Major changes define USWNT’s first 2016 camp

Jeff Kassouf December 31, 2015 856
Jaelene Hinkle (left) and Sam Mewis are back in camp with the USWNT, which is decidedly younger than it was six months ago. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Jaelene Hinkle (left) and Sam Mewis are back in camp with the USWNT, which is decidedly younger than it was six months ago. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

With the New Year brings more change for the United States women’s national team. Just 16 of the 23 players who helped the U.S. win the 2015 World Cup will be part of the U.S.’ January training camp ahead of 2016 Rio Olympic qualifying in February.

Of the 26 players in U.S. camp, 14 have 30 or fewer caps. The camp will take place in Carson, Calif., from Jan. 5-21.

Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Lauren Holiday and Abby Wambach all retired. Christie Rampone underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left knee before Christmas and will be sidelined four-six weeks, according to U.S. Soccer, and Megan Rapinoe has begun rehabbing the ACL which she tore in early December. Additionally, forward Amy Rodriguez is pregnant with her second child and will miss “a large part of the year,” according to U.S. Soccer.

Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, who just joined Portland Thorns FC after playing last season with Avaldsnes IL in Norway, gets her first call-up since 2013. She played with the Western New York Flash in 2013.

Mallory Pugh, who will turn 18 in April of 2016, earns her first call-up to the senior national team. She is one of the youngest field players called into the full U.S. team in the past 15 years.

The average age of this January training camp roster is 26.1 years old, down from 29.2 years old at the World Cup, where the U.S. was the oldest team. Helping lower that average age are the likes of Jaelene Hinkle, Emily Sonnett, Sam Mewis and Stephanie McCaffrey, all of whom are youngsters who saw action during the U.S. victory tour in the fall. Wisconsin junior Rose Lavelle and 2015 NWSL Rookie of the Year Danielle Colaprico are also back in camp with the United States.

Pugh, the most recent captain of the U.S. U-20 team, joins some elite company as a teenager in camp with the senior U.S. team. Heather O’Reilly debuted for the U.S. a few months after her 17th birthday in 2002 at the Algarve Cup. Rodriguez debuted at the 2005 Algarve Cup just a few months after her 18th birthday, and Lauren Holiday first trained with the senior team a few months before her 18th birthday in 2005. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell, who will be a senior at Stanford next fall, was a member of the United States’ January 2013 training camp as a 17-year-old.

The U.S. women play Ireland on Jan. 23 in San Diego. Twenty players will make the roster for Olympic qualifying, which takes place in Texas from Feb. 10-21.

GOALKEEPERS (4): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

DEFENDERS (8): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Univ. of Virginia)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (PSG), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)

FORWARDS (6): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Sydney Leroux (Western New York Flash), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)

  • VaFan51

    Let me begin that I mostly like this group very much — there are some very deserving newbies in here, especially Colaprico, Mewis, Sonnett, and Franch, all of whom deserve the opportunity. But…
    I very definitely do not like the inclusion of Pugh, not because she is not a good player (who is going to be a great player), but who is more likely to be of potential use to the WNT in 2016 — her or a more established high-quality player? I am thinking particularly of the Pinoe-sized hole on the left side and the availability of players such as Ohai, Huerta, and Gilliland, each of which is a demonstrated NWSL star with lots of experience on the left.
    Thus far, I have not bought into the theory that Coach Ellis is disdainful of the NWSL, but this sure seems to support that criticism.

    My New Year’s resolution to be more tolerant of coaching decisions just got more complicated. Grrr…

    • Steglitz49

      The coach that wins the WC has freedom to move. A coach like Sasaki, who gets his team to a second WC final, is close to a football god.

    • Cc W

      The way I look at Pugh is that she may not make the team, but they can coach her and show her what she needs to do going forward. This type of move has happened before – I’m not reading too much into it.

    • Breakers fan

      Not to mention, re: Pinoe-sized hole on the left, Kristie Mewis, a natural lefty. Add Christine Nairn to that description as well.

      Although I too question the Pugh inclusion to some extent, congrats to her! A great moment I don’t think we should spoil, if she is reading these comments – which is probably unlikely.

      • LadiesinCleats4

        I think Ellis is banking on Pinoe making it back in time….or at least it seems that way!

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        While Rapinoe is surely going to be missed in her absence, I really doubt any of those players (or others who have been mentioned like Ohai or Tymrak) would start on the left over Tobin Heath come the Olympics.

        • mockmook

          But, there should be a back-up right?

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            Three wingers at the World Cup (Rapinoe, Heath, O’Reilly), three at the Olympics (Dunn, Heath, O’Reilly). Other players (O’Hara, Klingenberg, Press) can cover in an emergency situation. I can’t see the hole in the squad that others here seem to be seeing.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe he does not rate Meghan and Christen Annemarie.

          • mockmook

            Yes, the OG roster will have to have “holes” by design.

            But, for a camp, shouldn’t you bring in at least two “specialists” at each position? What if Heath goes down, too?

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            I guess you could make that argument, particularly when there are 4 goalkeepers in the camp when only 2 will be selected. But equally I don’t think not having a 4th choice is a hole on the left of midfield, its a minor oversight at biggest.

            For what its worth I hope Ohai gets a shot at some point and maybe Tymrak could earn another, but I can’t see them being important players for the US until both Rapinoe and O’Reilly move on from international duties.

          • HOFCToDi

            Jill Ellis likes McCaffrey not Ohai or Tymrak.

          • kernel_thai

            But why? Here’s ur homework assignment. Pretend ur Lee Billiard and call up Houston and KC. Tell them u wanna swap McCaffrey for either Ohai or Tymrak. Get back to us when the laughing stops.

          • Steglitz49

            Vlatko might well let Tymrak go. He has to reengineer the team now anyway, with both Lauren and ARod gone.

          • Breakers fan

            I think you underrate McCaffrey to some extent. Just 2 guys with 2 opinions. There is a reality out there, but not sure either of us is in perfect touch with it.
            That said, I’m all for Ohai getting a call into camp. Nothing against Tymrak either. I like her dribbling abilities.

          • Steglitz49

            The camp can’t be infinitely large. The smaller it is the better.

          • Breakers fan

            I’m fine with 29 – may take cutting some who are now in, plus adding 3 after those cut(s) are made but they’ve done 29 in the past, why not do it again? Just my opinion.

          • guest

            Very little player development goes on at these camps anyway. It’s pretty well guaranteed for example that HAO will run up and down the flanks in a dogged fashion, as she has done for her entire career. But player development?? Pfft. If they were really interested in player development, they would bring in younger players, and develop them, but they have a tenure system, not a development system.

          • kernel_thai

            I have several problems with McCaffrey but none of them make me think she couldnt be on the NT. She has talent and everyone loves the way she takes on. The question is what has she done to deserve continuing camp call ins? When players who dont seem to have earned it get put above other players who have better resumes’ u have to wonder why.

          • Breakers fan

            I hear you. She had a good college career – averaging close to a goal or an assist a game in 4 years in the ACC (over 30 goals and 30 assists and she missed some time with injury) but I too would have hoped for a better rookie season than the 3 goals and I think 3 assists she had. But that’s just one season.
            To explain her present situation I think you have to consider the training camp last Spring. What she did in that combined U-23/NT camp really impressed the coaching staff, evidently. I think it’s as simple as that. One can disagree with her inclusion but if you want to understand it I think you look no further than that.

          • kernel_thai

            I agree she made an impression at that camp but that was before her so so Breakers season. She was also the featured player for the Breakers so it isnt like she lacked for chances. The question is why did a camp impression count more with the coach than a 20 game season. When the Dash played Boston at the end of the season Ellis was there and it was rumored she was looking at McCaffrey and Ohai. Neither did anything to write home about and McCaffrey only played a half because she was coming off an injury. Now u could say if Ohai had knocked it out of the park it might have been the difference but Ohai had a much better season as just the 3rd option in the Dash attack and it was all seemingly discounted.

          • Breakers fan

            Right – the lack of effect, importance the NWSL season has. There are other examples of it too, I think. Was Ohai on that U-23 team that went into that camp? If so, it could be they didn’t like what they saw there all that much. Just trying to figure out why she isn’t being given another look. I hope it’s not in some way personal or political.

          • nwslfan

            Janet Rayfield and Steve Swanson have Ellis’s ear?

          • mockmook

            Saying what?

          • kernel_thai

            Swanson and Waldrum have both recommended Ohai for a call in. Im sure VA recommends KC players and down the line. The question is if Ellis truly looking to bring in young players why is she depending on video and recommendation when she can look at them in camp against other NT players?

          • nwslfan

            Many things Ellis does are puzzling. I don’t think she listens to nwsl coaches. I also don’t think Ellis would do well as nwsl coach.

          • HOFCToDi

            There exists a contingent on this message board banging the drum for Ohai and Tymrak.

          • mockmook

            Damn, I knew that secret would get out!!!

          • Steglitz49

            Tymrak is a waste of effort. Ohai is worth banging for.

          • dw

            Not completely sure. While I am not a fan of Tymrak per se, I do see her as a lesser version of Pinoe. Brilliant at times, invisible at others. Granted Pinoe shines much brighter, has done a lot to contain “Dark Pinoe”, but that’s still a part of her. Tymrak has something of the same mercurial quality. Some days she looks like an elite forward; other days, not so much.

          • Steglitz49

            She was unlucky. She went on loan to Germany and got injured and meanwhile the train left the station. Selecting an American WNT is like selecting a pan-EU one: options galore.

          • kernel_thai

            Tymrak has defensive issues to be sure but if ur just looking for a player in a back up role who can keep the offense going after Heath comes out u can over look some short comings.

          • Guest

            Well I would figure that the US will be ahead most of the time when Heath and Dunn come out. If they are ahead I would prefer a sub like KO who can keep up the press and help lock down her wing. If they are behind I would prefer players like Ohai and HAO who are going to stretch defenses and play solid defense themselves.

          • kernel_thai

            Well I would have had Ohai in two years ago even if all I needed her to do was give me lock down defense and torture tired legs at the end of matches. The question isnt whether Tymak, Ohai or MadameX isnt the right person to add to the team, the question is why isnt Ellis bringing them in to find out they arent right. It isnt like she gets to see them every week and continues evaluations. She basically looked at some film over the summer and decided who deserved a chance to make this team.

          • Steglitz49

            JE pays her money and makes her choice. As head coach she is god.

            Tymrak and Ohai have their supporters, just like Christen Annemarie and Crystal do. JE has to look at the larger picture.

          • Guest

            I agree that they should be brought to camp but I am not Jill Ellis all I can give are reasons why I think she made the choices she did. KO and HAO on as subs for Heath and Dunn would be solid for OG16. The biggest problem Pinoe’s injury presented is the limited flexibility the team now has at left outside mid. KO played LB in 2012 so one would think she could play LM reasonably well although I wouldn’t expect a ton of offense from her.

          • Steglitz49

            Lindsey Horan can play left outside mid (attacking) as well as #9. With Lindsey in the squad there may be no worries.

          • kernel_thai

            They could have been brought in in groups during the VT. There was no reason to keep bringing the same players unless she decided on them before hand.

          • Breakers fan

            I agree. I wonder if bringing in 26 vs. 29 was a move motivated primarily by money, a perceived budget? As in “bringing in 3 more players will cost us X amount of money?” I sure hope not.

          • Steglitz49

            More likely JE wanted to keep the squad as small as reasonable and 26 is OK. No need to go to 29.

          • Breakers fan

            Disagree strongly. What’s 3 more bodies in a pool of 26 or 29 when one or more of the 3 may surprise your socks off and change the future of the team?

          • Steglitz49

            Why stop at 3? Why not 5 more or 7 more?

          • Breakers fan

            Ok, maybe. Of course there is some limit. This is an important camp – it’s the first and probably only chance many will have to get a look pre-Olympics, and it is one which tells us about their evaluations of the NWSL season and its players– that is what is guiding my thinking of wanting a few more. Didn’t some others in the NWSL – playing over 20 games that are available for viewing impress enough to get 1 camp look?

          • Steglitz49

            Why no Katie Stengel? Why no Chioma Obugogu? Why no Gina Lewandowski?

            Why Ali Krieger?

          • Guest

            I think the camps need to be kept somewhat smaller with so little time before the Olympics. After the olympics are over it will be much easier to evaluate many more players.

          • Breakers fan

            So 26 is the right number for you? I’d go with 29 considering the players who were left out of this one. I’ve never run a camp though, of course, so I don’t know if there is some “tipping point” of manageability.

          • Guest

            I would be fine with 30 but I’m not the one in charge.

          • Breakers fan

            That’s what I was saying too – 29 or 30.
            So you’re not Jill Ellis? Darn! 🙂

          • dw

            U$$F is putting all that cash into scouting dual-passport players for MNT. All those European 5-star resorts, and caviar via room service don’t come cheap. No $$$ available for bringing in more young women who won’t displace the vets anyway.

          • HOFCToDi

            Must be the impending Hawaiian lawsuit. Now if Klinsmann wasn’t so vastly overpaid …….

          • John

            I really don’t understand the Gulati/Klinsmann love-in. He is not a tactics or strategy guy. Results have gone pear-shaped since the WC.

            If the USSF is serious about re-engineering the youth system in the US, why not get the likes of Johann Cruyff involved as consultants to help it happen? Without his vision and work, there would be no La Masia. Or swallow their pride and go to Europe and see how the Juventus, Ajax, Southampton and Barcelona academies are structured.

            I struggle to see what Klinsmann brings to the table for the USMNT. TBH, I always did. It’s why I never wanted him near the Liverpool job.

            I think Bruce Arena could have qualified the US from their group at the last WC.

          • guest

            Hear, hear. If there were some intelligent life form in charge of US Soccer, he would be fired.

          • kernel_thai

            And dont forget it was defense that one the cup. The offense is still missing and now set pieces, a strength of the team is in question. Maybe Ellis should be adding players who can and will defend.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Pinoe does not seem to shine so much when she is playing for club. Why do you think that is?

          • mockmook

            I thought she was outstanding in the last two NWSL Finals.

          • Steglitz49

            They lost. Remember.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Surely a single individual should not be blamed for her team’s loss?

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            I meant her play overall, througout the entire season.

          • Cc W

            Seattle’s offense is so diverse with Kim Little and Jess Fishlock it would seem Pinoe isn’t shining, but she sets up a lot of opportunities for Little and others. Just because she isn’t scoring big numbers, her impact is felt.

          • guest

            A lot of the NT players barely show up for NWSL games. Morgan and Lloyd for example have almost no impact on their league games. It may be they’re just not that interested, since all their fame and most of their income comes from the NT. Many probably consider league play a chore, something to be avoided if possible. Look at Krieger missing a playoff game to attend a wedding. If call ups were based at least in part on league play, they might show more interest.

          • Ethan

            I actually thought Alex was quite good during the 2013 NWSL season, especially in the stretch of games before her knee injury, she had bright moments throughout the 2014 season, and she contributed stats wise in her last two matches in the 2015 season. My thoughts are definitely subjective though. However, I can’t see how you could objectively even suggest that Morgan was “just not that interested”. It seems like quite a few people equate below par/not standard finishing with not being interested. Morgan has never given the impression that she’s happy with misses on good opportunities. I don’t pay special attention to Lloyd’s play in the NWSL, but I doubt that she gives the impression that she’s “just not that interested” either.

          • KCFan

            Tymrak did well in the NWSL final, getting fouled twice around the box, including one that should have been a PK. She wasn’t the most fouled player in the league for the second year in a row for nothing. She has quick feet and is a dangerous weapon in the last third of the pitch, and a smart coach would know how to exploit this advantage.

          • Steglitz49

            It is only a PK if it is inside the box — and the ref must see it and see it that way. Ask the Japanese.

          • KCFan

            Tymrak was dragged down or tackled repeatedly in the final by Seattle’s highly touted defense, due to her quick feet. Go watch it on youtube. She’s not the most fouled player in the league for nothing! Two years running!

          • Steglitz49

            I did not dispute that she was dragged down or tackled repeatedly. I only noted that all PKs are not awarded. Some are awarded in error too.

          • dw

            Around the box counts, also. Ask the Germans.

          • TsovLoj

            The “for” helps, but I’d still advise a different word choice here, reading this as an American English speaker.

          • kernel_thai

            Bang Bang.

          • kernel_thai

            Drags out soap box. The problem here isnt who makes Olympic roster. The problem is how it’s decided who gets a chance. What I wanted to see was a bunch of players brought in and given a chance to earn spots based on practice and game performance. What I got was a hand picked group of players brought in again and again. That hand selected group will then compete against veteran players for any spots that might be available.

            News flash. If I made a list of US DMids Lindsey Horan wouldnt be at the top of the list. Steph McCaffrey isnt the first forward I would pick if I were starting a team. The purpose of this is to assemble the best team possible.

          • mockmook

            But, I believe that you want that “best team possible” to carry over time. So, sometimes, it behooves you to pick a slightly less capable younger player who you expect to turn into a “star”.

            But, you’re right, for DMs I’d pick players who actually specialize in defense (but who can still handle offensive duties). The players are out there.

            Unfortunately, JE thinks offense will ultimately prevail (even if WWC15 tried to teach her a different lesson).

          • Breakers fan

            Your first observation above is very interesting and insightful, and it very well may be one that guides some decisions. Here, the Mallory Pugh invite. And it makes some amount or maybe a lot of sense. But you better be pretty darn sure about a player to enact this philosophy, for each time you make a move in this direction you’re stopping a more tested player from possibly getting their first and maybe only look.

          • Guesting

            Selection is by committee, Ellis, assistant coaches, YNT coaches, etc.

          • Steglitz49

            But at the end of the day the Head Coach decides.

          • kernel_thai

            They recommend as do the NWSL coaches. It then becomes a matter of weight. Based on the pattern of selection it seems the youth development people have the most pull. It’s also a factor that Ellis came from development. If we’d gotten an NWSL coach things might have skewed that way.

          • kernel_thai

            Oddly, in this case, the same people who dont see the potential in Tymrak likely never would have brought Rapinoe on the team. Rapinoe is the poster child for taking a flyer on technical, creative players who have other issues.

          • HOFCToDi

            To compare Tymrak to Rapinoe is a complete joke.

          • kernel_thai

            To compare early Rapinoe to current Tymrak isnt that much of a stretch.

          • HOFCToDi

            Rapinoe was too busy rehabilitating from two ACL tears earlier in her career.

          • TsovLoj

            This. That’s exactly what I see in her. Ohai I’m not so sure, but Tymrak I want to see get a serious crack at the NT.

          • John

            What has Tymrak done to deserve it? She was no great shakes in the NWSL last season.

          • kernel_thai

            Obviously, tho u may be right, that isnt the criteria Ellis is using. Of all the new call ins this fall only Dunn and Colaprico has done anything to deserve it. The rest r there based solely on evaluation. A better question is why havent the ones who have done something to deserve it generally not called in.

          • nwslfan

            what you say is true, but Ellis has stated publicly that she is not about developing players, they must already be developed to get NT callups. This flies in the face of the Pugh callup, etc, but Ellis also seems to have a keen interest in purportedly showing that the youth system can actually develop players, for which there is very limited evidence of same, exhibit 1 being Michelle French teams.

          • mockmook

            Many of JE’s words are contradicted by her actions.

            I can’t decide whether this is purposeful deception or whether she actually believes what she is saying at that moment.

          • kernel_thai

            If she doesnt want to do in house development she should shop at the NWSL not college and the youth teams.

        • HOFCToDi

          Left flank – Heath, O’Hara
          Right flank – Dunn, O’Reilly

          O’Hara can play both sides of the pitch, as well.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            Yeah. And O’Reilly set up the NWSL championship winning goal from the left so she’s hardly incompetent if anything should happen to Heath and O’Hara.

        • Breakers fan

          I agree they probably wouldn’t start over her but I think they could be valuable players to have on the bench, thus deserve a call into camp.

          • kernel_thai

            Yes, especially because Heath has never been a 90 minute play on the NT tho Im not saying she couldnt be. She has usually been in a rotation or first player subbed.

    • mockmook

      While I’m sympathetic to the sentiment, isn’t Gilliland the only one of those who regularly plays Left OB or OM?

    • kernel_thai

      Ellis needs to get a job coaching in Europe where she wont have to pretend to watch the NWSL any more.

  • Nicole C.

    Congrats to ARod on Shilling #2. Things just got complicated for FCKC.

    I am (less than) okay with Pugh getting an invitation. Similar to what VaFan said below, if she was included at the expense of a Pinoe replacement then Ellis has lost me yet again.

    Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen 29 players invited. Why only 26 this time around?

    • Steglitz49

      Verily. ARod has her timing to perfection, like Dorin Habert and Björgen. Let’s hope for a girl this time.

      Only 16+2 for OG so no need to test too many and give false hope.

      • Nicole C.

        I’d normally agree, but the rosters for other events will be slightly larger. There were 20 players on the 2012 OQ squad and hopefully there will be around 23 spots for the “Four Nations” tournament.

        • Steglitz49

          I would have junked Harris and Naeher and reached down into college for a goalie. I would have dropped Krieger even during the victory tour.

          • JL

            Oh, brilliant idea. Let’s just throw away experienced players in a position where experience is huge for a bunch of unproven college kids.

            You are dumb. That is dumb. I am through.

          • Steglitz49

            Neither Harris nor Naeher are trop drawer material. If Franch’s knee is properly healed, they will not see pitch time if there is any justice. Her injury gave them their chance and they have not convinced this typist.

            Might as well bring a new talent into the fold now.

          • Cc W

            I’m good with bringing in another keeper – competition and also looking toward the future. Naeher is younger – Solo will likely retire after Rio, so you have to look at the future – Harris is 30 already.

          • Steglitz49

            I expect Hope to try for 2019. Franch is younger than Naeher but has been injured. That is why i want JE to look into the college ranks.

          • Calci0

            Kopmeyer?!?

          • JL

            Kopmeyer hasn’t really been tested that much in NWSL because she’s had the benefit of playing behind Seattle’s strong back line. And she’s had an inconsistent season for Brisbane.

          • Cc W

            I like Kop a lot- I would have liked to see her get a call up, but Franch has more international experience which helps her get the nod. Maybe after Rio. It sounds like she’s had some ups and downs down under, but good for her to play more games.

          • Cc W

            Jill is going to make them compete – if you want to keep your job, you better bring it.

    • Breakers fan

      Like any fan I love what Pugh has done so far, but if you’re going to go young at forward, to leapfrog someone like Savannah Jordan who scored, I think 17 goals in the SEC is too much of a leap for my liking. Good thing is they will certainly get a feel for Pugh’s level of abilities compared to the other NT players.
      I totally agree with those who have posted disappointment with Ellis and co. not calling in a few more players. Don’t see the downside to having a look at a few more prospects.

      • Steglitz49

        How old have you got to be to win a WC? Iwabuchi was 18 and Kumagai was 20 when she slammed the last nail into the coffin.

        • Breakers fan

          Point well-taken. Jordan though is either 20 or 21 and has 3 years of top-level college experience under her belt – something Pugh does not have. Maybe she is a sort of wunderkind, or wunderkid, – we’ll see.

          • Ethan

            Pugh over Jordan may have something to do with the fact that Pugh has notably more youth NT experience (U-17s and U-20s) than Jordan has. (At least I believe she does.) While I would have loved to have seen Ohai get a call-up ahead of Pugh, I’m not too worked up over Pugh’s call-up because she appears to be just as much of a playmaker as a goal-scorer based on what I’ve seen from her so far, and I love seeing that in forwards.

          • Breakers fan

            I know Jordan played on several youth national teams – not sure how often or if her Florida commitments interfered with any other potential events. I have only seen Jordan in 1 or 2 games so I am far from an expert on her game. I’m just looking at the fantastic scoring numbers she put up. I also don’t know how good of a passer she is.

            I generally am from the “reward those who clearly have great potential and who have paid more dues at higher levels” school. Nothing against Pugh – she’s been great and this will be a great experience for her. The inside people have seen her a lot more than we have so I guess we just have to trust their judgment here. I’m just empathizing with older players who must feel frustration at not getting called into camp – even if they play year round like some have been doing. (K, Mewis, C. Nairn) or others yet to be seen in national camps (Ohai, Kallman, Barnes, maybe others)

      • mockmook

        I won’t quibble with Pugh — neither she nor Jordan will or would make the OG roster anyway.

        Also, if she uses fewer players to actually give them meaningful, extended looks; I’m OK with that, too.

        Criminal to exclude Ohai. Gilliland and a LM (Tymrak?) should be there as well.

        But, we need to give JE kudos on the amount of (nearly) fresh faces. I’m especially happy to see more of Horan and Lavelle.

        • kernel_thai

          I still think it’s a smoke screen. When the actual OG roster comes out in the Spring Id be surprised to see many new faces except among the alternates. I think u get a replacement for Holiday (Horan) that u wouldnt be seeing if she hadnt retired way early. I think u get Dunn who now painlessly slides into the Rapinoe vacancy. Probably the best outsider at this point is Sonnett as Rampone is always hurt and Engen never sees the pitch.

          • mockmook

            My predictions, but I do think JE might drop Hinkle and/or Sonnett in favor of S.Mewii and/or Lavelle if they impress:

            GK: Solo, Naeher

            Defenders:
            CB: Sauerbrunn (M), Krieger (M), Johnston (M)
            FB: O’Hara (M/F), Klingenberg, Hinkle

            Midfielders:
            CM: Brian, Horan, Sonnett (D)
            OM: Heath, Dunn (F/D), O’Reilly

            Forwards:
            Lloyd (M), A.Morgan, Press (M), Leroux

          • Breakers fan

            Gonna predict for now that this is exactly right.

          • mockmook

            Speaking of predictions:

            Didn’t you STRONGLY imply that Ohai was going to be selected for camp — WHAT HAPPENED???

            You weren’t just toying with my very fragile, Ohai loving, emotions were you?

          • Breakers fan

            No, don’t remember doing that at all. I was hoping she would be …………………ok, now I know what you’re talking about. It was brdn08 who mysteriously did not name a player who HE thought would not only be invited to camp but would end up being a key player in OG16. I was just the guy who tried to figure out who he was describing: one Kealia Ohai, if we were right and I think we were.

          • mockmook

            Hmmm.

            The ol’ blame brdn08 gambit.

            I’ve got my eye on you….

          • Breakers fan

            I’ll, I’ll show you where he lives, he’ll back me up……uh….I’ll find the post….I’ll quote it….just give me a minute….uhh…

          • kernel_thai

            I was absolutely floored that neither Ohai or Tymrak was brought in. Ellis needs a reality check if she thinks all is well on the left. I was a bit surprised that neither Lavelle or Colaprico got a run out there against China just to see if they could help with the wide situation.

          • Breakers fan

            The K Mew and Nairn exclusions – lefties for the left! – is what floored me. That’s 4 good, experienced midfielders left out.

          • HOFCToDi

            Nairn was called up during the Victory Tour for the Brazil friendlies. Jill Ellis probably did not like what she saw.

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks. I did know that. I guess I have a higher opinion of Ms. Nairn than Ms. Ellis does.

          • guest

            not calling in Ohai, Tymrak or other potential left midfield replacements for Rapinoe is perhaps due to Ellis holding a spot open for potential (even if unlikely) Rapine return – kind of like Ellis in the WC cycle not calling in DM’s and holding a spot for Boxx

          • kernel_thai

            If that is the case, and ur list is pretty solid, u would think she’d be using Krieger a bit at CB.

          • HOFCToDi

            Ali Krieger has yet to play a single minute at the centerback position since Jill Ellis was appointed head coach of the USWNT. Jill Ellis sure is hell bent on providing Emily Sonnett as much playing time as possible, at the expense of Whitney Engen.

          • kernel_thai

            Well she had half a season there for the Spirit in 2014

          • mockmook

            It’s more about keeping the list balanced in my head.

            But, I’m sure she would play Krieger there in a pinch.

          • Breakers fan

            didn’t notice the CB part of Krieger. I was just going on the WHO rather than the WHERE when I said this will be exactly right.

          • mockmook

            Betrayed again…

          • Breakers fan

            hey! The CB part ain’t crazy – who cares what letter you put next to the names – not like you have to divide the defenders in some exact way. That said, I’ll betray you once more: Sonnett will only play defender at the Olympics if she plays, which I think she will.

            So, if you move one of your midfielders to defender (Sonnett) does that open a midfielder slot? Not necessarily, but if it does who gets that spot in your opinion? Lavelle? Colaprico? Someone else?

          • mockmook

            Yes, yes. I am well aware that the positions don’t quite match.

            I’ll stick with all the names on my list (as you said, the labels really don’t matter).

            But, if it gives you some comfort, you can move Lloyd to the CM list.

            Being serious for a second, my thought was that these are how you would have to shuffle players around if you have someone go down in a game. And, these are positions these players have played.

            Plus, it makes me happy to see a “qualified” DM (Sonnett) on my list — though I agree she won’t get a sniff at anything but CB.

          • Steglitz49

            Lauren Holiday did not “retire way early” as you put it. She retired at a sensible point in her life. Horses for courses.

  • ForeverLOST108

    The team loses their best flank midfielder and Ellis decides to only call in 4 players that can play wide? You’d think that this would be time to checkout Tymrak and Ohai right?

    • Steglitz49

      JE could have dropped HAO but decided not to. You win the WC, you call the shots.

    • Terry Lash

      Agree, especially because there does not have to be a limit on the number of players invited into camp. This is a missed opportunity that I do not understand.

    • HOFCToDi

      Kelly O’Hara provides positional flexibility as a flank midfielder. Crystal Dunn provides positional flexibility as a flank midfielder.

      ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/latest-roster

      O’Reilly
      Heath
      O’Hara
      Dunn
      McCaffrey

      Jill Ellis loves her new pet Stephanie.

      ussoccer.com/players/2014/03/15/05/01/stephanie-mccaffrey

      ussoccer.com/~/media/images/wnt/players/mccaffrey-stephanie/mccaffrey_stephanie_2015.png?h=458&w=683

      • Breakers fan

        Good point about flexibility. Though Ohai supporters would say she can play forward and midfield, but not defense like O’Hara and Dunn.
        About McCaffrey, sorry, but is it necessary to call her a pet? She’s a person and player just like anyone else. Ellis likes all of the players she called in – not sure why she is getting singled out here. She’s played well when she’s gotten in, by and large.

        • Steglitz49

          too perfect teeth?

        • HOFCToDi

          Every coach has their “pet projects”.

          • Breakers fan

            Ok, but to me that is basically implying – correct me if I am not interpreting you correctly — that Ellis is biased, is exerting favoritism, and is not seeing McCaffrey for what she is, which is a description of things that I don’t agree with.

          • HOFCToDi

            Favoritism? I’m not of fan of Lindsey “molasses” Horan whatsoever. I thought the Abby Wambach era had concluded.

            ussoccer.com/~/media/images/wnt/players/horan/horan_lindsey_2015.png?h=458&w=683

            Chipmunks across North America are jealous of the storage capacity of those cheeks.

          • JL

            That’s a pretty rude comment. Criticizing a player’s ability is one thing, but don’t attack their appearance.

          • Steglitz49

            He is known for his boorish comments. had you not noticed?

          • JL

            Oh, that’s rich of you. You thrive on making boorish comments.

          • Steglitz49

            I put it to you that I do not make personal attacks and vile comments directed at identified persons.

            Also, when I spot such attacks, I hit back at the boors that make it.

            Where are StegWatch and StegWorld when the ladies need them? Useless.

          • Bye

            I would much rather have someone criticize my appearance than suggest that maybe I need to quit and get married and get pregnant. But maybe that’s just me. Go home Steglitz.

          • Steglitz49

            Home is where the bears roam — and jolly cold at the moment because the heating crashed and no-one wants to work till Monday.

          • JL

            I’d prefer neither. It sucks that female players have to be judged on their looks just as much, if not more, than their skills, while male players don’t have that problem.

