Morgan, Leroux lift US women over Canada

Jeff Kassouf June 2, 2013 247

Alex Morgan scored twice in the second half and Canadian-born Sydney Leroux scored for the United States in a 3-0 win over Canada at BMO Field in Toronto.

Morgan scored twice in as many minutes on shots that looked nearly identical to each other and came from almost the exact spot on the field. Morgan beat Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod at the far post on both occasions (in the 70th and 72nd minutes) to quickly give the U.S. the lead in an otherwise slow to develop game.

Leroux, however, stole the headlines.

Sydney Leroux scored in the 93rd minute against Canada. (Photo copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer.)

The Surrey, British Colombia-born striker was booed when she took the field in the 74th minute and has frequently been the target of Canadian criticism for switching allegiances to the United States national team system in 2008.

Leroux scored in the 93rd minute, immediately pointing to the U.S. crest on her centennial jersey and putting her index finger to her lips to shush the crowd of 22,453.

Canada lacked creativity all night and managed zero shots on goal for the entire 90 minutes. They were effective defensively in the first half, however, rendering Morgan and Abby Wambach as non-factors for the opening 45 minutes by staying compact and denying the strikers any space.

Kadeisha Buchanan, who started for Canada at just 17 years old, was impressive, particularly in the second half when she chased down Morgan from behind in the 53rd minute and tackled her to deny the shot. Two minutes later, Buchanan cleared Wambach’s header off the line.

With the win, the U.S. improves to 44-3-5 all-time vs. Canada, which still hasn’t beaten the Americans in over 12 years.

  • vert2013

    Some people may not like it, but Syd’s celebration was brilliant. With the amount of s!!t she gets, it was pretty tame in response.

    • luke

      Let’s be clear – it was classless celebration in front of classless crowd – but I’ve no problem with that, because for me soccer is tribal game for life and death and that’s the way I like it – AGAINST THE MODERN FOOTBALL!

      • GirlWithA….

        Shut up. Your judgemental view is boring us all. This just fuels the “rivalry” of USA v little Canadians

        • luke

          Lol, that’s basically what I wrote, learn to read with comprehension. 🙂

          • GirlWithA….

            Calling the crowd and celebration classes is boring us all. It’s pointless to say you think it’s classless yet it’s great.

          • luke

            lol that’s my opinion, and I couldn’t care less if it’s “boring” or not… 🙂

      • Steglitz49

        “Football is not a matter of life and death … it is more important than that.” (Bill Shankly)

  • luke

    She had a bad game, yet she scored two goals, basically winning the match in two minutes.
    Cmon, it’s unfair, this MONSTER is killing competition in women’s soccer.
    BAN HER!!! 😉

    • GirlWithA….

      She had a bad game? you mean her midfield had a horrible game and couldn’t get her the ball until Abby and Heath fed the monster in the 2nd half

      • luke

        You may have missed 100% one on one that she wasted before and horrible cross to nobody 20 yards away from goal… 😉

        • GirlWithA….

          2 plays. She only saw the ball what 4 times and scored 2 goals? She barely even touched the ball all game and was…..CLINCAL.

    • D23

      Yep. Portland need to figure out how to get her in some kind of space. In the 1st half her and Abby were blanketed by 3 defenders. In the second half they made an adjustment with Alex starting in a wider position which was exposed due to Canada not playing with any fullbacks. She was able to run into space (with the help of some good assists) and finished really well. CPC needs to figure stuff like this out.

      • NYRick

        That’s called bad coaching by Herdman. He needed to make a re-adjustment. When you play the USWNT, there should be only one goal: stop #13. Abby can have several opportunities for all I care. It is a sacrifice you must make when you play them. Abby finishes about 1 out of 3 or 4 good chances she gets during a match. Alex finishes at worse 2 of 3, and much of the time 3 out of 3. You have to play the odds.

        • NYRick

          Just want to add that if it’s CP instead of Abby as a forward tandem with Alex, you can just about forget it. You have no chance. Both are too clinical with their opportunities. I know it’s a sacrilege to say about Abby (who is of course a legend), but her presence keeps teams in the game. Alex and CP would be unfair.

          • Greg_G

            I think you are severely understating the importance of Abby on the field for the US. Alex is a beast, but her soccer IQ is very low as was demonstrated by repeated poor decisions. She gets by mostly on her awesome athletic gifts, but it takes someone like Abby, who draws defenders away, provides pinpoint and timely service, and who can hold the ball up when necessary, to give Alex the time and space to pull off great goals. A Press-Morgan, or Leroux-Morgan pairing would be inferior to the current Wambach-Morgan tandem because you lose superiority in the air, the ability to find players in space with great passes, and the ability to hold the ball up and allow teammates into the attack. Hopefully Abby’s smarts rub off on Morgan, because she needs to be more aware on the field.

          • NYRick

            Greg, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you here. You think Alex has a low soccer IQ? I think she’s an incredibly smart player out there (27 assists last year are absurd and not the stuff of someone who doesn’t understand things on the pitch). Yes she is athletically more gifted than anyone on the field, but her runs are well thought out, like most great strikers. Today, she didn’t have much of the ball, but she impacted the game like no one else and singlehandedly won the game.

            As for Abby, it’s just my opinion that a CP-AM pairing would be superior on so many levels AT THIS POINT in their careers. I’m not trying to diminish Abby’s value or skill set, and you don’t get 155 goals in a career but not being a smart and skilled player. But CP is a pure poacher, and clinical finisher, maybe even better than Alex if that’s possible. Have you checked out what she’s doing in Europe? CP at 24 is a far better player than Abby at 33. Just my opinion nothing more. As for soccer IQ, I think CP may have it more than just about anyone on the team. Abby should be a 20 minute player at this point in time with AM-CP together as the forward pairing and Syd in the HAO role. I understand that you would lose superiority in the air and holding the ball up a bit, but you would gain speed, precision and creativity on the pitch in other areas. Matchup problems everyone for the opposition. Couple that with creative players like Pinoe, Tobin and Cheney and they would be unstoppable. I mean unfair. Just watch. Hopefully it happens in the next year or so.

          • D23

            I would love, at least once, to see the US play with three up top. Against an opposition like South Korea would be the perfect time I think. I would play Alex, Abby and Press. Syd is too much of the same player as Alex. Her strengths are athleticism and intensity which makes her an ideal sub. Press I think could do with the opportunity to feel out the defence a little more. I’d actually play Abby slightly deeper than the other two. She is dropping deeper more lately for WNY and did so today too and I think its given her renewed energy. She can win a ball and hold it up so well to release the other two and yet you don’t lose her heading game.

          • Steglitz49

            Norway plays a 4-3-3 formation quite a lot, and when they are attacking it sometimes looks like 2-5-3, but ladies generally play 4-4-2. Seeing that the ladies’ game is improving all the time, 4-3-3 might become more common or 4-4-2 mutating into 2-5-3 on the field from time to time.

            Until the ladies can develop the strength to hit full cross-field passes we will not see the fast change in sides we are used to in the men’s game. Currently, the ball passes via at least one lass on the way to the other flank, which slows it down. In the Olympic games Japan executed a couple of brilliant moves (against Brazil?) with cross-field passing but they did not use the full width of the pitch, more like 3/4, but it worked.

          • Christy

            Press is not really much different accept she is not as fast as syd and Alex. And shes primarily a poacher at the moment as a fwd. The 2 at this point in their development are interchangeable. I think if you want press on the field its as a flank player, this can happen easily if you move Heath into the Attacking Mid and for the moment I’d leave Carli at holding. Flank Pinoe and Press and push Abby and Alex and Press and Abby/Syd can rotate as the game dictates.

          • kernel_thai

            Morgan gets a bad rap because her role doesnt require her to be complete player. Morgan scores. She gets behind and scores. She turns fast and scores. She draws the defense to her and finds the open player. That’s what u see because that’s her role. Yet if u watch her closely she can do more. People wondered if her ball handling wasnt up to snuff, yet I’ve seen her freeze quality defenders and leave them in the dust. Ive seen her push perfectly weighted passes thru the line. Ive seen her out fox good players. Now she still needs to be better with her head and defend for long stretches, but I think she is a more complete player than her role shows.

          • newsouth

            She’s a direct forward like Sydney and Schelin. Why can’t her fans live with that? That’s what she is in Portland and the NT. Sermanni tried to build up with her and Canada turned her into a ghost. Sermanni went to a direct game against the 17 yr old and they got goals. she is what she is. She’s not a Sinclair, hybrid mf and forward, not press, a bit of a free-styler like marta, and not delie, who turns fast on balls and plays well with her back to the net. of course, there is walking header, wambach, who has no legs but the head works fines. morgan can’t cover everything those other ladies specialized in.

          • Greg_G

            Yes, we are going to have to disagree. It seems too many people are basing a player’s value solely on goalscoring without consideration for how they score those goals, and how they impact an entire match (if you want to emphasize goalscoring, Abby scores .75 goals per international match, Morgan scores .64 goals per international match). I’m not sure why you think Abby is just a 20 minute player at this point in her career (and Press, who is one of my favorite young players, is certainly not better now than Abby is) when her coaches, pro and international, clearly feel she is a 90 minute player worth having on the field for an entire match – and scored 27 goals last year, only one less than Morgan.

            Abby impacts a match from start to finish, whereas Morgan tends to disappear for long stretches, as many young players do (like Heath, for instance). Look at this past match against Canada as an example: Abby drew several important fouls in the attacking third, held the ball up in midfield, allowing Morgan and co to get into dangerous positions, provided excellent service to her teammates as she always does, and drew loads of attention from opposition players, especially in the 18 yard box – where she almost single-handedly dominated the area. This is why Morgan even has the space to run in. People don’t want to give credit to Abby for all the space and service she provides to Morgan; for some reason every time Alex scores a goal, people act as if it’s some brilliant individual effort that no one else had a hand in.

            In 2012, Morgan recorded 28 goals, 21 assists, Wambach recorded 27 goals, 8 assists. This year Morgan has 4 goals in 478 minutes (1 every 1119 min), Wambach has 3 in 370 minutes (1 every 123 min), so they’re scoring at the same clip – even as Alex is left up top to poach goals and Abby is regularly tracking back into the midfield to receive the ball and distribute it to others.

            Like many young players, Alex Morgan makes more than her fair share of mistakes. She often gets caught offsides, times her runs poorly (which she can sometimes make up for because of her speed), dribbles into traffic and turns the ball over, and completely misses open teammates who are running into the box. When she raises her awareness and soccer IQ she’ll be even more dangerous than she is now. It’s fun to see her outrun defenders and knock them off the ball like she’s the Juggernaut, but it’s not fun to see her dribble into 3 defenders and turn the ball over when she has two open teammates in the box. For the time being Abby’s presence is crucial to Alex’s growth and the success of the whole team because she knows when to dribble at defenders and when to hold the ball up, she never misses an open teammate with a pass, and she never gets caught offside. Not to mention she dominates the box on free kicks, drawing massive amounts of defenders and opening space for her teammates.

          • Steglitz49

            Que?! Quoi?!! “Press, who is one of my favorite young players”. Young is as young does. Iwashimizu was 24, same age as Ms Press, when she got her infamous red card and Kumagai was 20 when she slammed the last nail into that miserable coffin. ARod has followed the lead of Gold-Lena and where Rosi Mittermaier went before her, not to speak of Bjorn Borg.

          • Greg_G

            What in the world are you even talking about?

          • Steglitz49

            In short, 24 is not young; it is middle-aged.

          • Greg_G

            You would be wrong about that. First, middle age is generally defined as around 40. Second, in all major sports, 24 is considered young; and in life in general 24 is considered really young. Third, she has only 3 pro seasons under her belt after having graduated college. In no way is Christen Press not considered a young player.

          • Steglitz49

            The median age of the Nadeshiko when they won the World Cup was 25 years and the most common age was 24. Only two players were aged >28 years.

            As the ladies game matures it will break into essentially two blocks. Many will call it a day by 25 and most by 27; a few will labour on beyond 30. The risk is that those will clog up the works.

            No-one is going to want to watch Zimmer-frames United playing Hip-replacement Rovers. The men’s game in USA took a huge step forward this weekend. Women’s soccer had better watch out. Kiddo Saki’s penalty may turn out to have been a watershed too many.

          • Greg_G

            And that Japanese team was constantly referred to as a young team – which they were. That’s one reason why it was such a surprise to see them go through the US and Germany to win the Cup.

            Your second paragraph even emphasizes that fact. Women are dropping out of the game at a young age because of the lack of opportunities to make a comfortable career out of it.

          • Steglitz49

            The high-earning sports for ladies are essentially golf and tennis, which are non-contact sports. It goes without saying that you have to be fit but not the level of fitness required for modern soccer — and you do not get knocked about.

            It will be a while before a top lady soccer player will earn $500k/year from her work on the field, and a journeyman player $50k/year. Taking all her marketing and appearance money into account, Alex Morgan is probably the highest total earner in soccer. Lotta Schelin and Louisa Necib are said to get about $250k/year from the field but their endorsement income is negligible. The top Japanese are said to get at best $150k.

            Dropping out at 25-27 years is not unusual for women. Rather the opposite. It is in the nature of the beast. The money would not change it much.

          • Greg_G

            “Dropping out at 25-27 years is not unusual for women. Rather the
            opposite. It is in the nature of the beast. The money would not change
            it much.”

            This statement is just about as untrue as you can get.

          • Steglitz49

            Disqus messup.

          • NYRick

            Actually, I’m going to have to agree with Steg’s point on CP’s age. Of course, 24 is not old, but it is older than you think in women’s soccer. It may be now or never for her with girls like Horan at 18 already performing well in Europe coming up quickly behind her. She is peaking to her full talent right now in Europe. Also, TS has a past resume of playing very young stars (Foord, Kerr). He is right now bullied by Abby’s pending record and US Soccer. He’s too new to rock the boat. CP’s time is now. Just like Alex’s time was last year. What CP is doing in Europe is scary right now and should be acknowledged. Look at Germany, are they holding back Maroszsan? And she’s 20 and not as good as CP. That’s the #2 team in the world and it may be the reason they will win the next WC. She will be 22 and seasoned at the time with plenty of caps.

            It’s routinely forgotten that at some point Mia stepped aside for Abby (probably when she was about 24). It’s the normal progression in sports. Is it fair? Of course not, but it’s the way it is. Jason Kidd just retired today. If anyone saw JKidd play in a Nets uniform at 28 they witnessed something truly special. When I saw him play in the playoffs for the Knicks this year I badly wanted him retire so not to tarnish his HOF legacy. Stars didn’t get to be stars by not thinking of themselves first at times. You may not agree, but plenty of soccer observers on these boards or elsewhere, if they were truthful, would tell you that CP and Syd are better players RIGHT NOW and deserve to play before Abby. That leadership nonsense goes so far. This team has plenty of veteran leadership and star power.

            As a NY sports fan, I want Derek Jeter to be 22 again. I want to see Doc Gooden pitch at 19 forever. It doesn’t work that way. The ultimate thing that kills all great teams in every sport is loyalty to old stars. It has worked to the detriment of this USWNT in the past. Lilly would still suit up if they let her. Great programs stay great over time by transitioning properly to their young talent. I hope TS understands this and has the power to do that. If not, the WC is going to Germany or Japan again.

          • Greg_G

            Sermanni is not being “bullied” by Abby in any way, and no more so than Pia Sundhage was. Abby is still playing because Abby is still producing (as evident by FIFA awarding her with their 2012 player of the year award, by her 27 international goals last year, and her 34 goals in 55 pro matches over the last 4+ seasons). Look at Abby’s stats in pro and international ball and you can see that her production is in no way waning.

            Just because there are younger players than Press doesn’t mean that Press isn’t young herself. Lindsey Horan is 18, but still has a long way to go to mature into a productive player on the USWNT. Calling Press old would be like calling Horan old because there are promising young 14 year olds in the US system.

            Mia Hamm retired because she accomplished everything a player could (something Abby has yet to do, and why she and other vets are still playing through the next Cup), and because, as she pointed out, she wanted to start a family with her husband. She didn’t step aside because she thought Abby was better than she was – Hamm won the FIFA player of the year award in 2001 and 2002. She was most decidedly not on the decline. Abby didn’t even play pro until 2002, and didn’t appear for the US until 2003. Abby did not push Mia out, nor did Mia cede her position to Abby. Mia decided she would call it a career after one last hurrah in the 2004 Olympics – still at the top of her game.

            If you think Abby’s 27 goals last year aren’t an indication of continued productivity, then you must also think that Morgan’s 28 are a sign that she should be removed from the national team. Older players get pushed out when there’s a better option in the wings. The US doesn’t have a better option than Wambach right now. Not Leroux, not Press, and not Horan. That’s simply the truth of the matter. I find it odd that you take the opinion of “plenty of soccer observers on these boards or elsewhere” over that of US national team coaches, international coaches the world over, and FIFA.

          • NYRick

            Greg, much of what you say makes sense. You may be absolutely correct on a lot of it. But one thing that’s essential that you may be overlooking is the transition of a veteran team that’s also filled with young rising stars, and what is the best road for the “team” or program in general in that regard.

            Can Abby still play? Yes, of course. But with two young guns behind her, at what sacrifice are her minutes to them? I’d prefer her to be a 20 minute player in an off year for the team. That makes even more sense if you are trying to save her longevity a bit for WC15. In the meantime, Press and Syd get more caps, more minutes and are better ready to make an impact at WC15.

            As a US fan, I don’t really care that Abby hasn’t accomplished everything as a player. She’s had a career and a sports life that most athletes would simply dream of. I just care about the US team winning the world cup and being the best team in the world as a US fan. With that, comes individual sacrifice internally in the team structure. This US team has a history of getting a little long in the tooth with its veteran stars. Who could blame them? Now in this social media age, they’ve become rock stars in this country, and it’s a gig none of them want to give up anytime soon. I’ll probably say the same thing about Alex after WC15 if her skills diminish, and when it seems Horan is ready to emerge. Or when it’s time for Franch to play before Hope. Or Mewis before Boxx etc. etc.

            Right now, there are really only 2 teams in the world even capable of beating this US team in a big spot (Germany and Japan). About 3 teams can give them a scare on their best nights (France, Canada and maybe Sweden). All other matches are glorified scrimmages for this team. In that regard, where is the big fear in playing the young talent? Especially in an off year, and letting the Rampones, Abbys and Hopes get more rest with the NT team during the course of the year. It’s how good programs become great programs. Nurture and PLAY the young talent.

            In 1999, this US program was in a position of never really being touched in the sport going forward. Yet, they lost their way a bit (no WCs since). Olympic Golds yes, and to their credit, but the sport is measured by WC wins more. That happened essentially because individuals became more important than the team. Seniority prevailed over talent many times (ask Hope about that). History shouldn’t repeat itself.

          • Greg_G

            Abby’s continued presence in the starting lineup serves a very important purpose (aside from the goals and assists); she helps in the development of those younger players, which is something I touched on in a previous post. You learn from watching and playing with the best, and Abby has been the best for the past decade. Playing with Abby will help Morgan learn how to play with her head as much as her body. Playing with Leroux or Press just means two young players out there running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Neither of those two bench players would be able to provide what Abby does.

            Abby’s drive to add a World Cup title to her resume is one of the top reasons she remains an elite player; that motivation to win the biggest title in the game is what keeps her performing at such a high level, and is probably the main reason she hasn’t hung up her boots yet. That’s why personal goals are important, and it’s why she hasn’t “stepped aside” in favor of younger players yet.

            The reason so many veterans are still in the squad, and the starting lineup, is because they are simply the best options. Lilly played for so long because she was still productive, not because there were a dozen girls behind her who could outperform her on the pitch (there weren’t). Hope is still starting because our younger keepers can’t touch her skill yet. Rampone may be the best center back in the world still. And Abby is still starting because there aren’t any better players behind her, just young, raw players with loads of potential who will develop practice after practice and sub after sub…just like Morgan.

            The young players will get their shot when they are ready, but not before. It’s why Morgan rode the bench for as long as she did. It’s why Leroux is still coming off the bench. And it’s why Press has just started getting caps. They are young and talented, but nowhere near polished enough to play at the highest level game in and game out. Abby went through the same process when she was a young up-and-coming talent. And when she showed herself ready to take a starting role in the squad, it was given to her. Neither Leroux nor Press are at that point yet. They both need to work on their decision making, distribution, spacing, and holding the ball up.

            I would argue that we haven’t won the WC since ’99 because we aren’t entitled to win it every time; there are other good teams out there, and Germany and Japan are quite fine ones. Individuals weren’t responsible for our WC losses, the team was.

            We have to be patient. We can’t fall head over heels in love with every young prospect that comes up through the system and forget that the players in the lineup right now are the ones that are keeping us at the top spot in the rankings and winning Olympic golds (while coming within a hair of winning the Cup). Kristie Mewis, Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, and co will be good in a few years, but right now they are still learning the ins and outs of the international game. They don’t give us a better shot at beating Germany, Japan, and Sweden right now.

