Rapinoe won’t play in USWNT’s final Rio tune-up

The Equalizer Staff July 22, 2016 313
Megan Rapinoe hasn't played competitively since October, when this photo was taken. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Megan Rapinoe hasn’t played competitively since October, when this photo was taken. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Megan Rapinoe will not play for the United States on Friday in the United States women’s national team’s final official match before the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Rapinoe has not played a competitive match since October after tearing her ACL on Dec. 4, but earlier this month she was named to U.S. coach Jill Ellis’ 18-player Olympic roster. Rapinoe recovered from the torn ACL in time for Ellis to name the midfielder to the Olympic roster, but Rapinoe suffered a setback in training two weeks ago, straining her right calf.

Rapinoe has long been in Ellis’ mind for Rio, if the midfielder could get healthy in time.

“I always talk about seeing players in the pressure cooker, but for some players you know what you’re going to get,” Ellis told The Equalizer in late January. “And some it’s a little bit of exploring what you could potentially have. With Rapinoe, with the talented player that she is, I think if there is a player that can return – because she’s been through it (a torn ACL) twice before, unfortunately – I have not in any way, shape or form factored her out (for the Olympics).”

Ellis said earlier this month that the plan is to “build” Rapinoe’s minutes at the Olympics. Heather O’Reilly, Sam Mewis, Whitney Engen and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris are the four alternates for the United States for the Rio Olympics. O’Reilly is the most likely replacement for Rapinoe, should she need to be replaced on the roster.

The U.S. typically plays closed-door matches at the Olympic site before the Games begin, but no official such plans have been confirmed.

[LAULETTA: The one-year evolution of the USWNT’s roster]

  • newsouth

    no game time, just a bunch of practice sessions, so the odds say she won’t be up to game speed of play. and why is she on the roster? you could debate in the past that wambach, boxx and rampone were hall of fame type players but not his one.

    • VaFan51

      This whole thing is making me very nervous. My recollection is that Ellis was quoted several months ago as saying that she wanted Rapinoe and Lloyd to have some competitive matches before “qualifying” for the Olympic squad. Now, in July, these are starting to look like honorary roster spots.
      That’s harsh, but this situation puts tremendous pressure on both Pugh (to produce) and Rapinoe (to maybe come back to competitive play before her knee really is ready for prime-time).
      On the other hand, I could be completely off-base and both Pinoe and Lloyd have been killing it in training.

      • rkmid71

        I put Lloyd in the Wambach pre WC category. She was probably fine physically after 3-4 wks rehab after the sprained MCL. She just chose not to risk playing in NWSL.As Wambach proved, I think it’s a failed strategy — if the objective is to be on top of your game and peaking at the Olympics. You need more than personal training and practice for that. You need competitive games. The Rapinoe situation is ridiculous. I think JE is finally saying or admitting she’s not fit..thus the need to “build minutes” during the tournament. Hopefully the US will be blowing out NZ, France, and Colombia so that Rapinoe can get some minutes in the group phase and therefore might be able to contribute in knockout.

        • VaFan51

          I agree with you on Lloyd. Her performance against South Africa did not inspire confidence. Mine, not hers — she professes to be more confident than ever, whatever that’s worth.
          We are not going to blow out anybody in this tournament. Essentially, we are trying to put out on the field our best lineup from 6-8 months ago, instead of our best lineup from this summer.

  • DirtyWhoreMouth

    Why the hell is she going to the Olympics?

    • Tania

      Because she’s a damn good player who plays Ellis’s style well. Even 15 minutes at the end of a game from Rapinoe is better than 90 from a lot of others.

      • Brian

        No it isn’t. Ellis dumb logic. Rapinoe fan girl logic.

        • Tania

          And the logic used by a lot of winning coaches in a lot of sports – particularly men’s. Make of it what you will.

          • Steglitz49

            Not quite correct but never mind.

      • DirtyWhoreMouth

        You can’t possibly be serious.

        • Tania

          Eh, 15 minutes was a bit of early morning, pre-caffeinated hyperbole. But yeah, there are players in any sport who I’d take even at 80%, In WOSO, Rapinoe’s on that list for me.

      • rkmid71

        Not defensively if you’re trying to close out a game.

        • Tania

          True. Coach will have to manage where & when to best use her.

          • mockmook

            Yeah, sub her in at 50 minutes and out at 70. That sounds like a winning strategy.

          • Steglitz49

            Keep her on the bench as a threat while stopping the mouths of the LGBTQ brigade more like it.

          • rkmid71

            In terms of military formations, I learned that two or more brigades constitute a division.The LGBTQ may constitute at least a division at this stage. Rapinoe may be the equivalent of a brigade commander which is a brigadier general.

      • chive-on

        Agree. The number of people who are having a hissy fit over the fact that she’s on the 18 is quite amusing. She’s one of the best players in the world, only an idiot would not take her. Is there any other midfielder of her caliber not already on the roster who is good enough to take her place? Exactly.

        • rkmid71

          What are you talking about? What you say is true only assuming she’s fully fit like in the WWC. She is not. There are many other players good enough to take her place when she’s not fully fit. I suppose she’s claiming that she’s fully fit, 100% despite not playing for 8 months and coming off a serious injury. Do you remember what Rapinoe said herself when she came off her first ACL injury too early when she was young? Of course, now that she’s 31 yrs old her recovery time has drastically improved as proven by her on field performance. The facts are the facts. Doesn’t matter though … we’ll find out soon enough.

        • guest

          she was one of the best players. she hasn’t played in nine months due to a major injury. you have no idea what her health, fitness or form will be until after the start of the olympics. you have no idea if she will even get back 100% to what she was after suffering a third ach tear in her thirties. this would never happen on a men’s national team. don’t think it is too hard to find a player good enough to replace an injured player who likely will only be able to play very limited minutes. the questions would have been answered if she had played in some club or country games prior to the olympics when she already said she was 100% read to go. the ussf need’s to start demanding equal opportunity from the uswnt.

          • guest

            the ussf should sue the uswnt over this now common unequal opportunity.

      • kernel_thai

        I have to disagree about her playing Ellis’ style. What we have seen since Rapinoe’s injury is she has her wide forwards going towards goal. Rapinoe tends to go sideways with the ball.

  • Ben

    Given a roster spot because she is popular

  • kernel_thai

    At some point it becomes chicken or egg. U dont want to use because ur not sure she is or ur not sure she is ready because u havent used her.

  • FawcettFan14

    Because, of course she isn’t. She never was.

    • Nicole C.

      Right. This isn’t surprising at all.

  • Tania

    I bet she plays in one of those. I think she likely could have played today. Feel badly for her because while I support the more cautious approach, every player wants to play She said she wanted to be in the lineup today. And holding her out exposes her to criticism from fans, for a decision that isn’t even hers

    • guest

      i feel badly for all the deserving uswnt players and american nwsl players that have worked hard all year in games and practice. they won’t get a chance at their uswnt olympic dream because it was GIFTED to someone who hasn’t played in a game in over nine months. doesn’t send a good message to all the female players around the us.

      • guest

        there are things more important than winning at all costs.

      • Tania

        Here is the thing though – even if Rapinoe had been declared out for the season & medically not cleared to play in the Olympics as early as JANUARY, Ellis was NEVER going to look at any NWSL. And even without Rapinoe, O’Reilly didn’t make the roster for the OQ. So effectively, not a whole lot would be different if Rapinoe had been shelved for all of 2016. At most, you’d have possibly seen a scenario where HAO is on the roster and if she’s very, very lucky she gets a few garbage minutes.

        I’ve said it before & I’ll keep repeating it. A big piece of the recovery from an injury of this nature is mental & it was pretty obvious from the beginning that Ellis didn’t want to risk impeding Rapinoe’s recovery with the added stress of being pushed off the roster by a newbie. And regardless of the sport, I don’t have a problem with that. Vets imo should get the benefit of the doubt and should not face that kind of competition until they’re back. Once they’re back & it’s an even playing field, so to speak, ok. In no other business does an employee have to worry about permanently losing their job to the person who subs for them while they’re on sick leave/disability. And sports, first and foremost is a business. The same labour/employment laws should apply.

        People will argue that Pugh has taken Rapinoe’s spot. I don’t see that. Pugh has expedited the fact that there’s no longer a place for HAO on this team. And I’m hoping 3-4 years from now she’ll do the same to Lloyd.

  • ladywing

    Please, Ellis, don’t break Megan.

  • KnowingMoreThanTheAverageBear

    In Game 1 of the 1988 world series, Kirk Gibson was not expected to play at all. He had pulled a ham string in the playoffs and had a swollen knee. The Dodgers were trailing 4-3 with one on base. Tommy Lasorda unexpectedly put Gibson in as a pitch hitter. It would be his one and only plate appearance. He was down for the count, when he hit a home run, winning the game while limping all the way around the bases.

    People said Gibson shouldn’t have been there, but he was there because Tommy Lasorda knew how to field a team. So does Jill Ellis.

    I don’t like Megan Rapinoe, but I respect her ability to play the game. Like all the veterans on the team she has experience that trumps a lot of things. If she can put one in the net at the right time, she will have served team and country at the Olympics.

    We will just have to wait and see what happens.

    • rkmid71

      That was in the bottom of ninth as pinch hitter. Gibson didn’t and couldn’t have actually played in the game as a fielder or done anything else. Don’t think that’s a good analogy.

      • John Baldridge

        The analogy is just fine. Jill Ellis coached a team to a World Cup victory, nobody on this board has. Ellis has earned the benefit of the doubt with her roster choices.

        • Steglitz49

          Congratulations. You not only read the entry but seem to have inwardly digested it.

          Once is saw 1988 and World Series, my heart sank.

          • guest

            “inwardly digested” –thank you for the image of outward digestion.

          • Steglitz49

            De nada. We live to serve.

        • rkmid71

          A World Series roster is 25 players with 9 starters. The OG is 16 field players, 10 starters in field positions. Would Lasorda have rostered Gibson faced with that reality? And with little rest between games in a game which requires much more fitness than baseball. The best analogy I can think of is Willis Reed with the Knicks … he limped onto the court for game 7 versus the Lakers and helped inspire them to victory (but didn’t play many minutes). Many people rightfully questioned JE roster choices for WC … many of her most questionable choices ended up not even playing or didn’t play a significant role. So I guess her choices were correct? The OG roster has much less room for error.

          • Steglitz49

            Soccer is the game of the World. The events you refer to are domestic entertainments.

          • rkmid71

            The Japanese, Cubans, Dominicans like baseball and more Europeans are taking Bball seriously. Despite winning the 2015 WWC, JE does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling that she somehow brilliantly managed the team to victory despite the odds. In fact, the opposite. The US will always be a favorite in WoSo. However, I”m beginning to wonder if we are intentionally handicapping ourselves to make it more competitive or interesting or just because the roster is so inflexible. I guess you have similar issues with Sweden.

          • Steglitz49

            “more Europeans are taking Bball seriously”

            Did you know that Derby County used to play its soccer at the Baseball ground? The name was logical. It was with Derby County that the late Brian Clough announced his presence though, of course, his name is mainly associated with Nottingham Forrest.

        • guest

          that’s right ellis has earned the criticism of her roster choices after the world cup roster spots she GIFTED to boxx, chalupny and rampone and wambach. it’s time for the ussf to demand equall opportunity on the uswnt.

    • guest

      did kikr gibson not play in a game prior to that in nine months? can soccer players just stand still and not run around?

  • Anon

    Looks like christen Annemarie is starting based on promos along with Dunn. Heath might be out again.

  • Drew

    Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Morgan Brian are not even playing tonight. What the heck

    • Tony

      I noticed that Tobin and Morgan weren’t scrimmaging either. Strange they had a month off almost.

      • FlyingSquirrel42

        I can sort of understand it in that Tobin and Pinoe, at least, are known quantities at this point – nothing they do or don’t do in the Costa Rica game is likely to change Ellis’s mind about how she plans to use them.

        On the other hand, it kind of makes me wonder what the point is of even playing this game. Are there any players whose planned roles *aren’t* pretty much already decided? I guess maybe Dunn, Press, Pugh, and Horan, but that’s about it.

        • Heather

          This game means nothing and is like you said pointless. Another chance for someone get hurt but that can happen walking down the street.

          • Steglitz49

            Then, why play it? Sweden played Japan and Canada are getting good workouts.

          • Gary Diver

            If this game is “pointless”, why play it? Canada, France, and China are currently playing each other in France. You can be sure their games are not pointless.

          • guest

            i feel bad for the uswnt fans wasting $100 to watch another tomato can game in which the goal will be not to score but to not get injured.

      • guest

        Why? Because they are not in the photos? The only one that is not participating in training is Pinoe. Moe and Tobin are fine.

        • Bill

          Warming up is not practicing. You have scrimmage full contact to play in games.

          • Guest

            Yes and they are participating in full training. At least Ellis said that

    • Guest

      Tobin’s ex girlfriend is on the pitch tonight. She might be out for blood. Christen Annemarie needs to be careful.

      • Steglitz49

        Did you know that Homare Sawa is expecting a baby in January. She and her hubby are over the moon.

        • anon

          What does this have to do with anything

          • Steglitz49

            What does the allegation that Tobin has an “ex girlfriend” to do with anything?

          • Guest

            Lol. Because all three players in question are playing the game this article is about.

          • Steglitz49

            Rubbish is garbage and allegations are allegations even when served up on golden tablets, but facts are fact and truth is truth however you present it.

          • Troll Watch

            It’s his way of promoting heterosexuality in woso. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

          • Steglitz49

            No. I simply hate these allegations that are based on a conception that hetero is better than homo and that homo is some sort of deviancy.

            Allegations have no place. Truth does.

            Please register yourself so we can follow your comments.

          • Paul Klee

            Genius is deviant
            All the women on the USWNT have deviant football talent.

          • anon

            Bingo

          • Steglitz49

            Please register yourself.

          • sam

            Same with the obsession with Necib and Cheney’s name changes.

          • Steglitz49

            Sniveling commentators on the EQ must respect the choices that these ladies have made just as we accept ARod, HAO and Alex’s choices.

          • Troll Watch

            lol. Everyone accepts Cheney’s change to Holiday. Calling her Cheney is like calling someone by their known nickname. My friends took married names and I still slip and call them by their maiden names. No one cares.

          • Steglitz49

            You know your friends. As far as i can tell, you do not know Mrs Holiday. Respect her choice or get out of the kitchen.

        • Guest

          And thus another battle of the LChat trolls and SteglitzTroll

          • Steglitz49

            Please register yourself so we can follow your comments.

    • anonymous

      “Little Moe with the gimpy leg”

    • Gary Diver

      As I’ve asked before, “What is the purpose of this game if the OG16 game roster is not going to play?”

    • guest

      You have to change your source of information. Heath and Brian played as Ellis told before the game.

  • Bruce

    O’Reilly or Mewis?

  • BGH123

    This just reinforces my fear about this roster. For years we have read about how our fitness is what sets us apart, and teams can’t close the gap because, while they may have talent, they lack the fitness. I feel like bringing a roster with so many injured players negates that benefit

    • Joe

      Brian and Heath are hurt as well. This is crazy.

      • guest

        They are fine. They’re fully training. Ellis said they’re gonna get some minutes.

    • Steglitz49

      Don’t worry. Now that the US are world champions, we can explain away failure to take gold in the OG by it not being as important as we used to claim.

    • anon

      What team has better talent and less fitness than the USA? Right now, only MAYBE France, but they can’t finish worth a damn. Germany and Australia are not better teams than the USA and the rest are irrelevant for medal contention as far as I can see.

      • Steglitz49

        Indeed. The USWNT are überfavorites — but so were Hungary in 1954.

      • Guest

        What does it even mean to have “talent” but not “Fitness”? In the same vein, what is “technique”, exactly, and why is it separable from fitness and athleticism? Fitness is a pretty critical component of sports talent. That’s why I don’t understand why commentators always say that.

      • Guest

        I wouldn’t discount Canada as irrelevant, especially if they shed Tancredi because of injury.

      • rkmid71

        As many have stated, a key US strength or advantage has always been fitness and depth. The smaller roster and the high number of injured or less than 100% fit players seriously affect both and level the playing field in that area and give more teams a chance. Though the US has been winning, it’s not like they’ve been blowing out teams, even relatively weak teams like South Africa. To me, this tournament is more wide open than ever, despite the US being the favorite. It’s like Tiger Woods limping around trying to win a major in 2008 versus the dominance of 2000 when he was winning by 7-10 strokes.

  • guest

    the american nwsl players should sue over the uswnt’s disgraceful lack of equal opportunity. guess that would be just too much equality for the uswnt.

    • kernel_thai

      Of course the US based NWSL players couldnt afford to sue if the NT didnt chip in with money : )

      • rkmid71

        Some lawyer would probably do it pro bono just for the publicity, assuming WoSo gets at least a little publicity. OK … you’re probably right.

  • Ducks

    We have 13 field players available tonight.

    • Steglitz49

      Are you superstitious?

    • Kevin

      Who else is out?

    • Guest

      Ellis said on this podcast posted on the 19 that she wants to see Brian and Heath get some minutes in this game. Unless there were set backs between now and then I expect them to get some minutes.

      Ellis talking about injuries at the beginning of hour 2

      http://www.podcastarena.com/soccermatters/

  • Paul Klee

    I may have missed it, but are the alternates available for tonight’s match?

    • Gary Diver

      Why would the alternates play in the send-off game? What is the purpose of this send-off game? Actually I would think it would be somewhat painful to be an alternate and thrown into this game – like when Ellis has put in Engen or Sonnet into the game at the 90th minute.

      • Paul Klee

        Just wondering because with Brian, Rapinoe and Heath not available that leaves only 13 field players

    • Nicole C.

      Good question. With all the injuries, I don’t see why the field alternates wouldn’t be.

      • Paul Klee

        Well we’ll see soon.

  • MrTemecula

    If Rapinoe had one or two matches to see what she has in her play, then taking her to Rio would have been fair. Ellis instead has dicided that Rapinoe is such a special athlete that she requires no tune up at all and can be tossed into the most competitive games at the Games. That is rediculous. I cannot think of a professional athlete in a team sport who has missed an entire year and then performed at their previous level in their first games.

  • Gary Diver

    Jill Ellis Under the Judgment Microscope

    Megan Rapinoe has not played competitively in nearly 9 months and is not match ready. This is equivalent of going on a long-distance trip without first checking whether you have adequate gas or oil for the trip. Simple blind faith that everything will turn out is poor judgment.

    As Steg repeatedly as told us “the USWNT are überfavorites” to win OG16. I agree with him, but “soccer can be a cruel sport”. If the Rapinoe roster decision comes back to haunt USWNT, Jill Ellis should be fired for incompetence.

    It makes no difference how “good your are (in the past)” – if you are not match ready you should not be on the field. One bad mistake could easily cost a close game.

    The issue is simply coaching competence. I have had linger doubts about Ellis every since her WC15 pre-final game comments that “I think that it doesn’t really matters what formation you play. It’s just up to the personnel you have on the field to recognize the spaces they are going to give us.” She is saying that formations aren’t important – just put your best players on the field and let them figure it out. This is unbelievably arrogant and naive. No top men’s coach would ever say something so spacey.

    To the point that she has won a WC championship – what does that show about her coaching abilities? Is there anybody here who truly believes Ellis would have altered her roster in the China QF game if Lauren Holliday and Megan Rapinoe had not been suspended? There is no evidence she was or can think outside the box when things are going wrong. Michelle Akers was almost crying in public after watching the Group of 16 game against Colombia. (Akers’ comments are still relevant now.) It is highly unlikely that USWNT would have beaten Germany with the Colombia game roster.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/soccer-fc-yahoo/michelle-akers-questions-jill-ellis–coaching-strategy-in-pointed-interview-044004942.html

    Does Jill Ellis have coaching talents and can she make intelligent coaching decisions? The Rapinoe decision put the answer to the second question in doubt.

    Jill Ellis said he needed to see Megan Rapinoe play a couple of competitive games before she would put your on the OG16 roster. Either Ellis has reneged or she has lied.

    Not only is Megan Rapinoe not match ready, she isn’t even game ready. What is going on here? Maybe USWNT needs to flame out of a major tournament before they realize that they are not always entitled by the soccer gods to win. Flaming to of the Olympics would be a wake-up call that USWNT needs to stop taking their position on top for granted.

    If Rapinoe can’t play competitively, why is she on the OG16 roster? There is no way Rapinoe cannot be very rusty at best. What is the point? Is this just another example of the USWNT system of privileged and entitled players?

    For people who will point to the stellar record by the USWNT over the past 18 months, I will say that the record hides a lot of weakness. The United States has 330 million people and the largest pool of good female soccer players in the world by a huge amount. BUT, though USWNT has won all their recent games against top competition (except the tied game with Japan), in most cases they are squeaked. With the talent available in the United States, USWNT should be a dominating team, but they are simply not a dominating team. For example, USWNT won all three SBC games, but all three victories were far from convincing.

    Why isn’t USWNT playing better soccer when they have such great pool of talented players to choose from and to work with? (The US has ten times the population of Canada and soccer in more popular in the US than Canada and yet USWNT is only marginally better than Canada.) Michelle Akers concerns are still valid today. Ellis putting a “favorite player” on the small OG16 roster who can’t even play in a Friendly puts the onus on her to prove that her decision won’t hurt the team. In twelve days we will see if Ellis is a genius or just a lucky incompetent coach.

    • rkmid71

      The best coaching talent JE has is selecting Steve Swanson as assistant coach. And Tony G. evidently devised some great set plays that the team pulled out in the final stages of the WC. But you’re right, the assistants can only work within the constraints imposed by JE (eg. roster, starters, etc). Re: Rapinoe, Adrian Peterson is the absolute freak example of ACL recovery in 9 months and coming back to almost immediately play at a very high level. I can’t think of anyone before or since that has been comparable. RGIII tried and failed. Rapinoe has prior history of failing to come back that quickly. Everyone speculated that Peterson used PEDs, stem cell therapy, or some other method to do it… though it seems clear that Peterson worked his rear off, his body heals fast, etc For Rapinoe to come back that fast with no matches pre-tournament is just foolish — or it’s foolish for JE to select her without seeing that first. But people say that it doesn’t matter, the USWNT can afford to carry 1 player who is unlikely to play anyway in an 18 player roster. In theory, that might be right if everyone else was fully healthy and the games weren’t so close together and allowed more recovery time, etc. It’s going to be interesting.

      • Gary Diver

        “But people say that it doesn’t matter, the USWNT can afford to carry 1 player who is unlikely to play anyway in an 18 player roster.”

        Who said “pride goeth before a fall”?

        • HOFCToDi

          As opposed to a slew of players on a 23 player roster?

          Rampone
          Boxx
          Chalupny
          O’Reilly
          Rodriguez
          Press

          resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/65/52/49/eng_49_0630_usa-ger_fulltime.pdf

          resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/66/12/93/eng_52_0705_usa-jpn_fulltime.pdf

        • HOFCToDi

          Hey genius,

          Enlighten us all on the number of minutes played during the group stage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for the following USWNT players:

          Leroux, Sydney
          Rodriguez, Amy
          Sauerbrunn, Becky

          Enlighten us all on the number of minutes played during the group stage and knockout stage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for Amy Rodriguez.

      • ARED

        I don’t say it “doesn’t matter”, just that I don’t think it’s a crazy or morally wrong decision to take Rapinoe with the hope that she will be able to play but if for some reason she cannot play at all, you still will be fine with the other players.

        Ellis has made the move less controversial by failing to find/try/build other strong alternatives. O’Reilly is a good player, but I’m not sure selected her based on her past record would be any better than selecting Rapinoe for hers.

        • kernel_thai

          Ellis has a history of making things work out the way she wants. How do u ease the way to cutting Dunn from the WC roster? By only playing her 13 minutes in 2016 before roster selection. Johnston before Algarve was on the same path to oblivion. HAO has gotten the same treatment. Likewise we didnt see much of Boxx before she made the WC roster. Out of sight out of mind.

          • ARED

            I fully agree, and it is both transparent (if you’re paying attention) and sad. I feel far more USA players have been shifted, shunted, and simply misused by Ellis than those few who have been used in ways which maximize their abilities and performance.

            Holiday, Heath, O’Hara, Johnston, Press, Leroux, are 6 very good players who I think were in that boat heading into the 2015 WC. All played well in every chance/role they got, but found those roles limited and reduced until Ellis was absolutely forced to count on them. Long and Press seem in that boat this past year -we’ll see if either of them end up being called upon to play big roles in Rio. I think it is poor coaching to rely on players you overlooked to bail you out, and in many ways that is what happened at the 2015 WC.

      • kernel_thai

        According to Ellis during the WC. She handled the defense, Gustavsson handles the forwards and set pieces and Swanson handled the midfield. I would guess it’s still the same.

        • kernel_thai

          And in tonights match at the 1st water break Gustavsson was talking with Morgan while Ellis was with Solo and the back line.

      • guest

        if rapinoe cannot play in all the olympic games or get’s reinjured, ellis should be fired from the uswnt by the ussf at the end of the olympics.

  • ARED

    Well, this is gonna open the floodgates….

  • Gary Diver

    What is Jill Ellis thinking?

    Normally you would think that going into a major tournament a coach would like to have send-off games where the best 11 players are on the field to develop team chemistry, unity as a unit, communication skills, combination plays, and becoming comfortable playing with each other. That is what the Canadian, French, and Chinese coaches are using their send-off games to develop.

    Apparently, Jill Ellis feels you don’t need to develop on-field team chemistry before the tournament. All you need to do is throw the best players on the field at the tournament and trust they will figure things out for themselves.