          • Guesting

            Well he is a rude person, one lacking any credibility.

          • nwslfan

            your assessment of lack of speed is too simple for the game as it is now played. Horan has mad skills and great field vision. Skills and vision so good, she was bumped back into midfield. Midfield may not be right fit, as players need a super high engine to dominate midfield. as for the comments on the face, I have no kind words.

          • HOFCToDi

            The entire Brazil Women’s National Football Team was dancing circles around Horan including a 37 year old Formiga.

          • nwslfan

            Formiga’s awesomeness, true. the rest of your statement, not so much. .

          • Cc W

            Horan can improve – and I expect she will with more time with the team and high level competition. Horan is going to be fine.

          • HOFCToDi

            No thanks!

            If the USWNT wants a true defensive midfielder, it’s time to call up Andi Sullivan and just stop screwing around.

            nscaa.com/news/2015/12/2015-ncaa-division-i-women-all-america-teams

          • mockmook

            “If the USWNT wants a true defensive midfielder”

            Perhaps you have spotted the problem: “If”.

          • mockmook

            Jill Ellis likes Horan not Sullivan.

          • HOFCToDi

            Once more, you can stop sucking up to Jill Ellis with regards to Lindsey Horan.

          • mockmook

            Jill Ellis likes Horan not Sullivan.

          • kernel_thai

            I wonder why Sullivan doesnt rate a look.

          • mockmook

            The same reason all these don’t get a look:

            Brooks
            Huster
            Killion
            Laddish
            Nairn
            Winters
            Hahn
            Roccaro
            Westphal

            etc.

          • JL

            I thought she might be one to call up, but she was very underwhelming at the most recent U-20 WC.

          • HOFCToDi

            Your assessment of the lack of defensive ability of Lindsey Horan is glaring. Jill Ellis has not adequately replaced Shannon Boxx since the inception of her tenure nor has adequately addressed the defensive midfield position.

          • mockmook

            So, don’t throw away Horan (put her in an attacking role). Then, field the DMs that are needed.

            http://drawformation.com/post/5685d36d8525a/sm-5685d36d8525a.png

          • HOFCToDi

            An one way ticket back to France is the solution to the Horan debacle.

          • kernel_thai

            Horan will work out or she wont. What they need is a plan B. What Im afraid of is we get Horan whether she works out or not.

          • Steglitz49

            Please withdraw your comment.

          • HOFCToDi

            themommy-files.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks-soundtrack.jpg

          • Steglitz49

            Capital. Which one is I?

          • HOFCToDi

            You are the one on the left

            thesharkguys.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/three-stooges4.jpg

          • Steglitz49

            The one with glasses? May i wear contacts from time to time — at least when I am out on the pull?

          • mockmook

            My left or Moe’s left?

          • HOFCToDi

            Steglitz49 and his German troll buddy are in the grasp of Moe.

            thesharkguys.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/three-stooges4.jpg

            “Why I oughta!”

          • dw

            Oh, a wiseguy, huh?

          • Steglitz49

            He does overegg the pudding, doesn’t he?

          • HOFCToDi

            Your left

          • Cc W

            Horan is a bit of a project, but has potential playing holding mid – I like her addition.

          • Breakers fan

            It seems as if Horan may be a starter going forward. Her great game recently I think really caught the eyes of coaches and fans alike. nwslfan described things well below. That said, whatever drills she can do to work on her quickness I do agree is advised.

          • HOFCToDi

            Trinidad & Tobago? Tomato can heaven. Give me a break.

          • Breakers fan

            But the passes she made showed splendid touch – that is undeniable. The ball doesn’t know the names of the teams. You still have to execute. Like you, I want to see her play against tougher opponents, but I was impressed with her ball skills and field vision. She’s lighter on her feet and more nimble with the ball than I had previously thought.

          • Ethan

            Completely agreed on Horan’s passes against Trinidad & Tobago. They were simply superb, especially her two assists. However, she didn’t really stand out that much against China, and I imagine matches against France, Germany, and co will be even harder for her to stand out in and will test her defensive abilities far more if she continues to play as Brian’s midfield partner. So, I’m definitely not as harsh on Horan as HOFCToDi is, but I do get where he’s coming from.

          • HOFCToDi

            Who cares about yet another Caribbean Cream Puff? Horan did not do crap against China.

          • Breakers fan

            I would need to re-watch the game and focus on Horan to really comment on this evaluation, but keep in mind that at D-Mid you tend not to get flashy stat-line results that often, as I’m sure you realize. Most of their play is unflashy stat-less passing. I do want to look at that goal China scored against us again – I know you’ve blamed Horan for it so I want to see if you’re right. I’ll go look for it.

          • HOFCToDi

            Morgan Brian has splendid touch.

            Where was the defensive coverage from Lindsey Horan on the goal China scored from literally the center of the 18 yard box?

          • Breakers fan

            I know Brian has that touch as well.

            Will have to go back and review that goal to see if Horan in particular can be held responsible.

            No one makes those passes every game.

            Just try to be clear-eyed, honest and fair when assessing her, please. No need to be on a wild-eyed crusade. If you care about the team above all you’ll be happy if she turns out to be a good addition. Not that she is above criticism, but she is also, of course, not below praise.

          • HOFCToDi

            It’s been over 18 months since Jill Ellis has been hired and yet Jill Ellis has not adequately replaced Shannon Boxx in the defensive midfield role. Lindsey Horan is not the second coming of Michelle Akers let alone Shannon Boxx.

          • Steglitz49

            Meanwhile she won the WC.

          • David K Anderson

            Ellis pretty obviously devalues the dedicated d-mid role. She doesn’t call them into camp, then wedges someone who plays elsewhere into the position and hopes for the best. Brian isn’t a d-mid. Horan isn’t a d-mid. Where in hell are Winters, Huster, Brooks, etc…?

          • HOFCToDi

            I would have preferred if you had listed the following alternatives:

            Colaprico (2015 NWSL Rookie of the Year)
            Killion (2012 U-20 USWNT)
            Laddish (2012 U-20 USWNT)

            At least, Colaprico was called up for the annual winter training camp.

          • David K Anderson

            Thus the “etc.” I’m sure either of us could add names to those six. Point is D-mid isn’t a position Ellis values enough to call up a player who specializes in it.

          • HOFCToDi

            At least Danielle Colaprico played the defensive midfielder position for the Chicago Red Stars during the 2015 NWSL Season. There is hope, slim hope.

          • mockmook

            Except in this case, it was CRS who pushed an offensive oriented mid to DM. JE’s machinations were done for her.

          • Breakers fan

            Funny – I was JUST thinking about this….I wonder if the NT kind of instructed CRS to play her at D-Mid, in an act of long-range forecasting.?Namely, they, Ellis and co, saw that the NT was weakest at D-Mid, and seeing a lot they liked in Colaprico, they wanted to get her some significant time in at that position? It happened in KC , when K.Mewis, a lifelong midfielder/forward started out as a defender there because that’s where she’d been playing with the NT at the time. Ditto Dunn at Washington.

          • kernel_thai

            And this is another point of contention. Brian is 22 and was developed for a more attacking role. She was pushed back behind two vets like Lloyd and Holiday but now she has been pushed back again for the Horan experiment. Wouldnt they be better off finding a #6 and moving Brian to #8?

          • Breakers fan

            Excellent point. I feel bad for Brian — unless she’s taken a shine to this new position. I have to think she’d prefer playing where she played at UVA. Why is this happening? I think it’s because Jill is a bit freaked out about the DMid spot and she recalls with great fondness Brian’s play in those last 2 WC games, especially the Germany game. She wants, needs someone good there and she now knows Brian can do the job, though one could question if, physically, she’s really built for it. All that being said, I agree that it’s a shame Brian hasn’t been, to date, given the same time as Horan at that #8 slot. Question: I didn’t zero in on where Horan and Brian were exactly in those last few games – was Horan *clearly and consistently* playing higher up in the field than Brian? In other words, they’re not being used in a horizontal line but rather are staggered? With our team, though, as you know, when you do something really good, like Horan’s very good passing vs T&T that tends to solidify you at that position for a good while. Jill alters things slowly if success occurs, as I see it.

          • mockmook

            I’d have to rewatch the game, but my foggy impression is that they switched off.

          • mockmook

            I think it is a double pivot (dual 6’s).

            Of course there are better ways to use all these players — that’s what we have all been screaming about since day 1 of Operation JE Overlord.

          • Guesting

            Give us all a break! You are becoming very tiresome.

          • Steglitz49

            “becoming”? he always was.

          • mockmook

            I’d put her as an attacking mid where a lack of quickness wouldn’t be much of a defensive liability.

          • LadiesinCleats4

            She’s a cute girl but I’m definitely more interested in what’s behind the smile and what she can do with her feet and the way she was spraying balls across the field…yup. I’m very pleased to see her in January camp!

          • TsovLoj

            If she can get Portland out of the doldrums I wouldn’t care if she looked like Batboy from the tabloids.

          • dw

            What you fail to understand (among other things) is the concept of complementary skills. We don’t need more track stars. We need something different. Horan has that, plus versatility. I’m not saying she is the final solution, but she is good in the air, good on the turn, has a good volley, in other words a reasonably impressive skill set. Why do we need more fast? What we need is more effective. And with how our forwards underperformed in 2015, fast hasn’t been the answer either.

          • kernel_thai

            One of my main complaints about Ellis (I have a list somewhere) is the smarmy way she conducts business. She wants Horan to be the DMid so she gives her plenty of field time to learn her craft or fail. She wants Dunn to be the right mid so she is doing the same. Yet for the WC build up Dunn got no time at all. So is the roster crafted by how players perform or predetermined by Ellis who then controls how much chance the players get to earn a chance?

          • Breakers fan

            I think the WC is a special, unique circumstance because it was the last and only chance she had to give a thank you – which you initially pointed out was based on financial reward in addition to being able to say “I was on a World Cup winner” — to several players – as has been discussed here many times. So there I think you’re right – that was predetermined and Dunn was the unfortunate fall gal.

            But that being over it’s a whole new ballgame and the present deserves its own analysis. She’s given Horan – is it 3 now? – games at DMid – and it seems to be going well, by and large. We’ll see if that continues. What led to that decision we could speculate on but it’s probably a combo of her ball skills, vision and touch as witnessed in camp.

            On the whole I’m with you, though. I wish more players got looks. I think we can afford to do that in this country and with our program. She’s a limited risk taker.

          • Steglitz49

            When the dust settles, will people truly remember these 2015ers? The 99ers will stay in people’s minds for a long time to come.

            In spite of the 2015er playing in both the 2011 and 2015 finals and winning OG gold in 2008 and 12 — 2004 for a couple too — we do not think of them as a “golden generation” — to borrow the Japanese term of endearment — but as “Veterans”.

          • Breakers fan

            Yes, I think so. Especially girls aged 5-20 now – these are their ’99ers, their athletic heroes. I can only speak for myself as far as the older generation goes. I was at the Germany game in Montreal so that will always be a cherished memory. Sasic’s miss; the foul in the box on Morgan and then Lloyd’s PK conversion; and then the incredible Kelly O’Hara goal. Then Lloyd’s final – these were memorable happenings. I agree that the ’99ers had a more mythological air to them – they seemed more superhuman, God-like (Goddess-like) – maybe that’s what you’re getting at. It was a different time. Now we see our heroes thoughts on twitter. We can even write to them and it will probably get read by them. It used to be more mystical, untouchable, distant, the relationship of fan to player.

          • Steglitz49

            Yes. Familiarity brreds contempt.

            Also, the 99 final was a close thought thing right down to the final kick, a bit like the 2011 final.

            In 2011 there was a superstructure like in 1954. This was missing in 2015, a ladies WC preceded by quite some acrimony — the turf war, the biased draw and, less for the US, the bumping of Sweden in favor of Brazil, to name but a few.

          • Keithustus

            Note that we can always rely on Steg to interject the Swedish WNT into a conversation for no rational or justified reason.

          • mockmook

            And the Japanese.

          • Keithustus

            Sure, but they’re actually worth discussion since they’ve won and placed well in major tournaments in this millennium unlike the Swedes.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Slow down there, Homer.

          • Breakers fan

            Hey, I praised your Ellis pre-game “Sonnett”, remember! 🙂

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Oh I haven’t forgotten.

          • HOFCToDi

            Jill Ellis believes it so blindly that she’s going to sacrifice the opportunity for other players to compete for the defensive midfielder position. Yet another square peg, round hole scenario. Reference Christen Press as a flank midfielder.

          • dw

            I agree, but it’s not just Ellis. This has been SOP for USWNT for years. They shoehorn players into non-natural positions because of raw ability. Then if they don’t stick, it’s the player’s fault and they are passed over. And if they do stick, they stay up in lieu of players who, although they might have less raw talent, are nevertheless more effective at the position where the need is.

          • Steglitz49

            Pia turned KO into a left back. That can’t have happened overnight.

          • HOFCToDi

            What complimentary skills? A defensive midfielder needs to adequately play defense. Horan was practically invisible against China. Yet another case of a player’s performance completely overblown against yet another CONCACAF Caribbean Cream Puff.

          • dw

            Not as DM, as a forward. Only Ellis would put in a non-DM as a DM. She’s done it consistently. We won the WWC in spite of it. Why stop now?

          • HOFCToDi

            Just because Jill Ellis got away with it the first time doesn’t mean she will get away with it the second time. Jill Ellis has yet to adequately replace Boxx and Holiday in central midfield:

            Lloyd
            Brian
            xxxx
            xxxx

            To even compare Horan to Holiday is a complete joke.

          • mockmook

            “Jill Ellis has yet to adequately replace Boxx and Holiday in central midfield”

            You don’t say.

            It’s too bad that no one has thought to write that over and over and over again on these forums, then me might have been able to get this very complex idea into our thick pea-brain skulls.

          • Breakers fan

            Finally some humor – thank you.

          • HOFCToDi

            Your thick pea-brain skull might finally arrive at the conclusion that Tori Huster is not getting called up again to the Senior USWNT. Talk about beating a dead horse.

          • Steglitz49

            With Lori retired, the team needs another red-head or, at least, a strawberry blonde.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Sigh, not even a new year can redeem you.

          • mockmook

            Oh, the irony of someone who thinks JE will call up Sullivan for DM (and constantly whines about the lack of DMs), but then dismisses Huster, a perfectly reasonable DM prospect.

          • HOFCToDi

            You mean the same player that was benched by her club coach during the semifinals of the 2015 NWSL Playoffs?

          • mockmook

            Yep.

          • HOFCToDi

            As a forward?

            I’ll take Christen Press as a forward any day of the week over Lindsey Horan.

          • Steglitz49

            Are you ill? Did a firework explode too close to you?

          • kernel_thai

            So here is the question. If she plays Horan at DM against France, Germany & England and it fails, where does she go next? She seems to be putting her eggs all in the Horan basket.

          • dw

            She’s got Brian, and in a pinch, Lloyd or Broon (unlikely without a healthy Rampone), or Heath. You could also always go back to Allie Long, who has previously been a starter in that position, who’s perpetually just a bit too far down the depth chart. I’m OK with Long on WNT, always have been. She certainly wouldn’t hurt our cause, IMO. Going down the depth chart is exactly that. You’re not likely to find players who are markedly better than those already on the senior squad.

          • nwslfan

            I am not defending Ellis. She already has an option w Brian. Maybe Colaprico. This may be crazy, but I could see her trying Mewis out too. Maybe they try a for reals 4-3-3

          • mockmook

            The USA will play what is essentially a 4-2-3-1 (barring a change in strategy by JE).

            If Horan and Brian are the DMs:

            If Horan is beat, we hope Brian, Brunn and JJ will save us.

            So, even if Horan is lousy defensively, the system could still work.

            But, I think it will be exposed.

            Horan becomes the back-up to Lloyd at CAM.

            Colaprico becomes DM (even though it should be Sonnett).

          • Guesting

            Anyone who would use the final game against China as a criteria in evaluating any of the players, lacks any credibility with any player evaluation. That whole game was never in sync. It was all about getting the ball to Abby. Can’t take anything from a game like that.

          • HOFCToDi

            Horan started the second international women’s friendly against Brazil and the first international women’s friendly against China. Horan was practically invisible in the two aforementioned matches.

            Yet another case of a player’s performance completely overblown against yet another CONCACAF Caribbean Cream Puff. The Trinidad & Tobago Women’s National Football Team has not qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games nor is even considered one of the favorites to medal.

          • kernel_thai

            I feel confident that I could evaluate Abby Wambach based on that match.

          • TsovLoj

            That’s mean, but I lel’d.

          • kernel_thai

            McCaffrey has done well enough to remain in the mix. Again, it’s how she got in the mix that is questioned. If this was just open trials and McCaffrey out shined the others that would be different. Instead she gets a chanced not based on what she had done before while other never get the same chance. She has made the most of it tho so she gets credit for that.

          • another guest

            The U-23 camp held Jan 3-10, 2015 which included 24 players (12 NWSL other actual u-23) had Ohai, McCaffrey, etc appears to meet your “open trial” condition. McCaffrey was the one player who got asked to stay for USWNT camp – so perhaps she did “out shine” the others in that camp.

            For what it is worth inserted below is the 24 player roster called up for that Jan 3-10 2015 U-23 camp.
            U-23 Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
            GOALKEEPERS (4): Aubrey Bledsoe (Sky Blue FC; Cincinnati, Ohio), Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Katelyn Rowland (UCLA; Vacaville, Calif.), Abby Smith (Texas; Plano, Texas)
            DEFENDERS (9): Lauren Barnes (Seattle Reign FC; Upland, Calif.), Abby Dahlkemper (UCLA; Menlo Park, Calif.), Arin Gilliland (Kentucky; Lexington, Ky.), Taryn Hemmings (Chicago Red Stars; Windsor, Colo.), Jaelene Hinkle (Texas Tech; Castle Rock, Colo.), Samantha Johnson (Chicago Red Stars; Palmdale, Calif.), Kassey Kallman (Boston Breakers; Woodbury, Minn.), Merritt Mathias (Seattle Reign FC; Birmingham, Ala.), Emily Sonnett (Virginia; Marietta, Ga.)
            MIDFIELDERS (7): Danielle Colaprico (Virginia; Freehold, N.J.), Vanessa DiBernardo (Chicago Red Stars; Naperville, Ill.), Tori Huster (Washington Spirit; Cincinnati, Ohio), Sarah Killion (UCLA; Fort Wayne, Ind.), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio), Erika Tymrak (FC Kansas City; Bradenton, Fla.), Keelin Winters (Seattle Reign FC; Seattle, Wash.)
            FORWARDS (4): Sarah Hagen (FC Kansas City; Appleton, Wisc.), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston College; Winchester, Mass.), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash; Draper, Utah), Katie Stengel (Bayern Munich; West Melbourne, Fla.)

          • Breakers fan

            Thank you for this roster. 24 players there. At this point in time 5 of the 24 are included in the January camp. I think it would be a tough fate if the other 19 have been dismissed from the coaching staff’s collective mind based mainly or solely on the coaches’ interpretation of their play at just that camp. Let’s hope they’re more open-minded than that…

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Wasn’t Shea Groom on this squad? I could have sworn I saw her score in at least one match they played.

            By the way, Groom is 4/4 in career penalty kicks according to her bio on the KC website.

          • mockmook

            Match against who?

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Norway at the 2015 La Manga tournament. She was on the squad alright.

          • mockmook

            I think it is common to have players not at the camp at these tournaments — but, I was wrong about something, once…

          • another guest

            the U-23 roster above was only for the Jan 3-10, 2015 camp and includes a number of overage NWSL players.

            your memory is correct that Groom was on the U-23 roster for the 2015 La Manga tournament.

          • Steglitz49

            Who of those were in the squad that played in the 4 nations tournament in Norway later in 2015?

          • another guest

            the U-23 rosters for various camps, tournaments are on the us soccer site. The Jan U-23 camp (roster above) included a number of over age NWSL players as well as actual U-23. The U-23 roster for Feb/Mar 2015 La Manga tournament was just the actual U-23 players including many who had just been drafted into NWSL. The U-23 roster for May 2015 4-Nations tournament excluded all NWSL players and was only college U-23 and three U-23 players (Stengel, Corboz, Ubogagu) who were playing in Europe

          • Steglitz49

            Does anyone care about the ladies U23? Clearly Norway and Sweden, who took part care, but who else?

          • another guest

            re “Does anyone care about the ladies U23?”
            – well you might since you are asking the questions.

            For us players post U-20 and pre NWSL/pro leagues the U-23 level does provide some limited opportunities for camps and tournaments (1 or 2 a year) and exposure to USWNT in addition to their participation for NCAA schools. Some players who miss out on U-20 for injury or whatever reason the U-23 level has sometimes allowed them to get some exposure that translated into better shot at pro leagues and/or USWNT.

          • Steglitz49

            There is no U23 WC nor U23 Euros. The U19 Euros is the qualifier for the U20 WC.

            The average age of the Nadeshiko when they won in 2011 was 25. They had 2 players aged 30 or more. Though the days of playing for one’s NT at 15 or 16 are gone, a number of players start playing senior NT by 20 and a few at 18.

            Make the Olympic WoSo U23, like the men.

          • another guest

            re “Who of those were in the squad that played in the 4 nations tournament in Norway later in 2015?”
            only U-23 players who attended Jan 3-10, 2015 camp and then also were on U-23 roster for 4 nations tournament were
            GK Campbell, and Smith
            MF Lavelle
            FW Stengel
            as noted elsewhere, the Jan camp roster had included a number of overage NWSL players (who are not age eligible for actual U-23 match), while U-23 roster for the 4 nations tournament excluded all NWSL players and took college U-23 age eligible (Campbell, Smith and Lavelle) and U-23 age eligible us players (Stengel, Corboz Ubogagu) already playing in Europe

          • kernel_thai

            And that made no sense at the time. Now that doesnt mean McCaffrey didnt make an impression at the U23 camp but all she got was another week as a reward and then fell off the map. If there was something there worth developing why not keep bringing her in? It also lends to the theory that the NWSL has no impact on roster selection. If McCaffrey was trying to make her case she could have backed it up in the league and removed all doubt. Instead she had a forgettable rookie season.

          • another guest

            WC prep taking precedent over future player development is an obvious alternative explanation so call ups for McCaffrey and other future players were delayed until VT after WC

          • kernel_thai

            If McCaffrey had do chance at WC spot why keep her at all then? Just to show a player not on the roster could break in with a good camp? Just a reward? A favor for Alison Foley?

          • another guest

            I am not very good at reading Ellis’s mind.
            my theory at the time of McCaffrey being held over for senior camp was just to give McCaffrey (who might – I don’t know was not there etc – have had a good U-23 camp) the brief USWNT camp experience (like DeBernardo etc). At that time I did not think McCaffrey had any shot at making WC roster.

          • Captain Crunch

            McCaffrey wasn’t held over. It was Winters.

          • another guest

            No – the player held over was McCaffrey.
            The us soccer site has article published on Jan 11, 2015 that documents Ellis adding McCaffrey to the Jan USWNT camp.

            “CHICAGO (Jan. 11, 2015) – U.S. head coach Jill Ellis has added forward Stephanie McCaffrey to the roster for the remainder of the team¹s training camp at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California, that runs through Jan. 25.

            McCaffery, who scored 32 goals in her career at Boston College, attended the U.S. Under-23 WNT training camp at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center that ended last week and was held over to train with the senior side starting on Jan. 12. The addition of the speedy attacker brings the training camp roster to 30 players.”

          • Captain Crunch

            I believe Another guest is mistaken. Winters was actually the one player asked to stay for the full NT camp last January. It wasn’t McCaffrey. Winters been given a ton of chances with other NT coaches, too and has yet to stick for whatever reason, Personally, I saw her and Ohai in NWSL and wasn’t overly impressed.

          • mockmook

            I remember it as McCaffrey AND Huster.

            Please assign someone (S49?) to look it up 🙂

          • kernel_thai

            Ellis identified Crystal Dunn as her ‘pet project’ last February and u see how that turned out.

          • HOFCToDi

            Crystal Dunn is now the starting right attacking flank midfielder or right flank midfielder depending on the tactical formation for the Senior USWNT.

          • kernel_thai

            But she isnt laying on the floor tossing that WC money up in the air and watching it rain down on her.

          • HOFCToDi

            Are you her agent? What’s your cut?

          • kernel_thai

            If I were her agent Id be even more pissed.

          • kernel_thai

            Ellis doesnt believe in formations…also not big on DMs, transparency, and open competition for positions.

          • Keithustus

            Pet Project = cut before the biggest tournament?

          • mockmook

            Ellis keeps her enemies close, and her “Pets” far away.

          • Keithustus

            That’s fanwanking from a basis that JE is smart and capable but we all know that she won WWC instead because she had to play Carli how all of us wanted instead of how JE wanted because of the yellow cards. No, Dunn’s rise is because of her drive built from the disappointment of not going to Canada.

          • mockmook

            I was just throwing out a nonsense comment.

            But, I think k_t’s point was that JE may make you a Pet, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily stay a Pet (when roster choosing time rolls around).

            However, I agree, Dunn’s resurgence was because of her own hard work.

          • Keithustus

            Alright, gotcha. I applaud the sarcasm, though it must be used carefully online since there are crazies who believe and type such things believing them to be true.

          • mockmook

            Sarcasm tag now added

        • mockmook

          Disagree on Ohai’s defense — she may be more tenacious than even those two.

          • Breakers fan

            Sorry, just meant I doubt they’d use her as a defender, like they could with O’Hara and Dunn, though, who knows, maybe they would if necessary and maybe she’d do well.

        • kernel_thai

          Because no one can figure out how she got called in at all. Also she is a very one dimensional player at this point.

      • mockmook

        Could you spend one day not sucking up to JE?

        • HOFCToDi

          I guess you will completely ignore my Lindsey Horan rant or the lack of a true defensive midfield replacement for Shannon Boxx.

          • mockmook

            Yes, I do.

          • HOFCToDi

            You can stop sucking up to Jill Ellis with regards to Lindsey Horan.

          • HOFCToDi

            Time to end the Lindsey Horan charade and field a real defensive midfielder.

            drawformation.com/post/568584c79b363/568584c79b363.png

          • Steglitz49

            Lindsey is an attacking midfielder who can play #9. Not to be disdained. Anyway, she “will always have Paris”.

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        I find it very likely that you are right that Dunn will be considered a wide midfield player for the Olympics, reducing the need to call up more wide players. No chance of her going back to defence after all those goals last season and little chance of her playing up front so long as Alex Morgan is around.

        • mockmook

          I’d also say little chance that she would be played at LM.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            True, but if Dunn’s on the right where does Heath play?

          • mockmook

            I’m thinking. I’m thinking…

        • Steglitz49

          As long as Alex is around, Alex is queen — but does she have ARod’s timing?

        • HOFCToDi

          2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_CONCACAF_Women%27s_Olympic_Qualifying_Championship

          Strikers: Morgan, Leroux, Press
          Left Flank Midfielders: Heath, O’Hara
          Right Flank Midfielders: Dunn, O’Reilly
          Central Attacking Midfielder: Lloyd
          Central Midfielder: Brian
          Defensive Midfielder: Not Horan by any stretch

          drawformation.com/post/568584c79b363/568584c79b363.png

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            I think this is likely accurate. And I agree that defensive midfield is the area with all the questions still. I know little about Sullivan so I can’t comment on her, but both Horan and Colaprico need to be tested against bigger opposition. I guess that will give some real purpose to the US based friendly tournament.

          • HOFCToDi

            20 Players
            Positional Distribution
            Strikers – 3
            Flank Midfielders – 4
            Central Midfielders – 4
            Centerbacks – 4
            Fullbacks – 3
            Goalkeepers – 2

          • JL

            3 of the 20 players on the qualification roster are required to be keepers.

          • HOFCToDi

            When was the rule changed?

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_CONCACAF_Women%27s_Olympic_Qualifying_Tournament_squads#United_States

          • JL
  • Cc W

    I do not want to take anything away from Christie Rampone and ARod, they have given a lot to the team, but the circumstances have played out as they needed too.
    Rampone should retire – and now Arod has as good as retired, because neither will get their spot back going forward.
    Excited about seeing how the new players fit in and the competition that will make them better. Pugh is a heck of a young player – there is a lot of young talent available ahead.

    • Nicole C.

      It seems like it was only yesterday when Heath, ARod, and Holiday were in college, vying for OG-08 spots. It’s hard to believe Heath is only a few months younger than the other two.

      • Cc W

        I know! There is a core of 27-30 year olds on the team. Happy for these young women!

        • Steglitz49

          Is 27-30 young?

          • Cc W

            Compared to me – yes!

      • Breakers fan

        Wow. If someone had asked me to compare Heath to A-Rod, and Holiday to a lesser extent, I would have said Heath is 2 or 3 years younger than A-Rod.

        • mockmook

          Heath still acts like a kid (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Holiday and A-Rod act like women.

          • Steglitz49

            Married vs not married?

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Will you put a sock in it?

          • Steglitz49

            I like to state the obvious. It impresses some and annoys the rest.

          • Bye

            No, you’re just sexist and see the entire world through that lens.

          • Steglitz49

            What is wrong with getting married? or having kids, for that matter?

            Granted, it is not for everyone but should not be disdained.

          • Bye

            Ah, the straw man argument. There’s nothing wrong with it. What is wrong is suggesting that the alleged differences between Heath, Holiday, and ARod are not due to personality differences, but to their marital states. That, and your general obsession with marriage and pregnancy.

          • Steglitz49

            As far as I know, ARod and Lauren married chaps they met at college. These romances happens and Lauren’s hubby has made a fine career.

            I have never met Tobin so can’t speak for her.

          • Breakers fan

            I think you’re just a romantic at heart. You want a blissful wedded life for all of “your”, “our” soccer gals, correct? And for we posters too, I would think.

          • mockmook

            I think I just threw up in my mouth…

          • Breakers fan

            Hahaha

            I don’t know if I should say “thank you” or “I’m sorry”.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Not your best work I have to say, Breakers fan.

          • Breakers fan

            Yes, I see it has no upvotes. But I maintain it could be true. Surprised Steg himself has not responded – not sure if that means an endorsement or a rejection of the content.

  • nwslfan

    I am very interested in seeing how Pugh does when surrounded by the highest level support. I think she may shine.

    • Calci0

      Either way, it’s a good experience!

  • Cc W

    This is important to me – and based on previous discussions where many thought our team was too old:

    The average age of this January training camp roster is 26.1 years old.

    The average of the Women’s World Cup Team was 29.2 years old.
    We may not agree on who is being brought in, but getting younger and bringing in new blood, we can all agree this needed to be done.

    • nwslfan

      this is true and I heartily youth call-ups for Jan are great.

      As for the WWC age statistic, I think it is misleading. I believe Ellis was super nervous for WWC and brought her most *experienced team. in the early going, when the older players got some minutes, turns out not so pretty or effective. The switch in time of bringing in Morgan to DM (who could hold onto ball on defensive half of field) that saved the team was a decision forced upon Ellis. the beauty of the last 2 games was the DM double pivot. in the end, the older players on the roster (Boxxy, Rampone, Abby) were not used much (which failing to use entire roster is not great tactics in a long tournament), so for practical purposes the age of the players who got time ended up being much lower.

      • Cc W

        I understand where you’re coming from – I’m just happy we have a bunch of younger players in camp.

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      • ARED

        Agreed -I think that is why so many called for changes in the US team (one, two, or even 4 years ago). The young players were better, the old ones were no longer pulling their weight -generally speaking, at least.

        And, it’s not as if Holiday, Heath, Rapinoe, Sauerbrunn, Morgan, etc. were really even that “young”….it’s just in comparison to the old guard, who for many nations would still have been first-choice but on the talented USA squad should not have been in the top-23.

    • Steglitz49

      Verily and forsooth. 26 years is to be admired. Go for broke and get it to 25, like the Nadeshiko in 2011. Then the US will have Wc-19 and -23 in a jewel box.

