USWNT Things Learned: Lots of mistakes, but hard to win them all

Ray Curren August 12, 2016 635
Alex Morgan's equalizer was not enough to get the United States past Sweden on Friday. (USA Today Images)

Alex Morgan’s equalizer was not enough to get the United States past Sweden on Friday. (USA Today Images)

History may have a knack of repeating itself, even if the permutations may not end up being exact replicas of each other in the end.

Friday’s Olympic quarterfinal wasn’t the first time the U.S. women’s soccer team has found itself in a tough game in a knockout situation, even though sometimes our memories tell us they have crushed everyone forever. Most recall (or at least know of) 1999, but in 2004, it won each of its three by the same 2-1 score, it went to extra time in both the semifinals and finals, but the USWNT won them both. In the 2008 quarterfinals, Canada took the U.S. to 120 minutes and it was Tasha Kai (now of Sky Blue FC) who scored the game winner. In the gold medal match, it was Carli Lloyd who beat Brazil in extra time.

Most probably remember Abby Wambach’s heroics in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals (which, of course, ended in a heartbreaking loss to Japan), and of course, there was the 2012 Olympics when – behind a performance for the ages from Christine Sinclair – Canada appeared to have the USWNT beat until a couple of interesting calls and a late, late Alex Morgan header ended their gold medal dreams.

We’ve come to expect the United States to win at women’s soccer because, well, they’ve (almost) always won everything. They had never been eliminated before the semifinals of a major tournament, like ever, and came in as three-time defending Olympic champions. So even after a lackluster first half that saw more waste than your average school lunch, the United States was surely going to win, right? They were the better team and they would eventually find a way because they’re the USWNT, dammit, they don’t lose. At least not at this stage.

But despite their dominance over the years, soccer is not a game where the best team always wins. Which is why it is great. And frustrating. Sweden, who had been beaten by host Brazil 5-1 a week ago in a game that could have been a whole lot worse, to the surprise of no one, set out to defend, putting 10 players behind the ball because if they didn’t, they would likely have been picked apart by a more athletic and skilled USWNT squad.

It’s a strategy that the U.S. has seen 5,643 times (estimated) and many times more often than not have found a way to overcome it through mentality, through fitness, and yes, sometimes through someone named Abby Wambach and her aerial dominance.

For whatever reason, though, it just wasn’t there Friday. The U.S. lacked the urgency it always has in these spots and managed just one shot on goal in the first 70 minutes, eventually getting countered (beautifully) for a goal. They managed to, somewhat fortunately, get the goal back, and then seemed to press for the winner in regulation.

But then in extra time, not so much. The shots they did get rarely tested Hedvig Lindahl in the Swedish goal and by the time it got to penalty kicks, it’s a roll of the dice that they eventually lost.

It’s easy, though, to try to derive too much from one result. If this match played out the same way 10 times, the United States would have won it eight (possibly nine) times. Friday wasn’t their day. We’ve come to the point where we expect them to win it 10 times, but I’m not sure how realistic it is when playing proud opponents like Sweden, who – although outmatched in many areas – have experience and talent enough to at least be able to be a threat against them (Sweden has now gone four meetings with the USWNT without a loss, for what it’s worth).

There were many things the U.S. did poorly, from bizarre substitution (and penalty kick selection) patterns to an inability to combine in the middle of the field to poor service after poor service both in the run of play and on set pieces. But none of us are who we are at our worst moment and I don’t think the gains made in the past year both in style of play and results are a fluke.

Unfortunately, in the world that is women’s international soccer at the moment, a chance to prove that will not come until the 2019 World Cup in France. Carli Lloyd will be turning 37 by then, Hope Solo 38, and new faces like Ashley Sanchez, Dani Colaprico, Rose Lavelle, Jaelene Hinkle, Sam Mewis, and others will be fighting to get involved in the action. Three years is a long, long time to stew. Just ask Germany (who at least had the Euros, I guess), whose loss to Japan in 2011 not only ousted them from that tournament, but eliminated them from the 2012 Olympics as well.

What else did we learn in the shocking exit (the game technically goes down as a 1-1 draw with the United States losing on penalties)?

1) Give Pia Sundhage and Sweden some credit

We’ll get to Hope Solo at the end, but Sundhage has been easy to pick on in the past year as Sweden has struggled, not only losing but suffering lopsided defeats in Canada (4-1 to Germany) and in Brazil (5-1 to the hosts). There was some luck involved, obviously, but for Sweden, even with all its veterans, to have the confidence and discipline to pull off a performance like this deserves respect. Sundhage even lost a big part of her gameplan when Fridolina Rolfo was forced to exit with an injury in just the 18th minute, but Stina Blackstenius not only stepped up, but scored the Swedish goal.

The U.S. has been able to exploit every opponent, good or not, on set pieces of late, but Sweden stood tall, not allowing Julie Johnston any room to maneuver, and between Nilla Fischer, Linda Sembrandt, Lisa Dahlkvist, and Caroline Seger (all veterans), having someone get a head or body on the ball to clear it. The U.S. goal was really unfortunate, but they didn’t let it be fatal.

2) The U.S. seemed to have matchups it liked

In theory, having Tobin Heath be able to run at Elin Rubensson and Lotta Schelin for 90 minutes should have produced gobs of chances for the U.S. And when Mallory Pugh (and Crystal Dunn when she got in the game) started finding space in the middle, it seemed like getting goals were only a matter of time. But they never came.

Even now, it’s hard to pinpoint why. The most obvious answer is the lack of quality in the final third, there were some dreadful crosses and so many shots from 18-20 yards out that missed the target (some of them badly). Even Lloyd couldn’t seem to get any of her attempts anywhere near the net. When the U.S. couldn’t break Sweden down through the middle, they looked lost and confused. And now eliminated.

3) Some curious coaching decisions

It’s easy to criticize from my couch, but Ellis and the USWNT did not look like a team that was comfortable with the pressure of the situation. Maybe because they haven’t had a whole lot of practice at it. Down a goal, it made sense to bring on Crystal Dunn and go to three in the back. Megan Rapinoe’s insertion (and by proxy inclusion in the squad at all) was a little questionable because she did not look close to 100 percent against Colombia, but it was desperation time, so OK (although I would have left Kelley O’Hara – more of an offensive threat – in and replaced Megan Klingenberg).

After the U.S. scored, Ellis immediately placed Heath at right back, which was a decent temporary measure, but she still had Ali Krieger on the bench, who could have entered and put Heath back on attack against a tired defense. Instead, in extra time, Ellis had a straight swap with Christen Press (who struggled in Brazil) for Rapinoe, leaving Press wide and Heath still at right back. Krieger never entered.

Then there were the penalties, where Krieger was one of the regulars at the 2011 World Cup, but she wasn’t on the field. Heath also took penalties in 2011 (although she missed in the final), but never got a chance, with the final kick going to Press. It’s a brutal spot for anyone to be in and hindsight is always 20-10 and such, but Press has not been in great form and hasn’t been playing with confidence when she did play at the Olympics.

4) Going forward

It will be interesting to see what kind of “Victory Tour” the USSF tries to cobble together in the next few months, but without medaling, they have the two friendlies already announced (against Thailand and the Netherlands), and they’ll likely try to play a few more, but who knows. At this point, we’re in uncharted territory? The USWNT played only 16 games in 2013, and just eight in 2009, but I would expect 2017 to be closer to the top number. The only tournament they played in three years ago was the Algarve Cup, but the SheBelieves Cup (maybe with a new name?) will be back next March.

After that? Who knows? World Cup qualifying isn’t until the fall of 2018.

5) Hope Solo

I’m sure you’ve read plenty of takes on Hope Solo’s postgame comments by now, so I’m not going to pile on other than to call them extremely disappointing, especially when she’s representing the United States. I’m all for pregame talk (as long as you can back it up), and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but to fail to give Sweden any credit is sad.

If you’ve been around, you know it’s a pattern with Solo. Way back in 2012, Jenna Pel of All White Kit (where I used to write) had this wonderful take on Solo and her behavior that is still largely relevant four years later. And the gamesmanship before the final Swedish penalty kick was also a little ridiculous. She is one of the best (if not the best) goalkeepers of all time, so it’s a shame we have to keep talking about this stuff, but here we are.

At least Hope kind of apologized after the fact and didn’t say she was misquoted or anything. And as Seattle teammate Jess Fishlock pointed out, a couple of minutes after one of the most devastating defeats of our lives is not when we’re most rational.

  • Guest

    Today sealed the deal on Ellis for me: she should not be coaching this team. The amount of questionable decisions in this game alone is enough for her to lose her job.
    1. Why move arguably your best/most creative attacking player to right back? Any offensive threat Heath had was totally diminished when she moved back. She was struggling with defending, because oh wait, she’s not a defender. Krieger should have come on for Rapinoe and Heath should have moved back to left wing.
    2. The fact that two subs were wasted on a player who hasn’t played since December. Really glad she was brought on the squad to hit those corners out of play and be exhausted after 25 minutes.
    3. I understand that PK takers aren’t necessarily 100% on Ellis, but who on earth decided to have someone who has said themselves they have bad confidence take a deciding PK? I love her, but I would have gone with any other option before Press at that point.

    • David K Anderson

      Agreed. Ellis was just horrible today. The ‘Pinoe sub was jaw-droppingly mindless. Moving Heath to RB…no less so, given Heath was the sole creative force on offense in the first 45.

      I think we also saw the exploitable vulnerability of “the best CB pair in WoSo.” They’re not pacey. The fastest CB called up was an alternate. Her identically-first-named teammate on the Thorns is (considerably) faster. Love Broon (a bit indifferent to JJ, actually), and would start her, but her fellow CB needs to have more pace.

      • CED

        Today, Ellis is horrible all the time. She was horrible at Wcup and lucked into things.

        • AGuest2

          Ellis had the talent to win several College Cups while at UCLA, but simply got outcoached. It was a flute she was able to win the WC, and only shows what we can expect to see from this team under her leadership.

      • dw

        Let’s not really be unfair to our CBs. How many are they actually responsible for letting in, really? The answer is much much less than any other pair of WNT CBs.
        Just like the tying goal in the last game, you had a perfect pass, perfect run and perfect finish beat you. That combination of things is supposed to beat you, every time.
        Not too many goals against the USWNT via splitting the center backs. Kudos to the Swedes for pulling it off. If people start exploiting this so called vulnerability more than once every 2 or 3 years, I’ll start to worry.
        The vulnerability is all at the other end of the pitch. Overwhelming offensive talent. Underwhelming offensive results. Game after game after game.

        • Guest

          Vulnerable? Was that not the first time that that has happened?

          • dw

            Probably not the first, just that I can’t remember the last…

        • mockmook

          But, that is what happens when you essentially have a 2 player back line. JE constantly pushing the OBs forward and also not keeping a DM at home finally came back to bite her.

          • Elizabethjbly2

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      • x

        Are our CBs slow or do we just expect more pace in CBs because we watched Rampone back there so long? Never thought Fischer or Renard were fast, relative to high-quality internationals, and I can’t immediately think of one who’s a real speedster.

        • Guest

          Mbock is ridiculously fast. She outran Morgan a couple times.

        • dw

          I don’t even think Ray Curren would go so far as to call Fischer or Renard “fast”.

      • Lorehead

        Johnston almost caught up to the goalscorer.

        • kernel_thai

          Very similar to Nigeria match only just didnt get there. There were a bunch on tiny moments like that that would have turned it around for US.

      • John

        Winning the World Cup will buy her at least one more tournament – SheBelieves or Algarve. If they burn out there, then she may be sacked.

      • kernel_thai

        But the real question is why take Sonnett over Menges. Yes there is an attraction to Sonnett’s passing ability but Menges is the prototypical CB. She has forward speed and the size to impact the game in the air. She also has two years experience in the trenches of the NWSL. Sonnett claimed her spot based on college and very little U program experience. Why does Sonnett deserve a chance when Menges does not?

        • Timber Dave

          I think Emily Sonnett is seen as having more upside than Emily Menges, and Jill Ellis chose Sonnett looking toward the future. It’s always a tough call as a coach — you need to give youngsters playing time in meaningful matches, but you risk a performance that’s slightly lower in quality. On balance I think this was the right call by Ellis, but I can see the other side too.

      • Timber Dave

        Let’s talk successors to Jill Ellis. How about Laura Harvey? She strikes me as tactically brilliant, and a good player motivator too. The only knock is about tournaments: she hasn’t won the major tournament in NWSL, and the USWNT plays meaningful matches exclusively in tournaments. But she did win tournaments, three of them, with Arsenal Ladies, as well as three league titles, and her Seattle Reign teams have been top-notch.

        I always dread it when my Thorns have to play against her in NWSL games. I just know the Thorns are not going to out-coach her — the best I hope for is a level match-up for the coaching, and even that is rare.

        Other suggestions?

    • Press Corps

      Pres PK was not only too high but in the middle of the net. If lower, it would have hit the GK in the chest. That would have been really embarrassing.

    • Tania

      If you address point #1 & #3 you’ve address #2 by default. Would I have changed the timing of the subs? Yes. And certainly if the right person takes Rapinoe off it isn’t wasting a sub – it’s managing energy levels in a match that may go 120. It’s also knowing who is capable of taking PKs. I love Christen Press; that doesn’t change the fact that she was no more ready to shoot a PK in sudden death yesterday than Megan Rapinoe.

  • Bluenun

    A coach at her level should have never made those outrageous substitions. Never had a plan to break Pia’s strategy . It was no secret and wasn’t smart enough to make adjustments at halftime… Wrong players in, best players on bench. Player who shouldn’t have made team. Better people as alternates. Rapinoe was not ready. Heath at RB. Long in I could go on forever but you all know. She is just not good enough to be on this level! There are so many other reasons but it all starts and ends at the top. Sermani got fired after coming in 7th in Algarve. Ellis should get fired for coming in 8th at the Olympics a world stage venue!!!!!

  • Bruce

    Press didn’t play wide. When she entered she paired with Morgan up top and Dunn moved to the wing.

    Did you even bother to watch any these games, Curren?

    • guest

      I think she did when Horan came on for Pugh but that wasn’t for an extended period of time.

      • Bruce

        Right, not a “direct swap for Rapinoe”.

      • Guest

        Horan should have been in this match. Ellis knew they would bunker. Why wouldn’t they start Horan who is good in tight spaces and can break it down as opposed to idk Rapinoe who just smacked balls right into the awaiting 6 foot tall center backs.

        • NYRick

          OK they could have won and should have won in the normal 90 in the run of play. But after Lloyd’s hat trick in the WC final, we all saw this coming from 30,000 feet. Tactics were never going to come fully into play for Ellis with this team simply because Carli was the immovable object that couldn’t be touched moving forward in the lineup. And it bit them. Just like Pinoe had to be re-inserted into the mix for some past magic when in fact (her replacements in both Dunn and Pugh) are dynamic young players who simply add more to the lineup. Plus putting Pinoe out there than gives her all the corners when in fact Heath has looked terrific taking set pieces the past 6 months. And with that, how about Lloyd feeling the need to take her typical long range missiles to nowhere instead of Heath finding net or someone’s head?

          Further, because of Lloyd and Pinoe needing to be out there, then your positional changes/game adjustments get screwed up further. Now you move Heath back to CB to take out KO?? Are we seriously kidding here? And where does this leave Press and Horan in the mix? Probably two players who should have been on the pitch in the normal 90 to help break down a bunker and get some shots off. Silly all around. When it gets to kicks, the better team always needs to get ready to cringe because they know the match is just about lost already for letting it get that far. When I saw how pumped the Swedish keeper was at the start of the shootout I knew it was over.

  • brdn08

    I still dont understand what was wrong with what Solo said. Almost to a person the Euros were panned because including all those suboptumal teams led to bunkering thats absolutely unacceptable. Even Messi calls bunkering cheap. However, as soon as Solo says what everyone said at the Euros she gets blasted. Hypocrisy at its finest lol

    • snishy

      I don’t think it’s what she’s saying, but how. Instead of calling them cowards for their tactic, something like “yeah, they played defense mostly, not exciting or what we wanted… Etc”. It gets the point across without being quite as insulting.

      • Tania

        I wish she had called it boring and/or lazy soccer.

        • kernel_thai

          If Solo felt she had to say something, and she certainly isnt team spokesperson, it should have been about her own team. For example…We tried to play open, appealing soccer and regret the other coach chose tactics which greatly reduced the quality of the game. It is our goal to continue to play appealing soccer as opposed to stooping to win at any cost tactics.

          • Tania

            Of course… that would have been the ideal way to say it. Not easy to put it that well in the heat of the moment. Not when you’re feeling the level of emotion they had to be feeling.

    • guest

      I wonder if bunkering is a successful tactic due to the offside trap. I’ve always wondered if offside would be better in the way that Ice Hockey does it.

      • brdn08

        I would like to see that. It would be a lot less controversial as well. I personally dont like the idea of off sides at all.

        • dw

          If you really want to see bunkering, remove the offside rule.

          • Nicole C.

            And bring back golden goal.

    • dw

      Faking a problem with your gloves is being a coward.

      • brdn08

        Now that move does deserve criticism. Absolutely abhorrent.

      • Nicole C.

        To be fair, it looked like the strap broke off. That’s a legit reason to switch gloves.

        • Steglitz49

          If you believe that, you believe anything.

        • Volley

          Then why didn’t she have them replaced when Press was shooting? It was a tactic and a pretty desperate one at that

      • kevin

        maybe a zika mosquito got into her glove. lol

    • Steglitz49

      It was wrong.

      It was churlish and uncouth.

      It may not have brought the game into disrepute but reflects badly on the US.

      If the planned aim was to deflect criticism form the USWNT then as a ploy it has worked beyond expectations.

    • Observed

      Calling a defensive game plan cowardly shows sore loser attitude. See, it wasn’t her fault they lost. It never is with Solo.

    • mockmook

      There’s nothing “unacceptable” about bunkering if it works.

      Regardless, I didn’t think SWE looked that defensive — it wasn’t bunkering like used by a tomato can.

    • kernel_thai

      Well the worst part was who she directed it at. The Swedish players didnt get together and vote bunker. If Solo felt she needed to vent at someone, I believe she knows the Swedish coach by name.

      • brdn08

        I get that saying right after a los wasnt ideal. But i dont watch soccer to see teams sit in defensive shells for 90 minutes.

  • Ashley C

    You can’t win them all but Ellis is incapable of ever having a plan b. And as talented as the US is, they’re going to look for her to be prepared tactically when plan a isn’t going right. I think sometimes her criticism in the media is shielded because of the individual talent on the team to get things done.

    • Bruce

      It was clear that there was no though out plan related to the Pinoe sub.

      • Steglitz49

        Pinoe had to play. It was in the USSF contract with the advertisers.

    • Gary Diver

      What was her plan A in this game? And bring in a useless Rapinoe was asking for the soccer gods to give her a Hail Mary.

    • Guest

      And because most of the media does not care enough to look deep into it behind the face value.

    • Observed

      The Pinoe sub wasted valuable time. It was deja vu all over again. Shades of WC 2011 and Abby Ball.

  • Ghost

    I’ll get this out in points.

    1. I know a lot of people on here seem to favor Ellis’ choices I personally think she chose the wrong time to mess around with defense. She should’ve left the defense that did well in the WC as it was and made those changes after the Olympics. The backline didn’t mesh well in my opinion and I think it’s because they didn’t have enough time together. If she absolutely needed an attacking fullback she should’ve made Kling the sub and put Ohara on the left. Kling was disappointing in this tournament.

    2. Hope Solo needs to retire now. It’s time to start developing new goal keepers. I thought that she was back from her dry nwsl spell during the game against France. I was proven wrong not once but twice. She will be remembered as the best goal keeper of all time but she needs to go now.

    3. feel bad for Christen press. It must suck having a coach not believe in you. Only to put you in a crucial game and say “here be great now” That can break a players confidence. She looked like she needed a big hug. Jill should’ve never had her take that PK. And why was Alex Morgan the first one to go? Why?

    4. i can’t wait to see Mallory Pugh and Crsytal Dunn in the future. They’re awesome. Sucks that they couldn’t get a gold in this tournament

    5. I don’t think Jill will Learn from this. People made her believe she was a genius after the WC win even though her coaching wasn’t superb then and isn’t now.

    6. I really can’t believe we lost but I’m also kinda not shocked. The U.S looked rocky a lot this year but everyone wrote it off instead of pressuring Jill to change her tactics. It bit is in the ass. And stop saying we played well because we didn’t. Even if we lost due to penalty kicks we still lost…and I’m sad

    Ps. Don’t be mean. Some of your are mean lol

    • Altius

      Agree, except for #2 😉

      • Ghost

        Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s had an outstanding career but the USWNT will be in big trouble if we continuously start her instead of developing the other keepers. Everyone’s time to say goodbye comes. I think Hopes time is now.
        And I’m not like the people who just want her to leave because they don’t like her personality.

        Why do you think she should stay?

        • Altius

          I don’t think these 2 past games were indicative her capabilities with the USWNT. She had a patchy domestic season, but in the big games, there’s no one in the world I’d rather have in goal.

          Does the US need to develop other GKs? Absolutely. I don’t think Solo should have played against Colombia for that reason. But I don’t think she needs to retire in order for that to happen. I think the coach just needs to grow a spine in regards to selection, and be very intentional in developing younger options at the int’l level.

    • Ethan

      Regarding 3, I think a lot of teams put one of their strikers/offensive midfielders as their first taker but who’s not their designated/best taker. Messi’s been the first taker for Argentina in shootouts. Obviously, you want your first taker to score, but it’s not as critical at the very beginning. Morgan’s obviously got good enough ability to score on different types of penalty kicks; that’s something that has to be worked on. Marta missed as the fifth taker as well today; Press, as well as Morgan, will rebound from this.

      • Steglitz49

        Your faith in Press does you credit but where to will she rebound?

        Her NT career is now over. As for club play, she can continue in the NWSL but will lose her allocation asap.

        Where would her money come from?

        • BigBadBossMan

          Her NT career is over? How in god’s name do you pretend to know this

          • Paul Klee

            Because Jill Ellis Will blame Press for this debacle.

          • Steglitz49

            Who else do you blame? You can’t blame the ref.

          • Paul Klee

            Let me revise that she might keep Christen around so she can always have somebody to scapegoat.

          • Steglitz49

            No. Her NT career is over — or should be. She will lose her allocation.

          • Steg Patrol

            Your predictions are rubbish.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily. I sure was wrong about this Olympics so far.

          • Gary Diver

            How about blaming herself for having no strategy to counter the bunker strategy she knew would face. And USWNT keeps using OBs for offensive when they get caught out on counter-attacks. Bad coaching!

          • Paul Klee

            Maybe but it’s much easier to blame Christenrequires less introspection.

          • Guest

            The coach for not developing a proper game plan or adjusting properly. Maybe instead of wasting two subs on a player who couldn’t jog around the field for 20 minutes, she could have put in her stay at home RB instead of sticking their biggest offensive weapon there. That is just one example.

          • Tania

            It was less putting Pinoe in that was the problem & more that when she took her out, she should’ve put in Krieger.

          • guest

            you blame the player most to blame…megan rapinoe. she said she was “100% ready to go”

          • guest

            and isn’t even 30 minutes fit.

          • dw

            she clearly meant 100% ready to go for 28 minutes.

          • Paul Klee

            Which she wasn’t, she was 100% ready to go five minutes

          • Tania

            Which was the role Ellis said she wanted from her.

          • Tania

            Sometimes you say what your coach wants you to say. Ellis decided the day Rapinoe went down that there was enough time. Because she’s gone through it twice before, Rapinoe knew their likely wasn’t. But she gave it her best shot, she got put on the roster, & she did what she could.

            Player management is the coach’s job. Just has Ellis needed to stand up & say no to messing up the midfield to cater to Carli, if she saw in practice that Pinoe wasn’t good to go, she needed to swallow her pride & make the change. It was her job to let player know that for the long term good of her career, Rio would be a mistake for her (if that’s the truth). Sometimes as a coach you have to do tough things.

            Still – at the end of the day, there are a whole lot of other things that were bigger factors in the outcome of this tourney. Heck, the conspiracy theorist in me can’t help thinking that Ellis hoped if they lost that the Rapinoe selection would distract from the more fundamental mistakes she made in coaching & preparing this team.

          • necron99

            Please. Ellis is not gong to blame Press. Press was barely in the game. We don’t even know how the Pk takers were chosen. For all we know Press wanted to take one, or at least wanted to take one more than some of the others did.

            Press did not shine in this tournament but the loss is not on her. (And I say this as someone who thinks Press is the #2 striker on the team behind Morgan.)

          • kernel_thai

            Even in the dream land Ellis resides in u cant blame Press for missing the shot at the death and then explain why u put her 5th in the shoot out.

          • Paul Klee

            Yeah even if Press grabbed Ellis by the shoulders and said “I got this” demanded that she be in the penalty lineup in 5th position the correct response is “Thank you for the offer, but I think we’re going to go another way, Hope you’re 10th, Christen you’ll follow Hope. “

          • Steglitz49

            It stands to reason. She wilted under pressure.

            Christen Annemarie also missed a shot late in extra time that would have won it. The ball sailed over the bar. (Another of her shots was blocked by Sembrandt’s bum but that was not Christen’s fault.)

          • Guest

            “She wilted under pressure” while I do agree with this, I do not think it is that simple.

            Had Ellis not toyed with her so much the past two years in terms of riding the bench, then she just expected her to be able to perform in the most high pressure position possible?

          • Ando91881

            Alex Morgan played 335 minutes in 4 games. Scored 2 goals in 335 minutes. That is a goal per 118 minutes of play.

            Christen Press played 124 minutes in 4 games. Scored 0 goals. Not good, but Alex wasn’t very good either.

          • x

            0.5 goals/appearances is literally better than Hamm ever did in a major tournament.

          • NYRick

            That’s a great point. For all of Hamm’s royalty with US fans, she was not all that great in the biggest of matches. That’s why Akers should be considered higher. Mia’s looks and charisma carried the day for her as well.

          • guest

            no doubt press should not have been put in the position to shoot last by the coach.

          • NYRick

            Steg we know this is a glorious moment for you. Of course, you fail to mention how greatly you have slagged the Swedish team the past two years and have told us repeatedly how the US was overwhelming favorites here in Rio. Why were the other teams even bothering to show was your tone.

            Now the cherry on the sundae for you (Press basically choking in the biggest of spots) to seal your team’s victory. That is kind of kicking the girl when she is at her lowest point. Maybe her NT career could be over. These types of things are hard to recover from for a vet player. If she was 21, she could most likely put it behind her, but going into her late 20s, I don’t think so. She shouldn’t have been the 5th shooter. That was stupid on all parts whoever decided that. Second or third or not at all was the best scenario for her.

            But right now you are gloating in her and the US team’s misfortune. Not very becoming.

          • mockmook

            Still, can’t flinch from reality.

            No matter if it was good strategy or “fair”, Press has to make that shot (or at least put it on goal, and make it very difficult for the keeper).

          • NYRick

            I think I’ve said plenty of places on here that she failed miserably and it was a nervous and unconfident shot. What more do you want me to say. Yes of course she has to make that shot and of course (it can easily be assumed with any degree of conjucture) that she wanted to make that shot more than anything in the world.

          • dw

            Steg thinks this is France.

        • Ando91881

          I think she will play as a sub from now through the 2019 WC. She has a wide range of skills that are very valuable to the team, even if not starting.

          • Steglitz49

            I would not select her. There are too many young American ladies to give a chance to. 3 years is a long time in soccer.

          • Troll Watch

            In StegWorld, Press should be pregnant by now, or at least hearing wedding bells.

          • Steglitz49

            She should not have run out on Göteborg the way she did. I guess it is part of the same character flaw.

          • John

            The chance to play with Vero Boquete and Marta does not come along every day. She wanted to win the Champions League and with Tyreso, she nearly did so.

    • Guest

      Feel worse for Krieger than I do for Dunn or Pugh. Alternate for one OG victory, gets injured for another victory, now this. And she will certainly be out of picture in 2020

      • kernel_thai

        Feel bad for Dunn. Got to believe Ellis justified screwing Dunn out of the $300K WC payday by making sure Dunn got the big Olympic pay out. Well that’s not happenin’ Jill.

      • Tania

        To me this demonstrates why you want to hope she’s willing to stay. Of all the mistakes Ellis made, the backline was the most damaging.

    • NYRick

      This year, the SBC was supposedly the big test and a strong indicator that this team was going to win gold in Rio. While they did win the tournament, but even with all the games on US soil, their margin for error and their superiority over each of their top Euro opponents can best be described as so-so. It was touted as their grand “will” and grit got them through for a result each match. And surely that would be the difference when it mattered as always. After the SBC and the reported US hoopla I thought back on that Germany WC semi and once again realized the incredible fortune of that match and how the ball truly bounced their way that night (Sasic miss, no red for JJ, Morgan PK right on the fringe). Those are 3 humongous breaks and all went their way. If they lost, it is not inconceivable they could have left Canada medal-less as well.

      • dw

        After 90 minutes in the jungle, the “will” was weak…

        • NYRick

          Maybe they should have had some Guns N Roses blasting in the lockerroom in the second half for a little pick me up. Instead of the typical crap like Beyonce and Taylor Swift that most likely dominates their iPods.

          • NYRick

            …but now maybe they should be listening instead to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

    • necron99

      #2 Hope played like crap in the Colombia game. That loss is 80% on her, and 20% on O’Hara for giving up the late foul.

      But how did Hope fail in the loss against Sweden? She saved a penalty kick to get the team back in the game after Sweden saved Morgan’s kick. Nothing more can be expected.

      The loss today was on the field players for not putting Sweden away during the run of play. And it is on the defense for getting so high up and caught out for a counterattack breakaway, even after a bunch of earlier scares. The worse part being that the CBs were not in the attack useful up at the half way line anyway. Risk for no reward. The loss is also on Morgan and Press for failing in their penalty kicks. And mostly this loss is on Ellis. She knew before this game what Sweden was going to do and the team was not ready for it. She knew that the team would run into a bunker at least once in the tournament and the team could not handle it. Hell they knew they had problems with it back in the Olympic Qualifiers. And this loss is on Ellis for sticking with Lloyd, Brian, and Pinoe in this game. Pinoe was not full game fit. Lloyd and Brian might be able to go all game, but they did not have their peak fitness and speed. They were also rusty and out of sync with the team. Lloyd gave away many balls with her first touch and terrible passes. (I am not going to dump on her and say she has no talent, but she was not at her best in any way.)

      So what again did Solo do to lose this game?

      • Cc W

        Nothing – Hope did what she needed to do against SWE – and Colombia was a tie, not a loss.

        If Press had made her PK, Hope would have got on the line to face the shooter. When Press missed, Hope figured she had nothing to lose by making the shooter think about it and made the glove change – but it really didn’t matter. Hope hasn’t had her best season, and to me it is a sign that she’s going to hang up her gloves pretty soon. It has been a long 9 years with lots of attention on her – granted a lot of her own doing.

        The media is always complaining that it wants athletes to be real and honest rather than canned responses – and Hope obliges and is vilified for it.

        Don’t worry everyone, Hope will be retiring soon, but don’t be surprised if you’re wishing she hadn’t when the next set of keepers struggle.

    • mockmook

      Agree, except for Ps 😉

    • kernel_thai

      Interesting point about Press. If u have enough faith in her to put her in the 5 hole on PKs why dont u start her more?

  • Ando91881

    Nate Silver says that the USWNT had only about a 35% chance of winning the gold medal when the tournament was starting. People assume they are immortal given in a typical 4 year span they win about 82% of their matches.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-u-s-women-probably-werent-going-to-win-the-gold-anyway/

    • x

      Many humans are bad at probability and don’t understand the incredible variance of a three-part knockout stage. IIRC 538 had them at like 25-35% before last year’s World Cup, too.

      • dw

        Um, this equates to a 2-1 favorite. About right. But this human is better than average at probability.

        • x

          Yep, around there. But the point is they’re still likelier to lose than win, even if they start out with the highest individual chance to win.
          I guess a lot of people just think “hey, we’re favored every game, we’re totally gonna win this” and underestimate how hard it is to do a probable thing three times.

          • Ando91881

            This is like March Madness where a #1 seed (Duke, for example) plays against a #7 seed in the third round. It is an upset, but it happens more often than people think. In March Madness (I am focusing on the men’s tournament), it is very rare for all of the Final Four teams to be #1 seeds and #2 seeds.

          • Steglitz49

            WC-11 was won by Japan and neither the US, Germany or Sweden.

            In Euro-16 Wales men reached the semi-final while Iceland put England to the sword.

    • Steglitz49

      Immortal as in immortal invisible or did you mean immoral?

    • Gary Diver

      This has been discussed here earlier though people refuse to believe it. USWNT was not prohibited favorites to win the gold medal.

      They had to win 3 games in a row. If each game has the unrealistically high average winning probability of 0.8, than the probability of winning gold is only about 50%. Drop average winning probability to 0.7 and the probability of winning gold drops to only 33% (close to Nate Silver’s number).

      • Ando91881

        Right. The 0.8 factors in the tomato can teams throughout the years. Not the teams ranked near the top that they have to face in the Olympics.

  • Frode
    • x

      Clickbait. Likely to retire anyway. Impossible for her to be kicked off the team for off-field behavior because it would’ve happened already. Seriously, the DV arrest and team van incident are forgiveable but some unsporting comments are a bridge too far? If she sticks around and gets cut, it’ll be because they finally believe they have a better keeper and can afford it. But changing goalkeepers wouldn’t have won them that game. Until they reacquaint themselves with finishing Lev Yashin couldn’t save them.

      • Altius

        Brazil cut Sweden to shreds, putting 5 past them only day ago. The US definitely should not have needed the GK to bail them out of this game, Hope Solo OR the Black Spider.

        • Guest

          Sweden played a much different game against Brazil. They held a high line and committed numbers forward. Against the US, Sweden played a 4-5-1 in defense and dropped their back line almost to the edge of the 18. Sweden might be successful with similar tactics against Brazil in the rematch because they clearly can’t win an open game with them.

        • x

          Sweden didn’t try to bunker Brazil, did they? But anyway the US generated a ridiculous amount of possession and way too many shots to come away with 1 goal. Dreadful.

          • Steglitz49

            65% to the US plus the referee team as a 12th int to say 3 extra players.

        • Steglitz49

          Jessica Samuelsson was not playing in that match. Pia probably took note of Lagerbäck’s analysis maybe even sat down with him

  • dw

    Kinda hurts the ol’ CBA negotiations, huh?

    • guest

      no chance the uswnt out-revenues the usmnt now.

      • CED

        They weren’t going to no matter what. USSF got 15 mil payment for MNT hosting Copa America.

      • Chak Khan

        Due to contract they cannot walk out; they should be able to go through the motion at VT until their contract expires at the end of 2017. Use that a leverage.

        • Rufan

          Only a Victory Tour if medaled (10 games for Gold, 3 for Silver/Bonze),

        • Tania

          Contract / Memorandum of Understanding expires at end of 2016. The argument by the women’s lawyer was that it was already expired & USSF said no, it was valid to the end of Dec 2016. Courts sided with USSF.

    • NYRick

      That’s why the timing of all their equal pay money talk was strange. Cart before the mule and totally almost guaranteeing a gold in Rio to support their case. Sometimes as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Now they are like the sales rep who is going into their boss for their annual review while his region and his sales numbers are way down.

      • necron99

        That is the reason USSF wants the CBA to be in off years. So the team never has leverage. Of course they wanted to negotiate while living the win of the WWC.

        Though this can be a public relations coup. There is no way that any WNT salaries will be near the top 10 with the MNT players. Since they have no bonuses, and no victory tour, and less games played means less chances at win money. Now it will be easy to see that $1500 for a win, and nothing for a loss or tie is not a lot of money to make. WNT salaries were only close to MNT in 2015 because of every possible bonus and benefit of winning WWC.

        • NYRick

          True to all you say, but I think there was a bit of arrogance banking on a win at the OG to seal the deal in this calendar year. They struck while the iron was hot with all the good will surrounding their WC win and were the heavy favorites for Rio so they strongly played their hand. They double downed playing Black Jack and got burned.

        • CED

          The CBA ends at the end of a cycle. That makes sense,

        • petitepea

          Agree with this. An Olympic loss better illustrates the inequity of being paid for playing and winning, but not for playing and losing.

          For example, the men and women are earning the same for their respective Olympic runs correct? The men earned $0 for not qualifying, while the women who qualified, played, and ultimately lost, also earn $0.

          Is this right?

          • Lorehead

            No, if nothing else, the women won twice in the group stage.

          • Rufan

            For WNT, there is $15K bonus for qualifying and $15K for making tournament roster. Bonuses for only top 4 finishes.

    • Chak Khan

      The complaint with the EEOC flashed before my eyes as soon as I saw CP stepped up to take a PK (Face palm). If they lost that battle, too, the pain would be unbearable for a long while.

  • dw

    Time to rebrand that “Victory” tour into a “Farewell” tour… The one advantage to keeping vets around past their expiration date…

    • Steglitz49

      Maybe sweden and China could play some exhibition matches? Book Michigan stadium now?

    • Guest

      Maybe they could salvage some sales by making it a Krieger, Rampone, Solo farewell tour

      • Steglitz49

        Who would turn up? There must be weddings every day.

    • fourTurns

      they could play in Canada’s Victory Tour

  • Paul Klee

    When was the last time Christen Press took a penalty in competition? She hasn’t taken one for the Red Stars. How many did she take For her Swedish Club? Press rarely takes free- kicks or Corners for club or country. Has she taken a penalty as a pro?

    Why the heck would you put someone in the 5th position who doesn’t do any of the above things whose skill set is settling and shooting the ball in the run of play, and as of late has been in poor form doing that?

    • Guest

      She probably volunteered as that’s how it’s usually decided.

      • Paul Klee

        I would hope every squad member would volunteer. I would’ve had Hope taking the penalty before Christen, seriously.

        • x

          I live in constant hope of seeing a PSO come down to keeper v keeper shots.

          • Paul Klee

            They do take the most penalties in training.

          • Steglitz49

            Why on earth?

          • x

            Fun!
            I also enjoy watching hockey goaltenders fight.

          • dw

            I for one would have put Hope higher in the shootout order than Press. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure that Hope didn’t miss an opportunity to say: “There’s no doubt in my mind I
            would have converted that PK”

    • Ethan

      I believe she’s taken at least two for Chicago. Scored one and missed one. Frankly though, name one USWNT player other than Lloyd that you’ve seen take more than a handful of penalties. Even regular takers in the NWSL don’t have that much of a history to draw from with the possible exception of Little and Killion (this year).

      • guest

        Lloyd also missed badly in 2011 WC final PK shoot out …
        USWNT had many chances to score today but did not …
        Morgan had pk blocked, Press missed pk but this loss is more on poor tactics, game plan, and sub use by Ellis and overall poor execution by uswnt team not on who missed/made pk’s

      • guest

        I’m a firm believer that the player that draws the penalty should have to take it.

        • Paul Klee

          Like a free-throw?

          • guest

            Yes or a penalty shot in Hockey.

        • Gary Diver

          Agree.

        • Steglitz49

          Soccer has managed with this system for an awfully long time now. If the other was more optimal it would be in use by now.

    • Ando91881

      Final regular season game of 2014 season for CRS she took a penalty kick. I was at the game. It ended in a 3-3 tie. She scored two goals and one was on a penalty kick.

    • Ando91881
      • Ando91881

        16th minute she takes a penalty kick and makes it.

    • Steglitz49

      I don’t think she took the penalties for either Göteborg or Tyresö.

    • guest

      no doubt press shouldn’t have been put in the position to shoot last by the coach. i can only think lloyd was originally going to go last but that the uswnt was behind in the penalty kicks so they needed a goal. so the coaches moved lloyd up to the fourth spot. i’m surprised heath wasn’t chosen considering her strong year.

      • guest

        and that lloyd was maybe originally meant to go in the fifth spot.

  • Gary Diver

    Two things about Christen Press’ missed PK:

    1. PKs are cruel. The last miss is the one everybody will remember. Alex and Christen both missed, but unfortunately it was Christen who missed last. Compare the situation with the Australia/Brazil shootout. The Australian girl who shot after Marta missed shot a terrible PK and was more responsible for Australia not winning than Kennedy.

    2. And unfortunately Christen Press’ PK shot was probably the worst shot of all 24+ shots. it looked god awful and that has got to hurt her psyche.

    • skybolt

      Who would’ve thought that Morgan, Press and Marta would miss shoot out penalty kicks on the same day. Just a strange day.

      • Steglitz49

        Hedvig Lindahl said after the match that she took a calculated gamble that Alex would place the ball where she shot. It was as simple as that.

        • Gary Diver

          Two things:

          1. Late last year when Christine Sinclair was awarded a PK though was injured, Morgan took the PK for Portland and it was blocked. The keeper made a strange comment afterwards that she knew which way Morgan was going but would not tell the world how she knew.

          2. There was something strange about Morgan’s PK. The ball was placed reasonably, but it seemed like slow motion. The keeper should not have gotten in front of the ball. Most saves involve tipping the ball, but not this case. Almost as though the keeper committed herself before Morgan kicked the ball and Morgan could not respond even when she saw the keeper moving.

          • Guest

            Morgan did not place her PK in this game well at all. Morgan talked about how she shoots to an area she commits to before taking the shot. She is unable to accurately chance her shooting area on the fly.

          • Steglitz49

            You can’t compare Alex to Miyama. Compare her to Marta who misses from time to time.

          • mockmook

            Good placement is near the post.

          • rkmid71

            Freakonomics say the data show that going central is better. That’s because GKs usually commit to jumping left or right, knowing that’s their only chance to get to a shot near the post. The reason most don’t do it is because they don’t want to look foolish if it doesn’t work. Of course GKs know this as well. Also, there is a bit of a tradeoff between power and placement. The best PK takers have both. But increased power generally means a bit less accuracy. You have to give yourself a little margin for error the harder you strike it. And try to keep it low or high — not waist high.

        • CED

          Morgan consistently goes that side on PK’s..Did in Wcup 2011, did it NWSL for Portland last year and was stopped.

          • No

            WCup 2011? Morgan didn’t take a penalty kick in the 2011 World Cup.

          • Steglitz49

            I don’t remember Alex taking penalties in WC-11 but I take your word for it.

            In the final pso it was Boxx, Carli, Tobin and Abby. The 5th was not needed.

      • Gary Diver

        Yes. And we saw how cruel PKs can be. Kennedy felt the weight of the world on her shoulders for losing the game, but it was the girl who shot after Marta that was responsible for Australia not winning. Kennedy’s shot was a good shot, while the earlier Australian miss was terrible.

        • CED

          Gorry’s PK was the worst. She hit the ball so central, the only way the keeper misses it is if she guesses. Not a good PK.

      • NYRick

        Worse for Press by far. Marta’s team saved her bacon. Alex had the first round miss and Hope nullified it with her save. Poor Christen has nowhere to hide. When it got to her in a tied shootout on the 5th shot, you just can’t miss. Even if you have barely taken any in your life. You just have to step up and perform. Feel really bad for her.

        • Frustrated

          At least get it on frame. It’s really sad for me to see Press join Lloyd in the PK moonshot club.

          • NYRick

            Can’t disagree. Everyone is obviously nervous taking those, don’t care who it is. But you just can’t sky it over the bar. That is choking. I play a lot of tennis and I remember reading once where if you are playing a tight match and you start hitting the ball into the net on your groundstrokes rather than hitting out and possibly missing long beyond the baseline, you are choking. Both your technique and really inner fortitude are in question when you start hitting everything in the net. You are essentially afraid.

            In soccer on a PK, you fear the embarrassment of a keeper guessing right and the eventual save, so you overhit and go way high. Like I said somewhere else I literally cringed when I saw it was Press stepping up for the 5th kick. And how strange is that when in theory you would figure her to be a marksman type of shooter with her hundreds of practice shots each day. At that point it comes down to stones or the female version of that.

          • NYRick

            To add a point to this on PKs in general, I wonder why no women players (none I’ve seen anyway) do that little hesitation thing (think CR7 and others) whereas they kind of stutter step just before striking the ball to get the keeper to start their commitment to one direction. I think it’s kind of lllegal but it’s never called. None of the women practice it. I was surprised Tobin didn’t take a PK. She would have known that probably and if she was gassed and passed on taking one, I lose some respect for her. If you can play 120 minutes of soccer, you certainly have the energy to walk to a spot and take a kick.

          • mockmook

            “She would have known that probably and if she was gassed and passed on taking one, I lose some respect for her. If you can play 120 minutes of soccer, you certainly have the energy to walk to a spot and take a kick.”

            For the love of god, can you avoid doing this for just one day?

            First you make a conjecture, then you act as if the conjecture is true (and condemn the player for your conjecture).

            But, do you even understand what I’m saying? I suppose that is the real question.

          • NYRick

            And why does it bother you so much? Who made you the thought police? I can’t have an opinion on a game situation and make a conjecture? I did say “if” she was gassed or passed on taking a PK, I lose some respect for her. What in the world is wrong with that? That’s me personally losing respect for her. Not you. Not anybody else. Your feelings and your opinion on your own. Also, on one of the earlier threads someone said Tobin passed on the PK and was maybe too gassed. Now explain how and why Tobin wouldn’t take a PK? Certainly one of the 5? That is open to question and not condemning Tobin by any means, but it can be questioned.

          • mockmook

            “But, do you even understand what I’m saying? I suppose that is the real question.”

            I guess the answer was “No”.

          • NYRick

            Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed today? This is a comment board. We can make comments. We can formulate opinions, some albeit better than others. Some fair, some not so fair.

            So the answer to your question I guess is no.

      • CED

        The fact is Fw’s are not always good PK takers…Morgan is actually pretty bad if you have followed her for club and country. Plenty of teams put defenders in their 1st 5 of PK takers.

        If you watched the AUS/Brazil PK’s the worst one was Gorry, who could have won it for AUS as th 5th she went for all power and hot the ball very central, keeper only need to take to 1 step to the right.

        • skybolt

          With Press is pk it was definitely a miss-hit due to nerves. She had the keeper beaten but missed badly. The problem I have with Morgan’s pk is that it was actually planned to go to that spot. She wanted to hit the frame with power and let the goal keeper make the play instead of trying a different and risking missing the goal completely. The problem with this approach is that after a few similar pks the keeper will guess right and save it 90% of the time. If I Sermanni or Ellis I’d tell never ever hit the ball in that spot again, even if you place it in the center instead. What really boggles my mind is that during normal play she usually strikes the ball low and the right corner. Why not take the pk the same way and risking going wide 20% of the time?

  • Steglitz49

    The inept, to put it mildly, refereeing of this match will have consequences for soccer, including BroSo.

    Video-review be introduced even faster than was likely. This match is an even better example than the men’s Champions League final for those who want video review.

    Video review will go further back than the immediate events in the box to check for fouls along the way. The US goal came off a foul.

    Coaches challenges will be brought in or at least tested. Had Pia been able to challenge, Lotta Schelin’s goal would have stood.

    I doubt that formal tests of knowledge of the laws of the game will be brought in but maybe that too will come.

    The money in the men’s game will fuel this righteous fire.

    Soccer will change beyond recognition because an inept crew was allowed to referee a major match. The players and their coaches deserved better. We will get a ruined form of soccer, BroSo as well as WoSo, instead.

    • Paul Klee

      The real reason that the go for replay review is that it will introduce adverts into matches. Is that to cynical?

      • Steglitz49

        That is on the money! Hear hear!

    • Peter

      Steg, you are overreacting. I agree with you that the refereeing mistakes in this game favored the US with the disallowed goal by Schelin being the most egregious error. But anybody who follows soccer regularly knows that ref mistakes that affect the outcome of a game happen all the time. I watched 3 of the 4 Olympic quarterfinale games. There was a clear penalty not given for France in the game against Canada (a foul on Le Sommer by Buchanan around minute 15). Australia should have had a penalty against Brazil in the 82nd minute (a foul on Heyman). And overall, I would rate the performance of the ref crews in these two games as 2+. The only thing that will get improve the quality of refereeing further is video replay. I also just rewatched the highlights from the US – Sweden match from WC2015. There was a clear handball by Leroux in the penalty box of her team. Many of us will also remember that, in the same game, Fischer wrestled down Press in the Swedish penalty box – should have been another penalty. Being a referee is a tough job. Why not use video technology to address this? What would be a feasible alternative (to video technology) ?

      You write: “I doubt that formal tests of knowledge of the laws of the game will be brought in”
      I strongly suspect (as in I’m 99.99% sure) that referees have their rule knowledge and their physical fitness checked regularly. These are not things for which you are tested only once. Refs are constantly evaluated. But you still see mistakes that make you scratch your head. So I don’t think better training of referees would bring further improvement because on this front a lot is being done already.

      • Steglitz49

        The refereeing team must know the rules. That is a given.

        This ref waved off several, not just one, off-side flags in Sweden’s penalty area but did not wave off the erroneous off-side call in the US area. Had she not waved those other flags off, she would be on slightly safer ground. As it is, she is not.

        The US got the ball that led to the goal from a foul. That is hard to judge but it was obvious in this case.

        To have so many critical inept calls go against one team is not just unfortunate but smacks of carelessness — to bowl Wilde over.

        • Peter

          How do you know this?:
          “This ref waved off several … off-side flags in Sweden’s penalty area”
          I watched the game: I didn’t see this nor do I remember the commentator mention it. In fact, I do not remember the last time I saw a ref in a professional soccer game overrule the offside flag of his assistant – which makes me think that this is extremely rare. I was a ref myself for some time, and I know that as a ref you are almost never in the right field position to have a better shot at calling offside correctly than your assistant ref. That’s why we have the assistant refs – to call offside and to call who gets a throw-in.

          • Steglitz49

            She did. It was an outrage.

            The commentators on Swedish TV reported it with incredulity.

            The refereeing of this match was a scandal. Outrageous incompetence. Stop defending garbage.

          • Peter

            You did not answer my question. I mean did we not watch the same live stream? If you saw it, why did I not see it? I doubt that you are right because no one else seems to have seen the ref overruling her assistant.
            (And remember I agree with you that the ref errors in this game favored the US, like in last year’s game US – Germany.)

            I do remember that at least one time the replay clearly showed that an offside call against Sweden was wrong. But calling offsides will always be tricky. And we keep seeing obvious ref errors at top tournaments.

          • Steglitz49

            The linesman who was ignored was running the line in the lower right hand corner and out of view.

            The offisides were glaring.

            Schelin’s goal was not that tricky. It was an error pure and simple.

        • dw

          All refs don’t know all the rules. That is a given.

          • Steglitz49

            Vomit.

        • Solve the Ref Crisis

          Stop this political correct nonsense of only hiring female crew from Third World nations. For WC and OG they should hire experienced men from division 1 leagues in Europe.

          • Steglitz49

            No men.

            WoSo is soccer by women with women for the world.

      • dw

        I rate the Schelin call as pretty bad. But I think not enforcing the Scurry rule against Barbara is much worse. There’s no excuse to miss it. No excuse not to know it. No excuse not to call it.

        • CED

          Actually the one not called was worse. US had I believe Press off by a few yards and was not called that lead to a shot, that went off target

    • Nicole C.

      https://streamable.com/txyn?t=4.5
      History has been made. This is a USL (Tier 2) match between Orlando City and the Red Bulls. About 90 seconds from when play was stopped to when the call was made after review, which isn’t bad for the first time.

      • Steglitz49

        The advertisers will love it. The broadcasters even more, not to mention the bean counters.

      • Lorehead

        Are those the reserve teams that play in USL (which is officially the third division)? The first teams of both those clubs are in MLS.

        • Nicole C.

          Yeah, and my mistake. I always thought the USL was the second division.

          • Lorehead

            It is applying to move up to D2 status, parallel to the NASL (which does not cooperate with either USL or MLS and has sued US Soccer, whose requirements it only meets because FIFA makes it).

    • CED

      There will not be replay for off sides anytime soon. Goal line tech forever despite many major blunders in Wcup’s, C-league, etc…

      • Steglitz49

        It is bound to come. The advertisers and money men want it. The players don’t care given how much they earn.

        Zlatan Ibrahimovic earns £260,000 per week at Manchester United.

        Yet, his weekly wage is small compared to NBA’s lesser known players. Despite being a role player Timofey Mozgov will earn £230,000 per week.

  • Paul Klee

    Can Mal Pugh “undefer” to UCLA? With no victory tour and camp, where is she going to play before u20 camp starts?

    • Steglitz49

      Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched — or, as the Swedes say, do not sell the pelt before you have shot the bear.

      She could play in Sweden where Tancredi was this season!

    • x

      🙁 is she even healthy?

    • Gary Diver

      I thought there was suppose to be a mini VT even if USWNT did not win gold. They may have to rename it. There is already two Friendlies scheduled for mid-September against Thailand and Netherlands. That is going to make NWSL fans really happy.

      • Guest

        No only if they medaled. There will probably still be some friendlies and camps scheduled.

        • CED

          2 friendlies were already scheduled in Sept FIFA window. They may schedule games for the other 2 windows that are in October and November. Well they might not do the November one b/c it falls during thanksgiving and players/coaches might agree not to do anything. There is nothing to build for in the near future and it’s not a VT, let them spend Thanksgiving at home with family. I will bet on 4 more games the entire year, sept/october windows. I think they did only 4 games in the fall when they finished 3rd in the Wcup in 2007.

          • rkmid71

            Shouldn’t they do something for Rampone in these friendlies? And hopefully Solo calls it quits. Though I could see her taking advantage of the pregnancy provision, coming back, then retiring after (or forcing JE to not select her) — thus getting paid for a couple more years without doing anything. Though I’m not sure Rampone would want to be lumped in with her at this stage.

      • x

        “Homecoming Tour” or maybe “Farewell Tour” if they can celebrate a retiring legend. But Solo’s poison and Lloyd’s dead set on 2019, so I don’t see an FT happening.

      • Ando91881

        I believe the NWSL schedule takes a weekend off in mid September.

        I think there is a break from about September 12th through 20th.

        • Gary Diver

          NWSL schedule looks like Swiss cheese.

          • Steglitz49

            Who will watch now anyway?

          • guest

            The NWSL is more entertaining than the crap were watching in Brazil right now.

          • Steglitz49

            Temper, temper. Distemper?

      • Steglitz49

        Guest is right. 10 matches for winning Gold, 3 for silver. I am not sure a bronze was to have a tour.

        • Rufan

          3 games for Silver (at $6,750 per game per player) or Bronze (at $6,250).

      • kernel_thai

        There will sill be friendlies tho not 10 surely. h difference is the games wont be going towards paying the big contractuals bonuses for medals.

    • Ethan

      Going to play or going to school? Is French still asking for players going to the U20 World Cup to redshirt?

    • CED

      The U20’s coach wanted players to take a season off anyway.

  • Gary Diver

    Canada versus Germany and Brazil versus Sweden

    Games between teams who played against each other in group play. That will be very interesting.

    Will Sundhage play rope-a-dope soccer against Brazil? The Brazilian fans will not like that.

    • Paul Klee

      I’m sure the Brazilian fans are happy they advanced Brazil hasn’t scored in 210+ minutes. That can’t make them happy

      • Gary Diver

        Brazil is a very strange team. They played Canada 5 times since WC15. I saw two of those games in early June and I also saw the fall games against USWNT in October. Not once is those 4 games did Brazil look impressive. It is amazing how a team that always looked so average is in the SFs.

        • Steglitz49

          Cometh the hour, cometh the ladies?

          • Gary Diver

            We have two SFs games that are repeats of group play games. It will be interesting to see whether the games resemble each other.

          • Steglitz49

            No but Brazil playing Sweden in the Maracana will be amazing, like Japan v France in Wembley 4 years ago.

        • Peter

          I don’t find it so surprising that a mediocre team gets to the semi-final. (How did Portugal win the Euro?) You get there by winning single-elimination games !!! That is to say, it’s not best of 5 or best of 7. To get to the semis in Rio, you had to win only one elimination game! That’s why Sweden is in the semi-final, never mind the teams underwhelming performances in the first round.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden managed to get to this SF in spite of the ref. That must be some sort of record even for WoSo.

            In WC-74 West Germany lost to East-Germany in the group game. No doubt we can find more recent examples.

            Type after me: Iceland and Wales, Iceland and Wales, Whales and Wales.

        • Chak Khan

          Perhaps, because 1) key players were not in the game; 2) players did not put in their effort whole-heartedly. There are no golden eggs for winning VT.

    • Steglitz49

      Sweden gets to step out on the Maracana and face the home nation. What a dream come true. Only playing at Wembley is comparable — which Hedvig Lindahl and Pia have.

      Indeed, Pia scored the very first goal by a woman at Wembley.

      • Gary Diver

        Boy, you really do have a long memory.

        • Steglitz49

          Carolina Morace scored 4 the following year.

          Wembley is the holy of holies of soccer. Next comes the Maracana many would say.

      • Nicole C.

        The last time Sweden played the US in the Olympics, Pia started.

        • Steglitz49

          I hope Sweden wins because then Pia will have won 3 in a row!

  • Paul Klee

    What’s the record for a midfielder being offsides in a match?

    • Gary Diver

      How many times was Lloyd offsides? I lost count.

      • Steglitz49

        and how many times did she foul and was not brought to book until late in the game?

  • Paul Klee

    Who will be the NT’er to get back to NWSL camp? I bet it won’t be Rapinoe.

    • guest

      I’m betting all the Thorns will be back with the exception of Sinclair.

      • Steglitz49

        They have precious else to do now do they? Maybe like Sasic they will put their efforts into other ventures and score?

      • Riveter, not Fanatic

        Good. Sinc is not needed in Portland. They already have players who can score.

  • Gary Diver

    “I don’t believe in formations, I just want the best players on the field and let them find their spaces.”

    Where did we hear this before. The chickens come home to roost.

    • Steglitz49

      More like corncrakes.

  • Paul Klee

    Any chance Lloyd, Brian, Dunn or Krieger make it to next Thursday’s Dash/Spirit match? I bet On Krieger.

    • Steglitz49

      Weddings on Thursdays are not that common — though Houston being such a big city, I am sure she can rustle up one.

      • Paul Klee

        You’re welcome.

        • Peter

          There is a silver lining! (Thanks.) Now Lloyd, Brian, Dunn or Krieger can make it for the Dash/Spirit game and/or a wedding (or maybe several weddings and grandma’s birthday.)

          • CED

            I wouldn’t bet on it.

          • John

            The’ll need time off. Guaranteed you won’t see them for a few weeks.

  • Gary Diver

    Ugly, Ugly

    This was an ugly result of an ugly game of ugly soccer. It will be interesting to see how much serious criticism Ellis gets for letting USWNT fans down. Caitlin Murray has already taken her to the shed.

    • Steglitz49

      It was an uglily refereed game of soccer. It was unusually inept on so many levels that it beggars belief.

      • Chak Khan

        Is there no replay in soccer?

    • Peter

      You say that because your team lost! If somehow this games had ended the way the US-Canada in London 2012 ended, namely with the winning goal for the US in the 123rd minute, I suspect you wouldn’t harp on how the game was not an attractive one. Never mind all the talk of soccer being the beautiful game, there are quite a number of boring games in major tournaments. Did you see France – Canada yesterday? If yes, how would you rate its quality? In my opinion, it was mediocre with each side having very few chances. To play attractive, offensive-minded soccer is hard. That’s why the US found it hard to beat a bunkering team like Sweden that was defending well and was as fit as the US team. For the US to win against Sweden, they would have to have scored a goal like Germany did in the Euro against Italy. It didn’t come from a high cross into the box. And the Italians’ played the same strategy as the Swedish lasses did against the US. Against such teams (good defense and physical fitness) you need to play a very precise passing game because there is so little space left to the attackers. And to beat the defense it takes the type of goal Germany scored against Italy (if you don;t remember it, check it out on YouTube) – or you are lucky: like Morgan’s goal against Sweden or a long-range shot that luckily finds its way through the forrest of legs in front of the goal (or like Behringer’s goal for Germany against China yesterday.) The US has the type of players to beat the style that Sweden played yesterday. I’m thinking of Heath, Pugh, Dunn who combine speed and technical ability. Long balls or high crosses in the box are just a low-yield strategy against teams that play like Sweden.

      • Steglitz49

        Hear hear!

        (Might try to insert some paragraph breaks next time if you system allows you. I use “—” when I can’t do paragraphs.)

      • guest

        “Low-yield strategy” So you’re saying if you put enough crosses in, you’ll get a goal eventually?

  • Gary Diver

    Let’s look on the bright side of things – things could have been worse. Ellis could have started Megan Rapinoe.

    • Paul Klee

      Ellis needs to start playing Friendly’s is if she’s only has three subs available.

      • Gary Diver

        I bet less people will say Ellis is off-target because she won a WC. This game canceled a ton of good will she got for winning WC15.

      • Andrew Alberico

        Great comment.

    • Kevin

      Actually, that would have been much better. We would have only wasted 1 sub on someone that played 25 awful minutes instead of 2 and wouldn’t have had to move Heath to RB.

  • Gary Diver

    Rugby

    Did anybody notice how exciting Olympics rugby was this week? The more I see rope-a-dope bunker soccer the more I like rugby, which I am going to look into.

    • Hans Castorp

      You’ll be back next friendly….don’t lie…

      • Steglitz49

        He shows that he is an American. He lives in Canada but shows no joy over Canada besting France with a wondrfrul goal to boot.

    • Nicole C.

      Only thing I didn’t like was the length of the matches. Perfect for TV, but way too short for me (and maybe the players?) to really settle into.

      • CRS boy

        More calories expended in rugby. Can’t play 120 minute matches like soccer.

        • Nicole C.

          Fair enough. Not even 20 minute halves?

      • CED

        It’s shorter b/c it’s 7’s and not 11″s

  • Kevin

    Abby-ball didn’t work in 2015 and Carli-ball didn’t work in 2016.

    Can we please move on now?

    If I have to watch 3 more years of Carli butchering the #10 position, I’ll just stop watching altogether, because it’s so damn frustrating to watch. Yes, her production goes up, but everyone elses goes waaaaaay down. It was clear all year what the problem with the offense was. There was one piece that didn’t fit, that didn’t click with the rest of the team in the lineup, yet JE couldn’t see it.

    • Steglitz49

      No doubt several players will leave the NT now, either voluntarily or be given their pink slips.

      There is nothing to play for now till 2019. The Swedes have Euro-17 to look forward to.

      • CED

        No player is getting cut, that’s wishful thinking. WNT doesn’t cut players..it’s called the vet protection system. No matter how much you deteriorate you get to leave when you want and block better talent from getting a chance as you collect your guaranteed salary….Boxxm Chalupny, Wambach, Rampone, etc….Lloyd, Rapinoe and several others will do the same for years.

    • necron99

      IT is funny that so much of the mainstream media, sportswriters who only cover the WNT twice a year think that Hope is a divisive player in the team. Yet it is Lloyd giving interview after interview about how she never got any of the respect she deserved all these years as the best player on the team. That only the pretty girls would get media coverage. And now that everyone knows that she is the best player in the world they know her role. She said she knew they would win gold because she would carry the team on her shoulders. How is that not divisive?

      Of course we have no way of knowing if either player is divisive. For all we know the players agree with both of them. Or they completely ignore all articles about them.

      • NYRick

        Aren’t Lloyd and Solo supposedly best buds? Love to hear their conversations in private about how great and invaluable each are to the team’s success (i.e. the team can’t live without them).

        But you do make a solid point. Solo is the lazy media’s punching bag because of bad off the pitch behavior when in fact it seems to be Lloyd tooting her horn constantly and having this continual Rock of Gibraltar chip on her shoulder for past slights.

        • Chak Khan

          It is well-known that Pia did not care much for Lloyd as a head coach of the USWNT. She made some slight remark about the latter. Perhaps, that is why this loss is the more painful for Lloyd.

      • CED

        Solo has always been divisive and USSF and the team have excused her stupid comments and actions.

        • Lorehead

          No they haven’t.

          • CED

            Yes they have, but expected lack of acknowledging facts from the biggest and most ignorant fangirl.

          • Lorehead

            The other players even voted to kick her off the team in 2007, after her “I would have made those saves,” outburst.

            Look, you don’t know anything about the topic of this blog. You’ve repeatedly said you don’t like watching WoSo, or care about it, or respect it. You don’t like anybody here, and we don’t like you. So why are you even wasting your time here?

          • CED

            You really are stupid.

      • kernel_thai

        For me it doesnt matter if Solo said something or not. The problem is she completely blocks development of the players behind her by playing every match. She has had a great run but it’s time to move on.

  • Steglitz49

    The Swedish players give credit to their goalkeeper coach, Mikael Olsson (59 years young). He is normally the GK coach of Hammarby’s men’s team. Hammarby is one of the few Swedish men’s teams with a women’s team. They play in Stockholm on the south side of the city.

  • Steglitz49

    Swedish media use the headline: “Miracle on grass”.

  • guest

    this game should also cost megan rapinoe her job. rapinoe said she was “100% ready to go” such a selfish act.

    • guest

      and in reality isn’t even 30 minutes fit.

      • Observed

        Did you see how gassed she was on the bench? Almost EMS critical.

      • Gary Diver

        In the Colombia game Rapinoe was huffing and puffing after 10 minutes. In fact, the first tackle on her took the wind out of her sails. Ellis was looking at her wondering if she should be taken out long before she pulled her.

      • Don B.

        For whatever reason, Pinoe has never been 90 minutes fit, going back years. She’s almost always gassed out well before a match is over.

    • mockmook

      No.

      The coaches/trainers would have known her fitness level.

      But, Rapinoe needs to be demoted to a role player (or less) as we get ready for 2019

      • Steglitz49

        Cut more like it.

    • David K Anderson

      USWNT politics at its worst. I’ve always been a fan, but ‘Pinoe failing to recognize the reality of her fitness to play and NOT recusing herself from the squad definitely lessens my opinion of her.

      • Kevin

        Like everyone else, I expected her to be rusty. I didn’t expect her to be gassed after 30 minutes though and I didn’t expect her to kick 9 out of 10 corner kicks into the stands.

        Not sure how she could be that unfit and Ellis didn’t see it or how bad her corners were in practice.

      • Kevin

        How would you like to be one of the alternates that has never played in the OG and have to watch Pinoe out there stealing a spot from you?

        Or one of the last players cut and didn’t get to go as an alternate?

        • Steglitz49

          The supporters of Pinoe are powerful and had to be satisfied. They never contemplated that it might be their Stalingrad.

      • Rufan

        She did not want to give up the possible up to $200K in bonuses.

        • guest

          it will be interesting to see if rapinoe comes right back to the nwsl or if she is now too unhealthy.

    • guest

      no doubt she put herself before the team. just like hope will always get alot of blame for the 2007 world cup loss, so too should rapinoe for the 2016 olympic loss

  • NYRick

    In retrospect, Press actually had a very good chance for a 122 minute goal. A very good look and chance for sure. Talk about irony with Alex’s 123rd minute winner. And that would have gone a long way to erasing all her NT demons.

    • Don B.

      Even though you don’t think so, I actually like Press a lot. She’s very talented, and has a real nose for goal. She’s scored a lot of goals, a few against top tier teams. Unfortunately, the one thing she’s missing is the ability to step up when it really matters. Often when comparing Morgan and Press, it’s brought up that Press doesn’t have the minutes Morgan does, and that’s true, However, when given the opportunity to come in late in a game, seize the moment and bring home the big win, she can’t seem to make it happen. Morgan made a name for herself doing just that, time and time again. That’s what separates the two. I don’t know what it is, but I would love for a little of Morgan’s mentality to rub off on Press. For what it’s worth, have you ever watched the different reactions of Morgan and Press when they miss a shot? Morgan gets pissed at herself, and Press has more of a “c’est la vie” acceptance.

      • Altius

        Press is my favorite player (since Cheney retired), but I absolutely agree with this and it frustrates the hell out of me. If Lloyd could donate like 6% of that chip-on-her-shoulder determination to Press, we’d have an international world-beater on our hands.

        • Steglitz49

          Holiday, please. She retired as Mrs Holiday.

          • Altius

            Nope. Always have and always will use her team nickname.

          • Steglitz49

            Please don’t be a jerk. You have no right to it. You are to respect her choice.

          • Altius

            You’re wasting your time.

          • Steglitz49

            Obviously. Jerks are jerks and garbage is garbage even if hidden in black binliners, but roses in a cracked jar are always roses.

          • Altius

            Cool.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. I don’t think it is original though. It sounds too good to be me …

          • guest

            “Jerk” Pot kettle black much?

          • NYRick

            I still am yet to figure out why this is so important to you. Most US fans call her Cheney still as do her teammates. She is not filling out her income tax returns here.

          • Altius

            (The way he refers to female players is exceptionally condescending anyhow. My use of Cheney is both more respectful and more affectionate than any of his “Christen AnneMarie” or “Ms. Horan” bull.)

          • NYRick

            The man does condescend in a subtle sexist way at times.

          • Steglitz49

            But s/he would never have asked Ms Press to take the 5th penalty.

          • Don B.

            Not to mention all the time spent under the covers with a flashlight and copies of Alex Morgan Sports Illustrated, which he can’t seem to get out of his head.

          • Steglitz49

            Christen Annemarie is a refernce to her role as supersub. He, the greatest of supersubs, was Ole Gunnar though known as the “babyfaced assassin”.

          • Altius

            Disrespectful and condescending.

          • Steglitz49

            In the sense that Ole Gunnar would have scored?

          • Altius

            Don’t play stupid. The way you address female players is disrespectful and condescending. Change it if you want, I don’t care, but you’re really going out of line to try ordering around a stranger online.

          • Steglitz49

            Utter garbage.

            I defend them against the sly attacks and snide comments that StegPatrol, StegWatch and StegWorld let go by unchallenged.

          • Steglitz49

            Louisa Necib also elected to play under her married name. The decision of players are to be respected. It is their lives.

      • NYRick

        I agree 100% with every word you said. And as you know I am a big fan of Alex although she falls sometimes in my crosshairs simply I think because I’m so frustrated with Ellis/Lloyd/Wambach (past) and how this team lines up every match. I have always advocated strongly a Morgan-Press pairing all the time. It has always been a no-brainer and quite frankly I think it would greatly enhance both player’s games. I don’t think Alex grows as a player with Carli.

        As for Press, I am very frustrated by her at times (namely yesterday). That 20+ minutes was her moment to really shine and save the team. In fact, early after she came on she threaded a great ball into Alex in the box that I was hoping Alex could convert on. That is the type of play that would have made Ellis take notice and maybe build upon for the final two games. Her PK also was an extremely nervous and unconfident take. You can’t be any more blunt about it. In that instance, tied in the shootout as the 5th shooter you have to will it into the net. Has to go in. Feel bad for her.

        • kernel_thai

          U know I like Press tho I sometimes play the foil in ur Morgan/Press discussions but to be perfectly honest the ball fell twice to Press’s talented foot and both times I wished it fallen to Dunn or Morgan. For me Press and Morgan arent the players I want lining a shot up. I want them just shooting on instinct.

    • Steglitz49

      Correct. Well spotted.

    • dw

      Right, just like Thiney vs. GER. Look how that went for her.

  • smallchief

    Well, time to focus on the NWSL — and make sure it succeeds. The US will need to find half a dozen or more players to built up to the 2019 WC.

    Meanwhile,for the USWNT a decision is needed about whether to keep Ellis as coach. I’ll stay neutral on that, not knowing the internal dynamics.

    The WNT should “suggest” to Solo that she retire. Immediately. If not sooner. It’s time to find a goalkeeper for the future. Franch?

    I won’t be surprised to see Morgan sit out a year (or retire) to have a baby and for Christen Press to retire. She’s got a career in the offing as a sports journalist. So, the NT is going to have to try out some new forwards. Right now, Lynn Williams of the Western New York Flash looks like the best of the lot out there. Ashley Sanchez probably gets a call up next year.

    Lloyd, Rapinoe, and Krieger are going to have to prove that they still have relevance — although I suspect that Krieger will retire soon.

    • newsouth

      LOL, morgan is going to pass up millions for a baby now. the expendable, last leg, and bottom-dwelling players have babies because that union contract insures checks will flow for the next 24. maybe press calls it a day b/c off the controversy on and OFF the field now. morgan got the best gig of all of them. Solo showed her true douche self again. You can only keep her mouth sidelined for so long.

      • newsouth

        oh give pinoe and lloyd watches and send them on their merry way,

        • NYRick

          I’m all for giving them watches, but just not “gold” watches. An Apple watch will do just fine.

          • Steglitz49

            Polished stainless steel will do. There is a Seiko one where the steel one is worth more than the gold one.

        • kernel_thai

          The only 30 somethings they should offer contracts to r Sauerbrunn who is very low mileage and Harris as they havent really been developing another GK

          • mockmook

            Naeher is good enough that they don’t need Harris as well. Bring on the new “kids” for the other slots.

            And, I’m betting it is a new kid who takes the reins for WC19

    • dw

      So you know NWSL faces some uphill battles? Likely a non-player friendly CBA. Which would actually feed into previous rumors of USWNT starters going to Europe.
      I can pretty much guarantee that one, two, or even all 3 of the following will cite too many weddings and not show back up to NWSL at all: (My money is on at least 2 of them)
      Carli,
      Hope,
      Pinoe.
      Outside chance that Morgan could be included in that list as well, I hear a lot of her friends are getting married.

      • Steglitz49

        What team in Europe would pay for these losers?

        Hope has already played a season for Göteborg in sweden and then in Lyon. She is now damaged goods.

        Pinoe spent time with Lyon but they lost the Champions league final and she was substituted from it.

        Carli is getting married and probably starting a family.

        Wealthy teams in europe will go for college seniors, not losers.

        • guest

          And when Brazil knocks out Sweden, who is going to sign those bunch of losers? Sugar daddies in France, no doubt.

          • Steglitz49

            Stina Blackstenius has a good chance for a procontract somewhere as would Fridolina Rolfö if her injury heals OK.

            Many of the players are homeward bound if not already in Sweden again like Lotta and Lisa.

    • Steglitz49

      After her glaring miss, Christen’s broadcasting career may be on hold. She must wish that she had taken any offers to be a sideswoman in Rio.

      • NYRick

        Seriously? That’s low. Cut the BS for awhile.

        • Steglitz49

          I guess there may be some cachet in not hacking it.

          This was Christen’s great chance. Alex penalty had been saved. If Christen had scored it was evidence (even if Alex had scored that equalizer). What happened? Worse than Alex.

          Might as well train up Alex to talk to the camera.

  • guest

    do most coaches pick the players and order before the PKs start? or is it common for the player order to change depending on how the PKs proceed?

    • CED

      Most coaches have a list of people in mind if not written out before a game. Teams practice this and know who are the best at it. Often forwards or even MF’s are not the best PK takers. Many top teams you will see defenders in their selected first 5 for PK’s

      • Steglitz49

        Aya Miyama played midfield. Enough typed.

      • Chak Khan

        Mia Hamm said she missed PKs in practices but DiCicco put her on anyway. And we know the result of that.

    • Craigaroo

      Someone on BigSoccer had an interesting post about this, recounting a conversation with a respected coach. A couple points stand out –
      ¶Once you’ve determined your best 5 PK takers in practice, you take the two mentally toughest ones and make them #1 and #5
      ¶ Go back, look at your 6-8 and ask if you’d rather have one of them instead of the 2/3/4 in a situation where you’re down and you have to make it
      ¶ If two of your 4 defenders + d-mid aren’t in your final list of the first five, you’re probably doing something wrong
      ¶ link: http://forums.bigsoccer.com/threads/rio-olympics-qf-us-v-sweden-aug-12-pre-pbp-post.2034337/page-17#post-34445582

      • kernel_thai

        I have no clue how they look taking PKs in practice BUT I wouldnt be a proper EQ poster if I didnt comment despite that. First, the foolishness with Rapinoe cost them a chance to get Krieger on o help with PKs. Second, I never would have put Press in the first five based on the two shots she skied over the bar. Third I never would have put Morgan first and maybe not in the first five either. Portland fans might concur. Im surprised Sauerbrunn wasnt picked. She seem the cool as a cucumber type u want for this.

        Lloyd
        Horan
        Krieger
        Brian
        Sauerbrunn

        would have been my five and Rapinoe would never have gotten on. If I had to go farther or u wont give me Krieger then Dunn is next.

        • Steglitz49

          Aya Miyama rules OK not to mention Lisa Dahlkvist.

  • NYRick

    What was the actual formation to start this match, was it a 4-2-3-1? Can someone verify that if they know for sure. Was Morgan the lone striker?

    If that’s the case, I’m wondering why that formation is correct when you know you are going against a team fully willing to bunker for 90 hoping for 1-2 long counters to their fast forwards.

    • mockmook

      Haven’t tried to get a read on the formation yet, but it is kind of meaningless in regards to your question — the USA (or any attack minded team) will push players forward if the other team is bunkering.

      • NYRick

        Just curious. What do you think is the correct way to play a bunker? Assuming you have a talented roster of attackers (which the US has) We know the US hasn’t really solved a bunker over the past few years (even some tomato cans give them problems).

        • Andrew Alberico

          You asked a great question. I don’t know the technical aspects of soccer. But, two things, for what they are worth. I am a huge believer that you set a starting lineup, and stick with it. In all the friendlies, there were experiments going on constantly. This is not the Little Leagues in baseball, where you want to give everyone a chance to play. You play one lineup, make the starting players know each other so well they don’t even have to talk to communicate. Don’t sub unless players get injured or fatigued, or games become one-sided. As far as playing against a bunker defense….way too much time is spent on this site about the forwards. Who should be playing, who should not. But it is the midfield that really counts. With Morgan and Press and Dunn and Pugh, why can’t we score? They can’t score because we have a mediocre midfield. Always changing for one thing. No damn chemistry. People often write about the lack of scoring in the NWSL. Same reason. The midfields are not very good. The US has to find two center midfielders who can advance the ball, not just kick it to no one. Control the action. Heath is a great outside mid, but we need one more. We also expect too much from Pugh and Dunn. Many commentators are in love with youth. Youth in an abstract way. But experience counts. Some times players with experience, maybe a little bit of age, can be important. Let’s not fall too much in love with youth and potential.

          • NYRick

            Very thoughtful and intelligent reply. I like you don’t profess to be any type of technical expert as to the finer points of formations and such, but as you have outlined it seems to be a simple premise that you have a variety of very talented players up top to make it work. Even against a well trained bunker.

            But the problem is the cater to Lloyd mentality that Ellis must adhere to now. Me, if I’m the coach, I play to win. I don’t care if my stars are crying in the lockerroom for not starting if I think other players on my team give me better match-ups. We all talked about what the lineup was going to be before this Sweden match and I said simply there is no mystery. It will be the lineup she started with in game one. Now with that, I believe what you have mentioned too, continuity and cohesion and consistency with a lineup. But soccer is a tricky sport. Some players (especially your attackers) are better suited against specific opponents. I think Horan and Press were best suited for this type of game to attack the bunker. I think Dunn should have started as well. I would have thrown the kitchen sink at them with scorers in the first 30 minutes and try to at the very least take a lead by the half if not more. On the defensive side, this match called for Krieger more than a KO or Kling (who I think has been in average form). You want that one steady defender back there with Brunn who could Schelin who was due to get a few counters.

            It’s a shame. No way they should be bowing out to this team before the true medal round. If you lose to a Brazil (playing at home) or a France/Germany, so be it. Not to this team.

          • Frozen Blue

            That would have been my strategy also, go all offense to start with and get the early goals, once they open up to level the game, you then punish them again on the counter. Shore up the defense in the second half but keep the speedsters out to counter.

          • Kevin

            I stated a couple days ago that I thought Horan might have started over Long for this exact reason.

          • Steglitz49

            Given the appalling refereeing, you can draw no conclusions from this game except possibly that nations like NZ, with more sheep than people and devoted to rugby, are a liability for WoSo.

          • David K Anderson

            One obvious (to me, anyway) answer to our central midfield playmaking deficits is Rose Lavelle. Unfortunately, Ellis doesn’t seem all that taken with her. Jill talks about “speed of play,” but having watched Lavelle a fair bit, I just don’t see that. Sure, like any other young player coming out of NCAA play, she’ll have adjustments to make, but I don’t see that as a problem. Very, very fast-thinking soccer mind…

            Of course, Lavelle is also flakier than a week-old croissant, personality-wise. It’s my suspicion that there’s a bit of a personality mismatch between her and Ellis.

          • kernel_thai

            All things equal I think if Lavelle helped them she would have had a role. It was plain Ellis wasnt wowed by Mewis or Horan or Long never would have not only gotten another chance but end up starting. That Lavelle never even got a cap tells me she just wasnt ready.

          • Kevin

            Now’s the time to bring these players up and vet them.

            The big question is, will we have to watch Carli play 90 minutes every friendly for the next few years?

          • Steglitz49

            No. This gives JE her chance to slash and burn — unless she falls on her sword.

          • kernel_thai

            hey cant play her a the #10 it disrupts everything else.

          • mockmook

            You’re taking the judgement of JE? The same JE who thought bringing Pinoe along was a good idea?

          • kernel_thai

            OK that’s a given

          • Steglitz49

            What does Pia think? Or Norio? Or Sylvia? While we are at it, why not call good old Even?

          • Craigaroo

            Really interesting take. But the flakiest croissants are the ones fresh from the oven 🙂

          • Kevin

            I respect your opinion, but I disagree with most of it.

            “We also expect too much from Pugh and Dunn. Many commentators are in love with youth. Youth in an abstract way. But experience counts. Some times players with experience, maybe a little bit of age, can be important. Let’s not fall too much in love with youth and potential.”

            Most commentators are in love with veterans. People fall too much in love with veterans, especially coaches, which is very dangerous.

            Dunn and Pugh were two of the best players on the team at the OG. I think proved that they should have been included on the WC roster, but we brought a bunch of older veterans who rode the bench. When they were called on, you could see why they were on the bench.

          • Altius

            If you could have set the roster for the Sweden game, how would you have set up?

          • Kevin

            I would have went back to the beginning of the year and not put Lloyd up front with Morgan.

          • Altius

            Would you have played Lloyd in the MF? Not played her at all? I think her auto-selection is killing our midfield.

          • Kevin

            Hard to say without seeing her play a true MF in over a year.

            Since Jan 1, 2015 (20 months ago)… Lloyd has only had assists in 2 of those 39 games.

            • One against GER in WC
            • One in a friendly against COL this past April. A 7-0 blowout where COL hadn’t played a game in 10 months since the WC and looked like a HS team.

            HOW CAN YOU PLAY CAM AND HAVE ONLY 2 ASSISTS IN ALMOST 2 YEARS?

          • Altius

            I’d have:

            Solo
            Kling – