USWNT Things Learned: Shouldn’t be many ill effects from draw

Ray Curren August 10, 2016 643
The normally reliable Hope Solo had a rough one against Colombia on Tuesday night. (Getty Images)

The normally reliable Hope Solo had a rough one against Colombia on Tuesday night. (Getty Images)

Even for the mighty United States women’s soccer team, conquerer of the world last summer and three-time defending Olympic champions, all games are not equal. The hashtag #WinTheGroup appeared to be the mantra of choice heading into the final group match with Colombia, but with a berth in the quarterfinals long since secure, there was no way the game was going to take on the same urgency as the first two.

Add the fact that the USWNT had to travel to the jungle (literally) and deal with oppressive conditions in Manaus on just two days rest as well as some niggling injuries that they desperately wanted to have healed prior to Friday’s quarterfinals, and you get a rare somewhat less than spirited performance that ended in a 2-2 draw, the first time since the first group stage match in 2008 (a 2-0 loss to Norway) that the United States did not win a game at the Olympics.

Should U.S. fans be concerned? Probably not. Yes, the final scoreline is a bit embarrassing against a team that looked overmatched and somewhat disinterested for the first half of their Olympic experience, thanks in part to turmoil in their own federation and key injuries. But they came to life in the second half against New Zealand, certainly had nothing to lose Tuesday and played that way, able to leave Brazil with some consolation and hopefully motivation (and maybe some support at home?) to make an impact three years from now in France.

Even so, the U.S. dominated the match almost completely other than in the final score. They didn’t create as many chances as they probably would have liked, but they did make a few for themselves and gave up virtually none, as the expected goal count shows. They did commit a couple silly fouls that led to Catalina Usme’s goals, but let’s be honest, they both (certainly the first one) should have been saved.

Sometimes soccer can be a strange game, on another night, this would be a comfortable 3-0 USWNT victory and we’d be talking about how no one else in the world stood a chance to beat them. But this one ended 2-2 and people are worried that someone like Sweden could give them problems in the quarterfinals (I personally don’t think so).

In the end, the U.S. can be thankful they got an unlucky night like this out of the way as they head into the rounds where you don’t get second chances. Anything can happen going forward, but I don’t think there’s much more cause for concern than there was before Tuesday. #WinTheGroup, right? Mission accomplished, onto the next one.

What else did we learn in the 2-2 draw with Colombia?

1) About Hope Solo

If there were a women’s soccer Hall of Fame, Hope Solo would surely be in it whenever she was eligible. She’s long since cemented her place as perhaps the world’s top goalkeeper with her play in the last decade. But her form in the NWSL and sometimes the USWNT is just not as great as it once was in the last year or so, with occasional mistakes – particularly on crosses or set pieces.

Does that mean she’s a liability? Not necessarily, she certainly played well against France, and you’d still probably take her over any other goalkeeper in this competition. As we’ve been saying for a while, her biggest competition probably comes from within: Alyssa Naeher, Ashlyn Harris, and even Nicole Barnhart have had better NWSL seasons than Solo.

But she’s made mistakes before and come through in subsequent matches to lead the U.S. to glory, most notably in the 2008 Olympics. In the first major tournament match since the 2007 World Cup semifinal fiasco that saw Solo benched for Briana Scurry, Solo made a poor error in judgment that led to a Norway goal just 75 seconds into the game, which Norway went on to win 2-0 (interestingly, Barnhart was her backup in 2008). Until Tuesday, though, the U.S. – all with Solo – had won every match it had played in the Olympics since, including the rest of 2008, which finished with 120 minutes of shutout goalkeeping in a 1-0 win over Brazil in the gold medal match. So we shall see.

2) Finding the right lineup

In reality, a draw like this might make Jill Ellis’ decisions easier when it comes to making her knockout stage lineup. Christen Press did not excel in her first start at the Olympics, perhaps her worst moment coming when Mallory Pugh set her up for a breakaway, but she tried to play it back to her when Pugh was in an offside position. That doesn’t mean she won’t be valuable if Ellis needs firepower late in a game, but there’s likely little chance she’ll unseat any of the previous starters.

Elsewhere, Lindsey Horan had a decent game, but didn’t really stand out in a discernible way that would give her an edge over Allie Long in that spot come Friday. So, you’ll probably get what you got against New Zealand and France for the quarterfinals, with the toughest decision choosing two of Pugh, Crystal Dunn, and Tobin Heath (assuming they’re all healthy) for the wings. I’d lean toward Pugh and Heath.

3) About those injuries

While Pugh returned for 60 minutes and looked fine (although she had a little limp after scoring a nice goal), Julie Johnston sat the entire match again, meaning if she does play Friday, it will be her first action in nine days with no chance to test herself live before stepping into the fire. Under normal (friendly) circumstances, Ellis probably would have given her a bit of a run Tuesday, but with only three subs, it was difficult. Johnston was especially missed on offensive set pieces, where the USWNT was not its usual dangerous self.

Elsewhere, Megan Rapinoe went her 30 minutes and looked pretty rusty. With one of Heath, Dunn, or Pugh already not starting, it’s hard to see her playing a key role in a knockout stage match at her level of match fitness. But, like Press, it’s certainly a nice weapon to have if the U.S. needed a goal late or as a late, late sub. That’s probably it, though, unless we see another injury (which could happen).

4) Sellout crowds

Yeah, they were mostly there to see Brazil (OK, almost all there to see Brazil), but you got a little taste of what could be if we were to get a semifinal match between the United States and the hosts, and it would be awesome. The fates have a tendency to keep these things from us, and if there’s one lesson the U.S. can (and probably will) take out of Tuesday’s match is that anything can happen and nothing is guaranteed.

Brazil will have to get through Australia, while the U.S. will have to do the same with Sweden, but they indeed seem to be on a collision course for next Tuesday in Rio.

5) Mallory Pugh to the NWSL soon?

Pugh won’t play college soccer this fall because she’s headed to the U-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea, where teams could barely defend her (until she got injured) in 2014 as a 16-year-old, so good luck to them this time around. She’s deferred enrollment to UCLA and is slated to play there now in 2017 as a freshman and therefore hypothetically eligible for the 2021 (?!?) NWSL Draft.

A college education is a wonderful thing, as is the college experience and college soccer, where there are many wonderful players. But it seems a tad silly for a starter on the national team and potentially one of the world’s best players (if she’s not already) to not be playing professionally. But she is entitled to do whatever she wants, of course, and Kadeisha Buchanan’s situation was not totally dissimilar and she will complete her fourth year of college soccer at West Virginia before likely being the first pick in the NWSL Draft this winter. But 2021 seems so far away, especially with a sizable national team contract that could potentially be hers.

  • guest

    Absolute BS. Solo is liability in her current form and has been for a long time, her off field issues alone should have seen her long gone from the program but now her level of on field performance is getting to the almost feel bad for them stage of every washed up goalkeeper. This team won’t be winning gold with her in goal. This team won’t be winning gold period. Brazil will happily blast numerous goals past them in the semis, if the US can even manage to get past Sweden.

    • jdee26

      Right! Brazil was stellar against South Africa defense. Only way to validate your predictions is after the games. Remember, Australia caged Brazil in the World Cup and didn’t look that good against South Africa.

      • Ashley C

        What? Brazil didn’t score but looked sharp vs RSA. Very good movement on and off the ball, good in possession and creative. I’m far from saying they could win gold but they’ve looked more creative than some teams here. And it helps to have the country behind them I’m sure.

    • Online bettor

      I will take your bet any day. I will take your house and wife, if you have one. Brazil will not winning gold. Moron. They will be sore losers as always.

    • Observed

      If Solo has difficult shots on goal, they tend to go in now. She was good at stopping shots to the torso in the France game, which earned her rabid praise on EQ ever since.

  • x

    The Pugh-Buchanan comparison is bad and lazy. Buchanan broke out as a senior international player with 2 years of school to go, and she’s Canadian. She doesn’t have a $100k/year contract waiting with CanWNT if she goes pro, and she probably doesn’t have the same sponsorship opportunities as an American in her position would. Not at all the same decision as delaying a big paycheck for 5 years.

    • Steglitz49

      Verily and forsooth. Hound’s tooth.

  • Bruce

    Total misreading of “Finding the Right Lineup”. This game had nothing to do with that.

    What this game proved is that the team lacks an offensive identity. It looks promising as a 4-3-3, but more often plays as a stagnant 4-4-2. The fact that the team morphs from one approach to another based on the whims of one player is played up as an asset. It is not.

    • Frode

      I agree. While freedom and creativity can be tremendous assets in an attack, sometimes what’s really needed is shape and discipline (like last night). It’s the coach’s job to tell the players which approach to take. “Letting the players figure it out”, or coaching through selection, will often fail (to achieve optimum results), especially when the on-field captain is out there to become the greatest player in history.

  • Reality

    “Christen Press did not excel in her first start at the Olympics…”

    Excuse me Ray, but focusing on Press’s one mistake in the game overlooks the fact that she played a better #10 than Lloyd who had her usual mediocre game when she doesn’t score, she played a superior CF to Morgan in getting excellent penetration and creating opportunities, she had some superb passes to Lloyd, Morgan and to Horan in the box, she dispossessed Columbia players a number of times with good all around defense and actually played 3 different positions in the course of the match which makes it rather difficult to achieve continuity.

    Press should be starting in the withdrawn forward position for 90″ behind Morgan and utilize Lloyd off the bench depending on opponent and circumstance. Unfortunately, Ellis does not have the intestinal fortitude to make that happen.

    • rkmid71

      I thought it was amazing on Dunn’s goal that they were giving Lloyd all the credit, when it was Press that created the chance and opened up the defense with that 1 touch pass to Lloyd. The words were “Carli Lloyd does it again”. The shot was deflected and It was luck that the rebound ended up where it did and Dunn is awesome at pouncing on those loose balls. Any no matter what she did in this game, she wasn’t going to unseat any of the previous starters — it would have just been written off as it was a performance against a tomato can team. I also thought the announcer comment about the team looking nervous because players were trying to audition for more playing time in KO rounds — sounded like a HS team. All these players are pros (except Pugh I guess). I thought Press played well or at least as well as anyone else. I don’t know what she was thinking on that play with Pugh — I think she was overthinking. She needs to just be herself.

      • Reality

        Press did very well at CF in the first half, but Ellis, as usual, pulled her after only 45″ and put her first at #10 and then the flank. One has to wonder how Ellis’s constant jerking around of Press affects her confidence in herself. Ellis makes the excuse that she is versatile which justifies this? IMO, Ellis doesn’t know how to take full advantage of Press’s talent because she doesn’t fit into Ellis’s system and Ellis must play Lloyd regardless of her inadequacies.

        • Fred

          It’s not just Press. She does this with O’Hara, Dunn, Heath is playing everywhere. Ellis wants total football.

          • Reality

            Ellis has historically utilized a number of players inappropriately, but her misuse of Press is particularly egregious since she could contribute so much given her talent and proven record at forward.

        • kernel_thai

          I think Press got pushed to the flank to help protect Dunn from getting another card more than for how she was playing the #10

          • Reality

            Good point.

        • Josh Josh

          Gimme a frickin break! Press is not the player you think she is if her mere line-up status dictates her ability to put you know a ball on the open goal!

      • jdee26

        Equally surprised she played the ball back to Pugh in an offside position; a smarter player would have evaded the charging goal keeper to find the empty net.

    • kernel_thai

      For me the choice if all things r equal is do u want Lloyd at the #8 and Brian at the #6 or do u want Brian at the #8 and Long at the #6. Any other choice is not being made based on performance.

      • Reality

        Of your 2 alternatives, I’ll take Brian at the #8 and Long at the #6 since Lloyd would not do the necessary linking up or defense.

      • mockmook

        When was the last time Lloyd played a decent all-around game as a #8? She is not suited for the position — lacks the defensive discipline and ambition to be there.

    • Ethan

      I agree with everything except the “played a superior CF to Morgan in getting excellent penetration and creating opportunities” part. Press had a great game outside of finishing, but she didn’t really penetrate anymore than Morgan did in the first two matches. Plus, Morgan also almost set up Lloyd for a clear cut chance against New Zealand, and she sent a very good pass into Heath for a breakaway chance in the second half. France was a bit of a different story, but I thought Morgan competed very well physically and made some clever link up and hold up plays. (She also made some good defensive pressure plays.)

      • Reality

        I was talking about this match specifically since there is no other basis for comparison.

        • Ethan

          Okay, kind of hard to read that in your post. My fault though. Press did create more opportunities, but the pass to Lloyd (which was very good) was really the only opportunity created while she was a CF. I just don’t agree with the penetration argument, but agree to disagree.

          • Not sure if you are meaning that this is the same one, but within the first 10 minutes, when Press got to the end line and played the ball back to Horan (Lloyd was close as well) and Horan just didn’t get a good strike on it and kind of just fell down, would be another example of how well she created.

          • Reality

            Curren was discussing this game and I was responding to that. While I generally appreciate your comments, you seem to have become a charter member of the Press diminishment society.

          • Ethan

            Believe me, I haven’t. I’ve made many comments on this site that I thought Press had a good game overall yesterday. I just don’t remember seeing this level of justification when Morgan was heavily influencing matches at the World Cup but having finishing woes. (What I got back was a forward’s supposed to score; nothing else matters.) It’s a good thing though; I’m just a little confused.

            It just seemed like to me that you were talking about Morgan’s game in general, not just this match. I recognize that that’s my fault for the misinterpretation.

          • Reality

            No problem. I am a fan of Morgan and Press and have advocated for years that they be paired on the pitch…still waiting…

          • Always love your comments Ethan, but come on here, Morgan gets all the justification every game she doesn’t score. Warranted or not.

          • Ethan

            Not during the World Cup. That was close to just me explicitly making arguments for her, and I recognized that her finishing was poor and didn’t try to justify her missed chances.

          • Gotcha.

          • Paul Klee

            She also had the nice back heel to Brian on the throw-in from Rapino, that Brian put off the post.

      • mockmook

        Alex’s header was an important part of the sequence that led to Lloyd’s goal in the France game.

        • Ethan

          Yeah, I mentioned that in one of my posts immediately following the France game. I didn’t mention that in this post because the “creating opportunities” argument seems to be focused on direct passes.

          • Frode

            This is one of my biggest complaints about the television coverage of women’s soccer, particularly American women’s soccer. The commentators rarely if ever discuss the lead up to an outcome, just he outcome itself. In part, this may be because the technicians are putting together replays that only show the end-product of a play. It’s kind of sad. Compare this to watching EPL, for example. There the commentators get to show and discuss the three or four passes leading up to a goal. Do the producers of American WoSo really think the audience is that unsophisticated? Are we?

          • Kevin

            Actually, I think a lot of people who watch American WoSo during the WC and Olympics aren’t very knowledgeable about soccer at all.

            You should see the comments in a couple of the Facebook groups I’m in. Many of them are clueless. Many of them don’t even know what offsides is. A lot of them also thought Rapinoe played great last night.

            I don’t think any of the year-round fans that watch the NWSL or posts in this forum are that clueless other than HOFCToDi.

  • dw

    I really have to say that this author does not understand the game:

    There will be tons of ill effects.

    1) Pinoe is now just getting a free ride for the medals, if any.

    2) 8 players had to play in the heat and humidity for 90 minutes.

    3) Playing in a tight game is much more physically and mentally exhausting than playing in a game won easily and early.

    4) Ending in a draw is psychologically deflating.

    5) Mental tiredness/exhaustion is perhaps the single most underrated effect in determining winners of big tourneys (IMO).

    I couldn’t watch the China Sweden game, so I don’t know how hard the game was played. If you get through 0-0 playing your hardest for your tourney life, then that is a very physically and mentally draining game for all players, similar to the ET/PK game between FRA/GER at WWC. If the fix was in, that’s a different story entirely.

    • Steglitz49

      China and Sweden did the obvious thing. Not quite Germany v Austria 35 years ago or Japan v South-Africa 4 years ago but you get my drift. Sofly, soflly catchee money.

    • Josh Josh

      8 players for 90 is a normal condition of the game that also did not affect Colombia’s ability to score their equalizer. There is no excuse other than Solo slipped up and Press isn’t ready for big time.
      Mallory Pugh put her big girl shoes on, and scored a goal. Press will be measured in oafers until she breaks this trend.

      • rkmid71

        Can you recall whether Press’s botch on the Pugh pass occurred when the score was 2-1 for the U.S.? If so, I agree that was a moment to essentially lock up the game and remove all remaining stress on the players. If Pugh was going to play, I would have started her and take her off when the game is in hand or latest 60 minutes.

        • NYRick

          Good point, starting Pinoe was off base. The better thing to do with her was to give her 20-30 minutes at the end. There would be no OT in the group match even if it ended in a tie, and really less pressure on Pinoe overall to find a flow, rather than at the start of a match when both teams are going hard in full energy.

          BTW, the score was 2-1 with the Pugh-Press miscue.

          • Terry Lash

            Pinoe’s participation in the OG is nuts, as should have been obvious a long time ago.But given that she is there, starting her was even more nuts. Ellis is a mediocre coach benefiting from a ridiculously talented team, which she mismanaged for this game.

          • dw

            And if you had Mewis starting, she could have played a whole 90 instead of Pinoe’s 32, meaning you could have shaved 60 minutes of game time in the jungle off of a player higher on the depth chart. Again, little things.

          • rkmid71

            “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” Quote from John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood. The team is certainly not making things easy on themselves.

          • mockmook

            Did you tie your shoes right today?

          • rkmid71

            I know you know that’s not a joke with Wooden. He would instruct his players on the proper way to put on socks — no creases as they would lead to blisters. And no long hair, no facial hair. Bill Walton showed up one day with a full beard and declared it was his right. Wooden asked him if he believed that strongly. Walton said yes. Wooden said “that’s good and that I admire people that have strong beliefs and stick by them.” He then said “we’re going to miss you.” Needless to say Walton immediately shaved his beard. Also, another of Wooden’s rules was: Never score without acknowledging a teammate.

          • rkmid71

            I don’t think JE expected Colombia to be so feisty. They hadn’t shown much in the tournament, were planning to bench some of their better or at least more experienced players, we had crushed them badly in friendlies, etc. It really shouldn’t have mattered though.Nevertheless, Colombia provided an important lesson.

          • Frode

            This was basically a 2 – 0 game with two unusually good free kicks coupled with unusually poor goal keeping by Solo. You play the same match ten times, and the average score would be something like 4 – 0. Look at the possession percentages and SOG statistics.

          • I think the only reason they started Pinoe instead of giving her 20-30 off the bench is that they had no idea how long she could go. You put her in at the 55 min. mark, and she can’t finish the game, you are subbing a sub, which really can’t happen. So they burned 1 sub, instead of potentially 2. Either way, she shouldn’t have played. Clearly isn’t ready.

          • rkmid71

            Probably it wouldn’t have mattered if they started Pugh. The game would have long since been decided. You put Pinoe in and let her finish the game regardless …. and force her to suffer if need be. At that point, the result is decided anyway.

        • Kevin

          It was almost exactly 2 minutes after Pugh’s goal ~59:00 at ~61:00 that this play occurred. It would have been the proverbial nail in the coffin.

          Interestingly, Pugh’s goal started with a throw-in by Pugh where she waved off AK who was running up to throw the ball in to her. She instructed AK to run back so she could quickly throw the ball to her since the defense was stacking up behind Pugh. A quick throw-in to AK started a chain of quick passes (AK > WE > BS > LH > CD) to switch fields which got the ball to Dunn.

          It wasn’t anything special, but sometimes it’s the little things.

          I’ve noticed Pugh being much more vocal with every game she plays and oftentimes directing traffic. She definitely has a high soccer IQ and I can’t wait to see how good she becomes.

          • Ethan

            That was a very good decision by Pugh. Most impressive play outside of her goal and run to set up Press.

        • dw

          Great analysis on how little events can possibly shape a whole tournament. Regardless of the scoreline at the time, a Press finish alleviates a lot of pressure for the team.

    • mockmook

      The reason the score ended 2-2 was because the players weren’t “draining” themselves (physically, nor mentally).

  • anonymous

    Morgan
    Pugh Press Heath
    Brian Horan
    Kling Brunn JJ KO

    • guest

      Horan is not starting over Long. Horan didn’t do anything.

      • Guest1

        Lloyd on bench? Yeah ok. Press played her last game. Maybe a sub role in a KO found. Starting over Lloyd.. Dream on
        Lindsey Horan showed why Allie Long was starting.

  • CED

    Have to love the typical silly articles on here. Completely ignores the 2 absolute howlers let in by Solo.

    • dw

      I have commented elsewhere. Goal #2 is essentially unstoppable.

      • Steglitz49

        Why? or, more correctly, how?

        • dw

          The short version is that Hope is on the near side of the goal, where she should be. The ball is over the bar, hence out of her reach, until it gets to the far half of the goal when it goes in just under the bar.
          That’s what renders unstoppable shots as such. The ball will be completely or mostly completely out of the keeper’s reach as it passes the keeper, then bend onto the frame or dip under the bar after it has passed the keeper. To have a chance at stopping the ball, the keeper would have to position themselves somewhere they would not be in prior to the kick being delivered, or as specific to this case, be about 2″ taller.