    • Calci0

      Pugh by herself helps bring the number down! 😉

      • Steglitz49

        Medians or means?

      • guest

        Out – Rapone (age 40), Boxx (age 38), Abby (age 35)
        In – Pugh(17), Lavelle (20), Horan (21)
        explains much of the lower average age

        • mockmook

          They said there would be no math…

          • guest

            “they” are not to be trusted …

    • Average

      It means that by 2019 our team will average 29 again. If Rampone retires, or is just not asked back, the average goes down about one year.

    • HOFCToDi

      Ages as of February 10, 2016 which coincides with the commencement of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_CONCACAF_Women%27s_Olympic_Qualifying_Championship#Group_A

      Solo – 34
      Klingenberg – 27
      Sauerbrunn – 30
      Johnston – 23
      Krieger – 31
      Heath – 27
      Dunn – 23
      Lloyd -33
      Brian – 22
      xxxx –
      Morgan – 26
      Average – 27.6

      Holiday’s replacement has yet to be determined.

      • Steglitz49

        The median is 27. If you include Christen Annemarie who is 27, it does not change the median. Thus, it is a balanced squad but I would contend that there are too many age 30 or more.

        The issue is that in 2019 this crowd will average 30-31. Not necessarily a good idea.

        • HOFCToDi

          No one even remotely associated with the USSF gives a damn what you think.

          • Steglitz49

            He has come out — of his cave. Goodness gracious me.

  • newsouth

    i’m going to assume mewis 2 and horan, big lugs, are potential wambach replacements. just no end to it.

    • Cc W

      Horan has to become more fit – and it should happen with training with the team. If she can do it, great, if not, she’ll be out. She’s good on the ball – that is harder to teach than fitness.

      • LadiesinCleats4

        I concur. Horan just needs to get her fitness together!

      • guest

        Is there a problem with her fitness? Let’s just hope there aren’t too many In-N-Out Burger stands near the US training facility.

      • HOFCToDi

        Fitness? Or is it microfracture knee surgery?

        espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/13377208/shortened-roster-mean-least-one-uswnt-veteran-misses-2016-olympics

      • F0OtballNowAndAlways

        She seems fine to me. Are we sure we are not judging female soccer players with the same anatomical standards applied to runway models? I like a little sturdiness in my women. Stick figures who look like war refugees, famine victims or concentration camp inmates, not so much.

        • Cc W

          I’m not judging her size at all and I don’t think she should be something she isn’t, but I would expect that her fitness – not talking about her size – will improve because she is playing with the some of the best and most fit team in the world. In my opinion every new player will have to become more fit. My comment was in response to the comment above who called her a “lug.”

        • TsovLoj

          This. There’s a bit of a social minefield here that there isn’t with male athletes. If we’re going to talk about speed and staying power, that’s something we can talk about, but “fitness” seems like it has a lot of potential for euphemistic abuse.

        • Steglitz49

          If you are well trained you are well trained. Look at the women in the skiing disciplines — X-county, biathlon and alpine. They are fine athletes and glamorous to a fault.

      • jmclarke

        Will somebody please get Horan a kit that fits? I mean how hard can it be?

        • Steglitz49

          Body paint?

    • mockmook

      S.Mewii is not a “big lug” as in “plodding”. Not the fastest either, but certainly adequate.

      And, I don’t think Horan is as slow as is implied, either — seems her speed is being judged on her appearance as much as it is on reality.

    • JL

      Your obsession with Wambach is really disturbing. She’s retired, so get over it.

  • guest

    Is this Pugh girl even out of high school? How can she even be considered on a level with players in the NWSL when she hasn’t even played at the collegiate level? Why even have the NWSL if the play there means nothing? Elevating Pugh to adult international soccer above all the proven talent in the NWSL is a travesty. US Soccer has shown it has no interest in the NWSL other than as an exhibition for NT players and they may as well fold the league if they’re going to treat its players with any respect.

    • Talent shines through regardless of age. If she was pro now, she would surely be a NWSL starter. Plenty of talented players in the NWSL will never rise to the ranks of USWNT no matter how long their pro careers are. They either don’t have that little something extra to make it to the next level, or they don’t play a position that is needed on the NT. Pugh is pretty impressive to watch. Nothing wrong with giving her a shot now. If she doesn’t cut it, then she still has college and the NWSL and can try again.

      • guest

        I respectfully disagree, there’s more than enough talent in the NWSL, and very few players on the NT who are irreplaceable. Remember Freddie Adu? He was crowned the saviour of US soccer and look where that went. He might still be playing if the men had a tenure system like the women, but fortunately their call ups are based on the merit of their league play, not who is currently occupying the position. If US Soccer is not going to treat the players in the NWSL fairly, they may as well drop their pretend league and play tomato cans year round. At least that way NT players could more easily plan their wedding dates.

        • Steglitz49

          as in “I’m getting married to the widow next door”? or, just going to weddings?

          ARod for sure plans her pregnancies to a tee.

        • Calci0

          The NWSL is NOT the only means to the USWNT. Every male that has a good league season, doesn’t get called up to the senior national team of their respective country.

        • kernel_thai

          And how much better would the NWSL be if the NT players were playing for their NT jobs as opposed to entitled?

          • guest

            Competition for spots would raise everyone’s game, would be more fair to the players in the NWSL, and would help the public better understand some mysterious call ups like McCaffrey’s.

      • SpiritFan00

        Pugh has also already practiced with the full USWNT at least once, so she has competed “at that level,” though I agree it’s not the same as a full season. I am mostly just beyond thrilled we’re giving younger players a look, even if it was forced through injury.

    • Steglitz49

      Mis Pugh is 17 and will be 18 by the time Rio rolls along. Mana Iwabuchi was 18 when she won the WC-11 and Saki Kumagai was 20 when she slammed that last nail into the coffin.

      Provided Ms Pugh has the needful, she will be OK.

      • guest

        I’m going to politely request you stop referring to slamming mails into coffins when discussing the USWNT. It’s pretty obnoxious.

        • Steglitz49

          In reality it was a melt-down of the highest order for the USA. Embarrassing is not the word. Only Abby scored her penalty and Carli’s is still orbiting Saturn.

          I tried to put a positive spin on it. Have it your way.

          The PR machine made Alex into a goddess. The Japanese players soon forgotten.

        • mockmook

          “slamming mails into coffins”

          It is a really stupid way to deliver letters.

    • Calci0

      I’d say her play at the U-20 level, that has been the door too many other players making their entrance is legit enough of a reason.

      • kernel_thai

        She didnt wow people in Canada and u have to take CONCACAF performances with a grain of salt. I will agree that if she makes a strong case at the U20 WC she should be considered for a regular spot regardless of age.

    • Kevin

      I’m sure she’s a huge longshot to make the OG roster, but I think it’s a smart move for Ellis to bring her up and get a closer look at her and some of the other young girls to see how they play against the big girls, and get an initial evaluation of some of the better U-20 players.

  • Really excited for AD Franch’s return, and to see Lavelle and Pugh. A bit bummed about Arod, for FCKC’s sake.

    • mockmook

      Be happy for her!!!

      We are constantly told how A-Rod is “turrable” — should be a piece of cake to replace her. 😉

      Put Groom up top, and you get your wish to have O’Reilly on the LW.

      FCKC will be fine.

      • Steglitz49

        ARod is matching her life and family with perfection. Clever lady.

        • dw

          This is one of the more insightful posts you have ever made, Steg.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. The credit goes to ARod. I had no hand in it.

      • Breakers fan

        Groom is another player I think should have gotten serious consideration for a call-up at the forward position.

        • mockmook

          In my “perfect” world:

          If a current USWNT player was already raising doubts about whether they would be a good fit for OG16, then don’t even invite them to camp — time to turn the page.

          The new faces in camp would be a combination of:

          “Young” NWSL-ish players with the highest accomplishment/potential, especially players who have a set of skills or traits not seen on the current roster.

          And, a sprinkling of similar NCAA-ish players.

          —————

          Based on that, yeah, Groom jumps out from the NWSL pack.

          To me, McCaffrey does not.

          So, if I’m the decider, and I’m only going with 26 players:

          GK: Naeher, Solo, Murphy (Rutgers)

          CB: Krieger, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Sonnett

          FB: Klingenberg, O’Hara, Gilliland, Hinkle

          CM: Brian, Horan, Lloyd, S.Mewii, Huster

          OM: Heath, O’Reilly, Tymrak, Ohai, Dunn

          FW: Leroux, Morgan, Press, Groom, Jordan

          • Steglitz49

            I contend that every plyer returning from abroad must be given a shot.

          • Breakers fan

            Herein may lie a key to understanding: Camps, camps, camps. NWSL play seems to matter little, which is a shame. It’s like if you aren’t the MVP you may as well forget it. For the most part that seems true- it’s not absolute – Jaelene Hinkle cleared the obstacles. Colaprico has, but she had an inside advocate; very few others from the League garner call-ups from their League play it seems. I don’t like that either. It is tough, though, to choose from all the options.

            But here is what I mean about camps.

            For example:
            Tymrak – brought into a camp I think just once. Not brought back since. What did they see there that caused this? What attitudes were developed there about her?

            K. Mewis — same. At some point she was dropped. What happened at those camps? Did not her good NWSL season, her play in Japan and now Germany warrant another call-in? They seem to have some set opinion about her, that I don’t agree with. even as we need more help at left midfield with Pinoe getting hurt and K.Mew being left-footed.

            Same with Nairn – in a camp or two. Didn’t see playing time. Appears to be dropped, for now, even though she went to Australia to play and had a very good NWSL season. Again, what did they see in camp? What is the rap against her? These judgments, it seems to me, are made pretty darn quickly.

            McCaffrey – she is a player whose camps have helped her. As we will recall she was the 1 player from the U-23 squad kept on to play with the NT. Jill saw skills in her she didn’t see as much in others. I am an advocate for her, but I know that fans of other players naturally see her as being a detriment, a roadblock to the fortunes of their preferred players, therefore she receives some blowback from that.

            Hinkle, Lavelle, Colaprico — their camps are helping them. They did enough in the last one to get called back and are now taking spots some feel should go to people who have yet to get a look. I am fine with these players at this point.

            Others have not gotten that first call. Sometimes it just takes that one camp to impress enough to get a call-back.

            My point is: What went on in these camps is having an influence, and we didn’t see the camps in action, so we can’t comment on it. It’s information we are not privy to, it’s mysterious, but I think it’s information that is leading decisions that are being made. We think we know better — I do too sometimes — but without seeing these players go up against one another for 4-5 hours a day for a few weeks time, it’s hard to really say we are complete authorities – and I level that criticism against myself as well. Even if we are right about some players what went on in the training camps, or at least how the coaches interpreted it, helps to explain the decisions they make about who to bring into future camps.

          • Steglitz49

            Dennerby did not select Kosse Asllani for WC-11. He was roundly criticized before the tournament. He brought her back in 2012 and Kosse has played for Sweden ever since (except lately because of an illness in the family). Sweden’s WNT best season since 2003 was 2011. QED?

          • mockmook

            The NWSL and NCAA games are our “camps”.

            Regardless what JE sees in practice, if a player has the right talents, it shows in those games.

            Granted, we can be “fooled” some of the time, but if we watch long enough and closely enough, I think we can discern who stands above the rest.

            And, I don’t think JE is blind to those standouts.

            However, she must have certain stylistic or tactical pictures in her mind that lead her to choose players we don’t agree with (in addition to perhaps some veteran “favoritism”).

          • Breakers fan

            I agree – I think those games at those levels *should* be more valued, and those leagues *should* be the camps. What I was trying to propose, rather, was what actually is guiding their thinking — it is to some extent mysterious these decisions we are seeing, and I am trying to figure out the mystery — rather than what should be more of a determining factor, which is what you said — all those college and NWSL games. I agree with your analysis. I think she sees McCaffrey – I mention her because she is controversial – as being a good fast take-on dribbler, (she is mentioned by Breaker teammates often as being the fastest on the team) a specialist as it were, someone better at that skill set than the others she saw when the U-23 team was in camp.

          • HOFCToDi

            Quite frankly, I don’t have a horse in the race:

            McCaffrey
            Ohai
            Tymrak

            Thank God.

            It seems a number of posters are bent out of shape with this development.

          • kernel_thai

            Only because there is no race…Ohai and Tymrak r in the barn.

          • guest

            McCaffrey looks like a player that can attack back lines and take on with pace which are skills highly coveted for top flank players. In the limited times I have seen her I think her acceleration is comparable to Dunn’s and better than both Rapinoe and Heath’s. Unfortunately I think the rest of her games is lacking quite a bit. She is not a good defender and has below average passing awareness. She is capable of picking out final passes but her crossing is also below average. At the moment I think McCaffrey’s game needs a lot of world and am not sure if she will ever be an effective flank player for the NT.

          • Breakers fan

            I like your analysis a lot – for the most part. Keep in mind I saw her for 4 years at Boston College and basically all of this past year for the Breakers so I’ve seen her a lot more than anyone here – not to boast, just to state facts, unless there’s some other hidden Boston posters here. I think you overdramatize her passing-awareness and crossing weaknesses. I think she’s a good crosser but someone who probably does need to work a bit on passing awareness – meaning vision. But there’s a good explanation for that – she’s been a forward her whole life – she’s used to getting the ball and the situation being just her and the goalie left, often starting with her back to goal. She’s been counted on not to pass that much but more to go at goal. Moving her back on the field is new to her and it’ll take her some time to adjust – it’s a whole new vision of the field, to a good extent, for her now. As far as defending I don’t really know. It’s not something she’s been expected to do that much of to date but now that changes due to her new position. I expect her to hustle and put effort into this new endeavor. Let’s see how she does. Takes a lot of time to properly evaluate a player. Not to discount first impressions but one should call them what they are, “first impressions”.

          • Guest

            I am more than willing to give McCaffrey time to develop those skills and I agree that it does take a lot of time to give players a proper evaluation. I also respect you observations and acknowledge that you have seen way more of her than I and my opinion is based on a very small sample size. I think better crossing will come with more practice out wide and her ability to pick out final passes is relatively good already. I don’t really expect her to ever develop Brian or Heath’s awareness. Just knowing when she needs to move the ball and finding final passes is enough. Her cross that led to Horan’s goal is a good example of both the good and developing parts of her game. The pass on Horan’s goal was absolutely the right pass but it probably needed to be delivered harder against a fitter opponent who will be able to recover on a soft cross like that.

          • Breakers fan

            I respect your open-mindedness, lack of defensiveness and self-awareness. I think you’re an intelligent and knowledgeable fan. A big thing with McCaffrey to remember is something I wrote in the last post. This is a person who has played, as far as I know, as a forward her whole life and now she is not playing that. She is trying something new and different, so there will be a learning curve. She’s not going to be flawless. Not sure if it’s good or not but with the Breakers I have to think she’ll be back at striker. So, it’ll be a back and forth thing for her. I hesitate to predict her future in terms of her potential in any area of play but your predictions may prove to be accurate. She should strive to become as good as she can at all areas of play and not feel she has some pre-determined limits to how good she can be at any facet of the game. That of course goes for everyone. She’s fun to watch. I wish her well.

          • Breakers fan

            Lastly, if she’s playing behind Dunn and that remains the same, I don’t see her getting a heck of a lot of playing time.

          • kernel_thai

            I put a lot of this down to two things. Talent for the NT is evaluated by USSoccer development people so it is in their interest to recommend players from their Youth program because it shows they r doing their job. That Savannah Jordan was sort of discovered already a freshman at Florida is not something the development people r looking to trumpet. The second tho slightly related thing is Ole Girl Network. U have friends in the coaching ranks and maybe u give their players a little extra consideration as a favor.

          • Breakers fan

            Wow – never really considered the US Soccer development people angle and how massaging their egos, as it were, could actually be a significant factor with camp call-ups, but you may be onto something there. Point 2 is something I’ve remarked upon as well and think also has some degree of influence.

            I think also that pure familarity plays a role. In the discussions about “who are we going to bring into camp?” — the people in the room when that is happening – they are *most* familiar with the players from the U-17, U-20, U-23 teams, so they are most able to speak about them. Makes it easier to come to a decision than going to youtube to watch 17 Breakers or Dash games because you want to evaluate Kassey Kallman and Kealia Ohai in 2015. Plus the factor you mention – they want to feel like they *have* chosen the nation’s best to be on the youth teams,

          • kernel_thai

            And the U23 tie in is a big one because coincidentally, after players r too old for the 23s it seems to be much harder to get call ins. Despite some of the new call ins having NWSL creds, all but Nairn were also current U23s.

          • Steglitz49

            The IOC should bite the bullet and make the ladies Olympics either U23 like the men’s or even U20.

          • Keithustus

            No %^#^<€}^#ing way! The IOC should bite the bullet and make the men's soccer tournament age-immaterial like the women's. There would be no point to watch the women if they made that change just like there's no point to watch the men's now: bunch of kids, like a college tournament basically.

          • Steglitz49

            The IOC is stuck with what they’ve got. The clubs would simply refuse to release their male players.

            Just look at the Veterans how they lusted for that WC win. It was obscene. Heaven knows what would have happened had Germany won the SF?

            FIFA banned North-Korea’s WNT because they cheated. The IOC overruled FIFA in OG-12. Australia sued the IOC but to no avail.

          • Keithustus

            I see you’ve responded with three unrelated statements for reasons I don’t want to guess….

            1. Yes, agreed that that might happen, but it’s not certain since clubs already release players for MWC. The advantage lies with WOSO in the Olympics since it is newer and was essentially created for Hamm etc. to dominate whereas MESO in the Olympics started when Olympians were supposedly amateur athletes–hence the age restrictions–despite what has happened to the amateur status of Olympic athletes in other sports, especially Hockey and Basketball.

            2. Obscene? Aren’t players supposed to want to win the big one? How was the drive and outspoken-ness of the US Women in 2015 any different from the Brazilian Men in 2014 or other teams of either gender that have reached the final? Also this discussion is irrelevant to removing the age restriction from Olympic MESO.

            3. Irrelevant to removing the age restriction from Olympic MESO. The IOC can let whomever they want to compete and aren’t obligated to follow the decisions of other sports’ governing bodies. Message to cheating nations: you may be hated elsewhere, but you can compete here unless you also cheat here.

          • Steglitz49

            1. FIFA windows. A club cannot refuse to release a player in a FIFA window. A player cannot refuse an international call-up. They can ask the head coach in advance not be called up (which usually means family reasons) or they can ask not to be selected for NT duty any longer (as Lahm did after WC-14).

            2. Everyone kept telling us how the olympics were not only just as important but even more important then the ladies WC. The Veterans gave the lie to that one. That is one service they did the World and incidentally FIFA, turf or no turf.

            3. Not totally. FIFA does not control the game in the Olympics so they are not going to do anything to help the IOC. They might well obstruct them instead.

          • Keithustus

            1. If “A club cannot refuse to release a player in a FIFA window. A player cannot refuse an international call-up,” then what happens for international call ups that are not within FIFA windows, like if FIFA doesn’t designate one for the Olympics? Which rule controls?

            2. No one said the Olympics were more important. That’s an exaggeration. Lots of player quotes talk about how they’re almost as important. WWC 2015 hype just shows that.

            3. Obstruct or help, FIFA is irrelevant to nations and players who want Olympic medals.

          • Steglitz49

            If it is not an official FIFA window, the clubs can do what they like. The windows were introduced to create equality.

            As long as the USWNT could not win the WC, everyone interested in the USWNT maintained that the Olympics were more important than the WC but, not surprisingly, no sensible person bought that dead donkey.

          • Keithustus

            So it’s false that “A player cannot refuse an international call-up” since clubs can prevent them from leaving outside FIFA windows?

            Wrong: “everyone interested in the USWNT maintained that the Olympics were more important than the WC”. Replace “everyone” with “some oddballs”. The more interesting question would have been what would a team do and say who had won almost every WC but thirsted for an OG Gold that had eluded them for 16 years? Would they not care since it’s only OG or would they be rabid because of being denied such an important achievement?

          • Steglitz49

            Not “some oddballs”. Everyone in the US and probably Canada, come to think of it. We were typed this repeatedly.

            A player can’t refuse BUT her/his club can refuse to release them if it is not in a FIFA window.

          • Keithustus

            Oh I didn’t realize you talked with every USA and CAN WOSO fan. Guess you missed me and everyone with whom I talk.

          • Steglitz49

            S/he listens here, s/he listens there, s/he listens everywhere.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            You need to work in Colaprico somehow. Somehow has to take the corner kicks because what we have been seeing lately just hasn’t been professional grade.

          • mockmook

            If memory serves, Lavelle also excels at that.

          • kernel_thai

            I really surprised with the sudden opening on the left flank Colaprico wasnt tried there.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            You’re surprised by anything Jill Ellis does? Nothing that woman does surprises me at all. I get the sneaky feeling Colaprico will be one of those players who won’t get a chance because she did not “impress enough in practice”, you know, like how Wambach, boxx and Chalupny must have been killing it in practice to justify their inclusion on the WC roster.

        • David K Anderson

          Depends on where the matches are going to be held, IMO. In the US, with PRO officials? You bet. In much of Europe, where there is much less tolerance for physical play? Groom’s a red card waiting to happen.

          • mockmook

            She’s just a “kid”.

            Perhaps her injury “time-out” (and being one year older and wiser) will have mellowed her.

          • Breakers fan

            Groom is an interesting player – for someone so slight she plays with reckless abandon – which I like in some ways. I mean, I prefer that to a timid coward of a player. I know it got her some yellow cards last year. Not sure if it led to her injury. And when you have a player like that, whose success is related to that style of aggressive play to some extent, do you tell her to curtail it? I think you just tell her to not do anything stupid or anything that will hurt the team or herself. Just try to slightly harness it. Seems like you agree.

          • David K Anderson

            I do. Potential for lots of international caps, for sure…but she needs to dial it back sometimes, to improve her decision-making in this regard.

    • Steglitz49

      Always look on the bright side of life. Marie Dorin-Habert had her baby girl last September
      http://www.ski-nordique.net/marie-dorin-habert-bebe-a-bord.5528284.html

      and in March in the biathlon WC won two individual golds and two team silvers.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      While I’m sure its great news for Arod, I’m also disappointed we won’t be seeing her next season. Feels like FCKC aren’t going to be the same side at all next year with the players they’ll have missing from their roster. Its going to take some real magic from Vlatko to keep them competitive at the top.

      • Steglitz49

        Vlatko could always give Harder, Hegerberg, Miedema, Blackstenius or Graham Hansen a bell. It might work. Who knows?

        • MurderOnZidanesFloor

          Not sure if FCKC has the pull for international players like Portland. Sure, they’ve been successful, but that’s all in the past for any player looking at their options now. Trades, the draft and getting more out of players who weren’t stars last year are likely their only options. I think there is more to come from Laddish, Avebuch, Groom, ect, but are they going to have the same impact on the league that Holiday and Arod did the past two years? Not likely.

          • Steglitz49

            Averbuch?

            Pernille Harder knows that she will not be going to Rio. get her now for a season. Damallsvenskans MVP.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            I really can’t see a player like Harder going to FCKC. If it was a possibility I’d say take it with both hands, but why would she go there? No offence meant to FCKC but if she wanted to join the NWSL Portland and Orlando, or even Houston and Seattle would surely be more attractive due to their squads, stadiums and support. Going from next to no internationals to signing one of the top young players around is a bit of a stretch.

          • Steglitz49

            Playing under a great coach? Just being in the USA?

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            There are 9 other teams that would allow her to be in the USA though. Its not a draw specific to FCKC. A great coach I’ll allow but he doesn’t get the international recognition so its hard to say how highly viewed he is outside of NWSL fans.

          • Steglitz49

            Players know.

            Also, Pernille knows her worth. She wants pitch time.

            Granted, KC has little to offer compared with the other cities in the NWSL but you can put up with a lot to play under a great coach.

      • Calci0

        Well a majority of their offense is gone. And a solid part of their defense. So I could see them struggling to meet previous standards.

      • mockmook

        They played much of last season without Holiday and A-Rod so it won’t feel that different to me.

        But, I definitely don’t see them doing a 3-peat.

        If they do, then, surely, Vlatko is the GOAT (in all sports).

    • woso32rooter

      Agreed on all accounts! It should be equally interesting how all these new variables pan out in the NWSL new season, OG prep etc. It is very thrilling, that new young call ups are in the mix.
      I look forward to USWNT beginning the Four Nations Tour with soccer IQ and EQ (mind state) aplomb— on well tended grass soccer pitches ( fields), for that matter.

    • Terry Lash

      Seems like a likelihood that A-Rod will retire now. At least I doubt she will return to the WNT.

      • Steglitz49

        ARod has had a great career and will step out with two kids. Can’t better that, can you?

        Now JE must find another Hispanic player or at least one with a Hispanic name.

        • F0OtballNowAndAlways

          Surely Ashley Sanchez? If she’s old enough to drive, she’s old enough for the NT, that’s what I say.

          • Breakers fan

            This is one forward we won’t argue about going forward. Thank God. 😉

          • Steglitz49

            Verily. There is the “American” Flores twin as opposed to the “Mexican” one (both at ND, I think).

          • Keithustus

            Looked great in the CONCACAF U-20 Final so I’m surprised a bit that she wasn’t listed since Pugh was included.

          • Breakers fan

            Totally agree on your assessment of her play in that game; she won it offensively for us singlehandedly. Higher on her game than I am on Pugh’s, to be honest, but a great tandem who work very well together, which is great to see. I think with Sanchez they figure she’s simply a bit too young – at 16 now, I believe. And they’re probably right. Let her grow up some more – no harm in that and a lot of good in it.

        • TsovLoj

          There’s always Huerta.

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        I really hope we see her back, even if its just at the NWSL level. 6 goals in 4 playoff games is huge, she’d surely be missed.

    • jmclarke

      Still makes me laugh that when I see an expression like “for FCKC’s sake” I have to do a double take.

      • Steglitz49

        How? Why?

  • kernel_thai

    I am absolutely dumb founded that Ellis did nothing to address the loss of Pinoe on the left side. Nothing. Exactly when will her 10 minutes of fame be up so the US can have a real soccer coach. They dont need her to hold Wambach’s hand any more and Boxx already has her parting gift. It’s time for a gold watch.

    Sigh. While I was sure it would only be a token appearance, I was sure there was no way around bringing in either Ohai or Tymrak for a look on the left. Wrong again!!!! Why would a team that one the WC playing down the left hand side need a play maker over there? I dont know.

    • Nicole C.

      “Exactly when will her 10 minutes of fame be up so the US can have a real soccer coach.”

      When she unwins the World Cup?

      • Steglitz49

        Hear hear!

        Inspite of their miserable final, Norio Sasaki is still recognized as one of the all-time greats.

      • mockmook

        Would an OG flame out (not that I expect it to happen) count as un-winning the WC?

        • Calci0

          It would have to be a goalless 0pts gained Group stage.

        • dw

          It would have to be an extended pattern of failure at this point.
          Player coup would be much more likely.

      • kernel_thai

        Coaches get way too much credit for winning things and way too much blame for losing them. Generally talent wins out.

        A better metric would be is the team better than when she took over and the answer to that is no.

        • Nicole C.

          Your first sentence sums up the reality of the sporting world. After the grassroots level, coaching becomes more quantitative (how deep is your trophy case/how many wins do you have?) than qualitative (how coherent are your tactical decisions?). Unless this changes, your efforts to get a winning coach fired will be of no use.

          Guten Rutsch!

          • Breakers fan

            Reminds me of the time I looked up Joe Torre’s baseball managing record all-time — he being the Yankees manager when they were winning a lot about 10-15 years ago. At the time he was revered as a manager. What I saw was that he had a bunch of losing seasons early on. So, I agree with you and kernel thai that “Generally talent wins out” and that it’s practically impossible to get a winning coach fired. (unless you’re Tom Sermanni – but he didn’t have the big one under his belt).

    • Guest

      I don’t think there is a direct replacement for Pinoe and to a lesser extent Heath. As long as Carli is playing the CAM role the wings will be relied upon to advance the ball in tight spaces which is not really something I think many of the other options are capable of including Dunn who’s dribbling has not been tight enough for quick help defense. Tymrak’s problem from my view has been poor defense and questionable fitness. I would have liked to see Ohai at least get called up though.

      • Terry Lash

        Disagree with your assessment of Dunn’s dribbling ability in tight spaces, but I agree with your views on Tymrak and Ohai.

        • Guest

          My opinion is based on her play vs. Brazil and China. She is a very good dribbler and can ride tackles better than any player on the NT. She is electric in space but when cut off, she sometimes holds the ball too long and can’t find the right passes. I attribute it more to her youth as she is still developing as a player.

          • Kevin

            What do you mean by “ride tackles”?

            Dunn’s best asset is her speed/quickness. I thought she had some good and bad stretches against Brazil and China on the right flank, but looks promising and our best option on the right flank right now.

          • Guest

            Keeping possession when a defender is right on top of her attempting to tackle her or trying to push her off the ball.

          • Kevin

            In that case, I have to strongly disagree with your assessment that she can ride tackles better than any player on the NT.

          • Terry Lash

            OK, I can buy your observation. Although youth/inexperience at the NT level could explain her holding the ball too long sometimes, another factor could be her high level of confidence and desire to succeed. Her instinct could be to try always to dribble through opposing players because she has demonstrated she can do that and feels confident she can do that. But you are right that she needs to develop the awareness to pass when that is a better option.

          • Steglitz49

            “the awareness to pass when that is a better option” is a rare ability. Most of it is innate but some can be learnt. Let’s see how it develops.

          • Guest

            Playing on the flank most of her passes will be final passes so I don’t think the Moe awareness is all that critical. Some of it is also adjusting to the speed of the international game. She played fine against the weaker teams in the VT games. I think she will learn when she needs to get rid of the ball and tighten up some of her touches so she can move the ball before help defense arrives.

    • Calci0

      Maybe she is doing what coaches do, and looking at different ways to fill in the hole Rapinoe has left. Maybe she isn’t looking to continue the exact playing style that won the WC.

      • mockmook

        Regardless of style, there is still a missing left flank player.

  • Guest

    To all the overnight internet personal trainers and fitness coaches: Take a hike.

    PSG and Lyon thought Horan was fit enough when they were offering her contracts in high school.
    Mike Dickey and Kazbek Tambi thought Horan was fit enough to play for them at the youth level.
    CONCACAF thought Horan was fit enough as she was the top scorer at the 2010 U17 Championship.
    Anson Dorrance and co. thought Horan was fit enough when he offered her a scholarship.
    Parsons and the Portland FO think Horan is fit enough to play for them.
    Sermanni thought Horan was fit enough to play in the Algarve.
    Ellis obviously thinks Horan is fit enough for an extensive 17 day camp.

    • Steglitz49

      Needs to shed a few lbs and up her fitness level.

    • Breakers fan

      Yes. I was about to write something similar. How do we know how fit she is? I didn’t see her getting gassed in the games she played in. We have no way of knowing how aerobically fit she is. Her body type is of the bigger variety. What I wonder about is her quickness and speed. She is quick with the ball, which is good. I wonder about her burst speed and how quickly she can recover if beaten, or just get to a spot if there is an emergency. To some extent this is a genetic trait, but I think there are drills and fitness routines one can do to try to improve these attributes. She may already be working on this.

      And after all most of us here have only seen her play in a couple games, and she did quite well overall, so I think we need to cool our jets and enjoy the player who’s just recently been put before us. A fair amount of negativity for a very good recent performance. I think we tend to be perfectionists. We want all players to be everything, immediately.

      • Steglitz49

        Zlatan is a big man. As is Tomas Müller. CR7 is quite big too.

        They are fit and not an ounce of fat on their bodies. Tattoos yes.