          • NYRick

            Well said. You articulate your thoughts very well and I respect them.

            However, how do you know if “Press or Syd aren’t at that point yet.” Maybe they aren’t, but you are making quite an assumption. For both, this could be their talent ceiling 24/25 for Press, and 22/23 for Syd. We don’t know for sure. Alex for all her brilliance may have just been an effective super sub for this team her whole career without the chance. I’ll tell you if they aren’t at that point yet when each play at least 15-20 straight games as starters for 90 minutes. That’s when we can make a better evaluation. Alex had 10 goals in her first 27 games. Without caps, there is no fair discussion. And also, I know you say that they would be “running around like chickens with their heads cut off” but I seriously beg to differ. These are not average players. They are star players. Rare talents. Initially, of course, they will make mistakes (like even Abby still does), but they will figure it out through time on the pitch. Not time talking to Abby at practice.

            Let me list some very young talents in just about every sport (Derrick Rose, Mike Trout, Jonathan Quick, Matt Harvey, RGIII, Luck etc. etc. etc.). LeBron was a star at 18. So was Messi, so was CR7. So was Federer. So was Sharapova. They are not only playing but dominating already. Also, if the US doesn’t switch to Alex as a starter last year that most likely don’t medal at the Olympics. Abby (for all her leadership and savvy) was a pretty average player the two previous years with ARod or Cheney. Alex made her. Not the other way around. Sometimes, the young players make the difference. I’m all for experience and leadership too. Every team needs the right combination, but the USWNT takes it a little too far. To the detriment of their young talent base in my opinion. What Germany is doing with the 20 year old Maroszsan and what Japan is doing with their early 20 talent right now is going to make the difference at WC15.

          • Greg_G

            The reason I say Leroux and Press aren’t ready to start yet is because from watching them play I can see them regularly making mistakes and lacking chemistry with the rest of the team. The fact is the goal of the USWNT is to win every time out, which means they have to put their best squad out there. That doesn’t mean that they can’t occasionally start a young prospect – which they have – but a regular starting role must be earned through hard work and development in practice, in club ball (the reason why it was so urgent to start a new league in the first place), and in their appearances as subs. The team can’t afford to put an unproven player out for 15 straight starts when they have productive players already in the starting lineup – that’s not the point or the goal of the national team.

            Alex Morgan, for instance, earned her starting spot because she showed herself, in practice and as a sub, to be more productive than Amy Rodriguez (who is no slouch if you look at her international stats). Had Amy been tearing it up as a starter, Alex would still be on the bench. But, she got regularly outplayed by Morgan and thus lost her starting role. Abby has yet to be outplayed by anyone: Morgan, Leroux, or Press. So, there’s no urgency to look for a new starter, and really no need to. If the day comes where Syd or Christen are getting it done better than Abby, then the switch should be made. But right now Abby is still producing at an elite level.

            Leroux and Press were star players at the college level (as was every other member of the national team), but that alone does not guarantee you a starting spot on the national team. International ball is a step up in competition, and now those two have to prove themselves all over again. They’ve shown a lot of talent at their clubs and in reserve roles on the national team, and I have no doubt that they will both be mainstays (I’m particularly high on Press), but they haven’t shown us that they are better than the women on the field right now. As for Germany and Japan, if they stick a 20 year old in the starting lineup it’ll be because that 20 year old is better than who they have on the field, and not before. Thing is, we have so much talent and depth in the US, we don’t have to rush 20 year olds out there. Our young talent is not being harmed because they aren’t starting, they are getting better the more they push to make the team and the harder they work in practice. And watching the veterans will only teach them how to win. Don’t think that they are being wasted if they aren’t on the field all the time, practicing with the USWNT is as tough a challenge as you can have (remember, we ARE the top ranked team in the world). Those young players are getting better every day because of what they are learning in practice.

          • NYRick

            Press was not just a star player at the college level. She was a superstar. Big difference. She not only holds, but has obliterated Stanford scoring records. And Stanford, along with NC are the two elite programs in women’s college soccer as you know. Then, she goes into the WPS and is Rookie of the Year, then to Sweden with two different teams totally tearing it up. She’s ready for a big payday in Europe next year if she does come home to the states. Then to the NT this year after being bypassed last year (I know she was an Olympic alternate which was a joke) and scores 6 goals in her first 7 games playing out of position and in cameo appearances. Surely you see what many of us are talking about here.

            That’s why I want to emphasize that it’s really these two players (CP and Syd) who I’m advocating need to be on the pitch now. Press more than Syd, because she has developed into an elite forward in Europe. I think more time is needed with Dunn, Mewis, Horan and JJ to develop.

            Maybe, as someone on this thread suggested, that Abby should move to the CM role in her last few NT years to better utilize her ability to pass and hold the ball up. That would free Press to team with Alex. They will be absolutely unstoppable because they have differing styles, and it would be pick your poison for the opposition. Does Press and Syd still need to develop their games and improve their chemistry with the NT? Absolutely. But they need the caps to do so. I keep going back to the fact that Alex was a good player, a spark, but not thought of as a star before she was rightfully given her real chance. Press has the pedigree and talent to deserve the same. She is not there yet, but if she is bought along properly in the next year or so with the NT (and I mean given a real chance), the other teams could be in for a serious butt kicking at WC15. This team has insane talent that has yet to fully mesh or be configured correctly.

            Best of all, Press allows this team to play the beautiful game a bit more too, since she is such a different type of creative forward. Only time will tell though.

          • Greg_G

            “Press was not just a star player at the college level. She was a superstar. Big difference.”

            Ok, that’s getting very picky. Star/superstar. What exactly is the difference? And more importantly, the point? She was great at a lower level, that earned her consideration for the national team, now she needs to earn it at the international level like everyone else who’s been through the system. And like everyone else, you earn it by getting better in practice, and when you get an opportunity to sub into a game. Alex did it that way, Leroux is doing it that way, and Press will have to do it that way. You don’t put a rookie draft pick on your major league squad, you let them improve in the minors until they’re ready to play at the top level. Same goes for international soccer, you prove yourself at lower levels and in practice before you start getting thrown into the starting lineup. Nothing wrong with that system – everyone uses it. I can’t believe you want to remove Abby from the starting lineup (or move her to a completely different position) just to accommodate someone who has a handful of national team caps. I think you are being waaay too enthusiastic and impatient when it comes to young prospects. They have plenty of time to earn starts.

          • NYRick

            No, there is a difference between star and superstar. When Sidney Crosby was in junior hockey as a 15 year old he was not just a star. He was predicted to be the next Gretzky. That’s a superstar even at that age and that level, and one who has delivered on the promise. Same is true for Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. And of course for Leo Messi and LeBron and many others. Those are prodigies. Alex is one. Press might be another. Mia was one in her day.

            I find it amazing that Press’s past accomplishments, even though she’s a young player, get so minimized. Now this “earns her consideration for the NT.” You’re not being serious here are you? The current US coaching staff I can assure you are thrilled she wants to play on the team. She was badly handled by Pia for whatever reason, maybe some her own doing. Only a coaching change made her give it another shot (her words). Also, Alex has said that some of her junior coaches didn’t believe in her and were discouraging. It happens. Not every soccer coach is Sir Alex, or Jose M., and I’m sure they have their favorites and hold grudges too. That’s the reason CP has a handful of caps. TS is a smart guy and knows the deal with her, and he knows what he has. I do find it funny that people think (maybe you are one of them) that if she was the starting forward on this team instead of Abby or Alex (with the sick talent they have throughout the pitch) that she wouldn’t light it up at the same level, if not more than Alex or the great Abby does. Have you checked some of her goals in Sweden on video? They are highlight reel stuff. Plus, she has Marta mentoring her now too. You can analyze her faults any which way to Sunday, but CP possesses the rarest skill in the sport. One that can not be taught. She simply knows how to put the ball in the net. She knew how to do at probably age 10, knows now at age 24 and will know at age 30. At every level of competition she’s faced. No rhythm or reason why, she just does. And she’ll do it big time for this team as well with the chance. Alex got hers, CP needs hers. If she has to earn it still, when that’s fine too, but if I were a coach I think the talent is unmistakable and I would take a chance on her certainly.

            In her brief stint with the NT (playing out of position 80% of the time mind you), she has made 3 distinct plays that have convinced me (I don’t need to see much more) that she’s special. 1) First game vs. Scotland. The header on a great cross from Tobin. Clinical finish. Most girls put that in the third row. Perfect run, great finish. 2) Second game vs. Scotland. Blind back heel pass in the box to HAO for a near goal. Shot was blocked. As pretty a play as you’ll ever see in the women’s game. And one made by a player with great vision and pitch sense. One who has an extremely high soccer IQ even at this age. A big strength of hers. 3) Game vs. Netherlands: Her second goal, a full turn on possession and long run from near midfield straight to the box. Clinical finish to the far post. Not to belabor the point, but she has more than “earned consideration with the NT.” Those are 3 plays I haven’t seen many, if any, girls on this elite (have to earn the pitch) team make. And I’ve seen just about all their games the past 3 years at least.

            I read your critique of Alex too, and although I respect your obvious knowledge of the game, I do think it’s a little harsh. Let’s face it, we can dissect every player’s games (even CR7) and come up with many things they don’t do, or could be doing. Also, you can have Lotta any day of the week. I’ll take Alex on my team and beat yours any day. She is a better player right now even just ready to turn 24. She is just so physically gifted, and has a higher soccer IQ at her level of experience than you give her credit for. Lotta is great. AM is even better. And no one does it bigger spots than Alex. That has to account for something too.

            On the world stage, I think AM doesn’t get her full due because she is American and very pretty. It’s a blessing and a curse for her. Tell me what other player rings up 28 goals, 21 assists, leads her team to the Gold Medal (of which she was the dominant player of the tournament, more than Abby and Pinoe) and scores the most epic goal in the history of women’s soccer and doesn’t win FIFA Player of the year? If you are going to tell me that Abby deserved it, then I truly know you are an ultimate fanboy for her. Abby got a lifetime award last year. Last year belonged to Alex. She’ll have others, no doubt, but she was robbed. Also, go back and watch the second half and the two OTs of the Canada-US Olympic semi. Alex owned the pitch from the 70th minute on and the two OTs. The great Sinclair was nowhere to be found when it was “money time.” In fact, Alex set up Abby (who never makes mistakes) with 2-3 game winning sitters that Abby missed before the 123rd minute winner.

            Sorry for long winded reply. Just wanted to say my piece. I definitely respect your opinion.

          • Greg_G

            I admire your appreciation for Alex and Christen – don’t apologize for a long response.

            I’ll say this about earning a spot on the national team: every single player in the pool (particularly the starters) were stars in high school and college, same as Press. Christen Press was a great college player – I enjoyed watching her in the College Cup (and enjoy her blog posts as she’s one of the more eloquent members of the national team) – but Christen Press is no different than anyone else that is currently on the national team radar. They were all stars at the previous level, which earned them a look by the national team, but in no way does it guarantee them a roster spot or a starting spot on a team filled with stars. Ask those dozens of players putting in great work with WPS/NWSL teams – or those players like Amy Rodriguez, Heather Mitts, and Stephanie Cox, who were USWNT starters and overtaken by more talented, productive players; ask Melissa Henderson, Sarah Hagen, Lindsey Horan, Amber Brooks, Danielle Foxhoven, and a host of others who have filled the net all over the world but are still looking for that first look; being really good isn’t a guarantee because the US squad is so packed with talent – and they can’t carry a roster of 70 players. When you have the top ranked national team in the world being a star in college and a standout rookie in WPS doesn’t earn you a start for the national team, it earns you a look. Starting spots come down to whether the coaches feel you are ready to contribute for 70-90 minutes a match, and Leroux and Press have yet to prove that at the international level – it’s going to take more than 34 and 7 caps, respectively, to do that; maybe six months from now or a year from now Sermanni will feel differently, and if he does it’ll be because those young players have produced time and again, not because of their rep as college players.

            As for Alex, the only reason my critique of her is coming off harsh is because we on this board have been looking at every single little detail of her game in an attempt to determine just how good she is – and because people want to ignore her flaws while praising her strengths (and they certainly are ignoring my praise of her). I don’t generally spend my time dissecting a player to that level on comment threads – again, I feel Alex is a very good player with the potential to be an all-time great (I even have her as the 5th best forward in the world, and when the only ones ahead of you are all-time greats like Abby, Marta, Sinclair, and Schelin, that’s big praise). But like any young player, Morgan has flaws in her game, and I’m not afraid to admit those flaws, unlike other people. Abby is a veteran and an all-time great – but I’m not afraid to admit to her flaws either (lack of hustle to win back balls after turnovers, goes down too easily at times, tends to hold on to the ball too long, allowing defenders to close down her space). This isn’t about taking any particular player down a peg, I love that Alex is filling the back of the net. But when someone who scores 155 goals (including what I would call the greatest goal in women’s history – the header against Brazil, not Morgan’s looping header against Canada), 27 of them just this past year (only 1 less than the player you believe to be the best in the world), then I am compelled to comment on that. As you think people are diminishing Press’ accomplishments, I think people are diminishing Wambach’s accomplishments. And that’s what this whole discussion was original about, Abby’s contributions, but, unfortunately, like most comment sections on women’s soccer sites, the conversation always gets taken over by discussion of Alex Morgan.

            Specifically to your claim that Alex doesn’t get her due internationally…I think that’s untrue. As for the 2012 Olympics, the leading scorer for the US was…Abby Wambach with 5 goals. Then Carli Lloyd with 4. Then Morgan and Rapinoe with 3 each. And Sinclair led all scorers with 6. Lloyd scored both for the US in the final against Japan. Rapinoe scored 2 against Canada, bringing us back from a deficit both times. Wambach’s penalty against Canada tied it up and sent it to extra time before Morgan capped it off. Abby scored the game winner in the quarters against New Zealand. And Abby scored in each of our group stage matches. I would strongly argue that the one not getting their international due is Abby Wambach (also Carli Lloyd and Sinclair at that), not Alex Morgan. I’m not sure how you think Morgan led the team to a gold medal over Abby and Carli, who both scored more goals, and bigger goals. These facts are why FIFA awarded Wambach with the player of the year award. She scored often, and in big spots. You can’t argue against her production throughout the Olympics, and throughout 2012. Morgan will win her share of awards, but she needs to be more consistent to do so. We can’t claim she’s always making big plays because of one header against Canada and one strike against Japan (a match in which Wambach also scored a goal – and was the only American to convert her penalty kick). People always talk about Morgan’s goals, but they want to ignore her misses, her turnovers, and her offsides. I call this the “cult of Alex.” People are so infatuated by her for some reason, that they can’t admit that she makes plenty of mistakes, just like most young players. It doesn’t mean she’s a bad player, or a bad person, it just means that as a young player she has room for improvement. She’s not the best in the world yet, she isn’t the most dominant player in the world…yet. Let’s not be in such a rush to declare her so.

            So, the reason I admire Abby (despite her not being a perfect player, and sometimes frustrating when going down at the slightest contact) is because she not only gets it done consistently, but as I’ve just outlined, she gets it done in the biggest tourneys against the top competition. Remember, Abby led the US with 4 goals at the Cup, followed by Cheney and Morgan with 2 each (so Abby has led us in scoring at the last two major tourneys. I would argue it is she who is leading us to gold, and to World Cup finals, not Morgan. Alex’s time will come where she is the undisputed leader of this team. But it is not now.

          • Greg_G

            And to add one more set of stats to the discussion… As I mentioned earlier, people tend to praise Alex Morgan’s goals (that’s fine, a goal is a goal, I love them), but they also tend to completely ignore her misses. Look at these stats for Morgan at the 2012 Olympics – a tourney that you said she was the most dominant player in and at which she carried us to a title:

            Grp stage 1, France: 3 shots, 2 on goal, 2 goals scored
            Grp stage 2, Colombia: 4 shots, 1 on goal, 0 goals scored
            Grp stage 3, North Korea: 3 shots, 2 on goal, 0 goals score
            QF, New Zealand: 7 shots, 2 on goal, 0 goals scored
            SF, Canada: 3 shots, 2 on goal, 1 goal scored
            F, Japan: 4 shots, 1 on goal, 0 goals scored

            So Morgan had 24 shots, only 10 on goal (41%), and scored a total of 3 goals in 6 matches. Not dominant by any metric. Here’s Abby for comparison’s sake:

            Grp stage 1, France: 2 shots, 1 on goal, 1 goal scored
            Grp stage 2, Colombia: 5 shots, 3 on goal, 1 goals scored
            Grp stage 3, North Korea: 4 shots, 3 on goal, 1 goals score
            QF, New Zealand: 7 shots, 2 on goal, 1 goals scored
            SF, Canada: 6 shots, 3 on goal, 1 goal scored
            F, Japan: 3 shots, 0 on goal, 0 goals scored

            27 shots, 12 on goal (44%), 5 goals in 6 matches. More shots, more shots on goal, higher percentage of shots on goal, more goals scored, higher percentage of shots that resulted in goals. Simply a better performance from start to finish from Wambach.

            Oh, and…

            Fouls suffered: Wambach – 13, Morgan – 4

            So Abby did her damage while getting the crap kicked out of her (and who can forget the Lady Andrade sucker punch). There is just no way that you can diminish this record, or say that Alex Morgan carried us to a gold medal. It’s this type of incorrect evaluation that makes me question some fans when they claim Alex is the best or Abby needs to sit.

          • Steglitz49

            Nevertheless, from WC-11 and OG-12, what is remembered?

          • Steglitz49

            About 40 years ago was an amazing time in soccer for all the wonderful talent that sloshed around, in spite of the all too often lousy refereeing. Nevertheless, today when the dust has settled, how many of them do we truly remember, and why? I give you the Kaiser, the Bomber and Cruijff.

            We could fill a comment field longer than I am replying to with names who would qualify but we can’t remember.

            Of the Dream Team of 1970, who would we single out today? Pelé, Jair and Gerson?

            Pia Sundhage scored the very first goal by a lady at Wembley while Carolina Morace scored 4 goals at Wembley, yet one of them is more famous than the other. That is how the cookie crumbles.

            It is Ms Press’s misfortune to be playing at the same time as Ms Morgan.

          • NYRick

            Greg, I do of course understand that they were all star players in college to be even considered for the NT. But some were bigger stars than others, as is the case in every sport. Even at the college level. Don’t you think Andrew Luck deserved and got more intention from pro scouts than an All Big Ten QB who may have been second team All-American? That guy might have been a star, but Luck is special and it was quite obvious. Huge difference. He needed to be on the field in the pro game immediately. That’s why the Colts let Peyton go. Think about the politics and PR nightmare of that move if Luck falls on his face. But they knew Luck was, and is special. So my argument centers around just special talent.

            Press is gifted player and to overuse the word, a special talent. If I’m US Soccer, I’m thanking my lucky stars she came along too. Now, they not one, but two, incredibly attractive, articulate and talented scoring machines the same age who will be peaking by WC15. That’s a marketing bonanza they should be capitalizing on! Instead they are marketing Abby chasing Mia. No one, other than Abby gives a toss. I’m not alone in my thoughts on this either, as you can read throughout this thread. Even the rabid Alex “cult” as you say, are starting to at least acknowledge CP and her future and current role with the NT, albeit begrudgingly. That’s a huge concession.

            Press needs caps AS A STARTER. That’s all. You keep hinting to the fact about “doing it on the international level.” Seriously, what does this girl have to do for you? You seem to scoff at what she’s doing in Sweden. Yet, when Lotta playing for Lyon and the tomato cans they line up and play scores and builds up stats that’s praised. She’s an all time great. Lyon beat teams in the French league by an average score of 7-0. They stack their team with the best players in Europe, and even have Pinoe now too. When Lotta does it for the Chicago Stars, then give me a call. But of course, Press still needs to do it on the international level. It’s lunacy, it really is. And I mean that respectfully not pointed at you because it is the common response back towards her game. Put her on the effin pitch for a good spell as a forward NT starter, then I’ll listen to what everyone has to say. She has earned that. She deserves that. Also, regarding all these goal stats, the US team has to play maybe 2-3 tough teams a year. The rest are glorified scrimmages where their overall talent and depth is so ridiculously superior that it should be outlawed. Hasn’t Abby and Mia and Alex not be the beneficiary of all that too?