          • Steglitz49

            You make it sound a bit like Miyama’s “Roberto-Carlos-freekick” all those years ago. Rather than praise Miyama for her fine freekick — already then she was acknowledged as the mistress of that dark art — people preferred to blame Hope.

          • dw

            As I told Rick, watch the replay 5 times. You should then understand what I am talking about.

          • Steglitz49

            I would not. I am a bear of little brain and what I see is that which I see.

            Maren Mjelde’s freekick in WC-15 was a marvel. Deserved to be the goal of the tournament.

          • CED

            Wrong. Watch the replay she misjudged the ball and thus flailed at it with one hand.

          • kernel_thai

            The GK has to defend the header at the near post first and foremost. To position herself anywhere else and then get beat at the post would be as bad an error as letting the first one go through the wickets.

          • CED

            You apologists haven’t a clue. Solo made an error, misjudged the flight and let the goal in. Just admit facts. Watch it in slow motion. Solo thinks she has it, doesn’t make a move from her starting spot, then realizes late she misjudged and thus flails with one hand. Solo doesn’t even make a full jump as high a she can b/c she thinks she has it. Look at it closely Solo’s hand doesn’t even get to a height as high as the cross bar, Solo can jump higher than the bar, but didn’t b/c she though she had it originally and made a late not full height jump with one hand b.s she misjudged it. It was her second blunder of the day, both causing goals

          • Frode

            Totally agree. Solo misread the flight of the ball, and that’s why her jump was both weak and late. A taller keeper might have made the same mistake and still been able to tap it over the bar. It’s plays like this where you remember that Solo isn’t that big. But she is a phenomenal athlete with incredible reflexes, timing and courage.

          • Steglitz49

            The South-African goalie is 5’11” while the Chinese is 6’2″.

            The great Gordon Banks stood 6’1″, Neuer is 6’4″ and Buffon is 6’3″ while Tilkowski at 5’11 1/2 “.

      • CED

        No it wasn’t. The only way a keeper gets beat from that harsh angle is a blunder.

  • VaFan51

    Two points:
    The USWNT is not the same team when they sit back as they are when they high-pressure. When they feel the need to conserve their energy, as they justly do in this travel and schedule situation, we become a much more average team. Switching back and forth from pacing yourself to attacking with energy takes an awful lot of maturity and discipline and last night’s performance seemed to be a case of energy conservation leading to more mental errors than usual. Definitely not sharp.

    The team has blown two late leads in 2016 matches and, in both cases, Morgan Brian was not on the pitch. I admit to Moe-bias, but I really believe she is the key to the US being able to possess and play out a match in which they are leading late — she keeps the ball moving briskly and keeps it circulating, while her movement encourages others to move. Last night we definitely looked less than inspired, trying to protect a lead while moving as little as possible.

    • Frozen Blue

      She looked good last night and there was a noticeable difference when she left the pitch.

      • guest

        Colombia moved the ball straight up the pitch after Brian’s exit.

  • NYRick

    Curren: “Press did not excel in her first start…”

    Give me a break. Watch the match next time pal. She put Carli in free for the Dunn rebound goal. She made an outstanding long pass to Alex for Alex’s best opportunity of the match. The give and go with Pugh was essentially her fault for not taking the shot in stride, but others on here also analyzed that the “correct” soccer play for Pugh is to be cognizant of remaining onsides in that instance until the whistle. Still though I think Press was in greater error on that.

    However, if you did not see the difference in her in the CAM role or Lloyd in the CAM role than your goal is only to simply advance the narrative for this team’s stayed lineup and strategy.

    • Steglitz49

      The result does not lie: a 2-2 tie with a lowly rated team that lost to NZ with 10 players and 0-4 to France.

      Pull the other oen!

      • NYRick

        Your comment has nothing to do with Press. With that, you are essentially blaming her for the tie.

        • Steglitz49

          The record books show that in a close race yesterday Katie Ledecky beat Sarah Sjöström. McKeown was 3rd and Pelligrini 4th.

          200 m is a distance that Sjöström does not like to swim and Pelligrini’s peak years were 2008-2009. Neverthless, it is counted Ledecky for merit to have beaten them in spite of being the odds on favorite..

    • kernel_thai

      The pass to Pugh was on Press but other than that I thought she was solid.

      • Kevin

        I thought the same thing when I first thought back to it.

        However, I just re-watched that play (right around 61:00 mark) and I think that pass/offsides was 100% on Pugh now. Pugh actually had all the time in the world to slow down after watching the replay, but wasn’t expecting the pass back.

        The correct play was definitely the pass back to Pugh imo. The GK was in great position on Press and it would have taken a great strike to beat her, which is something Press is probably better at than anyone else on the team… but it still would have been a much lower chance for success than a simple give-and-go to Pugh. Upon review, Pugh had all the time in the world to stay onside. I think Press had already committed to passing back to Pugh for the simple tap-in well before she ran offside.

        I’m sure this will be a lesson learned for Pugh as it seems she just lost focus and clearly wasn’t expecting the pass back, which she should have. I don’t think Alex or especially Carli are very likely to pass it back to her in that situation.

        • Terry Lash

          Good evaluation.

        • NYRick

          Interesting. Others have also said while analyzing that play that the “correct” soccer play was for Pugh to remain cognizant of staying onside and aware of the possibility for a quick return and tap in. I think she just totally figured Press would shoot right there.

        • Reality

          I agree with your evaluation. Perhaps Pugh assumed that Press would take the shot and didn’t allow for Press’s reassessment of the situation.

        • Yes all of this. I think Pugh knew it too, she started to laugh right after it kind of in a “my bad” way..

        • rkmid71

          I agree Press had predetermined the give and go was on, but I recall thinking that she quickly should have switched to shoot mode once Pugh didn’t slow down or stay onside. Then again it’s all happening quickly and I would have to go to slow motion to see how it all transpired and whether Press really didn’t have any time to go to plan b.

          • Kevin

            Not sure if she could have got a quality shot off, but she had all the time in the world to trap the ball and could have had Morgan charging in from the left.

          • rkmid71

            In that case, wouldn’t it have still been offiside as even though Morgan was onside and Pugh wouldn’t have been played, Pugh in an offside position would have still influenced the defenders / goalie?

        • Ethan

          I understand the Pugh criticism, but 100% on Pugh? Do we not expect players to be aware of their teammates’ position on the field? Press had a clear cut first time shot open on her left foot into the right corner of the goal (from the goalkeeper’s perspective). I definitely don’t think a “great strike” was a necessary requirement.

          P.S. I will admit that I’m probably letting Press’ play on that Costa Rica (I think) breakaway affect my opinion a little. She should have been aware that she was clearly off and Pugh wasn’t on that play. Same level of awareness was on display on that pass to an offside Pugh.

          • Kevin

            I can’t post a video, but here’s some cell phone photos of my TV. 🙂

          • Kevin

            Hmm… for some reason it didn’t post the 2nd pic

          • Kevin

            Pugh actually accelerated for some reason instead of slowing down.

          • I think it was a bit of an 18 year old in the Olympics moment for her.

          • Kevin

            Agreed. Let’s just blame it on adrenaline from scoring her first ever goal in the Olympics the last time she touched the ball less than 2 minutes prior. 😉

          • Frode

            Yep. Two experienced players score with a tap-in there. Put an 18-year-old with a 27-year-old international striker, and you get what happened. Pugh will watch the tape and hopefully remember to always stay level with or behind the ball after a pass like that. Even if Press had shot, Pugh would have been offside for any rebound.

          • Ethan

            I agree that Pugh should have read the situation better, but I just feel that 100% on Pugh is harsh. That suggests there was nothing Press could have gone better, and I think she could have been more aware of where Pugh was.

        • mockmook

          Regardless what Pugh did, Press has to “feel” Pugh being off-side and NOT play the ball to her.

          • Kevin

            Press shouldn’t be expected to anticipate Pugh accelerating into an offside position a split second before the pass. There was a defender pretty far out wide (20 yards away) that almost held Pugh onside but she slowed down, while Pugh sped up.

            If she doesn’t pass the ball to her, she only has 1 other option… to shoot, and that angle was pretty well cut off.

          • mockmook

            Obviously, we see it differently.

            In my view, Press had enough time to process Pugh being offside.

  • Frozen Blue

    I thought Press was fine in the game but thought up until the goal Pugh was bad. Lots of mishandling the ball, didn’t get many crosses in, didn’t beat her defender, only contribution was corner kicks. She gained confidence after the goal but still nothing spectacular.

    • NYRick

      I’ve said for a long time on here that Press is the only player on the roster who MUST score in every match or her performance (regardless of what positives she may do) for any relevance or praise will be negated. This article accentuates that.

      Last night also the long Engen pass that put her in with the save to the keeper’s chest. That play is a well timed run and control to break free and a difficult shot with a keeper charging at you like that. Those are the plays that get someone’s leg broken. But…perception is she has to score on that. For me she played her usual game, as in, she could have had 2-3 goals. The goals will happen if you leave her out there. Won’t happen though.

      • Frozen Blue

        She had a number of good plays in the game, she was just missing the end product last night like most, only thing I could even think of to “criticize” her on is when she was moved to the wing she looked uncomfortable but that’s nothing new, Ellis needed to get over that, Press is not a winger.

      • Kevin

        You really need to watch that play again.

        It wasn’t a well timed run at all. She was flat-footed (as was her defender) and the pass completely caught her off guard. She beat her defender to the ball, but a bad first touch off her chest put the ball too far in front of her. She was still going to beat the keeper to the ball, but there could have been a collision, so she slowed down yet still got to the ball well before the keeper and almost whiffed it. If she wouldn’t have been so afraid of the contact, she would have had a great chance to score, or at least gotten off a better shot.

        I don’t have that big of an issue with her avoiding the collision given the situation after the bad first touch (group game needing only a tie against a tomato can) and with one of the main goals of the game being to keep everyone healthy. However, she does avoid physical contact more than anyone on the team. It’s one of the big differences between her compared to Alex and Carli. She’s not very physical relative to everyone else on the team.

        Alex Morgan definitely gets a much better shot off on that play, no question about it.

        • NYRick

          We agree. She is not a physical player. And at times situations dictate where you must be to call upon greatness as a player. That’s the grit factor, and Carli has that in spades. On the play you detail, I too think Press rushed the shot to avoid contact.

          Also though, it should be noted that she has improved greatly as a defensive player. She also tries to challenge for 1 v 1 headers far more than she used to. So slow progress is being made there. But players are what they are and you have to take them for their pluses and minuses. Yes, Morgan is more physical and courageous in a 1 v 1 situation, but Press has better parts to her game than Morgan as well. Also, if we are going to get into this physical player stuff, Morgan Brian needs to improve in that area. Especially as a central midfielder. She is going pushed off the ball pretty easily lately and blatantly shies away from major contact.

          • Kevin

            I agree with all of this, but primarily responded because that play wasn’t a well-timed run. It was just the opposite.

          • Reality

            I give credit to the Columbia goalie who had a well timed response.

          • Terry Lash

            Yes, she had a very good game.

      • Ethan

        You’re not critical of Press on that play; yet, you’re critical of her on that first time shot off of Rapinoe’s corner. I’ll be honest; that’s a little strange. The perception that she has to score on that breakaway is the correct perception; expecting her to score on that Rapinoe corner kick is definitely a misguided expectation.

  • Ron Rocha

    “with the toughest decision choosing two of Pugh, Crystal Dunn, and Tobin
    Heath (assuming they’re all healthy) for the wings. I’d lean toward
    Pugh and Heath.” It probably helps that O’Hara completely refuses to play Dunn when they are on the same side. Last night she was all alone jumping up and down standing on her head to get played and O’Hara kept her back to Dunn with never a glance in that direction. It’s becoming really obvious! Luckily Dunn switched sides some and the feed to her on the assist came from elsewhere.

    • Cc W

      Pugh and Tobin for me – I believe they are are best flank players right now. Both can create opportunities for themselves and teammates.

    • Dunn doesn’t have the best off the ball movements to get open to receive a pass every time though. It goes both ways and both players could improve on this to make the right side more active.

  • NYRick

    The second half of that match is on Ellis. For starters:

    1. She should be (or Tony G should be) on the touchline screaming at Krieger, Engen, Brunn, KO…to push the freakin ball forward. Especially after you went ahead 2-1, and especially at 1-1 (which was the whole second half).

    2. Did anyone ever think the result was in danger? Colombia did not create one good scoring chance in the run of play. The free kicks were great, although the first one for sure is a total howler by Solo. BTW, she was beat too on the long one that hit the top crossbar.

    3. How do you play “scared” against Colombia when all you need is a tie to advance and you have the likes of Morgan, Press, Pugh, Dunn and Brian on the pitch together. Yet you play patty cake with back passes before the midfield for a good percentage of the time.

    • Andrew Alberico

      What do you think of having Christen playing attack middle? I am sure with her skills she would move the ball forward. These backward passes are raising my blood pressure and pulse rate. Alex is not finishing well because she is pressing. She gets so few real chances she is trying too hard to finish. Christen has to handle the ball more. She is a better finisher than Alex, but she can also create better than what we have now in the middle.

      • kernel_thai

        I can only remember Morgan taking one shot. Not sure that constitutes not finishing well.

      • NYRick

        Press needs to just be positioned central, either at CAM or the lone attacking forward, or as the withdrawn forward behind Alex. This is isn’t brain surgery for the staff to see. It is a complete waste to put her on the flank for versatility. She doesn’t play in key games out there anyway with Ellis, so why bother.

        This team revolves around Lloyd and that’s the main problem. She has to shoehorn in somewhere and wherever they put her, the one instinct she has is to be as close to goal as possible. I honestly think she makes Morgan less of a player out there because she poaches her too often and doesn’t keep the team’s shape.

        Press and Morgan should be on the pitch together at all times…centrally. Heath, Pugh and Dunn can create from the flanks along with Kling coming forward. Morgan Brian is smart player in the midfield and I prefer Horan over Long simply because she is a more skilled player and better weapon (especially in the air on set pieces) all around. This team is easy to coach if you simply do one thing…coach it and stop dicking around to accommodate aging stars.

        • Cc W

          I agree that Press would be better at CM than she is on the flank. But until Carli leaves, it will not happen. Carli is fine, but she isn’t nearly as technical as she thinks she is, which results in many give aways. She can score goals, and since the offense is a bit stagnant, we need her on the field to score. While not ideal, Press had an opportunity yesterday and didn’t convert – she doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt and that is why she doesn’t get much playing time. Maybe more playing time would help, but no way Ellis can sit Carli and start CP in her place.

          I’d really like to see Tobin pick up a goal – I think it might give her some confidence and let her go on a little scoring run.

          • mockmook

            Lloyd and Press don’t have preclude each other.

            Carli could be a CF with Alex, Press at CAM.

    • brdn08

      She was resting and protecting players. The strategy made perfect sense. Colombia was committing hard fouls and Ellis did’t want to risk more injuries. Now thy’re in the knockouts. no big deal.

      • kernel_thai

        I agree. End of the day US needed to do two thing: get at least a tie to win Group G and rotate the roster so theyd b as fresh as possible for the push to win a medal. I dont hear anyone complaining that Brazil coughed up a fur ball against RSA. They also did what they had to do and moved on.

    • Guest

      Troubling that they are scared to push the ball forward against a Colombia team they do not need to beat, yet they have Sweden, Brazil and France awaiting them.

  • bayern7

    The amount of switching players all over the field pushing them farther back and then back up or putting them on the opposite side of the field multiple times during a match and doing it frequently in almost every match can’t be good for building confidence and chemistry and its getting a little ridiculous. I understand having players who understand multiple positions is a good thing but how does changing formations and switching them at random times with other players when both are in their more natural positions, doing any good especially when there’s fractions of the game left…it makes no sense to me… Also i thought apart from the bad foul and some rustiness pinoe actually served some pretty decent crosses in during the run of play and her skill with free kicks was better than anyone else’s I’ve seen in a long time. Apart from the pass back to Pugh Press showed why should she should be playing under morgan in a central role she was making good/varied passes to multiple parts of the field and she showed her defensive savvy now and then. And did anyone else like seeing krieger and ohara on the wings vs klingenberg and ohara…cuz i sure did.

    • Steglitz49

      Maybe it was a day for draws? Sweden drew with China and Brazil with South-Africa so why not the US with Colombia? The outcome of the matches did not change the groups.

      • Gary Diver

        As Scarlett O’Hara would have said: “The knock-out phase is another tournament”. It is never clear what gets carried over from group play to knock-out phase. Now the goal is simply win three games in a row. Sound simple.

        • Steglitz49

          FIFA has tested many and various ways to play the WC just like UEFA has for the Euros. This seems to be the way for Intercontinental competitions for now. The Euros are still evolving.

  • bayern7

    If the us meets Brazil in the semis i have a feeling it could end up being one of the most important womens football matches ever played. Think about arguably the best us squad ever assembled with a goalkeeper who the brazilian fans really love to hate chasing history as the first team to win back to back gold in major tournaments, meeting the brazilians captained by the best female footballer who’s ever lived playing on her home turf in the maracana in rio as both teams scrap to make it through to the final…goosebumps. Also the rivalry that goes back between these two teams and martas affinity for crashing the americans party makes it that much more exciting and scary if you’re a us fan like me.

  • Guest

    Christen press was the cleanest player on the pitch and created so many chances. Lloyd was awful. Pugh is very selfish and a turnover machine, and part of why the midfield is so bad. She’ll continue to start because she scored. She needs time to grow. Sigh. Typical reliance on individual athleticism rather than a cohesive team that can build up plays

    • Kevin

      Pugh is very selfish? LMFAO… Good one!

      She almost always looks to pass instead of shooting, which is why she leads the team in assists by quite a bit even though she’s had less playing time than many of the regulars.

      I think she’s not selfish enough sometimes.

      • Steglitz49

        There are ignorant peasants all over the place, including WoSo.

      • rkmid71

        Totally agree. Pugh is the one player in the offensive third that almost always (i.e. not 100%) makes the correct decision on whether to pass or shoot. She doesn’t even have to think about it too much. Alex too for the most part. Lloyd not so much. Sometimes, the U.S. just looks like a bunch of individuals playing — so little cohesion.

      • Frozen Blue

        While I agree with your point, she did not play well yesterday other than the goal.

        • Ethan

          She didn’t play well in the first half; I thought she was the US’ best player in the second though.

          • Frozen Blue

            Maybe….maybe after her goal but before that she was not good.

        • Kevin

          I didn’t think she played well either.

        • Guest

          She was also great at the start of the pass to Press sequence but definitely should have expected a give and go.

  • Gary Diver

    Game Observations and Takeaways

    1. Everybody should take a deep breath – it is not the end of the world. In a tournament like this the knock-out phase rarely looks like the group play rounds. For example, look at WC15 where USWNT looked terrible throughout group play and Euro 16 where Portugal look very unimpressive in the early rounds. The knock-out phase is where the coach and the team’s professionalism must rise to new levels to meet the challenges of each match.

    2. The Megan Rapinoe experiment was a failure. Rapinoe looked good for several minutes, but once she was hit with a hard tackle it was all downhill. Around the 10 minute mark Ellis seemed to be asking her if she needed to come out. Her god- awful foul that led to the free kick goal looked to me worthy of at least a yellow card since it was late and one of her feet had cleats in the air.

    Didn’t Ellis promise us that she would not put Rapinoe on the OG16 roster without seeing her play two competitive matches? It was simply shocking that Ellis reneged on “her condition” to accept Rapinoe and replaced it with saying she “always planned to have Rapinoe on his roster if possible”.

    Ellis needs to act like she knows what she is doing and quickly replace Rapinoe, who is not only not match ready, she is not game ready. It would be insane to put Rapine into a knock-out phase game when there is only 3 substitutions which would create a risk of playing one man down if Rapinoe can’t continue and needs to come off.

    3. At halftime, SOG/S were approximately USWNT 5/14 and Colombia 1/1. There is no reason USWNT was not up at halftime by at least 2-0. USWNT finishing in general stinks.

    4. Hope (pun intended) that Solo god-awful mistake doesn’t screw up her psyche. Soccer keepers and hockey goalies are notorious for having thin-skin self-confidence. You want your goalie to be in the zone and playing beyond themselves. Unfortunately it can quickly break in the other direction. Hope Solo is now under the microscope. (If she had not let that shot , which was directed right at her, go through her legs we would not be talking about her.)

    5. It is time for Ellis to act like a quality national coach. Before the WC15 final she said she didn’t believe in formations and just wanted to get the best players on the field and lett them figure things out. Yesterday she had her best players on the field and they couldn’t figure things out. Players need coaching guidance!

    During Euro 16, again and again the winning team was the team that played best as a cohesive unit coordinating their talents and contributions. We saw none of that (again) yesterday.

    6. Time is quickly running out on Christen Press to rise to the occasion. I was shocked to see her choke on the 38-minute breakaway. She honestly looked afraid of hitting Colombia’s keeper. Alex Morgan she is not. As Steg has often reminded us: There is a reason that Alex Morgan is a superstar and Christen Press is not. And all of us know that if it had been Christine Sinclair instead of Press in that situation, that goal would have been scored. This Olympics was supposed to be Press’ opportunity to show she is a go-to player, but so far she has come up short. She needs to show more reckless abandon and play as though her life is on the line.