      • F0OtballNowAndAlways

        All that matters is her effectiveness. Did she play well in your estimation? Yes? Then that settles it. All this speculation and innuendo about fitness and what not is pointless. If she is playing well, she must be fit. Fitness is indispensable to player evaluation. A good player is, by definition, fit. If her fitness is inadequate, then she is not a good player. The propositions are quite simple. Everything else is just idle, academic analysis.

        • Breakers fan

          I think some people are mistaking “fitness” for “speed and quickness capabilities”. Hard to say if she needs to lose some weight – maybe not – her body type is different from most. I think she’s fit, – why wouldn’t she be? — but we don’t know how fit she is compared to others – most likely about the same. I think people remember her first game where she didn’t look good as a forward – she looked slow and she was pretty slow. Then she had a great game and people jumped back aboard. Now we wonder how she’ll do against better competition. You’re right – a lot of it is idle speculation and worry. Soccer fans aren’t by nature very idle. Our game-playing is making comments and a lot of them come in between games.

      • John

        Was Abby built like a whippet? Was she a speed merchant?

        • Breakers fan

          No and that is a legitimate thing to point out. It’s not necessary in order to still be a great player. I’m a Horan fan. I just want her to maximize her potential. And the reason I have some concern about her speed and quickness is because she, as things currently stand, isn’t positioned where Abby was. She’s significantly further back on the field where running and defense come much more into play, so I think that factor is more relevant than it was for Abby.

          • guest

            she is also four inches shorter.

          • Breakers fan

            yes, and not as good a header of the ball, but then again no woman ever has happen. Michelle Akers I think would be second. I saw Wambach a lot more so am ranking her first.

          • guest

            Horan is listed at 5’9″ which is 2 inches shorter than Wambach and I would imagine she also weighs a little less. She is very good in the air and even if she isn’t Wambach she has some tools Wambach never had.

    • David K Anderson

      Modern sports medicine (etc.) has at long last discovered that there is a broader range of body fat percentage in women athletes that can be considered “fit” for an endurance-oriented sport than in their male counterparts. Trying to force a woman athlete who’s out on the heavier end of that scale in order to make her look like the stereotypical image of a “female endurance athlete” can actually _harm_ her fitness.

      I haven’t seen enough of Horan to know if she’s like that (although I suspect it’s the case), but a good example I _have_ watched a lot is Kendall Johnson. At first glance, one might make a similar assumption as those people seem to be making about Horan. But I’ve seldom seen her looking gassed (and then only late in games in which she’s had to make a whole bunch of long runs). At the couple of practices I was able to watch, she was mid-pack in the sprints they ran (which got pretty competitive…Em Menges was fastest, followed by Alyssa Kleiner, if anyone’s interested). Paul Riley, a notorious fitness tyrant, didn’t have a problem with Kendall’s fitness.

  • Ralphy

    I’m honestly just confused as to where Tymrak, Yanez, Winters, Kallman and Ohai are? Baffled by the fact that none of these players were called up.

    • Calci0

      How big do you want the roster to be? And even if they were, you could then argue for another 5 players…..

      • Steglitz49

        Indeed. Also one gets the impression that the train has left the station for some players. Like, had it not been required to satisfy the Veterans, they might have been in.

        • dw

          The veteran heavy system has been validated forever by winning the WWC. It was already valid in USSF’s perspective before winning. It will NEVER change now.

      • kernel_thai

        U replace the other new call ins. What more do u need to see of Steph McCaffrey, Jaelene Hinkle or Emily Sonnett. All three have gotten a lot of field time and have stated their case for a place on the team. Why shouldnt other players get that same chance? Let’s take Sonnett cause I always pick on McCaffrey. Is Sonnett actually the third best CB in the US? How did she prove that? Her stellar play in professional leagues? All her college cups? If I were someone like Abby Dahlkemper I think Id want to know why I dont get the same chance. Or Kassy Kallman or any other young CB who has done much more than Sonnett but cant even get fair look.

        • Breakers fan

          If I may borrow a phrase from Steg: “Hear, hear!”

          • Steglitz49

            You may.

        • dw

          Yeah, I definitely would have opted for the “who else is out there?” option, but I suppose the prevailing theory is keeping the same players in will grow their game(s) to a similar level than bringing in a new, possibly marginally better player. I mean, there’s no sleeping giants out there. Any alternatives would be marginally better, or marginally worse. I don’t agree with it, but similar to a post I recently made, this has been SOP for USWNT before Ellis got on the scene…

          For us it makes a big difference because most of us probably have a few, if not more, favorite younger players on the outside looking in. But from a program perspective, it doesn’t make much difference at all. We didn’t necessarily have the best available 23, the best tactics, or the best coach at WWC15. We won it anyway. And we won it decisively.

          • mockmook

            Indeed.

            With a player pool as vast as the USA’s, you are inevitably going to skip over some players, bring in younger players who’s extended tenure will (you hope) provide some long term stability to your roster.

          • Guest

            “We didn’t necessarily have the best available 23, the best tactics, or the best coach at WWC15. We won it anyway. And we won it decisively.”

            The only thing I would note is that at the end Ellis played the best players and mostly got the formation and tactics right. I might have preferred a true CAM but Carli delivered in spades anyhow. But the US really should win every WC we have the largest player pool and the best athletes in the world.

          • kernel_thai

            Or put another way in the end Ellis backed off almost everything she had changed about the team and used players she had little faith in. Yep that’s a recommendation for 4 more years if I ever heard one.

          • Guest

            Or, maybe she listened to Swanson. Heath and Brian are Swanson type players and I thought he had control of the midfield during the WC.

          • kernel_thai

            I personally believe that when panic set in the word came down from above. The players were apparently grumbling about another WC being bungled away and u know some of the players have Gulati on speed dial. Maybe it was suggested that the two assistants needed a bigger role in game planning. Whether forced or a light bulb went off the midfield approach started to change with the China match.

          • kernel_thai

            I would agree with that up until Rapinoe. Truth is they were already short on the left before Rapinoe got hurt. It makes no sense at all not to look again at the left side options.

          • dw

            They’ll do what they always do, shoehorn a current roster player in. There’s already not enough minutes to go around, so there’s all sorts of players who can go over there, like half the roster. Press, Lloyd, Dunn, O’Hara, HAO, Brian, etc… Search your feelings, you know it to be true…

          • mockmook

            But, only O’Hara or Kling makes sense (maybe Lavelle from the Camp roster).

          • dw

            Making sense has historically not been a criterion for playing out of position for USWNT.

          • mockmook

            True, especially with JE.

          • mockmook

            Oh, I did forget that Colaprico is also an option.

          • mockmook

            “And we won it decisively.”

            Don’t know why you added that.

            We barely got by CHN and GER — a different official might have tripped us up. And, we were extremely fortunate that Sasic missed the PK.

          • dw

            You’re beginning to make me sound like an optimist.
            Sure, China was a close game, you’re not going to rout everyone. but the GER game IMO was over as soon as they put up the lineup. It was only a matter of time before Germany ran out of gas. I think Neid failed miserably as a coach for this game. Maybe as bad as Bergeroo for failing to hop into the opposite bracket when given the chance.

      • HOFCToDi

        The following players called up to the Senior USWNT all played at least 100 minutes during the Victory Tour:

        Dunn
        Hinkle
        Horan
        McCaffrey
        Sonnett

    • kernel_thai

      Yanez is a poser. With Wambach and A-Rod gone ud think Yanez gets a look.

      • mockmook

        “Yanez is a poser.”

        That could be taken two ways — it could mean you think she is a fraud.

        • kernel_thai

          Fixed it : )

      • Cc W

        Yanez won’t get a look – unfortunately, too many other forwards. Same goes for Lauren Barnes and it is too bad. Barnes could have been a nice reserve at CB for Rio.

  • F0OtballNowAndAlways

    Funny how Ellis can’t play Dunn enough now, the same player she passed over to schlep nursing home candidates to the WC.

    Who gave Ellis a talking to? I can’t believe this sudden penchant for playing new players is her idea. Prior to the world cup, you couldn’t buy a first cap on this team if your name was Gates Walton Ellison. All of sudden Ellis is capping new players like bottles in a Coca Cola plant. Something tells me she is not as independent as we might think.

    And just when is Colaprico going to get a cap? When the first human lands on Mars?

    • Breakers fan

      With all the retirements and injuries to vets, and now a pregnancy, she was basically forced to do this, yes?

      • F0OtballNowAndAlways

        Just like circumstances forced her to play certain players at the world cup, players who might very well not have tasted action.

        • Steglitz49

          JE’s team won. To the winner belongs the spoils.

    • kernel_thai

      Ellis manipulates game time based on who she wants to succeed. The same thing is true with camp opportunities. Instead of bringing in all the players who deserve a look a few at a time and then bringing back the best in January she picked the players she wanted to succeed and then made sure they were the only ones with opportunities.

      • Guest

        Why is Ellis not bringing other players to camp now a Ellis only wants certain players to succeed thing. What does she have to gain by not bringing the best players? The game time accusation is ridiculous because playing against other US players in practice is a good way for each player to test themselves. What competition is better than the US players playing themselves? Isn’t that what many in this forum have asked for? What these players do in practice matters as well it should and just because us fans aren’t privy to the those training sessions doesn’t mean that we should suddenly jump to Ellis, Swanson or whoever don’t know what they’re doing. Also Ellis did decide to not bring some players back to camp after the brazil camp.

        • kernel_thai

          But no one sees what happens in practice. Ellis is always saying that she plays the players who do the best in practice. That’s nonsense. Do u think HAO has bad practices? Did Julie Johnston suddenly start practicing better after Algarve? Did Kelley O’Hara’s practice skills take her from no PT in the WC to a starter against China? Is Crystal Dunn a better practice player now than in the Spring? None of this means practice isnt important. A player can certainly hurt their position with the coach with their practice habits. But any coach who says game time is dictated by practice is lying. If that were the case Abby Wambach wouldnt have a single minute on the VT.

          • Breakers fan

            I think that practice time is much more important for the younger, newer players in a camp. I think the vets by and large get a pass as far as possible brutal consequences springing from some weak training sessions. Let’s take that U-23/NT camp where it led to them only keeping one player on after the first week — I do think it’s possible that if some of those 24 U-23 players made a bad pass or two, missed a trap, or the like it could have had real consequences just because of the limited time they were being looked at, while if HAO or KO did the same thing in the same practice not an eye would have been batted.

          • Guest

            I am sure everyone performs reasonably in the drills but it also sounds like they scrimmage against each other a lot and I can see HAO and others not performing well in scrimmages. Crystal Dunn was unfairly cut to give older players their shot at WC glory but she was hardly the only one. Regardless, all of the players who didn’t play are gone now and Ellis found the right lineup during the WC so I think she deserves some leash to mold her team. It isn’t like she isn’t bringing in younger players now.

          • kernel_thai

            Again, there is no proof that Ellis isnt bringing in the right players. If she had brought in a bigger selection it still may have come down to the same players. My problem is Ellis circumvented the process. What she is doing is predetermining who gets a chance then continuing to bring them in until they earn contracts and end the matter. If I were in the next tier of player Id pull up stakes and head to Europe. The season is longer, the money is better and the coaching staff seems to give more opportunities to players not in the NWSL.

          • nwslfan

            Disheartening. Stengel taking a big risk.

          • Guest

            But we don’t know what Ellis’ process is. For all we know they have looked at plenty of game footage of other players that weren’t called an just decided that in the short window the time has to prepare they didn’t want to bring in more players than the ones they chose. If they brough in to many players then they thought they could evaluate in January camp it could also end up hurting the team. Olympic qualifying is in February. By that time the roster needs to be mostly set and to start preparing for the olympics .

          • JL

            ” Did Kelley O’Hara’s practice skills take her from no PT in the WC to a starter against China?”

            Yes. Ellis has said as much.

          • mockmook

            That isn’t an explanation of why she got no playing time prior to the China game. Or, are you saying her practices suddenly became great only after the Columbia game?

          • Guest

            She was probably the 4th choice winger until Ellis finally realized that Press at flank wouldn’t work against teams that can counter the US.

          • kernel_thai

            I wouldnt believe Ellis if she said the shy was blue. What came out on the broadcasts was Wambach was spending her time on the bench helping KO. The same stories came out when Sundhage wouldnt play Morgan. It turned out Wambach was coaching Morgan in practice and Sundhage asked her to stop because she was determined not to rush her.

            I also have a hard time believing KO wasnt performing in practice. She is a machine and always works very hard. Same with HAO who got 9 minutes. Their PT wasnt about effort but about fitting the Ellis system and there is nothing wrong with a coach playing player who play her way. The question if they werent playing her way why were they on the roster?

          • Breakers fan

            Above all, KO’s playing time was about 2 midfielders being forced out with their 2 yellow cards. But i agree with your statement that you strongly doubt her practice effort had a recent change. I have to think, like you, that she always put in tremendous effort.

          • nwslfan

            It is clear from the group play that Ellis had no idea what she was doing. She tried something and thank the lord it worked. Her best move was sticking with what worked for the last 2 games.

          • nwslfan

            I am certain JJ got her act together (attitude, approach) over last xmas brek in Southern NJ with Carli’s coach, James Galanis. Then she caught a break, got into camp, and went for scoring opportunities. This caught Ellis’s attention as a CB that is a real scoring threat on set pieces and JJ never relinquished her chance. As for the others. O’Hara gets playing time becuz of scoring against Germany in semi. Dunn is definitely a better player than last spring in terms of confidence, then she killed it as a forward, often taking on 3 players and scoring. Kling is as slow as she was last spring, but she is fearless in attack and has midfield skills in the attacking third and that is what keeps her on the field. She also had good fortune in WWC not to be exposed by an uber-fast winger. Does the NT practice foster or develop any of this, no, I don’t think so. Rather, the change in some players occurred because players themselves decided to change their approach to the game and worked hard on their own, or had some good fortune in big games to earn Ellis’s up vote..

            I agree with other comments that Ellis does not take league play into account enough, but as with most teams, you have to knock a player off a spot to win a place on the team, which means you have to be distinctly better.

          • mockmook

            “O’Hara gets playing time becuz of scoring against Germany in semi.”

            O’Hara started against China in the quarters (and did not score). After that “failure”, how did she get to play against GER?

          • nwslfan

            No shade on KO. KO got the start v China bc of pure circumstance, yellow card accumulations. She gets to play more bc of her key goal in semis. In WWC, Ellis did not set starting XIs based on current opponent. She set lineups based on the game that just finished. Just in time, she put a group of players on the field who could be cohesive and successful.

          • Breakers fan

            I would add that she played *very* well against China. As you will recall, even though we only won that game 1-0 it looked like a whole new, fresh team. Even Holiday, who of course sat that one out, said the turning point of the tournament was the China match – which I thought was very admirable of her.

            So my point is that it was her play in that game which led to her getting in against Germany. Before the Germany game I was thinking that she should start again because of her China performance but one can’t argue with the results of the Germany game – which O’Hara contributed to significantly. This is not to contradict what you report – it’s factual — about how her very good practices led to her starting against China, and how her goal against Germany will help her going forward; I wanted to add how her China game was the beginning of the evidence of her renaissance. What is a little odd to me is that it would have seemed as if they should have known what they had in her already, for the most part, since she’d been on the team for about 5 years already, but maybe it became a whole new ballgame after she had that injury and was out for a while. She I guess had to re-establish herself.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe the USWNT has to impose term-limits. Only 6 years of caps, then out.

          • mockmook

            Not withstanding her scoring against GER, I think most people would agree that her offensive performances have been disappointing for the USA.

            Myself, I would totally ignore the “lack” of offense, and still put her on the field for her overall level of play.

          • RM27Fan

            My problem with KO on the wing is that she doesn’t really create scoring chances. I thought she was very useful as a late game sub but even in her good game against China I didn’t see her creating much offense with crosses, dribbles, or combination passes. The question then turns to how she would be best utilized. In one of your 3-5-2 formations I think she is a perfect wingback but in the 4-4-1-1 currently being used I would hesitate to start her on the flank or bring her on if the team is behind.

          • Breakers fan

            Glad you’re still in her corner. I don’t need to remind you that she hasn’t played all that much and sometimes – well, all of her earlier time, she was a defender. Overall, for the length of time she’s been on the team she’s played, for me a disappointing, (read:lack) of time at her natural midfield position. I’d start her and would have for a while now. I just hope there’s no anti-Stanford bias from the ex-UCLA coach that’s been at work.

          • kernel_thai

            I agree. JJ and Dunn had confidence problems. Lot’s of young players do. If Johnston was suddenly killing it in practice after Christmas why didnt that earn her PT? She only got playing time after injuries forced Ellis’ hand. Here’s another way to look at it…JJ’s confidence improved because she was playing and doing well. Same thing for Dunn. How high could her confidence level have been when she never got a chance to play? Then she goes back to her club where Parson’s believed in her and gave her a defined role and she exploded.

          • NYRick

            JJ in my opinion is not a better overall central defender than Engen. She won her spot because she showed herself to be an offensive weapon on set piece headers and because Rampone refused to properly retire for over 2 years, which in turn dragged out the roster situation. I think we all expected Rampone to start in Canada last summer, even at the 11th hour, but she was too injured and really done.

            I think JJ is not an overly creative backline player or really handler of the ball in tight spots. She is a kick it forward and far defender in the RVH mold. She gets by on toughness, grit and the ability to bang around with people in the box.

        • Captain Crunch

          If you follow kernel_thai at all, you will realize quickly that she can’t stand Ellis (that’s putting it nicely) so it’s not worth engaging in a rational discussion. My latest favorite is “Ellis manipulates game time based on players she wants to see succeed” or “she picked the players she wanted to succeed and then made sure they were the only ones with opportunities.” Ummm, yes. Isn’t that the very definition of coaching? There have been some dumb comments on this board, but those take the cake.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Beg to differ. Picking players you want to succeed is not the very definition of coaching. That’s the very definition of favoritism. Picking players that will make the team succeed is the very definition of coaching.

          • Captain Crunch

            This is why I hesitate to comment on these threads. You’re splitting hairs. It’s favoritism if you’re in love with someone she doesn’t pick and you don’t like the coach (which no one seems to on here). If you try to remain objective it’s wanting to see them succeed because ultimately you think they will help the team succeed. If it was always about having the best players then many professional sports teams would have it made. Instead they fail miserably and it’s the Patriots, SF a Giants/Cardinals, Seahawks, etc who seem to always be in the mix for championships. Because there’s the right blend of talent and chemistry that is so important. I didn’t love Boxx or some of the older vets on WWC team but I understood it. All the players people want to see in the camp have pretty much all received an opportunity on youth national teams but haven’t received call ups. People say it’s a slight to NWSL when in reality those players have all been around awhile but clearly are lacking something the coaches want. It’s not just Ellis either. If TG or Swanson loved a Tamryk or Ohai, they would be included in camp. I think Ohai and others best shot was always post Rio as an 18 man roster was never going to allow for a ton of change. As much as we want new faces to get the camp experience, their goal is still to win and they have Ger, France, and England coming next month.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            I see what you are saying now. I guess I just misunderstood your initial post.

          • Breakers fan

            Good post.

            Warning: Dissertation below….

            I think you’re right to point out the importance of team chemistry and the possible important value there is in having some veterans, who are still decent players, on a 23 person World Cup roster – even if there may have been another, I feel also legitimate, reason they were there (“for your many years of great service I want *you* to be in line for the rewards that will come if we win this” {that’s my theory anyway}) . I also think you’re right to point out that fans (myself included) should acknowledge that they have favorites and that these choices can have strong, personal, emotional, perhaps extra-soccer components, just like they feel the coach is exercising with her (their) sometimes supposed misguided choices. But I am with the fans in thinking that it’s not above the realm of possibility at all that there may be some favoritism enacted by the coaching staff. That is to say that there could be instances where it is not clear which player is better and the one who ends up getting chosen has a personal connection to a coach and that is the deciding factor. This is speculation on my part. I can’t prove it.

            So, in the end, I think that fans sometimes think they do know better than the coaches, based on their viewing experience. I think a person has every right to posit this feeling and opinion. And that it could be that the fan is correct. It could also be that the fan is not correct. It’s probably more likely that the fan isn’t, but I don’t really know. It’s possible that the fan has seen a lot more play of a certain player than the coaches. I mean if a fan has seen every Houston Dash game that Kealia Ohai has played in, or every Breakers game that Kassey Kallman has played in, or every Seattle Reign game that Lauren Barnes has played in, can the coaches claim that same level of observation of that player? Those are the most recent examples of those players’ current form. True, those players came for a week into camp with the NT, but how much is seen in that week, compared to 20-40 full NWSL games?

            Take for example this current camp roster. There are only a few spots one could argue about. Two could be those held by 2 recent UVA grads, Danielle Colaprico and Emily Sonnett. 2 excellent players, both of whom played under Swanson. I like ’em both a lot. But….are they for sure the right choices? Is a player being missed who genuinely could help the team even more? That is what fans are discussing of course. I would love to see Kallman get a call-up, over Sonnett. Others say the same about Lauren Barnes as a defender. Both have 2 years of tough NWSL experience under their belt after great college careers and are still only 24 or 25. That feeling, for me about Kallman especially, is based on my observations of her play, not on some inherent bias towards her. Now, either the coaches are clearly better evaluators of talent than I am or I’m right. Or, perhaps even in the coaches’ minds these players are roughly equal but Sonnett gets the call because of her connection to Swanson. Do you think that’s within the realm of possibility or do you think the coaching staff is above such questionable ethics? I personally don’t think they’re necessarily above making a choice based, finally, on that personal connection. At midfield, what about Ohai or Kristie Mewis or Christine Nairn or Erica Tymrak vs. Colaprico, or Sam Mewis or Rose Lavelle or Steph McCaffrey? And do you need 4 goaltenders when taking 3 allows you to get a look at one more player? And with such a big tournament approaching why not bring in 29 again, instead of the current 26, like you have in the past?

            You may be right that these players best shot is post-Rio.

            In the end, you either think coaches are *always* smarter than all fans, that they’re *always* right, compared to what fans think, or you think it’s possible that there are times when the opposite may be true.

          • Steglitz49

            Sometimes the way coaches select players, a whole generation could miss out in a land with as many top notch players as the US.

            The coach sees what the coach sees, just like a ref. At some point the coach has the decide: X or Y, A or B.

          • Breakers fan

            That is the situation in the US – lots of players here that would start for other countries. It is tough and that’s why fans scrutinize the choices that are made and demand finally that the choices be made purely on merit rather than on anything else. Tough to do because there are a lot of very good players. How to separate them, how to know exactly who’s best? That’s why a lot of fans want more new players at least invited into current camps.

          • Steglitz49

            It not such a hassle for the BiFour because the US domestic leagues are the most sought after. NHL is a good example, but likewise for the other 3.

            Soccer belongs to the world and WoSo too. You play where you prefer on account of preference, income, endorsements or whatever.

          • mockmook

            A “modest proposal” I have been toying with — so this is still a bit slap-dash:

            The USA player pool is just too immense, so: Bifurcation!!!

            Have the USA team split in two. Two coaches. Two philosophies.

            Let each coach alternately draft players.

            So it’s not an A and B team, it is two A-teams.

            When a WWC/OG rolls around, play the two teams against each other, and the winning team/coach goes to the tournament.

            The winning coach can then poach some players from the other team to shore up any weaknesses in his/her squad.

          • Breakers fan

            Good God – I love this idea!! May it somehow occur. My “modest proposal” is that your reward for thinking it up is that you are a consultant to Team B for player selection. (Please add me to the staff)

          • NYRick

            This makes too much sense but financing both teams would be the obvious roadblock. Also, where doe the marketing and TV dollars go, to Team A or Team B during the build-up? In the end it would come down to jersey sales and Twitter accounts like it always does with this team. Let’s say Team A had Morgan, Hope and Pinoe and got their doors blown off by Team B. You honestly think Alex is staying home? If based on your proposal, that would be how it would have to come down, but it’s about sponsors and jersey sales…and oh, those ole Twitter accounts.

          • NYRick

            To further on your “poach” players from the losing team, why is that fair? Shouldn’t it be about chemistry, especially if one team soundly beat the other. Herb Brooks picked many “non-stars” for the 80 Miracle on Ice team and stuck with that plan. I think that worked out rather nicely. But that was in the pre-days of social media. It probably wouldn’t work today.

          • mockmook

            It would be very tricky to pull off.

            Presumably, the coach could find the right balance of bringing in a more talented player vs screwing with chemistry.

            And, no, it wouldn’t be “fair” — but, it is more realistic than totally disregarding the talent on the losing team.

            Finally, there is a chance this could be mostly self financing. You could have more USWNT games/exhibitions in more cities (the two USA teams playing separately). And, any Team-A(1) vs Team-A(2) games would be massive draws.

          • Captain Crunch

            I appreciate your position and what you are saying. Warning, dissertation ahead here, too. 🙂

            Of course, I don’t agree with all of what you said but I agree with some points. I think mainly as fans we get super attached to players and think it’s a travesty when they are not included when in reality there is so much that goes into it. I have no doubt that there is an advantage to having someone on the inside giving you a shot. Not fair but I’d be a fool not to acknowledge it happens and is very real. It seems to happen on every level. Would Belichek give Tebow a tryout if he wasn’t so close to Urban Meyer…or Aaron Hernandez for that matter? We have people’s opinion we trust and we go with it. It’s an inexact science often with no science at all unfortunately.

            Sometimes I think it’s as simple as…we have four goalkeepers because we want two scrimmages to happen at the same time and each team needs a goalkeeper. Like you, I wish there were 30 players in camp but it seems clear they are set on picking the OG roster from this group and with only a few spots open, they’re keeping the group tight.

            For sure I think there’s an advantage in having a team’s coach there like Sonnet’s or Brian’s or at least it doesn’t hurt. That’s how Cheney/Holiday really got her first shot. Ellis was Pia’s assistant. Pia didn’t love Cheney but Ellis kept pushing to get her in the lineup over ARod. First she was an alternate and then she made the Olympic team due to injury. Eventually Holiday got her start, she played well and the rest took care of itself. Sometimes coaches just gravitate to the best programs. UNC has a ton of players on the team with no direct coach connection in the recent past. However, I don’t think it always applies because for the life of me, I can’t figure out why Engen is still around. I doubt she’ll make the OG but her inclusion in WWC still baffles me.

            As for others you and others mention, all of those players have been watched for years and not just in camps. During the course of their collegiate careers, they have all competed against each other. Ellis recruited most of these players while she was at UCLA. I’m sure Swanson did, too. College coaches are guests in camps all the time. Ellis recruited Barnes to UCLA and Barnes played under Ellis for four years at UCLA. She recruited Sam Mewis, Dahlkemper and Killion (think Ellis left before their freshman season) and Kristie Mewis was on her U-20 national team that failed miserably (not saying it was Mewis’ fault—just doesn’t help anyone’s resume-including Ellis). Ellis had been at every UCLA home game when not traveling with US Soccer before she moved to Miami (but still was there if US Soccer had L.A. camp). I know this because I’ve been a Bruin fan for 20 years and was at the games and probably saw her at least a dozen times.

            I’ve heard Kristie Mewis is way higher maintenance (i.e. not as team oriented) while Sam Mewis has been credited for both getting UCLA over the hump to winning a national championship under Cromwell and her leadership was really missing when UCLA crashed this season. I guarantee if you ask the coaches and say why not pick so and so, they have one or two reasons why they’re not selected. Maybe it’s defense, no left foot, crossing, poor tackler, etc. with the compensating factor not enough to get them over the hump. I’m a sports diehard and I try to figure out what makes certain teams tick and win while others fail miserably. For example, when we ended up hosting the WWC in 2003, that US team seemed to have such poor chemistry, no connection between coaches and players and they seemed destined to go out the way they did. The crazy thing is the core of that team was the beloved ’99ers but no one really mentions that. My point isn’t to bring anyone down as much as it is to point out that selecting a team, maintaining a culture and winning it all is such a delicate balance.

          • Breakers fan

            Thank you for that. Really enjoyed the UCLA stuff – the Cheney/Holiday history was new to me – fascinating stuff, and it goes to show how chance can play a role, and how having an advocate can be that little bit of difference needed at the beginning. But then from that point on a player has to perform well, so it’s not just those things by any means.

            To keep this below dissertation length I’ll try and boil down my reactions:
            1. I liked this statement of yours: “I guarantee you if you ask the coaches and say why not pick so and so they have 1 or 2 reasons why they’re not selected.” I have to think this is true. What we as fans of course want to hear are these thoughts. We never will but they sure would be interesting to hear. They’d lead to endless debate but at least we’d know exactly what they are thinking about individuals. Of course the coaches would have to be absolutely brutally honest in revealing what these reasons are, even if they included “off the field”, “personality” explanations. I appreciate how you are totally willing to acknowledge that having those personal, alma mater connections can play a perhaps very significant role at least in the beginning. I think that’s what fans who don’t share those connections don’t like – they know that it can just take a really good game or two for a player to establish a spot on the team at least for a while (the truth about their abilities will eventually come out). With so many talented players in the US fans of players just want their favorites to be given that look, that chance. I acknowledge that the coaches are in a very tough position – the spots, even for camps, are, in a country like the US, very limited. I liked how you acknowledge how coaches have their opinions they trust (here Ellis trusting Swanson) and they sometimes go with that.

            2. The Kristie Mewis thoughts — would be interesting to hear your sources for this rumor that has an accusation within it. How reliable? How true is it? I didn’t see it during her 4 years at BC – she seemed a beloved player from fellow players and her coaches, nor with the Breakers this past season. And the fact that she has now done stints in Australia, Japan and Germany suggest that if there was a problem of any degree at one point in time, which is possible and may have been a contributing factor to her decision to play year round, she has been addressing it.

            3. I like your 4 goalkeepers possible explanation. I hadn’t thought of that and agree it’s possible. Also, with 2 older keepers on the team it makes some sense to look at another younger one.

            4. Your 2003 US team thoughts are interesting. I too didn’t have a great feeling that year but I still thought we could win. You were insightful to spot the problems early on. I wonder if something was “up” with that squad? Maybe it was mostly just the naturally waning of talents of the ’99ers.

            5. The anatomy of a winning team that you referenced. It is a great, eternal sort of question. The importance of team chemistry amongst players and with coaches. With respect to the WC 2015 that we won, I credit Ellis for that creative spark in the Germany game fielding the lineup she did. I don’t think many would have thought to do exactly that. I would ask the question also: If those 2 yellows, to Rapinoe and Holiday had not happened, with the subsequent spark given in the following game from that new lineup, – something forced on Ellis – would she still have made any changes? Maybe the play of that team in the China game was a sort of catalyst to her next change in the Germany game. If so, a lot of credit should be given to the players in the China game.

            Basically I failed at the “below-dissertation length” idea.

          • Captain Crunch

            Good input, nice to have a normal discussion on here. I’ll also try to keep this a manageable length.
            1. I agree it would be nice to know but for the sake of being respectful to the players, that info is seldom shared unless it’s Pia doing it after the fact ahead of the Sweden game. However, I think coaches worth their salt share that constructive criticism with the player. Ellis has a reputation for being very honest to players about what she wants/needs/doesn’t like in players ability. Then you have a player like Abby and you hope they see the writing on the wall so you allow them to go out with the appropriate recognition before moving on.

            2. No accusation regarding Kristie Mewis. Just heard she’s a bigger personality and you have to manage that. No different then a star player who is used to being the star but has to fall in line on a team of stars. I think then you weigh if it’s worth it or if you have players of comparable talent and you go with the others. A player like Boxx or Sauerbrunn is so appreciated because not only are they talented (Boxx back in the day) but because they don’t require extra attention and they are all about team all the time. When you have an Abby Wambach or Rapinoe who are oversized personalities, you have to offset that with players who just do their job which is what you want from your youth players who need to focus on earning their stripes and not marketing themselves.

            4. I agree. Wasn’t so much I spotted anything as much as it seemed the team was lacking that big tournament energy. Maybe they were still “hung over” from ’99 and the circumstances of playing in the U.S. with no opportunity to build it up didn’t help much either.