    • ARED

      She didn’t do it last year either when they had even more warm up games, and an even more obvious case of “these players aren’t fit or aren’t good enough”, yet she still never played anything close to her best lineup until midway through the World Cup…..

    • Bruce

      I find it hard to believe that JE made final roster decisions thinking that Pinoe wouldn’t play even one game beforehand – the stakes are just too high.

      It would not surprise me at all if we soon learned that she had a setback to her recovery in just that past few days.

      That stated, it will be hard to justify keeping her on the roster for big games. My money is on an alternate being called up before the the NT faces France.

      • ARED

        Did you read what Ellis/the USA have said? A calf injury setback, but Ellis was planning to build her minutes at the actual Olympics already anyway….

        Whether we believe or agree with the USA position, they still have it covered….for now…

        • Bruce

          Ellis has been rolling the dice for sometime betting that Rapinoe would heal in time to build some fitness for the Games. That’s a bet that simply hasn’t panned out.

          To date, I don’t see much to complain about. Carrying Pinoe into the knockout rounds (or even against France) would be an issue from my point of view.

          I think we’ll see Pinoe as a sub at 85-90 minutes vs. NZ, and then she’s gone.

          • ARED

            And would you have a problem with that?

            My point is that it seems fine to discuss how healthy/in form she can possibly be, it seems many posters are angry at Rapinoe for being selfish or Ellis for throwing away the gold medal. That all just seems a bit premature to me still….(and this is coming from someone who generally is not defending Ellis…lol).

          • Bruce

            I’ve got no issues with Ellis or Rapinoe. Sometimes your plans just don’t pan out.

          • ARED

            That’s more or less how I see it. Ellis choses the players, the formations, the tactics, the mental approach, and gives it her best shot. This is just a part of that, and we’ll see how it all turns out….

          • Steglitz49

            The issue is whether JE choses the most appropriate players for Rio. We accept that for WC-15 her hands were tied but it seems that priorities are a bit confused going to Rio.

          • ARED

            I accept that in 2015 she picked a very poor team and was quite fortunate to win… ; p

            (Unless you mean she is only a figure and doesn’t actually have the power….).

          • Steglitz49

            In WC-15 the draw was biased in the US’s favor. The lopsided draw favored Japan.

            The team that could have been a threat to the US in Rio is not there. Life goes on. The World Championship is the real McCoy. Next season we have Euro-17, Champions League and FA cup to look forward to.

          • ARED

            The draw favored Canada first, I believe… ; )

            I felt it was more unfair to Germany and France, and as a result of that, favoring to USA and Japan. But the Canada section was a joke.

          • Steglitz49

            France was brain dead. They had it in their hands to get over on easy street but preferred a pyrrhic victory.

            At least England will not be in Rio, which might query the US’s pitch.

          • ARED

            You always say that, but I always will contend against it…. ; p

            France played to win, played well, but had terrible luck with referees, the draw, and then in their match with Germany. It happens. Nothing to be ashamed of, and I don’t think teams should have to be working out algebra about losing on purpose to fix FIFA’s terrible tournament structure.

          • Steglitz49

            Sasaki all but admitted that in OG-12 Japan played for a draw against South-Africa. Sweden, having tied with Japan, won the group and Canada finished 3rd. The rest in history.

            OG-12 was marred by peculiar refereeing. Let’s hope that Rio is not.

          • ARED

            It’s one thing to play for a draw to ensure you qualify to the next round. It’s another entirely to lose intentionally to try to “play the system”.

          • Steglitz49

            Sasaki played the system — and it worked for the Nadeshiko.

            France did not need to win 5-0. 1-0 and even 2-0 would have gotten to the sunny side of the street. Dingbats. Why face Germany and the Us before the final when you can avoid it.

          • ARED

            For the last time, ask Sepp Blatter. Or whatever FIFA executive who actually was aware there was a women’s tournament happening on plastic fields.

          • Steglitz49

            What has Sepp to do with it when women soccer players are dropping their kits left, right and center for personal gain?

          • mockmook

            A normal coach doesn’t plan on having an unknown quantity available. A normal coach assumes there will be setbacks in a player’s return from injury. That is why the selection of Rapinoe is so unfair to the other players that could have been chosen.

        • Gary Diver

          USWNT is not going to beat Germany, France, or Canada playing 90% fit players. This is the Olympics, not the peewee league.

          • ARED

            Respectfully, I disagree. Players have contributed to winning efforts throughout the history of this great game.

            And usually, they were in much more evenly matched competitions than the WoSo Olympics -won by the USA every time but once….

            The USWNT, the Germany men, Spain men, and many other teams have track records of building into top form -at the late stages of a tournament. The USA should qualify from their group playing at 70%, let alone one player at 90%….

          • Gary Diver

            “The USA should qualify from their group playing at 70%, let alone one player at 90%.”

            I agree with your comment about getting out the group.

            The two issues I have are: (1) that with an 18 player OG16 roster, every player should be match ready and not someone who could potentially play and contribute (whatever that means), and (2) I am having serious doubts about Jill Ellis’ judgement. As I asked elsewhere: Is there anybody here who truly believes Ellis would have changed her WC15 game roster for the China game if Holiday and Rapinoe had not been suspended?

          • Steglitz49

            I allege that JE’s hands were tied over Pinoe. She decided that it was easier to pick Pinoe than gamble on a win.

          • rkmid71

            But why? What is it that ties her hands? Her own job security? Similar to 2015 WWC? I thought we were past that. JE needs step up and be real coach.

          • Steglitz49

            You pick your battles. This one is on too sticky a wicket for JE. Easier to pick Pinoe and settle it on the field.

          • Gary Diver

            I am afraid you are right. As long as Rapinoe wasn’t on crutches, Ellis “had” to include her. It will be interesting to see if plan B materializes: Rapinoe “plays” in group game phase and is then replaced with an alternate for the knock-out games. Everybody gets a medal and everybody is happy.

          • Steglitz49

            FIFA has bent over for the US since Kumagai slammed the last nail into the coffin in 2011. I doubt that they will go an extra yard, let alone a mile, this time round. Maybe the IOC will in spite of what Putin and Gorby say.

          • ARED

            Look, I agree in general, but I don’t think it’s crazy to take a superstar player who’s won a WC with you 12 months ago even though she has some doubts. That is how they see Rapinoe, so it’s fine for me.

            On #2, I have long questioned and doubted Ellis for many reasons, starting with her absurd player selection. Ellis always seems to make the “safest” or “company” moves, usually those are the same thing. It often works because she has so much talent, but still, some of her decisions have been shameful in my opinion -and this Rapinoe one just doesn’t come close to that for me.

          • Steglitz49

            It is crazy. The explanation goes deeper than soccer logic.

          • Guest

            Boxx instead of Long or Chalupny over Dunn on the 2015 WC roster? That was very bad. Given the circumstances of Pinoe’s injury I don’t support Ellis taking Rapinoe but I understand where her decision is coming from

          • Steglitz49

            What is your understanding? Please enlighten us. we are all eyes.

          • Guest

            Ellis want’s a game breaker and Pinoe is one of the few players who has proven to be that type of player. There is too much unknown around Pinoe for me to support bringing her to Rio on an 18 player roster though.

          • Steglitz49

            My view is simpler. If she does not select Pinoe and wins, she will be OK but told that she denied Pinoe yet another medal but if they lose, JE will never hear the end of it.

            Thus, selecting Pinoe is the safe option because the winning side of the equation does not change it for JE and even gives her a small boost but the losing equation is safe because JE can deflect questions reminding people of Pinoe.

            Selecting Pinoe is a win-win for JE whatever happens.

          • rkmid71

            Who do you think is telling her these things and why does she care? The truly great coaches don’t think that way.

          • Gary Diver

            With the structure of USSF and USWNT, Ellis probably has much less freedom to “vote her conscience” than most college coaches. So many strange things have happened with USWNT over the past four years, including the strange firing of Tom Sermanni, that it is hard to know who is who and what is what.

          • Steglitz49

            JE under instructions sailed close to the wind last year and got away with it. This time round she gets suggestions that are indirect commands and she considers that it won’t be harder than last time, so why not go the route of least resistance which also is the one with least risk.

          • rkmid71

            So you’re suggesting sr execs at USSF — and they somehow are driven by business or financial considerations for the USSF and not for Rapinoe individually. I can’t see how USSF would be all that friendly to the USWNT and especially the gang of 5 given all the hassle, lawsuits, etc. they’ve been putting them through.

          • ARED

            Yep, that’s basically it. I think the USA player selection for 2015 was embarrassing -for the USA and the state of WoSo in general. But when I suggested any critique of it before the WC I was usually told I was wrong, or that “Abby deserved it” or something like that.