    7. Both Crystal Dunn and Mallory Pugh showed great fire in their bellies. Without them (neither were at WC15), USWNT would have lost yesterday’s game.

    8. The last Colombia goal was simply an insanely lucky shot. Every tournament has one of these and it is nothing to lose any sleep over. It was more like “even a blind rooster scratching in the dust gets lucky once in a while”. Though Ellis needs to deal with the fact that this is the second recent game (the other being first Japanese game) that USWNT snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory. At the very end of the game, good coaching and training make the difference in outcomes.

    9. The Colombia game turned out to be more of a “rumble in the jungle” than a rest game. I hope the game did not take too much energy (physical and psychological) from the team. And the 10 hours of flying to and from the rainforest could not have been good for the team.

    10. The ball is now in Jill Ellis’ court to prove she is a top notch coach. She has the best personnel in the world and she needs to get them to play like the best team in the world.

    • guest

      The Press “breakaway” looked more like a half chance than a choke to me.

      • Kind of agree. If Press would have taken the shot, the GK more than likely would have had an easy save. It would have been right into her chest. They were just too close together by the time Press received the ball, thus why she tried to pass it to Mal. I wish Mal would have played Press about 5 steps sooner, then it would have been a clear cut chance for Press.

        • Ethan

          The way Pugh played it allowed Press to have no defender on her when she shot. I haven’t seen a replay of the chance yet, but I thought Pugh played it close to perfectly. That was not a half chance; it was a clear cut chance. If Morgan missed the number of chances that Press missed in this game, she would have definitely faced some notable criticism, and I know because I’ve had to bring to light the very good aspects of her play outside of finishing. I guess Press fans (and I am one) know how I’ve felt at times over the last few years.

          • Kevin

            Pugh played the pass close to perfectly, but her being offside on the give-and-go was 100% on Pugh. Passing back to Pugh was definitely the correct play.

          • Yea agree with Kevin, and I didn’t state that like I should have in the comment above, although I thought I did somewhere else.

          • Frode

            At first, I was a little hard on Press over this play. But I agree with you. Press made the right choice. The keeper had closed her down and Pugh should have been ready for the tap-in. In a 2 vs. keeper situation, it’s the passing player’s responsibility to stay even/behind the ball and in an onside position in case the receiving player returns the pass or the shot deflects off the crossbar/post or the keeper. Had Pugh checked up like she should have, she would have had an easy goal and Press an easy assist. And if Press shot, Pugh would have been able to get the rebound. As it played out, if Press shot and it deflected off the keeper or goal, Pugh would have likely been called for an offside infraction. I suspect most casual watchers of the game will not appreciate this. I am certain Ellis and the coaching staff have spoken to Pugh about this.

          • and that’s not to say Press didn’t have opportunities where she should have scored. I just think that one give and go play is being over analyzed for being a huge “Press error” – actually, one of the more clear cut chances, I think Press should have scored on the short corner played to her where she had space and an open shot in the first 15 minutes.

        • mockmook

          “It would have been right into her chest. They were just too close together by the time Press received the ball, thus why she tried to pass it to Mal.”

          Total bull hockey!!! The ball only hits the GK’s chest if Press makes a bad shot. Press has to give that a go, low and hard inside either post Not a guaranteed goal, but an excellent opportunity.

    • NYRick

      Time running out on Press?? I mean did you even watch the match? You think that breakaway at the 38th minute was a choke? She made the play for the Dunn goal, she made a great pass to Alex for her only clean chance. She overthought the Pugh give and go, that was on her but with her as the CAM (of which was only the first half, then they moved her to the flank) is when the team looks most effective.

      Thanks for continuing the narrative. If Press doesn’t score, she is a failure. Any other players have this on them in any game on this NT? Also though I think she should start to get way more selfish now if only to shut people like you up. She should start shooting right from the opening anthem.

      • Gary Diver

        I am not a Press hater and I am getting tired of the back and forth between her fans and detractors.

        Yes, I watched the game. Bottom line: sometimes a team needs a player to rise to the occasion and produce. As I said above, you would never see Christine Sinclair not put an opportunity like Press had away for her team.

        This game was not important in the big scheme of things, but go-to players have to prove their worth by coming through for their team. Let’s hope Press has an opportunity in the knock-out phase to prove her worth by coming through when the going gets tough.

        Compare Press’ breakaway yesterday with Alex Morgan’s breakaway against Germany at the SBC game. This comparison says more than I can say with words.

        • NYRick

          I also saw Morgan muff a big breakaway at 0-0 in the WC Germany semi. That was a huge moment in a game that all knew was going to be decided most likely 1-nil.

          You say you are not a Press hater, but are determined to push the narrative against her. What you should be saying is something to the effect that, “hey this team can be pretty effective with Press as the CAM or Press as the withdrawn forward.”

          For the better part of a year what we always heard while Alex was in her “slump” was that she was “dangerous.” While Press was the most dangerous player on the pitch in the first 45 minutes of that match playing CAM. If Ellis can explain how she moves her out of that spot and for what good reason, I’m listening.

          • Gary Diver

            Somehow Press has to find a way to shine and time is running out on her. This is characteristic of a great player with great heart. You could put Christine Sinclair today with her lack of speed anywhere on the field except CB and she would find a way to shine for her team. Press needs to forget about being perfect and just find a way to shine, to make the difference between winning and not winning.

          • Terry Lash

            She does not need to find a way to shine, as you put it. She does not need to be the same kind of superstar as Alex Morgan in order to be a valuable member of the USWNT through the next WWC. Press is an excellent player who enables others to score, as well as scoring herself. Did you notice yesterday that Dunn ran to Press right after scoring her goal to give her a big hug. Did you notice Pugh running to Press immediately after scoring her first goal for the senior team, giving her a big hug. Both these young players obviously appreciated Press and her behavior, probably off the field as well as on. Press will remain a key part of the team regardless of whether she meets the aspirations of some fans.

          • Reality

            I think that commentators here who are Morgan fans appear to be Press’s biggest critics insofar as they perceive Press to threaten in any way Morgan’s stranglehold on the lone forward position. A shame really since the two of them are a natural partnership as the best, indeed the only true forwards on the team. If Ellis could ease Lloyd out of the way, the whole team would benefit from having Press play withdrawn forward to Morgan’s CF.

          • Terry Lash

            Agree completely. The fly in the ointment, as you say, is Lloyd. I have felt for a long time that having Lloyd as a super sub would, ideally, be her best role. But Lloyd’s personality is not compatible with that role. She apparently feels very strongly, and has for a long time, that she must play 90 minutes every game. Coaches accommodate this situation, because Lloyd has been key to winning big games and the coaches do not want to jeopardize her performance in key games at critical times. It’s a judgment call.

          • NYRick

            So what you are saying is that the player rules the coach essentially in a subtle way. Only the LeBrons, Messis, etc. of the world should have that type of power. Not Carli.

          • Terry Lash

            As Carli and FIFA say she is the best woman player in the world. I don’t believe it, but Carli does, and US Soccer wants to build publicity on top of her award. Appearance over substance rules.

          • rkmid71

            They don’t want to jeopardize her performance in key games at critical times and/or not accommodating the situation would be destructive of any semblance of team unity. Also, the captain can’t be a bench player. What’s ridiculous though is the 90 minutes every game. That’s not captain like and not for the good of the team. That’s selfish and destructive of team unity..So in the end, Lloyd is taking advantage of the situation for her personal benefit and not for the benefit of the team. Given that, the coaches have more of a license to make changes.

          • Frozen Blue

            Rampone didn’t play almost at all in the WC and she was captain.

          • rkmid71

            I got no response! Neither did Wambach! I don’t know what to say.

          • mockmook

            Can’t blame Lloyd. All elite players think they are the best and never want to come out.

            This is all on JE.

          • rkmid71

            JE’s expertise seems to be politics. I would prefer a much stronger handed coach to manage these personalities. Steg has suggested Even Pellerud or similar types. Someone like a soccer version of Geno Auriemma. I would take Steve Swanson.

          • thegirlnextdior

            ” I still got 5 years left in me”- Carli Lloyd
            She said that in an interview yesterday. LMAO she scores a hattrick in a WC final and suddenly she thinks she’s indispensable. She also said the lack of recognition is what’s fueling her. My goodness

          • j

            Press does not threaten any position Morgan has or will. Get back to me when Press has the best goal to assist ratio on the team of all time that is owned by Morgan. You Press fans lol.

          • Reality

            Comparing Morgan and Press career goal and assist stats reveals the following…

            Morgan Goal Stats w/o “Annus mirabilis”2012:

            Year Caps Goals Minutes
            2010- 8- 4- 232″
            2011- 19- 6- 654″
            2013- 12- 6- 811″
            2014- 7- 5- 418″
            2015- 22- 7- 1547″
            2016- 16- 12- 1205″
            Total- 84- 40- 4867″
            Average minutes per goal = 121.68″
            Average goals per 90” = .74

            Adding on “Annus mirabilis” for Morgan…
            2012- 31- 28- 2319″
            Average minutes per goal = 82.82″
            Average goals per 90″ = 1.09

            Grand Total
            Career- 115- 68- 7186″
            Average minutes per goal = 105.68″
            Average goals per 90″ = .85

            Press Goal Stats:

            Year Caps Goals Minutes
            2013- 12- 8- 554″
            2014- 23- 11- 1322″
            2015- 20- 10- 1159″
            2016- 18- 5- 785″
            Total- 73- 34- 3820″
            Average minutes per goal = 112.35″
            Average goals per 90″ = .80

            Here is a comparison of assists between Morgan and Press on the NT…

            Morgan Assist Stats w/o “Annus mirabilis”2012:

            2013
            Morgan – 811″ – 4 assists
            2014
            Morgan – 418″ – 4 assists
            2015
            Morgan – 1547″ – 0 assists
            2016
            Morgan – 1205″ – 3 assists

            Total
            Morgan – 3981″ – 11 assists
            1 assist every 361.91″
            .25 assists per 90”

            Adding on “Annus mirabilis” for Morgan…
            2012- 21- 2319″
            Average minutes per assist = 110.43″
            Average assists per 90″ = .81

            Grand Total
            Career – 32 – 7186″
            Average minutes per assist = 224.56″
            Average assists per 90″ = .40

            Press Assist Stats:

            2013
            Press – 554″ – 2 assists
            2014
            Press – 1322″ – 5 assists
            2015
            Press – 1159″ – 4 assists
            2016
            Press – 785″ – 2 assists

            Grand Total:
            Career – 13 – 3820″
            Average minutes per assist = 293.85″
            Average assists per 90″ = .31

            Morgan and Press are quite comparable in regard to goals (Press – .80 goals per 90″ v. Morgan – .85 goals per 90″)
            and assists (Press – .31 assists per 90″ v. Morgan – .40 assists per 90″)

            This is keeping in mind that Press was often played out of position and that 2012 substantially increased Morgan’s career total.

          • Ethan

            The “out of position” argument definitely works for the goal totals, but right or left mid isn’t by any means a worse position to get an assist. Morgan had so many assists in 2012 and has had assists in other years because she’s so good at drifting out wide.

          • Reality

            Morgan had a miraculous year in 2012. It is interesting to note that from 2013 on when Press joined the NT, she had 13 assists whereas Morgan exclusive of 2012 had a total of 11. The partnership with Wambach was quite fruitful for Morgan, but since she has been playing lone forward, there are less opportunities to share. Press’s exile on the flanks has been largely an apprenticeship since she had never played there before.

          • Guest

            She was also playing in a 2 front with arguably the best target forward the game has seen thus far. That’s going to help her assist totals a lot.

          • HOFCToDi

            Don’t listen to the moron Reality. He refuses to post career statistics against Top Ten FIFA Ranked opponents, which incidentally the USWNT will face during the knockout stage of the Rio Olympics 2016.

          • Kevin

            …and you constantly post erroneous statistics.

            I’ve caught you posting false statistics and lying so many times it’s laughable.

          • HOFCToDi

            You have your head shoved so far up the arse of Christen Press, you can’t see the light of day. Go back to your Christen Press Playstation fantasy universe.

          • Kevin

            LOL… the always bitter Christen Press Troll gets so upset when you call him out on his erroneous and falsified statistics.

          • HOFCToDi

            Another goose egg for Christen Press last night. Par for the course.

          • Kevin

            What?

            No false statistics?

            No irrelevant copy and paste?

            You’re not trolling as hard today, are you feeling OK?

          • AGuest2

            Such a class act. Got your tux for the school prom yet?

          • HOFCToDi

            Don’t listen to the moron Reality. How many assists has Christen Press provided in FIFA Women’s World Cup finals? How many assists has Christen Press provided in Summer Olympic finals?

            ussoccer.com/stories/2014/03/17/13/55/us-wnt-falls-in-penalties-to-japan-in-world-cup-final

            ussoccer.com/stories/2014/03/17/11/16/us-wnt-vs-japan-gold-medal-match

            How many assists has Christen Press provided in FIFA Women’s World Cups? How many assists has Christen Press provided in Summer Olympics?

          • AGuest2

            Such a class act. Have you got your tux for the school prom yet?

          • HOFCToDi

            Don’t listen to the moron Reality.

            The poster Reality refuses to post career statistics at international tournaments.

            Christen Press
            USWNT
            Tournament Record

            Algarve Cup
            2013 – 1 goal(s), 0 assist(s)
            2014 – 1 goal(s), 0 assist(s)
            2015 – 1 goal(s), 1 assist(s)

            SheBelieves Cup
            2016 – 0 goal(s), 0 assist(s)

            CONCACAF Women’s Championship
            2014 – 2 goal(s), 1 assist(s)

            CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
            2016 – 2 goal(s), 1 assist(s)

            FIFA Women’s World Cup
            2015 – 1 goal(s), 0 assist(s)

            Christen Press has scored multiple goals in a tournament when the opponent was either HAI (FIFA Rank #60) or PUR (FIFA Rank #108). Neither opponent reached the knockout stage of the respective CONCACAF Women’s tournament.

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2014-concacaf-womens-championship/141020-wntvhai#tab-1

            fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/women/rank=547/concacaf.html

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2016-concacaf-womens-olympic-qualifying-championship/160215-wnt-v-pur#tab-1

            fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/women/rank=552/concacaf.html

          • guest

            Probs cause Press was the closest to them but let’s over analyze celebrations now or maybe it’s a substitute united front thing but Im sure next you’ll be writing a fanfic about this ha.

          • Frode

            Despite all the Sturm und Drang surrounding Press, I do agree that she will be an important component of this team for the next 4 years, particularly as they bring on younger players and work toward a more possession-oriented style of play. She will be an outstanding mentor for the young attacking players.

            I also wouldn’t be surprised if Ellis calls on Press in a big way in the upcoming matches, by choice or circumstance.

          • Alexis

            Time isn’t running out for her . She is going to be a bigger player this upcoming cycle as Lloyd is inevitably phased out (already happening IMO). If anything this is the beginning of her playing a much bigger role on the team for another four years before she retires.

          • Guest

            Her buddy solo effectively announced her retirement in a recent video. I think carli is going to effectively follow suit and at most take on a rampone type limited role. Her talk of starring next WC is puffery

          • Gary Diver

            Time will tell and we will see. I keep asking myself why is Christine Sinclair still so dangerous and so influential when she is 33-years old and has lost at least one step. You can see the fire in her eyes – there is a passion for the game and a hunger to win to drives her to sometimes play outside herself and her current abilities. I am waiting to see this same fire in the belly in Press. If not now, when?

          • Guest

            I read that she used toget extremely fired up back in the day. Maybe becoming overly zen hippie chilled out hasn’t improved her game as much as she thinks/. I still think she is the best option centrally right now if she were given 90

          • NYRick

            Sinc will go down in history as one of the greatest female soccer players ever, and most likely the greatest female Canadian athlete ever. But for the past 4 years, to call her still dangerous and so influential is kind of a fanboy leap, no? She still can have some moments, but I don’t think opponents shake in their boots at the prospect of facing her anymore.

          • 13-15, I’d say you were right. She is on a tare this year though.

          • NYRick

            Let’s see how she does against France. If she gets them through that match with a big game, then I’ll start believing.

          • Yea true. Doesn’t really matter if she doesn’t get them past the QF’s. She has been good for Portland this year though too.

          • NYRick

            I give her credit for a renaissance this year. But importantly, she is still a big fish in a small pond on that team. I can almost understand it, because she does have obvious exceptional talent that she has shown during her career. On the US team, if they were still playing and starting her (13-15 as you say), we would all be bitching about it.

          • HOFCToDi

            Don’t you worry. The buzz next summer will be about Ashley Sanchez not Christen Press.

          • Kevin

            I’m not so sure about that. I don’t think Pugh, Dunn and Heath are all going to share the flanks with one riding the bench… too much talent there, with Pugh and Dunn being young as well.

            After this year, I hope we see more of Pugh as a CAM as I think it is her position to lose for WC19 right now as Carli gets phased out over the next 3 years.

          • mockmook

            You are what we call an “optimist”. Good for you 😉

          • Paul Klee

            Press was just fine yesterday, no American was better than her. She played great the first 20. Then after Columbia’s first Goal the entire team went into a funk for the next 20. Much having to do with Rapinoe’s lack of fitness. She then played fine at CAM for the 20 min after halftime. Then the last 25 at right wing.
            But Ellis will have to take out the performance out on someone so that will likely be Press.

          • kevin

            likely it is the 2015 world cup sweden game all over again for press for the rest of the rio olympics

          • Ethan

            During the World Cup, all I heard on this site was a forward is supposed to score; anything else is insignificant. Interesting how different perspectives can be. I certainly remember the majority of registered posters on this site siding with your opinion of Morgan’s performances in the World Cup. It was only after the World Cup that more registered posters on this site argued for the other facets of Morgan’s game.

        • Reality

          “I am not a Press hater…”

          Methinks thou dost protest too much.

          • Steglitz49

            He is right in that Sinc and Alex are in another class.

          • rkmid71

            And in this game, he is wrong about Press “production”. She produced the first goal. No player is perfect. And in this Colombia game (and in the France game), there was a lot of imperfection by other players not named Press.

          • Steglitz49

            A scoreline of 2-2 against a team who lost to a NZ with 10 players and who got pasted 0-4 by France is an awful blagg on your foot. Collective responsibility and all that.

          • NYRick

            Every match plays different. You should know it. It’s silly to compare scorelines of other teams.

          • Steglitz49

            Utter garbage and you know it.

          • rkmid71

            Oh I agree with collective responsibility. And the corollary when things go well is collective credit. Unlike others, I think the Colombia game was an embarrassment, with all due respect to Colombia. Where was the mentality in this game? I liked Colombia’s attitude and self belief. And Usme was in the zone on those free kicks. No luck involved.

          • NYRick

            Alex looked pretty tired and disinterested last night. Sinc has been living off the OG12 US semi for 4 years. A great player but on a decline since age 29 (which is early for a big star).

          • Steglitz49

            Alex and Sinc need not prove anything. They pace themselves.

            When you get the chance to shine on the big stage, you must grab it and run with it.

          • NYRick

            Utter garbage and you know it.

          • Gary Diver

            “When you get the chance to shine on the big stage, you must grab it and run with it.”

            Steg, well said:)

            And as I’ve said before: Players are memorable because they make memorable plays when needed in crucial games. Alex has done it, Sinclair has done it, Marta has done it, Lloyd has done it, Wambach did it, but Press has not done it. Just do it! as the Nike ad tells us. And I am waiting for her to do it.

          • rkmid71

            This was not a crucial game. Even if she had done it, it wouldn’t have mattered to the perception of Press. As I said before, for Press it will only matter if she does it against a top team in a big game. Whether she gets that opportunity remains to be seen.

          • Gary Diver

            Agree that this was not a crucial game and Press needs to shine in a crucial game. We will see what the soccer gods have in store.

          • j

            Always have to bring down Alex to bring your girl up. Your act is tired. Alex didn’t even get the ball much so she doesn’t factor in this at all.

          • NYRick

            I didn’t bring her into this, S49 and Diver did. See above. And she didn’t have a great half of play. No big deal, but just the truth.

        • Guest

          Morgan missed a breakaway in the WC semifinal last year. Missed chances happen. The best players move on and don’t let it affect them in the next match.

          • Guest

            But that’s the point things like this does affect Press’ psyche. She gets in her head too much that is why she hasn’t shown up much when giving the chance on the national team.

            It’s a mental thing with her. You can tell by looking at her as the game went on.

      • SpiritFan00

        NYRick, I’m a huge Press fan because I think she’s a smart technical player and a clinical finisher, but I cringed a bit this game as I watched her muff a few easy chances I think she’d usually put away. I think it’s unfair she has to perfect every game though, and has got to weigh on her mentally knowing that she can never have an off game.

        • NYRick

          She needs to play 90 on a consistent basis. I agree with the theory you have to make the most of your chances and there were a few last night that she should have put away. For instance, one corner Pinoe played short to her onrushing for a clean look/shot. She has great technique, but flubbed that there. That has to go in for someone of her ability. That is a nervous shot. But I think it comes with continually looking over your shoulder for the sub or the rare start you will get on this team.

          • rkmid71

            For Press to reach her potential, I agree she needs to play more minutes. Kind of like a running back who gets better as the game goes along with enough carries. I don’t really think she’s at her best as a supersub like Alex was early in her career or even Pugh is capable of now. But I don’t think that’s in the cards until perhaps after OG. Time is running out as G. Diver says.

    • FlyingSquirrel42

      Are you suggesting that Rapinoe be removed from the roster altogether (presumably in favor of HAO or Mewis)? Can they do that just whenever they feel like it or does there have to be a specific new injury?

      • x

        She has to be medically unable to play as assessed by independent doctors, which is going to be a really hard sell after she played 30 yesterday.

        • Gary Diver

          Rapinoe is of no use to Ellis in the knock-out round. It would be too risky to put her in a game.

        • Gary Diver

          Rapinoe looked rattled after the first Colombia tackle on her. Around the 10 minute mark it looked like Ellis was thinking about pulling her. Is there a definition of “medically unable to play”? I would say she could be on the edge of another injury.

    • HOFCToDi

      6. Christen Press

      ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2016-olympic-games#tab-5

      tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock

  • Billy

    The point of game was rest players. Obviously she couldn’t rest all of them because of a roster 18. Press, Krieger, Horan wont be starting in knock out rounds. Game went just how coach wanted.

    • Jim

      Pretty much. Which is why I don’t evaluate game.

      • Steglitz49

        When you get a chance to step out of the shadows, you must grab it with both hands — or feet in this case.

    • Steglitz49

      Verily and forsooth. Hound’s tooth.

    • NYRick

      So explain why Solo needs to start? Or why even bother having your stars (Brunn, Morgan and Lloyd) even see the pitch for that matter? It’s an OG match and no OG match is a throw-away. Of course it only is, if certain “subs” do well. Then the narrative becomes (tomato can, a word BTW I first put on this site) or the game really didn’t matter. Can’t have it both ways.

      • Steglitz49

        Hope should not have played as I noted many and various times. Asinine.

      • Gary Diver

        “So explain why Solo needs to start?”

        The reasons are (1) USWNT and Solo have an agreement to support each other which means she starts all tournament games, and (2) Ellis wanted Solo’s mind to be in a groove. Unfortunately, this may have backfired big-time. Keepers have fragile psyches and Solo now needs to get her head in the right place.

        • NYRick

          Not the point. Above it was only Colombia, the group was sewn up and all Ellis was doing was resting players. Why not rest Solo too? Also with Solo, isn’t the storyline always that’s she’s a big game player. With that, for the knockout match why would that matter with a rest in this match after 200+ caps for Solo and numerous big tournaments?

          • Steglitz49

            A certain player got to go — and even play — because of all her commercials. When will this end?

            At least the US lady gymnasts delivered the goods and in buckets.

          • Gary Diver

            Basically agree with you, but did any other of the 11 teams rest their keeper yesterday?

          • NYRick

            The US is the #1 team in the world, they shouldn’t have to worry about what the other teams do.

          • Paul Klee

            Brazil in the same situation as the US.
            Australia
            Canada rested their starter in the second group match

      • mockmook

        Who should have started and who should have been the subs?

    • Terry Lash

      The demeanor of Ellis on the sidelines suggests otherwise.

      • Greg

        Well she selected those players believing they could beat Colombia. Game worked out fine. Brian got rest, Morgan got rest, JJ rested again, Heath rested, Long rested, Kling rested.

        • Terry Lash

          Yes, Ellis thought the players starting could beat Colombia, but instead of fully resting Pugh, Long and Morgan she put them into the game early to try to turn around a terrible performance. The US always plays to win, and the expectation is that against a low ranked team the US will win big. Remember what happened to Tom Sermanni for losing in Algarve? No, this game did not go as Ellis wanted or expected.

      • Steglitz49

        Are you surprised. The US 3rd XI should have beaten this team.

  • Gary Diver

    What Should Ellis Do: Formations and Players?

    If you were Jill Ellis, would you use a 1-forward, 2-forward, or 3-forward formation and who should be the starting XI? What combination of playing work best together?

    • NYRick

      There really is no mystery. She will play the 11 who started game 1 was NZ on Friday. She does not match up ever to suit an opponent or play a hot hand or sit a player who is slumping.

      • guest1

        agree rick. obvious as well. based off last night game PT. Reason why Krieger, Dunn, Press went full 90

      • Kevin

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see Horan in for Long, but other than that, I suspect we’ll see the lineup posted above.

        • guest

          Horan didn’t earn a spot on the starting 11 after yesterday.

          • guest

            I will take my chances with Allie over Lindsey. At least she will break up plays and not be so sloppy. I just wish she would take more risks passing through middle. Tough area turn ball over. Allie is the starter why she went full 90 both games before rest game Horan played the whole game last night.

          • Kevin

            Allie hasn’t looked very good at all to me. She moves the ball around too slowly for me and passes backward twice as much as forward. I’ve seen enough of that already this tournament with Sauerbrunn, Krieger and Engen, but at least they’re defenders. I don’t want to see our defensive midfielder joining them so frequently.

            I think there’s a good chance Brian ends up playing the 6 and someone else plays the 8, such as Horan.

          • guest

            No one has been that good except Becky and Tobin. I’m telling based on the NZ and France game Allie Long starts Friday. She beat out Horan for starting position. Is that not obvious? Not who you like better.

          • Jon

            It’s honestly like people on here don’t watch games. Who you like to start games. Ellis plays who she likes. First two meaningful games she started Long and Brian at CM. That’s what she will do Friday. Horan wasn’t any better against average Colombia team. So she didn’t earn a start against Sweden. Klingenberg sucked against France and New Zealand. Yet she will start Friday.

          • Hierarchy system, not skills-vs-opponent system. Tells you all you need to know.

          • NYRick

            This.

          • Steglitz49

            It is the coach’s prerogative to play who she likes.

          • NYRick

            True that. Lloyd, Morgan, Kling, Brian, Heath, Brunn, JJ, KO, Hope and I think Pugh now too…can individually whet the bed in any match or any group of matches in succession, and it will have zero relevance to their being in the starting lineup the next day. Pinoe as well if healthy.

            The only true odd players out that need to perform miraculous feats for playing time are Press, Horan and Long.

          • Kevin

            Settle down. I think she’ll start Long, but Long has to be #1 on the list of the starters that might not start who started the first two games.

            If JE does make a change, do you honestly think Long isn’t more likely to be starting the game on the bench over…

            • Morgan
            • Lloyd
            • Heath
            • Brian
            • Klingenberg
            • JJ
            • Brunn
            • KO
            • Solo

          • Kevin

            I never said Horan has played well or deserves to start over Horan, but I know JE likes her.

            The question is “trying to guess what JE will do”…
            • not what I think she should do,
            • not who I think deserves it,
            • not who has earned it,
            • and not who has played better.

            This team has looked very sluggish pushing the ball forward with Long at CDM. The only way I see JE changing is moving Brian back to that position, which means someone has to come in for Brian at CM.

          • NYRick

            Yes, and if Carli wasn’t so damn selfish and hellbent on being greatest player ever, than that’s her role on the team (if she indeed has to play forever because of the WC final). But even if you put there paired with Brian, then simply Carli would not stay there and play her role to team success.

            Also notice how the big bad and rough and tough Carli was fairly meek and never ventured too far forward when one Abby Wambach was the star and forward starter on the pitch? Abby would have scolded her both publicly and privately for such actions. On this team (a fairly young team now) she pulls any crap she wants for personal glory. The madness has to stop, and it just may as soon as Friday even. Don’t take Sweden lightly. Throw out current play. In knockout games, players tense up, anything can happen and Sweden still has Lotta who is quite capable of sending them home with one or two moments of brilliance.

          • Reality

            “Carli was fairly meek and never ventured too far forward when one Abby Wambach was the star…”

            I was under the impression that Wambach has passed her torch to Morgan. I guess the transfer get dropped somewhere judging from Lloyd’s attitude.

          • NYRick

            “Power is something not given to you, boy. Power is something you take.” (JR Ewing to his son Bobby).

            Carli saw weakness (Easy going Alex who has so much off the field fame she doesn’t need more star power and the caretaker coach in Ellis and of course Abby’s departure). And like any true driven bird of prey she seized it.

          • Carli and Alex’s relationship is very interesting to me. People are always so quick to pit Christen and Alex against each other, like they don’t share a common friends group and don’t hang out outside of NT duty, but always seem to ignore the fact that Carli clearly doesn’t like Alex or her “fame”. Maybe cause they aren’t the same age? Carli takes any chance she gets to put Alex down even the slightest. Alex must not care though.

          • NYRick

            Still trying to figure out the Long “now entrenched starter” thing myself. All of the sudden, she is a mainstay that needs to be rested? She is a safe passer in the mold of Krieger.

          • Frozen Blue

            I guess I’m in the minority but I didn’t mind Horan last night, yes she had some give always but I liked her getting involved in the play, creating triangles and generally helping move the ball up field. With her and Moe out there there was more ball movement in our final third. When Long is out there, Moe is left to do this all on her own and she can’t be everywhere at once. I would play Horan against Sweden and Long when we need a more defensive presence like Brazil potentially.

          • I don’t ever mind Horan but she does just seem slow out there. And her first touch needs to be better. Love her passing and vision though.

          • Kevin

            100% agree

    • guest1

      I think she is going with game one line up
      Morgan Lloyd
      Heath Brian Long Pugh
      Kling Broon, JJ, Ohara
      Solo

      • Gary Diver

        So essentially a 2-forward formation?

        • Kevin

          Yeah, but we’ll just pretend Carli is a midfielder.

      • AlexH

        I’m fine with this lineup provided that JJ is fit. We need to put Dunn in the game at some point though because she is proving really valuable.

    • mockmook

      “I do think Ellis will be judged well or poorly based on her decisions.”

      I come to the EQ for nuggets of wisdom like this…

  • Scott

    I cannot believe this average coach is about have Olympic gold medal and World Cup gold medal. Her tactics are awful and soccer her players put out are not much better than Wambach era.

    • urm

      If anything it says as much about the state of woso globally that everyone else sucks so much

  • Guest3

    GAME PLAN VS SWEDEN – pass it to Tobin Heath – wonder if Pia can scout this?

    • Shhhhh! Keep the secrets close to the vest. Pia only knew Tobin as a bench warmer.

      • x

        Do you think Pia knows who Sauerbrunn is yet?

        • “Hmmmm who is Becky? – that practice squad player, right?”

      • Ethan

        Yet she started her in the two biggest matches of the 2012 Olympics. Now, if you’re just joking, I apologize for not reading your post correctly.

        • Mostly joking, although Tobin never was a firm starter under Pia. More a sub than anything.

          • Guest

            She was a pretty firm starter in the London Olympics starting 4 of the 6 games. Pia left shortly after that.

      • Guest

        Pia didn’t know anything except how fourth grade elementary school students play kickball

  • AlexH

    So I was very angry seeing how Columbia had an absolute assassin on set pieces and we did not. We have about 100 times more female players than Colombia and there is no excuse for the USA having a an essential soccer skill uncovered in their roster.

    • rkmid71

      That girl was totally in the zone. The confidence was oozing. That free kick from 30-40 yards almost went in. Heath is the closest we have on the roster. Maybe Rapinoe in the old days.

      • AlexH

        I don’t think that either Heath or Pinoe ever could hit a ball like that from downtown. They are good but not that good. The second goal also went about 30 yards.

        I can’t believe that we don’t have players in this great land of ours that can’t do that too.

        • x

          We probably do have somebody who can do that…just not somebody who can do that without being a total liability in the run of play.

          • #1Fan

            Surely that is the point.

          • AlexH

            Exactly. There are plenty of players that can nail the free kicks and be good in the run of play. Soccer is littered with people that can do both….just not on the WNT.

          • rkmid71

            We don’t seem to score many goals in the run of play anyway. But I guess you’re thinking defensively.

          • x

            -We score a lot better than most of the world.
            -Even bad can get worse. If this hypothetical free kick specialist is even worse in play than the current starters you apparently don’t rate, guess what? Net negative.

          • #1Fan

            I have been killed for saying this on here. The individual technique of some so called established players is laughably bad. Go watch a top level youth game. a large percentage of the girls on show cannot strike a ball properly. have no idea which surface of the foot to use to generate different weights and spins. and cannot hit the target with any power at all . They are not taught and they dont grow up watching the game to copy the great male players.

          • x

            A lot of them get by on being more athletic (faster, stronger, run longer) than those technique nerds. And somehow, 25 years into the world cup era of the women’s game, it usually still works.

          • AlexH

            But set pieces are the type of things that athletic players can master as well. In order to hit a 35 yard laser step 1 is to be able to hit the ball HARD. Step 2 is to be able to hit the ball HARD because whatever spin or lack thereof has far more effect when the ball is moving / spinning fast.

          • AlexH

            I think the closed shop nature of our roster disinsentivizes personal growth because it is hard to crack the team from below. I am sure our current roster is highly self motivated but nothing can compare with having a fire lit under your butt to broaden your skill set fast.

          • #1Fan

            I agree 100 pct.

        • #1Fan

          Lloyd takes the FKs. she is quite frankly , terrible at them

        • Rami

          Didn’t Heath kick a screamer of a free kick in the NWSL 2013 championship game?

          • Guest

            Different technique and position on the field. Heath and Pinoe can bend their free kicks but I’ve never seen them hit a ball as clean and accurate as the second goal. Also, while both are significantly better than Lloyd I don’t think either are anywhere near as good as some of the europeans I’ve seen. Heath probably would have scored against france if she had been better with her placement.

          • Ethan

            Her free kick against WNY wasn’t as clean and accurate as the second goal? I think you may need to watch that free kick again. Usme’s free kick against the bar was incredibly clean, but her second goal wasn’t any more clean or accurate than Heath’s goal against Franch.

          • That goal really is one for the ages. Probably will go down as the best NWSL free kick of all time, no matter how long the league lasts. The curve. And the setting, and how huge it was.

    • #1Fan

      and how do you propose they get one? that is individual technique and experimentation. When you focus on team development and structured play, you are hoping someone brings that to the table. It is a minor illustration of the difference between players who have grown up in a soccer culture and those who have grown up on soccer teams. Big difference imo. The US player lacks the subtleties of the game. Generalization I know, but on balance true.

      • AlexH

        There is a saying that quantity has a quality all of its own. I am morally certain that their are players with every skill set in the book somewhere in this great land of ours but they are not being identified. I think our players have subtlety, initiative and skill but our coaches do not. I think they are all narrow minded boiler plate types that just follow whatever diktat the fed hands down. The free thinkers never get close to the WNT program.

        As you said, “Generalization, I know, but on balance true.”

        • #1Fan

          you may be right, but i also see a lot of youth soccer and its not like Im seeing kids who are being “overlooked” The id process in the USA starts far to early anyways. so the selection is about picking those who can COMPETE today. The problem with girls is that they lose interest when not encouraged so once lost, they are gone.

          parents want a game and a trophy for the $$. they would not be happy if kids were playing small sided pick up and not competing.

          its just not a system that produces top players from the creative side. But then again the GAME as currently played doe snot need them to win BIG. Look at the US team.

          • mockmook

            “not like Im seeing kids who are being “overlooked””

            You might want to re-ponder this for a second…

        • #1Fan

          instead I see the US getting excited by things like beating minnows 22-0 in CONCACAF play. The girls selected would be better of being given a ball and told to go out and experiment on their own for 3 hours. then come back and show me what you discovered.

          • Bruce

            This!

          • AlexH

            I have always thought that one of the things that hinder soccer development is that today’s helicopter parents won’t let their offspring out of their sights long enough for them to go to the park and play a little pickup. They would rather have their kids go somewhere overpriced to be overcoached. It is true for pretty much all sports.

          • Bruce

            That’s part of it. But it also has to do that kids are taught to think that they cannot/should not play unless it is in a formal environment early on. The percentage of kids in the US willing to engage in unstructured play is frighteningly low.

          • NYRick

            Don’t forget the trophies for Carli (Golden boot) and Hope (Golden Glove) in CONCACAF play.

    • NYRick

      That’s like saying, “jeez, why wasn’t CR7 born in the US?” Or “wouldn’t it have been nice if Federer was an American.”

      The gem/rare athlete can come from anywhere obviously. If it went by population and resources, the US would win every international sporting event, including world men’s soccer at the highest level.

  • AlexH

    So it is pretty clear to me that our substitution pattern needs to be twealed so that Crystal Dunn because the late game forward substitution and Christen Press needs to be subbed in on the flanks should it be necessary to give our wingers a rest.

    Bottom line is that the principal job of a forward is to put the ball in the back of the net when the opportunity arises. Dunn can do that at this level Press cannot. Press however is serviceable on the flank which is the best we can hope for given Ellis’s idiotic decision to gift a spot to an unfit Rapinoe.

    • AlexH

      OK. Poorly written first paragraph: Redo

      “So it is pretty clear to me that our substitution pattern needs to be TWEAKED so that Crystal Dunn BECOMES the late game forward substitution and Christen Press needs to be subbed in on the flanks should it be necessary to give our wingers a rest.”

      Ok. Now on to middle school…..

      • I didn’t wanna point out that I didn’t get what you meant.. but thanks for clarifying.

      • Bruce

        I don’t think you can read all of that into yesterday’s game. I still think Ellis sees Press if first off the bench to sub either Alex or Lloyd. She’s probably the 4th or 5th wing on the depth chart.

        • AlexH

          I agree but given Pinoes injury we are forced to go down the list. I think Dunn (#3 on the wing) is better in front of goal than Press. I also think that sacrificing a spot on the wing depth chart is worth the price if it puts Dunn up top.

    • mockmook

      “Dunn can do that at this level Press cannot”

      Seriously? You’re arguing that Press can’t find the net?

  • Brad

    I don’t know what Press and Dunn have do be a starter on this team. Do they not fit the typical WNT image or something?

    • AlexH

      Press needs to put her opportunities away which she isn’t doing.

      Dunn needs to prove she is better than Alex at fwd or Pugh / Heath out on the flanks. It’s a tall order but it is doable. I personally think that she is close enough that the starting job is probably just a coaches decision.

      • NYRick

        The US has scored 5 goals in 3 matches so far. Two of the matches were against teams who aren’t necessarily a powerhouse.

        1. Lloyd header goal v NZ (great play by Tobin, decent header by Carli).
        2. Morgan goal v NZ (best US goal of tourney. Great shot short side).
        3. Lloyd birthday gift goal v France (All Brian and Tobin breaking down D).
        4. Dunn goal v Colombia (All Press and great instinct by Crystal)
        5. Pugh goal (great penetration by Dunn, great finish and creativity to finish by Pugh).

        Tell me all these opportunities that everyone is finishing? Of course let’s signal out Press because she damn well better score and has to score for relevancy. She created several good chances for teammates and had some good opportunities for herself as well.

        • AlexH

          Nobody is singling out Press. Brad asked our opinion as to what Press needs to do to be a starter. People are responding, bury your chances. Bottom line is that CP was 1 v 1 vs the keeper twice yesterday and went 0 – 2. It can happen to anybody but yesterday it happened to her which does not help her cause 1 bit.

          • NYRick

            “Press needs to put her opportunities away which she isn’t doing.”

            Huh?

          • AlexH

            To repeat: Press was 1 v 1 against the keeper twice yesterday and went 0 – 2.

            If she wants the starting position she has to show better than that.

          • NYRick

            Seriously, you know the score with this. Press could have scored 4 goals yesterday and she was still sitting on Friday. Please stop. And yes though, I do agree she needs to put away a few when she does get a chance (especially at forward). And she had some big chances yesterday.

          • #1Fan

            i have seen Pugh muff quite a few clear chances. No one says a word. Next time she does something positive , we read and hear all about it . Its ALL perception.

          • guest

            and she is a turnover machine but somehow this gets overlooked as soon as she scores

          • AlexH

            That’s…..because…….she………scores. We got 2 goals yesterday and MP got one of them. Lots of things get overlooked when you do the one thing that its absolutely necessary to win soccer games. It’s the way of the world. It always has been always will be.

          • Frozen Blue

            Yeah but Dunn doesn’t get the same pass and she is one of the leading scores so far this year for the US.

          • AlexH

            I think she gets lots of credit though. She just happens to be competing against some very good players for the starting jobs and happens to be the odd man out.

          • very true!

          • Hans Castorp

            When Pugh screws up it’s never because she’s over-thinking it, hesitating, or showing fear of a collision. Those are mental things Press does and they can’t be unlearned, especially at her age. Pugh is still young and has time to improve her mostly technical shortcomings.

            If Pugh is still only scoring a goal here and a goal there a couple years from now while flubbing big chances, then we’ll have something more to talk about.

    • thegirlnextdior

      Press had so many good chances to put one away yesterday , and she didn’t. Morgan is willing to bulldoze thru goalkeepers, and put her body at risk to get the job done. Perhaps that’s what Jill notices as well.

    • Bruce

      Dunn may still start over Pugh if they are competing for a space at right wing.

    • Steglitz49

      It is just as much a gold medal if you do not play one second. Ask Whitney Engen.

      • NYRick

        Whit’s played 180 minutes so far. Ask Naeher.

        • Steglitz49

          I do not need to ask Naeher. I long ago made the point that she should have played.