            5. While I agree with you here, I also think that is the nature of sports in general. Few things happen without something leading up to it which potentially changes the outcome for better or worse. Wambach doesn’t break her leg, Cheney doesn’t make the Olympic team in ’08, Drew Bledsoe doesn’t get knocked out then Tom Brady doesn’t come in to lead Pats to Super Bowl and eventually become a legend which in turn makes Belichek’s look like a genius and builds his legacy. Morgan comes on at halftime (20-25 minutes earlier than usual ) of 2011 WWC final because Cheney injured and almost leads US to victory with goal and assist. Steph Curry is Under Armour client because he had injury history at time and Nike didn’t want to match what in hindsight is crazy low contract. Heck, what if your Red Sox didn’t trade Babe Ruth to the Yankees?! I think you get the drift. There’s a million scenarios that affect the end result which is the beauty (and maddening aspect) of sports.

            That being said, I think the US would’ve won WWC ’15 regardless of the circumstances. It might have been ugly and not quite as memorable as a Lloyd hat trick but the U.S. always seem to rise to the occasion for big games and the fan support was amazing. Germany or France in the semis would be toughest test of course but we seem to always have the mental edge over those teams whether it’s because of fitness, history or a combination of a lot of things. I have no idea. Of course we’ll never know which is what allows message boards to thrive…pondering the what if’s, hindsight, etc.

          • Breakers fan

            1. Key point you made is that good coaches share that info with the player. Excellent, excellent point. I’m glad to hear that Ellis has that reputation.

            2. Something clearly “happened” with Kristie Mewis in the coaches’ mind – right or wrong. No getting around that. Exactly what it was is up for speculation. I’m not big on hearsay or rumor-spreading, but what you heard may have some connection to the reality of the situation.Again, I don’t know your source and I’m not really asking you to divulge it. But I think it’s important to say that unless you heard it from Ellis or an assistant coach or someone with direct relation to the team we don’t know if that is the case or whether that affected her demotion. I’m still a believer in her game, but history shows it can be tough to be dropped and make it back, but it’s not unprecedented (Chalupny for one, probably others).

            3. More good observations re: 2003.

            4. Excellent description of sports. It was eye-opening. Enjoyed those very good examples. I guess all I would add is that the *best* coaches need *the least* fortuitous chance happenings to occur. The best ones can figure out who should play, mostly on their own.

            5. Hard to say about WWC ’15, though what you say about our team historically is spot-on. I think Ellis not going back to the lineup of the early games for the Germany game, even though everyone was back and available, was key. I hope she remembers that risks can pay off.

          • Captain Crunch

            2. No, I really don’t think anything happened with Mewis or nothing specific that I know…but now I might inquire, Lol…jk. It was from an another college asst coach but it was really more of a conversation about Sam Mewis and what a “good kid” she appeared to be both with her team and off the field. When I asked about Kristie b/c she was the more heralded one (if I remember correctly), it was that she had a stronger personality. Again, not necessarily a bad thing when you are training to be the best (see Carli Lloyd) but just required more management.

            4. I think my point here is also the fact that you deal with the hand you’ve been dealt and try to make the most of it. Ideally you don’t want to lose Rapinoe or Holiday or I think if you asked anyone they would predict the more doom and gloom scenario. Yet, it worked out better than anyone could have imagined. It did force Ellis’ hand and O’Hara and Brian were like a breath of fresh air when they got out there.

            I agree, calculated risks can pay off. I’m hoping Press gets her shot up top with Morgan coming on as a sub and even Dunn up there would be cool to see. But there is time for it all to play out and I’m hopeful (yep I’m a homer) that we can get to that next level because I think there is still a lot of room to improve.

          • Breakers fan

            When Sam Mewis was a Senior I read a lot of her “Mew’s Views” columns on the UCLA site. And I was glad to read your comment that she was considered a great leader of the team as a Senior. So, I’m with you about her. With Kristie, (thanks for revealing your source) my sense is that it was soccer stuff, as seen by the coaching staff, and possibly early on a fitness issue (Kristie kind of alluded to that, admitted it) more than personality issues, that got her “relegated”. By “happened” that is what I meant – just a general change, a shift in the way she was seen, because she went from being invited to every camp to not being invited to about the last 5-8 of them. I know of no incidents.
            I’ve seen her play a lot – BC and beyond – and I’m a big fan and supporter. I think she could add a lot and we don’t have many lefties on our team. I now know the agony of the Ohai fan……

            I’m with you on Press too. Should get her on the field – somehow, some way. They’re not going to alter the magical Lloyd-behind-Morgan lineup and part of me doesn’t want them to, while another part of me hungers to go back to a 3 forward line of Morgan, Press and Dunn. Can you imagine that? I hope Jill and co. have fun with this group. A lot of talent – no need, as I see it, to be rigid.

          • Cc W

            I’d like to see more of Press too and think that she seems to have better chemistry with Carli than Alex. Thankfully, we won’t have one strategy of a cross to Abby for the header any more. For the WC they worked set pieces to a science, I’m sure these guys can come up with some inventive pairings – have to be ahead of the curve. This team has speed and talent – the only other team that has that to me is France.

          • Breakers fan

            I hadn’t considered that – your comment and feeling that Press, to date, may work better with Carli than Alex. Interesting..will have to keep an eye on that going forward. And I think that in addition to France Brazil is another team with very good pace. I wonder if Germany has some younger players coming in or any returning from injury who will increase their speed quotient?

          • Cc W

            I’m betting they do – lots of talent in their league. It will be interesting to see how Germany plays going forward – new coach and some new players – losing their old guard.

          • NYRick

            I’m having a hard time with your terminology, “the magical Lloyd-behind Morgan lineup.” We’ve been down this road but that is a major stretch on so many levels. I’ll say it again, Lloyd is not a forward. It’s like moving the long time vet SS to first base for the last few years of their career for their bat. It rarely works and usually stagnates young talent in every sport. The rationale to revolve this team around CL as the now “star” will be a mistake that will cost them the OG. Just watch it unfold.

          • Breakers fan

            I really meant that word “magical” to mean “magical in the US public’s mind”, “magical in Ellis’ mind”. I should have stated that. I had been typing so much I just didn’t flesh that out like I should have. But another reason I didn’t is because it is sort of magical – at this point in time. The Germany and Japan wins were huge, and it was created then, as we know. It was brand new and still feels new. Until that changes it has that air around it, as I see it. But you know me, Rick, I’m one of the bigger Press advocates. I would change the lineup if I were in charge – maybe. I am also into riding this train too until it gets derailed. A “don’t mess with success” thing. If this lineup starts to lose, however, I’d change it faster than Jill Ellis will, I believe. I’m really torn – but a lot of my heart and mind are in the “play Press and Morgan together” camp.

            I know what you’re saying about Lloyd as a forward and agree to a large extent. I do see her as a natural forward with her shooting skills (not always reliable as we have recently seen, but everyone has a lot of misses as a forward), powerful leg, aggressive play, good heading ability. Her take-on ability and dribbling in tight spaces skills I think are lacking. Her looking for others seems to have improved. I’m above all resigned to the reality of things, to what we both know *is* going to happen, whether we like it or not.

          • Cc W

            Great info on Ellis and Cheney. I imagine it is much like a college coach going to the NFL. They have watched and recruited and even if they don’t play for them, they know the player and skills.

          • guest

            You beat me to the punch! So let me just add that coaches picking players in a smoke filled back room is not a very transparent process. No one really understands why McCaffrey was selected. The problem is we all have our favourite players, and guess what, so do the coaches. Is it any surprise that Colaprico and Sonnet were selected given that Swanson was their coach at UVA? A better way would be to make selections based on merit of play in the NWSL. Allowing everyone to compete for a spot would raise everyone’s level of play, would be a more fair system since everyone is competing on a level playing field, and it would make the whole selection process a lot more transparent.

          • Breakers fan

            Yes, not transparent, and never will be unfortunately. It would hurt too many feelings and if brutally honest would reveal things that would firestart monumental debate if coaches gave their reasons for excluding many players. In the end, it’s subjective whether from fans or coaches and no matter what decisions are made you’re gonna make a lot more people upset than you are going to make happy, so they are in a tough position. Like you, I and every other fan, I hope, just wants fairness, a meritocracy. I too wish more were brought in, just to increase the chances no one or less players would be missed.

            I’ve written it elsewhere and you have seen evidence of it yourself if you have watched the last 4 or so games – McCaffrey was initially most likely chosen due to the camp where she was the only U-23 player kept on after the first week. What they saw there, and also from her youth national team play, plus her Boston College play, and now from her NT play was a particular skill – speed, and take-on ability – that they valued and felt they were in short supply of, and that she possessed more than others, with the team. I think it’s as simple as that.

          • mockmook

            “particular skill – speed, and take-on ability”

            Unlike A-Rod, Press, Alex, and Syd? Not to mention the universe of mids.

            McCaffrey may have a “spark” that makes her “The One”, but it likely shows up in the intangibles.

          • Breakers fan

            But those players are all about 3-7 years older than McC. “Gotta eventually keep replacing someday-broken parts”, may have been the thinking. And it could be that McC is even better than some of them in certain aspects of that skill. I’m thinking: quick, tight dribbling and maybe even quickness.

          • mockmook

            Whew!!! Had to take a smoke break halfway through that one!!! 🙂

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks for sticking with it. You’re probably “one of the few”.

          • HOFCToDi

            No offense, Danielle Colaprico was named NWSL Rookie of the Year for the 2015 NWSL Season. The so called “Swanson factor” need not apply in this instance.

            For those banging the drum for Erika Tymrak:

            2013 – 6 goals, 4 assists
            2014 – 4 goals, 4 assists
            2015 – 3 goals, 1 assist

          • mockmook

            “Danielle Colaprico was named NWSL Rookie of the Year”

            Playing in a capacity that JE has zero interest in using, DM.

            As you’ve pointed out, Colaprico has played 0 minutes for JE.

            “Emily Sonnett was named a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy”

            Does that mean she is better than all the passed-over CBs in the NWSL? I suspect they have won a bunch of awards, too.

          • HOFCToDi

            I really don’t give a damn about your viewpoint with regards to Emily Sonnett.

          • Breakers fan

            I am aware of the honorifics and awards – they’re well-publicized. And I did write that “they’re both excellent players, whom I like a lot”. Let’s put it this way: I bet if while in college they had played for Stanford or Florida State they would not be in camp. Just a theory.

          • HOFCToDi

            What is your explanation for Lavelle since she did not attend the University of Virginia?

          • Breakers fan

            My explanation is that it’s impossible for it to be 100%, and that Lavelle is a left-footed midfielder and we need them, especially with Rapinoe out, but she was called in even when Pinoe was healthy. Lavelle has stood out to many and that couldn’t be denied. It’s too big of a country for everyone to come from just a couple schools. There could be a little sour grapes in my sentiments here, but my point is that this is a country with a lot of excellent players and it’s a bit odd to have 3 players who were all on the same college team last year, when so many other top colleges have no one represented from the last few years, or just 1. Many other players could have been called in. I think the college connection may have been a key final determining factor in the end. But I repeat: I like both players a lot. Let’s see how they do.

          • mockmook

            BTW, Farrelly is from UVA. I’m just saying 🙂

          • Breakers fan

            Where’s that 3 Stooges picture?

            No, the Breakers get a Break. Especially those among the huddling masses who weren’t called into camp.

          • HOFCToDi

            Too many axes to grind these days amongst the posters on this message board with the Senior USWNT player selections.

            From my prospective, at least Colaprico was called up to the Senior USWNT. Whether Colaprico will see the pitch is whole nother story.

          • Breakers fan

            I don’t really see it that way. People have their opinions about who they think should be in camp. They’re just expressing them. Doesn’t mean they’re necessarily correct, but they may be. If you can’t express opinions on a soccer message board where can you? You just have different axes to grind, no? Press, Horan, Rampone come to mind.

            And yes, Colaprico may not see the pitch. One would have thought the last few games would have been her best shot at getting some playing time. This could just be a chance for her to practice with the team and for the coaching staff to get a better look at her.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christie Rampone is done. Christie Rampone was unavailable the first three months of calendar year 2015 and the last three months of calendar year 2015. At the age of 40, Christie Rampone is definitely showing signs of a body breaking down.

            Burn the tape during the Victory Tour against the CONCACAF Cream Puffs. Review the tape during the Victory Tour against Brazil and China. Horan was practically invisible against Brazil and China. Lindsey “molasses” Horan is no Lauren Holiday.

          • Breakers fan

            My point there was you objecting to people objecting to something the NT does, for you do the same thing. You can disagree with them, but to say they shouldn’t express their opinions is hypocritical.

            About the other issues: I admire the heck out of Christie Rampone. An athlete for the ages in women’s soccer. If she wants to try and make the Olympics squad, I’m ok with that. What I won’t be ok with is if they give her a spot based on anything other than current form.

            Horan – the jury is still out. I’m more encouraged by her than you are, that’s clear.

          • HOFCToDi

            Plenty of young talent added to the Senior USWNT roster. At least Jill Ellis is heading in the right direction.

            I’m fine with Colaprico, Dunn, Franch, Hinkle, McCaffrey, Sonnett added to the Senior USWNT roster. Lavelle seems too redundant with Lloyd, Brian, Mewis on the Senior USWNT roster since the best position for the aforementioned players is the central attacking midfielder. I have noted my displeasure with Horan. Mallory Pugh may have been rewarded for her performance at the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship Tournament.

          • Steglitz49

            Welcome to the EQ.

      • Terry Lash

        Ellis is a bad coach, but lucky. She succeeded in spite of herself. She was lucky to have so many top notch players.

        • nwslfan

          Truth bomb!

        • ARED

          Bad coach might be a bit harsh, but certainly she is lucky to have so many talented players -much like Sundhage before her. Even picking the 3rd or 4th-best player still is often better than that of the opponent, and choices of tactics are more whimsical than crucial.

          • Steglitz49

            Your comment puts into perspective what other countries have achieved in the last 5 years or so.

            A difference was that Pia took over at a time of strife, faction and internecine feuds. She read them the riot act and got the team humming. Pia brought new players on board and tested more.

            JE was not interested in taking over from Pia. Who could blame her. She assumed the mantle when TS was sacked. The rest is history. Wise lady.

          • ARED

            Are you saying they haven’t achieved much? Not sure I’m getting your first comment….

            Interesting comment about JE however; I would have just thought it was personal reasons and timing that made her not want the job (or doubts of her ability to get it, or succeed). But perhaps she did feel it’d be hard to follow Pia’s footsteps.

            I don’t mean to rip Pia too hard, but I do think sometimes she is treated like an untouchable legend, while I’m not sure her WC’s in 2011 or 2015 were very well coached -and to me the WC is where it counts the most.

          • Steglitz49

            Pia went for experience in 2015, even injured experienced, ahead on new talent. Nevertheless, she can’t be blamed for how incompetently the team played against Nigeria. Also, FIFA screwed Sweden in the draw.

            As for WC-11, the US lost to Sweden and Japan to England in the group games. Sasaki’s coaching and motivation were impeccable and the Nadeshiko exceeded themselves.

          • ARED

            Yes, to the draw for sure. Sweden had a tough hand, but seemed to be holding back some of their firepower (the young talent). Pia played her hand differently from how I would have preferred and it didn’t work out, but to be fair, who’s to say they wouldn’t have been slaughter if she took more risks?

            Sasaki certainly seems to have been the WoSo coach of the past 5-ish years to me. Again, no disrespect to Pia, but I just feel that sometimes she is given the “girls club” treatment where no one says any wrong about her.

  • Guest3

    I’m not trying to be offensive but I was just wondering does anyone know what the US Soccer policy regarding pregnancy? Amy is going to miss the Olympics and all of the NWSL season. Unlike most jobs where you perform your job while pregnant and then are paid for the 6-8 weeks following delivery, she cannot do her job at all for the next 40+ out 52 weeks. Does she still draw a salary since she will be doing no work for the majority of 2016?

    • mockmook

      Don’t know the policy.

      But, you could consider any time she uses to continue working out to be “job” time.

      • Guest3

        I guess but this “working out” wouldn’t be at the level of intensity normally required to maintain a spot on the NT. I can’t see how they can rationalize an entire year’s salary on that other than the fact that the public backlash would probably be insane if they were to drop her allocation due to pregnancy (would be perceived that way by the public and they would be right).

      • Breakers fan

        Just like for all the time Alex Morgan was out re-habbing she was still getting paid. I guess that’s different but it’s still time away from the team but working out just as hard if not harder. I too don’t know the policy here – good question. I wonder if it is based on whether she plans on returning or if the team plans on inviting her back.

        • Guest3

          That’s significant though. She definitely won’t be working out as hard.
          She plans to return but in the field I come from, much like sports, there are seasons to get pregnant during and seasons not to. One girl basically got kicked out because of pregnancy. She was deemed “not serious” about the work. One could say the same about Amy because it is an Olympic year.

          • Steglitz49

            Amy has 2 Olympic golds already. She is able to let someone else win one. Then there is her WC winners and runners-up medals.

            How many medals do you need to be happy? Gold-Lena told the world at 24 she could not motivate herself to carry on. She “only” had two OG golds and a silver plus a whole bunch of World Championships. Amy is 28.

          • Breakers fan

            Interesting — this notion of “hey, not a time to get pregnant, ladies” – with possible consequences if that is disobeyed. You wonder if that has EVER been brought up by a coach addressing her team.

          • mockmook

            Not in recent years — totally verboten, now (as it should be).

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. It need not be mentioned to consenting adults in public. The ladies cannot be unaware of the consequences. Just praise those who succeed and rework the squads.

          • Steglitz49

            Not by a male coach.

    • RU fan

      My memory is that at one time, the players’ contact called for 50% of regular salary for the year.

      • kernel_thai

        That’s what I recall as well.

      • Guest3

        Thanks!

    • Steglitz49

      There must be lighter work compatible with the condition that ARod could do for WoSo than actually playing. Work as someone’s assistant, for example.

      Murinho got his start because Bobby Robson needed an interpreter when he came to Porto. Murinho followed Robson to Barcelona.

  • smallchief

    It seems clear that the 18 members of the Olympic team are going to be chosen from this roster of 26. Other aspirants will have to wait until after the Olympic games.

    I would have liked to see the roster expanded to 30 and four additional prospects brought in — such as Winters, Huerta, Ohai, and Gililland.. But….

    Horan looks like she has the central midfield position, as company for Brian, just about nailed down. S. Mewis, Colaprico, and Lavelle can fight it out to be the sub.

    Left midfielder looks to be our weakness. There’s Heath — who is only adequate — and nobody else. Somebody else needs to be tried at that position: Leroux? Kling? O’Reilly? O’Hara?

    Crystal Dunn is now a forward? Having moved up from defender to midfielder to forward in less than one year? Will her role change or will she continue to be the right midfielder?

    • Guest

      Dunn will be played at RM her listed position doesn’t really matter. I don’t really agree about Heath who has looked more than adequate since returning to the flank. On your personal replacements for her. You’re nuts if you think Leroux can play flank in the current formation with Carli playing CAM. Kling is more of a possibility but shines mostly because the flanks positioning in Ellis’ system creates open space for the outside backs down the flanks. O’Reilly has never been good down the left because there is a noticeable drop in the quality of her service with her left foot. O’hara is neither a 1v1 player nor is her short passing accurate enough in tight spaces as shown in the early VT games where she played flank. Dunn has been tried on the left as well and also looked less effective due to the weakness in her left foot service. As far as the team’s biggest weakness, that would be the lack of a true CAM that can pick the ball up in seems, turn with it and distribute it to the wings and the lone forward.

      The central midfield question is more interesting, I would like to see how Horan defends against tough competition before making any final judgements. Even if Horan starts I think the team needs at least one more CM of the roster.

      • Steglitz49

        HAO crossed from the left in the NWSL Championship final (ARod scored). There is life in the old dogs yet.

        • Guest

          She might be capable but I wouldn’t exactly call her proficient. She also has issues advancing the ball in tight spaces which is the biggest reason she has seen reduced playing time under Ellis.

          • Steglitz49

            HAO has put some significant crosses in in her time. Whether her time to leave has come is another question.

      • mockmook

        And, it’s really RAM or RW for Dunn.

      • Breakers fan

        Not sure if this is the same guest who analyzed McCaffrey but again I come to the defense of some of the players’ so-called weaknesses, inabilities offered up here. I do think O’Hara is a decent 1 v 1 player; I think she can pass well in tight spaces by and large – saw her do it a lot at Stanford when she got enough playing time to really watch her at midfield; Dunn’s left foot? Recall the shot she blasted in with her left from distance with a 1 step approach. She can use that foot fine. And when HAO was with the Breakers I saw several very good crosses with her left foot, but I doubt she’ll be played on that side. But you do bring up an interesting question – Heath’s replacement there. And this is why I’m mystified why they didn’t bring in more left-footers, knowing Pinoe was out. We have ’em – C.Nairn, K. Mewis. Maybe they’ll play Lavelle on the left for she too is a lefty. That would make the most sense.

        • mockmook

          That’s why I think Lavelle may ultimately steal Horan’s roster spot in 2016 — not saying I’d bet on it, but it makes sense if you want CM/LAM flexibility.

          • Breakers fan

            Not that I’m that against that idea — though I am intrigued by Horan much more now – but the signs point in the other direction. By that I mean “minutes given recently” – Horan – close to 360 (four games worth) Lavelle: 0. Not sure she’ll get enough of a look to oust Horan.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear. The obvious conclusion is usually on the money.

          • ARED

            I believe Lavelle has the ability to really make an impact on the international level, but it’d be a bit of a shame if she were stuck never/rarley being able to play as a CAM simply b/c she’s able to play out wide or holding mid (similar to how Heath and Holiday have always been shifted due to their flexibility).

            Flexibility often does get a player onto a roster as cover however. But in this case, as Breakers fan says, it’s hard to see Lavelle getting a real chance since she hasn’t gotten into a game yet. It would probably take a “Johnston” for her to ascend into a meaningful role for Rio.

          • Guest

            Tobin might be able to play underneath a forward but I think she is better out wide where she is free to be more creative and make mistakes. Her coaches never seem to restrict her from coming inside anyway so I am not sure playing her inside would benefit her.

            What the USWNT needs from a CAM is a player who can link up with the pivots, turn and go, distribute the ball to the wings and forwards and score goals. I think the wings and forwards would all really benefit from a CAM who can consistently play them into space in behind defenses and has been missing ever since Holiday was made into a DM. A good example of what is needed from the position was the play before Dunn’s goal against China. Tobin picked the ball up in the seam between the midfield and defense, turned, beat the first defender which drew 2 others, laid the ball of to Alex on the wing and made a run on goal drawing players to goal mouth creating space which Dunn exploited after a poor clearance.

            With Holiday retiring I don’t think this player is on the roster from the 2015 WC unless Ellis plans to try Brian at her natural position. But that would leave a gap in one of the pivot positions with one that still needs to be filled.

          • ARED

            We see things a lot alike. For me Holiday was the perfect CAM, just wasn’t used there. I always thought Holiday and Heath together in something of a 4-3-3 would make an great midfield to watch -a nice blend of passing and creativity, and maybe the best midfield/attack we’ve seen in WoSo. (Since the team is stacked with forwards and has good attacking outside backs, I think it cries out for 2-3 creative passers in the middle pulling the strings and watching the goals fly in…har har). Obviously Ellis did not see things as I do….lol.

            I also do like a focal CAM as you suggest. Without Holiday I think Heath and Brian are the best they have, but neither will likely play there as the two holding mids will stay (Brian and ???) and Heath will play out wide, allowing Lloyd to roam. Lloyd certainly does bring another version of a #10, and the team will be good enough to win even without my dream midfield, or your preferred CAM.

            **If Ellis had a change of heart:

            Brian could be a fit, but I’d expect some growing pains at this level so waiting to try that until after the Olympics to give her 3 years to build up to the next WC might be best. I think she’d find herself harassed by defenders and pushed off the ball until she got a bit stronger and more used to the role.

            Heath has proven to have qualities that fit the role, but has obviously never done it as a CAM over any long stretch. The example you point out, as well as her play at the WC, lead me to believe she’s the player I’d try -esp. since there are other options on the wing. At the WC Heath was playing centrally to almost an alarming degree, providing both an outlet in possession as well as 2-3 defense-breaking balls that ended as near misses. One of those was the best ball Morgan received the whole tournament. But, the US team doesn’t seem to value chance creation from midfield, or making anything easy on their forwards, so I think we will see similar tactics with the most-similar faces JE can manage (not to be cynical..,.). ; p

          • mockmook

            It is ridiculous that the USA hasn’t been developing another playmaker/#10 these last few years.

            But, we are stuck with the now.

            I have more faith in Brian than you, and think she could quickly get back into the #10 groove.

            The only other player who might step in quickly would be Dunn. She has the escapability and the good passing instincts and skills.

          • ARED

            To be clear, I would have been giving Brian (and Holiday, and Heath) several looks at CAM to this point in her career, to help determine whether she was likely to be ready for the 2016 Games or not. I still might if it were up to me, but as it stands it will be a lot tougher on her to be good enough to make the team better than it currently is with the status quo (Lloyd in the free role).

            And of course, Lloyd is the player who’s been a fixture in that role for years. If Lauren Holiday didn’t get a proper look there in recent years, well, I don’t think there’s any clearer sign the position was Lloyd’s come what may -including the eventual aging of Lloyd and the retirement of Holiday (was she supposed to stick around until SHE was 33 to take over that role, followed by Brian when SHE was 33?)….

            I haven’t seen Dunn as a natural fit for CAM, but I haven’t seen as much of her as the others. I’ll keep that in mind as I see more from her.

          • mockmook

            I guess I’m not saying Dunn is a natural fit, but for everyone not named Brian, she is the best fit on the roster to be a #10/playmaker.

            Of course, I’m assuming JE won’t select Lavelle for the OG16 roster. Lavelle is a natural fit.

          • Guest

            Heath could probably play there too if she had to. But like Heath I think Dunn’s skills are best utilized outside where she can get herself 1v1 with a FB. She also isn’t a natural ball distributer and her passing needs some fine tuning. Other than being able to turn and go I don’t think she offers much more than a forward like Press played in the same position and I think Press would be much more clinical with the chances on goal that are created for that position. I think that Brian and Lavelle are the best options at cam, but I doubt that either will she any playing time there come OG16

          • ARED

            Yes, I was going to say that I doubt Lavelle is quite ready either, and regardless, if Holiday can’t displace Lloyd than Brian/Lavelle/Horan/etc. won’t either.

            We are pretty much together here, although I’d slide Heath ahead of Dunn as “best fit” on the roster -at least for how I’d like to see the team play. But to expound on my Dunn comment -I think she’d be effective, just in a different way. And certainly fun to watch. I just think players like Brian/Heath (Holiday) give you an attacking team instead of just isolated attackers. But Dunn may prove me wrong and show she can do that too.

            For my money I’d rather see Heath, Brian, or Lavelle in that CAM role than Lloyd for 2016. I’d have to see more of Dunn and Horan to add them.

            With any luck, some combo of Brian and Lavelle will be played as CAMs for the entire next cycle, allowing the USWNT the chance to (finally) truly evolve to the team they could be.

          • mockmook

            Let’s hope that Lloyd has had her fill of USWNT duty after the OG16.

            But, I think there was some interview where she was saying she saw no reason why she couldn’t be at the next WWC.

            Perhaps JE will finally intervene (if necessary).

            —————

            If Dunn was played at CAM, I do believe she would be a pass first type player (based on how she played in college).

          • ARED

            Indeed. A 37 year-old roaming #10/forward with “streaky” tendencies sounds crazy to me, but so did a 35 year-old target forward who rarely wins headers (and hadn’t been able to run much in years).

            My best bet, Lloyd will play until late 2018, then may be phased out a bit in the final build up to 2019, but she’ll still be on the team. And despite not having time to develop chemistry and style, the team will be a favorite to win.

            ___

            Fair enough, we’ll probably never see it anyway…. : (

          • Breakers fan

            At the younger levels it could be that they’ve been developing Lavelle there. I see her as our future #10. Maybe even good enough now, but I know Ellis moves too slowly for that to happen in Rio. I also like the idea of trying KO there. I think she played there at Stanford. I just think she’d be good in that position, whether she has a history on the NT there or not.

          • mockmook

            Yes, would love to see Lavelle tried there (on the USWNT level).

            I suspect you are right about O’Hara, but I think she would need about a year of playing the position to really flourish.

            Seems to me the only player who could quickly be a “quarterback” at CAM would be Brian.

          • Breakers fan

            I loved the way Brian played there at Virginia, so I’m in agreement. I didn’t mention her just because she seems pegged further back on the field now. I wonder what she thinks about it? Whether she’s come to like it ok, or a lot, or whether she wishes she were back at CAM?

            I tend to go in the other direction usually, in terms of “how long will this take to work?” if good people are involved. I mean, if I’m right and that KO played there at Stanford then she does have experience; and also, as a Stanford grad she’ll have a high soccer IQ. We know she has the work ethic. The China game, the Germany game, when new formations and lineups were tried showed how fast something can work at this level. These are very good, experienced soccer players. It’s the same game. They can adapt quickly, by and large, I think, especially if the move is lateral, as opposed to say, for example Press going from forward to midfielder. (though even there I thought she did pretty well on the whole)

          • mockmook

            If done “properly”, the quarterback will be in the thick of traffic and delivering precise passes on the ground — I don’t think that describes what O’Hara has been doing for years (if ever).

            I know she was Forward at Stanford. Until you said it, I’m sure that’s the first I’ve heard of her being a #10, and I can’t find any documentation to back up your “memory”.

          • Breakers fan

            I could be wrong – my memory was watching 2 Stanford-Boston College games on the internet, both of which Stanford won. I thought she played midfield but maybe it was forward. If she played center forward at least she’s been in the center of the field. It’s just a feeling I have, more than one that can be supported by mountains of empirical evidence, that she would be good there. Odds seem about a 1,000,000 to 1 against it happening, but I wanted to release it into the world.

        • Guest

          It is and I welcome the criticism and differing views. I think I may have been a little over critical of O’hara and I do, in fact, like her a lot as a sub who will torture tired legs and lock down her wing. I don’t really agree about her 1v1 ability and would like to see her passing tighten up some more.

          Regarding Dunn, weak might have been the wrong word but what I see when she smashes the ball with her left foot is that she scoops underneath the ball. That would be problematic when crossing if she is unable to get around the ball. Obviously this is something she can and probably will work on but Rapinoe and Heath are the only two players on the team who I would classify as two-footed and can switch wings with relatively little change in their play. I can’t remember one left-footed service from Dunn during the VT time on the left and have seen very little of it in the Spirit games I watched this year.

          I also would have liked to see some more left-footed options tried out and maybe Lavelle is an option although I like her siting right underneath a lone striker. It’s tough to know anything concrete about Lavelle without seeing her play more.

          • Breakers fan

            1. Let’s let the jury stay out about Dunn’s left foot. It’s not as good as her right but I think I feel it’s better than what you think it is. I do agree though that Heath and Pinoe are our best 2-footed players. Press, though, really has developed her lefty shot nicely.

            2. O’Hara – to be honest I don’t have a lot of visual memories of her 1v1 play, I just have a sense that she’s probably pretty good at it with her speed, general skill and tenacious approach.

            3. Bummed that we didn’t get to see Lavelle in those last few VT games. Why not is beyond me. It was a perfect shot for her and Colaprico to get a first cap and a good extended look. Sam Mewis could have been looked at a lot more as well. Good thing is they’re all young, so there is time. I do like where you would like to place Lavelle – it’s probably her best spot, but I have only seen her play a little bit. I think she is the #10 at Wisconsin, yes? And maybe on youth national teams in the past?