            Rapinoe may or may not deserve it now, but she deserves it far more than several on the 2015 roster, and, there are alternates available still so nothing is even final.

          • Steglitz49

            The only embarrassing part for WoSo about WC-15 was a 5-2 final. Fortunately, apart from 25 m in the US and about 10 m in Japan, nobody else watched.

          • ARED

            That could be seen as embarrassing. So could a team playing players who were their 5th-best options -if that- for half of the tournament and still winning.

          • Gary Diver

            Twenty years from now people will see the score 5-2 and say to themselves “blow-out”. But the game was much more competitive than the score indicates.

          • Steglitz49

            One of the SFs in WC-14 was lopsided indeed, but the last lopsided final would have been the 1970 4-1 hammering of Italy by the Dream Team. 44 years is a long time in sports.

            Granted, the defeat of the US in WC-07 was even more lopsided but let’s not dwell on minor issues because it was 8 years earlier.

          • Gary Diver

            But didn’t Ellis tell us that she was going to have a heart-to-heart conversation with Rapinoe and discuss what was best for Rapinoe and the team? If Rapinoe can’t play, where is the “best for the team” part? We know the present – Rapinoe can’t play now. We don’t know the future – whether Rapinoe can play in the tournament without embarrassing herself and the team. Do you go with what is known now or with what is unknown in the future?

          • ARED

            Yeah, I’ve said all I care to really. Ellis would say Rapinoe could play but they’re saving her, or all signs point to her being able to play in a week or two. And I’m not here to determine whether those are lies/truths/naive/etc.

            Rapinoe, if healthy, is easily on the roster. It’s up to Ellis to determine that. In 2015, I felt that -even fully healthy- Wambach, Rampone, Boxx, and Chalupny should have not been on the roster, with no doubt at all on Boxx/Chalupny. So that was a bit embarrassing in a way much different than giving a deserving player the chance to come back -even if they might fall short at the very end.

          • Gary Diver

            I will keep an open mind and we will all see how this turns out. Ellis knows much more about the situation than any of us do, but it is her choice and she will have to live the consequences good or bad.

          • Guest

            It is wrong to take players who didn’t deserve to go. Long, Dunn and any others who didn’t get the chance to go to the WC in 2015 may never have that opportunity again. What if they get injured or surpassed by the time the next cycle comes along.

            That is how I feel about Rapinoe being selected at the moment. I can’t say that I am thrilled with the state of wing play in the US, most are kick and run players, but it’s frustrating that Ellis didn’t really call in any competition for HAO or Rapinoe let alone Dunn, Pugh and Heath.

            Side note: I am very happy that Allie made the 18 for Rio. She worked very hard and I think she deserves this chance. From a football perspective I think she moves the ball the fastest out of all of the US CM options

          • rkmid71

            Exactly. You’ve highlighted my biggest issue with the current system. It has to be a meritocracy and the system has provide for constant competition for spots. I also feel that ties should go to the younger players over players that have already been given many chances. For what purpose would you deny deserving players the opportunity to achieve their dreams and aspirations just for the benefit of other players that have already had many chances It makes no sense. No great organization operates that way, especially in pro sports. It’s the recipe for decline. I agree about Long.

          • Gary Diver

            Agree completely. And that is one reason I would have preferred Sonnett over Engen, but I realize that some people here feel that traditionally one star of the future was put on the alternate list, which at some level must really suck. Being an alternate is like being allowed to kiss your cousin – sounds more interesting until you experience it. Canada is not even sending their alternates to Rio and Kaylyn Kyle asked to be allowed to play for Orlando.

          • HOFCToDi

            Solo was an alternate at the 2004 Olympic Games. Krieger was an alternate at the 2008 Olympic Games. Klingenberg was an alternate at the 2012 Olympic Games.

            resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/65/44/41/eng_49_0630_usa-ger_tacticalstartlist.pdf

            resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/66/11/59/eng_52_0705_usa-jpn_tacticalstartlist.pdf

          • rkmid71

            Is your point that being an alternate is still quite an accomplishment? I would agree with that. But I don’t think a system which so favors incumbent or veteran players and minimizes competition for spots is a good system. And that’s certainly been the case for some time. So referring to the past doesn’t mean much to me. Need to break the cycle.

          • HOFCToDi

            Pay your dues.

            The pay off was a FIFA Women’s World Cup gold medal.

          • rkmid71

            When do you make exceptions to “pay your dues”? The US has a ton of great young players, besides two examples of Pugh and Sanchez. Pugh didn’t seem to have much problem breaking into the team … the dues she paid were a lot less than others.

          • HOFCToDi

            Keep up with current events. Mallory Pugh leads the USWNT in assists in calendar year 2016. Ashley Sanchez was allowed to audition for the Senior USWNT.

            ussoccer.com/stories/2016/03/22/14/31/160322-wnt-ellis-names-23-players-for-april-friendly-matches-against-colombia

          • mockmook

            It is “unsporting” if JE puts in an alternate to Pinoe (after some OG games) and Pinoe’s health doesn’t change. That is not in the spirit of the rules where the alternate is for NEWLY injured players.

          • ARED

            Interesting view. I was trying to remember actual instances of alternates coming into play for some perspective….

            For me it’s not so bad, it’s within the rules after all -assuming the outside doctors agree. The USA can simply say what is probably true -she was hurt, was getting better, then suffered a setback. Unless a doctor claims she is not injured, she is allowed to be replaced as I understand it. And rehab by nature has many changes, so it would not be dishonest to report a setback as a need for an alternate.

            I will pay attention for input and opinions on this, but from my current understanding I don’t think any other teams will hold it against the USA if Rapinoe tries to play and then is replaced.

          • mockmook

            Again, if there is a setback that is fine.

            But, the USWNT “feigning” a setback is an abuse of the rule.

          • HOFCToDi

            The USWNT already beat CAN, FRA, GER earlier this year without the services of Megan Rapinoe.

          • Gary Diver

            You are right, but all of the game were close. In the Canadian game, Sinclair were injured and Herdman tried to be cute with a substituted blitzkrieg of “fresh legs” in the second half: replacing Rebecca Quinn with Diana Matheson, Rhian Wilkinson with Sophie Schmidt, and Nichelle Prince Prince with Christine Sinclair. Herdman was too cute for his own good and his master plan failed. But I don’t expect him to play Napoleon at the Olympics. Also, if Canada played USWNT tomorrow, Jessie Fleming would most likely start for Canada.

            I am quite sure USWNT doesn’t not want to play Canada in the knock-out round. I can tell you from living in Canada that the Canadian would have a collective thirst for revenge of the OG12 SF result.

          • HOFCToDi

            Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!

            The world’s best goalkeeper isn’t around to save Canada’s collective ass to quote John Herdman.

          • HOFCToDi

            Speaking of fresh legs ….

            youtube.com/watch?v=pIv3SRaxkgc

          • Steglitz49

            Thus, the inclusion of Pinoe but not HAO is based on some other logic.

      • Gary Diver

        This was asked before (and I don’t remember the answer): When can Ellis replace Rapinoe with an alternate and Rapinoe still get a medal? At this point I am almost cynical enough to entertain the idea that this is Ellis’ plan B.

        • Bruce

          The answer was that if you log one minute in any game you are eligible for a medal.

          • Gary Diver

            Hmm . . . I can see plan B (and everybody gets a medal).

          • Bruce

            Very American.

          • ARED

            And would there be anything wrong with that?

          • Steglitz49

            The FIFA Medical Committee might demure. If Putin come out all guns blazing at the Russian sports federation …

          • Nicole C.

            No minute necessary- you just have to be part of the 18 at some point, regardless of PT.

          • Bruce

            Another poster reported the playing time requirement. I defer to you.

          • Nicole C.

            The other poster might want to ask Barnie and her two OG golds 😉

        • Steglitz49

          An alternate can only be used if, after 19 July 2016, a roster player:
          (a) sustains a serious injury; or
          (b) becomes so ill she cannot compete.

          The team doctor must provide a medical certificate to verify the illness or injury and a independent FIFA Medical Committee has to sign off.

          • Bruce

            the plot thickens.

          • Steglitz49

            I have no idea what applies if the whole team perishes in an aircraft accident.

  • ARED

    I would say this is the point where doubts and negative comments should begin (as opposed to months ago…lol). I didn’t really feel it was fair before because it was all presuming Rapinoe couldn’t play -which we knew was a risk, but certainly not a reality. Now it is known we won’t see her proving she can play until at Rio, which is a bit nervy for the US.

    Still, with alternates waiting and ready, and Ellis planning to “build Rapinoe’s minutes at the Olympics”, it still seems everything is fine within the context of her plan. We’ll see how that plan plays out, but to be fair, if Rapinoe plays 100 decent minutes over 3-4 matches and the USA plays well, then the plan will be proven good enough for me….