            Abby, the “ultimate” team player is now a glory hunter by hanging around for the next WC. The best move for the team is her reduced role starting now. She bosses this team, and will continue to do so until 2015. She’ll play in her WC, the US will get upset and finish fourth and they will throw her a parade in Rochester. And speaking of stats since you bought them up regarding her and Alex, and who was the dominant player at the Olympics. I thought “dominant player” isn’t always measured by goals? Didn’t Alex have about 6 assists at the Olympics too? AM’s presence on the pitch, more than Abby’s is what opens everything up for the US team. Teams crap their drawers worrying about her, or where she is at all times. Abby lumbers about the field knocking down everything in her path, and then hits the deck when someone breathes on her from behind or in the air. She yaps and plays the ref constantly the whole match. The girl is 6 feet 175, built like an NFL free safety and she’s face down on the ground whenever a 5 foot 5 girl touches her. That’s not gamesmanship. That’s cheating, and poor play to get free kicks. Her only real time to impact the game on crashing headers in the box. Plus, she is real dangerous with her headers that are low to the ground. Carli almost kicked her head off in the Olympic final.

            Also, this myth that every NT player is great is just not the case. Do you really think Buehler is a great player? Nice girl, smart and tough, but an accident waiting to happen every second on the pitch. The fact that she has 100 caps with the NT tells me coaches do play favorites for whatever reason. Pia liked her. Maybe it was her intangibles. But she was lucky to play in the Pia era. The CBs on the current team (all of them) are far superior, and were two years ago too. Maybe a player more overlooked than Press could be Engen. That girl can flat out play. Yet she couldn’t buy a cap till TS came on-board either. So not every player on the national team is great or elite. Sometimes it’s timing, clicks and the right coach. Sorry, they’re not. Some are just good role players.

            Bottomline: Press is good enough to start RIGHT NOW, and should, for this incredible, stupendous, awe-inspiring, can anyone truly be worthy elite US team. And if that means hurting precious Abby’s feelings, so be it. This is professional sports. This is representing your country at the highest level. What does she have to do?? Jeeez.

          • Steglitz49

            The obvious replacement for Abby in terms of size and speed is Lindsey Horan, though how good she is with her head is a good question. Whether Ms Horan will be ready for 2015 is a another question. Hopefully Alex can further improve her heading skills. It is pretty good already, as she has shown against Canada.

          • Christy

            I must also respectfully disagree, Morgan has a pretty high Soccer IQ and I’d love to hear your rationalizing why you think she doesn’t with specific examples.

            Here’s mine, She had 28 goals and 21 assists last year, her ability to not only decide when to take a shot in a split second by evaluating the field and the position of the def as well as the goal keeper (did you even watch the Canada game?) she can also assess if another player is in a better position to make the easier score. Her ability to finish in tight windows with clean crisp shots says she understands trajectory and space and time and distance the ball will travel so she can strike it at the proper rate of speed. She can feel a def around her and knows how to maneuver away from traffic and make a split second decision on when and where to either pull the trigger or lay the ball off or to pass the ball to another player for the score. She can easily tell what angle is a keepers weak side and what part of the def is the most vulnerable (you can see this by the way she approaches her shots.) She has strong presence and knows where she is and where her team mates are at all times. Her statistics alone speak for her game IQ.

            Alex is always learning and always absorbing more she not only wants to be the best she knows who and where to go to get the knowledge she needs to do so.

          • Don B.

            It hasn’t been mentioned much anywhere, but Morgan spent three weeks in January training with Mia Hamm three days a week. She picked up the phone, gave Hamm a call, and asked her if she was willing to work with her. Hamm said, “Sure, how about tomorrow?”

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe now time to call Cruijff or Ferguson? Failing them, Zlatan?

          • Greg_G

            Alex is a very good player. But Alex isn’t anywhere near as good as she can be when she becomes a better thinker on the pitch. Her 28 goals and 21 assists (10 to Abby, who always finds the right spot to be in) are largely due to her immense physical gifts (speed, strength on the ball, powerful and accurate left foot). But her lack of soccer IQ frequently causes her to fade out of matches. For instance, the Canada match was a prime example of Morgan constantly finding herself in poor positions, making poorly timed runs, dribbling herself into defensive traffic, and missing open teammates in scoring position, which made her a non-factor for long stretches and prevented the US from controlling that match start to finish. Her field awareness needs a lot of work. Her two goals were incredible efforts that were the result of excellent service, her speed, and her deadly shot (not to mention some fairly poor defending on the part of Canada). Each time she was a few yards onside and was able to outrun her opponent to the ball (a sharper awareness would have allowed her to beat her defender right off the pass and not have to run her down over 20 yards). She needed to make pinpoint finishes to score. While it’s great to be able to do that, in order to constantly threaten you have to be able to put yourself and your teammates in better scoring positions (for every goal like the ones against the Canadians, she’ll miss a bunch more like that because of their sheer difficulty). Were she to make better decisions on and off the ball at a higher rate she would be a constant problem for opposing defenses. As of now, good, disciplined defenses like Germany and Japan are pretty effective at taking her out of a match.

            The way I see it, Morgan has always been an elite physical player and has been able to dominate the high school, college, and youth levels with her athletic gifts alone (like many young prodigal athletes). But now that she is playing at the pro and international levels, she is finding that her physical gifts will get her only but so far (again, like many young prodigal athletes). Yes, 28 goals is impressive, but that’s using only half her potential (and half those goals came against not very good competition that she can physically dominate: Costa Rica, Guatemala, New Zealand, China, Denmark, etc). Abby doesn’t have half the physical gifts of Alex, but she uses her head to put herself and her teammates in good attacking positions, and this is what Alex still has to learn. Hold the ball up, time your runs, find space to receive the ball and distribute, and keep your head up for teammates off the ball.

            Right now Alex is a physical beast. It’s fun to see defenders bounce off of her as she dribbles into the box. And her left foot is dangerous from anywhere. But when I see her pass up a great opportunity with her right foot, lower her head and miss a teammate streaking into open space right in front of goal, or being so impatient that she finds herself 5 yards offside 30 yards out from the box, I know she still has a ways to go. Her current production is great – I’m not knocking it – but I want to see a smarter, and thus deadlier, Morgan on the field. Lotta Schelin is a perfect example (Zlatan Ibrahimovic, on the men’s side; what is it about Swedish strikers?). Not the athlete that Alex is, but there is no smarter attacker with the ball at her feet than Lotta. It’s amazing to see how she can hold a ball up, allow her teammates into the attack, distribute, move off the ball into a dangerous position, get the ball back and finish clinically. This is what I want for Morgan.

            Having the punching power of Mike Tyson is good, having his physicality and the boxing IQ of Ali is even better. I see Alex the same way I see Jozy Altidore – impressive physically, but being held back by a lack of soccer IQ (Jozy’s struggles are just more obvious because he doesn’t have the caliber of teammate that Alex does, and he doesn’t get to play the level of creampuff that the US women occasionally do). If Alex continues learning how to be a complete attacker from Abby, she’ll be the best attacker in the game – maybe the best we’ve ever seen. Right now, I’ve got Abby, Marta, Lotta, and Sinclair all ahead of her because they combine the physical with the mental and end up making their entire teams better. Sorry this was such a long response, but wanted to make sure you understood where my analysis was coming from.

          • Steglitz49

            “Lotta Schelin is a perfect example (Zlatan Ibrahimovic, on the men’s side; what is it about Swedish strikers?).” —

            Gunnar Nordahl, Gunnar Gren, Agne Simonsson, Kurre Hamrin, Ralf Edtsröm, Torbjörn Nilsson (Christen Press’s coach last season), Dan Corneliusson, Tomas Brolin, Henke Larsson and, of course, Pia Sundhage the first lady to score a goal at Wembley — but who scored four? That is your starter for your next entry.

          • Christy

            I don’t think this was a dig at morgan as it originally kind of sounded, and I understand you are thinking of how you want to see her improve. However, let’s think in perspective for a moment. For her age and only being a 2nd year starter her growth has been huge as a player and her IQ is pretty exceptional for her age and limited experience at this level.

            The flow of the whole team is not circled around a fwd, it begins with your defense and is dictated by your midfield, many of the issues you attribute to Alex’s lack of IQ are actually faults coming from the midfield, how many times have we seen Alex take a ball poorly played in and she makes something out of it? Plenty, her physicality is impressive for only being 5’7″ an as she matures she is clearly getting stronger. The midfield dictates the play to the Fwds and I can not count how many times Alex has played in her teammates even at times being TOO unselfish, over and over again.
            Truth is we do not know what the plays on the field are or whether the mid field is not playing properly or if the fwds aren’t in position, we just don’t, but when you see Alex and Abby tracking back to the mid to help, the prblem isn’t the fwds, they are out of position becasue the Mid field has required them to be, and that is the problem.
            You want to improve your star fwd’s goal talley, organize your midfield and be consistant. Alex’s poorer perfomrances have come from suspect midfield play and often times she still by games in manages to produce points either in goal or assist.
            The recent game against canada wasn’t a great example becasue, they played a prevent style D until well into the second half when they were just too tired to do it. You can bottle up the def 3rd and clog the midfield and paralyse the other team but guess what, Your not going to score (noted that Canada had no real shots on goal) and also you aren’t going to be able to keep that up against speed and fitness (hence poor defending on the 2 goals, Alex’s speed and fitness had outlasted their D). You used Germany and Japan as an example of containment yet Morgan has scored and assisted most against Japan second only to Cananda, so your theory is flawed. And if you recall Alex put Germany away in the first half at Algarve final 2-0, clearly not conatinment!

            She is developing still, she improves every time she’s on the pitch. Abby says she’s always asking questions always learning. She earlier this year contacted Mia and asked her for help which Mia was happy to do and worked with her and others on her game.

            There is no point to comparing a 23 year old to a 30 or so year old player, its a pointless process. She hasn’t even got the experience to know what those type of players know. And i understand that yes WHEN she gains this experience it is very concievable that she could be the greatest product we have seen to date. And I hope she is as a fan.

            The smartest players are the ones who know they can always improve , the great players know they can improve and seek out the knowledge and experience they need to do so. I can’t think of another player who works harder to improve than Alex. Except Carli lloyd because well if you ask her she works harder than any one! I love princess Carli haha!
            Long reposnses are awesome, and i didn’t spell check so , my bad!

          • Greg_G

            “She is developing still, she improves every time she’s on the pitch. Abby says she’s always asking questions always learning. She earlier this year contacted Mia and asked her for help which Mia was happy to do and worked with her and others on her game.”

            This is exactly my point. If you listen to Alex herself, she’ll even tell you that she has flaws in her game that she is trying to improve.

            The reason I’m comparing a 23 year old to a 30 year old goes back to the original point of these posts. It was being said that Alex was a great player (the best in the world, according to some), and better than Wambach. Also, Abby’s contributions were being severely diminished by those commentators, who believe that she should be, at most, a bench player. So, my comparison served to illustrate how critical Wambach still was while also emphasizing how far Morgan still has to go to be considered our best player, much less the best in the world. You can see how far she still has to go by looking at those who have been around long enough, and worked hard enough, to reach those elite levels. Abby can hold the ball up and distribute in addition to scoring, Heather O’Reilly can attack an outside back and either send in a perfect cross or dribble into the box, while also remembering to track back and defend the counter, Carly Lloyd knows how to move forward and help in the attacking third but also fall back and provide numbers in defense. Morgan has yet to learn these things (positioning, movement off the ball, etc), and as you pointed out she is continuing to work on them. Good for her.

            While I agree that lack of midfield service can hamper a forward (the aforementioned Jozy Altidore is a prime example), I don’t think that is what held Morgan back against Canada. Morgan was given perfect service continually throughout the match, but when she was she usually either dribbled into trouble, fired off a poor shot, or got caught offside way too far out from goal. With her speed, she doesn’t need to be anywhere level with her opponent to beat them to a through ball. That’s about knowing yourself, your opponent, and how best to utilize your physical gifts. Her soccer IQ isn’t high enough yet to recognize where she needs to be, when she should go, and when she should attack a defender or hold the ball up and pass to a teammate. It’s no coincidence that her two goals came from very tight angles. That’s not the mark of good positioning/tactics, that’s someone being bailed out by a fantastically accurate and powerful shot. More power to that shot, but the better teams in the world aren’t even going to give you that opportunity very often.

            Morgan’s two goals against Germany in the Algarve Cup were the result of poor German defending (surprisingly poor). Two missed clearances, including a mix up between keeper and defender. Morgan didn’t have much work to do at all in those situations. On the first, Leroux centers the ball, a German defender then heads it right to Alex’s feet, one left-footed blast later it’s 1-0. On the second, a German defender and the German keeper couldn’t decide who would clear the ball away while Morgan snuck in, stole the ball, and finished into an empty net. Credit to Morgan for the hustle – which is a great trait of hers – but that was some amateur-level defending in the back for Germany. We won’t be able to rely on opponents giving us those types of opportunities when the World Cup and Olympics come around, and Morgan will have to learn to use her head in order to best utilize her speed and strength to create good chances rather than waiting for mistakes that may never come. Those pinpoint goals like the ones against Canada are going to go in at most 10 times out of 100.

            Algarve goals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN8lBGxk7Iw

            First goal sequence starts at :19, second at :51.

            Our midfield is packed with good distributors of the ball: Cheney, O’Reilly, Lloyd, Boxx, and Rapinoe. The issue isn’t the midfield not being able to play Morgan in on goal, the issue is Morgan not being efficient enough with their service. Abby will come back into midfield, pick the ball up, and thread a pass through to Alex, rarely turning the ball over or forcing an impossible shot. Sometimes she even heads the ball through for Alex to run onto. Abby’s service to Alex, and her ability to hold the ball up and let others get into attacking positions, is supreme. Alex would be a much more dangerous opponent to defend were she to learn these things.

            So, to reiterate, I love Morgan as a player; she’s fun to watch, hungry for goals, and deadly with her left foot. But like any young player – Heath, O’Hara, Sauerbrunn, etc – she is prone to frustrating mistakes. So when I hear stuff like she’s our best player, and she’s the best in the world, I just shake my head. It’s like someone calling Neymar the best in the world. No, he’s good, but has a long way to go. Alex will get there, though. She’s surrounded by too much talent not to. In the meantime, Abby will provide those qualities that Alex is lacking. It’s why they are such a dynamic pairing out on the field – as opposed to Alex and Syd or Alex and Christen.

          • Christy

            While I agree with you on Abby being the best option on the filed to play up top with Alex as they compliment each other well one has what the other lacks.
            I still respectfully disagree, all of your comments could be made against virtually any soccer player and fwd playing male or female. No player is perfect as you try to imply, no player will be in the perfect position all the time or soccer games would be 20-10 score the best Fwds in the world are held back many times they just have the tenascity to keep working for the result. We can agree she will sharpen her skills with experience but that’s about it.
            I have said she still has a lot to work on, your way off on many things and referring to her finishing as being. Bailed out was ridicules. Implying Alex has no skills out side of brut strength and luck of a hard shot tells me you don’t really know the player that well.
            To each their own, your option is yours , nothing wrong with it but I disagree with your opinion that’s is all.

          • Greg_G

            I’m not saying Alex needs to be perfect. No one is a perfect soccer player. But Alex is very deficient in her tactical play and needs to improve. As I said before, she needs to be much more efficient with her possession and shooting.

            Her finishing against Canada most definitely bailed her out as she ran herself into very tight angles. A perfect shot was the only way she scores there, and she was fortunate enough to pull it off twice. Unfortunately, she, and most players, usually miss from that angle because they leave themselves so little room for error.

            I’ve outlined exactly what I think Alex’s strengths are: speed, strength, hustle, powerful left footed shot. I’ve watched every national team game involving Alex that has been broadcast, and every WPS/NWSL game of hers that has been broadcast. I know her very well. I’m just not so infatuated with her – as many people are – that I can’t admit that she has holes in her game. We will have to agree to disagree about her development, but I hope you continue to watch her during matches to see if she really isn’t as polished as you may think.

          • Christy

            I have seen every match she has played as well, including many untelevised matches from 2010 – now and have followed the women’s game since 1999 all of the players not just 1. I am very familiar with Alex’s progression over the past 3 years.

            I also play on a semi pro team, so please don’t patronize me and do not try to pass off your opinion as facts.

            I never said she was polished, I have said she has many things to work on repeatedly.

            Had you actually followed every game she had played in then you would know that shot is one of her favorite shots to make and she has made it many times including in both the games against France and japan in the world cup 2011, though the Japan goal wasn’t quite as angled the goal against France was almost a mirror image right down to the flood of French players trying to chase her down.

            .I rewatch matches sometimes 2- 3 times specifically to break them down from def-fwd for the kids I coach, I am actually watching the Canada game now for the second time.

            So yes let’s agree to disagree

          • Greg_G

            Not sure why you are getting so upset, or why you think I’m patronizing you. At no point have I said my opinions are fact. They are opinions, just as you say, and they are just as valid as yours (it’s why I use terminology like “I think” and “In my opinion”). Like you, I’ve been watching women’s soccer since the ’90s. I’ve followed the WUSA, WPS, NWSL, W League, WPSL, college soccer, and I watch streaming matches from Germany, Japan, and France when they are available; I’m a big women’s soccer fan. My evaluations are based on what I see, and I’ve seen a lot of women’s soccer. These aren’t opinions based on stat sheets or pure imagination.

            What’s interesting is that we seem to agree on the main point about Alex Morgan: she has many things to work on, like you just said. So, I don’t know what the problem is.

            Yes, she loves that shot because it puts her on her favored left foot and she can rear back and blast it at the net. But she also frequently puts that shot wide or high. I’d like to see her put herself in positions where most of her shots are on net, forcing a save or rebound rather than going wide, and I’d certainly like to see her not dribble into trouble or get caught offside 40 yards from goal.

            There seems to be no reason why we are disagreeing if you say Alex Morgan has things to work on. But I also think you’ve lost the original theme of my posts (Abby’s production, and her influence on Morgan), and would invite you to go back and read the messages in this thread (D23, NYRick, myself, on down). I don’t think we seem to differ in opinion that much outside of how you and I evaluate her decision-making.

          • Clark

            Lotta?! Where was she in the Olympics?
            She has a tendency to disappear in big games against big teams and that is why the Swedish Media is giving her such a hard time.

          • Greg_G

            No, Sweden has the tendency not to get it done in the big tournaments and then everyone who doesn’t watch their matches turns around and tries to put it all on Lotta, who is the one getting them to the big tourneys to begin with. You can’t argue against being named by the press best Swedish footballer three times, including 2011 and 2012 (the World Cup and Olympic years), or against being the most prolific striker in Europe for a club team packed with stars (136 goals in 135 matches).

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden beat USA in WC-11 — luckily for USA in the group game. Germany were not so lucky against Japan. Sweden only lost to the eventual World Champions Japan. (In the Olympics the following year, Sweden drew with Japan.)

            Norway are emerging as the dark horses in women’s soccer and with Even Pellerud back at the helm, anything can happen — and probably will. Roll on WC-15!

          • Steglitz49

            Lotta Schelin was injured coming into the Olympics, as were a number of Swedish players. Owing to her scoliosis, Lotta easily gets injured.

            Sweden drew with Japan (amazing as it sounds) and drew with Canada (having been 2-0 up) in the OG.

            Enough said of that miserable tournament. Let it fester under its sheet and rot away. It was a low point in women’s soccer, hopefully never to be repeated.

          • Clark
        • D23

          I think he did make an adjustment. In the last match the US scored 4 on Canada. So he tried something new with the 3 defenders in the back. I think it threw the US for awhile. They really struggled to get shots on goal in the 1st half but adjusted after half-time. Alex scored both those goals so quickly so I don’t think Herdman had enough time to make an adjustment there. Unfortunately it was in the space his defensive formation created. So it worked for a while but then its flaws were exposed. So yeah the ball is now back in Herdman’s court. Good luck because he will need it.

          • NYRick

            Herdman should have one strategy and one strategy only against the US: stop Alex. Nothing else. If Abby or PInoe or Press score a couple and beat me, so be it. I’ll take my chances with that. But #13 is not beating me at any costs.

            That is the only way to beat the US team. When she is taken out of the equation, the US are a very vulnerable and beatable team. If Alex was injured for a big tournament they may be dead in the water, although Press may be able to save them, but she still has to prove it in a big spot for this team. And of course, she needs the chance and might not get it.

          • heremerawr

            If it’s against Canada Leroux may have an even better chance of winning the game than Press or AM. The type of hostility she faces can bring out great performances in quality players.

          • newsouth

            You’re going drugs. The USA won a gold medal in 2008 without wambach and no offense. once wambach gets her record, sermanni is free to develop press. it was an issue at magicjack, and now it’s an issue with the USWNT. take morgan out for a year and press gives you 25-30 goals with wambach, sydney and horan or hagan. that teams depth and talent by 2015 is behind morgan.

          • NYRick

            I’m totally in agreement with you on the Wambach holding back Press issue. It’s silly and detrimental to the team’s development. If anything, though her loyal fans will vehemently disagree, she is a 20 minute player now. She slows down the attack and flops at every instance out there to make up for a lack of endurance or speed. If you’ve seen anything I wrote in the past here it’s quite obvious I’m a fan of CP, and I think she would light it up at a ridiculous level for the NT. Probably a goal a game pace without breaking a sweat. I’m fully aware what’s she’s doing in Sweden and I feel she’s the most natural poacher, freestyler as you say, the US program may have ever produced. Plus, she’s done it at every level of competition she’s played at. It’s no accident, and the girl (like AM got last year) deserves her chance. I’m talking 90 minutes at forward, not the worthless cameos.

            With all that said, I know you are not a big fan of AM but just once in awhile please accept the fact that she is a big time player who also possesses the rare uncanny knack of delivering in big moments, and in big games (of which this was another). I get the strategy change to a direct attack, but her two finishes were RvP clinical. Other players would walk in like that and shoot it straight at the goalie or way wide. She is a special talent that you never give her credit to be.

          • heremerawr

            I agree with you that Press will score a lot of goals for the US if given the chance. But will she come up big like Alex has? Because that’s what makes Alex a great player, the fact that she digs deep in the dying seconds of the game and gets a goal (Italy, Canada, etc.). Can Press do that? Maybe. Marta couldn’t in the Brazil game, and she’s a fantastic player. You’re right that Alex is a direct forward, but she’s a GREAT direct forward. Even now, when she’s known as one of the best in the world, Alex is still getting behind defenses and scoring goal or racking assists. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Yes, maybe a lot of people on this board overvalue AM. But you definitely undervalue her and make it out as though she’s simply ‘good’ when the goals she has achieved would lift anyone else up into ‘great’.

          • Steglitz49

            Got tired?

      • Christy

        CPC needs to be fired and Hamm hired.

    • Christy

      lol, only in the states can you score the goals to win a game and have “fans” complain about it 😛

      • Steglitz49

        Maybe they are fans that have not played the game?

  • NYRick

    Sydney Leroux you are my hero! Obama should invite you to the White House for a private meet and greet, and you should be allowed to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom.

    You proved today that you are as American as apple pie, and when you held up the US shield in your jersey to your jeering ex-compatriots after your goal, and gave them the shhhhh finger too, well…gotta admit, I got misty.

  • JD

    I don’t know, it seemed Leroux and the Canadian fans have fun with it. Its not vile. Good for the sport if it can be that way.

    As for the match, as an American fan I do hope to see Canada beat the US at least once before 2015. Make it interesting. Canada really needs to find some better attackers to go with Sinclair though if they want to make the final 3 in 2015. Might any of those young players help??

    • GirlWithA….

      Maybe they can convince one of the USWNT defenders that are former forwards to switch to Canada lol if they got the cred.

  • NYRick

    Thoughts on the match:

    1. Alex blew up the game. Gee, that was a surprise. Herdman has one player to game plan against, and she continually destroys him by outrunning his really stupid and poorly coached back line. She is just an incredible finisher though. It’s beautiful to watch someone with that type of first touch on the run, and then the ridiculous accuracy to finish. You rarely see that even in the men’s game with the consistency she does it with, and I’m not kidding about that.

    2. I know Sinc doesn’t have any help up front, but she is not the player Alex is. That’s all I hear on this board, and can we all please stop with it. She’s a terrific player, no doubt. But AM is a flat out beast and once again showed why she is the best player in the sport. And no one shows up when it’s “winning time” better than Alex. Fact.

    3. Abby please stop flopping. I’m asking please. You are the biggest, strongest girl on the pitch and whenever a player so much as brushes you, you are face down on the ground. It’s getting ridiculous. It’s not gamesmanship anymore. It’s really just poor sportsmanship to win free kicks, and in fact, it’s cheating. Also, can you get your goal record already? Once again, I’m asking please here. CP and Syd so deserve the minutes before you at this point. Everyone can see that.

    4. Voldemort only got 9 minutes, and of course none with Alex. It is what it is. But can we just once see the two of them together for 90 as a forward tandem, with Syd as a flank mid for 90 (instead of HAO)? That would be fun.

    5. Missed KO out there. Just did. Dunn shows promise though, and can basically outrun everyone on the pitch.

    6. Syd: today you became a rock star. Nuff said.

    • D23

      Mostly agree with you. We may differ a little on Morgan and Sinc. I don’t think Alex is necessarily better. She was put into space today with 2 good assists. Sinc had no such opportunities. No one was able to generate anything for her. Great finishes from Alex though, no doubt. Absolute class. I actually think Sinclair is a more creative player but they are so close I will happily agree to disagree. I just don’t think it is clear cut as to who is better. Not sure KO was missed all that much actually. Defensive line was really solid. Gave up no shots on goal. Hard to criticise that. If anything I think they missed Pinoe’s x-factor and the spark of creativity she always brings. Tobin is on the up and up though. And yeah … well done Syd.

      • NYRick

        OK, fair enough on Sinc-AM. It’s always going to be splitting hairs. Let’s just say that if I was having a draft today and could chose one player in the world to pick for my team, my first pick would be AM. She is a matchup nightmare for any coach, and arguably the best finisher the sport has seen to date.

        Regarding missing KO, I just meant it from a personal standpoint. Just really like her out there as a creative spark. She also has been going forward from the left back spot really well with the NT of late, and developing a good chemistry with Tobin and AM. That was missing a bit today. Defensively, you’re right, they were terrific. But I think the bigger reason for that was Engen for Buehler. Engen can play on my team anyway. Was surprised no Brunn, but the backline was really solid, and Dunn is going to be awesome going forward.

        • D23

          Yeah. I’ll admit with KO I think she gets too far forward at times. Maybe not too far, but for too long. I am not sure she plays with the instincts of a true defender. With the US’s depth in strikers and some really creative mid-fielders I would rather have a more pure defender. But that’s me and perhaps I am more conservative than some. Krieger is the perfect fullback for me and she will get forward but is very rarely exposed because she reads the game so well. I think Dunn has really great instincts. Yes Engen is a much safer option than Buehler who is for me overly aggressive and somewhat clumsy at times.

          • GirlWithA….

            somewhat clumsy? Buehler is a Stanford grad and makes some stupid stupid mistakes. Clearing a ball into the center of your goal mouth that gave Japan the tying goal in a World Cup final….more stupidity than clumsy at times. Buehler is frankly NOT as composed as a we need her to be like a Rampone

          • Christy

            Remember KO is a forward not 2 years removed, she is still developing as a Defender and I think has done exceptionally well in a very very short time. She went from being a bench Fwd in the 2011 world cup to a starting LB just a year later. She has good def instincts, she just needs to learn when to push up and when to stay home and she needs to stop taking so many shots because they have been awful ones for the most part.

        • kernel_thai

          Im wondering if KO had a problem with the ankle in warm ups. If Sermanni knew she wasnt going to play, ud think he would have dressed either Johnston or Brooks. Even not getting in, it would have meant more to either of them. The other interesting thing is the GK situation. Assuming Harris is OK, he didnt dress her so I guess she is back to #4. I also read in a recap of the game that referred to Barnhart as the #3 GK. Do I take it that Loyden is now the #2 GK despite not playing since March?

          • D23

            It cannot be possible that Loyden is the number 2 keeper right now. She has played less than Hope and I think she will be lucky to depose Cameron. Surely the only player who could knock Barnie out of number 2 is Harris as she has been playing well in the NWSL (at least till before she was injured) Maybe it means Harris is #2 and will play against SK but that doesn’t really make sense either.

          • Christy

            Loyden is a fantastic keeper, I think its conceivable she unseated Ashlyn for the #2, but it is also conceivable she is being benched for the incident in her club that kept her out of the last game.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken. It would have been worth giving Ms Brooks an outing.

      • kernel_thai

        Sinclair is the better all around player and can effect the game in so many ways…but…as specialty acts, no one in the world comes close to Morgan and Wambach. No one can attck a defense at such high pace and accurately hit spots on frame from a full run as well as Morgan. No one makes as much of a crappy pass as Wambach. She nearly headed a worm burner into the goal.

        • D23

          That header was class! The pace she was able to generate on a ball like that was amazing. Great clearance of the line too.

          • newsouth

            There’s no issue with walking header. it’s her feet which don’t allow her to run anymore. i got no problem with sermanni getting her the record and a couple of goals, but they are in deep crap, if you think morgan and wambach will carry the squad to gold in the WC, if press and sydney don’t become the players they are suppose to be. it would take a complete clown not to see what press would be after 30 caps so. unstoppable in college, damn good a magicjack without a coach, and top scorer no matter the club in sweden. but you get good on the pt with caps at the international level. people are crazy. what did morgan look like after only 8 or 10 caps subbing. come one.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear, hear!

          • Don B.

            Press has: eight caps, 4 starts, 383 min, 6 goals, 64min/goal. Morgan’s first year: eight caps, 0 starts, 252 min, 4 goals, 58min/goal.

          • NYRick

            Hi Don. You had to go into the vault to dig this one up. LOL. It is pretty interesting though, and the per minute on the pitch/goal ratio is very close. However, it should be noted that probably 80% (don’t hold me to that number, I’m guessing) of Christen’s minutes occurred as a midfielder with the NT, not a forward. All of Alex’s minutes are as a striker. Kind of an advantage there, no?

          • Steglitz49

            What we need to see are the number of assists. In the WC-11 final Alex scored the first goal. She also provided the pass for Abby’s goal. (The only problem for USA was that the Nadeshiko did not give up and Homare back-heeled a goal that Zlatan would have been proud of.)

            Alex has about as many assists as goals. In this she belongs to that select class of players with vision.

          • Christy

            Excellent post Steg

          • Christy

            Not really Rick, if you recall Carli scored both the goals in the Olympic final from the midfield position, (the first assisted by Morgan as a side note) Though some may argue Carli stole that goal from Abby, fact is a midfielder was the game winner. And yes Press was slotted at mid field, but if you also rewatch the games she was in a poaching position for a number of those goals which is a fwd’s position more often than not. 🙂

          • NYRick

            I hear what you’re saying, but in theory you’d have to agree that a striker position is much more advantageous to score from by pure odds only, than the midfield position. I don’t think a pure midfielder, regardless of how good, has ever led the EPL in scoring. Someone like Frank Lampard usually gets about 18 max. In terms of La Liga, you have Messi and in a sense CR7 who is more a flank. But they are true freaks.

          • Christy

            Of course, the FWD position is designed to be your main source of scoring, but if the goal is to get all of your talent in the field at the same time then you have to maneuver your players into what ever position they can play on the field and be productive on the team. It’s not about Press, it’s about the USWN “Team”. People keep forgetting that.

          • NYRick

            In this instance I wasn’t talking about Press per se, but merely the forward/striker position being the more advantageous place to score on the pitch. I think any Sabermetrics study on this can back me on that. Unless you’re Leo Messi, scoring from the midfield is not that easy to do. Even for an attacking mid.

            As it pertains to CP, she is certainly more comfortable at forward, her natural position. If the comparison as it’s being made is about goals per minutes on the pitch, you have to take into account a lot factors. Alex has an insane goal/minutes ratio. As we all know her early role was as the 20 minute super sub. Her great speed and the US overall fitness and depth played a role in that too. Many games I watch, Sunday vs. Canada no exception, the US simply wears teams down in the second half. Backlines are exhausted by the 70th minute vs. the US. Especially the really marginal teams. This is no knock on Alex who’s terrific, but just fact in her scoring totals.

            If CP can not get on the pitch as a starting forward because of Abby, then I’d rather she play in center mid as an attacker in place of Carli. Not as a flank player. She kind of just floats out there with no purpose. She loves the center of the pitch and has a great deal of creativity there and a poacher’s mentality to enter into the play in the box. She’s kind of like a shortstop in baseball or a point guard. She loves being in the center of the action. Might be the ham in her, which is a good thing for any pure scorer.

            Also one thing never mentioned is that Alex has never had to play a minute on the pitch other than forward. There was no jerking around to various positions (flank was obvious with her speed). In my opinion, that has hurt Cheney as a player. I don’t want to see them do that to CP. Alex had the much easier path to starting (although Pia made it difficult) of beating out ARod and Cheney. Both CP and Syd have to beat out Alex or Abby or both. Much more difficult. Quite frankly, I honestly think CP is better RIGHT NOW than either Alex or Abby as an overall talent and scorer. CRASH BANG! Was that the sound of Christy’s computer? I can literally feel the venom. And this isn’t personal of course, it’s just two fans having a differing opinion. As you know, I think you are a student of the game and offer some of the most intelligent perspectives (from the player’s view too) on these boards.–)

            But…could you just please scroll up slightly and watch the video link of CP’s two goals. I know you say you watch a ton of soccer video. I mean good lord! They are both pretty sick. Also, I thought Press wasn’t that fast, yet all I see her do is turn and run by people towards goal.

            Christy, you know what I hope. Someday, the summer of 2015 when CP is instrumental in helping the US win the WC you come on here and say…you know that Rick, he was on to something back then. Pakacuda has also referred to CP as kind of similar to Sinc in style and I’m starting to see that too. She needs to play Christy. Abby has more than had her time in the sun. Time to be a real team player and accept a lesser role. She would show so much greatness and true grace by doing so. She will be a major liability for this team by WC15. There is a progression in sports which allows great teams to remain great. But it only happens when the big stars sacrifice.

            I know, it has to play out. Just watch though. You may be quite surprised.

          • Christy

            You really only read what you want from my posts. You have decided that I am anti press and that is all you see. And you were very intelligent until you said Press was better than Alex, that is the most ridicules comment I have heard in a while.Press is no where near as good and well rounded as Alex now and to suggest otherwise is simply hilarious. Center mid hahahaha, Press directing the midfield, are you joking? I will not actively discuss press with anyone who is not objective. It’s a waste of good sleep time.

          • NYRick

            Well you are kind of anti-Press. It’s neither here nor there, and irrelevant and I don’t care, and I don’t think anyone else does either. She’s not your type of player and doesn’t do the things you think she should be doing on the pitch. No big deal. Nothing wrong with that. You may be correct. But there is nothing this girl can do to sway your otherwise. There are plenty of people who critique AM, Abby, Carli etc. in a negative manner too. They are entitled to their opinion. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they are offbase. Myself included.

            I do think you get a bit defensive when people do compare her to Alex though. And that is going to happen over and over, and as you are seeing not just by me. Their careers so parallel each other on so many levels that it’s inevitable. But you act as if it’s insult to even mention the two in the same sentence sometimes as players. Which is quite ridiculous. CP is quite accomplished and has been documented beaten Alex out of many honors in their past (for whatever reason or excuse). Fact is, she did. Alex has only been a starter for the last year or so. She hasn’t been doing this for 10 years. Also, part of her being so “established” on this team and more in people’s minds that you are not fully realizing is due her looks and celebrity off the pitch. To deny that is being naive. And I say this as a person who has given her massive praise as a player first if you’ve read anything I wrote here.

            I also don’t want to talk much about this anymore either. If I need a fix on it, I’ll address Pakacuda. It’s better to preach to the choir, then have them toss eggs at you from the pulpit.

          • Elaine

            Better be careful NYRick, you are overselling Press at this point: “CP is better right now than Alex or Abby”. I hope you were only saying this in the heat of the argument and not for real. Because if you mean it for real, then you also mean that Tom Sermanni is the stupidest and blindest coach ever to not see the talent of Press that you do.

          • NYRick

            Why is it “see the talent that you do?” There are at least 4 other people in this very thread saying virtually the same thing as me. And for the record, no one has praised AM more than me on this board, less Don or Christy.

            The real argument can never be decided unless there are equal minutes and equal opportunities and that will never happen how this team is constituted. We all know that. It’s almost an argument of who do you think is a better point guard, Chris Paul or Derrick Rose. Both great, different styles. Both can’t be on the same team. Two young stars never mesh properly for whatever reason (ego, chemistry, team dynamics, coaching preference etc). That’s AM-CP. It always takes an older vet, in this case Abby, to balance the tandem. If Press was first in, Abby would have balanced it with her, with AM on the outside looking in. And the team would have been just as good, and CP would have had sick scoring stats too. Just my opinion. Which is all any of us have on these boards. No one is totally right or wrong about everything or anything for that matter.

            As for TS, everything I’ve said about him has been favorable. He is the right coach at the right time for this team. But some of the greatest coaches have missed talent right under their nose in every sport. Tom Brady only got his chance through injury to Drew Bledsoe, who by the way, was the number one pick in the NFL draft and an established star his first couple of years. Do you honestly think the Patriots were going to play Brady under any circumstances? How did that turn out? Don’t dismiss talent because of situations. CP could be better, even right now, than Alex. That is not far fetched, but it is totally irrelevant because we will never know.

          • Steglitz49

            Last season Christen played as a classic centre-forward striker for her club. Essentially she plays as a striker this season also. The problem for TS is that he already has an outstanding, lightning fast big striker who not also is a gifted passer of the ball but is a naturally left-footed player who can use both feet and her head. Vow!

            Of the internationally established strikers, you are probably only talking Lotta Schelin and Yuki Ogimi, maybe Christine Sinclair in the same class (and Mrs Ogimi may not be assertive enough).

            It may well be that Ms Press is better than Ms Morgan but it would be an uncommonly brave — foolhardy might be a better word — manager to select Ms Press before Ms Morgan in a key match. Maybe Christen’s role will be that of super-sub coming on at 60 min.

            If you want Christen to start, which one current starter would you bench and why? You can only pick one.

          • NYRick

            I want her to start with Alex. I’m not suggesting she replace Alex, although I think she would be just as effective as her as the feature striker, but in a different way. Abby is the odd girl out for me, mainly due to the fact that the team should be transitioning properly to WC15. In that role, I see Abby as the supersub, and Press as the starter. It’s not going to happen but that is the scenario I along with many others have mentioned. It is by no means out of line thinking. Press has a short window to best exploit her peak talent scale too. Abby wants to play in another WC, so let’s how it will all come down. Case closed.

            As for CP being a better player than AM. They have differing styles, right now separated by 60+ caps as starters which is a huge deal. Both excellent players and the US team can easily win with either as their feature player. Paired together would be something special if the chemistry and caps could ever develop, and more importantly if Abby stepped aside gracefully. It won’t happen. We all know that and quite frankly I’m sick of talking about it. But out of courtesy to you my good friend, I replied back. Just my opinion of course. Must say that or you are put in front of a firing squad on these boards. It is complete sacrilege to say anything negative about Abby or Alex. Message to everyone: soccer in the US will continue just fine for the next 100 years without either of them. Mia left the scene, was better than both of them, and the sport has still thrived. People forget that.

          • NYRick

            Steg, one thing I want to add that I’ve been thinking about is what does Marta think of CP as a player and a talent? They are now teammates as you know, and I’d be curious to hear what arguably the greatest woman soccer player ever thought of Press. Her skill set, her demeanor, what she needs to improve on, is she special etc.? That would be interesting. Her honest thoughts on that topic would be truly revealing. She sees her now everyday in practice and in their matches.

          • Steglitz49

            If Tyresö do the Double and also have a good run in the CL, all will be well. Should they win the CL it will be even better.

          • Elaine

            Don’t despair, there are 2 upcoming matches for the NT against S. Korea. We will see what we will see. But if we are truly fans of our USWNT, we must root for all our players, regardless of our preferences.

          • Steglitz49

            “There are lies, damned lies and statistics”. Maybe you could factor in the color of their hair or the circumference of their wrists or some other lively (as in vital) statistic.

            It is one lady’s misfortune to be the same age as the other. You see it in all sports. The list is endless.

          • Don B.

            I replied to the question, “What did Morgan look like after only 8 or 10 caps subbing”, being compared to Press. If you have some better way of answering that question, then please enlighten me.

          • Steglitz49

            The comparison is meaningless. Christen Press spent last season beaing coached by one of the great strikers of his generation (one of the fabled “Boys of ’82”, whose manager was a then unknown Sven-Göran Eriksson). Alex did not have that benefit.

            That does not mean that Ms Press is a worse player than Ms Morgan, just that it is hard to prove anything. Indeed, because of the small numbers you ought to work with median times per goal rather than mean, and also consider the number of minutes on the field till the goal was scored, and whether they had any assists in those matches.

            Finally, Ms Morgan induced the first red card in a ladies’ world cup final. That must count for something, even if USA suffered a total meltdown in the pso (where Alex did not take a shot).

          • Reality

            A six minute difference sounds virtually equal. Let’s look at other aspects of their head to head competition. For instance, this year so far in their first 8 NWST games both have 6 goals. But Press did hers in 386″ for an average of 1 every 64″ whereas Morgan got her 6 over 558″ for average of 1 every 93″. If you add their stats from their club teams over 8 games, Press has 9 goals and 4 assists at Tyreso and Morgan has 4 goals and 1 assist at Portland for a total of 15 goals and 5 assists for Press and 10 goals and 4 assists for Morgan. Going back further in time in their careers, in college, Press at Stanford broke school records for career points (183), goals (71), and assists (41). Morgan at UCLA had career points (107), goals (45), and assists (41). And Press won the Hermann Trophy over Morgan. In the WPS in 2011, Press won the Rookie of the Year award over Morgan. Whenever you can compare their records under similar circumstances, Press is superior.

            The real point here is that, beyond numbers, Press is an extraordinary player who deserves to play as a full time striker on the national team. Wambach is on the down slope of her career and if she really wanted the U.S. to win the World Cup in 2015, she would make room for Press to mesh with the team just as Hamm did for her.

            Soccer truly is “The Beautiful Game” and here is an example of Press’s beautiful play in the game between Tyresö – Linköping on 27 April 2013 in which she scored 2 world class goals…

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCGCIjvvXDM

            Sundhage was in attendance at this game and got to see this.

          • Mayi81

            As I remember Alex was called multiples times with the NT (youth and senior) during her college career, that might explain why she didn’t score as much as CP. Also during the WPS AM played the WC and missed some games too whereas Press could play the whole season.

          • Reality

            Fortunate for Morgan that she received those opportunities with the NT while Press did not. But regardless that still would not have closed the gap between the two in college. In the WPS, Press had 19 appearances with 8 goals, a hat trick in one game was particularly noteworthy, while Morgan had 13 appearances with 4 goals.

          • Christy

            This is correct, Alex was the runner up for the Herman but she missed half the season due to NT duties. That says a lot, to be runner up having missed so many games.

          • Elaine

            All your stats going back to college are useless on the international level. Press can score all the goals in the Swedish league she wants but until she can score the “crucial” goal for the US team, she is leagues behind Alex Morgan at this point.

          • Reality

            Ah, you’ve resorted to a rhetorical device…If you can’t refute the facts, then just ignore them. It was not my intention to provoke you, but methinks that thou doth protest too much. I respect Morgan and believe that she is a valuable part of the NT. But you’ve really made my argument for giving Press a real chance to contribute by allowing her the opportunity to make those “crucial” goals. Her past record clearly shows she is capable of this at every level in which she has played. But she must be given more than cameo appearances. Even under those circumstances, she has done remarkably well. There is no reason to suppose she will not perform and every reason to think that she will which would greatly benefit the NT.

          • Elaine

            To keep arguing about whether Press should start or not may be fun for fans but it won’t change the present line-up. In the games that Press has started, it was at midfield flank and once at forward with Syd. Tom has yet to start her as the striking partner of Alex or Abby. I still stand by that Press will not start at forward until after the WC15. As long as Abby is playing well and contributing, she will be there. Unless you are suggesting replacing Alex up top with Press, I don’t think you can find a majority agreeing with you on that one.

          • Reality

            What I’m suggesting is that once Wambach breaks Hamm’s record that she have the good grace to begin to transition herself in favor of Press. The U.S. lost the last WC with the Wambach/Morgan combination and it will not be stronger in 2015. As it is, she no longer has the physical skills she once possessed and that will only be worse 2 years hence. All honor to her for her leadership role and her experience. So use it now in a responsible way for the future good of the team. As far as Tom Sermanni is concerned, I think that he is capable of greater flexibility and innovation than Sundhage. His challenge will be to persuade Wambach to act in the role of a wise mentor to help the team to make that inevitable transition…better sooner than later. We have differing opinions about the future, but time will surely tell.

          • Elaine

            Correction on the last WC11. The starting forwards for that tournament were Abby/Cheney or Abby/Arod. Alex was used only as a sub player. And what a sub player she was. Coming off the bench to score a goal in the semi, and a goal and assist in the final. Did you know that has never happened in the women’s world cup before? By the way, we lost that WC on penalty kicks, all right? Not on Alex/Abby combo. Because of her performance, Pia started her up top with Abby for the first time in 2012 and hence look what happened at last year’s Olympics. I am not arguing with anyone here about Press’s abilities. But I am also not in agreement with those that say Abby has lost her skills so much that she has to give up her starting spot just yet. Only time will tell if she is able to stay fit and contribute to this team. If Abby’s fighting spirit doesn’t impress upon fans that she will not give up so easily, then they have not watched her all these years. Make no mistake, she is hungry for that title. She is motivated to achieve that goal. Barring injury or sudden emergence of a game-changing moment from another forward, Abby will be there in WC2015. Now Olympics 2016, we can discuss who should be the starter then, is it going to be Syd or Press or some other unknown talent out there. We will see.

          • Reality

            Quite correct…that performance persuaded Sundhage to go exclusively with Morgan. I have no problem with her performance. My point is that Press should have the same opportunity in “big” games. My problem is that if Wambach insists on holding on until 2015 regardless of circumstances, I think it will be a weaker combination than 2011 or 2012. If they lose again, it will only damage her legacy and hurt NT development for the foreseeable future. The NT should not be held hostage to Wambach’s personal goals. She’ll have to do some soul searching on that. I’m sure we’ll all be watching closely to see how it all plays out.

          • pakacuda

            I’m going to argue both sides. I’m personally not a big fan of Abby’s playing style, I think it’s too reliant on passes over the top. But I admire her effectiveness. To say she’s declining is not yet supported by the facts (I reluctantly admit). 27 goals last year, 4 goals and an assist in the NWSL, 3 goals and 3 assists in the NT in 7 games. I would not be writing her exit plan yet – if she wants to prove she can start in WC15 she deserves that chance.

            On the other hand, Press’ record is too spectacular to be ignored. As others have pointed out she has not just excelled, she has dominated at every level and every place she has played. To say “she hasn’t proven herself at the top level, she has to wait” is 1. Circular reasoning, and 2. Might be a huge opportunity cost for the team. Christen is 24 and in her prime, not just for playing but development. If you put her off or consign her to wing for another year, I think you might permanently lose a lot in her motivation and training. The cost for not adding a player soon enough can be high… I agree with many that Pia not starting Alex in 2011 may have cost the US a World Cup.

            Basically I think Press deserves more playing time and starts than she’s been getting. But Abby should not be “transitioned off” – she deserves the chance to fight for her starting spot too. Both can fight and I think both are willing.

          • Christy

            I think a huge appeal for Abby and Alex tandem is that they are completely different threats. You have to game plan for them both separately and in different ways, that gives the US an advantage. If you cram Abby down their throat for the first half when the Def is fresh and Abby can use her size on set pieces then while they are focused on Abby, you have Alex being played in behind the D and now your def have to decide is Alex going to take the shot herself or play it across for Abby. Things like this make Abby so important, they are fluid up top and if Abby stays healthy and can make those runs deep to help Alex then we could be unstoppable.

            Some of the issues Alex had early in the year was with all the experimenting TS was doing the Def could easily swarm Alex because the Mid was so shaky Abby was spending all her time there and didn’t have the ability to get back into the box when Alex sprung free, sure Alex can score as a lone striker ndb, but it is going to be more difficult and less often and you have more def flying at her which increases chances of injury which no one wants!

            I think Press for the moment is suited for a flank position, it will teach her how to move within the team and build a rapport which will increase her ability to contribute to the fluidity of the team with her on it. This is far more important in 2013 than what position she will play if any in 2015. IMO, of course.

          • pakacuda

            As I said I can’t argue against Abby’s numbers. But in terms of style, I think Alex and Christen are just as different as Alex and Abby.

            Alex and Abby can both be said to be direct players – the best play to Alex is the breakaway pass, and to Abby the cross to her head (this is not criticism, goals are goals). The long passes come from different angles, but neither specializes in dribbling through traffic, short passing game, and turning and shooting, which are Christen’s staple. Yes Alex does have a terrific 1-v-1 game on the wing, but Christen is better 1-v-3 in the middle.

            I believe Alex and Christen would be more frightingly unstoppable than Alex and Abby. I can’t prove it but I think Christen deserves the chance to prove it, with more playing time at forward. People say she has to “earn it”, but how can do any better than she’s already done, 6 goals and 1 assist in 384 minutes, much of that time out of position.

            Speaking of out of position, putting her on the flank would be terrible. She’s already shown she’s out of sorts there, and on her blog she said she felt lost. Subtract that time from her stats and her goals/minute at forward would be even more spectacular.

          • NYRick

            “As I said I can’t argue against Abby’s numbers. But in terms of style, I think Alex and Christen are just as different as Alex and Abby.”

            THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

          • Christy

            All of the newer players deserve a chance to prove themselves and they will get that chance, but first thing is first, TS has to address the weakest positions on the team first and foremost. That is parts of your D and your midfield, all that depth and yet no clear cut starters. FWD is not a weak position on the team, we have to of the most prolific scorers in the game right now plus 2 outstanding bench players who can come in and also give high production.

            Press spends often too much time dribbling the ball (much like Tobin and Pinoe have been caught doing) 1v3 I don’t think she is any better than Alex, I have seen Alex spin, cut and dribble her way out of multiple defenders and Press certainly isn’t better on the turn and shoot. Now when she becomes a more efficient dribbler on the ball then that will be impressive, she does dribble better in tight quarters i’d def agree than Alex but that’s in part to style. Alex is just more comfortable pulling the ball back and making a cut then getting separation with her speed even over a few steps to either shoot or cross the ball in (ik this isn’t always successful). Press prefers to dribble her way in to attempt a shot and “sometimes” dribbles herself out of position to set up a team mate when she can’t get a decent shot on goal. (this is something Pinoe is guilty of as well diff is Pinoe has been around for years and is also an assist machine!)
            Press is not established on this team so pointing out Alex’s developmental needs isn’t necessary some great posters on here have done that already. The difference is Alex is a fixture on the team, she has proven herself over and over and continues to realize she has more growing to do.

            Press is just making her way onto the team so she needs to do whatever is asked of her and do it better than anyone else even if that’s carrying the gatorade. It may not be fair to the press fans but it has been the way it has been done since the dawn of team sports, anyone who has played a team sport will attest to this.
            Re: Press feels lost, honestly, this is a team and it really doesn’t matter how she feels, when your on a team at the highest level you take whatever minutes you can get and you make the most of them. You are not special and the majority of the players on the national team played other positions at one point but the took the position the coach felt they needed them most at that would give them their opportunity to get capped for their country. She should be grateful she’s getting this opportunity, Yes she looks lost so she finds herself in a poaching position and that is where the majority of her goals have come from on the NT so far. But Mewis has been shoved in to left back 2 times, and she is awful at it ,but she’s not going to complain about a cap, she’s going to go out there and do whatever she can to help the team. That is how Press needs to view her position, as what ever it takes, once she accepts that and starts working with that mentality, the minutes will come her way. she’s not entitled and this is how she will earn it. Every player on that team earns their spot and that is by doing what your coaches tell you, improve, and take the role you are given whether it is at mid field or as a 9 min a game sub.

          • NYRick

            I don’t recall hearing Press complain about minutes or where she is playing anywhere? In every interview and on her blog she is very appreciative and extremely gracious of being a member of the team, and doing what the coaches want and expect of her. She’s real big on growing as not only a player, but a person. I think the “feeling lost” (I hadn’t heard that), if it was said, was taken out of context. Probably just a reference to being comfortable on the pitch when playing out of position.

            She also doesn’t seem or act entitled. As for “earning it,” there is not much more she can do right now. You can only prove so much. Matt Harvey could strike out 15 guys a game in the minors, but he needed to be put on the big stage to really show his talent. CP just has to stay motivated, work hard and believe in Tom that he sees what so many of us are seeing.

            US Soccer is totaling missing the boat in all this. They have two extremely attractive young stars (6 months apart), well educated, articulate and goal scoring machines. What a pure luck bonanza to a sport trying to grow in the US. Both are made for Madison Ave. Plus, they will both be reaching their prime playing peak by WC15. Does US Soccer promote the windfall good fortune to have such a situation? Because some countries would put pressure on the coach who didn’t see this. Noooo! Instead they prefer to give us updates on “Chasing Mia.” Two stars are better than one. And it protects the sport if one implodes for any reason. It’s just good business sense too.

          • pakacuda

            First of all, if someone criticizes Press because she admits an insecurity, as though the admission is some personality flaw, I think that’s misguided if not ignorant. To me her openness is a sign of great humility and self-awareness which is part of why I like Press.

            The “lost” statement comes from her blog of March 17, 2013 “Make Yourself Uncomfortable” which I thought was incredibly humble yet showing the quiet confidence of growth and enlightenment. This coming from a player who’s results are as good as any player in the game today:

            “I now have six caps under my belt. I’ve spent all but 40
            minutes of my total time in a USWNT jersey playing in the midfield. I’ve started three games. I’ve had moments where I felt I was at my best: comfortable and confident and gliding. And I’ve had spouts of time where I was uninvolved, lost, and totally disconnected out on the wing…The last place you expect to find complacency is on the National Team. And I’m down with that. I think being totally comfortable is a dangerous thing in any realm of life.”

          • pakacuda

            Well, I respect your opinion. But I disagree with almost everything you said, from Press’s talents to nonchalantly accepting the Mewis situation as a parallel. But, I should leave it for now 🙂

          • Elaine

            If she is not playing well, she will be subbed out with either Syd or Press. That is why she is on the roster as a forward. A talent like Press as you say can be just as impactfull coming off the bench than being a starter, or playing in the midfield than at forward. What she needs now is to soak up all that she can from the veterans, make the most of whatever minutes she gets, and get herself ready to fight for that starting spot whenever Abby retires.

        • Greg_G

          Agree about Sinclair. Alex is successful in large part because of the talent around her. Sinclair isn’t surrounded by nearly as much talent. Swap Sinclair for Morgan and Christine is filling the back of the net at least as often as Morgan. As I’ve stated before, Alex needs to work on her soccer IQ; look at how deadly cerebral strikers like Abby, Lotta Schelin, and Birgit Prinz are.

          • chuckdaspear87

            “Swap Sinclair for Morgan and Christine is filling the back of the net at least as often as Morgan”? Uh… Morgan has 44 goals in 66 appearances while Sinclair has 145 in 195. Sinclair’s strike rate would have to decrease to be equal to Morgan’s. Not saying one is better than the other because they are very different types of players, but let’s at least acknowledge that Sinclair is one of the most efficient strikers in history and Morgan isn’t to that level yet.

          • newsouth

            Sinclair would destroy everything Hamm ever did and Morgan plans to do, if she was on the USWNT. Remember Canadian’s women didn’t have support and decent pay for the longest like Brasil, were striking against their own federation before Herdman arrived. Her road to success and #3 in goals scoring is much, much harder than Hamm, Wambach or Morgan. Morgan is still an open case. When Wambach gets her record, then the suppression press and sydney comes to an end and sermanni can finally focus on developing their international game to the fullest, esp press.

            Sermanni broke the game open by switching to Pia’s direct attack and going at the side (wing) of a tired and slightly injured 17 yr old. He just had to sub Press and Sydney at the 46th min and the flood gate would have opened on Canada. It aint always the GREAT morgan but strategy some times.

          • NYRick

            “When Wambach gets her record, then the suppression press and sydney comes to an end…”

            You see, as much sense as that statement makes, I don’t think that will be the case. It’s not going to happen because Abby still bosses this team, and TS will cater to the fact that Abby wants to stick around for WC15 “as a starter,” not even a reduced role. Abby has never won a WC and she wants that on her resume badly as part of her legacy.

            For that reason, CP (in my opinion anyway) will be nothing more than a role player for the NT. She’ll produce in small spots, rack up nice stats for her minutes played, but never be given the key starts alongside Alex in the big matches. I can see it already. If she’s not starting right now when she is at the top of her talent scale, how is that going to change going forward to WC15? In an absurd way, you are correct with your statement below concerning Abby on the roster (at Magicjack and now with the NT) being a roadblock to CP. It’s pretty much true. And it won’t change unfortunately for CP. I think she’s realizing that.

          • heremerawr

            Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. The WC is still a ways away. Press only has a handful of caps and we have enough depth on the roster so that he doesn’t always have to utilize all his young players for the full 90. I think WC qualifying is when we’ll see TS starting 11 and until then judgment calls on the likes of players like Press cannot be made.

          • NYRick

            Yeah, I agree with that to an extent. But this game against Canada, and the Algarve final, and the match vs. Germany in Germany are good indications of who the starting 11 is right now. Yes, WC15 is still a ways away, but Abby will be a big part of that forward mix. I think as a starter which will be to the detriment of CP, Syd and even Horan. We’ll see.

          • heremerawr

            I honestly hope that isn’t the case. Wambach is getting old and slow and while I thought she did well today I also think she needs to make way Press and Syd and any other young and upcoming forward (I personally find myself rather interested in Summer Green, a 17 year old who graduated high school early to play at UNC and did well in the u-17 tournament). Again though we’ll have to wait and see.

          • NYRick

            Abby is pure class off the pitch. A great spokesperson for the sport and complimentary of her teammates and development. However, she is finally (the last two years) getting the recognition and stardom for all the hard work she’s put in over the last decade or so. She is on a first name star status level in the US. Something very hard to achieve.

            With that, like all big stars, she will not leave the scene quietly. She will go kicking (no pun) and screaming into the night. Plus, this team has a rep as a senior club (big stars start till 35 at least and beyond) and that’s not going to change with Abby despite the incredible young talent behind her. Alex for all her brilliance is extremely lucky she got the opportunity last year or she too may be pigeonholed like Syd and CP as mere role players. They are not role players, they are future and even present stars and need to play now. We will see how gracious Abby is going forward. This is when you find out who the “team” players are. It’s easy to say and act and speak like that while you are still a starter.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear; though 17 is too young for the NT. (Needless risk of injury.)

          • heremerawr

            Haha of course, you’re absolutely right. Although she’s probably 18 by now I imagine… 😉

          • Steglitz49

            ACL damage is the bane of ladies football and may well put paid to any development of the women’ side of the game.

          • AshleyWB

            But the starting eleven hasn’t been really even close to the same for the three matches you’re using as your guideline. Press and Leroux started the Algarve final; Wambach was a sub. In fact, the only players who started all three of those matches are Morgan and Engen. For the two Germany matches, only three started both games (the other being Boxx). I think it’s hard to draw any firm conclusions from such a varied roster.

          • NYRick

            You make a good point on the starters for the 3 matches. But Abby’s record is getting in the way of things no doubt to lineups in my opinion and will continue to do so. I just wonder what a match would look like with CP, Alex and Syd (in HAO’s role) on the field for a full 90 (no Abby at all). Against a good team like Canada or Germany. Not a tomato can like South Korea.

            Also, it’s interesting that you mention Engen being in all 3 of those matches. She is really impressive as a CB and I think Bue is being phased out as a starter. Nothing against her, but that is a humongous plus for the back line. In fact, Kelley could be in jeopardy as a starter too (not because of yesterday with her injury), but because a back line of Kriegs, Engen, Rampone and Brunn or even Dunn with Hope in goal would be awfully hard to score on. That would allow for more creativity and risks in the midfield starters and forwards that TS choses.

            I think everyone is under the impression that the US needs to boss the midfield as in the past with brute strength with roughneck players like Boxx and Carli. That is changing with the talent level now available and TS at the helm. It’s time the US started playing the beautiful game. They have the players to do it. Yesterday, was a boring, slow plodding match due to the personnel on the pitch for both sides. Not a great advertisement for women’s soccer. Alex’s two goals were exciting and a great display of skill and athleticism (something she brings all the time), and Syd’s closing was just fun. But overall, it was not great soccer to watch for two of the top teams in the women’s game and such a large PR buildup.

          • Steglitz49

            Christen Press changed clubs to get more time and freedom to attend US training camps. So far the club has honored this. Nevertheless, if CP does not get a decent outing for the USA, at some point there will be a clash, won’t there? The loser might be CP, either way.

          • NYRick

            Steg, I think you’re right. I think CP will be the loser in all this. I don’t have a crystal ball, but it doesn’t take a genius to see Abby penciled in as a starter in WC15 (even after the record that Sinc and Alex will soon break down the road). It will be her fanfare farewell and she knows it.

            You know how I feel about CP the player, and honestly, what more can she do or have to prove to start for this team? She is a unique player, something they don’t have with her free-styling ways, and would add a great deal to the flow. Abby’s slow plodding style hurts other creative players on the team too like Tobin, Pinoe and Cheney too. She can’t move with any speed or make runs anymore, so she sits back and clogs the middle of the pitch, and generally flops all over the piece to draw free kicks (the only time she can be truly effective with headers in the box). CP will go down as the most talented player the US ever had to never make a true impact. Doesn’t matter, so much talent, they can win with a host of combinations, but it is a shame. She won’t be the last for that to happen to in this program regardless of the coach. It’s the way it has always been set up, and it will continue that way. Watch how it shakes out for Franch (a really great young keeper) and Hope. That is another one to watch.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken and I hope that the force is with Christen. On the other hand, the coach has to have an understudy for Alex or, if you prefer, a game-changing striker in the Baby-faced Assassin class. In short, it is hard to see Christen being left out of the squad but she might not get many minutes on the field and only a few starts.

          • Elaine

            I know you have a real affinity for Press and you really want her to be a forward next to Alex. But if she is still a part of this team, whether as a sub for forward or a starter in the midfield, don’t you think she is still a winner. She can still make an impact anywhere on the field and at anytime if you believe in her innate skill as a player. Pinoe is an impact-full middie who can put up scores. Syd has also come in as a sub and score for this team. My point is Press does not necessary need to play as a forward or even as a starter to make an impact. This is the cycle to hone down her skills and show what she can really do with whatever minutes Tom gives her. Every touch she makes, every pass, every goal, is a step towards proving herself to the coach. She needs to “push through” as Alex did with Pia to show Tom that she is ready to be a starter. Will that happen by 2015? I don’t know? But I think if she keeps up her pace of scoring for the NT and especially in big games, she can definitely get that starting spot for Olym’16 next to Alex after Abby retires.

            And one thing that may be missing from all of this discussion is unfortunately her playing in Sweden. How can Tom see her week in and week out if he is not watching her games? How can the US fans/critics/sportswriters applaud her and raise her profile if they are not watching her games? This, she and her handlers, need to re-evaluate in the next year or so.

          • Steglitz49

            TS does not need to observe Christen Press day in day out as long as she continues to play well. Last season in Gbg was key for her. Now she builds on that platform. It is likely that wealthy clubs will come knocking on her’s and Tyresö’s door.

            Christen’s role in the NT could easily be that of super-sub. It is a well respected role in soccer since 1970, and some are rightly famous, even with nick-names.

          • Snish

            While Press is a fantastic player, I feel like what she has done so far for the NT is a bit exaggerated. Now, do not get me wrong, scoring 6 goals (was it 6?) in the handful of games she has played is incredibly impressive. However, I feel like this happens with a lot of explosive strikers when they first come on to the NT. Since opponents know mostly jack about them, it’s much harder for them to figure out how to stop Press. The same thing happened with Alex. When she first started, her strike rate was insane. Now, she’s a rare breed in that, so far, she is able to keep a steady high strike rate, but not as high as when she first started. Again, her record at Stanford and her club teams show she is remarkable, but the international, as we know, is quite a different animal. In my opinion, we won’t really know if she keep her level and earn a starter spot until she has played 90 or at least 60-70 minutes for a good number of games. As you’ve said, Wambach is keeping that spot for now. Wambach is a mixed bag for me. There are games where I’m incredibly frustrated with her performance and there are games-like the Canada game- where I’m impressed with her performance. If she doesn’t have that consistently good performance, then she definitely needs to have a reduced playing time. I’ll leave how many minutes she should play to Tom. Cheers.

          • AshleyWB

            I agree with all that, particularly what Engen has shown. I was skeptical about the idea of Leroux in a midfield role a couple of months ago, but I’m coming around to it. One thing in particular that interests me wrt Leroux is when Sermanni plays with the outside midfielders pinched in a bit. I think Leroux is a better a fit for that role than HAO.

          • Elaine

            Abby wants the WC title so I don’t think she will go away just yet, barring injury. I agree with the other post, Abby still plays a significant part on the pitch for this team. She is their emotional leader, she is passing much better now, especially to her faster partner whether that’s Alex or Syd, and she occupies the defense’s attention at all times. These attributes cannot be underestimated, in my opinion. Again, in this game, it has shown that “counterattacks are the US’s bread and butter.”

          • Steglitz49

            It is difficult to see Abby playing a full match in 2015. Most likely, her role will be that of a sub in the last 15-20 minutes.

          • Boston Red

            Can we make the comments even narrower?

          • Christy

            hahaha

          • NYRick

            Hi Elaine. Yes, Abby may still seem to play a significant part on the pitch (emotional, set pieces, occupier, whatever). However, the important part of this discussion centers around a veteran team (in a relatively throw away year) transitioning their young talent properly to the next WC in 2 years. I think what TS is doing with Dunn, Mewis, Brunn and Engen is brilliant and absolutely essential, and will pay huge dividends for this team down the road.

            Where he is missing the boat is at the forward position. Two players of immense natural talent like CP and Syd do not come along often, if ever. Three young talents in relatively the same age range (AM, Syd and CP) will most likely never happen again at the same time for the US team. That of course presents a headache for any coach, but a smart one works it to his or her advantage. You can never have too much talent. Both CP and Syd are being held back severely for no good reason (Abby’s pending record and team status) in my opinion. Abby is a 20 minute player in 2013. We don’t have to wait to 2014 for that. I know you may think I only think CP should start before Abby, but I really believe that Syd should too. She’s badly hurt by all this too. It’s beyond obvious, and people’s assessments of Abby and her current skill set are purely emotional and not very logical. Plus, Alex is trying too hard to over please her. The US often plays 0-0 first halves. This team should never be held goal less in any half with their firepower.

            I know you will 100% agree with me on this. If Alex doesn’t become a starter in 2012 (it should have been way before that), I don’t think this team even medals, let alone wins the gold at the Olympics. It took an all-world game (2 goals, 2 assists) by Alex (Jan. 2012 Olympic qualifier vs. Canada in her first start) for Pia to be convinced to make that change. I wonder if Alex went goal less in that game if we would have not seen ARod all year starting with Abby. That was an average pairing at best. Alex made Abby last year. Not the other way around. CP will make Alex an even better player as forward starters. She needs the same chance Alex got last year.

          • Elaine

            You make good points on who you think should start as forwards. But like I said before until Abby shows that she can no longer contribute to the team, Tom will continue to play her. Will she go for 90 mins every game, maybe not. That’s why we have Syd/Press that can come in as subs. For WC15 I think we have seen the starting lineup. Of course any injury will derail this. And of course Press or even Syd can force the coach’s hand by coming off the bench and scoring goals in crucial games. That is what Alex did in her minutes as a sub… MAKE IT COUNT. The pairing that fans want to see,Alex/Press or Alex/Syd will not really happen until after the WC, in my opinion of course.

          • Steglitz49

            If them pairings have not happened by 2015, then they will not in 2016 neither and after that with 3 meaningless years of soccer infront of her, Alex will have found something else to occupy herself with, even if USA don’t win nuffin’.

          • Elaine

            Not true. Remember the last cycle. WC11 the starters for forward were Abby/Cheney or Abby/Arod. Alex was a sub. But what Alex did as a sub was score a goal in the semi and goal/assist in the final. She contributed immensely for the team coming off the bench. Pia could not ignore her at this point and made her a starter next to Abby in 2012 and thus the Olympics. The next cycle can very well play the same way for either Press or Syd. If they can come off the bench and make a statement to the coach that they should be the starter then for Olympics 2016, one of them will be starting. Which one will it be ? I can see the debate already on that one.

          • Steglitz49

            Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played virtually all his senior career for Man Utd, where he defined the role of “Super-sub”. His nick name was the “Baby-faced Assassin”, which he detested btw.

            Since Gabrowski in 1970 there have been a number of game-changing substitutions, including Henke Larsson for Barcelona in 2006, but Ole Gunnar remains someone extra.

          • NYRick

            I’m a big Man Utd fan and never knew that Ole detested the nickname. Ole is my wife’s favorite player ever. A couple of years ago, I got her an Ole jersey for her birthday. She was hoping he would take over as coach with SAF departing. He coaches their junior teams and was supposedly a rising star in the coaching ranks. I love how he is routinely referred to as “the legend” in Manchester. And yes, he was most of his career just a super sub. But what a sub! That man knew how to steal the big moments.

          • NYRick

            I think Abby has a role at WC15 no doubt if she stays healthy. It’s obvious she certainly wants that to be her international farewell. She won’t hang around for the Olympics, but continue to play in the NWSL for as long as she can.

            But her role should be by next year the latest building into 2015, a half game (45 min) for 2014 and 20-30 by WC. The winner of Press/Syd will then get 60-70 minutes per match at the WC and be full 90 minute players by the Olympics.

            Like you have said though, it’s really an honor to be on team for all these girls (especially the younger ones like CP, Syd, Mewis, Dunn etc.), and any contribution they make is a buildup and a highlight to their careers. I think they all get that. But they have all been stars their whole lives (many Hermann winners), and the competitive nature and really the “strangeness” of being a role player is a difficult transition when you’ve been a star on every team and level before the USWNT. I think what makes the starters on this team is an internal drive to feel that you are the best of the best. That’s what someone like CP or Syd has to overcome and achieve. Alex obviously thought that way and that’s what got her to where she is. That’s always a good thing from a competitive standpoint on the team. Many of the players have said that the toughest comp comes in the practices, which are often intense.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken. Christen may end up as Alex’s sub. (Think like Reserve at Cruft’s.)

    • GirlWithA….

      #1 – Alex is a game changer in the biggest games. So was her performance today a surprise? No…..is it a surprise that she continues to dominate against STRONG National Teams? Yes, even Marta isn’t/wasnt as dominant against the Top 10 teams in the world.

      #2 Sinclair hasn’t shown that to performance against the top countrys game in and game out, mainly since she has no help. I think everyone thinks Sinc is better than Alex since Sinc has better technical ability which is true, but Alex has more pros than Sinc. I will definitely say, Alex beats Sinc on pace, heading (yes I said that and it’s true), clinical finishing, intensity. Sinc just wins on technical ability, free kicks, and umm maybe dribbling? If Sinclair was American…she would be playing attacking mid and couldn’t displace Morgan at forward.

      #2 I kinda get your Abby point but lets remember….every girl against Abby has to go 100% harder into Abby than ANY other player to just and try to get the ball, there are things called momentum and such that helps defenders.

      #3 Syd and Morgan are now Crowd Silencer Sisters!!!!

    • Christy

      1. Alex, I agree, she would have blown it up much sooner if she wasn’t trying so painfully hard to get Abby a goal. At one point I screamed at the TV, ALEX PULL THE DAMN TRIGGER! At some point I will assume Abby pulled her aside and said, just score and so it was. Alex’s shot is fantastic and her finishes are precise and her ability to place a ball in a split second is remarkable. Fact of the matter was that Canada cannot match the fitness of Morgan and the US team, it was a patience game, Alex stayed composed and was prepared to be frustrated which helped keep her settled through the first 69 minutes, I also feel she is calmer on the field with Heath, she has that effect. I wasn’t surprised all three goals came from the right back side of the field, they went after the 17 year old who had a hell of a performance! Fact was after that foot race with Morgan in the 60 something min she was done, she went all out and had nothing left to close the game with which resulted in 3 goals. There isn’t a single player in the world except maybe rampone who can hang with Alex for 90.

      2. Sinc has experience, that is all that separates Alex from Sinc, Alex makes better instinctive decisions, she has an innate ability to see a play unfold before it happens which allows for those amazing finishes. Sinc is great on the dribble, she can maneuver though a crowd with the ball at her feet where Alex bodies players off of her and uses her ability to change direction on a dime tocreate space. Sinc is also a utility player, I don’t think this is something Alex will ever be though her mid field presence has much improved I don’t eversee her with the def skills Sinc possesses, it’s just not in her make up. Fact is I don’t need Alex checking back to the D, any deeper than mid field and we have big problems.

      3. I don’t think Abby is flopping, she puts her whole body into it and is it
      dramatic on the occasion, God yes! Some of those take downs looked pretty hard so let’s be fair. She however looked pretty good, she looked faster than she had recently and was being a great provider. Abby is a pretty selfless FWD in most cases.

      4. Stop it, yes HAO wasn’t very visible but we didn’t need her to do anything more than she did, HAO spent a lot of time checking back in to D and deep mid, she switched sides with Heath because Dunn couldn’t play off Heath’s style which was part of the problem actually because Morgan and Heath both strong Lefties play better off each other from that side. (Note when Mew came on for Dunn that Heath switched back which a few min later we had 2 goals both with Heath in play.) Essentiallyyou had 2 flank players playing out of position to steady a rookie Def. Whoplayed well but made me nervous in the beginning, she is not a left back! Shewill challenge Kriegs but I don’t see that happening for a while, Broon wouldhave been the better choice and she would have kept everyone in their positionsmaking the first half a little smoother IMO. Press well, she played 9 minutes.Again I will stand by Chemistry. We aren’t at practices so we don’t know whatgels and what doesn’t. Press at this point if she’s going to compete it seemsit will be for HAO’s role on the team. Sid and Alex work up top and Syd is finally starting to develop.

      6. KOand Broon are my only acceptable LB starters for the moment tho Broon will be a Center back starter when Rampone retires (no time soon I suspect)

      7. Sydis not my favorite player, as a person she is just cool! But I see her getting better so good for her I like the way her and Alex Gel up top, its seamless asis Alex and Abby, they are an amazing tandem and if you don’t see it open both eyes!

      • NYRick

        Hi Christy, before my reply, let’s lead in with our usual two basic givens:

        1. I like Press. You can’t stand her for whatever reason, which I totally respect.
        2. You love Alex (I mean that respectfully in a player type of way) and feel she can do no wrong (within reason). For the record, I of course think she’s terrific, too.

        OK, glad that’s cleared up. Here we go with some questions I want you to answer honestly taking into account your vast knowledge of the players and the sport. Remember, honesty here, not your feeling towards the players as people for a second.

        1. If there was no Alex or Abby on this team hypothetically speaking, do you think it would be unreasonable to assume that CP would probably have about 25+ goals and Syd 18-20+ as forward starters on this same team with the same personnel in a full season?

        2. As a follow to point #1, would a tandem of CP-Syd, or CP-Alex or Alex-Syd not also lead this team to a 95% winning percentage and the odds on favorite in any big tournament they entered? And also be a hell of a lot more entertaining doing so?

        3. In your heart of hearts, do you honestly feel the best forward tandem as starters currently on this team are Abby and Alex, taking into account chemistry, skill set, leadership etc., even with Abby (forget her record for a second) slow and aging? I know your answer, but just have to seriously ask.

        4. You talk often about “gelling” and “chemistry” for players, and not seeing all the practices etc. All true. But seriously, how are players like CP and Syd going to get that chemistry with Alex without a full 90 minutes on the pitch in international play? Alex’s two goals came from the 70th minute on. And many of her goals have come in the second half of matches and late in games.

        5. Are you impressed with what CP has done in Sweden or feel it’s no big deal? And please don’t say it’s because she plays with Marta.

        6. Before Alex became a starter, wasn’t Abby basically floundering for a good two plus years with the likes of ARod and Cheney as her forward pairings? And you said it yourself in your opening paragraph, doesn’t Alex try too hard, to the team’s detriment, to get Abby goals (her record) and to generally please her?

        7. Most important question: where was Alex without her chance? 10 goals in 27 caps as a supersub. Good not great. Special talents need to be on the pitch. Why can’t the same not be true for CP or Syd for that matter?

        • Christy

          1. Rick, I love
          you, I really do 🙂 But you have to stop making it personal, it’s just not.
          THAT is what upsets me, my assessment of Press is just that based on my
          experience and observation and that is all.

          2. Alex does a lot of things that I wish she’d improve on and based on her rate
          of progress over the last year or so I am confident she will make those
          corrections with or without my criticism, so I don’t feel a need to harp. Most
          of you handle that for me. Does that mean I don’t have constructive thought on
          Alex’s game? No, I certainly do I just understand how she progresses and
          develops after watching her the last few years and I don’t need to address it.
          I can if someone asks I’d be happy to. Alex is my player, i make no apologies
          for it, I may not always agree with how she does something but I’m going to
          support her. Does that mean that when I critique another player it’s because I
          don’t like them? That’s ridicules; it means I’m learning more about them in
          order to critique them. I said back in the beginning of me coming to these
          boards if you recall that, I hadn’t seen enough of Press to say what kind of
          player she was going to be. That still stands true, I can only respond to what
          I have seen through glasses not rose colored. Do I give Alex the benefit of the
          doubt sometimes? Yes, I do, because she has earned it.

          Moving on. I am going to give you my clear glasses opinion, you may or may not
          like it but it is what it is. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me that
          would be like invasion of the body snatchers.

          1. (again), Rick this is an impossible question to accurately answer because hypothetically
          if there is no Abby the entire structure of this team is different top to
          bottom. But for sake of argument I will say this, No, CP and Syd could not do
          it together. they aren’t ready, they would need that anchor player to be the
          foundation for them, it would be like giving 2 kids who had never driven before
          the wheel of a car at 80 mph and saying good luck there’s no brakes on this
          model. With the right anchor in place and an understanding of their roles and
          the desire to fulfill those roles then yes your hypothetical question would be
          possible.

          2. Most of this was answered above, could they be successful, of course, to the
          same degree as we sit here now. No, CP and Syd could not be as productive, they
          are both too inconsistent and the flaws and their areas of developmental need
          are too similar. They don’t complement each other on the field they actually
          play to each other’s weaknesses at this point in their careers. They both need
          a driver not another passenger. CP & Alex, could work and may one day,
          their skills are relatively similar, Alex is much faster but at the end of the
          day with the growth in women’s soccer you need 2 fwds that excel where the
          other falls short and vice versa, this makes the Def have to game plan for 2
          completely different types of fwd which is a near impossible feat. When you
          plan for Alex, there’s Abby, when you plan for Abby, you get Alex the Def gets
          comfortable with one style you can attack them with the other. Alex and Syd,
          again similar styles but Syd has the skills to push back and help out deep at
          mid and high def with the ability to get back FWD in time for a counter,
          something Abby hasn’t had the strength and speed to do, plus Alex and Syd have
          built in Chem which helps.

          3. there is still a need for abby on this team, see above. Not to mention her
          leadership and ability to motivate which Alex will one day be able to do but
          not now not today and people don’t put enough into that aspect of Abby’s game.
          Not to mention the fluidity that Alex and Abby have together on the field is
          something you can buy.

          4. I’m not sure where, when Alex scores her goals is relevant, many soccer
          games are decided in the second half, Alex put in plenty of work as well as
          Abby wearing at the Def until they broke, that takes time and has nothing to do
          with Chemistry. Chemistry can not always be bought with time either. If you
          meet someone you aren’t immediately attracted to there is a much greater chance
          you wind up hating them than loving them if you are forced to date, don’t you
          think? A team is the same way.. Look at football, more time on the field yes it
          could help if there is something to develop but if the love’s not there, its
          not there. Now don’t take that out of context, I am not saying it’s not there,
          I’m saying it’s not immediately there. So to this I say yes more time on the
          field lets see what they have and see if it works. Again I say there is a reason
          it’s not being done and I am fairly certain it isn’t some master plan of the
          man to keep press down. Patience I have preached before, Alex had to wait her
          turn to be a starter she had to spend over a year on the bench but no one
          gifted her a starting position and No one is going to gift Press one either.

          5. Press has shown growth (I have said this time and time again) She needs more
          time and she needs to be willing to put in the work to become elite by uswnt
          standards, she’s on the squad, now she needs to prove she is a starter.

          6. Alex respects Abby, Abby taught her how to handle things Abby taught her how
          to be a starter, a motivator a better player, Alex was a sponge and Abby was
          willing to teach her everything she could. I think it speaks to Alex’s
          confidence that she could get it done at will. Alex will always defer to Abby,
          its a pecking order and it is how it has always been done, but push comes to
          shove Abby and Alex will put the team first they have not shown otherwise. Alex
          still needs a leader she’s still a baby herself, look at the role she has no
          pressure, look at the difference with her on the Thorns trying to be something she’s
          not ready for. It shows and she’s trying to manage it but you can see how much
          more development she needs even by this example alone.

          7. Patience and see my answers above. Pia babied Alex made sure she was ready
          for what she knew she was capable of, and sent her out into the starting line
          up at the right time in my opinion, Alex’s biggest issue was her temper, she had
          to learn to manage it before she could start, Pia knew this and she reigned her
          in and made sure she was growing in the right way, I remember the game Pia sat
          Alex and started syd over a temper issue, Alex was openly none to happy but she
          sorted the issue and Pia never got the notion to sit her again, have faith in
          Tom to do the same when Press is ready, he will do what is right for the team
          not the player and if that’s with Press she will be there and if it’s not she won’t.

          • NYRick

            Hey Christy. Wasn’t making it personal. Was just really joking about your feelings on CP. Sorry you took it that way.:–)

            You make a lot of sense of what you say in your reply as always, and as you know we can disagree on things as fans. I respect your viewpoint. That’s what makes it fun, as long as it stays relatively intelligent and I don’t turn into the Pressasaurus (always a possibility). As a sports fan though, I’m of the belief that as it pertains to young talent, especially really gifted talent, they tend to figure it out on the field. Talking about CP and Syd here. Yes, they will all make mistakes. There will undoubtedly be chemistry and leadership issues about, but great talent finds it’s way. Or as you suggest, it just doesn’t. Mia helped Abby immensely. Derek Jeter helps Robinson Canoe understand how to play the game like a professional etc.

            Also, did you type your response whilst hanging upside down on a bungee cord on the edge of a cliff? It seems to have come out in this strange 2 line (second line with three words) format. Kind of like reading a Japanese haiku poem. Steg will probably make a reference to the Nadishiko here.

          • Christy

            Your not wrong about young talent learning on the fly and for other national teams that is fine but for the US we have the luxury of not having to rush young players on the field before they are ready, it allows coaches to smooth out any undesirable habits that come with youth and a mix of coaching backgrounds. It’s always better to sit back and learn if you have that option. Than to jump in an take a greater chance at failing.

            I think it’s fixed now, I am the worst speller on the planet so when I’m on an actual computer I can copy paste to word to spell check but when I paste it back it does that, then I have to go back and painfully fix it!
            Loll @ the Steg comment!! Gotta love em!
            FYI not on a computer now lol

          • Steglitz49

            Bezirk! Derek Jeter is a star. Even those of us that do not follow MLB understand that. In the same way, some soccer players light up the firmament. In the NWSL, they are at the front and at the back: Alex and Hope. The rest are like those practice cones. Part of the office topiary.

            American girls playing soccer have a massive advantage in that many of the top soccer schools also are the world’s best universities. Granted, few get a full scholarship, but even a partial one will bring Stanford, Berkeley, Duke and UNC within their reach. This is something to treasure.

            Well understood, should much more money flow into the ladies’ game, then the path blazed by Ms Horan will be the new standard — but it might not be an improvement.

            Time will tell whether ladies football will be a game of 18-28 year olds or 25-35 year olds. Glamour will trump age.

          • Christy

            I’ll assume you are talking to Rick, cuz I didn’t mention Jeter. 🙂

          • Steglitz49

            Jeter is still a star. Possibly the biggest in US sports since Michael Jordan.

          • Anton

            Nah. That would be Kobe/LeBron, or even Tiger Woods pre scandal.

          • NYRick

            LeBron is tops. Jeter is bigger than Kobe. Here’s how it goes in the US market: (listed in order of top sports in US)

            Football: Brady
            Baseball: Jeter (still the biggest name, now on iconic level)
            Basketball: LBJ (and he is the #1 global athlete in world, bigger than Messi or Tiger)
            Soccer: Landon (should be Dempsey, be still isn’t)
            Hockey: Crosby or Ovechkin (that’s why hockey’s #5 now)
            Golf: Tiger (probably bigger than ever right now)

          • D23

            Just wondering why you consider LeBron James the #1 athlete in the world? In Australia both Woods and Messi are discussed generally and feature in the media way more than LeBron. Woods especially. Not that Australia is necessarily representative of the rest of the world, but curious all the same.

          • Steglitz49

            I agree with D23 below. LeBron is very small beer in many parts of the world and certainly below Zlatan and Beckham, not to mention Messi. In some countries Cologna, Northug, Berger and Maze cut more ice, never to foget Ali.

          • kernel_thai

            I love how Morgan is not young talent. Press is actually older than Morgan. Both Press and Leroux were much higher on the potential tree for their Youth careers. That being said, if Morgan didnt exist I believe Press would be just as capable of leading the US to a WWC title. They arent the same player but both r elite forwards in the international game. The joyous problem is we have both and Sermanni needs to find ways to get both on the pitch in comfortable attacking positions. By that I dont mean playing Press at AM where she doesnt seem as comfortable for whatever reason. I still favor the idea of playing Morgan and Press on top and moving Wambach back to CM. Yes she’d pick up defensive duties but she has excellent field vision and is a great passer. I think Wambach would relish the role of provider at this stage and she’d still be a factor in the air and on set pieces at both ends. BUT Im a majority of one on this so I guess Ill never see it.

          • Christy

            It’s an idea I had mentioned before having Wambach in that attacking role, I mentioned it back when pia wanted to play the 4-2-3-1 with Alex as a lone striker. Of course that was then. But I’ve thought of her in that role for some time.
            It is funny how Morgan gets shoved into this veteran role when as you pointed out Press is older. With all she’s done so far in her young career we sometimes forget she’s still a developing player as well.
            I still am not convinced that Press will work up top with Morgan, Press’s developmental needs are more becoming a team player than a self achiever, this is a part of her game she will have to improve most on before she can be considered for the role next to her in order for the team to stay fluid an cohievsive.
            Ik ik all you all care about is that she can score
            Some goals and you don’t look at it
            Objectively from a team perspective and press is perfect, I’ve heard it all before but this is the way it is, like it or not, this is what she will have to work on if she wants to be a part of this team. And if you don’t think this is a crucial part of being on a team then you’ve never been on one before.

          • Christy

            Kemel, I’m sure you realize this was not directed at you. Or at anyone specifically . 🙂

          • Steglitz49

            Alex Morgan is total class. All her goals against Canada have been amazing and the one against Japan in 2011 was not too bad either.

            Whether Alex can go to that extra special level that only a few have reached is a different question. I think she can. Go for it Alex!

            With Tobin providing the passes, who can stop Portland now? I would love to see Miss Morgan and Mrs Ogimi playing together in attack. Who has the lolly? Barcelona? Dortmund — except they have not a ladies team. Vow the team that Ogi & Morgi built ….

            How about some All-stars game of NWSL + Asia vs Old €urope could be played. Where? In the Azores or Bermuda? In Hawaii? Failing that, how about Bilbao where 30,000 turned up for a league match recently. Rocky could be the ref. Could we sell out the Nou Camp? Go for it !!! Yeehaw!

  • dt

    In professional wrestling terms what Leroux did was a heel move. I love it.

    • GirlWithA….

      LOL nice

  • kernel_thai

    Im always confused by these games. For 70 minutes Morgan looked like Portland Morgan. Then for two minutes she looked like PotY. For 90 minutes I was hoping to see KC Cheney but got USWNT Cheney instead. Heath looked a little better, still dribbles too much but not into any double teams. I will say the back line looked better. Dunn looked a little tenative and seemed a little confused that the game was happening on her right side, but she handled the ball very well, had a sweet cross to HAO and generally looked like she can handle either side well enough. Engen and Rampone made a nice pairing and Krieger was solid as always.

    • vert2013

      I think the CB’s left something to be desired in the 1st half. Sinc was a little too wide open at times. Heath took a few too many dribbles but it didn’t get her in trouble today. I think one of the issues we had was there were times when Heath or HAO had possession and had no support so they just had to hold it for awhile waiting for someone to get open. Not usually a problem that we see with this team.

    • heremerawr

      I thought both Heath and Cheney did well. Heath’s assist to Alex was great and she would’ve had a second assist to Alex if not for a great sliding play by Buchanan. Cheney connected well and once the midfield gelled in the second half they looked pretty great in my opinion, the diamond formation seems pretty successful so far, although it could still be tweaked a bit. I also was impressed with how well Carli did as a holding mid, considering she’s had games where she’s higher up than the forwards haha. She had a great step over turn on Moscato who was then forced to foul her to stop the cross.

      • kernel_thai

        Carli played great at DM in the Olympics because she tough as nails. I was looking for Cheney to be more attack minded. A lot of what heath did I was expecting from Cheney…that’s what she does in KC and what the wnt needs her to do. Heath has always been a brilliant passer but gets caught trying to beat people instead. Since PSG she seems to be looking pass first which makes her a huge weapon, finally.

        • Steglitz49

          The coach of PSG, Benistiti, built Lyon, though he did not stay to harvest the glory. Whether he will with PSG will be interesting to see. Maybe H&H will be the next American pair to lift the CL trophy?

    • Christy

      Your Fwd’s are only as good as you mid field’s organization and when the D is playing a stifling mid and 5 players back all you can do is wait for them to get tired (as they did) then take advantage. If a team wants to play prevent and stuff bodies in the box there is little you can do to maneuver through that. Canada has next to 0 chances because they were all at D and Mid trying to keep Alex and Abby from scoring, it was an interesting tactic but one many other countries try by attempting to stay in the game for as long as possible especially when they know they can’t keep up with the fitness level of the US team. Objective , stay in the game late then hope you can get a goal and your def doesn’t fall apart from exhaustion.. When Alex took the teenager out to the races she ran the last bit of energy she had left out of her, then pull Dunn for Mewis (another yikes at LB) and Heath returns to the left and the offense attacked Canada’s weakest side a completely exhausted right side.

      Soccer games are much easier to keep competitive in the first half because everyone is fresh and it’s not like Canada doesn’t have some elite players.

      Aside from that this team is hard to start, has been for ages and it starts at the midfield. We are so deep at midfield how hard could it be to find 4 players they gel and a manager to dictate the pace of the game, I think they are putting too much into Cheney, she has been anything but consistent. Heath looked more aggressive, I liked it and HAO was pretty quiet but she was doing a lot of def work. Dunn at LB made me nervous, shes a RB and has promise but it took pulling your flank players kind of out of position to settle her down, she couldn’t play off heath so heath and HAO switched places, I also think this caused some problems up front. Tobs being left foot dom playing into a preferred Lefty in AM, is where it’s at.
      We need to focus less on the FWD position and sort out the Mid, once you have a cohesive Mid you can pick your tandem buddy for Alex.

      • Steglitz49

        I was surprised that Amber Brooks was not played.

        “Some countries can’t keep up with the fitness level of the US team”. Eventually there is a max fitness that can be achieved. For this reason I would say that Norway will be dark horses in WC-15 (provided they qualify, obviously). They are big, fit and the great Even Pellerud is back at the helm. (Rumors that Björgen and Johaug are managing their fitness and Berger is teaching them how to shoot are probably an exaggeration.) I think the Norwegian lasses will surprise us already this summer.

  • John Riley

    Until Canada removed its starting lineup, it was a tense game and the US was largely stymied.

    Herdman is a wonderful coach (I should know since I have been at at least 30 NZ games). However he loves to try out his young prospects even when the veterans want the chance to gut it out. To me this was an afternoon when the veterans should have been allowed to play on. But that is because I wanted to see justice done in the “rematch”. Herdman is always looking ahead and trying to pick his future starters.

    The insertion of a speedy Canadian forward in the second half leads me to a confident prediction. Only O’Hara and Dunn in the current squad have the speed as well as the skill to deal with this kind of threat. Kreiger is an excellent player but if I were advising her I would suggest competing for a center-back slot.

    With speed on both wings and with the strength the US has at center-back, the defensive issues of the last 5 years are eliminated.

    Barnie had a wonderful stop on Sinc. With Hope and Barnie we have the keeper spot covered for now. The competition up front is intense so the remaining issue is the mid-field. There was lots of talent, industry and energy on display but the US does not have true ball handling creativity in the mid-field. We will be excellent anyway but it is the one remaining area where there is an opportunity for a College player to have an immediate impact. But she will have to be really good. I believe the next World Cup starters are already on the squad.

    • GirlWithA….

      Could this be an judas Ali Riley relative? 🙂 LOVE HER!!!!

  • heremerawr

    I’m not usually a huge Abby fan (I just want her to break that record and make way for Syd and Press) but I feel like Abby did a great job today and that it’s been rather understated by other people on the board. I mean, she had two fantastic assists and a great attempt on goal off a set piece. Sure she didn’t score but I was still thought she did a great job. If you’ll look at some pictures of Leroux’s goal celebration you’ll see people flipping her off… A bit ridiculous, although it does help fuel this rather one sided rivalry. And honestly, I’m of the opinion that such a heated rivalry can only make the women’s game better. Also, I’m a big, big fan of Dunn and Engen. Does anyone else think Dunn might threaten KO or Kriegs for a starting spot in the next WC? My bet is on Krieger simply because she’s getting up in her years, if it happens at all. Finally, I was pleased with the midfield minus HAO who was almost completely invisible in my opinion. I think Press should have been subbed in sooner for HAO.

    • kernel_thai

      I agree about Abby. She does so many things well. With the emergence of the young guns she can afford to be a provider instead of always being in the box trying to be the target. I think Dunn will play a big role in Canada 15 tho maybe not as a starter. As time goes on I think ull see Sermanni use her at wing as well and she’ll be the go to sub at all four outside spots. Engen should have 50 caps behind her by now…what a waste of her talents. HAO didnt do much offensively because she’s better out wide. She was solid on the other side of the ball tho. The four middies did a great job defending the Canadian midfield. U can ask where was HAO and my reply is where were Matheson and Schmidt who r tearing up the NWSL. The answer is they neutralized each other. I think the Sermanni era is going to be marked by a coach who out thinks his opposite number. He took Sinclair, Matheson and Schmidt out of the game.

      • heremerawr

        You make good points. If the diamond formation is what TS wants to use going forward than perhaps HAO shouldn’t be a starter, since she’s really more of a winger type player, unless he keeps her for defensive purposes.

  • Steglitz49

    After a weekend when in addition to this victory USA’s ladies U-23 and U-20 won their matches (and the men put Germany to the sword), America must be the big favorites for WC-15. OK, it is 2 years till then and pride goes before a fall and all that, but with such strength in depth it starts to look like ladies’ basket, where top USA players can foul out with gay abandon knowing that the other players are just as good.

    • D23

      True. But you never know. They have looked like favourites many times before and yet have not won since 99. Call me Captain Obvious but it is hard to win a world cup. Everything has to fall into place and you have to be peaking at the right time and minimise any flaws you might have as when facing different opposition over a tournament inevitably one or more teams will naturally, or with great tactical nouse, be able to expose them. Also at least one team tends to surprise with how well they do and can have a lucky day and knock a good team out. In many ways the US got lucky in the last WC even though they lost the final. A number of players made mistakes which could have cost the team matches, and did cost them a match but luckily that wasn’t in the knock out stage. The playing field is becoming more even which means limiting individual mistakes, and I don’t just mean from defenders (I am including missed chances to score) becomes more important. But all that said, the future looks bright.

      • kernel_thai

        Adding a sweet 16 doesnt help either…one more game to play…more chance of injury…more toll on the legs in an already long tournament.

        • Steglitz49

          Today it is difficult to justify those aged 20.

          • D23

            Caitlin Foord won FIFA Young Player of the Year after playing in the WC at 16. What are the Aussies supposed to do? Select weaker players and have Foord or Kerr on the sidelines. If you are good enough you are old enough.

          • Steglitz49

            The comment was in the context of risk of injury. Of course, there are always exceptions. Cecilia Santiago was also 16 in that World Cup. Time for the Boston coach to reexamine her priorities.

          • D23

            Point taken. I think there is, however, a particularly American view of what constitutes a ‘young player’. I am always a little bit surprised that Morgan or Press are still described as ‘young’. I guess it is part and parcel of having a college competition that most players play in until the age of about 22. What’s interesting about this is that sometimes it is used as a justification for holding players out of the senior team because they are considered to be still developing. If that’s the case isn’t there an issue with how college soccer is played if after 4 years there are still elements of the game you have to learn; that there is such a perceived disparity between college and pro soccer. I would have thought that from the ages of 18 – 22. in circumstances where most good players don’t have to worry about providing for themselves as they are on scholarship, that would be the ideal time for a players development to accelerate rapidly. That is not to say there won’t still be things to learn going pro (for the length of one’s career really) but that I am always a little surprised at how big this gap is perceived. Although given they keep producing quality players and are the no. 1 side this point is kind of moot. Side note: I acknowledge that Foord is a real exception but isn’t it amazing to think that on her current trajectory she could be experiencing her 3rd WC at the age of 24.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Foord’s misfortune is that the Australian FA has chosen to play in a more difficult region than they need to. Nevertheless, Australia ought to qualify for WC-15, not least with North-Korea banned, but it is not as easy as for USA or NZ.

            I am not an expert on NCAA rules but they allow more substitutions and players can come off and back on, like in basket and grid-iron, and they play shorter halves. I expect that it is thought to reduce the risk of injury.

            I like the sports scholarship system. I wish European countries would develop that for their schools and varsities.

            Ladies football has to find a way of complementing the men’s. It is the same game but different. I do not think that playing in body-paint would cut the mustard, though it would get rid of shirt-pulling. Maybe it is the ball-control-skills that have to be increased. That which Marta, Sawa and Miyama can do in their sleep, everyone must master. Morgan’s speed, skill, looks and bubbling personality are not enough

          • D23D23DDD

            Well that decision by FFA was made with the interests of the men’s team in mind to avoid the certainty of playing a South American team in order to qualify for the WC. It’s kind of ironic that the Socceroos are now in danger of having to play a South American team anyway given they have played fairly poorly against the Asian teams in qualification. It still burns that North Korea prevented the Matilda’s from Olympic qualification and then suddenly a bunch of them failed drugs tests.

          • kernel_thai

            LOL I think I confused people…by Sweet 16 I was referring to the extra knockout round game as 16 will now come out of group play.

          • Steglitz49

            Some of us confess to still looking at Alex Morgan in body paint, so we are easily confused.

          • NYRick

            You make incredibly excellent points on what the USWNT team considers a “young player.” Of course, 24 is young in most sports too. But take tennis for example. It’s hard to believe that Maria Sharapova is now 26 and considered an old lady on the tour. We all remember her at 17 winning Wimbledon, but that’s been almost a decade already. The Williams sisters are in their early 30s, and Andy Roddick who for me always seemed to be the 21 year old kid to bring back US mens tennis is now 30 and retired. Point is, much like life, sports and player’s careers happen and pass in an eye blink.

            As it pertains to the USWNT, the fact that they can sit players longer and have them develop due to the talent base in this country is both a blessing and a curse. Maybe this is the ceiling for Press when she’s 24/25, not 27/28. Not every player continues to grow, or more importantly stays motivated. That’s where the Abbys, Rampones, Boxxs, Hopes etc. hold the young talent back in my opinion. People, especially women athletes, have to make important career decisions in their 20s if they want to start families (see ARod).

            As great as the fans are on this board here, I do think some are a little delusional (I mean that respectfully) in terms of the thinking that “the young players need guidance out there. They would run around like chickens without Abby guiding them.” Really? This isn’t the first rodeo for any of these girls. They have all been stars, and mega stars at every level they’ve played at. Press probably has a game right now from her combination to European play, and exposure to the talent and practicing with the US team that could be more refined than just about any starter. She is not a raw 18 year old kid like Horan. In that instance, I can see the nurturing and slow process. Keep in mind though that players like CR7 were on the pitch for Man Utd. at 17. That’s Manchester United for crying out loud! Of course, Cristiano is a prodigy, but sometimes they need to play and “figure it out” on the pitch. Their immense talent carries them through. Why isn’t the same thinking implied for CP or Syd. It was for Alex, albeit a year and half late too. This could be the golden era for US women strikers. We may never see 3 relatively the same age, this good at once again. And in an off year, they are being held back for Abby’s record, and in my opinion, ego. Sorry, that’s just the way I see it.

            Sports are changing rapidly. Training, medicine etc. Young players are playing sooner (RGIII, Luck). Five years ago they would have carried clipboards their first two years on the sidelines. Based on many people’s thinking here concerning the veterans on this US team, players in other sports need to pay their dues and develop before their earn their spot. Yeah, OK, so with that thinking I guess LBJ wasn’t good enough to start at 18 in the NBA. I guess Chris Paul couldn’t go right from college to the best point guard in the NBA. Mike Trout should be 24, not the 20 he is to be one of the best baseball players in the world. It goes on and on. Let’s get real everyone. If you want to say it’s talent or they aren’t as good. OK, that’s fine. But experience. Too young? Nope, that doesn’t cut anymore. But it does on the USWNT. A team mind you that really only has 2-3 teams in the world that could challenge them realistically for top honors in any tournament. And it would be a huge upset for them to even lose in those instances. Think about it.

          • Steglitz49

            The USA needs to rapidly create regionalized leagues and a domestic cup. From the regionalized teams can qualify for a Champions League format.

            The population of Mexico, USA and Canada is about as for the whole of UEFA. The number of lasses who play is way more than in Europe. Think UEFA, not like a country FA.

          • Christy

            I don’t know if this is relevant or not but seeing that Mia debuted with the NT at 16 ( i believe) Abby didn’t join the NT until after College and Alex call up to the senior team came her final year at Cal, I think it’s interesting the goal to games ratio for both Abby and Alex (keeping in mind Alex’s still very young into her career.)

            I suppose I bring this up because I think it shows the US is more inclined to let their players mature at the right level, it is very common players who are too young can be easily overwhelmed and get injured or injure someone else because while they may be super talented the game was just a little too big for them.
            This brought the purpose of the U-17, and U-23 teams, you get to develop and get int experience before you are thrust into a much faster paced level on the biggest stages of the game. Not that a rare phenom doesn’t deserve to get brought in and tried out, but that would need to be something really special I think. Part of the US’s success is that all of the players who take the field, even the young ones carry themselves like veterans, they have been brought along slowly enough that you have far less mistakes at the highest level, Immediate impact.

            I am not against bringing a 17 year old in if they are a prodigy, but even then, they should spend more time learning from the older players then playing, i think they could be really special doing it this way.

  • Anton

    That Buchanan is only 17? Mercy. Someone might not be going to college and instead earning six figures in France…..

    Even though she didn’t do too much, this team is so much better with Carli in the lineup. To me it’s no coincidence that when she was out the central midfield was hurting. The group of Carli, Cheney, O’Reilly and Heath stood up very well against Canada’s 5 man midfield, especially Carli and Cheney. Anyways, I didn’t really like the condensed diamond 4-4-2 because too often I found Tobin and Heather too central, leaving the outside backs potentially on an island. A team with speed out wide like France or Brazil will notice that and exploit it. Canada decided to truck their way through the middle with Scott and Matheson and as I said above, Carli and Cheney stood tall.

    Those were two very Thierry Henry esque finishes by Alex by the way. McLeod gave her pretty much nothing to shoot at and she still found a way to place that to the far post. She doesn’t have the best shot I’d say, but she can probably place it better than anyone in the world at this point. Which is just as good IMO.

    • kernel_thai

      I think if he is going to play his wings tucked in like that it vital that his FBs get forward. The three he has (KO, Krieger & Dunn) r all fast enough and offensive minded so he may make it work.

      • Steglitz49

        Norway quite often play 4-3-3 and when pressing the attack go into 2-5-3. Maybe a model for USA to consider given the wealth of their talent?

      • Anton

        Getting forward is not the problem. It’s getting back.

        If Krieger and O’Hara/Dunn shoot up the pitch to join the attack and the winger isn’t there to cover defensively, that has all the makings for trouble if we lose possession, especially with a team like Japan that feasts on counterattacks. I have no problem with a diamond 4-4-2, we have the perfect personnel for it, but I just don’t think the tucked in wingers is the best option. Against Canada it can work because my grandmother can run faster in heels than the Canadians can, but against teams with more pace, I don’t foresee it working out.

        But I have been wrong many, many times before, so why stop now.

        • kernel_thai

          Sundhage featured the same formation with wide wings. The result was they were over matched in the midfield and had a great deal of trouble linking with the forwards against good teams. The new system hopefully allows them to connect passes thru the the midfield instead of reverting to direct route one soccer. By only sending the ball side FB forward they still have three backs to deal with the counter attack. Of course they r always going to be vulnerable to counters because they play their line so high.

          • Anton

            I don’t disagree. But to be clear, I have no issues with sending the fullbacks forward, I just found it worrying that when Krieger or Dunn moved up, Tobin and HAO were either right next to them, or nowhere to be found.

            Sure, every team is vulnerable to counters, but you need to limit the chances when the opponents can outnumber you on the counter. Giving acres of space on the flanks is dangerous, IMO.

            In the end, that’s what friendlies are for, to try new things and learn, bringing out a narrow formation against Canada will always work, as their gameplan is to blow up the middle, give the ball to Sinc and let her go. But as I said above, I don’t think it will against a more technical or pacey side.

          • D23

            I agree with you. It is one of the reasons I still have my doubts about KO as I am not sure she retreats quickly enough. Not worried about Krieger. She is rarely caught out like that, in my opinion, because she is smarter about it. Good defending is just as much about the mental as the physical (maybe more). I think the problem can stem more from the mid-fielders. Both Tobin and Pinoe like to freestyle on the field which has good and bad elements. They drift all over the place which is how they create chances in attack but can leave the team exposed on the flanks. HAO is generally more disciplined I think but yesterday was not really a great game for her in my opinion. In fact I forgot she was out there for a while. I also don’t think the backline will necessarily press so high against a more dynamic opponent, whether that dynamism stems from ball movement of a pacey front line.

          • kernel_thai

            The pinched diamond doesnt favor HAO as much as having her wide. Her offensive game is very one dimensional. What I liked about it was the way it created space on the side lines. They didnt take advantage of the space as much as Id like, partially because both Dunn and Mewis r still very tentative about letting someone get behind. They do have a huge advantage in the speed of their back line now. Krieger and O’Hara r fast…Engen is faster…Rampone and Dunn r blurs. If they cant get back and cover no one can

          • Anton

            My main issue with O’Hara is that she’s still a forward at heart. She’s always going to want to stay up on the attack and try to get a chance. Her playing all over the place for Sky Blue isn’t helping either. What is she, a LB, a wide mid or a forward? She can’t be all three. Versatility is good, but switching positions week in and week out is not.

            Dunn, to me is the future (and perhaps present) LB of this team. Not O’Hara. Kelley is the perfect player to have on the bench though. She can come on for anyone in any situation.

          • Steglitz49

            The SkyBlues are 3 points ahead of Portland at the top of the table and have a better goal difference. What is your concern?

            Clearly if the left back moves up in attack, the left midfielder has to drop back and cover. Norway ply 2-5-3 in attack from time to time but most ladies team play 4-4-2. What is missing seems to be a mid-field general, a sort of Bobby Moore or the Kaiser.

        • NYRick

          Maybe your grandmother can run faster in flats. But heels? C’mon, that’s pushing it. Although, I think Dunn in heels could outrun three-quarters of the Canadian team.

    • Elaine

      Can someone tell me what is the reason for playing a “diamond” 4-4-2? Is it to give more support to the centermids or is the attack going forward more productive from the rt/lf backs? From previous games that I have seen from the US team is our flank players making runs down the sidelines and creating plays into the box. Didn’t see much of that in the 1st half. Play was basically down the middle of the pitch and we didn’t push the midfield of Canada to play out wide.

  • heremerawr

    Oh, by the way, I REALLY enjoyed those white kits we were rocking. The centennial jerseys look sharp.

  • Callie

    Sydney’s celebration could have been way worse. The way people are reacting it sounds like she lit a Canadian flag on fire. I think the crowd deserved what they got from her, plus she was shushing everyone from Twitter and the Qualifiers last year too. Good for you, Syd. We love you!

    Side note: Everyone saying CP is going to be a sub for the next few years, why can’t we switch to a 4-3-3 or a 3-4-3? It’s not out of the question for TS I don’t think, maybe he’ll change his tactics and start Morgan, Press and Wambach up top or Morgan, Press and Syd with Wambach as a sub. Abby still wants on the team and yes, she is a leader, but how much longer can she be a starter? She wants to be a starter for the WC in 15 but we’ll see if that actually happens. It’s a long ways off. But still, I think we have the players to do a formation with three strikers up top.

  • Christy

    Why do you all insist on comparing a 2nd year starter and 23 yer old player still developing to players who are retired or deep into their NT careers? that is like comparing Apples to Apple Pie, yeah maybe they are both good in their own right but one is not the same as the other and they are both in different stages of what they are or will be or have been. You choose. Just stop and think before you draw a comparison, if Alex was perfect at 23 something would be really wrong.

    How can this girl put up 2 goals with fantastic finishes and you people still don’t think it’s enough. If she scored in the 1st minute of the game you’d say the Def broke down, she should have scored inside 30 sec. If she scored before the half, you’d complain she should have scored in the 20th min. If she hadn’t scored at all you’d have called her a fraud, my God i have never seen such irrational ppl of late, let’s get back to intelligent conversation please.

    And Leave poor Abby alone, she is still Elite she still helps this team and she will still be instrumental in the dev of your precious CP and Syd too, so stop it! There are 2 years before the WWC, the next year and change is about development of players and seeing what’s out there at the same time keeping your starters polished and supported.

    *exhales* Yes before you ask, I feel better!

    • D23

      The comparison is inevitable when you have only 2 places on a team for strikers (presuming the current formation) and there are more than 2 players who could fill them. To be honest I don’t think anyone in their right mind (well there may be the odd exception) would consider dropping Alex. But there is a legitimate discussion about Wambach’s role in the team going forward given the incredible talent on the bench. Personally, this time last year I was highly critical of Abby and thought she should play far less minutes. But I have been impressed with her in the NWSL, I think she is dropping a bit deeper and this has added more dimension to her game than I have seen in awhile. And you are right the intangible stuff is not irrelevant but as people outside the team we really have little idea how much of an effect this has or the true value she really brings in this sense. And it is hard to ignore Press because she is a different kind of talent than what the US currently has. Quite special actually. Interestingly I actually think this may make it harder for her to break into the side rather than easier but we will see. My broader point anyway is that this kind of discussion, that is how do we give all our great players the right amount of playing time, is a lot better to be having than the ‘where the hell are we going to find more better quality players’ discussion many teams are faced with (See John Herdman).

      • Christy

        Oh I couldn’t agree more, I said somewhere in another post that we have the luxury of allowing our younger players to develop without having to throw them out there and hope for greatness.
        I don’t see anything wrong with cutting Abby’s minutes especially for these friendliest that are more for young player evaluation than anything. Play her keep her engaged but let one of the prospects get minutes and grow without the pressure.

        • Steglitz49

          It takes a lot of confidence and judgement to experiment in friendly matches, including losing some big, yet when the chips are down your team will play well (even with injuries). To my mind, TS does not experiment enough — but he is the coach of a major NT and I am not.

          In this case, beating Canada seems to have been TS’s priority. Without Alex Morgan he would not. Her marketing value must have risen a notch or two, though in a week when the US men defeated Germany, who in USA cares?

          • D23

            In my opinion, this match against Canada was a special case. Not necessarily because the US were caught up in the whole ‘rematch’ thing but because this was a real taste of what the WC-15 will be like and in that sense it was important to beat the home side and dent their momentum a little. Sinc played the game of her life in London and without a repetition of that, which even for a great player like her is not going to happen all that often, Canada will struggle against the US. That being said there genuinely appears to is a vocal contingent of fans and journalists that consider any loss for the US ever unacceptable so experimentation is fraught with some difficulty.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

            Sasaki got an earful last June and also after this year’s Algarve cup. Who want’s to be an NT manager? (Ask Jogi Löw.)

          • kernel_thai

            He is paid well enough to get his ears cleaned out.

          • Steglitz49

            I am persuaded that Norio Sasaki is confident that he will be remembered in the same breath as Herberger and Schön, though unlike Zagalo and the Kaiser he did not win the World cup as a player.

            I hope that Norio can go on to something even greater, though, apart from President of FIFA, I have not the foggiest.

          • Christy

            Your right, a loss for this squad is world ending, but I think we have enough depth on this team to evaluate young talent without fielding the pitch full of rookies. The frame work for the 2015 WWC is laid, we just need to put the few other pieces into place and we have plenty of time to sort that out. I think the biggest shuffle will be at midfield, we have so much talent, now we need to choose the best 6 say including reserves? The ones that play the most fluid and have the best connection with the fwd’s. You don’t have to choose between Syd, Press , or Abby to put along side Alex, I am sure the majority of everyone can agree Alex should be there all goes well. You can take 3 fwds and your odd man out can be a utility player for midfield which means you can do with it what you want. Left Back is a question mark and this point, we all like KO there but she is still developing at that position. Then there is Dunn who has potential but is no where near Kriegers level of play.
            Another question will be a huge decider, What about Boxx, Rampone, and possibly Lloyd, I personally think box will retire before the 2015 cup, which leaves a open spot for a middi, Rampone, I don’t know, the way she is going at 40 I don’t see why she couldn’t still be a starter, so then is it engen or broon to her left? hmm.
            Thoughts?

          • D23

            I agree that DM is the big issue. I like Lloyd and I think she brings a lot to the team but I am not convinced she is a DM. I’m not necessarily unconvinced but not convinced either. Johnston is an option but an unknown still really at this level. I wonder about giving Krieger a go there. She ticks a lot of the boxes and played midfield in college. But I am hesitant about taking her from fullback. Moving a player from a position they excel in to one they are maybe not as good at even if they are the best option there may still result in a net loss. Another potential option I’ve heard suggested is Sauerbrunn. Yes I agree its the time for experimentation. Unfortunately you need to be playing a pretty strong side to really test out all the elements of your defensive midfielder’s game and that is not on the horizon at the NT level anytime soon.

          • Christy

            I think it’s interesting that the 2 players you mentioned are Defenders when the pool at midfield is so deep.

            Are you thinking that from their experience level? Personally, I would like to see this back line should Rampone retire Kriegs, Broon, Engen, KO ( at least for the immediate with Dunn and Buel coming off the bench) If rampone doesn’t retire before 2015 then, Kriegs, Rampone, Engen, Broon (KO and Dunn coming off the bench) I really hope TS’s experimentation with Mewis at LB is over, she looks lost and completely disengaged back there, her body type isn’t right for the position either and she looks slow, clearly made for midfield, though I think we were really playing with 5 in the middle when Dunn came out whether intentional or Mew just instinctively. She had to check back only a couple times thankfully and her BFF was seen on a couple of occasions back there giving her a hand.
            Mid I feel like Tobin has been being groomed for the attacking mid position and I am interested to see what role she assumes on the thorns (flank or central) she has the skills and the fluidity with at least Morgan I am not quite sure about the others because she is always playing that left flank. The couple of times she played in the center I thought she did pretty well. Carli should move over to Boxx’s position when she retires at holding as long as she is still playing effectively, I really find her more consistent than Cheney at least in the last several games or is that just me? Course depending on the opponent I’ve seen Cheney as the better option over Lloyd or even Heath at times if she is on her game.

            Pinoe and HAO can fight over the flank positions with Mewis and Press depending on the opponent they can rotate that starting line up.
            Up top a healthy Abby and Alex Morgan, with Syd subbing in for Abby early second half depending on the score.

          • kernel_thai

            This is the year to do two things…add new faces to the mix and tweak the system. He used this friendly against a strong defensive team to try out a change in the formation. If ur gonna do that, u need to play ur starters. I think it was time well spent. The new system worked well in some regards, tho like any system, good coaches will adapt and find ways to attack it. I expect he will go back to his two squad approach for the South Korean brace and then ull see the new faces get full games.

          • Steglitz49

            If the US men’s game continues to improve, the NWSL will hang in the balance. The USAWNT have got to bring home the World Cup in 2015, else it is curtains.

            TS has his task cut out for him like nobody else. For the health of the ladies’ game around the world, let’s hope they deliver the goods.

      • Steglitz49

        Canada is one of the world’s richest countries (in the top 10 by one scale and top 15 by another) and with a population of 35m should have no trouble developing quality players.

        Your point about experimenting in peace-time is well taken. It is what Sasaki does and helps to account for the meteoric rise of Japanese ladies soccer (even if they are treated like dung by the JFA). At this stage the coach must use all the substitutes allowed in a friendly, and no player should get less than 15 minutes of fame.

        Before WC-15, Asian and European teams have a whole host of serious tournaments in front of them. What has the USA? The NWSL. Hopefully it will be enough

  • EbaJ

    I think Krieger will be starting for several years. She is still the best right back out there and she is healthy and in shape. as far as speed I have watched her deal with the best in Germany and with players like Marta. She has no problem mixing it up with the best in the world. What could happen is that she might move to the middle if Rampone leaves to provide the steady hand in the middle.

    • D23

      What do you think about giving her a shot at defensive midfield?

  • joey

    It’s crazy and sad to read people comment about the Canadian crowd in general being “classless”- people have to remember here that the hate was coming from people in the canadian supporters group the Voyageurs, and maybe a few idiots scattered very sparsely throughout the 23k crowd that was in Toronto.- That group is small and limited to the south end of BMO field, exactly where Leroux turned and shushed them. Most people I was sitting around had no idea who she was and had no part in booing her.

    As a Canadian, I loved Sydney Leroux’s celebration. It was perfect to put those people who scream terrible things at her in their place. It’s been 8 years now, and although you don’t have to like her, those individuals who call themselves canadian supporters should stop all forms of hate, whether it be on twitter, through insults in toronto, or through racist chants last year in vancouver. — it is embarrassing they call themselves Canadian supporters, because I sure don’t want them in any stadiums the CanWNT play in.

    Further, I hope that the people who choose to hate Leroux take John Herdman’s post game comments to heart and leave her alone, and respect her talents as a soccer player.

  • Steglitz49

    The comment fields contain an interesting debate, the premiss of which is that Christen Press deserves to be in the starting line-up of the NT. Few would disagree with the proposal that it should be possible to find a role for Ms Press in the NT.

    The field seems to be divided in its opinion of whether Christen starting would be at the expense of Abby, Syd or Alex.

    It would be interesting if The Equalizer could open a book on who thinks what and so on. Maybe readers could be asked to nominate their NWSL all star team and their USA NT?

    • pakacuda

      As I mentioned somewhere in that superlong train of comments, I think the best solution is simply for Sermanni to open up the competition a bit more, especially between Wambach, Press, and Leroux. (Morgan has outright given the best results over the last 18 months and she’s young and still developing, so you need to give her all the minutes.)

      It sounds simple but who knows what kind of politics and emotions are involved. However Wambach is tough and I think she’d be willing to fight for her spot, as long as she is given proper respect. Meaning, she has the longer proven record so naturally she should get more benefit of the doubt. She should certainly not be asked to “transition off” yet. But Press and Leroux should be getting at least 20-30 minutes a game, maybe rotating them bewteen forward and midfield.

      One thing that has proven NOT good to do is put Press on the wing, she looked out of sorts and admitted in her blog to feeling lost. If she’s in the midfield she should be an attacking central midfielder like Sinclair on the Thorns, and replace Cheney or Lloyd. As I’ve said elsewhere Press totally reminds me of Sinclair in every part of her game. It seems patently obvious that if Press or Leroux go to midfield Press should be in the middle and Leroux should be on the wing.

      • Reality

        Given the unlikelihood of Wambach tapering her playing time in the near future, I think your suggestions re: Press and Leroux make a good deal of sense. It will give them valuable exposure and experience thus keeping up their morale and motivation. When the time comes to realign the team, they will both be better equipped to raise performance to a higher level.

        • Steglitz49

          Ms Press played last season as a striker. Essentially she plays the same role this season. The manager would have to play her out of position as I understand your model. This can be done but why not simply pick someone playing for their club in that position?

          Game-changing super-sub and reserve starter might be optimal given the circumstances.

          • Reality

            As
            Sermanni said about Press in the Netherlands post-game interview, ““She’s just
            a natural goal scorer. She just seems to get into goal scoring positions and
            her finishing is good. She’s a predatory striker…” (Notice, btw, that he used “predatory”
            not the derogatory “poacher” that some are wont to do in their commentary). As
            you and others have implied re: Press’s situation, timing is everything. She
            should be playing in the striker position but Morgan got there first thanks to
            Sundhage and Wambach will be hanging on as long as she can. So the question
            becomes how to use her most effectively for the good of the team. One could make an argument either way. Given
            the log jam at forward, using her as a super-sub/reserve would enable her to contribute
            in a limited fashion in the short run. But it wouldn’t give her the minutes
            needed to fully develop her skills within the NT structure in the long run. If
            she was played regularly as an attacking central midfielder, it would allow her
            to utilize all her technical ability that she has gained in the European
            theater in service of creating assists and goals. It would also expand her
            range as a player and give the team her creativity for 90″ instead of
            20″-30″. She, of course, will continue to be a striker at Tyreso along
            with Marta (which is arguably one of the best forward lines in women’s soccer)
            and refine her abilities there. The challenge for her in this scenario would be making the
            physical and mental transition back and forth between the two positions. It is
            at best an unsatisfactory compromise either way and doesn’t serve her or the NT
            well, but, as was said, timing is everything in life. Much will depend on what
            happens with Wambach.

          • Steglitz49

            Your points are well taken. The issue for the coaching staff is that there are not enough quality international games to develop Christen in a role different from a striker, such as an attacking midfielder. It might work, but if it did not Sermanni’s name would be mud.

            America’s headache is defense. That is why I do not understand the absence of Amber Brooks unless she is ill or injured.

          • Reality

            Even though Sermanni is blessed with an abundance of talent offensively, he will ultimately have to make some difficult decisions. I don’t envy his position but that’s what they’re paying him to do. Defense is a whole other complex discussion.

      • Steglitz49

        The manager’s headache is, as others have already pointed out, that there are less than a handful of teams that can give the USA a run for its money and provide true tests.

        Worse, there is no tournament of comparably even quality as the AFC or Euro for USA to play in. Finally, with their 12-team leagues, domestic Cups and the CL, the top players in Europe get a lot more serious matches in a season than do those in the NWSL.

        TS i the first USA manager to pick several players based abroad, two of which are long since established NT members. Pia tended to stick with Ali Krieger but she was highly successful.

    • Short_Change

      I’d like to see Press get more starts and more minutes, not necessarily penciled in as a full time starter just yet (although that may happen eventually). If she doesn’t start I’d like to see her enter matches earlier than the 82nd minute. The World Cup will be even more grueling with more teams making it a bit longer. The forwards will need to be rested at times so plenty of minutes to go around. I’m still waiting to see how Press and Morgan operate up top together.

      • Steglitz49

        Verily. In the matches where she does not start, Christen ought to come on at about 60 min to weave her magic.

        There is great honor being a substitute who wins the game. Tactical substitutions has been part of the game since 1970, and some are remembered to this day. I can think of three.

  • pakacuda

    Wow, 200+ comments, very entertaining to read. If nothing else Leroux, Morgan, and Press are bringing a whole lot of fun to U.S. women’s soccer, it could be an amazing era…