          • mockmook

            Lavelle moves around. I’m almost certain I have seen her as LM or LW. And I know she plays some as Forward.

          • mockmook

            O/T

            I’m liking the Breakers more and more in 2016.

            If you are very lucky, not a single starter will be going to OG16.

            Anyway, you are drafting Burkenroad. Don’t ask why — just do it:

            http://drawformation.com/post/56874fd4f09d9/sm-56874fd4f09d9.png

          • Breakers fan

            Pretty amazing you mention her because she, and teammate Rebecca Wilson, who I’m even higher on, are 2 players I really delved into checking out via youtube highlights, during the NCAA tourney. I like both players a good deal, even going so far as to tell the Breakers GM about them. Well-done on your part! How did you come across Burkenroad? I also watched interviews with them – they’re a real tandem – they clearly like each other a lot and they play really well together, so if a team could get both I think it’d be a wise move. I was rooting for them to go far in the tournament.

            I like your formation – I like how you moved Mewis forward a bit – I hope they do that. Only change I think I’d make would be to get Farrelly in there somewhere. That and I am definitely open to Salem starting if she impresses enough in the pre-season.

          • mockmook

            I got Burkenroad’s “resume” from All White Kit’s draft projections.

            Farrelly would most naturally go in Burkenroad’s position.

            But, Farrelly’s inconsistency is the reason I’m advocating trying Burkenroad.

          • Breakers fan

            Check out some of her/ their (with Wilson) youtube videos – both soccer action and interviews – really good stuff. I’m all for the Breakers swooping in and grabbing both of them if they’re available.

          • mockmook

            IF the Breakers could get Wilson with pick 17, there is a possibility they could also get Burkenroad with 32. That’s the dream scenario.

            But, I’d hate to see you miss on Wilson, take someone not as needed with 17, and then also miss Burkenroad with your 32 pick. That would be the nightmare scenario.

            AWK ranks Wilson and Burkenroad as 22 and 33.

            TDS ranks Wilson as the 15th best American (21 overall) and no rank for Burkenroad.

          • Breakers fan

            I agree with your scenarios. Many Seniors I am not familiar with but you posting this has given me an idea for a pre-draft “project”. I am going to go to those websites and look up video for the top, say, 20 or 30 players. Of course defender play doesn’t lend itself so much to the highlight reels so I don’t know how much footage exists for the top defenders.

          • mockmook

            Here are all the highest ranked Seniors according to TopDrawerSoccer (TDS) — foreign players have an asterisk:

            Raquel Rodriguez*

            Emily Sonnett

            Rachel Daly*

            Makenzy Doniak

            Cari Roccaro

            Janine Beckie*

            Katie Bowen*

            Brianne Reed

            Erica Skroski

            Abby Smith

            Georgia Kearney-Perry*

            Samantha Witteman

            Ashley Meier

            Stephanie DeVita

            Kala Faulkner

            Mallory Weber

            Christen Westphal

            Jannelle Flaws

            Liana Salazar*

            Katie Naughton

            Rebecca Wilson

            Cali Farquharson

            Sophia Maccagnone

            Leah Galton*

            Carson Pickett

            Lauren Hughes*

            Elise Wyatt*

            Ashley Campbell*

            Courtney Raetzman

            Dani Weatherholt

            Corinne Harris

            Olivia Chance*

            Jordan Coburn

            Karla Pineda

            Nicole Waters*

            Sarah Schweiss

            Paige Nielsen

            Claire Falknor

            Megan Campbell*

            Sarah Zadrazil*

            Haley Rosen

            Christina Murillo

            Stephanie Ribeiro

            Kodi Lavrusky

            Jackie Kerestine

            Adrienne Jordan

          • Breakers fan

            Frickin’ awesome. Thank you very much for this list!! Now, let’s both get to work and report back later. (kidding about the urgency, but it would be a fun thing if a lot of people checked these gals out on youtube and came back with their impressions. Now it’s time to watch some USA football, for me at least – my team has playoff implications today.)

          • guest

            No better way to get a skewed concept of a player than watching highlights. Does it contain a sample of dozens of great plays or the six things she got right all season? Typically it will only show a player on the ball, which is a minimal portion of a person’s game. Granted it might be all you can get, but let’s hope GMs and NT coaches are smarter than that.

          • Breakers fan

            I’m aware of this, but thanks for the warning. I agree that GMs need to go beyond watching youtube highlights.

          • ARED

            Just to tack on to the nice convo you two have here:

            I think it’s worth noting that left-footed (or weak-footed) crossing and left-footed shooting are actually different skills. If you have enough power, shooting only requires space to rip a shot, and just enough technique to hit it on goal, while crossing often calls for a more delicate touch and accurate delivery -and that is where Heath and Rapinoe really stand out.

            (Of course some “wingers” who just cut in and shoot on their dominant foot don’t need to be two-footed (C Ronaldo and Arjen Robben), but I don’t think the US should be looking for or encouraging anything like that).

          • Breakers fan

            Had to think about this and I agree – that is a good aspect to bring up – how crosses often have to be even more precise and accurate, delivered with more touch than (some) shots. What I wanted to get at, fundamentally, because not all can even do this well, is that both involve the ability to strike the ball well, solidly and with force, with the left (off) foot. That is a skill that takes a lot of practice. I am right-footed but I worked on my left a lot, to a point where I played left-wing in high school and college. The main thing I wanted to say was that I have seen Dunn hit the ball well with her left-foot a good number of times. One can’t say that about all the players on our team with their off-foot, to that extent, I don’t think. I am not an expert on this. Some players may surprise us in this regard. So, in the end, I would say, first comes that ability to strike the ball correctly, then you get into the finer points of precision and weightedness. Just how good any player is at these things takes a lot of observation usually to tell, because these plays don’t happen that often. Dunn is usually on the right side or at forward – how many times in a season is she crossing the ball in from the left side? Not that often.

          • ARED

            Well said. It’s true that it can be a bit nuanced, and certainly some players simply don’t get the chance to show off certain skills.

            I tend to focus a lot on passing, and believe there are various skills within that genre: short/long/touch/accuracy/consistency/chances created/turnovers (unforced)/etc. Crossing and two-footedness are there as well, and I think in WoSo those do tend to be weak points. In the NCAA and even NWSL you see *a lot* of bad crosses, and if it’s a player’s weak foot you can usually look away b/c it’s never going anywhere near the danger area. As you say, it’s truly a difficult skill to master, and it seems many players rely on developing skills that come easier (speed, strength, dominant foot passing/shooting/dribbling) instead of working to develop both feet.

            “I have seen Dunn hit the ball well with her left-foot a good number of times.” -That’s the bottom line, watching and getting a feel for a player’s abilities. I would agree Dunn shows at least some ability there, and with time to improve and more opportunities she could really blossom.

          • Breakers fan

            Well-put. I like how you focus on passing. Such a key part of the game. It’s especially glaring when it isn’t done well. When it’s done well you can almost not notice it. It’s the ill-advised passes that can jar one awake. And I concur that in woso there is higher % of weak off-foot skills – lack thereof. I think it’s becoming less – at least with the best college teams.

            I was thinking about crosses after our posts yesterday. I was wondering “exactly how accurate do they have to be?” At first I thought they had to be extremely precise – really hitting a small bullseye. But then I realized that the receiver of the ball does have a little time – not much, but a little – to react to what she is seeing, to make an adjustment. Plus the receiver can jump to varying degrees, not jump, or even dive down or a header or choose to hit a volley, so while the best crosses are to a pretty exact point, there is some margin.

          • ARED

            Yes, passing is football for me….or at least at the heart of it.

            I agree the weak-foot skills are improving, even from just 5ish years ago.

            And you are right -especially in certain cases, a cross doesn’t have to be all that accurate. If you loft the ball in with a lot of air but can manage to cut it back enough to keep it away from the GK (which seems to happen far too rarely…lol) then you give your forwards a chance at least. And, if you have say Abby Wambach against Costa Rica or below (in height and talent), then it really gives you some leeway. I believe Cat Whitehill was talking recently about how many “easy assists” she got simply by thumping free kicks into the box to AW.

            So it is up for debate in different situations. I maintain that when speaking of weak-foot skills it is a bit more difficult to master crossing, which has many moving parts, than shooting, which is still tough but the goal doesn’t move and you don’t have to pick your head up to find your teammates. But, certainly the most fun games to play are when you can just loft balls into the area and run onto them freely. It just never seems to work that way against good teams….lol.

    • mockmook

      I don’t think Horan is anywhere near a certainty (not as a holding mid), still, odds are she at least makes the roster.

      We need to see if Horan can defend against the big “boys”.

      But, JE might go to a 4-3-3

      Brian as DM
      Horan LAM
      Heath LW

      • Steglitz49

        Ms Horan plays attacking MF or #9. She does not play holding anything.

        • dw

          The same could have been said of Holiday or Lloyd, and both played time at DM.

          • Steglitz49

            Neither Carli nor Lauren are famous for playing DM. Not even known for it.

            Carli is mainly recognized for not getting credit for the critical goals she scores and, because she scored so many against Japan, it looks as if people pay more attention to the other 2 goals explaining how they came at a critical time, something the Canadian hockey juniors who just lost in the QF of the WC would confirm.

            Don’t worry, Carli will get her POTY award.

  • Cc W

    So – even though we may have wanted different people called up – who are your 18?
    Looking at this roster, if you go 5 defenders, 5 mids, 5 forwards – you have one extra, do you go mid or def?
    For me:
    Def – JJ, Becky, Kling, KO – hard to leave Kriegs off but this might happen. Is Engen a CB?
    Mids – Carli, Tobin, Mo, Horan – is HAO out? Who steps up to get a spot? Does Pinoe make it back? Based on 8 brought in at camp, does JE take 6 mids?
    For – Alex, CD, Press, Syd – I’m guessing McCaffrey gets the nod here – Pugh may come as an alternate.
    GK – Hope and ??
    I think KO makes the team because she is versatile and Jill likes what she brings.

    • Steglitz49

      Engen did not play in WC-15 so why bring her to Rio. I would leave Kriegs behind.

      Don’t plan on Pinoe and maybe even forget Christen Annemarie and Syd?

      • Cc W

        I haven’t seen enough of Engen to know if she is worth taking to Rio or not.
        I agree that getting Pinoe back will be tough. On Press and Syd – if Jill wasn’t intending on bringing them, she would have brought in more forwards.

        • Steglitz49

          It was just an opinion. They are free. Time will tell.

        • Captain Crunch

          No way Press is on bubble but I think Leroux is on the outside now. Looks like McCaffrey and Pugh are potential forward options who are getting a look.

          • HOFCToDi

            McCaffrey has been playing as a right flank midfielder or right flank attacking midfielder depending on the tactical formation for the USWNT.

          • Captain Crunch

            You’re right. I guess I’m thinking she has forward experience and the ability to play multiple positions if necessary.

        • ARED

          Engen is good enough, but as she is still behind Sauerbrunn and Johnston, it seems every chance should be given to some younger CBs. I’d say Engen is the backup for now, until Sonnet or someone else proves they are equal, at which point they take the role.

          As for “forwards”, Ellis had 5 in Canada and barely used them, although Lloyd played essentially as one. But AW, ARod, Leroux, and Press were all bit-part players, so while it wouldn’t be the decision I’d make, it’s possible JE will cut short that position a bit on her Olympic roster. Why take 5 and only use 1 at a time?

          • dw

            Here’s where the Victory Tour confuses. Did Engen even get a minute (I wasn’t paying that close attention, sorry)? If she’s still the Emergency Use Only CB, then why not play her? I can’t see Sonnett leapfrogging her, but stranger things have happened, and for all we know, Engen’s nursing an injury but as USWNT is wont to do, she’s allowed to be suited up for all the games on the tour. With Rampone out, the emergency CB is only a knock on our starters away. People are talking about left wing and Pinoe’s spot, but it is careless and idiotic not to have a viable 3rd CB that can take minutes from JJ and Broon. Not a project, like Sonnett, but someone viable in the here and now. Who’s the best available 25-30 year old CB in the US? (not named Whitney Engen?)

          • dw

            My answer to my question would be Lauren Barnes.

          • Cc W

            Mine too, but it doesn’t look likely.

          • Nicole C.

            Engen came on for Johnston the 2nd half of the first CR match and scored. I believe the last we’ve seen of her was the second match, where she played the full 90.

          • HOFCToDi

            Whitney Engen came in for Julie Johnston in the second half of the second international women’s friendly against Haiti.

            ussoccer.com/matches/wnt/2015/150920-wnt-v-hai

            Whitney Engen has not played for the USWNT in three months.

          • dw

            Right, thanks. That’s good enough for me. Engen for me is a solid #3 on the depth chart, considering the injury to Rampone. It will be an interesting decision between Engen and a reasonably fit Rampone (if that happens) for the 3rd CB at OG. Still, the central issue is that the gap between Engen and Broon is so vast that Broon has to play every minute of every game (which she pretty much does) because there is little confidence in an Engen/JJ back line. Such would not be the case with Rampone, if she was fit. The risk being that if Rampone wasn’t fully fit, you could effectively end up with no backup at all.

          • mockmook

            You don’t need Rampone for your “grizzled veteran” emergency CB back up. Krieger can fulfill that role.

          • guest

            How comfortable are you with you outside back options if krieger moves to the middle? That is the only reason I would hesitate to move krieger.

          • mockmook

            Mighty comfortable.

            O’Hara and Klingenberg are among the best in the world.

            Hinkle (if she is chosen for OG16) seems to be solid.

            Dunn (if she is chosen for OG16) can also fill in.

          • dw

            My current thought is perhaps Broon is not quite the mentor that Rampone is. Broon, as gifted as she is, maybe lacks a bit when it comes to being a “Jedi Master.” Do OG alternates travel/practice with the squad? I would assume they do, but I’m not certain.

          • Terry Lash

            Megan Oyster deserves a look as a back up CB.

          • Cc W

            I agree that we need a 3rd CB – I’m just not sure who it is.

          • HOFCToDi

            Engen vs Sonnett

          • ARED

            The VT confuses, or JE confuses? ; )

            I believe Engen has the quality, giving a great top-3 barring some injury. Aside from her, I’d look at Sauerbrunn and anyone (ie, Sonnett) as a viable backline. However I believe JE is more likely to see Rampone in that role than Sonnet…

            The handling of the CB position of the USWNT over the past five+ years has been quite poor in my mind; I no longer tend to surprised by seemingly odd decisions.

            There is some margin for error, as we know. The US almost won the 2011 WC with a less-than-stellar backline, and they waited until the last-minute to form their backline for 2015 and it was still nearly flawless.

          • HOFCToDi

            It took a back injury to Rampone and a hamstring injury to Engen to force Jill Ellis to start Julie Johnston at the 2015 Algarve Cup. Heck, Jill Ellis even called up Rachel Van Hollebeke for the 2015 Algarve Cup.

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-algarve-cup#tab-3

          • ARED

            As I said, “The handling of the CB position of the USWNT over the past five+ years has been quite poor”…..

          • HOFCToDi

            I would say the same with the handling of Shannon Boxx since she was already 35 years old prior to the commencement of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

          • ARED

            Agreed. I would even say the same about the handling of all 30-and-over players from the 2011 WC on, but that is digging down to some deeper layers….

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            I will go to my grave believing Engen a better CB than Johnston. Simply not sold on JJ. And no, it is not just because of that penalty-causing miscue against Germany.

          • mockmook

            Now that JJ has her confidence playing for the USWNT, she should be moved to her more natural position, DM — but, we know that’s not happening.

          • Breakers fan

            I would like to see this tried. We have enough good CBs (*cough, Kallman, *cough, Barnes, more coughing for other not-named-now players) where this could, in my opinion, be done or at least tried. To me, though, the writing on the wall looks clear: our 2 DMs in Rio will be Morgan Brian and Lindsey Horan. Sam Mewis I think is the most likely other option. I’d like to see her and Colaprico get some minutes – I don’t care if we win or lose the February games – try some players out. But that’s just me – I could be wrong.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            No, it’s not. The general practice on the USWNT is to assign players to unfamiliar positions.

          • ARED

            Fair enough. I’m going to say it’s not a direct comparison based on age difference -Johnston still has a lot of time in her favor. I assume you are at least somewhat focused on the current picture and/or the 2015 WC?

            For me Engen is more steady, more savvy. But I see a very high talent level in Johnston and believe she has a ton of potential. I thought she (and Engen) should have been playing instead of Rampone over the past 2 years, allowing further development before the WC. The penalty against Germany is an example of her game -aggressive and risk-taking. If you play her, that is a risk you take. Engen is not likely to make that mistake, but sometimes you need a defender to take risks as well. Sauerbrunn of course is the standard for being good enough to make the risky tackles, but smart/savvy enough to rarely need to. BS paired with either JJ or WE makes the best CB pair in the world for me (provided they’ve had time to play together).

          • HOFCToDi

            Yet the Chicago Red Stars traded Whitney Engen to the Boston Breakers not Julie Johnston. Meanwhile, Whitney Engen has been missing in action for the past three months from the USWNT without a valid medical reason.

          • ARED

            I don’t claim to know the current scenario with Engen, other than her being 5 years older than JJ. But unless she has had some medical issue or horrendous loss of form, I believe she is a quality player.

            As I said, I believe Johnston’s potential is as high as it goes -we’ve seen great things, and I expect her to only improve. If Ellis hadn’t waited so long to play her with Sauerbrunn, I think she’d have been much more savvy and steady in Canada.

            My belief is that the USA has had great CBs over recent years, but rarely has gotten the best out of them due to management decisions. (ie, I look at the coaches, not the players). Rampone, Sauerbrunn, Engen, Buelher, and now JJ. Most nations would be desperate for just one or two of those players.

          • HOFCToDi

            Rampone should have retired after the 2012 Summer Olympics Games or pushed out the door by the USSF. Once a player reaches past the age of 35, I seriously question the rationale for retaining the player especially when the next FIFA Women’s World Cup was three years away.

            I never was that impressed with Buehler and the entire back line was a “Gong Show” against Canada during the semifinals at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

          • ARED

            Now this I can agree with. “Gong show” -I don’t know this term, but I think I like it…..

            The 2011 Final was not overly impressive either….

          • HOFCToDi

            Julie Johnston has not made any glaring mistakes for the USWNT during the Victory Tour nor has been directly responsible for any goals against in the aforementioned time frame.

            There was no reason whatsoever for Becky Sauerbrunn to accrue over 2000 minutes this year especially when the Victory Tour opponents included Costa Rica, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago.

          • ARED

            I agree. I don’t feel I’ve been anything but positive on JJ, have I?

            Of, the quality of the opposition and Sauerbrunn’s presence obviously help make things easier on JJ and other players. But I think friendlies are exactly the time to put players in new/difficult positions and see if they can thrive. Build your team up, especially the young players. As you say, not much reason to be over-playing veterans in meaningless games against poor opponents.

          • HOFCToDi

            I don’t question your optimism towards Johnston yet some posters continue to grind an axe. Julie Johnston is a centerback for the USWNT, is a centerback for the Chicago Red Stars, and was a centerback for the 2012 U-20 USWNT.

            There was no reason whatsoever not to call up Hinkle and Sonnett against Haiti especially after Australia cancelled. The only player called up to the Senior USWNT for the international women’s friendlies against Haiti was Crystal Dunn.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            Julie Johnston caused a penalty that could have eliminated the U.S. from the world cup. She gave away a ball in a critical league match against Sky Blue that was subsequently scored by the player that intercepted the ball. Her miscue directly led to the goal on that occasion. It did not simply contribute to it, it did not influence it. It caused the equalizer, period. And the equalizer caused the Red Stars 2 points at a time when they were trying to clinch their first playoff berth.

            And how did our golden defensive lady react? With no sense of urgency whatsoever, with no discernible resolution to compensate for her blunder. Just carried on as if nothing happened.

            For all her supposed defensive prowess, the Red Stars developed into a team that couldn’t close out a game after the world cuppers returned. JJ played starring roles in all those last minute 2 and 3-point-eroding goals conceded by the Red Stars during the playoff push last season. She was there when Crystal Dunn (you know, the same Dunn who scored most of her goals when the NT players were absent) slammed in a last minute goal to secure all 3 points for her team during the jostle for playoff relevance.

            Compare Johnston with Saurbraun whose return to KC virtually imposed a moratorium on goals against her team, and you can see that Johnston’s vaunted defensive stature is decidedly part myth.

            I take Engen any day. I like my defenders steady, efficient and quiet, not adventurous and error-prone.

          • ARED

            I’m not saying JJ is perfect; no one is -esp in soccer (though Sauerbrunn makes one rethink that….).

            She’s a young, high-talent player. And that’s how she plays. In 4 years time I’d expect her to clearly surpass Engen, but nothing is guaranteed. You are making a good argument for the present-day comparison, but I/we were discussing the overall longterm picture.

            Lastly, I don’t know exactly what you expect from a defender to “compensate for her blunder”. I actually like them to come back calm and smart -as if nothing happened. Which seems similar to your praise of Engen…. ; )

          • HOFCToDi

            The forward picture is clearer now with Abby Wambach retired and Amy Rodriguez on the shelf for the vast majority of calendar year 2016:

            Morgan
            Leroux
            Press

            In addition, the Leroux ankle surgery and Morgan arthroscopic knee surgery were taken care of as of July 2015.

          • ARED

            Agreed, I’d imagine those three are in as well as Lloyd. A 4th (or 5th, counting Lloyd as a Forward…) could be added, but I’d be a bit surprised if they take five in addition to Lloyd.

            Of course any injuries could change this, and since Morgan has had such a bad run over the years it has made what would be a clear picture a bit more fluid.

          • mockmook

            Alex and Syd will both have to prove they are healthy and in-form.

          • ARED

            “Well, yeah….” (Ocean’s 11 quote from Matt Damon). ; p

            That is a concern, hence the lack of clarity at the position. But nonetheless, I wouldn’t worry until 2 or more of the forwards (AM, CP, SL) seem to be unlikely to be ready. Although ARod being out of the picture does eliminate a big part of the depth there, meaning you may be looking at some new blood if there are injuries.

          • mockmook

            I can see JE taking Sonnett and counting on Krieger to be the veteran CB back-up (if necessary).

          • ARED

            I considered added that very thought but left it out to try to be “brief”…lol.

            I think the top two CB’s give you nothing but confidence, and having Engen, Sonnet, and Krieger (or Rampone….) in a pinch gives you more insurance than you’d ever hope to need.

          • mockmook

            Just to clarify (if I need to) what I’m saying:

            I suspect JE will take Sonnett and leave Engen off — counting on Krieger to be the veteran back-up CB. That’s also what I’d do (if using only players from this camp).

          • ARED

            I just saw another post where you did clarify that. I agree that is likely what *I* would do given the crowded roster -give the young player every chance to earn the reserve spot over a veteran. But, I have not seen much from JE or the USWNT to suggest that will happen…

            Sonnet at this point seems likely to be an “alternate” in Rio -although there is some uncertainty about Engen right now. If she and Rampone end up out for injury/health, then Sonnet would seem to be better placed to actually be on the roster.

    • mockmook

      Should be 6,6,4

      Likely we are still playing what is essentially a 4-2-3-1

      But, label Carli a Forward.
      Dunn a middy.
      Horan and HAO are in.
      Sonnett in the Boxx role as the “Only Use in an Emergency” DM
      Krieg and Hinkle in.

      Engen out.

      • guest

        I don’t think rampone is going to Rio. I don’t think the team can afford to take her with her mounting injuries.

        • mockmook

          I didn’t list her because I assumed it was understood that Rampone is OUT.

          Well, I hope Rampone and JE understand that.

          • Captain Crunch

            Agree…I also think (hope) Leroux is out.

          • Breakers fan

            Your thoughts about Leroux? Your statement is intriguing since you’re a UCLA fan. And while we’re at it, do you think Z. Bywaters has what it takes, assuming she recovers fully from her injury, to be a top-notch NWSL player?

          • mockmook

            For Forward:

            I want to see what Leroux, Alex and Press can bring to the OG when they are all healthy.

            But, if any of them is nicked up in the spring, bring in a fresh body.

            Bring in, oh, I don’t know, some dynamic young player with a history of scoring goals in the biggest moments (cough.. Ohai … cough). Plus, Dunn is already almost a lock to be on the OG roster as a mid.

    • HOFCToDi

      Strikers: Morgan, Leroux, Press
      Flank Midfielders: O’Reilly, Heath, Dunn
      Central Midfielders: Lloyd, Brian, xxxx
      Centerbacks: Sauerbrunn, Johnston, Engen or Sonnett
      Fullbacks: Krieger, Klingenberg, O’Hara
      Goalkeepers: Solo, Harris or Naeher

      drawformation.com/post/5686126622859/5686126622859.png

      Too early to tell who will replace Holiday in central midfield. As for the last roster spot, that most likely won’t be determined until the last minute.

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  • Rdalford

    Well – somewhat disappointed. Pleased that some younger players continue to get camp opportunities but was hoping for a look at a somewhat broader pool of players. I guess I was hoping for a repeat of last year’s overlapping USWNT and U-23 overage/NWSL camp or a somewhat larger USWNT camp so that we (the public) could have more public evidence that USWNT coaches were evaluating/giving camp opportunities to a wider pool of players. Have some concern that DM role is being discounted and/or forced fit on more offensively talented players and that failure to address left side midfielder gap created by Rapinoe injury is risky. Like many others I had anticipated that with Rapinoe injury that Ohai or perhaps Tymrak or some other left foot dominant creative MF player would have at least gotten a camp call up.

    On the other hand – encouraged that very young but talented Pugh gets the senior USWNT camp exposure. Pleased that Dunn is being used on the wing/up front where her 2015 NWSL results (as well as U-20 etc) indicate she can be effective. Hope that Horan does well. I think that with the anticipated Horan to Portland as allocated player move (my assumption is that uswnt contract/allocated NWSL player status and $$$ were necessary to financially compete with PSG contract and – another assumption – that Horan will in fact get the uswnt contract/allocated NWSL player status) plus her PSG and U-20 experience then no real surprise that Horan is getting opportunities (call ups/camps etc) and I want Horan and USWNT to do well. As stated above, pleased that some younger players continue to get opportunities.

    I am not going to try and predict the olympic roster that Ellis will select (I frequently do not understand decisions made by Ellis – but she is the WC winning coach and I am just a woso fan – so I respect her right as USWNT coach to make the decisions), but I am looking forward to watching and cheering for USWNT throughout 2016.

  • dw

    Wow, just realizing the attrition at midfield and how wide open the midfield is. I feel bad for players in their mid/late 20’s as they will be passed over. The more I look at the camp roster, the more I think HAO is in because otherwise you only have 3 veteran mids out of 6 spots. If we think Horan is in, then you have the remaining 3 competing for 1 spot.
    In the back, selections seem pretty obvious: JJ/Broon/Engen in the center and Kling/Ali/O’Hara outside.
    Up top, Alex, Press, Dunn. Is Leroux actually competing with Pugh and McCaffrey? I would prefer Horan here, but that would mean Leroux out. So Horan’s move to mid makes me think that means Leroux is safe.

    • mockmook

      I suppose you have identified the “obvious” or safe picks.

      But, I get the impression that JE is open to taking some younger players to the OG (witness the doting on Dunn and Horan).

      So, I think Engen is out. Sonnett and Hinkle are in.

      And, given the number of players as Forwards and Backs who can also play in the midfield, I see the Mid group limited to 5 (using your position labeling).

      • dw

        Does anyone honestly believe Sonnett or (your use of “and” makes no sense because you have displaced one player with 2) Hinkle is an upgrade from Engen? I find it difficult to comprehend. And I believe JE to be capable of almost anything.

        • Steglitz49

          Seeing that Whitney Engen did not play one second in WC-15, why invite her at all?

          The coach must draw a line and move on.

          • NYRick

            250k and a lifetime of memories post WC from the appearances, special events, handshakes from countless celebrities and basically being able to say, “I was on that WC winning championship team. They can never take that away from me.” That’s why it was so important to Boxx.

        • mockmook

          I think there is a large group of commenters here at the EQ that believes the USWNT needs to get younger — even to the point of sometimes leaving off a still serviceable vet to develop a youngster. I’m certainly in that contingent.

          My “shorthand” of “Engen is out. Sonnett and Hinkle are in” refers only to the changes on the back-line for OG16 (and assumes Rampone is out, because she already is — just hasn’t become permanently out, yet).

          But, I didn’t mean to imply that Hinkle will be a CB.

          And, I don’t think Sonnett is superior to Engen. But, if you aren’t going to utilize Engen, then why not use her spot to develop a player for the future?

          • dw

            Yeah, but the concept doesn’t really go anywhere. Engen is perfectly acceptable for her spot. Which is to sit and watch. If there’s one thing I can predict with reasonable certainty, it’s that JE will, if possible, repeat her WWC plan of playing Broon and JJ every minute, unless we’re in a garbage time situation. So all you do is watch games and collect medals. UNLESS, a player comes along with the potential of actually shedding real minutes from either Broon or JJ (or even passing JJ on the depth chart), and frankly if Engen can’t do it, then Sonnett can’t either. Whoever that player may be, she hasn’t turned up in a camp, yet.

          • mockmook

            I’ve got to think there is some benefit to making the OG roster even if you don’t play a minute.

            You practice and train with the best players in the world, see their tendencies and habits first hand.

            You experience the spectacle.

            You experience the rhythms of the tournament (travel, media, preparation, etc.).

            You find that best buddy on the team to talk to when you don’t want to talk to anyone else.

            And, a million other little things that will relieve some of the “newbie” stress the next go around of something similar.

          • NYRick

            You also get to play in front of stadiums from 25k to 80k and that has to count for something as well. Even if you are just observing on the bench. It’s an atmosphere or aura type of thing that should surround you. You have made it to the mecca of your sport. Making the USWNT I think has to be one of the most difficult national teams to make in the world. That’s why I wish it wasn’t so political and there weren’t so many gold watches involved.

          • mockmook

            And, I forgot to mention, you experience the expectations and tendencies of the coaches in that environment, too.

          • Breakers fan

            Convinced me! Seriously. Well-said. I was thinking along the same lines, but you said it better than I could have.

            (and the Breakers get to keep Engen all year! 😉 )

          • Breakers fan

            And the whole Olympic Village experience – which you implied – how great would that be?!

          • dw

            All valid points, until something happens and the emergency CB is needed. Then you would be best served be having the best available player in that role.

          • kevin

            that’s right. this isn’t the world cup roster where you have two cb backups instead of only one for the olympics. the difference between winning and losing can be so small. i’d prefer the cb backup to have at least some nwsl or professional experience not just college experience. especially with the large player pool the uswnt has to pick from.

          • mockmook

            Krieger has that as a CB.

            OK, you’ll say, what if JJ and Brunn both go down?

            Then, yes, I’ll take my chances with a top flight rookie who has been with the team for about a year when OG16 rolls around.

            BTW, this wouldn’t be an issue if you also had a very versatile defender at DM, someone like Huster.

          • kevin

            that’s true, krieger could be moved over there too if needed. i just wish the uswnt would have brought in a couple nwsl cb’s for the january camp, like kallman, barnes, dahlkemper or oyster, for at least a look.

          • kevin

            but at least sonnett is getting the chance for more experience time than johnston got before a major tournament.

          • mockmook

            Dahlkemper, along with Huster, would be ideal candidates if we had any coach besides JE. Young players who can play DM, FB, and CB.

          • dw

            Even with this so-called large player pool, it seems we still might be exiting a “golden generation”. Look at all the youngsters getting their callups. Do any (besides Press) look to be able to lock down a position for 10 years? Not even close. And of course some of the problems, like the CB problem, or the DM problem, are almost entirely the fault of the program. Maybe they were just expecting Boxx, Abby, and Rampone clones to walk in the door? Didn’t happen and USSF had no plan B. This isn’t necessarily a referendum on Engen, but the fact that we only have 2 starting CB’s before you get to “emergency CB” is disappointing to say the least.