    *I don’t think *this* is likely the decision Ellis makes which would hurt the team the most -player selection and tactics seem much bigger concerns.

    • Gary Diver

      I agree with other posters that Ellis is rolling the dice. Her coaching decisions reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld’s famous comment: “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

      Jill Ellis has no idea how this is going to play out. She is going to “throw the dice and take her chances.”

      • ARED

        I’d say the USA midfield is a much bigger roll of the dice than Rapinoe…. ; p

        I do agree it is a roll of the dice, but isn’t that what all of her choices are? She still has every option to simply call in an alternate if Rapinoe has a setback (or the come clean about her not being healthy to begin with). She also may feel the alternatives don’t give her much help, so she might as well roll the Rapinoe die and hope for a lucky hit!

        • Steglitz49

          Honestly. Whom have the US to fear but fear itself? That they turn into turnips if not pumpkins?

          Sweden? Lost in WC-11 and tied, thanks to Klings header in WC-15. The Swedes beat Japan 3-0 — all proper goals.

          Germany? Not judging by the SBC. France? Maybe — not least if they keep searching for Nécib!

          Canada? Brazil?

          In short: nobody.

          • ARED

            Aussie Aussie Aussie! ; )

            (but still not if the USA actually plays at their best).

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken. I would love for Australia to medal because they were screwed by the IOC in OG-12.

          • rkmid71

            Agreed. The US will never fear anyone. Even including the USMNT. This about instilling fear and removing all hope other teams might think they have.

          • Gary Diver

            But remember: Pride goeth before a fall.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily.

          • Steglitz49

            Remember WC-54 if WC-11 is too embarrassing.

          • Gary Diver

            There will be no problem coming out of the group. (If lightning strikes and UWNT falters in group play, Ellis should immediately resign like Hodgson did at Euro 16.)

            In the knock-out phase, France, Germany, and Canada could seriously test Ellis and USWNT.

          • Steglitz49

            Given the 12 teams format it is harder to predict the knockout stages but going on common belief, Whom are the US likely to face in the QF and SF — and whom Canada, Germany and France?

          • Gary Diver

            You are right. The tournament is two parts and the knock-off phase is where it gets interesting. BUT remember that Euro 16 showed that unexpected group play results can lead to unexpected knock-out phase pairings.

          • Steglitz49

            I can’t see a Wales or Iceland among this crowd and there is no Lagerbäck among the coaches.

            Only foce majeure, like food poisoning, or a cat fight over the pool attendants will stop the US from winning this gold.

          • kevin

            fortunately, argentina didn’t qualify for the rio olympics in women’s soccer.

          • kernel_thai

            Other than a complete collapse the problem is France. To win the group they might need to beat France but they may well have to beat them again in the final. I think the talent is too close to expect to beat France twice in the tournament. Assuming they can get the GD against Columbia & NZ to win the group, they might be just as well served with a draw against the French.

    • anon

      It’ll be interesting if they win by a small margin tonight and t he PR spin that JE or one of their talking heads will put on it, like they did with South Africa. “We weren’t expecting such an organized, impressive side… they have made real strides”. Rather than “we weren’t in good form and didn’t play well, and our midfield got owned… again”

    • kernel_thai

      Building the minutes is one of the most annoying parts of this scenario. Where do those minutes come from? Best case for Dunn looks like some kind of rotation where she gets an occasional start and sub minutes off the bench for Pugh or Heath. What happens to the Dunn minutes if we r building Rapinoe’s. Dunn has 10 goals this year….10!

      • Guest

        5 of her goals came against Puerto Rico who were ranked over 100 and where she played CF. She’s been good but that game definitely skewes her goal total.

      • ARED

        That’s a fair point, and certainly one Pugh, Dunn, Press, and even Heath will likely fell first hand. But I’m just suggesting that the plan Ellis has made and is following is still more or less on course, even if it seems shady. In her estimation it is worth taking minutes from others to “build” Rapinoe’s. But she can always just fall back onto an alternate as well, or just never/rarely actually play Rapinoe.

        Again, while I see plenty of reasons to question how much Rapinoe will actually be able to help, I see greater and more obvious flaws and mis-use of minutes in other areas. They have 4 great wide attacking options on the roster, not counting Rapinoe. Do they have 4 great center midfield options…? Are they playing a system which maximizes any of these players?

  • Gill

    Whitney Engen isn’t an alternate, Emily Sonnett is.

    • Gary Diver

      Good spotting. Some kind of Freudian slip from the writer?

  • Gary Diver

    The Tail that Wags the Dog

    We all were waiting on pins and needles until the end of October to hear whether or not Abby Wambach was going to retire. What would have happened if Wambach said she wanted to go to Rio to represent her country? Wambach is two years older than Carli Lloyd, who plans to be on the Olympics roster four years from now at an age of 38 years old.

    If Wambach had been willing to push the envelope, does anybody believe Ellis would had the guts and/or authority to “cut” Wambach from the team?

    • ARED

      Hopefully all the players but Wambach and Lloyd would walk out….lol. Let replacement players send long balls while Wambach and Lloyd just stand in the box…lol. And come in 5th place….

      • rkmid71

        And then Wambach and Lloyd would be selected Best IX and we would have post tournament tour highlighting how it would have been worse without them and honoring their greatness and hall of fame credentials.

        • ARED

          And endless media exposure, with heartfelt interviews and hyperbolic statements.

          –Cue John Williams score–
          –1000x zoom onto Wambach’s left eye–
          Q: “Abby, you fought so hard, what are you’re emotions right now?”
          A: “I just am *so proud* of this team. I want to win *so bad*.
          –Cut to 10,000x zoom of Wambach’s right eye–
          Q: “So what’s next for you?”
          A: “Well this hurts because we feel we were the best team….but now we have 3 years to prepare for France and get back to the top of the podium.”

          • Steglitz49

            Her pupils might be constricted though?

          • Gary Diver

            “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
            For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
            For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
            For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
            For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
            And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

            – Benjamin Franklin

            Or as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”

            If Wambach had decided to not retire and to go to Rio, she probably would been elsewhere the night she got caught DUI.

    • Steglitz49

      The reality is that Abby bowed out.

      Homare being expecting might concentrate the minds of other players.

    • anon

      SHe would have been kept on the team but benched. It would have been a Rampone situation. Rampone is in better form than Abby was and she has been riding the pine for years.

      • guest

        deadweight rampone will be cashing her uswnt checks every week during the rio olympics. not only does she not have to sit on the bench during games but now she doesn’t even have to practice with the team. the lack of equal opportunity on the uswnt is disgraceful. enough of this woman on woman crime.
        #droptheuswntguaranteedsalaries

    • indre

      Lloyd is the new Boxx/Rampone. It’s not like we’ve never seen this play out. She’ll have her roster spot but be benched.

  • Gary Diver

    What is the purpose of the send-off games?

    I do feel irritated about this. I want to care about USWNT games, but if USWNT doesn’t care, why should I? France, Canada, and China took their games seriously, why can’t USWNT?

    Is what sense are these send-off games actual warm-up preparation games for a major tournament?

    Are these games just cash cows for USSF? These games seem like country music “meet and greet” festivals without the greet part. “Pay a hundred dollars and you can watch from the stands your favorite players going through the motions.”

    • Frozen Blue

      Do you think the extra changes in times zones by playing in France leading up to the Olympics will hurt Canada or China?

      • Gary Diver

        Good point! I have wondered about that myself. My wife and I have just returned from a ship cruise around New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces. There was a 3-hour shift for us to Nova Scotia (Atlantic time zone) and the effects on us were very noticeable.

        I am surprised that the Canadian team (as far as I know) will stay in France until they fly directly to Rio.

        The U20 WC16 in Papua New Guinea is going to be lethal on the poor girls. There is a 12-hour time shift and there is no easy way of avoiding bad side effects.

        • mockmook

          Nearly every team that matters will face huge time zone shifts going to PNG.

    • HOFCToDi

      FY’17 Event Budget
      USWNT
      Team Expenses
      Olympics – $2,107,029

      • Gary Diver

        Does USSF/USWNT get any money from the United States Olympics Committee? Does each federation, like fencing, have to pay their own way?

        Wikipedia claims that “unlike most other nations, the USOC does not receive direct government funding for Olympic programs (except for select Paralympic military programs).” That implies that other countries directly subsidies their Olympics Committees.

        • HOFCToDi

          The USSF FY’17 Event Budget is self explanatory.

          • Gary Diver

            My question was why does the United States, unlike most countries, not directly subsidize their Olympic Committee which could then subsidize individual federations like USSF/UNWNT? The American Olympic athletes are representing their country so why can’t the American government support them better?

          • mockmook

            Because many Americans don’t believe the government needs to do everything — they want the government to do a FEW things, and do those few things well (like protect its citizens and borders),

          • Gary Diver

            “Because many Americans don’t believe the government needs to do everything.”

            How about supporting the people who are supporting their country? Almost every other country believes in a social contract with their national athletes.

            Do you believe athletes should feel so proud to represent their country that they should do it for free? Do you feel that you have any responsible to financially support the athletes who are representing you in the Olympics?

          • mockmook

            Every day that I go to work, I’m “supporting” the USA. Every time I go into a voting booth, I am “representing” the USA. I don’t expect a government check for doing it.

            Can’t understand why you have a problem with We the People supporting the USA’s athletes through the USOC — again, the government isn’t necessary to hold our hands through everything we do, stop being a child who expects it to.

          • Gary Diver

            As Benjamin Franklin famously said: “If we don’t hang together, we will hang separately.”

            Thinking you “support” the USA every day you go to work is pretty rich. You sound similar to a certain “I am the Messiah!” candidate I recently heard. What’s in it for ME can only go so far.

          • mockmook

            I forgot, only if I work for the government am I doing anything worthwhile for the country — Thanks for the Reminder!!!

          • Gary Diver

            I am sorry I forgot that Ayn Rand is your Messiah. There are Aesop tales about animals who only think of themselves. If I remember correctly, none of the tales ends happily.

    • mockmook

      No one is forced to buy a ticket.

  • Gary Diver

    Historically, how did OG become senior games for women and U23 + a couple games for the men. Did FIFA make this decision?

    • Steglitz49

      I think it was for the LA Olympics in 1984 that the U23 was brought in but in any case it was before WoSo entered the OG in 1996.

      Why WoSo has less nations and different eligibility is unclear but may have had to do with the US failing to win WC-03, WC-07 and WC-11.

    • another guest

      per “Wiki”
      pro players first allowed into OG for 1984 but with restrictions for UEFA etc
      then for OG 1992 the men’s level was set to U23

      “For the 1984 Los Angeles Games, the IOC decided to admit professional players. FIFA still did not want the Olympics to rival the World Cup, so a compromise was struck that allowed teams from Africa, Asia, Oceania and CONCACAF to field their strongest professional sides, while restricting UEFA and CONMEBOL teams to players who had not played in a World Cup.

      Since 1992 male competitors must be under 23 years old, then since 1996 23 years old players with three over-23 players allowed per squad. “

  • Gary Diver

    Money from Olympics

    Isn’t it hard to determine how much money is brought in from the television rights for Olympics WoSo because the different sports are not separated in the TV rights contracts?

  • NYRick

    Anyone know if the Flower Girl is starting tonight?

    • anon

      She’s in the promo pic, so my guess is “yes.”

      • NYRick

        I’d like to see this tonight:

        Morgan
        Pugh Press Dunn
        Lloyd Brian
        KO, JJ, Brunn, Kling
        Hope

        Probably what I’d start with and go with for the key Rio matches.

        • NYRick

          Mistake: I meant Tobin for Lloyd.

          I would liberally use Lloyd, Long and Horan off the bench. And if Pinoe was game she gets 20-25 minutes at some point during the tournament.

          • AnotherGuest

            From previous comments I thought Loyd at the pivot must have been a mistake. You shouldn’t play Tobin as a holding player without giving her a good amount of time to adjust to the position. She would probably be better at the top of a V formation of 3 CMs as oppose to a pivot. Long is the better option there in either case just like Tobin is probably the best creative wing at the moment.

          • NYRick

            Tobin at the right wing in place of Dunn is interesting. You basically have all the speed you could possibly need with Morgan and Pugh on the pitch, and Press is deceptively fast too. In terms of the midfield, I’m just going by what we all know Ellis will do (i.e. Lloyd has to play 90. Somewhere). That’s just the way it’s going to be.

            Long as the holding mid is certainly a solid option. I want Brian out there if healthy for sure, and with Horan over maybe either Lloyd or Long, you are going to get more creativity. Personally, I think they should work Horan in more as a target forward to either spell Pugh and switch to a 4-4-2 with Horan and Morgan up top, and Press, Heath, Brian and Lloyd in the midfield.

          • saghj

            Duh, dude. Tobin plays right wing… it’s not interesting, it’s where she plays. Dunn subs in for her on occasion. Press will play lone forward before Tobin plays center mid… aka never. I agree that Horan should be tried up top as the Abbyesque stand in with Morgan and maybe Press as the 10. Or have Press splitting time with Horan because I’m still not sold on Press as anything but a forward.

          • anon

            Ellis is not going to take those risks at this point. The formation is set. Morgan is the forward, Press and Dunn are her subs. Horan is going to be a turnover machine in center mid because Ellis insists on shoehorning forwards into positions they suck at.

          • AnotherGuest

            Press left out of the line up in favor of Lloyd. Heath and Brian are on the bench probably as a precautionary measure.

            I love the idea of a target forward like Lindsey up top. I think she can play as a lone striker or in a two front. Press, Morgan, Pugh, Heath and Dunn would all benefit off playing off a distributing 9 and the team would have a good option to go long without the guarantee of losing posession. Alex Morgan of course is at her best playing along a target that can win her balls to run on to and crash the goal.

          • kernel_thai

            U NEVER have all the speed u need. Speed kills.

    • Gary Diver

      “The Flower Girl” – I like that!

    • HOFCToDi

      youtube.com/watch?v=p2e8gF6YL6Q

  • Katie

    Confused as to why people are saying Tobin and Moe won’t play tonight? Didn’t Jill say in that interview she wants to get them minutes? Unless something happened at training yesterday.

  • HOFCToDi

    pbs.twimg.com/media/Cn_PZe1WAAAz7NH.jpg:large

    • anon

      Hope they do well tonight. Rocky seems like a really great person.

  • Paul Klee

    Well at least weather wise tonight’s match will be good prep for Manaus against Columbia. It’s 97 F in KC right now.

    • Elba

      I’m in NY right now and i’m pretty sure it’s hotter than manaus here. It’ll be more comfortable in Brazil than in most of the NWSL cities.

    • Gary Diver

      Honestly, 97 F in KC? They will have to take several heat breaks to survive the first half.

      • Paul Klee

        Well it’ll probably cool down a little bit by kick-off but since that will be right at sundown it will be mosquito hour. Good time to test their insect prevention schemes.

    • Paul Klee

      Down to 93 F already. Will be an arctic 90 F in the second half. All the subs will get minutes tonight probably even Naeher even if she’s gotta play midfield.

      • Gary Diver

        You can dangerously over-heat quickly at 90 F with high humidity.

        • Paul Klee

          What do you think the field Temp is?

          • Gary Diver

            Don’t tell me it was over 100 F.

        • mockmook

          “You can dangerously over-heat quickly at 90 F with high humidity.”

          You (an athlete) can also play 90 minutes of soccer at 90F and high humidity with no ill effects — happens MILLIONS of times a year (just in the USA).

      • kernel_thai

        Theyll post the temps in C in Brazil so most of the US players wont have a clue that it’s too hot to safely play : )

        • Paul Klee

          Yeah, I can just see Moe Brian asking the equipment manager for thermals after hearing the temperature is 32° I would’ve said Horan but after three years in Paris she must be familiar with Celsius.

  • anon

    Lol at anyone who is shocked that Pinoe is on this roster. She would have rode pine in Rio in a leg brace if necessary. I knew back in March when she was doing the first Team USA Olympic promos. I really think there are economic, sponsorship, etc. reasons behind this decision.

    • Guesting

      Follow the money and it is easy to see why she is one of the 18 roster players.

    • Breakers fan

      I think the reactions that can be considered on the negative side of the Pinoe inclusion aren’t due to shock, but rather express simple doubt and disappointment. I’d be shocked if anyone were shocked by the decision.

  • Gary Diver
  • HOFCToDi

    Lineup Notes: USA Faces Costa Rica in Final Match Before 2016 Olympics

    ussoccer.com/stories/2016/07/23/00/01/160722-wnt-vs-costa-rica-lineup-notes

    The USA will start in a 4-3-3 formation, featuring Alex Morgan at striker with Crystal Dunn and Mallory Pugh on the wings, Allie Long and Lindsey Horan patrolling center midfield with Carli Lloyd as attacking midfielder. Kelley O’Hara is starting at right back, Meghan Klingenberg at left back with Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston in the middle.

    • Guest

      ugh. where TF is Press? Really curious to see Carli tonight though.

      • HOFCToDi

        Wearing her normal attire:

        i20.twenga.com/sports/soccer-pinnies/nike-unisex-scrimmage-vest-tp_7423537173855496984f.jpg

      • Frozen Blue

        Lloyd won’t play the whole game, Press will sub for her most likely

    • Frozen Blue

      Isn’t it interesting that Mewis is an available sub for tonight but none of the other alternates are?

      • HOFCToDi

        Poor HAO, can’t seem to catch a break.

      • HOFCToDi

        Same personnel:

        Striker – 1
        Flank (Attacking) Midfielders – 2
        Central Midfielders – 3
        Centerbacks – 2
        Fullbacks – 2
        Goalkeeper – 1

        • Gary Diver

          Unfortunately she has not been 100% for months. She has two weeks to get to 100%.

    • Gary Diver

      So what happened to the 4-2-3-1 formation that USWNT was using for most of the year?

      • HOFCToDi

        Same personnel:

        Striker – 1
        Flank (Attacking) Midfielders – 2
        Central Midfielders – 3
        Centerbacks – 2
        Fullbacks – 2
        Goalkeeper – 1

        • Gary Diver

          So far this formation with this personnel looks very good.

          • kernel_thai

            They went 4-3-3 against Columbia. The only real difference is they r playing with 2 high attacking midfielders instead of 2 holding midfielders. I think the main reason for the change was to try and get Horan some more opportunities in the box

          • Gary Diver

            So do you think this formation was good for Horan and Long?

  • Ashley C

    Jillogic Ellis strikes again.

  • Gary Diver

    People have been speculating that if Rapinoe needs to be replaced at the Olympics it will be HAO coming to the rescue. BUT HAO is watching tonight’s game from the stands and Sam Mewis is in the game roster.

  • Gary Diver

    Why can’t American networks hire thoughtful commentators? The BBC does. Most people watching USWNT games don’t need to be reminded for the 1,000th time that Lindsey Horan bypassed college to play professional soccer in France. The audience will be as intelligent as the commentators expect them to be – don’t talk down to them.

    • ARED

      Not to be rude, but I always am just happy when American commentators get the player names and positions right -for their own team. Any opponent player names or insight is bonus! (Thank you Aly Wagner and Monica Gonzalez for sometimes providing this…).

      And no, calling Necib “the female Zidane” does not count as insight to me….ha! ; )

  • Gary Diver

    The Mysteries of Jill Ellis

    With 90+ Fahrenheit, why does Jill Ellis substitute her back line which has nothing to do instead of her front line which is running their butts off?

    • dw

      Because she has no idea what she is doing?

      • Steglitz49

        Won the world cup. The first one for the US in 16 years.

        • dw

          In spite of Ellis, not because of it. I’m convinced that pretty much no coach has ever really had an impact. You or I could coach the team to similar results. The player pool and the training give US a huge advantage. Just look at the crappy attacking soccer US plays under Ellis. Yeah, it was because of her we won. Bergeroo letting his team run up Mexico and Neid starting essentially the same team vs. US had much more to do with US winning WWC than anything Ellis has ever done.

  • Gary Diver

    She Believes

    I must say from my experience going to all of the SBC games, the She Believe campaign of empowering “young girls to be their very best” is very moving. Our society has not reached out to young girls and encouraged them to dream big and work for those dreams.

  • Gary Diver

    Pugh versus Fleming

    For a decade there was a rivalry between American Abby Wambach and Canadian Christine Sinclair. Unless something strange happens, Sinclair will somebody overtake Wambach all-time goal record. Now we have the potential of an interesting rivalry between 18-year old Mallory Pugh and 18-year-old Jessie Fleming. AND both are suppose to be on the same team in two years with Ashley Sanchez. It’s a good novel plot on how that is going to work out.

    • mockmook

      I’m not as confident as you that Sinclair getting the record is almost inevitable.

      • Gary Diver

        You are right, it is going to be a close call. At some point Herdman may have to make a decision to sacrifice everything to make it happen. But as we saw with Wambach’s last game, wanting and getting are not the same thing. (That last line came from a movie whose title I cannot remember.)

        P.S. “Wanting and getting are not the same thing” came from 1949 Lassie film “The Sun Comes Up”.

        • kernel_thai

          I think to get the goal record Sinclair has to still be a factor in 2019 because Im not sure Canada will play enough friendlies in the next two years to give her a shot.

          • Gary Diver

            The thing is that in Canada Christine Sinclair is more of a saint than an icon. If Sinclair tops Wambach in total international goals, you can be sure that Canadians will argue that Sinclair is the greatest woman soccer player of all time. That is a big deal of pride for Canadians.

    • Gary Diver

      How does Fleming’s goal a couple of days ago compare with Pugh’s goal tonight?

      • Steglitz49

        Flemming’s was more of a Yokoyama-effort. Pugh had nobody to pass to so shot at goal with great benefit.

  • Gary Diver

    Great picture of Emily Sonnet, HAO, Megan Rapinoe, Ashlyn Harris, and Sidney Leroux.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/sydneyleroux/status/756679507759824896/photo/1

    • newsouth

      sydney will cause a log jam at forward when she tries to come back? pugh and dunn got better skills but sydney got ellis and ucla.

      • Gary Diver

        Maybe Leroux will come back to play a different position than forward.

        • Steglitz49

          Goalie? 4th official?

      • Steglitz49

        Why bother to return except to keep her maternity pay? Syd is world champion and has an Olympic gold. What more can she want? A Champions League winner medal like Jess? An FA Cup — or Swedish like Christen Annemarie?

        • anon

          Probably the money. She seems to really enjoy attention and she is very marketable/a fan favorite. I don’t know what Dom’s game plan is. I don’t think she should have a spot though. She never should have been ahead of Press in the NT lineup. Neither should ARod, for that matter. Leroux was an Ellis pet project.

          • Guest

            Leroux, ARod, and Morgan were anointed by Abby as her ball feeders when she was still relevant. Morgan has the most talent so she was the natural successor when Wambach was benched. Press has a different style of play.

          • Steglitz49

            ARod planned her pregnancy to a tee. So in her way did Syd what with her Olympic gold and WC win. Will Alex be the next one to check out.

        • guest

          to get off the bench?

  • Gary Diver

    The legend has spoken.

    Speed kills but technical speed absolutely annihilates defenders. Mallory Pugh is for real. – Mia Hamm

    https://mobile.twitter.com/MiaHamm/status/756664136814108672

  • Lol

    Press! Suck it HOFCToDi

  • Gary Diver

    I guess tonight’s game had something for everybody (except a goal by Alex Morgan). But were there things that stood out that we should make a note of as we go to Rio? Did Tobin Heath and Morgan Brian look healthy? Anybody who exceptionally stood out? Anybody who looked subpar? Any other game take-aways?

    • mockmook

      One thing I must give JE credit for, even in “meaningless” games, the USA (usually) plays hard for her.

      Everyone looked good on this tough night, but maybe that had to do with the level of the competition.

      • Gary Diver

        We will see what happens in Brazil. But just looking at the picture of Emily Sonnet, HAO, Megan Rapinoe, Ashlyn Harris, and Sidney Leroux in the stand, I am willing to believe.

      • Guest

        Costa Rica came in with a terrible game plan if they wanted to limit the goals conceded. They pushed their full backs up while in possession like the US likes to do only too often they were repelled and dispossessed by the US and easily countered. The first two US goals came courtesy of this poor decision. I don’t understand why certain teams try and push numbers forward against the US. I still think the US struggled to build up and Pugh’s goal was the result of awful goal keeping but overall I agree it was a good effort. Brian and Heath looked fit for their 15 minutes and I think the build up play improved with them in the game.

        • kernel_thai

          The first mistake they had was playing Rodriguez high. She might as well have stayed in NJ.

          • Guest

            It makes sense against other teams just not the US. She could be their best finisher but Cruz was desperate for a partner in central midfield to play with. They couldn’t break through the US defense without going direct. They left way too much space for Pugh, Dunn, Morgan and even Lloyd to be played into. On a better day for the US the scoreline is probably much uglier.

      • kernel_thai

        There r no meaningless games when u get a win bonus instead of an appearance fee.

    • HOFCToDi

      The USWNT allowed a shot attempt. Back to the drawing board.

      foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=27321&type=1

    • Frozen Blue

      I was impressed with Engen again today. The last few times I have seen her, her play out of the back has been great, she does a good job of stepping into her space and makes good decisions and great passes. I know it’s just CR but it’s not the first time I have seen this from her. Only other thing I noticed that I would like to improve that I think will step our game to the next level is when we make the cut in centrally (in the offensive half) between the half line and the 18 yard box, we are always (almost) trying to then play it up the middle. Would like to see us mix it up and completely switch the field, it was often open and would work well with our speed up front.