          I also made the point that JE should have brought a new young talent and not wasted a slot on either N or H.

      • thegirlnextdior

        Perhaps Alternates like Ashlyn Harris should’ve just stayed with their respective NWSL teams.

        • Never would happen with the USWNT. They are there for the NT and club play comes second.

          • thegirlnextdior

            WoSo will never thrive until it is club before country.

      • HOFCToDi

        Speaking of gold medals, the best story from an US perspective at the 2012 London Olympics was …………

        nbcolympics.com/video/katie-ledecky-reflects-800m-freestyle-gold-london-2012

    • Doug

      Dunn problem is Pugh. She is mega star teenager that they want. Next thing, also she has better looks than Crystal. Way it is. Press problem is Alex. Can’t have two star forwards for some reason. She fits WNT image more. Rich girl and good looking. Comes from wealth.

      • thegirlnextdior

        Nah endorsers don’t want them sitting on the bench, hence why Alex and Lloyd are always playing.

        • CED

          It’s why Rapinoe is even on the oG roster, she has 2 or 3 commercials running and isn’t fit to be effective for more than 15 minutes,

      • Reality

        Press problem is Lloyd. Morgan and Press are the obvious combination up front but Lloyd wants her 90″…every game.

        • NYRick

          And has been said many times by you, I and others. This media dream of actually have two players (same age essentially) who look like these two girls (knockouts), are both media friendly, both articulate and both helluva players and two of the best strikers the country has ever produced…at the same time…is the most ridiculous PR flubb imaginable for a national sports program. It’s borderline insane to not recognize it and exploit. And even with that, these two make the most sense to be your frontline forwards and progress the sport in the US further as well.

          • thegirlnextdior

            Alex Morgan chokes in front of Media and Christen Press chokes on the field. Voila!

          • CED

            LLoyd is the worst interview ever, she acts like she doesn;t want to be there gives short and silly answers…ie..look at her few appearances on late night tv shows, In fact the team in general are very poor in interviews. The need to put peope like Kling out b/c she at least has a goof ball personality and would make the interview fun.

          • thegirlnextdior

            Abby was a good interviewer back in her day.

      • Hmm not buying it on the Alex v Press thing. Not even really sure what you mean on the rich girl part. Family wealth? – That would be Press. Good looks.. kind of personal opinion but both have that.

      • thegirlnextdior

        Press comes from wealth, and is very beautiful. Explain why she gets garbage minutes.

      • Hun

        They could actually start both. Pugh in the center. Christen problem right now is Carli Lloyd. Captain, ego megastar.

      • Bruce

        Pugh out-Dunns Dunn.

    • John

      Didn’t they market Sydney Leroux? Mixed black then full black and had tattoos? Kid is who they are after.

    • Frozen Blue

      I just don’t know, Dunn has worked her butt off playing several positions for the national team and when she proves forward is her best position in NWSL play, they ask her to play outside mid and she works hard to learn that position. Pugh is definitely her problem. Dunn could have had the story line for this Olympics as the come back kid instead they have chosen the “phenom” in Pugh and she is now only criticized with rose colored googles and overly praised for everything she does

      • AlexH

        It’s not just a matter of what your best position is. It is a matter of you being better at your best position than the competition. Dunn is competing against Pugh, Morgan, Lloyd and Heath for the starting job. I personally think she should start over Pugh but the margin is narrow enough that I can understand how a coach could favor Pugh over Dunn.

        • NYRick

          One can lay claim that Dunn should start over any of the 4 you mention. That wouldn’t be far fetched. She is not chopped liver and has a penchant of scoring goals through hard work and grit.

          • guest29

            and yet she was a no-show the last two games. Dunn has speed and this may work against weaker teams, but come on

          • NYRick

            How was Dunn a no-show? Best defensive forward on the pitch v France (in fact saved both KO and Kling from much more embarrassment on the flank) and against Colombia had a goal and an assist.

          • mockmook

            Maybe the “best defensive forward” should be playing as a WB or OB.

    • Guest

      Press is probably the cleanest image of the entire team. She is a marketers dream which is why she is second only to Morgan in endorsements and media opps despite never playing

      • Steglitz49

        The money ratio is probably more like 10:1 than 2:1 though.

    • Frode

      Press doesn’t fit the mold for Ellis’s attacking players: strong, fast, and aggressive. It’s not that Ellis doesn’t value finesse and skill (see Brian in the midfield), it’s just not what she prioritizes in her attacking 5. On a team like France, for example, Press would get a lot more playing time.

      Dunn has been overtaken in short order by Pugh, whom Ellis sees as more dynamic, more skillful and overall a better fit for the wing position. Hard to argue. Both players are pretty phenomenal though.

      • NYRick

        That’s a great point you just made concerning Ellis’s player evaluation. Aside from her collision with Popp in the WC semi last year, I find Brian to be the most gun-shy non-aggressive player on the pitch, and that includes having Press on the pitch at the same time with her. That’s her style and I don’t have a problem with it. Personally I think a midfielder needs a bit of Roy Keane in he/her as well too, but Brian has a high skill set and gets away with it.

        But as you say, Ellis prefers the strong fast aggressive front 5 player. Even though Pugh or Dunn are small in stature, they are extremely aggressive and relentless. And you can bet if Syd was still around, she would be the favored forward probably before Press as well in Ellis’s eyes. Not making excuses, but this team is all wrong for CP in terms of how it’s constructed and how the lineups are chosen.

        I think newsouth said it best about 4 years ago on here and he was absolutely right…Press looks Brazilian and it’s too bad she wasn’t on team Brazil because that would have been her ticket to huge international stardom. She would be their missing piece.

        • Guest

          There is no player on the team that looks more Brazilian than Tobin and she is starting. Ellis simply prefers Morgan to Press to their detriment, in my opinion, against France. A little more finesse and awareness from our CF in that game was sorely missed. I thought Morgan’s runs and movement off the ball were, quite honestly, terrible until the last 20 minutes. She kept trying to run channels against a disciplined back line that kept pace with her. She should have recognized that early when Tobin played a great long ball to her and Mbock kept pace and shoved her off the ball. Press doesn’t run the channels as often to begin with and would have stopped right away. I think Horan also would have been better and dropping off and holding up.

          • Frode

            Yes! I thought the exact same thing about Morgan in that game. I also wondered if Morgan recognized it but was told to keep making runs (by Lloyd perhaps). Morgan is a smart player, and I couldn’t understand why she kept bashing her head against the wall, so to speak. Ellis seems almost superstitious in her refusal to change tactics when the situation dictates. Opposing coaches take advantage of this.

        • mockmook

          When healthy, I don’t think Brian is passive at all. She is just more disciplined than some players, i.e., she stays in her role.

      • Guest

        I don’t agree. Tobin and Pinoe are the definition of finesse. Ellis feels as if Morgan is her best CF which is not something I agree with against certain teams.

        • Frode

          Heath and Rapinoe (when healthy) are also fast, aggressive players. All I’m trying to say is that Ellis has selected players and tactics that rely heavily on speed, fitness and aggression. I think she honestly believes these players/tactics can consistently beat any team in the world. But I agree with you that there are some situations where she needs to switch tactics and personnel toward a more possession-oriented style. The problem is that she has spent precious little time developing these alternative tactics/players.

          • Guest

            Press is way faster than Rapinoe(when healthy) and has improved her fitness considerably from last year. Press is also plenty aggressive. She leads the NWSL in shots by a big margin. Almost every time I watch Tobin and I think she needs to be more aggressive at one point or another.

          • Frode

            I agree on Press. She has really improved her fitness, work rate and physical presence. And she is one of the faster players on the team. Personally, I would love to see Press have a bigger role at the #9, #10, and even CAM on occasion. Ellis keeps hinting at this, but she hasn’t committed to it as a regular option. We may see this yet in the knock out stage if a team like Sweden or China hunkers down for a tie and a shootout (although Sweden’s defense has looked abysmal). I am fairly certain we’ll see this more and more after the OGs.

            Heath is a fantastic talent who, more than anyone on the team, needs to learn how to finish. In Ellis’s formation, Heath frequently finds herself in front of the net. If anyone should be called for missing opportunities over the course of 2016, it’s Heath. She’s such a wizard with the ball, people often forget this.

          • Guest

            Heath can definitely be better in certain situations but I don’t agree that she needs to be a regular goal scorer to be a great player. She positively impacts matches in lots of other ways and has easily been Portland’s MVP so far despite only scoring once.

          • Frode

            She doesn’t need to be a regular goal scorer, but she needs to shoot and score when she has the opportunity, which is quite frequent in the current offensive set. The shot she had that resulted in a Lloyd tap in was great. Heath needs to do more of that. All players can improve.

          • Guest

            I don’t really agree that Heath often finds her self in those positions with an open shot. Most of the time she is far away from the mouth of goal creating width. The penalty area is also very crowded with both Morgan and Lloyd always in it. The only reason Heath had that much time to shoot in the France game was because France’s defense wasn’t set from an earlier set piece.

          • Frode

            Perhaps you are thinking of 2015 and earlier, when Heath played wide in the 4-4-2 (often swapping sides with Rapinoe). In that formation, she played with her heels on the line and often sent in crosses from wide out. In the 4-3-3 and the 4-2-3-1, the wingers are forwards who come in and attack centrally. This is why Heath finds herself in scoring position more often. Ellis has frequently commented that she wants her wings central during the attack. The width is provided by the outside backs.

          • Guest

            I’m not saying she hasn’t missed a sitter or two this year just that she isn’t a player likely to even attempt more than 1 shot per game on average.

          • mockmook

            “she isn’t a player likely to even attempt more than 1 shot per game on average”

            That’s the problem.

          • Guest

            I don’t agree Heath doesn’t need to be a goal scorer to be a very effective offensive player. The comparison isn’t exactly great but a player like Iniesta is an all time great player that never scored a lot of goals. 12 in 113 CAPS for Spain and 34 in 389 CAPS for Barcelona and he played on the wing in his 20’s. I don’t think the USWNT needs more players taking shots they need players who create better chances against good teams and defenses. I think that Heath has by and large done that in the first two games of the Olympics. In the NWSL Heath has easily been Portland’s best player without scoring many goals because she is the focal point for most of their attacks and runs their offense. Her absence in the Seattle game that featured all US players and Sinclair was severely felt as Portland struggled to create chances without her. The USWNT has plenty of players who can score goals. For comparisons sake, Dunn and Pugh don’t take a lot of shots from the wing either and they haven’t really scored that many more goals than Heath from the wing. Taking account the Colombia game Pugh now has 3 goals from the wing and Dunn has 5. Pugh has one as a CAM and Dunn has 6 as a CF where 5 came against puerto rico. In terms of goals and assists I think on the year they are all pretty comparable from the wing.

          • guest

            heath and rapinoe are not fast. they have average speed. they are not beating anyone to the endline

  • thegirlnextdior

    Players like Press, Dunn, Harris, Naeher are so unlucky to be in the same generation as Lloyd, and Solo and Morgan because they aren’t ever going to get quality minutes. Lloyd’s even worse, talking about wanting to go thru 2020.That’s selfish as hell. as for Morgan, it’s not her fault the coaches love her, and has just about everything going for her//endorsements…

    • Steglitz49

      Alex Morgan has earned her right: 2010, 2011 and 2012, not to mention all the other matches.

      • thegirlnextdior

        That too. I truly can’t decide if Christen Press is a quality player or not. She gets so many good lucks in games in tournaments,and it seems like she’s a choke artist.

        • Steglitz49

          She is very fetching, though.

          • Idea

            Maybe her girl Tobin needs to give Jill an elbow or two and nudge Christen into a starting spot full time? Help her out, Tobs.

          • NYRick

            I actually thought that may help a short time ago. I underestimated just how powerful Lloyd has become. It’s sick.

        • Guest

          Cleanest player on the pitch last night.

          • NYRick

            Maybe she needs to be a little dirty. Clean gets you nowhere in this program. Being nice doesn’t work either.

          • #1Fan

            by clean do you mean in terms of performance?

          • Steglitz49

            what else, pray?

          • HOFCToDi

            Rio Olympics 2016
            USA vs COL

            rio2016.com/en/football-womens-first-round-group-g-fb-5

            Stats, Individual
            Christen Press
            Shot Attempts – 4
            Shots on Goal – 1
            Goals Scored – 0

        • NYRick

          Press needs a big goal against either France, Germany or Brazil this next week. Big as in win the game big. Then things will drastically (very drastically) change for her. All perception will be lifted. Right now she is carrying King Kong on her shoulders. She had a big goal at the WC (winner in game 1 vs. Aussies), but then Ellis shredded her confidence again by not playing her rest of the tournament.

          Key is (as a sub this OG, which is the only way she is playing with Ellis), she needs to deliver (as in tear a top team’s heart out near the end and make US fans scream and holler in delight). For her, as unfair as that may be, that’s her only way. And as Blur once sang, “There’s no other way.”

          • thegirlnextdior

            Hard to have confidence in yourself, if even your coaches have no belief in you.

          • NYRick

            Coaches don’t have an ounce of belief in her for a big game. That is painfully obvious. Some of that has to fall on her, but some of the thinking of the staff is puzzling too. Which leads you into catering to Morgan and Lloyd’s sponsors and popularity.

          • #1Fan

            we dont see what goes on in camp. That part cannot be underestimated.

          • NYRick

            And Allen Iverson wouldn’t have started for the Sixers in his heyday either, I guess.

          • #1Fan

            Im with you, I jsut know how the USSF operates

        • Steglitz49

          She could always call on Uchimura tonight and ask for some tips on how not to choke.

          • HOFCToDi

            There is only one true female international superstar who will attend or has attended Stanford at the Rio Olympics 2016:

            youtube.com/watch?v=JHbNKX3VkIM

          • Steglitz49

            The aquatic center at Stanford is truly amazing. If you have the academic grades, it is the place to swim.

          • HOFCToDi

            At the age of 19, Katie Ledecky has won three Olympic gold medals. At the age of 27, Christen Press has won none. By the way, Katie Ledecky was also named the female swimmer of the meet at the 2015 World Championships. Katie Ledecky is the first swimmer to win the 200-, 400-, 800- and 1500-meter freestyles in a major competition. Christen Press has yet to win an individual international award.

            Triumphant anchor leg (1:53.74) by Katie Ledecky to bring home the gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

            rio2016.com/en/swimming-womens-4-x-200m-freestyle-relay-final

            Women’s 200m Freestyle

            rio2016.com/en/swimming-standings-sw-womens-200m-freestyle

            Katie Ledecky – 1:53.73

      • #1Fan

        be careful. i re-iterate my car analogy. She is the main striker on a team that has all the advantages. Show me ONE US forward that does NOT have good scoring numbers ? If you are given a cahnce to play you WILL score.

        • Steglitz49

          Car? Volvo? Ferrari? or Chevy to the levy?

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press – 1958 Ford Edsel

          • Kevin

            HOFCToDi – more worthless than used toilet paper.

          • NYRick

            Stop with the compliments.

          • Steglitz49

            You are having me on. Was there really a car called “donkey”?

            One of the all time great men’s club teams were the Grande Torino who all sadly perished in an plane crash in 1949 but I thought the car was just called Gran Turino.

          • HOFCToDi

            1958 Ford Edsel

            content.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867_1657781,00.html

        • HOFCToDi

          The career statistics against Top Ten FIFA Ranked opponents, which incidentally the USWNT will face during the knockout stage of Rio Olympics 2016 (SWE, AUS or BRA).

          FIFA Top Ten Ranked Opponents
          USWNT Goals Scored
          Morgan (DOB 02 Jul 1989) – 33
          Leroux (DOB 07 May 1990) – 8
          Press (DOB 29 Dec 1988) – 3
          Dunn (DOB 03 Jul 1992) – 2

          Heck, Crystal Dunn may catch up to Christen Press against SWE at the age of 24.

          • #1Fan

            starts, ? Minutes played? Goals per min played ?

          • HOFCToDi

            Do your own research.

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/stats

            Caps
            Press – 73
            Leroux – 75
            Dunn – 38

          • #1Fan

            Im not the one inserting stats to prove a point. you are . your stats add zero to the debate.

          • HOFCToDi

            The last three starts for the USWNT, Christen Press has posted goose eggs. Look it up yourself.

          • skybolt

            I really wouldn’t bother posting these stats. If roles were reversed and Press was dominating strong opponents like Morgan has, her fans would be laughing at us for comparing the two. Let’s not forget that Morgan was out-performing A-Rod by a landslide for 2 years before she was given an opportunity to start. When she did start she scored twice against Canada, New Zealand and Denmark. then a few matches later, 3 against Sweden. If she hadn’t, A-Rod or Leroux would’ve been starting alongside Wambach.

          • Reality

            You neglect to mention just like the cut and paste troll that Ellis seldom plays Press against strong opponents and when she does, she usually plays Press out of position often at flank. She is a striker but has been blocked at that position.

          • HOFCToDi

            Excuses are for losers. You are a loser.

          • Troll Monitor

            This coming from a Troll who has his own credibility issues.

          • HOFCToDi

            Poor Pressie Pooh! No individual international awards for you.

          • Steglitz49

            He is quite lucid on many and various subjects but then he goes of on these repeptitive monomanic tangents. It is fascinating, truly.

          • NYRick

            What people fail to always understand regarding scoring in any sport, it comes down to the position played and the strategy a coach builds into that position. But for example, as a general rule in basketball, a shooting guard is always going to put up more actual point numbers than the point guard IF both are functioning correctly in the team concept.

            The flank argument is the one I find most laughable. What US player in their entire history lit it up on the flank? Even their best player now in Heath rarely scores goals. HAO had a million caps and has about 50 career goals, if that I think. Put Mia, put Morgan, put freakin Abby out on the flank for their time on the pitch and then get back to me on goals from the flank. If Pugh is destined to play the flank her entire career on this team, she is setting no all-time scoring records.

          • Guest

            Players who can score from the flank need a very specific skill set that most WoSo players do not have. They need to be able to dribble into traffic and be excellent ball strikers. They also need to have the license to crash the goal when the opposite flank has the ball and make runs torwards goal. Press scored when she started on the flank because she often came into the box and sat there.

          • NYRick

            All well and good, but the general logic in the sport of soccer simply dictates that the players who play closest to goal are going to 9 times out of 10 be your marquee celebrity scorers. Players like CR7 (more of a hybrid), the incredible Messi (more of a freak of nature) and the brilliant Marta (a hybrid as well) being the exceptions to the rule.

          • Guest

            Messi might line up on the flank but if you look at his heat maps, he spends most of the game in the area of the field typically occupied by a CAM right outside the box in the center of the pitch. Ronaldo ranges from flank to flank but spends quite a bit of time in the center as well. Most of Messi’s and Ronaldo’s goals come from inside the box below the penalty spot. They are given mostly free roles with their teams though. Marta is a forward.

          • NYRick

            The rare talents you can freelance with and let them improvise. But Carli is not in that class. That’s why I’ve said in the past, if it’s a Marta that you are allowing to play like Carli, then I’m fine with it. Her exceptional talent has to be exploited. And I think Marta has floated between a CAM and a forward during her career for club and country.

          • Steglitz49

            Marta is the greatest. There is BM Marta and AM Marta. Maybe there are other Martas too?

          • thegirlnextdior

            you’re describing CR7

          • Guest

            There are multiple players on the men’s side that can do this but I’m not sure CR7 is really a dribbler anymore.

          • Reality

            Ellis playing Press on the flank was just another example of her poor judgement in her utilization of the roster. I appreciate that she has a plethora of talent and is attempting to use players wherever possible. However, her decisions are too often skewed by seniority, team politics, and popularity.

          • NYRick

            Right now, Lloyd is Favre and Press is Rodgers. It’s a very simple way of looking at, but all you need to know is that Rodgers doesn’t ever get to be or become Rodgers unless Favre is moved out. The Packers had tremendous courage, because if you think Lloyd is unmovable because of the WC final, then Favre was Mt. Rushmore in Green Bay.

          • Bruce

            Your analogy would be spot on if the Packers had played Rodgers at QB, Cornerback and Left Offensive Tackle.

          • skybolt

            Here’s the thing, I think most people on these boards agree that Press is an exceptional player. For the most part she does great work on the pitch and has deserved her spot on this team. What I’m basically saying is that when the stakes are high and the opposing team applies the pressure in do or die situations, she hasn’t risen to the challenge like the Martas, Wambachs, Lloyds, etc. of this world. This goes back to the college championship game against Notre Dame where she was out played by Melissa Henderson, to the European championships where everyone was expecting her come thru after a great regular season, and even in the NWSL where her team lost 3-0 in the playoffs last year, and didn’t qualify the previous year when they needed a result in the final match. At the 2014 Algarve Cup she only scored one goal as a forward when Morgan was injured and the team finished 7th.

            Again, if we’re talking regular season, I’d take her hands down over Morgan and Lloyd if my life depended on it. Unfortunately, for whatever reason she hasn’t performed up to her level when the stakes are high. It’s sort of like me throwing the baby bottle behind my back and catching it blind folded when everything is hunky dorey, but as soon as the baby starts crying and my wife is yelling at me, I start fumbling that bottle like a 2-year old.

            Press needs to make good with her limited opportunities just like Morgan did in 2012. Let’s not forget that Morgan scored against France and Japan in the WC as a SUB, but was still relegated below A-Rod and Leroux for a few matches after 1 bad performance against a tomato can team. Unfortunately, in this business when you get the limited opportunities you have to make the best of them. This means that even if you’re playing center back, if you find yourself in front of goal as a striker, you have to score.

          • Reality

            Thank you for a well thought out and constructive comment. I basically agree with your critique of Press in her failure to meet the challenge of big moments in her career. She obviously has the potential to rise to these occasions but has not yet done so. And each time she does not, it not only hurts her confidence level but also creates questions for her peers on the field and the coaching staff.

            I don’t fault her for the WC2015 since she had the winning goal against Australia and the tie against Sweden was a team failure. Unfortunately, Ellis chose to ignore her for the rest of the tournament and I think that had an adverse effect upon her. But the best players with true heart rise above disappointment and continue to strive to the best of their ability.

            This past game with Columbia where she failed to score may lead Ellis to shut her down again as in the WC. It would be a real test of her character to recover from that. So much of life is in timing and good fortune combined with the ardor to seize the opportunity when it presents itself. Press has had to deal with many disappointments in her quest to be a starter on the NT. Many of them were beyond her control. But those critical moments where she could have advanced her case were not taken advantage of by her. Sports is a microcosm of life where triumph and tragedy are played out in dramatic fashion. I hope that Press has opportunities in the future to prove herself but, given the present circumstances, the outlook is clouded. I wish her the very best.

          • skybolt

            Thank you. In all honesty, I completely get why fans want Press to succeed at this level. She definitely has the skill (for instance the goal she scored against Amy Lepeilbet in the NWSL…….sic). She’s also intelligent and extremely sweet. Unfortunately, when it comes to high stakes and sports, we tend to cheer for those players who help our favorite teams win championships. For instance, I never really liked Romario and Ronaldo’s personalities, but since they propelled my team Brazil to a WC victory, they will always be a couple of my favorite players. At the same time, players like Lloyd are very hard to cheer for, but they get the job done when it matters. Some people can get past that, while others can’t. It is what it is I guess.

          • Reality

            I must confess that I don’t agree with the Machiavellian dictum that “The ends justify the means” neither in sports or in life. Winning is important but I also think that how we win is also important both for the present and the future. While losing has consequences, how we win also shapes the NT future in terms of our roster, culture, tactics, and attitudes. When we win, we tend to think that nothing should change whereas defeat causes assessment. But victory should also give pause as to what worked and what did not especially going forward. While I think that Ellis talks a good game in terms of improving the team, this is not always borne out by her actions in favoring veterans which predicates a certain style of play that is not always the best choice. We’ll see how this plays out in the OG and beyond.

          • skybolt

            Perhaps when it comes to the Olympics you may have a point since we’ve won it 3 straight times. However, the USWNT needed that WC victory really badly to keep the ship moving. For a team being touted as the best in the world, going 20 years without a title would’ve been a huge disappointment, even if the team was comprised off 22 Mother Teresa’s.

            I completely get the idea of technical abilities trumping individual skills, but until a team like France wins anything, the individual player mentality will always prevail, with most national teams catering to pompous players like Ronaldo. Unfortunately, most people watching sports don’t care about the ends justifying the means mentality. Heck, as a kid I used to pray Saturday night that John Elway gets slightly injured (nothing permanent) so he doesn’t face my Raiders the following day.

          • Reality

            Well, we certainly have had a number of arrogant individual players whose success has created a certain culture and style of play on our team…Wambach, Solo and now Lloyd. While we have gained victories with these personalities, I don’t think that they are role models for the best that we can offer. I think that is part of the reason that Press has found success elusive on the NT. She does not fit in in terms of her style of play, nor personality, nor attitude in the team culture. As a result, her opportunities have been limited. Even if she had been able to make a big splash in the few big games she played, I doubt whether that would have resulted in her elevation. But, the team culture does reflect to some extent the larger context of our own culture where obnoxious braggadocio is looked upon as a virtue. While Press has done well enough under these circumstances both on the team and in the benefits derived in the market place, I think that she might be happier in Europe.

          • Bruce

            What sticks in my craw about Lloyd is that she forces the team to play a crippled style that sets her up to be the hero. They could dominate if she would just do her damn job and not worry about personal glory.

          • NYRick

            Fabulous post. Agree with every word.

            And it pains me to admit that as a big Press supporter. I fear we are not going to see much of her the rest of this OG as well. She must score to retain any relevancy for Ellis. Point is, if you know that (from her standpoint that is), than find a freakin way. Put the ball in the net. If you want it bad enough and have a chip and something to prove, then you get it done. When the clear look is there, you bury it. She’s certainly skilled enough to do that. Probably as all her teammates tend to say, the best finisher on the team. Well, if that’s the case, prove it. Even in a limited role.

            We talk often here of Lloyd being selfish and having a chip etc. Well, sometimes you have to take a cue from that if you are positioned below her by the staff on the food chain. Have the same chip. Have a bigger one in fact. Christen is too nice.

          • skybolt

            The thing is Rick, we don’t really know what goes on through Press’s head. I bet if someone asked her to trade places with Lloyd, she’d probably reject the offer, since it would mean she’d become very self centered as well. Just compare that to our every day jobs. For instance, even though my boss is making twice as much as me, I wouldn’t trade places with him since I’d now have to take on the responsibility of firing people. I think Morgan tries to create a balance between being nice and a bull dog at the same time, but even she has her moments, especially when getting sub’d out. Press has decided to be a team player, not go out of her way to injure opponents, and just be happy with her position on this team. Heck, I wish I was smiling all the time.

          • NYRick

            When I look at a great female role model athlete, a new one has emerged this week. And simply she may be the greatest female swimmer the world has seen to date, and she’s only 19. One Katie Ledecky. Have you heard interviews with this girl? Humble as can be, all class, and extremely complimentary to her teammates, coaches and family. What I’m saying is that this is how we like our athletes/heroes to be in a perfect world. However, the world is not perfect. The jerk athlete (CR7, Carli, Hope, Richard Sherman etc.) seem to get the spoils and then rub our faces in it.

            As for CP, only she knows what goes on inside her head. I look at this way, she didn’t get to be great and famous in her sport (which she is anyway you slice it) without having an ego and a very determined spirit. Like you say, since she is sweet, articulate and humble, we root for her to really come through. Sometimes though, Hollywood endings aren’t in the cards all the time. I don’t see her getting much of a chance these last 3 matches, but if she does, even for 10 minutes, she has to find a big moment.

          • skybolt

            Absolutely. This world is not perfect. In a perfect world where everyone is playing by the rules, I have no doubt Press would be one of the best in the world. However, I can imagine someone with her sweet personality getting frustrated after an intentional forearm to the head by Tancredi with some additional trash talking to go with it. Heck, if this were the zombie apocalypse, Press would perish within the first day since she’d try and care for the infected, while Lloyd would get hold of a tank and take out both friend or foe, in route to becoming the next Negan.

          • NYRick

            LOL. Negan as is Walking Dead! Love it. Actually I can easily see Carli in that role, or maybe the role that the actress with the red hair (Allison Witt?) played as one of Negan’s gang. Can’t wait till it comes back soon. I think the first victim of that dreaded bat though was Glenn. Just a hunch, don’t know for sure.

            Actually though in the Colombia match, wasn’t there an instance where a player lashed back at Press for a perceive hard foul? Maybe there is hope after all. But you are right, in the zombie apocalypse, Press is no Carol.

          • skybolt

            Haha………..while we’re making comparisons, I’d go with Klingenberg as Aria in Game of Thrones, Wambach as Lady Brienne, Hope Solo as Cersei Lannister and Carli Lloyd as the Night King.

            Going back to your last point though, individual sports are a bit different than team sports. In team sports (not counting swimming relays or gymnastic team competitions), the superstars are typically very outspoken and arrogant. Even a nice guy like Payton Manning has a chip on his shoulder.

          • NYRick

            You know I’m late to the game with GOT. Hear it’s pretty awesome. I’m going to start watching the back years on Netflix. But I certainly like Emilia Clarke so that’s a start. Saw her on Broadway a couple of years ago.

            As for characters, any chance Press can develop into an WD version of Maggie? She has the looks and the sweetness but Maggie is one tough girl.

            Agree with your view of the individual sport athlete v the team athlete. There were a couple of individual sport villains (like a McEnroe is his day or what Lance Armstrong became), but for the most part the jerks tend to really surface in team sports. NFL receivers and corner backs are a good starting point.

          • skybolt

            Sorry Rick, Press is Beth all the way. They’re both very sweet, but unfortunately waited too long to make their impact known. Just like Beth, fans will not like it if Press is left off the squad, and will demand she come back.

          • NYRick

            Ha ha Beth, Maggie’s sister. Great comparison. I was really starting to like Beth. Mr. Dixon also seem to have a thing for her too, so I thought she was destined for a big role moving forward. You know, the actress who plays Beth is a fabulous singer in real life as well. My wife and I go to a lot of Broadway and I saw her in Spring Awakening a few years back. I think she also has cut an album or two and has a pretty big fan following.

            But like you say, much like Beth, Press’s days may be starting to get numbered since her impact window is passing her by.

          • skybolt

            I do agree that Press has added some physicality to her game. The next step is to bang the ground with her hand as she misses a shot, and raises her arms to the sky, cursing the soccer gods.

          • Reality

            While you have made some perceptive comments about Press in regard to her not making a splash in the big games of her career, your remarks about her being “sweet” also reflect a distinct condescension on your part in regard to her strengths as a player. Because you are a fan of physical play, while you give lip service to Press, you apparently do not value the finesse and skill that Press brings to the game. Soccer is more than brute force, hard tackles, crude egotism, and selfish play. That is not what makes it the beautiful game. Press has reached her level of excellence by developing a refinement in her play that has made her one of the premiere forwards in Woso. Her work ethic is the equal if not superior to anyone. And her determination to succeed despite many obstacles is a tribute to her character. Ellis has not favored her on the NT and it could be said that she has been mismanaged and disrespected. While it is obvious that you are a Morgan fan and admire Lloyd’s crudities, your portrait of Press is narrow and one dimensional.

          • skybolt

            Okkkkayyyy, not sure how you got all that from my previous posts, which gave credit to Press’s skill level and acknowledged that I’d take her over Morgan and Lloyd in NWSL regular season competition.

            On the contrary, I think you’re the one who’s belittling players who step up in pressure situations and label them as just fitness only, crude players who bully themselves onto the starting line-up. Guess what, the 3rd goal Lloyd scored against Japan from midfield required skill. Even the first goal required perfect timing and some help from Morgan for doing the little things and blocking back 3 defenders to free up space. Carli also scored 2 beautiful rockets against Japan in the 2012 Olympics championship game.

            Morgan’s goal against Germany in the She Believes Cup required skill, intelligence, speed and courage. First of all she held her run slightly to block the defender and then sprinted to the ball to give her space. She then flicked the ball over the defender and finished with her right foot even though the keeper barreled into her with open studs.

            Yes, I am Morgan fan and like many of her attributes, including the “will to win”. What impressed me back in 2014 was that even though she was out for 9 months, she still managed to score 2 goals against France as a sub, but was still gloomy after the match since the US didn’t win. At the end of the day, skill can only get you so far as a superstar. You need fitness, leadership, physicality, stamina, vision, heart, courage, the will to win, and of course skill. Messi is probably the most skilled player in the game today, but he also puts his body on the line to earn free kicks or penalties. Same thing with Marta.

            Again, I;m not saying Press doesn’t have the attributes described above (she does), but she needs to bring her “A” game to crucial matches, since everyone else is. No matter how you slice it, knockout stage games are way more intense than the regular season. You have to bring it or the team will not win the cup. I’m assuming that if you’re a fan of any sports team you want them to win. Do you think Chicago Cubs fans will be happy with the team playing well in the regular season but losing in the playoffs? Of course not. All team sports will have physical play to them, otherwise, I’d just watch chess matches on Youtube.

            Moving forward Press has to make her mark in the next 3 matches as a sub (as Morgan did in 2011). I don’t care if she’s playing left back, if you are in front of goal as a former striker, you score. It’s as simple as that. Same goes to Morgan as well. If she finishes this tournament with only 2 goals and the team loses, then I’d consider it failure.

          • Reality

            Okkkkayyyy, here’s where…While you are more subtle and balanced in your critique of Press than Steg or his alter ego, the cut and paste troll, it is clear from…your innuendos re: Mother Theresa, constant references to “sweetness”, comparisons to GOT characters, exaltation of physical play over finesse, implications that Press lacks sufficient aggressiveness to excel, promoting selfish play compared to team play, suggesting that Press is “happy” with her position on the team, constant comparisons with Morgan to praise her and deprecate Press…that your agenda is basically to diminish Press particularly in regard to Morgan.

            My criticisms of Lloyd are not unique and I think that we could be doing much better in our team play without her since her presence on the pitch inhibits and restricts our run of play, mid-field coherence, and effective possession and passing. Other players end up covering for Lloyd since she is always helicoptering around the goal. Some may say, “But look at all the important goals she scores”. I say it is at the expense of the whole team which could be truly dominant instead of just getting by in depending upon the failures of our opposition.

            While I am primarily a Press fan, I am also a Morgan fan and I regard the two of them as the best forwards on the team who should be playing together regularly as starters in every game. I find that commentators here who are Morgan fans often appear to be Press’s biggest critics and resist the idea of any such collaboration. I think they would balance and enhance each other’s play very nicely.

            So while I appreciate and agree with some of your remarks re: Press and acknowledge that you give her some faint praise, I beg to differ with your overall assessment of her which is narrowly focused. This difference in opinion is probably grounded in our different philosophies about sports in general and soccer in particular.

          • skybolt

            I’m assuming you mean the philosophy of watching my favorite sports team play and wanting them to win competitions. Okay, perhaps I’ve been wrong all these years and should treat sports as a fun getaway and be happy whether my team wins or loses. Trust me, it would definitely reduce my stress level. Maybe you’re onto something there.

            Going back to the argument with Press vs. Morgan, I have agreed in the past that we should be playing a 4-4-2 system with both players starting as forwards and Lloyd in the middle. Carli can still get her goals on set plays. My main contention with what I hear from Press only fans is the distinction between fantasy and reality. Fantasy being that if my favorite player was starting every match she’d dominate top 10 opponents just as easily as Morgan, Wambach or Lloyd. This philosophy completely diminishes the accomplishments of the greats in this game. I can easily understand the argument of give this player a chance and see what they can do. However, a lot of what I hear is a forgone conclusion that if my favorite player was given a chance they’d be the best in the world due to their skill level. I’m basically saying there’s more to it than that and we shouldn’t take players that have actually accomplished a lot at the highest level for granted. Heck, there was a time when people were saying that Hagen would be better than Wambach, and it’s crazy why she isn’t starting based on her play in Europe. Where is that argument now?

          • Reality

            I think that you are conflating my remarks with NYRick’s. I have not made any extravagant claims re: Press but rather have argued they she has been consistently mismanaged by Ellis and has never had a real opportunity to achieve her potential with the team. Press is the type of player who would flourish as a starter in a regular role in her natural position at forward as opposed to a utility substitute player or occasional fill in at CF against weak teams. This would give her the opportunity to sync with her team mates and gain confidence. Unfortunately Ellis’s treatment of her has undoubtedly undermined that confidence. Whether she will ever have the opportunity to repair that is open to question as long as Ellis is the coach.

            So while I like to see my team win, I also think that how you play the game is important in sports and in life. I hope that we win today and will be curious to see how we accomplish that. As I had said previously, winning can reinforce bad habits especially when there is no willingness to change.

          • HOFCToDi

            The last three starts for Christen Press ….. goose eggs.

            Christen Press
            Rio Olympics 2016
            9 Aug 2016
            USA 2 COL 2
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots 4, Shots on Goal 1

            rio2016.com/en/football-womens-first-round-group-g-fb-5

            Christen Press
            International Women’s Friendly
            9 Jul 2016
            USA 1 RSA 0
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots 2, Shots on Goal 0

            foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=26928

            Christen Press
            International Women’s Friendly
            5 Jun 2016
            USA 2 JPN 0
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots 2, Shots on Goal 1

            foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=26862

          • HOFCToDi

            The “Press Gang Troll Brigade” have failed miserably at the laughable propaganda to discredit/vilify any player on the USWNT roster at the expense of Christen Press since the conclusion of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

            Christen Press
            USWNT
            Tournament Record

            Algarve Cup
            2013 – 1 goal(s), 0 assist(s)
            2014 – 1 goal(s), 0 assist(s)
            2015 – 1 goal(s), 1 assist(s)

            SheBelieves Cup
            2016 – 0 goal(s), 0 assist(s)

            CONCACAF Women’s Championship
            2014 – 2 goal(s), 1 assist(s)

            CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
            2016 – 2 goal(s), 1 assist(s)

            FIFA Women’s World Cup
            2015 – 1 goal(s), 0 assist(s)

            Christen Press has scored multiple goals in a tournament when the opponent was either HAI (FIFA Rank #60) or PUR (FIFA Rank #108). Neither opponent reached the knockout stage of the respective CONCACAF Women’s tournament.

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2014-concacaf-womens-championship/141020-wntvhai#tab-1

            fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/women/rank=547/concacaf.html

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2016-concacaf-womens-olympic-qualifying-championship/160215-wnt-v-pur#tab-1

            fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/women/rank=552/concacaf.html

          • NYRick

            Let’s not make it about Press and Morgan. Both would put up great numbers as strictly a forward on this team, and I think Press would score in big games as a forward too playing consistently there. This is about the asinine decision to have to play Carli as the withdrawn forward (which in turn indirectly affects the skill set and positioning of about 5 other talented players on the pitch at once. And not in the best way either).

          • kernel_thai

            Morgan at forward with Press at the #10 is a better deal for Press than starting at forward. Press gets the same scoring opportunities while Morgan gets keyed on by the defense.

          • HOFCToDi

            The “Press Gang Troll Brigade” have failed miserably at the laughable propaganda to discredit any player on the USWNT roster at the expense of Christen Press since the conclusion of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

            Christen Press was given the opportunity to start at forward in calendar year 2015, four of the first twelve matches:

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/lineups/2015-lineups

            USA vs FRA
            Christen Press – 0 goals, 0 assists

            ussoccer.com/matches/wnt/2015/150208-wnt-vs-fra#tab-1

            USA vs SUI
            Christen Press – 0 goals, 0 assists

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-algarve-cup/150306-wnt-v-sui#tab-1

            USA vs MEX
            Christen Press – 0 goals, 0 assists

            ussoccer.com/matches/wnt/2015/150517-wnt-v-mex#tab-1

            USA vs SWE
            Christen Press – 0 goals, 0 assists

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup/150612-wntvswe#tab-1

            Christen Press posted a slew of goose eggs.

          • HOFCToDi

            The “Press Gang Troll Brigade” have failed miserably at the laughable propaganda to discredit any player on the USWNT roster at the expense of Christen Press since the conclusion of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2016-olympic-games#tab-5

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2016-shebelieves-cup#tab-5

            Christen Press …… goose eggs.

          • kernel_thai

            Not so sure about that. I’ll support the argument that if Press had Morgan’s minutes she might have a similar goal total but Morgan has a high amount of big opponent goals and Im not sure that translates to minutes played as much as just be a clutch player.

          • Kevin

            He never posts the full facts or statistics, only the stats that fit his trolling narrative. You should know that by now.

          • Steglitz49

            I think he is hung up on the figure of 33. There is some numerology at play here, no doubt.

            Cruyff scored 33 goals in his 48 matches for the NL while Nordahl scored 43 in his 33 matches for Sweden.

        • skybolt

          I think A-Rod has something to say about that. Poor girl must be the worst player in the world, scoring zero goals and having zero assists in the 2011 WC in 5 matches (playing with the US squad). No, wait, she almost led the NWSL league in goals in 2014 and was the hero in 2 straight finals.

          I hate the fact that these girls are given very little credit by winning these tournaments. Who cares if they play inferior teams like Columbia during the group stage. For instance, Germany is leading Fiji 10-0 today on the men’s side. Does that mean it’s unfair since since no Fijian players can crack the German national team? Eventually Germany will face tough opponents, just like the USWNT. Are you saying that Henri or Marozsan won’t crack the USWNT starting line-up?

          • #1Fan

            Where did I say unfair? it goes with all the hoopla of being prohibitive favorites

          • Steglitz49

            ARod became the token Hispanic once Cox started playing under her married name.

            We await Snchez and the “American” Flores twin. Huerta should have stayed “Mexican”. Maybe tequila and guacamole stick in the craw after a while?

  • #1Fan

    Lloyd is pure force of personality though . Like Wambach before her, it is not really supported by talent alone.

    • NYRick

      A good coach who has the reigns and the pulse of the team keeps that nonsense in check. Stars have always been bigger than the coach on this team dating back to DiCiccio. Regardless of the nonsense he spouts.

      • #1Fan

        Yes. The loudest one has gotten her way. But lets be fair, when Greg Ryan stood up to Solo and did not pick her, what happened ? results took precedence. So the player power culture only gained momentum. Seermanni , same fate. .

        • Steglitz49

          Results always should take precedence. Hope has proved her worth, not least in OG-12. Pia sorted out the mess of 2007.

          • NYRick

            I guess you would have been a fan of Ty Cobb too. BTW, did you once say on here that you knew Mr. Cobb personally?

          • Steglitz49

            Stolen bases and all that. I thought it was Lloyd George you were meant to know or rather your dad.

          • #1Fan

            actually he knew my father and father knew him 🙂

          • #1Fan

            I am not sure I agree. Culture is extremely important in getting results. US WoSo is unique in that tbh the level of competition is frankly very very weak , so they can and do get away with many things

        • NYRick

          Right. That’s where the power shift started. And don’t think Solo didn’t notice either. It accounts a lot for her past actions off the pitch with this team.

        • Bruce

          I find it hard to believe there is not a way to keep the loud one “happy” while not breaking the team in doing so. If Lloyd *has* to get serious minutes up front, fine – just don’t give her carte blanche to force the entire team to modify midfield and attacking formations.

          • kernel_thai

            Lloyd not only gets to play where she wants but I doubt opposing coaches stay awake night worrying how to stop her. Sure, they will key on her now for set pieces but if ur scheming to defend the US it’s Morgan, Heath, Pugh and Dunn ur worried about.

          • mockmook

            Indeed, it is desire that puts Lloyd in a position to score and then scoring. The competition just needs to concentrate on intensity to match her.

    • Guest

      If you mean personalities that smell like dirty diapers

      • NYRick

        ha ha

  • Cc W

    I found myself thinking about the WC last year – several teams came out of the gate running up scores and winning easily. The US struggled. Knock out round came and the US built momentum and peaked at the right time, while others buckled under the pressure. I said the same thing last year when they were tested by AUS and tied with Sweden, they needed those kind of games to get them focused and ready. It’s time now for the US to show why they are the number one team and I expect they will.

    • Frozen Blue

      I really hope so, just like the WC they haven’t shown us much so far.

    • #1Fan

      or better explanation. When you have the deepest, best funded, best prepared team, OVER TIME it shows.

      • Cc W

        Yup for sure!

      • AlexH

        I think that is true in a broad sense but the USWNT has shown the ability to rise to the occasion too. Lots of their victories have been in overtime and / or coming from behind. Funding and preparation gets you to the podium but character is what brings home the gold.

        • #1Fan

          Semantics. Funding, preparation = fitness. You should be asking why , with Almost ALL the advantages, it comes down to the wire? It really should not.

          • AlexH

            It’s about the stats. If you have a 90% chance of winning the QF, 80% chance of winning the SF and a 70% chance of winning the final your odds of becoming champion are 50%. The US has won 3 of 7 WC and 4 of 5 OG which is pretty damned good no matter how you slice it.

          • #1Fan

            you are now going back to results. if that is the discussion, then clearly everything is OK. Ill put it another way. DO you expect the US men Bball team with NBA guys to win and do you expect it to be close?

          • AlexH

            Soccer isn’t Bball though. If you win 100 – 50 that is a blowout but in soccer that translates into 2-1. Lots of soccer championships are decided by 1 -0 scorelines and the better team is often times on the wrong end of it. Just look at the recently concluded European finals. It’s in the nature of the sport to cut things close.

          • #1Fan

            I disagree. Euro you are comparing two teams that are of relative equality. many of these games. like yesterdays not ONE Colo player would have made the US team. Im not even talking scoreline. Im talking the optics of the game. The USA should be dominating most opponent s and looking VERY comfortable doing it. They rarely do, even against pretty average teams.

            Bball is a good analogy to me. You expect the USA to win AND to entertain you in doing so – with some style. Heath apart, the US WO SO team is not really doing either. I LOVED watching Heath doing stepovers vs France. Thats is what i want to see. Show me something. You owe us more than using the MILLIONS of dollars (literally) spent on you to just grind down opponents with workmanlike efficiency. Lloyd is teh poster child for boring soccer. She scores a goal and everyone overlooks the fact that she was rubbish for 60 miins. I want a lot more .

          • #1Fan

            i would argue very strongly that its PAR given the advantages and the WC record is BELOW par

          • Steglitz49

            If Norway had not won in Sydney, maybe WoSo would not be in the OG?

            For 16 years the US failed to win the WC and one of those tournaments were in the USA.

            Less than stellar I would say, though the contributions of the US to WoSo must not be underestimated. They got WoSo into the OGs and rescued WC-03, for example.

  • Gary Diver

    Soccer Gods and the Curse of Manaus

    It was reported in another post by Scooter McGavin, “One stat that really concerned me was that the commentator said during the Men’s World Cup, six of seven teams lost their next game after playing in Manaus.”

    Is there anything to worry about? USWNT had to deal with about 10 hours of flight to and from the rainforest while Sweden stayed in Brasília. It doesn’t seem fair.

    • That’s probably why team MVP Tobin Heath didn’t see a single minute yesterday. Just in case, not that she can’t handle it.

    • AlexH

      The USMNT played Germany after playing in Manaus and lost 1-0. Make of that what you will.

    • kernel_thai

      Maybe it means men r weak 😉

    • Steglitz49

      Sasaki did not want to travel around the British Isles.

  • Gary Diver

    Importance of Group Play

    Are we over-emphasizing the importance of group play? If you look at the last several major men and women tournaments, what has been the connection with group play and knock-out play? It seems to me that the only goals of group play are: (1) make it out of group play with the best possible knock-out draw, (2) avoid injuries, (3) avoid yellow cards, (4) rest key players, (5) work out any major problems, and (6) develop the team as an integrated working unit. Is there anything else?

    • Steglitz49

      Sweden is facing the US while China have to play Germany, which some would like choosing between pest and cholera.

      Meanwhile, Canada get their reward and take on the choke artists supreme aka France while Australia face Brazil on home grass.

  • https://twitter.com/wsoccertalk/status/763496592208961536

    Wow, I’m impressed. 700k more on a Tuesday afternoon than they got on Saturday.

    “The viewing audiences for the US Women’s National Team in the 2016 Rio Olympics continue to increase. Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw with Colombia on NBCSN from 6-8pm ET was watched by an audience of 3.6 million, which is greater than any of the US Men’s National Team games from the 2016 Copa America tournament.”

    • CED

      LOL..Typical fangirls spewing nonsense. Please try to lie better. The MNT tv was more than 3.6million….US vs Argentina game had 4.8Million just in spanish viewers and over 8 million overall.

      • I literally copied the quote exactly from the article.. So not lying.. just copied and pasted.

        • CED

          The numbers are not even close every US game with total audience(english + spanish) was greater. Second is the numbers being cited appear to be from NBC press release and not from independent sources like sportstvratings or nielsen. Tried to look up the ratings and nobody had anything, the only reports are copy and paste from NBC, which have an interest in inflating as OG ratings are down overall by a lot.

          • Steglitz49

            Why do you think the OG ratings are down? After all, the time zone fits the US while to London it was 5 hours ET and 8h PT.

          • CED

            NBC is hirting some of it’s tv ratings with live streams. Also, some stuff is delayed by a few hours..ie…the gymnastics team final is one of the top 3 sports every year in ratings, but people knew the result before the 8pm ET prime time coverage. They also could have live streamed it.

          • Steglitz49

            Do they do time delay for both the men’s as well as the women’s gymnastics?
            In Europe the networks run several events in parallel which you can access depending on your subscription, though it varies from country to country. I think the women’s gymnatsics (and the men’s) was live in most countries and all the swimming is live, even in countries with no competitors.
            There has been a lot of critcisms of how lightlights programs and after the event summaries have been presented — ie loss of suspense because of revelaing the result so why watch?

          • CED

            In the US the OG is on like 8 different channels of the NBC network family during different portions of the day. Soccer, bball, tennis and golf have there own exclusive channels. Every event is live streamed also.

            The womens team final for gymnastics was tape delayed to prime time on the broadcast NBC network. I’m sure many didn’t wait and watched the live stream. The reason it wasn’t live on broadcast is that it was going on like 5pm ET. That’s a bad time to get a good tv audience on a weekday. The best coverage for NBC will be swimming and track finals which will in to the live primetime window

          • Steglitz49

            I doubt many Swedes watched Sarah Sjöström or Spaniards Belmonte Garcia. They just enjoyed the knowledge the next day.

            It is fair enough. Events must be shared out. I can’t speak for Spain but Sarah Sjöström is one of the few who can hold a candle to Zlatan in Sweden. The other one is Charlotte Kalla.

      • Just curious why you spend so much time on Equalizer when I’ve never seen you post one positive thing about any aspect of the USWNT?

        • Rami

          Insecure men are really pathetic. Their masculinity is so fragile that they have to overcompensate which ever way possible.

          • Steglitz49

            105,000 trotted along to Michigan stadium to pay through the nose to see a male practice game between Chelsea and Real Madrid. They may be insecure men but in that case there are a lot more of them than bother to go to WoSo matches that don’t matter.

          • rkmid71

            Insecure women too! I can think of a few or at least one in particular on the USWNT.

        • Steglitz49

          I suspect he sees his mission as keeping fans of WoSo right. WoSo fans are past masters at not seeing the wood for the trees and shooting themselves in the foot. He just does not marshall his arguments and illustrations terribly well and too often forgets to apply Healey’s first law of politics.

        • CED

          I post the truth. You just don’t like it, like most of the fangirls and apologists of the WNT

      • Guest

        The article was comparing NBCSN viewership to the FOX channel viewership.

        http://worldsoccertalk.com/2016/07/01/watched-copa-america-centenario-games-fox-sports/

        • Steglitz49

          I put it to you that it is the total viewing figures in the country that should be compared, independent on which channel they watch.

          Also, I do not know how you correct for men watching soccer in bars as groups while (as I understand it) little WoSo gets watched in bars.

  • Gary Diver

    Two-Forward Formations of the Past

    What made the Wambach/Morgan and Wambach/Leroux duos so dangerous and so effective? Why isn’t Morgan/( ) as effective?

    • Kevin

      Who is playing CAM?

      • Gary Diver

        What would be the best fix?

    • Kevin

      I think the rest of WoSo is slowing catching up, but one thing that this team lacks are two strikers that are good in the air unless you play Lloyd or Horan forward.

      Dunn, Pugh, Press and Heath aren’t much of an aerial threat and aren’t going to win too many balls in the air, the defenders are. That cuts off some of the entry pass and scoring options if everything has to be played wide or to their feet.

      • Frode

        Morgan is pretty good in the air, but it’s not her strongest suit. I think most of the crosses in from the wingbacks are for Lloyd or Horan (when she’s in). We just don’t have the aerial presence anymore. Whatever you think about Wambach, she was awesome in the air. Alexandra Popp (Germany) is in the same league.

        • Kevin

          Morgan’s definitely good enough in the air that you can send the ball into her. Sending an aerial cross or pass into Dunn, Pugh, Press or Heath isn’t going to produce the greatest results.

          • Frode

            I’d be curious to know what percentage of USWNT goals came off headers, 2011 – present. I imagine there’s been a decline since Wambach’s retirement.

          • Kevin

            I can’t remember the exact number, but when she retired they kept talking about the number of goals she scored off headers and it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 76.

          • Bruce

            Goals with head: 67
            Goals with feet: 82
            Goals with other parts of her body: 6 (chest, hip, shoulder, leg, knee)
            Goals off Penalty Kicks: 12

            (assuming these are final career #s)
            http://www.ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/chasingmia/wambach-goal-facts

          • Gary Diver

            Abby Wambach scored only 12 goals off of penalty kicks? I bet Christine Sinclair has scored more than 12 penalty kick goals.

          • Frode

            Thanks. Man Wambach was good with her head.

          • Kevin

            That’s an old link. It only has her with 155 of her 184 goals. It breaks down her goals by year and has her for 3 in 2013 and doesn’t list 2014 or 2015.

            After a little research, I found a link claiming she scored 77 goals with her head.

            http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/10/abby-wambach-us-womens-national-soccer-team-announces-retirement-hero

          • Bruce

            cool. thanks.

          • Guest

            Low crosses and cutbacks to those players could produce good results

          • Frode

            I think that’s precisely what Ellis is coaching. Because the wings come centrally during the attack, when they get through to the end line with the ball, they are close to the goal for 45 degree passes. You see this a lot form Pugh, Press, Heath and Dunn. Morgan does this a lot too. Compare this to 2011, when a lot of the service from the end line came from farther out (Heath and O’Reilly) and targeted Wambach’s head.

          • x

            Yeah, Dunn seems to have perfectly fine technique on her headers, but at 5’2″ there’s really no way to be a –good– target because you’d have to outjump your defenders by half a foot.

          • Kevin

            Pugh actually had a solid header last night that caught me off guard. It was off net by a few feet, but there was a lot of power behind it which I haven’t seen from her before, although she’s not going to out-jump any defenders either.

          • Bruce

            Then you keep her on the far post out of traffic. Combined with JJ on near post and Lloyd/Horan/Morgan in front of goal, things look promising.

          • guest

            morgan’s good enought to get her head on the ball but her placement of the ball on goal could be improved. don’t recall many headers down to the bottom corners.

          • Kevin

            I’m not saying she’s great at it, but she’s no slouch, especially relative to the other forwards, excluding Lloyd and Horan of course.

          • kernel_thai

            Press isnt bad with her head she just isnt contesting with anyone to get it. Dunn is fearless and is pretty good with her head though she is always at a disadvantage. This is from UNC days

      • Bruce

        Set pieces are another matter. A healthy JJ gives the US one of the game’s better near post threats and opens the box for Lloyd, Horan, Dunn and Morgan. Really not that bad.

      • Gary Diver

        “Press is not great in the air and not very physical.”

        Isn’t that two strikes against Press? Is it possible to be a great forward without being great in the air and/or physical?

        • Bruce

          Depends on the system.

        • Frode

          I’m not sure there are any strikers in WoSo who are fast, aggressive, strong, technical and good in the air. Morgan is a reasonably good blend of all of these things. But physicality and aerial play requisites for a forward? You tell that to Lionel Messi.

          • Guest

            There aren’t that many in Men’s football either. Luis Suarez probably sits alone at the top with Benzema close behind. After that there is a drop off in ‘complete’ strikers. There are lots of ways to score goals and win without one though. Just look at the dominance of the Spanish national team. Villa is/was a great striker but hardly physical or an arial presence.

    • Frozen Blue

      Personally I think playing forward with another person takes time to develop; to know how each other moves, what runs they make, strengths and weaknesses, ect… Morgan hasn’t had time to nurture this with anyone else than Lloyd and the problem with Lloyd is she is not disciplined enough to fully developed this relationship. She often gets frustrated and wanders out of position or is so focused on scoring she makes the run she wants to not the one she should. In the current system Morgan is the lone forward and Lloyd is neither a forward or a midfielder, she is a free agent. Morgan is not used to being the lone forward so this has hurt her game somewhat.

      • Gary Diver

        “Lloyd is a free agent.” Bingo!

  • guest

    i wonder how much influence this had on the selection of megan rapinoe to the rio olympic roster?

    http://www.starsandstripesfc.com/2016/7/28/12314548/hope-solo-megan-rapinoe-crystal-dunn-uswnt-rio2106-olymipcs-documentary

  • guest

    would jurgen klinsman get a pass from the us sports media like jill ellis does, for the selection of megan rapinoe for the olympic roster? taking a player that hasn’t played in a competitive game in nine months and appears to be only 15 minutes fit right now. or would they not be treated equally because of their gender?

    • Frode

      I’m not sure Ellis gets a pass. Here’s a recent Fox Sports article where the author gives Ellis a C+ grade for the group stage, in part because of the Rapinoe issue. http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/story/player-ratings-how-did-the-uswnt-do-in-the-olympics-group-stage-081016

      • Kevin

        Lloyd an A?

        Long an A-?

        Rapinoe a C- is just being polite I assume?

        • Frode

          Lloyd gets an A for scoring half of the team’s goals. The author does point out that other facets of her game weren’t stellar. Clearly, goal scoring is important to this author, hence Morgan’s B, and Press’s C+ (even though she worked her butt off during the 90 minutes against Colombia — A for effort.)

          Rapinoe should get a “W” for withdrawn from course.

        • Bruce

          Totally ridiculous ratings across the board (except for Solo and Ellis).

          If I’m Wendie Renard, I can’t wait to play the US again. Just imagine what she’ll be able to do when Long and the center backs don’t bring their “A” game.

          It all just plays into the narrative that has been established by US Soccer and their shills in mass media. Lloyd is the MVP, Broon can do no wrong. Press is never good enough. Etc.

          This sport is in dire need of media coverage that can actually watch games with an objective critical eye.

      • guest

        i’d like to see reporters bring up the rapinoe olympic selection issue during jill ellis press conferences in addition to written articles.

      • kernel_thai

        I generally like Murray’s stuff but I ddnt agree very much with her score card.

        • guest

          She was very generous with her ratings and few of her in-depth analysis’ made sense. I would have rated Heath and Sauerbrunn at A-‘s and they would have been my highest rated players.

          • kernel_thai

            I love Johnston to death but how does she get an A based one appearance vs NZ?

          • guest

            Pugh, Long, Johnston, Engen, Sauerbrunn and Lloyd were all too high for me. I thought Pugh had been poor up until her goal. After that she seemed to settle down a little but a B+ is too high for only 30 good minutes out of 120 total.

          • guest

            I’m ignoring Rapinoe’s rating because it’s Ellis’ job to pick the 18 and she clearly isn’t fit enough to be on it.

        • Yea Carli gets an A but not Tobin? Please, Tobin’s done most of the work on Carli’s goals so far.

  • Gary Diver

    Defense Wins Tournaments

    Is the truism that “defense wins tournaments” true? In the past several major tournaments, has defense won the tournaments?

    Didn’t “The Department of Defense” win WC15 for USWNT? If so, how does the current USWNT defense compare with last year’s defense?

    • Frode

      A great defense + and adequate offense wins soccer tournaments. You have to be able to score at least 1 goal to avoid the coin-toss of a shoot out.

      The defensive set has changed quite a bit since WWC15, mostly to serve the 4-2-3-1. Both outside backs (Klingenberg and O’Hara) have been selected for their ability to contribute to the attack and track back. To offset this potential vulnerability, Ellis has 2 holding midfielders in front of Sauerbrunn and Johnston (the 2 in the 4-2-3-1). The two holding midfielders (Long and Brian) are much better defenders than Lloyd and Holiday were in 2015. Still, when the U.S. gives up the ball in the middle of the field, they are really vulnerable to central counterattacks (hence the skittishness about playing up the middle, and the propensity to direct attacks up the wings). I expect to see some heart-stopping counterattacks by Schelin and Co. on Friday.

      • Gary Diver

        Thank you for this very interesting and thoughtful analysis of the current state of USWNT’s defense.

        Is there anything to take away from the fact that Sweden only scored 2 goals in 3 games? Anything for USWNT to exploit?

        • kernel_thai

          Maybe Sweden is due?

          • Steglitz49

            They can’t all be pregnant, can they?

          • Gary Diver

            Isn’t the secret of winning the gold medal treating each knock-out game as a final? You win three “finals” and you win everything.

          • kernel_thai

            US needs to play every team like it’s France or Germany. They cant afford to under estimate their opponents. The Colombia match was their chance to stack the deck for the final push. The worse thing U can do is take Sweden lightly.

          • guest

            Hope Solo Gaffe’s aside they dominated Colombia in a poor performance overall. I don’t think this team will take anyone lightly in the KO stages.

        • Steglitz49

          The US must exploit Sweden’s defense. It was atrocious against Brazil.

          Sweden may have a chance if Blackstenius starts instead of Schelin but the harsh reality is that the 3 field alternates should have been in the main squad.

          • guest

            I’m thinking that Sweden’s only chance if for the US to be completely inept in front of goal. This is not the same team that Sweden tied in the WC group stages last year.

          • Steglitz49

            The US seems surprisingly weak on set pieces. This may be because so few teams get a freekick near the box or corner against the US.

            I am a bit surprised that American colleges do not botanize more in Sweden (and all of the Nordic countries for that matter). These girls come from good middle-class background and are generally good at school. A couple of Icelandic girls have made their names in the NCAA but else pretty slim pickings.

          • kevin

            guess pia won’t be able to use her kreiger as the point guard strategy this time.

        • Frode

          I don’t know much about the Swedish attack except that Lotta Schelin can still burn even the best centerbacks in the world. I think Ellis will play it safe for the first 60 minutes and have Long/Brian sit deep and attack up the flanks. I’d look to the wings and Lloyd for goals. I bet Fisher will pummel Morgan the whole game. Just a modestly informed guess….

          • Steglitz49

            The US should beat Sweden in a walk. There may not be many goals but like against NZ, the US should not be threatened. 2-0 or 3-0 are the likely scenarios.

      • Bruce

        Except when running the clock out, the US never plays 2 holding midfielders. A #6 sits in front of the center backs but the #8 is normally playing well up pitch.

        • mockmook

          If they have time to get organized, they do sometimes play side by side when defending.

          • Bruce

            true

    • AlexH

      I believe that to be mostly true because it is a lot easier for a defense to gift a goal than it is for an offense to earn one. Thus the most important thing to have is a defense that never, ever, ever, ever makes stupid mistakes.

  • Gary Diver

    Mallory Pugh and NWSL

    Why in the world does Ray Curren throw out his two cents about Mallory Pugh jumping to the NWSL? Not relevant at all to the issue at hand.

    And for him to proclaim that “Kadeisha Buchanan’s . . . is likely the first pick in the NWSL Draft this winter” is amazing since the 2016 college season hasn’t started yet. Again, totally irrelevant to the focus of the article.

    • Hans Castorp

      The NWSL talk might have been rekindled because of a tweet yesterday by the Timber/Thorns owner who said US Soccer told them Mallory Pugh was 100% joining the thorns this season.

      • Guest

        Paulson just shed some light on what happened and said that Pugh changed her mind. She could change her mind again but USSF made it seem like it was certain before the draft and it is far from certain now. As I understand it Pugh is planning on red shirting at UCLA and then attending in the spring.

        • Gary Diver

          Can’t the world wait until the VT to beat this back and forth?

          • Steglitz49

            If it is news it is news. What other news is there — that matters to Americans?

          • rkmid71

            The election. I still need to do my research on the 3rd party candidates. I live in a state which is hopelessly going to go to Mrs. Bill. Though depressingly that might be better than Trump. So my 3rd party choice won’t have much impact where I live. And national security related news. Much respect for people serving in US military.The Olympics — in addition to soccer, I like watching the Coach Geno and the US women’s B-ball team. And I thought the Serbian women’s team looked surprisingly very good. Also, the Hall of Fame game is tomorrow between my beloved Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Browns with RG3. I’m hoping RG3 does well, but the Packers win. And don’t forget Condoleeza is a Browns fan. She may have something to cheer for this season.

          • Steglitz49

            I feel for you. I can’t advise you — and would not on this forum anyway.

            The story of how Condi came to be a Browns fan is fascinating. I wonder whether the US lady gymnasts, who shortly are about to compete, can imagine such a situation or players like Dunn and Pugh. Maybe they already have experienced a milder version of that in their lives. I hope not.

          • rkmid71

            I don’t think anyone can imagine such a situation today. How she became a Republican is also fascinating. I read that Rice’s father went to the elections office and tried to register to vote. However, at the time if you were black in Alabama, you had to guess the number of beans in a jar at the counter. Seems no black person could ever get it right. A white friend of the family heard the story and told him to head back down to the office and look up a certain clerk who was looking to register only Republicans. He was promptly registered, As Paul Harvey would say, that’s the Rest of the Story. Condi’s story makes me want to learn more about her parents and family history. In my mind, remarkable people in their own right. Wiki says that she discovered that she is 51% African, 40% European, and 9% Asian or Native American genetic descent. In other words, American.

          • Steglitz49

            I suspect more American women would vote for Mrs Bill than for Condi.

          • rkmid71

            When Condi speaks, I listen. When Mrs Bill speaks, I tune out. In our family, the women vote so far is 3 to 1 for Condi. In my mind, there are many better qualified women to break ground as President of the United States. Condi is #1 in my book. But understandably she’s not a fan of politics, she likes policy.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe Condi can teach some of these young ladies to play golf so they too can become members of Augusta National.

        • guest

          the thorns have two months left.

    • Steglitz49

      I doubt that he watched the Sydney final. The US snatched a late equalizer in regulation. Norway then won on the Golden Goal in extra time.

      Without that Norwegian win, WoSo could well be out of the olympics.

      • Paul Klee

        Then Broso we also have to be out of the Olympics. No way are they going to drop a women’s sport and keep the men’s.

        • Steglitz49

          FIFA would not object. The men’s clubs would not object. Nobody on the men’s side of significance would object.

          • kevin

            you might as well drop the olympic men’s soccer without any fifa international date. now alot of the clubs don’t wanna even release the top u-23 players, let alone any top overage players. i wish fifa would drop the confederations cup. does anyone even care about winning that made-up trophy? if fifa only staged the world cup in countries that already had the necessary infrastructure then you wouldn’t even need the confederations cup. i’d rather have the olympics with a fifa international match date and allow five overage players. still differentiating itself from the world cup. seems more exciting than what we have now. of course it probably won’t happen because fifa want’s to be the one to get all the corrupt money instead of the ioc getting any.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for reinforcing my point for me. Much obliged.

            As long as the USWNT was impotent during the first 15 years of the new Millenium and could not win the world championship for 16 years, the USSF had to thell the American people that the Olympics was greater.

            I don’t know if the American peoiple bought that hogwash but the antics of the Veterans in 2015 put paid to the Olympics being even co-equal with the WC. Gone in a blink.

            I have not strong feelings about WoSo in the Olympics but for the ladies the WC, AFC and Euros are the big tournaments, followed by the Champions League and the FA cup and any other club trophies you care to bandy about, not to forget the U19 and U20 events, even the U17 WC.

        • David K Anderson

          I’d be fine with that. I don’t care about U23 tournaments.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      Surely Buchanan would be the smart first pick? I get that there are lots of other very highly rated players that will be available in 2017, but none have actually proved themselves against some of the best players in the world like Buchanan has. Its very hard to tell who will make the step up from playing at college level, just look how poorly some of the first round picks have done in this and previous years after doing well at their college sides, whereas we know Buchanan is capable of performing even at the highest level.

      • David K Anderson

        Depends on what Boston, the likely pick-holder, decides they need. I could just as easily see Rose Lavelle going first.

        Of course, Boston has a history of making dubious trades. I’m kind hoping the Thorns can figure out a way to get that pick…and draft Lavelle (and gain even greater levels of hate and rage with supporters of other teams…). =P

        • MurderOnZidanesFloor

          While Rose Lavelle is very highly rated, and likely to end up allocated at some point, I think you’d have to be crazy to draft her above Buchanan who is already considered among the best defenders in the world. However that probably means Boston would do exactly that, forgot they were getting the first pick.

          I guess another factor is whether Buchanan even joins the NWSL. Since she has a good international reputation from playing at the World Cup and other tournaments, its likely she’ll have other clubs interested who might be willing to pay over the NWSL salary cap, and as she’s not American she doesn’t have to worry about getting dropped from her national team if she goes elsewhere.

          • Guest

            In fairness I think it’s only unestablished American’s who have to worry about getting dropped or not getting an opportunity. Alex Morgan and Mallory Pugh will probably not be dropped regardless of who they want to play for.

    • Steglitz49

      Kadeisha has the campaign experience and the name recognition. An obvious early draft pick and ought to be #1 — depending on what them who pick first need.

  • Gary Diver

    Did Megan Rapinoe Deserve a Red Card?

    “[Rapinoe] committed the foul that conceded the free kick on Colombia’s first goal and could’ve easily seen red on that play for the reckless, two-footed, studs-up tackle from behind.” – Caitlin Murray

    I am not an expert but I thought Rapinoe’s tackle was reckless and when I rewatched it I saw one foot in the air with cleats showing. Isn’t that the basis for a red card? Can you imagine our discussions if Rapinoe had been given a red that led to a loss to Colombia that led to USWNT needed to play Canada in QF? “For the lack of a nail, a shoe was loss, and for the lack . . .” Ellis’ decision to play a not-match ready Rapinoe came close to being a disastrous decision.

    • Guest

      She definitely deserved a card and it’s true that some match officials might have shown her a red. I thought is was a yellow

      • Gary Diver

        Again, can you imagine the consequences and embarrassment of Rapinoe getting a red card causing USWNT to be down a player for over 2/3 of the game? We could be skewering Jill Ellis’ lack of judgement. Ellis has dodged a bullet. I hope she has learned something.

        I will scream if I see Rapinoe on the field again in this tournament. Rapinoe looked spent after 10 minutes, so it was not surprising that she could not properly do a tackle. If she plays again, it is a disaster waiting to explode in Ellis’ face.

        • Guest

          The US can beat Colombia with 10 men but sure the situation would have been far from ideal.

        • Steglitz49

          Maybe the ref knew this and chose not to give any card. I would have given a red one just to have my 15 minutes of fame as a ref. The US would, of course, have appealed and gotten it rescinded.

          • Gary Diver

            “Maybe the ref knew this and chose not to give any card.”

            I think you are right about this. If you look at the replay it was a really bad late foul. Red cards have been given for much less. A red card would have made Ellis look like an idiot.

          • Steglitz49

            Like with the Veterans JE had to take to WC-11, I contend that JE had no choice over Pinoe. It was easier for JE to select Pinoe than argue the toss.

            This is because Pinoe covers a lot of parishes and interest groups and JE would have wanted the team not to be distracted by controversy and avoid a lot of flac from those. The US are still such favorites to win this tournament that Pinoe here or there does not matter.

          • Gary Diver

            Do you think Ellis has the nerve/gall to use Rapinoe again?

            In the Colombia game, having Rapinoe on the field nearly cost the team a loss, which would have given them Canada in QF. The risk of Rapinoe on the field in a knock-out game should be too great for even Ellis to take.

          • Steglitz49

            She has played her. Thereby satisfied her chiefs, like in WC-15 the veterans got to play, only Whitney Engen made history. For the Vets not to have played in WC-15 was too big a risk for JE.

            JE knows that the current US crop of players are so good that she should not need to worry. I sometimes ponder if she regrets that the WC-15 final was such a damp squib. A 4-3 match with the winning goal late, like Old Trafford in OG-12, might have been better PR though, obviously, 5-2 was more than OK at the time.

            Thus JE bent over and took it like a man with Pinoe but this time she only carries one passenger, not 3 or 4.

          • Gary Diver

            Your last point is worth noting. The OG16 situation is much better than the ridiculous WC15 situation.

          • Steglitz49

            I contend that JE was under the greatest of pressure for non-soccer reasons to take Pinoe and decided that the path of least resistance was ok.

            I wonder what the players think of it? They will never say, of course, but they must have thoughts. I also wonder why Pinoe did not simply recuse herself? That would have made her historic, after all.

          • Gary Diver

            Completely agree with your last comment. Rapinoe could have risen to the occasion and shown some class instead of being selfish. Alas, maybe next time.

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe she too was under intense pressure not to.

          • guest

            i wonder if rapinoe’s act is the most selfish in uswnt history? even more selfish than wambach’s chasing mia tour?

          • Steglitz49

            The marketing boys at USSF has decreed it so it came to pass.

          • David K Anderson

            Exactly: ‘Pinoe is a marketer’s dream.

          • Steglitz49

            To certain segments of the people, yes; for the others, maybe.

          • guest

            hopefully, ellis comes out and says rapinoe restrained her calf again and can’t play. i’ll take any ellis bullshit excuse at this point. the sports media won’t call her out on it anyway, so make something up.

          • Steglitz49

            Never apologize, never explain. Nothing short of force majeure will stop the US picking up this gold. At least Sarah Sjöström gave Katie a run for her money in the 200 the other evening.

        • Frode

          I don’t think Rapinoe sees the field again unless the US is up by 3+ goals, which seems unlikely against the remaining teams. Her slide tackle was both late and reckless, a product of fatigue and rustiness. She hasn’t had time to adjust to the speed of competitive 11 v. 11 play. I was fully expecting to see yellow, even red on that play. Too bad, a card for Rapinoe would have given Ellis an excuse not to play her.

          • Bruce

            I agree – but confess at this point that I’ve got no idea what Ellis will do. Her personnel decisions confuse me.

          • Gary Diver

            The referee gave Jill Ellis an undeserved gift. Rapinoe’s late tackle with open cleats was cringe worthy. A red card would have given Ellis a large piece of humble pie for her to eat publicly.

            The first tackle in the game on Rapinoe took the air out of her and around the 10 minute mark it looked like Ellis was thinking about pulling her. Over fifty people on this site must have been shouting at their TVs “I told you so!”

    • AlexH

      Her foul put her fate in the hands of the official. I’ve seen similar fouls draw red or get nothing more than a dirty look from the official. I think most of the time though it would get a yellow.

  • Gary Diver

    Who would appreciate a gold medal most?

    I want USWNT to win, but the two teams that would appreciate the gold medal most would be Brazil and Canada. Brazil for obvious reasons, including giving Marta a career present, but Canadians would see a gold medal as one of the greatest sporting accomplishes of all time and it would make the front pages of all their newspapers and become a legend to be passed down from generation to generation.

    • Steglitz49

      For WoSo, Brazil winning it would be optimal.

      Canada may be useful too, as would Sweden. I expect Germany to be in the final and play very well and Germany winning would have some value, it being 9 years since their last success in an intercontinental tournament.

      • Gary Diver

        It is interesting watching Germany and France play soccer. The Germans always look mechanical and methodical just as their stereotype. And the French have a slightly care free attitude just as their stereotype.

        • mockmook

          “For some unknown reason Herdman wants to play France.”

          You just keep the BS coming.

          A few days ago you assured us the Herdman wanted Canada to lose (to avoid FRA).

          Now, you act like you know what he is thinking again.

          Excuse me for wondering if you aren’t just throwing out whatever thought drifts through your noggin — just looking to get attention with “provocative” posts.

    • Anon

      I am rooting for France to win. It would be nice to see Brazil on top as well. I’m a traitor to my country and don’t particularly want the USA to win this time around

      • Bruce

        Please register and publish your full name and address, traitor.

      • Ashley C

        I like France but from a WoSo perspective I don’t think France would have the same impact for the sport with the likes of Canada if they won gold imo.

    • Ashley C

      Canada winning would do wonders for WoSo imo. Especially the North American aspect with the USWNT/NWSL. Canada also has pretty strong registration with youth soccer – especially girls.

  • Paul Klee

    Likely starting XI for Quarters for USWNT. Solo O’Hara Johnston Sauerbrunn Klingenberg Long Brian Lloyd Pugh Heath Morgan.
    If Johnston is still dinged Engen will get the Start.
    Krieger will not likely see the field Yellow Card worries
    Dunn will not likely see the field. Yellow card worries (unless the US is behind in the second half)
    Rapinoe better not see the field again in this tournament. Only exception as a 120th minute sub to get her on for Penalties. Remember we get a fourth Sub in extra time now.
    Press will probably be a late match sub will probably not play in potential Semi or Final. If Dunn is the Sub Press could be done for Rio.
    If Johnston starts Engen will be brought on for extra defense late in the match.
    Horan will sub in for Brian at some point in the match.

  • Gary Diver

    Most Interesting Game: Canada vs Germany

    John Herdman has told the Canadian press again and again that his goal is to get his team to the podium. For some unknown (to me) reason he feels the path to the podium goes through France. Maybe he feels he has a hex on them. We (and he) will find out soon whether he calculated his chances correctly or will meet his Waterloo (which was not fought at Waterloo).

    • Paul Klee

      Maybe Herdman actually told his team to lose the match. Chapman played right along and took a stupid penalty. But unfortunately for Herdman when he told his team to tank the match, Tancredi misheard and thought he said “Tanc this is your match” Eh

      • Gary Diver

        Coaching decisions have consequences in tournaments. In less that 12 hours we will see if John Herdman made the right decision in his game against Germany. On the other hand, it is interesting that Pia Sundhage told Caroline Seger not to try to beat China in their game.

        Chapman’s foul definitely looked stupid and maybe was deliberate. It does look like Herdman had earlier ordered Kadeisha Buchanan to take a yellow card in the Zimbabwe game. Even the Canadian commentator during the Germany game, who is an ex-national player, admitted that Buchanan most likely deliberately took the foul to avoid missing a knock-out phase game. Amazingly the commentator said that Buchanan taking a deliberate yellow card made sense to her in terms of team strategy, but was against the spirit of the Olympics.

        P.S. “Head coach John Herdman may be Canada’s soccer-poet — in that he speaks so lyrically he’s a veritable quote machine [who proclaimed] that we came here to hear an anthem, and that’s what we want to do.” – Christie Blatchford, The National Post (12 August 2016)

  • Gary Diver

    Any advantage or disadvantage in playing early in the day? Seems to me that playing at noon ET is pretty early to play an important match.

    • AlexH

      The game is going to be played under the afternoon sun. The advantage goes to the fitter team.

      • Gary Diver

        Good point.

  • Gary Diver

    Is this normal for Olympics?

    Four games in 10 days. It seems to me that they should have put an additional rest day before the QFs. USWNT flew 10 hours back and forth to the rainforest. That has to take its toll and is an unfair disadvantage for USWNT.

    • AlexH

      It is totally unfair but that’s soccer / the Olympics. It is also why athleticism is the most important trait for a woso player. Skills are great but this QF is going to be all about the players’s beep test scores(drink!)

      • Guest

        That’s really the olympic in a nutshell though. 6 matches in a little over 2 weeks is a lot for any soccer player male or female. The trouble is when the other teams start matching the US beep test scores.

        • AlexH

          Well hopefully our opponents will continue trying to be the next Barca and will focus on touch passing, possession football and all of the other things required to play “modern football” so when they reach the knockout stages they get run out of the park by the USA. I am a bit worried because the Canadians seem to be going the muscles and wheels rout and the French played us pretty directly as well.

          • Guest

            The French looked as direct and physical as I have ever seen them. They didn’t bother trying to play from the back against the US which honestly is a very smart decision. Canada don’t have enough skill in the final third to really threaten the back line outside set pieces. E

            Ellis should really take note from France. She should have Brian, Horan, Long and any other potential center mid all working on 50 yard long diagonals in the offseason. Center backs should work on them as well.

          • AlexH

            Don’t count out the Canadians. They might not have enough skill in the final 3rd but they do have Christine Sinclair who is more than capable of making the most of whatever opportunities they do get.

          • Frode

            I’m not sure that’s an accurate assessment of the game, particularly the first 45 minutes. In the first half, Henry, Abily and Bussaglia controlled the center third of the field and mounted many attacks on the ground. They did spray the ball wide to the forwards too (esp. Delie) when the opportunity arose. Overall, they mounted a diverse, possession-oriented attack, and Solo made some incredible saves. This game could have gone either way.

          • Ashley C

            I think you’re underestimating France’s fragile mental state in big games. They’re a better team than Canada and for me the stronger side but often they rely on set pieces more than anything (take their last friendly with Canada before Rio) and panic with pressure. Their finishing is hit or miss at times. Necib can be very good or very lazy. Much like Labbe for Canada, Bouhaddi is also a weak spot for France. I’d also argue Canada is more fit than France. I think that’s the one aspect they do have on France.

            Any key for Canada to win relies on how they handle set pieces and the likes of Renard. Labbe has issues in the air.

          • Steglitz49

            The Veterans confirmed that the Olympics are very small beer.

          • CED

            Your ignorance of the game is astounding. If any womens team played like Barca they would slaughter the USWNT. They would have the US chasing shadows all game

          • Guest

            Barcelona never has difficulty with direct, fit and defensive teams that sit in. I guess we’ll forget about how they were dominated by Atleti in the CL last year or the trouble they had with some of the Mourinho Madrid squads. There is no team in WoSo with a strike force remotely similar to Neymar, Messi and Suarez so I’m not worried about any team playing like Barca any time soon.

          • CED

            Barca pummeled Atletico in the CL and were just unlucky in finishing that day. Barca had won the last 6 against them and just had an off stretch, You clearly didn’t watch the game, Atletico was under siege and were holding on for their lives. I bet you also think Atletico dominated Bayern….hint they didn’t..They were even more unlucky then Barca and had Atletivo under more siege than Barca in the 2nd leg.

          • Guest

            Delusional you are. Barcelona played better in the first game and got more or less shut down in the second. They only created .8 xG in the second leg to Atleti’s .6 xG plus a penalty. Not that it really matters anyway because Atleti finished their chances and Barca with their all world front line didn’t. In the past they have been crushed by Mourinho Madrid sides that uses similar tactics.

          • CED

            You didn’t watch the game clearly. Atletico spent the game trapped in their own end in a bunker under siege. Yes @sshat how many la liga’s has Real won in the last decade comapred to Barca. How many has Atletico won. What is the record head to head. with Barca for each? Please go awwa y and stop embarrassing yourself.

          • Guest

            The only one embarrassing themselves is the person that thinks possession definitely equals better goal scoring chances in the last decade. I didn’t say Real were the better team just that a couple of the direct, athletic, boring Mourinho sides have kicked the crap out of Pep’s tiki taka side.

          • Guest
        • Drink

      • rkmid71

        Everybody laughed when I suggested O’Reilly should have been the selection instead of Rapinoe. I guess that was because it wouldn’t have mattered because JE wouldn’t have played her anyway.

        • CED

          Nobody but the apologists and vet retention advocates wanted Rapinoe. Anybody with sense knew it was stupid to take a player who has been unable to play a single game in 8 months. O’reilly was never the answer but other players should have gone over Rapinoe. The US deserves to lose for the utter stupidity of Ellis. Of course most people think the clueless wonder Ellis is good coach, she isn’t and never has been, She lucked into the Wcup as she had no clue how to solve the MF problem sh created and just lucked into it by suspensions.ans got the help of horrible refs b/c JJ shuld have been sent off and Alex foul wasn’t even close to being in the penalty box.

          • guest

            should the ussf sue the uswnt over this neverending roster and allocation corruption? should ellis lose her job over megan rapinoe’s roster selection?

      • Gary Diver

        Athleticism or fitness?

    • Steglitz49

      Brazil is a large country. The UK and Greece were not.

  • Steglitz49

    631 comments. And the match about to start. Hmmm?