          • mockmook

            I wouldn’t call Engen an emergency CB. She is a bona fide starter.

            I certainly don’t remember anyone complaining about Engen as starting CB before JJ took her spot.

          • dw

            Hmm. I’ll take your word for this. I know Engen got much more playing time, but I don’t recall that she was ever top 2 on the depth chart at CB. I could be wrong. She was definitely being groomed to be a full starter, but I don’t think she made it, and then got leapfrogged by JJ. Hard for me to tell without doing the necessary research, because we are talking the lean years of ’13 and ’14.

          • mockmook

            Thanks for reminding me not to always trust my memory (I had her as the #2 when she was at her zenith).

            According to US Soccer, Engen started:

            Year — GamesStarted/Total
            2013 — 07/16
            2014 — 11/24
            2015 — 03/26

            Each of those years, she had the third most starts on the team at CB.

            Still, Engen’s 7 out of 13 in 2013 and 11 out of 24 in 2014 seems pretty substantial to me.

            So, yes, she technically could have been termed third on the depth chart, but that was still good enough to be a regular starter in 2013 and 2014.

          • dw

            Thanks for that. Very informative. So how did Engen fall out of favor while staying in relatively the same place on the depth chart? If she was a bonafide option 3 behind Broon and Rampone, how did she go to an emergency #3 behind Broon and JJ? BTW, I don’t really have an opinion one way or another. Only the program seems to be going backwards as far as CB development goes. The answer of course, being Ellis.

          • mockmook

            Engen got injured, and the rest is history.

            As you said, JJ had some skills that Engen didn’t, yet was as good or nearly as good defensively.

            And, it seems that JE is playing some newbies at nearly every position to see if she has better alternatives to the current back-ups (or even for some starters).

          • dw

            Well put. And like JJ, some of these newbs could be an injury opportunity away from going to Rio.

          • mockmook

            We’ve probably done in this dead horse, but I’ll just say I see your approach as what leads to having Wambach, Boxx, Rampone, etc., around too long.

          • dw

            That’s as may be, but what you describe sounds like the “Make a Wish” foundation for young soccer players (less the terminal illness). Keep in mind that a couple of years ago, all the starters were vets. For me, the fact that it’s conceivable that younger players become starters and vets become subs, represents a small, yet significant change for the program. After all, these vets are going to be part of the Kumbaya philosophy you promoted above. You’ll be in camp, training alongside World Cup “Champeens”.

        • F0OtballNowAndAlways

          Engen has never made a catastrophic blunder that know of, unlike some center backs, and on more than one occasion too.

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  • NYRick

    Why is Lloyd still listed as a midfielder and Dunn listed as a forward? Let’s just call Lloyd a forward and Dunn a mid for once. That’s their position on the NT, has been for over 6+months and will continue to be.

    Other:
    1. Rampone needs an announcement. Needed it for months, but make it now already.

    2. This is finally the year to put Alex-Press together as the forwards. Everyone else gets in line. Sorry. Keep Dunn and Horan in the midfield and Pugh is not ready for a spot on the OG. She is next cycle.

    3. In no known universe or current solar system is Leroux ahead of Press in the forward picture on this team. But this team is based on jersey sales too often and popularity. One big nasty sorority and you better hope you get a pledge invite at some point early in your career.

    4. Really hope that HAO doesn’t make the roster. 225+ caps is enough for any player and that reserve spot is better served for a newbie. Although Christmas came early for HAO with the Pinoe injury (probably 95% out for OG) and the ARod retirement which lends flexibility to the spots for the forwards and the mids.

    5. McCaffrey and Hinkle have somehow moved into this roster picture, and I just don’t see it, at least right now. If someone is going to tell me that McCaffrey can do more or be more creative than Tymrak or Ohai I’m simply just going to laugh. But that’s the deal with this program. Once they like you, they love you. Once they don’t, you are essentially f$#&ed.

    6. Hope needs to retire after the OG or be phased out. They can easily win with Naeher and Franch. They could win the OG right now with either as well.

    • mockmook

      “In no known universe or current solar system is Leroux ahead of Press in the forward picture on this team.”

      You always succeed to disappoint.

      Remarkable how you have turned Press being invited into camp into some sort of slight on Press — actually, remarkable how you worked Press into your comment in any way whatsoever — some might say pathological.

      Or, you just wanted a response such as this. Glad to make your day!!!

    • Steglitz49

      JE won the World Cup. She did it her way but she got it done. The first time since 1999.

    • dw

      Happy New Year Rick.
      1) I’m now OK with Rampone staying as long as possible to bring along the apprentice CB’s, who need all the help they can get IMO. Of course, that was the excuse for keeping Boxx on, and it did very little good on the DM front, so there’s that. I’m definitely not OK with her getting an OG spot.

      2) I don’t think it will happen, but not in the way you might think. I’m not sure Alex is going to keep her starting job. I could see Press/Dunn by the OG.

      3) Alphabetically, she does.

      4) Again, I’m on HAO’s side (that’s 2 vets I’m backing for those keeping score at home) here. Elsewhere I mention that if you take off HAO, that leaves you with only 3 veteran midfielders. She will be the beneficiary of Pinoe’s injury. With all the retirements and injury, I don’t see any vets (namely HAO and Leroux) being voted off the island.

      5) I don’t see either making the OG squad, but one or both will likely stick around for the foreseeable future when more roster slots are available. I hoping not, but again, my point elsewhere is anyone you bring in instead would be only marginally better or marginally worse.

      6) Now I’m 3 for 3 siding with vets. (Sign of the Apocalypse stuff, here). Sure, Hope can move on, and we can still win with either replacement, but the bottom line is neither replacement is as good as Hope. Less drama, sure, but also less shotstopping ability too. Hear me out. A LOT of our success has depended on Broon and Hope keeping the ball out of our net. Kling can play 100 yards away, we can play with no DM, all that rests with having Broon and Hope in the back if and when the other team’s stars are able to break out. And it may happen only once or twice a tournament, but when it does, you wouldn’t want to see JJ, Sonnett, and Franch being the only ones back instead…

      • NYRick

        HNY!

        #2 Alex will never be replaced if she tells them she is healthy and wants to play. Personally, I kind of think this OG16 is going to be her last hurrah. I think she will move on to something like having national AM girls soccer camps etc. I think she is committed to grow the sport and use her celebrity to do so. As for Press, I also think OG16 and 2016 in general will be her last year with the NT as well. She has a nice media career waiting for her at Fox and should jump on that as she moves into her late 20s. But…I would really like to see this pairing for one freakin year be given a real chance. Not going to happen, I know.
        #3 Yes, alphabetically I agree.
        #4 HAO has the stars aligned for her, no doubt. Personally, I think they need to give someone else a chance. She has been to 4 OGs.
        #5 Hope played well in the first 15 minutes of the WC Aussie match. Then she didn’t have to make a big save the rest of the tournament. She needs to send a yearly fruit basket to Sasic around the holidays for a massive let-off. They can win right now with Naeher. I’m near certain of that.

    • Breakers fan

      I like a lot of this, but I for one will say that McCaffrey can sometimes do more or different things than those mentioned, but at other times the others do more. I’m confident in saying that, having seen her play about 40 games. And I also like Hinkle, sorry. As much as I like HAO I’m with you there. And yes I too hope that Jill gives Alex and Press together a shot. I’d do it in all 3 February games. Perfect time for it! I do NOT care that much finally if we win or lose those games – I see them as a time to experiment pre-Olympics.

      • mockmook

        With Rapinoe out, I think HAO will be making it as a starter or perhaps co-starter with Dunn. Now, if Ohai were in camp…

        RE: The February games, I agree about experimenting — and, testing players like Horan against fierce competition.

        • Breakers fan

          My gut says HAO makes it, but if I were coach I’d show confidence in a younger player and bring her along. First choice for me is…..it’s tough…..I want to say McCaffrey or Lavelle, but would be ok with Colaprico or Sam Mewis – though they are now DMid’s I guess. (not considering non-camp players yet, though there is still time to bring others in).

          Interesting that you see HAO starting some games on the right flank. I do think that is possible with so many games in a short time span. I could also see KO starting on the right. Or even Lavelle on the left if she makes it.

          • mockmook

            [Please don’t let NYRick read this]

            I can see JE changing back to the 4-4-2 for some games. And, I can see her putting in Dunn (after playing her exclusively at RW/RM in the run-up) and Alex as the Forwards, HAO at RM.

            This would so be in JE’s nature — she seemingly makes some moves just to infuriate fans who are paying attention.

          • Breakers fan

            Wow…I wasn’t thinking this, but after reading it, why not? This is a question going forward: How much, if at all, will she veer from the formation and lineup that won the World Cup, save for the obvious no-Holiday at DM aspect? She could even “go hog wild” and play a 4-3-3 while she’s in alteration mode. The China game showed that doing something unexpected can have terrific results. As the line in the Robert Burns poem goes, “The best laid schemes o Mice an’ Men gang aft agley”. (often go awry).

          • Breakers fan

            If this prediction of yours, this psychological analysis of JE, as it were, turns out to be prophetic, consider a Boston-based hat doffed in your general direction, good Sir.

          • mockmook

            Nah, no points for wild speculation, even if it comes true.

          • Breakers fan

            I’m a Boston-based guy beggin’ to differ here now.

      • what a homer

        How many times have you seen Tymrak or Ohai play? We base any decision on the information we have. However, whatever the issue don’t you feel better having equivalent data about the choices? As you admit any player with ties to the Breakers or BC is likely to be inflated in your assessment.

        • Breakers fan

          It’s interesting how from your title on down you never state your opinion on the matter, it’s just a personal attack. Ignoring your gratuitous insult, and the temptation to return one at you, did you read what I wrote? I said I think McCaffrey can “sometimes do things the others can’t and sometimes the others can do more.” You don’t think that’s the case? That McCaffrey can do *nothing* the others can’t and that the others, each individually, is always a better player? Ok. That may be your opinion. It’s not mine. You’re right that I’ve seen McCaffrey a lot more and no doubt you’ve seen the others a lot more. I feel I’ve seen the others enough – Ohai about 6 games, Tymrak about 8. It’s not equivalent – you’re right – but it’s a solid amount. How many full games have you seen McCaffrey? Keep in mind that the 50 or so minutes people have seen her play with the NT are the only ones she’s played at midfield. So besides those few minutes, in which she has been good, when any of us have seen these players it’s from very different perspectives. They’ve seen Ohai and Tymrak with room to run, in space. With McCaffrey as a forward she’s usually in tight spaces with the ball, with defenders right on her. It’s just a different perspective and contributes to our perception. Easier to look impressive out in space and with more room to run. And I did not say I “inflate” players from Boston or BC. I believe I am representing their abilities accurately. And I think you’re representing those players accurately too – I think they’re both good. The one thing I’ll give you is that, yes I could know their games better.

          If I had said “McCaffrey is clearly better, a lot better, than either of those 2 players – look where she is and where they are!”, which seems to be the opinion of the NT, then you could call me a homer. I didn’t come close to saying that, because I don’t believe it. So I have to think you’re just bitter that a player has supplanted your favorites in camp. But of course you didn’t add that part of the truth, as I currently see it. Am I right?

          • what a homer

            No you’re not. I don’t think Tymrak is a good enough player for the NT. I’m less sure what is missing in Ohai’s case. As you note McCaffrey is taking on a different role. Personally I had not rated her highly myself. I stand by my comment and I still believe you have previously mentioned that Boston based players get an extra boost in your eyes. Apologies if I miss remember that. Are you actually disputing my equivalent data point?

          • Breakers fan

            Let’s address your title “What a homer” — you think that I wildly inflate Boston players. You wouldn’t have used that title and insult if you didn’t. Next your “equivalent data” point. I addressed it already. Also, please apply it to yourself and get back to me about these players I supposedly inflate. And by “inflate” evidently, since it led to these posts, you feel that by saying “I think *sometimes* McCaffrey can do things Ohai (since clearly she’s the only one you care about here) can’t, and sometimes Ohai does stuff McCaffrey doesn’t” that I am inflating McCaffrey. So, in your estimation, for McCaffrey to even enter the same picture or step one foot ahead of Ohai in any way was a transgression of such magnitude that you felt compelled to insult me and say in effect “you’re not right in saying this about McCaffrey, you’re just a Boston fan in love with his players and completely out of touch with reality.” And of course by extension you feel you know the same amount more about these players than the national team’s coaching staff who saw both of them in camp together. Which is conceivable but doubtful. Do I have it right now? Not saying your opinion isn’t valid and that mine is superior, just trying to flesh out the subtext here.

          • what a homer

            Well it was a little hard to change name the second time wasn’t it. Please note I don’t favor any of the three we’re specifically discussing. We’ll just disagree on how much you like the local gals. As I said apologies if I misrepresented a previous comment of yours.

          • Breakers fan

            I address that question again, above. All I’ll add is that I think there’s a difference between “liking” and “inflating”. I try to separate them.

        • Breakers fan

          To get back to your “do I inflate boston players?” question. A question which could be applied to every poster on here about each player he or she is praising…I don’t think I have the required intelligence to distance myself from myself quite enough to really *know* if I am doing this. And I think that is the case with everyone here, you included. It would be most likely to not be the case for someone who doesn’t live in a city that has an NWSL team, I guess. Anyway, I try hard not to inflate them. And I base my opinions on a lot of evidence – many games. I try to be objective. I do. That’s all I can offer you on this. God knows if I’m doing a good job at it. You clearly think I’m failing, right?

    • F0OtballNowAndAlways

      Why should Dunn be kept in the midfield while Press and Morgan play forward? After all, Dunn plays forward professionally like her two colleagues.

      • NYRick

        First off, I don’t have all the answers, just suggestions and opinions like you based on observations of players. Secondly, this is the USSF we are talking about here, and often decisions are based on matter that goes beyond talent evaluation or putting players in their respective “right” positions.

        Yes Dunn could be a forward. Probably a good one for the NT as well. I just happen to feel her most effective position, even on the Spirit, would be at outside mid. Her skill set is more disruptive there in my opinion and better for her overall contribution to the team. I don’t view her as a pure forward. Just my opinion and I could be wrong on that. And please let’s not talk about her goal totals last year with the Spirit as a forward. That is still kind of an aberration year with most NTers away from the league a good part of the year. Also, Horan could obviously be a forward with the NT as well. Maybe a good one too. She has played that position most of her young career at all levels.

        But…this US program has a major problem moving forward (at least for the next 2 years):

        1. Alex HAS TO be one of the starting forwards at all times regardless of form or opponent for reasons that transcend beyond the pitch. Just the way it is with this program and not going to argue it anymore. Actually if any of the players should be changing positions I always felt she is best suited as an attacking flank mid than a forward for this team. Problem is: marquee forward on the US team is the money and sponsor position on this team from Mia to Abby to Alex. That is not changing any time soon with Alex.

        2. Carli is now a forward and HAS TO play 90 in all matches, tomato can or top comp. Why? Ellis owes her for life. Once again, not going to get into that, I’ve stated my case on it many times.

        So with all that, we can form an opinion with “our eyes” on who are the most talented forwards. I’ve rationalized it to be Press, and since Alex is not going to be moved from forward or not start if healthy, then she as well. Horan seems to be getting groomed for Holiday’s role, and Dunn I think translates well into the disruptive flank mid for the team.

        • F0OtballNowAndAlways

          What is this “disruptive” business? What is she disrupting? And what kind of skills do you have to possess to play a disruptive role?

          And I am not so sure her performance last season was a fluke. I believe that is the first full season she has played the position. Kim Little also played in the same league with many of the NT players away, and her achievements are not discounted for that reason.And in any event, fluke or not, Dunn did get the performance, and she deserves a try out at forward.

          You do not deny the masters winner the green jacket because his performance was was a fluke, nor do you deny him entry into the tournaments his victory entitles him. People’s achievements make or break them. Right now, the reservations about Dunn as an NT forward are nothing but speculation. Fact is, she could turn out to be the greatest forward ever. We don’t know. I just don’t see how we can casually and comfortably banish somebody to a position she has little experience playing, even though she excelled at a different position professionally.

          And I am surprised you are still trumpeting Horan whose performance against China was decidedly tepid. If anything, her work against T & T is the one more deserving of the characterization, “abberant” in light of her struggles against China, a sterner opponent.

          But I am certainly curious about this “disruptive” tag applied to Dunn. I have no idea what that means. Because when I watch her in the NWSL, I see an eminently skilled player who works who mostly plays coherently. She is by no means perfect, but I have found that getting people to apply the “skilled” description to her, even though it is very obvious, is like pulling teeth.

          So what a “disruptive” player do exactly? And how does this apply to someone who was the most dynamic offensive player last season?

          • NYRick

            Disruptive as in tenacious. As in causing havoc on the flank with pace. Disruptive as in harassing an outside defender. Disruptive as in able to move with speed into the final flank third and the ability to enter into the 18 yard box area. Disruptive as in the ability to deliver hard crosses into the box from the right flank. I think Dunn fills all those above categories as what I would want as a disruptive flank mid. Now combine that with a defense having to worry about Morgan’s pace and having to worry about Press roaming in and around the center of 18 as the other forward and you have for a lack of a better word, “a very disruptive offensive attack.”

            As for Horan, I wasn’t trumpeting her, simply indicating that she too could most likely be a very effective taller, physical target forward for the team as a change of pace as well.

            As for a pure forward who can score from anywhere, has some pace and shoots accurately in tight spaces with either foot, that’s Press. IMO, she has to start. If she did in a normal US season of around 25 matches, she would put up ungodly numbers. Especially when players like Alex and Dunn were on the pitch with her at the same time.

          • Breakers fan

            I think it’s a bad cheap shot to call Dunn’s NWSL performance last year a fluke. A low blow, and very insulting. How many games did she play in against another team who had a NT defender – mostly a CB or a left back missing? A couple, out of 20? And who’s to say — certainly not me – whether that would have made any difference in those games. And were those games in which she even scored to begin with? To say it was a fluke as one’s primary description of it is, in my opinion, very disrespectful and plain inaccurate.

          • mockmook

            While I definitely wouldn’t call what she did a fluke [using the eyeball test, she was brilliant], her numbers were likely inflated by the absence of MANY players.

            Teams defend as a unit — even a missing top-notch Forward on the opposition could lead to more opportunities for Dunn.

          • Breakers fan

            Is this feeling based on the fact that Wash. was only missing, if I’m right, Krieger and Harris? In other words, fewer than some other teams? Because they were missing and their presence works in the opposite direction of course. I know you’re not in that camp but I just don’t like speculation-based arguments. Nobody knows what would have happened, and there were 10-12 games out of 20 where NT members were back or could have been, so it’s just a lame response to the season she had.

          • mockmook

            I wouldn’t call it a feeling. If the opponents are weakened by missing players, you are more likely to score.

            But, I acknowledge, SHE HAD A FANTASTIC YEAR. 🙂

          • Breakers fan

            Thank you! 🙂

            to anyone else, remember: Her team was missing players too, so they’re all even and blah blah blah, not the whole year were players missing, and the feeling is that we think we know that these other players WOULD HAVE stopped her, when I think THEY WOULDN’T HAVE. Speculation is a dime a dozen. Maybe it would have driven her to be EVEN BETTER. See how easy it is to propose possibilities! Stick to what happened.

      • Breakers fan

        Totally legitimate question. I think the answer is a sort of odd woman out scenario mixed with unfortunate youngest and new-kid syndrome, and also the crucial fact that she played a good amount of midfield in college. Led her team to a national title in fact at that position. Plus, it caters to her speed to be on a flank and to her previously-expressed preference to play on a wing or flank rather than in the middle, though I think she’s fine there too. That said, I would absolutely love to see her at forward for the national team.

        • guest

          She is also better on the wing than any of our forwards so even if she could be a good CF for the USWNT, to which I have my doubts, the team is better off if she is playing on the wing.

          • Breakers fan

            Not sure, though I agree that she is very good on the wing and that it helps our team to have her there. But after watching her at forward for the Spirit it’s hard for me to *not* play her there. To deny that happening from the team. That’s me. But then, I know….where do you play the other 3 – Morgan, Press and Lloyd? So, for now, she’s back more in midfield. Not my first choice but I can live with it.

          • guest

            Typically smaller players have a difficult time playing against bigger defenders when they are isolated as a lone forward. You can look at the way Manchester United defended Hazard last week for an example. They constantly brought help to close him down when he beat the first man and more often than not just fouled to prevent him from getting into the game. I don’t necessarily think that NWSL defenders and defenses are awful but the short season that results in less training time together for back lines results in defense that are not organized the best and sometimes have difficulty playing as a unit. Offensive speedsters like Dunn and Little have exploited these weaknesses to great effect over past seasons. Messi was a successful false 9 for Barca but his vision, passing, dribbling and shooting efficiency are prodigious.

          • Breakers fan

            I appreciate your knowledge of the men’s game – it’s superior to mine, and so you may have some kind of general point that applies to other cases. I’m more of the school that thinks “we’re not talking about Hazard vs. whoever the Manchester United defenders were, we’re talking about Crystal Dunn vs. whichever specific NWSL defenders she’s facing”, but even if what you say is true, and she would get fouled often, that ain’t such a bad thing. To get a lot of set pieces relatively close to goal — things could be worse. In the end my feeling is : sure we can speculate about it, but until it’s tried we really have no idea how it would go. I personally don’t limit her potential much if at all based on her height, and she wouldn’t have to be a lone forward if they changed the formation.

          • guest

            It isn’t a perfect comparison as Hazard’s best position is LW and he typically likes to come very deep to pick up the ball and run with it. He also doesn’t have a dribbling equivalent in WoSo even though Dunn does remind me of him at times. I think it is fair to want to see Dunn given a shot at forward but for all we know this has been tried in practice already and produced less than desirable results. As far as the set pieces go, I agree that set pieces around the box are good but I think a few things need to happen before we see the team be a force there. First, Tobin, or whoever in Pinoe’s absence, need to work on their in-swinging deliveries from the corner and around the different parts of the field. Second, Carli really needs to stop taking shots when ever the ball is 30 yards and in from goal. She isn’t good enough to curl the ball over the wall and her shots are a waste compared to a back post delivery.

          • Breakers fan

            Highly, highly doubt they’ve tried Dunn at forward in practice. They didn’t know how good she was there, really until after this NWSL season and at that point they had Alex, and Carli as the 2 forwards, as it were. That wasn’t up for competition, post-WC. Not to mention Press, Syd, A-Rod to think about at forward. I would bet the house Dunn was immediately slotted into the right flank position. To think that she was tried at forward in practice and that it produced less than desirable results is speculation of the first order, as I’m sure you’ll agree. But that’s ok.
            I like your set piece analysis – some new stuff there for me. I agree that Carli shouldn’t go for goal all the time on free kicks – if that is what you’re talking about as well. Nothing worse than someone who isn’t that skilled at curling and dipping a ball taking some blast that ends up not even remotely close to goal. Tobin I think is pretty good at the skill you’re describing but agree that work, practice, in this area is always desirable.

          • guest

            I agree that it is unlikely that they have tried Dunn at forward but I can’t really claim to know anything that goes on during practice

          • Breakers fan

            Right, none of us can claim to know. It’s just that the timeline doesn’t lend itself at all to thinking that they would try Dunn there, and if they *really* wanted to see her at forward they would play her in a game at the position. It may take a few years, if ever, to see her tried there with the NT.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            All the talk about dexterity in the wings is to distract from the elephant in the room – why a woman who excelled at forward in the league should be assigned to an incongruous position rather than the one she most recently excelled at. I am sure people everywhere else are scratching their heads, wondering how the USWNT is run.

            Then again, we are talking about Jill Ellis and her crowd, she who plays Dunn come rain or shine now, but saw fit to jettison her from the WC roster; she who plays Horan round the clock but won’t give the rookie of the year a single minute.

          • Breakers fan

            I’m with you. And the same can be said for Press – which is why I advocate trying a 3 forward system so that these players can play at their natural, best position. It would take a coach with the stones of Everest to say to Carli “That was great, and thank you, but we’re moving on now.”

            Also, yes, why not try Colaprico out, and Lavelle? Everyone else who is recently new has gotten some minutes, save Nairn – and that bugged me too.

  • luke

    #justice4Tymrak
    #USWNTjogabonito

    • guest

      Tymrak deserves another shot, but it’s tough breaking into a sorority when popularity and who you know is more important than what you can do. Tymrak has proven herself in the NWSL, but Florida doesn’t seem to have the same connection to the NT as UVA and UCLA do.

      • Steglitz49

        Why does “Tymrak deserve another shot” while others don’t.

        It is tough playing for the USWNT. Each position spoken for 5 times over.

        • guest

          Based on the merit of her play in the NWSL, which should be the standard of all call ups, since it would promote competition in the league, be fairer to all the players, and make for a more transparent selection process.

          • dw

            That’s rich.

          • guest

            What’s rich?

          • Steglitz49

            Excluding anyone who plays abroad from her NT.

          • guest

            You need to come up with a better argument than that. I certainly wouldn’t bar anyone from a foreign league.

          • dw

            Since you require explanation: NWSL play is not the standard for call ups, it fails to promote competition in the league, it’s certainly not fair to the players, and is anything but transparent. That’s how the real world works. That’s why Tymrak won’t get another shot. Besides, Tymrak didn’t even make 1st or 2nd XI, and those players haven’t gotten callups either. So if you want to use NWSL play as your metric, look no further than Allie Long or Yanez or Barnes, before promoting your fave using a thinly veiled “based on league performance” angle.

          • guest

            Yes, we’re all aware “how the real world works.” Thank you for reminding us all of that! But you still haven’t explained why call ups based on merit wouldn’t be a better system, or why it wouldn’t work, and until someone convinces me otherwise, I’m gonna keep banging away on the subject. As for whether Tymrak deserves another call up, that’s a separate issue, and not an argument against a merit based system.

          • mockmook

            You two are talking past each other. Not that I have any experience with something like that 🙂

          • Steglitz49

            Katie Stengel has not been called up. Katie was top scorer for Bayern Munich when they won the German league last time — for the first time in a very long time if not first time ever. Katie has been in the U23 NT.

          • Stengel called up in 2014

            Yes Katie had a good first year with BM, but she lost her starting position at BM this year and was mostly just sitting on the bench. Katie’s move to NWSL Washington Spirit (a career choice that she made) should provide her with a chance to start/play more as compared to BM so she might get future USWNT call ups (but is probably not in the mix for 2016 OG). Katie is well known to USWNT coaches as she was active at various U-xx levels and Katie was part of the 2012 U-20 WWC winning team. U-20 coach in 2012 was Swanson who also was the U-23 coach in 2014 who called Katie up for U-23 in 2014 after the fall 2013 blood clot health scare. TS also gave Katie USWNT senior call up in March/April 2014 (she did not however play/earn her first cap).

          • Breakers fan

            Thank you for that first-rate career retrospecive of Katie! Good luck to her!

          • Steglitz49

            I can’t tell which “guest” you are but the first “guest” in this string wanted “based on merit of her play in the NWSL, which should be the standard of all call ups …”. If you don’t play in the NWSL, you can’t be merited under her/his “standard of all call ups”.

          • Steglitz49

            Thus, someone who choses to play abroad can never play for her NT. Hmmm?

          • kevin

            i would like to see nwsl play weighted at least more than college or high school play. especially with the size of the american player pool. not every player has to do three cycles with the uswnt. would be nice to have some players picked that are at their top peak form for one cycle or one major tournament with the uswnt.

      • NYRick

        “Florida doesn’t seem to have the same connection to the NT as UVA and UCLA do.”

        Well said and very true.

    • HOFCToDi

      Erika Tymrak:

      NWSL Statistics
      2013 – 6 goals, 4 assists
      2014 – 4 goals, 4 assists
      2015 – 3 goals, 1 assist

      • guest

        You can come up with equally unflattering statistics for many of the players on the NT.

        • Breakers fan

          And for a midfielder, (Tymrak) those aren’t bad. People can get over-enamored with these stats. What about the several hundred passes she made, the times she advanced the ball down the field dribbling – are those irrelevant? NO, THEY ARE NOT. And I’m not close to the biggest Tymrak fan on here, but I am a fan.

          • mockmook

            But, the trend does look bad.

            I’d still bring her into camp.

          • Breakers fan

            I think we’d have to ask someone like Slicey about this. She watches all of the KC games, and has for some years. Or anyone else who has. With assist totals I always come back to the truth that no matter how many good passes a midfielder makes to a forward if that ensuing shot doesn’t go in, and we know how many shots don’t go in, she doesn’t add to her assist total. And also, assists can have a fortuitous element to them — as in “you happen to be the person who gets the ball right before a sometimes obvious pass, or maybe an easy pass to a wide open player with a great shot at goal”. Those passes that register in one’s season stat totals can be easier than better passes that don’t lead to goals. So I kind of see assist totals as deceptive. I rely much more on an evaluation of the player’s entire game(s).

          • Guest

            There is far too much passing that goes on before final passes to judge midfielders strictly off of assist and key passes not to mention all of the team spacing ang organization thatinfluences passing success rates and where forward passes are most likely to be successful. The nhl uses a shot attempts differentials when a player is on and off the ice to determine whether or not a player is positively contributing but given the different nature of football I doubt a similar metric would be effective.

          • NYRick

            Totally agree on this. The assist in soccer is a very strange stat indeed. Often times I watch the replay to a goal and the build-up that surrounded it, and many times it was the initial intercept or break-up, or secondary pass that was the key to the goal. That player doesn’t make the scoresheet.

            Also assist totals when you are the last person to touch the ball when Alex was shooting on net in 2012 are bloated as well. Everything she shot was going in that year. And that worked vice versa as well with her feeding Abby as they built their impressive totals with the massive amount of games they played that year, against many t-cans including the post V-tour. Also, both were on the pitch for 90 at forward seemingly all the time. When you have that in your favor, you darn well better have some stats. Carli has stats because she shoots often, takes ALL the PKs and all of the free kicks just outside the box and plays as either a shooting and attacking mid who hangs within the 18, very within, at all times or as this new withdrawn forward with zero defensive responsibilities and all the set pieces focused to her.

            The Tymrak argument shouldn’t be around stats. For one, she is a key player for a 2-time championship team and when you watch KC play, she always seems to be in the middle of a lot of the good that happens on the pitch for them. For that and her skills she deserves to at worse in camp for this team.

          • Breakers fan

            I think we all basically know the following:

            Stats here are often used as weapons, but only when they’re convenient – only when they support someone’s personal vendetta I think more against another poster than really expressing a genuine belief about a player. When stats don’t go a poster’s way he either conveniently doesn’t mention them or they are minimized and discounted by referring to the historical win-loss record of the opponent without looking at the goal or assist and whether it showed admirable skill. It’s become predictable. It’d be great if we could by and large get beyond the stat-based line of argument, or elucidate it, like a few people have done, you included here, Rick. I would add one more aspect: even if a certain pass or shot is easier than some, if converted it’s still a job well done. And yes, it’s too bad that a great through ball or perfectly weighted long ball that springs an attack — with there then being one more easier pass to an open forward who then has an easy-ish chance to score — isn’t given an assist as well in soccer. Sounds like hockey does reward such passes.

          • NYRick

            I remember a comment that Holiday made two years ago concerning Tymrak. It was something to the effect of “she has the best feet of anyone she has seen in the sport.” That is awful high praise. Quick feet in sports is such an overlooked asset. Usually for instance scouts go by the 40 or 100 times for a player or with this NT, the beep tests etc. Give me the player with quick, decisive feet. Did you happen to see Christian McCafferty in the Rose Bowl? That dude has sick moves and the quickest feet for a back I’ve seen in a long time.

          • Breakers fan

            That Holiday line is very impressive and should not be taken lightly. I agree with you. In soccer after all you’re trying to manipulate a ball to go past people – those who can do that the fastest and with the most control are the best players, assuming they do the other things well too.

            Missed the Rose Bowl – dammit. Wanted to see McCafferty.

          • NYRick

            Thierry Henry said something similar about the great Leo Messi going back about 7 years or so when he played with him at Barca. It’s not about pure speed all the time. If that was the case, Danny Welbeck would have won the FIFA POY. It is about controlling speed. My college roommate was a great skier and I was just an average skier but I asked him to take me up to the expert slopes for a few lessons. He told me one simple lesson…the mountain will give you all the speed you’ll ever want. Take your time, concentrate on your form and traversing the mountain and it’s all about one thing: BODY CONTROL.

          • Breakers fan

            Good anecdote. I’ll remember that if I ski again.

            And it’s an excellent soccer point too- very true: body control in conjunction with ball control. The obvious difference in these 2 sports is that the player has to supply all the speed, it being a level surface, but you’re right, it’s a symphony – your body with the ball and the ability to read the opposition. Burst speed, quickness, is big asset, as is speed, for the obvious reasons, but they have to be married to ball control. Add to that the difficult task of, while you’re doing this, to be aware of your surroundings in case you need to make a pass, with everyone on the field constantly moving and you’ll recognize that it’s not that easy of a game. Thus, my general hesitancy to be that critical.

          • NYRick

            You make a good point and I think what you are really referring to is simply vision. Whether that be on a soccer pitch, ice rink, football field etc. Players like a Wayne Gretzky or a Eden Hazard seem to have eyes in the back of their head. Marta is kind of like this as well. They see the play unfolding two steps before it happens. All the great ones have great vision in any sport.

            The ultimate Gretzky line and really the best quote I’ve ever heard in sports, “I don’t go where the puck is, I go to where I think it will be.” Brilliant.

          • Breakers fan

            Yes, vision. What i wanted to say about it, is that you have to do it while also doing the body and ball control parts of the game, which one would think would send one’s head straight down, which is necessary at times, and of course when you do that you lose your vision of the field. I think what a player has to do is to try to always be aware, *before* one gets the ball, where everyone is, so that if one does have to put one’s head down to do something one kind of has a general sense of where one’s teammates are. So, a good player is taking note at all times where her teammates are; she’s not spacing out.

          • Breakers fan

            One more thing about vision I was thinking of.. I think those players who, while dribbling with their head basically down and focused on the ball, getting by or away from a defender, those who at least at times still have a little peripheral vision, some awareness of what’s beyond those few feet right in front of them, those who can do that, at least at times, they are the ones who will be able to make that great pass or know which way to go with a dribble so that their path beyond the current obstacle will be easier – those are the great players.

          • NYRick

            Yeah, great points, you’re absolutely right. Also with pitch vision, I think it’s why we all enjoy the great dummy play when it happens. When a player basically let’s a ball go through their legs or really right by them on purpose knowing full well that a teammate is in a much better scoring or shooting position.

            That is my critique of Carli, although I admit she has distributed the ball better of late. But she often gets in the way of a teammate (most of the times Alex), when said teammate is basically in a more advantageous body position for the shot or the header. That is all about awareness. Once again, seeing things two steps before they happen. I know this may be unfair, but that is the primary reason that I consider someone like an Alex or a Press to be great talents and Carli not necessarily to be that. Carli is a grinder. A gamer with a great will to win. All great attributes. But I don’t think she is a great player. She is just someone with a huge pair of stones (in a female way). There is a lot to be said for that because a lot of great players run away from the action when the going gets a little tough or too tight. Often maybe a rightful criticism of Press.

          • Breakers fan

            Agree with your characterization of Carli vs. Press and Morgan. Another kind of forward weakness I forgot to say earlier about Lloyd is that she is slower and less quick than the other 2. We know that’s not everything, but it’s something. And a pretty crucial thing around goal with so many bodies around. That said, Carli is probably better at some things than the other 2 – heading the ball, though Alex is quite good; all 3 are decisive. Alex and Carli are probably both more aggressive, reckless, fearless, however you want to put it than Press, but….with each new play each player can choose what to do, so these things are in constant flux, they’re not absolutes.

            Thinking back to Press’s first goal vs. T&T…I love that goal. Just how quickly she acted.You know what I mean? And of course effectively. A lot of players don’t do that.

            Yes, dummy plays, ones that are successful, crucially involve vision, field awareness, the mental aspect of the game, being invovled in it – excellent example of that.

          • NYRick

            The thing to point out in Carli’s favor is that she simply wants the ball at or around goal. She is fearless and will sacrifice her body and head at any given moment. Alex is very aggressive as well and puts herself in dangerous injury inducing situations but that’s just the way she plays it, and I admire much of that although I would prefer her to be a bit more selective in her aggression.

            Press is just a very weird pure scorer. I think that’s why I often comment on her. She often needs little or no room to get off the most amazing and accurate shots I see in the women’s game. It’s the rarest of skills for me. That’s why I would have her out there at all costs if I’m a coach and that’s always been my argument. She is to point to an old legend from another sport, kind of the Mike Bossy of WoSo. She just scores. From seemingly anywhere and you can never anticipate when or why. She doesn’t need a long ball, she makes something out of nothing in and around the center of the 18 and on the fringe perimeters of the 18. I do think being a pure scorer is very mental. And we have heard that CP is quite cerebral (maybe to a fault). Personally, I think she is her own worse enemy. Too critical of herself and agrees with the coach’s too much. She needs some amnesia when she misses. The next one is going in. She’s too good a shooter. When CP shoots these 3 things happen: 1) Most likely, she hits a post 2) It’s in the net 3) the keeper usually makes a jumping angled save. She will shank a few shots, but she is often on net with either foot with pace and accuracy.

            Personally, I thought she was going to have a great WC and the Aussie goal in game 1 was a great start. Problem with Press is that she has to score in every game or she gets no minutes, even when she’s a sub. We’ll see what this year brings. She is a 90 minute forward. When or if she ever became that on this team, you would see absurd stats for a player over a 25 game seasonal stretch. And yes she would score big goals as well. It stands to reason she would.

          • Breakers fan

            Well-said. It would be a shame, we and many others feel, if she never got a good, long look. What else can a player do to earn time? And I don’t want to hear the “didn’t score against great teams or in big games” thing again. She hasn’t played in that many of them as a forward. And she’s not some product that came out of the Perfection Factory from Magic Fantasyland. She’s done, humanly, as much as anyone I can think of in women’s soccer history to deserve a spot as a forward on a national team. And don’t yank her if she doesn’t score sometimes – as you said. That’s how I feel.

          • mockmook

            I think, if nothing else, starting Press in some games instead of Lloyd helps keep that chip on Lloyd’s shoulder — and, that’s a good thing.

            I’ve probably said this before: Perhaps Alex needs to be held out of some games now and then (even when healthy) to put a chip on her shoulder — get her mad instead of despondent at her scoring touch (assuming she is still in a scoring funk).

          • Breakers fan

            I like this particular psychological aspect – makes sense to me.

          • mockmook

            If it makes great sense, then Press should be boiling angry by now.

          • Breakers fan

            But if it hasn’t dawned on Jill yet, or if it never does, or if it does and she doesn’t agree with it, can she, JE, be blamed? Maybe. A great coach knows how to get the most out of her players.

          • john

            Well from my coaching experience I’d point out it depends on knowing each individual player. Some will develop that I’ll show the coach attitude. Others will be hurt and never recover. Another might become a constant disruptive element. You have to be damn sure of the result when a coach starts playing mind games. Then there’s the whole issue of how many times can you mess with players before you become known as a “false” coach.

          • mockmook

            You don’t have to necessarily be “false”. It makes perfect sense to give Press some starts now and again.

            And, for Alex, be upfront with her, “You are sitting because you aren’t scoring goals” (again, if she is still in a funk).

          • john

            Please see response to Breakers fan.

          • Breakers fan

            I always respect someone who has experience in what he/she is talking about. And I agree that a coach should know his/her players well before doing this. So, in this case, Morgan and Lloyd, what do you think? Do you think that not starting them would ever be a good idea? I don’t see either of them as a fragile flower who would never recover if she didn’t get a start. If it’s effective I wouldn’t label it “messing with them” so much.

          • john

            Obviously I don’t know either of them, which as u note is the key. In Morgan’s case I’ll point out if the coach feels her funk is from a lack of confidence than sitting her could really backfire. She could easily go from frustration with her form to a fear of losing her role. Lloyd is different in that she is playing well (although she did tail off, which I attribute to the stupid design of the VT) and therefore unless JE had established a stated rotation policy she deserves her time. Communication is important and helps negate the “false” label. However, honesty doesn’t mean the message is well received. Does the player agree? What about the notion “truth hurts “? Another aspect is from the physical side. Some players require steady games to maintain their physical and mental fitness. Again that’s on the staff to understand. All that said I think the VT is too drawn out to hold the vets interest and that USSF always wastes the opportunity to learn more about its player pool.

          • Breakers fan

            I think Morgan’s been fine lately, so I guess the hypothetical is only if she plays poorly going forward. Good thing about the Olympics is that I believe it’s a lot of games in a pretty short time period so sitting someone will make sense regardless of any psychological, motivational reasons a coach may think are called for.

          • just as likely

            Or the trailing player have read the situation and told the “dummier” to “leave it”. The vision, soccer IQ could all be encapsulated in that different player.

          • Breakers fan

            Good insight. It would have to happen quickly but no doubt that is the case sometimes.

          • Breakers fan

            And yes, the thing about it “not being about pure speed”, I like that. Messi is a master of sort of lulling people into being still, then doing just enough with a surprising move with the ball or just a quick little burst (not a 50 yard dash, a 3 yard dash) to get by them. And people’s quickness levels do vary as we know. It’s I think largely genetic, assuming everyone trains the same amount. That fast-twitch muscle thing we hear about.

          • NYRick

            In hockey Sydney Crosby does this little pull back move for a lack of a better word. It seems so simple when you watch it but then so brilliant as you watch a slo-mo of it fully executed. It’s kind of like when he is moving across the blue line with puck with a defender right on him, he kind of does this hesitation like thing whereas he literally seems to stop on a dime, pull the puck back a few feet towards his body in a quick toe drag motion. The defender leans forward that split second and Crosby with effortless control blows by him for an opening in on goal. It is a beautiful thing to watch from an athletic standpoint…and painful if you a Rangers fan. But it’s simplicity is what’s most impressive. I love when great athletes make the difficult seem so easy.

          • Breakers fan

            The Gretzky line – about anticipation, being able to read the future so as to know what to do now — the Crosby move, what Messi does, all point to the mental aspect of the game. Of course it’s in conjunction to physical skills executed but it’s using your mind, crucially, to best your opponent. Thanks for relaying those things.

          • Steglitz49

            Gretzky played in the pastin of 8-1 in 1981. So did Lagleur, Trottier and a whole bunch of other “great” Canadians. They were made to look decidedly 3rd rate on that evening in Montreal.

            Cometh the hour cometh the lady. Well in 1981 it was the Soviet Union who rewrote the record books for all times. The PR-machine has done a great snowjob.

            What is the biggest difference between Messi and Gretzky, apart from the ice.

          • NYRick

            McCafferty is simply a prodigy. He is just 19 and I hope he can stay healthy. They might as well engrave his name on the Heisman for next year right now. The real deal good. Not kidding. You know a player is great when even in a blowout you can’t wait for him to get back on the field. Last player this exciting in college football was when Michael Vick was tearing it up for V-Tech.

          • Breakers fan

            Wow – I need to see this guy. His Dad was the great Broncos receiver, right? But he’s not following in his Dad’s footsteps as a receiver, – he’s a running back?

          • NYRick

            Yeah that’s his dad Ed. He also started his career with the Giants. Great hands and the Giants made a major mistake letting him go to Denver. Christian is more of a versatile slot receiver. Think a Wes Welker in his prime with Brady type. That’s how I see him translating to the pro game. With Stanford he is a jack of all trades. They put in the backfield, in the slot, he returns kicks and punts and he even threw for a couple of TDs out of option plays out of the backfield. The guy is insane and there is really nothing like him in the college game. His coach says he is still growing and will get faster and stronger which is a scary thought.

            You should Google and Youtube some of his highlight runs from the year. His quickness and change of pace is off the charts. In the open field he makes defenders look silly. I remember you had mentioned the Gale Sayers autobiography. We can’t put him on that level yet, but man this guy can play some ball. I’m truly not trying to be prejudicial but I’ve never seen a white back with these types of moves, quickness and acceleration. This is like the football version of White Men Can’t Jump. He already broke Barry Sanders all purpose for a season yardage record as a sophomore. If he stays in school for 2 more years the records he will set won’t be touched for decades. He is one of those worth the price of admission players who is simply special. I think they were mentioning his HS records and they are mind blowing as well. Read what the top scouts and media people are saying about him. People are stunned when you watch him play.

          • Breakers fan

            I’m definitely going to check out some clips of him. Thanks for those mind-blowing high school stats – amazing! What an athlete this kid must be.

          • NYRick

            Just out of curiosity regarding his HS records I had to Wiki them to be certain what they were saying. Check this out. Some of it doesn’t seem even remotely possible:

            “McCafferty broke numerous Colorado high school records including career total touchdowns (141), career all purpose yards (8,845), career touchdown receptions (47) and single season all-purpose yards (3,032).[1] He was the Gatorade Football Player of the Yearfor Colorado in both 2012 and 2013.[2] He also played basketball.

            McCaffrey was also a standout sprinter on the track & field team. As a junior in 2012, he placed second in the 100-meter dash at the Mountain Vista Boulder Invitational with a career-best time of 10.75 seconds.[3] As a senior in 2013, he finished sixth in the 100-meter dash (10.89s) and ninth in the 200-meter dash (22.17s) at the CHSAA State Meet.[4]”

          • NYRick

            So analyzing that, most HS seasons are max 9 or 10 games. With that assuming he started (gee I wonder??) as a freshman and played all 4 years, he “averaged” about 35 TDs a season and over 2,200 yards a season. This is HS. So figure every game he played he probably rushed for over 200 yards and had about 4+ TDs. Hysterical!

          • Breakers fan

            Watched some Stanford highlights and am now in the middle of watching a 19 minute reel of his high school football play. Great speed and moves. Surprised at how short he is, compared to his Dad. LOVE how he just hands the ball to the ref after every TD – very classy, not rubbing the TD in the face of the opponent with some “look at me” display, though in the NFL celebrations don’t bother me. But here he is clearly such a superior athlete it would be tacky to go through some celebration display.

          • NYRick

            It would be tacky for a superior athlete to go through an excessive celebration display. Tell that to Odell Beckham Jr. As superior an athletic specimen that you will ever see in any sport really. The gifts he has on the field are purely ridiculous. Yet his crazy dances (seemingly a new one each week) show up an opponent badly. So what happened to him a few weeks ago was brewing for quite some time. He becomes a target and it’s like chicken little. No one should feel sorry for him. He bought it on himself. That also gets into bad coaching or when a coach is hanging on for dear life. Coughlin needed to reel him in a long time ago and is basically shite scared of the kid because he realizes he is special and doesn’t want to offend him or “disrupt the passion” that he plays with. Bull. I for one Giants fan am going to be very happy when TC hopefully gets his walking papers today. It is a long time coming.

            That’s why what C. McCaffrey is doing and how he conducts himself is so refreshing. He is zigging while the others zag. That’s what a real star does.

          • Breakers fan

            Was Coughlin fired today? I saw something on tv that was implying that if not today it would come soon. I’m with you on Beckham vs. C. McCaffery, re: celebration dances. Beckham – concur about his skills, though a huge Giants fan friend of mine said he also lost the team a game or two this year with bad plays (misses, I assume) — seems to crave as much attention as possible.

          • mockmook

            A whole lot more responsibility will be on Tymrak’s shoulders now with Holiday and A-Rod gone.

            If she can shine this year in the NWSL, surely, even JE will give her another look.

          • NYRick

            I don’t know about that. I think like I said somewhere…with this program it’s either they love you or they don’t, usually right from the start. If you sour in their eyes for any reason or at any time, you are essentially f$%*&ed for life with no get out of jail card. Tymrak is going to be forever reaching into the community chest hoping to draw that card but the clock is ticking for her with this team. I just think she has done enough to deserve a chance. This BS about her fitness and defense goes too far. I can analyze every player on their roster and point out their shortcomings, even for the biggest names. I’m sure you and many others on here can too.

          • john

            While I’m not a big Tymrak fan I will point out that FCKC looks to be a much different (and probably weaker) team this season. There is likely to be an apples and oranges aspect to any Tymrak evaluation therefore.

          • mockmook

            True. Even though she will have less talent around her, she will be carrying much more of the offensive load.

            So, a stellar year (if it happens) is even more impressive to me.

          • john

            True. We’ll learn more if Vlatko acquires someone else for Holiday’s role.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe he is waiting till he knows who is not going to Rio?

          • mockmook

            I’m not sure that tells us anything beyond that Holiday is no longer there.

          • NYRick

            You’re right, and I’m just as guilty as anyone else on here when I want to bring stats into the conversation to support my argument. For Press, I simply say her NT career shows 29 goals in 55 caps. That alone is ridiculously impressive. But with her it has to be taken further because the tomato can retort comes back, so you then have to get into to the “70% of her minutes are played out of position, she doesn’t start at forward for 90, she doesn’t get to play against the big teams, so in that regard, how can she score against them, Alex plays because she is the face of the program etc. etc.” I really hate to start getting into that, but really most if not all is true to properly support your case. That’s what any lawyer does during their argument, they present the facts. Sometimes a smart lawyer knows how to skew facts in their favor too, but none the less, the facts are usually black and white.

            For stats, I also like to give it for a lack of a better phrase, the “eye test” when evaluating a player. What do my eyes tell me when I’m watching said player. In the WC for example, the big defense for Alex for her lack of scoring was “she effects the match in other ways or the team just plays better with her in there etc.” Really? Maybe that’s true, but that is awfully hard to measure for sure. How are people doing that. Well, probably they are going by what their eyes tell them about a great player. And a great player in any sport doesn’t have to pile up stats to affect a game. For instance, for most of his career, I think LeBron could probably drop 40 a game with relative ease on any night if he chose to simply be selfish. He doesn’t. He likes being the all-around player and gets his teammates involved, thus making all around him better as a whole. How do you measure that in a scoreline? You can’t. You simply say that’s a great player. With Press I think she being dangerous out there opens up the pitch for others just as much as it does when Alex is out there in different ways. If a defense is not accounting for Press or where she is, then they are simply stupid and badly coached and prepared.

          • Breakers fan

            I’m not anti-stats presenting, per se. What I don’t like is the selective, (meaning “deceptive”), disingenuous (meaning the poster really knows he’s not presenting the whole picture and that he is slanting things for his own use.) use of them. That sort of superficial use of them drives me up a wall. They should be presented accurately. It would be idiotic to say they’re meaningless or that they don’t indicate things. And as numbers they have, as you point out, a certain hard cold reality to them that I like.

          • Steglitz49

            Stats in soccer are difficult otherwise by now there would be a bevy of them. Cricket is full of stats, like baseball.

            Some players are justly known for raising their games when it matters but they don’t always score goals. Sometimes it is just leadership.

          • Breakers fan

            Just finished reading this and I just wanted to add that I really like what you said about Lebron and stats, and how the fact that they’re not as impressive as they could be in actuality is a positive thing and leads to his team being better than they would be if his stats were “better”.

            As far as Alex in the WC – I think the solution to this question for anyone would be to watch the games again and pretend that you are a big Alex fan so that you really focus on her, and then after watching the games again come back and say what you thought. The basic premise being: If you’re not sure about something go to the source and decide for yourself rather than relying on anyone else’s opinion. Not sure you have the time to do that but it would help clear up the mystery.

          • Sad but True

            Don’t think stats are important in modern sports? Press keeps getting called back because she’s a goal scoring machine, with one of the highest goal/games ratios on the planet. Tymrak is on a downward slope, so no NT calls.

          • NYRick

            I think it depends on the position. For instance, a forward on the USWNT should have a ridiculously high strike rate from the time they were little kids. Alex, Press and Syd fulfill that. All 3 are prolific. A forward without a resume like that has no business on the NT in my opinion. For a mid, I would look at a variety of other things. Ball control, vision, quickness, soccer IQ, toughness, ball winner etc. For starters, every time I watch KC play, Tymrak catches my eye with something she does, and it’s usually positive. She plays on a very strong team with a great coach and we will see how the loss of Holiday will affect her going forward on KC. She may emerge even better since she will be asked to do more maybe. But on an NWSL level, she has done enough in my opinion.

          • Guest

            I don’t think stats should necessarily be dependent on position although I think that all stats need context in order to make accurate judgements off of them. A while back A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch talked a little about his/her own efficiency stat. ADWAC was reluctant to divulge the exact formula to calculating the stat but is seemed like it included a combination of shots on goal percentage, goal conversion rate and volume of shots.

            I want to focus on the shot volume part in particular becauseI have read comments in the past from others claiming it is important. I think the general rational is that if a player is constantly getting themselves into positions to receive passes and shoot they are doing something right. To an extent I agree with the rational but I think it is important to recognize that a forward can make a perfect run but if there isn’t someone to connect that pass it is all for naught. I think midfield play has as much potential to hurt a forward as it does to help help them.

            During the Sweden match of the there were a lot of people calling for the forwards heads despite the fact that the US back line and midfields were playing mostly long balls that turned into passes to the Swedish keeper. The result was that the forwards got very few chances on goal and many fans vilified their play. I do think it is somewhat fair to note that I didn’t think Press or Leroux making very good runs in that game either. Still I am willing to bet they would have been more successful if the 4 midfielders behind them were Rapinoe, Holiday, Brian, and Heath rather than Lloyd playing holding mid and Brian on the wing. I also have serious doubts that Yanez scores as many goals as she did this year if she didn’t have the best CAM in the NWSL on her team.

            Something else to consider when questioning the certainty of conventional statistics is the Cesc Fabregas’ performance against Crystal Palace yesterday. He has 3 secondary assists on all three Chelsea goals and his name wont show up on the scoresheet for any of them. In all cases his passes were the ones that opened up Palace’s defense. Some other examples are the one touch combination between Dunn and Heath that led to one of Press’ goals in the VT and Moe to Krieger to Heath for Kling’s in Pittsburgh.

            TLDR; Statistics are great but they need context and they don’t currently include all of the important aspect involved in creating winning football.

          • NYRick

            Excellent post. You make some great points. We live in a day and age of sabermetrics in sports where one can derive an effectiveness to a player’s performance from virtually any angle far beyond the conventional things like goals, assists and saves that only make it to a scoresheet. I’ve always found it amusing that even yellow cards make it to a score sheet per the player in soccer. So in a sense, a player who essentially did something wrong gets listed in the usual very small scoreline of a match.

            I hear what you are saying with Fabregas, that is an excellent example and it gets into to that only “one” assist rule in soccer which is total BS. The purists like Steg will argue that is the way the beautiful game has always been blah blah blah. I also agree with the US-Sweden WC match you cite. Press and Syd were lambasted for lack of scoring chances but the both the backline and mid play in the build-up during the match was absymal. I guess we would need a camera on both forwards to adequately access their runs during the match to be truly fair. There are many matches I watch, both male and female, whereas a forward makes a great run and either a mid doesn’t deliver the proper through ball or a defender simply makes a great play deflecting the pass etc. I view it as a forward is going to as the English announcers in the EPL say, “take their chances.” Meaning when they get them, they have to find their way in the net.

            With stats, I also like to look at other sports too in how that is analyzed. Here is a great example in baseball. As a Mets fan, Daniel Murphy’s greatest play in his astounding playoff performance went beyond hitting all those HRs. In the final game against LA in the divisional series with the Mets down a run, he literally stole third base during a groundout when he caught the Dodgers napping and not covering third due to having a defensive alignment geared towards a batter shift. So they figured he would just stop at second. When no one covered third, he wisely took off and wound up on third with less than two outs and scored the tying run with a sac fly against Greinke late in the game. That was a huge turning point that will never show in the boxscore. Stats are what you make of them.

          • ARED

            Well said, esp the “USA Forwards were iffy at least in some part due to the USA midfield being iffy”, and, the secondary assist.

            That is a simple way to look beyond the simple G/A stats, I just posted above some of the more involved ways. But I will always maintain that watching the game and players closely is how you know who is playing well -after a goal, think about who and what turned it from simple possession to a great chance. Often it is not the striker who finishes, or even the “assister”. Sometimes it is even the GK, perhaps Tim Howard against Algeria in 2010 (although other key passes were made as well).

          • ARED

            “Chances Created” and “Key Passes” stats are beginning to gain some footholds, giving a tad more weight to statistical analysis. These do not publicly exist (usually) for women.

            But at the end of the day a sport with 22 players on the field, for 90 minutes, with often 3 total goals scored or less, cannot be summed up by statistical data. As you say, the eye test is needed.

            (For the record, though I haven’t watched her closely in a while, but I believe Tymrak has shown more than enough at age 24 to be included in the picture).

          • Breakers fan

            Yeah, you watch the game, maybe you watch it again, watch it a third time if you really get a hankerin’, paying close attention all the while, and in the end you pretty much know what happened. Who was good, who made some mistakes. It isn’t rocket science and whether things are tabulated or not isn’t crucial to you or me because we basically already know.

          • ARED

            Exactly. And I think if you are involved in a team, or just follow them regularly (like, say the USWNT) then it becomes even easier, b/c you know the players, the tendencies, who is where on the pitch, etc. So each play/half/match either cements what you already know about the team, or on occasion will alter it. (“Oh wow, I didn’t realize James was *this* good!” -everyone, at the 2014 WC).

            For example, if you see a long ball played toward the US defense, before you can even see them in the picture you are waiting for Sauerbrunn or JJ to eat it up, or Solo if it is near the area. So if a ball does beat them, it stands out all the more.

          • ARED

            For anyone wishing to read more, I believe this old article does a decent job of discussing some of the “new” statistics.

            http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1597790-the-most-important-new-advanced-soccer-statistics-and-why-they-matter

          • Breakers fan

            Will check this out, thanks, but I think, like you, I’m not a passionate, driven stat-head.

          • Steglitz49

            I usually clash swords with HOFCToDi but on this occassion it is hard to argue with his numbers.

          • HOFCToDi

            Kealia Ohai
            1692 min, 4 goals, 5 assists

          • Breakers fan

            Respectfully, I would like to offer that although seeing stats is interesting to a degree, what is even more interesting is for a fan to actually watch a lot of a player in action, and then write qualitatively, honestly about what he/she has seen, using no numbers. That shows that he cares about the subject enough to want to get beyond just the numbers. Maybe you could try that approach as well. And for all I know you’ve either seen Tymrak and Ohai a lot or not much at all; I have no way of knowing.

          • HOFCToDi

            At least you will get an honest defensive effort from Ohai unlike Tymrak.

          • guest

            Stats are just half the story.

          • ARED

            Stats *can* be half the story….usually a lot less for me…. ; )

        • HOFCToDi

          NWSL Statistics
          2015 NWSL Season

          Erika Tymrak
          1546 min, 3 goals, 1 assist

          Heather O’Reilly
          928 min, 2 goals, 3 assists

          Kelley O’Hara
          989 min, 3 goals 5 assists

          Megan Rapinoe
          824 min, 5 goals, 5 assists

          • guest

            You’re getting warmer!

          • HOFCToDi

            Based on your criteria, Tymrak does not deserve a spot on the USWNT. Furthermore, if the perception of the USWNT coaching staff is that Tymrak does not play a lick of defense, Tymrak won’t be invited back.

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  • AlexH

    Wow I come back from vacation and find you had a 750+ comment thread without me. Not cool guys! Not cool!

    • AlexH

      I’m fine with this camp BTW. JE is bringing in some new faces to compete which is good and I will give her the benefit of the doubt over which new faces were brought in because JE gets paid to know who does what well. Winning the WC gets you a honeymoon (even if you back into it).

      • Breakers fan

        Any predictions on the main topics of discussion before or if you dive in?
        I was wondering where you were. Hope you had a good time!

        • AlexH

          I was at home with the family. I only post at work 🙂

          My prediction is that none of the newbies except Horan and maybe Sonnet (depending on Rampones health) will be in RIo!

          • mockmook

            “depending on Rampones health”

            Then Sonnett is a cinch (BTW, I’m putting “age” under the category of “health”).

          • AlexH

            Sonnet isn’t a cinch even if Rampone is hurt because JE will probably only take 3 CB and JJ and Brun are automatic. Maybe Sonnet surpasses Rampone OR Engen but I don’t see her surpassing both.

          • mockmook

            She probably won’t “surpass” either. Tea leaves point to JE is going to “gamble” younger at certain back-ups and perhaps even starters.

          • AlexH

            Well if tea leaves are correct CB is the place to do it because if JE wants to back out she can slide Krieger into position rather than risk using an inexperienced player.

          • mockmook

            That’s what I’ve a been a sayin’ _ 🙂

          • AlexH

            Well your right!

          • mockmook

            No, my left!!!

  • AlexH

    I noticed somewhere way down in this tread about Christian McCaffarty and I thought that CM is in a position very similar to woso players in that he his a brilliant athlete that is getting paid squat for his services.

    I think CM should go on strike. There is no earthly reason for him to continue to play college football. He can get injured and he is unlikely to have as good a season next year as he did this year (regression to the mean and all that).

    He should quit the team, have dad pay for his tuition and hire the best possible strength and speed coach to bump up his combine numbers. Lets face it, the NFL combine is the ultimate meat market and shaving a tenth of his 40 time is going to help him a lot more than another season.

    Alternatively, he could play a year in the CFL and get paid, learn how to be a professional, and get a true video game stat line.

    • Breakers fan

      I just read that a college football player has to be out of high school for 3 years before he can be drafted, so CM has 2 more years to go, right? Listening to an interview with him he seems like a guy who just wants to play and is into being on a team, so I doubt he’s thinking along the lines you propose but what you said does make a lot of sense to me and of course it applies to all great college athletes.
      They’re going to be keying on CM next year even more, no doubt. That’ll make it tougher on his stats, as you mentioned. But we’ll also see just how good he is. I’m super-impressed like everyone else so far.

      • AlexH

        He has 1 more year as he is currently a true sophomore. You are right that he won’t quit the team so I hope he takes out a hefty insurance policy!

        • Steglitz49

          Speaking of contracts, Kosevare Asllani is leaving PSG, like Lindsey Horan. It is not yet known where Kosse is going but it is not expected that she will return to Damallsvenskan.

      • Steglitz49

        The big non-WoSo sporting news is that Russia beat USA in the SF of the boys junior World Championships. Russia came from 0-1 down to win 2-1.

        In the other SF, the host nation, Finland, also came from 0-1 down to beat Sweden 2-1. Sweden had otherwise looked the best team in the tournament (beat the US 1-0) but been decimated by injuries. In the SF the Swedes suffered two debatable sendings off, which cooked their goose.

    • F0OtballNowAndAlways

      “I noticed somewhere way down in this tread about Christian McCaffarty and I thought that CM is in a position very similar to woso players in that he his a brilliant athlete that is getting paid squat for his services.”

      You just now realized that players play for nothing in college? Doesn’t McCaffarty have a scholarship? That’s the infantile argument that has been advanced for years to justify the peonage system known as NCAA sports. I know what is significantly motivating that kind of idiocy or course, but the new year is young yet, so I will be good and not say anything unkind. I’ll give everyone a hint though. This factor mediates much of what transpires in American socio-economic life, though many deny its influence.

      Any athlete worth his salt today would be a fool to continue in college once they attain pro eligibility. Sorry, a mundane college scholarship doesn’t quite jell with the principle of earning the highest recompense possible with one’s abilities.

  • Nicole C.

    Great picture from camp:

  • HOFCToDi

    WATCH: the #USWNT is off & running in 2016 with its first training camp of the year in LA. #JanuaryCamp #RoadToRio

    twitter.com/ussoccer_wnt/status/685609673668427777