC Midfielder of the year her sophomore year.
 

67YAZ

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Roster out for the 2 Germany friendlies, one in Florida and one in Jersey. This is an important measuring stick for the USWNT. I really want to see confident, controlling performances.


Also, Andonovski laid out some injury recovery timelines for key players. The Feb/March return for Macario is great news. I haven't been following Dahlkemper closely, but sounds like she's mired in injury hell.


 

InstaFace

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Tough news about Ertz. Her baby was born in mid-August, so if she's on the Crystal Dunn super-aggressive plan, we'd see her take the field by like January. But if she's "enjoying motherhood", you'd have to think that a return, and getting to her world-class form, would be unrealistic for WWC 2023 next summer.
 

67YAZ

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US lose to a Germany 2-1, first 3 game losing streak since 1993.

Germany progressed up the pitch with pace and rhythm like a well coached team. They were continually breezing past the US midfield to get Into the final third.

This was supposed to be a much better performance with more talent back healthy and home turf. Instead this group still looks like a Rolls Royce assembled by a 10 year old and driven by a blind guy.
 

67YAZ

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Quite the second half by the USA.
Yes, much better. But still unsettling to that it took 3 halves before getting a lock on Germany.

The young talents are immense, but they need to be molded into a much more organized system.

Horan looked hobbled, which is a big drag on the middle field. I still think Ertz at the base of the midfield solves a lot of issues, as long as she’s close to her pre-maternity levels.
 

67YAZ

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Roster announced for this month's camp in New Zealand. the US and Kiwis will play twice - Jan 17 & 20 at 10pm EST on HBOMax (that's the only channel I see listed anywhere).

Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)

Midfielders: Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (Kansas City Current)

Pugh changed her name to Swanson. Pinoe & Smith are hurt, though Smith is already doing light training.
 

Titans Bastard

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I'm tuning into the USWNT game on HBO Max right now. It's a low stakes game, but it's also a first look into the type of coverage we'll get for many NT games.
 

67YAZ

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Not sure why Andonovski is so stubborn about Naeher in net. I she’s on the decline and may already be behind Franch. The squad needs to turn the position over.

Great to see Dunn starting. Interested to see the Girma-Sauerbrunn pairing. I think this is the best CB combo, hope they develop chemistry quickly.

It’s Kornieck’s chance to grab the DM job now. Let’s see if she does.
 

67YAZ

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If Marcus Rashford wasn’t offside, then neither was Horan!

LOL that’s def offside.
 

67YAZ

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The Kiwis def the happier side now.

Every match under Andonovski has the same problem - the midfield is not fluid and incisive in the attack. Balls over the top or down the wing is where the progress occurs. Despite having Lavelle and Horan, the US can’t build centrally. And it allows opponents with strong midfields to boss games against the US. And lesser sides to clog up predictable attack lines.

Liked Swanson and Purce swapping wings a few times. That’s a nice wrinkle.
 

67YAZ

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Great back heel from Lavelle and cool finish by Morgan.

All US this half by focusing on getting Lavelle the ball.

And now Lavelle is off for Sanchez. Let’s see if they can get Sanchez in the ball and let her pull some strings.
 

67YAZ

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Short answer is yep, Sanchez can pull some strings.


I wish this wasn’t on HBO Max
Horrible interface imho.
I’m on AppleTV and the stream quality and announcing team have been great. I only get 2 minutes of rewind, though.
 

67YAZ

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All smiles for Lynn Williams scoring after a lost year that saw major hamstring surgery.

Rodman with 2 assists now. If she can create like this from the wing, ig gives the US another set of front line combos to employ.
 

67YAZ

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Not a horribly revealing pair of matches. There was one half where NZ frustrated the US by clogging the central midfield. Then Rose Lavelle dropped deeper and the US pounded NZ as expected.

We did see Andonovski try different combos at the 6, and having Lavelle drop back to play a hybrid 6/8 in a 4-2-3-1 was the most effective is opening up NZ’s block. That’s a useful twist for bus parking opponents, but it doesn’t solve the big problem - who anchors the midfield & does the dirty work against top quality squads? I want it to be Ertz, but the clock is ticking for her to get back into form and bed in with this team. There’s only 5 matches to go before the WC.
 

Titans Bastard

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Today's CONMEBOL/CONCACAF announcement consisted of three separate ventures. One pertains to the USWNT: the 2024 Gold Cup will have four guest teams from CONMEBOL, which should spice things up.
 

InstaFace

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It'll certainly make the event less moribund. There have been 11 CONCACAF Women's Championships (under various names). 1 of them, in 1998, the USA didn't participate in because it was hosting the 1999 WWC. Of the other 10, we have won 9, often by decisive margins. The only time we lost was in the semis of 2010, to Mexico 1-2, forcing us to play Italy in order to qualify for the 2011 WWC. To say the competition level is below where we want it is putting it lightly, with usually only Canada able to look like they can even threaten us.

Brazil is usually a peer team, a top-10. Has won 8 of the 9 Copa America Femininas. (Argentina won, as hosts, in 2006). Colombia often is very competitive, if not quite a peer-level team to the USA. Just getting the two of them on board is a help, to them as much as to us. Although the USWNT is historically 12-3-3 vs Brazil (11-1-1 at home, 1-2-2 on the road).

But this is just one tournament per cycle. What we need is to restore the level of the SheBelieves Cup, so that we're not picking opponents ranked around #20 like we did last year. Next month's event will see us (#1) play Canada (#6), Brazil (#9) and Japan (#11), which is closer to what we need. But it's a long way from the days when every year it would be Germany, France and England (currently #s 2, 5 and 4 respectively). If we can no longer talk those top countries out of their own winter/spring tournaments that they've started hosting (England, France, Australia ), then we need some sort of Tournament of Champions later in the spring to bring everyone together, including teams from the Algarve Cup. Germany and Sweden (#3) are only playing friendlies between now and the WWC this summer, and in future years we ought to give them a reason to play us in something other than a friendly.
 

67YAZ

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Becky Sauerbrunn publishes an oped on anti-trans athlete bills. Out WNT is on another level in their public advocacy.

 

67YAZ

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Saudi Arabia set to be unveiled at a World Cup sponsor and Alex Morgan is not having it. New Zealand’s FA has also asked for clarification on the issue.

Morgan:

“I just don’t understand it. I think that what Saudi Arabia can do is put an effort into their women’s team that was only formed a couple of years ago, and doesn’t even have a current ranking within the FIFA ranking system because of how few games they’ve played. That would be my advice to them, and I really hope that FIFA does the right thing. I mean, pretty much everyone has spoken out against that, because morally, it just doesn’t make sense.”
 
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67YAZ

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SheBelieves Cup kicks off tonight with the US and Canada squaring off.

The Canadian squad is deep into a public dispute with Canada Soccer, and the team trained with their jerseys inside out yesterday. The US captains indicated that they are in close contact with their counterparts and may engage in a joint protest before the match.



All the matches will be on HBOMax, including tonight's US-Canada tilt at 7pm eastern. Sunday's US-Japan match (3:30pm) and Wednesday's US-Brazil clash (7pm) will also be on TNT.

What to watch for - the US should sweep these 3 matches and display real class in the process. They are the most talented squad and the bulk of the players should be a nice balance between well rested from the NWSL off-season and comfortable in Andonovski's system coming in on the heels of the NZ trip. And motivated as hell. There's less than 6 months until the World Cup kicks off.

Not that the opposing sides are pushovers. Canada is very strong, but also in turmoil. Brazil has strong attacking talent (Debinha!) and is managed by old friend Pia Sundhage, but Marta is working back from injury and there's a lack of defensive prowess. Japan stills plays a tidy, possession-based game, but they've been in something of a talent lull for a while now - or maybe their pipeline has stayed steady while other nations have picked up significantly.

Big questions on the pitch:
  • Is Naeher still the #1 keeper? Or will Franch and Murphy also get starts and a chance to vie for the job?
  • What's the top CB pairing? I think it's Sauerbrunn-Girma, but they haven't put in a lot of time together. Will Vlatko give them that time here or is he still mixing-and-matching?
  • Who's at the base of the midfield? This is the biggest issue right now. There's no one consistently doing the dirty work to free up Lavelle & Horan to play their natural games. Looks like Kornieck and Sullivan are going to get a chance to stake their respective claims against 3 opponents with very different styles.
  • What's Pinoe's role? It should be as late game attacking sub, but Vlatko has been starting her when healthy. Pinoe has become a training cone in defense. Her time as a big match starter has passed.
  • What's the best front 3? Even without Soph Smith, the attack is totally stacked. Vlatko's job here is to help everyone settle into their best roles and gel as a unit.
 
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DJnVa

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US vs Japan about to kick-off. Camera in tunnel before the game--can we get a steady cam next time, almost got motion sickness with it bouncing around. Yeesh.
 

67YAZ

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USA!!

Up 1-0 against Japan. 7th goal for Swanson.
She’s in outrageous form. I’m a little worried about a minor injury or something else bringing her back to merely world class over the next 6 months.
 

67YAZ

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Barring Julie Ertz & Cat Macario getting back in form quickly, I think this is Vlatko’s preferred XI going into the WC. Let’s see how healthy this hours stays, of course.
 

Eastchop

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Barring Julie Ertz & Cat Macario getting back in form quickly, I think this is Vlatko’s preferred XI going into the WC. Let’s see how healthy this hours stays, of course.
Sophia Smith in for Rodman and agree this may be it
 

67YAZ

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That was a lot of space at the top of the box. The US has been giving up some big chances each match in this mini-tourney. They have a lot to tighten up.
 

67YAZ

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The good: 3 clean sheets, Mal Swanson is the most in-form player in the world right now, the attack is so deep with so many varied options, obvious and effective half time adjustments, took care of business against 3 quality opponents with divergent styles.

In progress: let up big chances in every match, without a fully healthy Lavelle they were sweating against high presses, the midfield still gets run through & Sullivan isn’t the stopper they need to play between Horan & Lavelle.

They’re not ready for England, Spain, & Germany rematches, but this squad is better than what they showed end of 2022.

Just please, no more big injuries. Let’s see the best possible USWNT rock up and ball out down under.
 

SoxFanInCali

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California. Duh.
Well, they blew the clean sheet late, but yeah, it's a good confidence builder to go into the tournament with so many questions and win all 3 games.
 

67YAZ

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Well, they blew the clean sheet late, but yeah, it's a good confidence builder to go into the tournament with so many questions and win all 3 games.
LOL - I started typing that before the match ended. Jinxed it. Now I’m worried about the injures…
 

InstaFace

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Here’s Marta!
I remember when Marta put two past Brianna Scurry to knock us out of the World Cup. The 2007 World Cup. Kristine Lilly and Kate Markgraf played for us that day. The fact that Marta is still taking the field as an international at age 37, will probably play a role in her 6th World Cup, and doesn't look like "hanging on too long like Carli Lloyd" out there, is friggen remarkable.

(she also started 4/4 games in the 2003 WWC and scored 2, as a 17yo. I love Olivia Moultrie but she doesn't look likely to do that.)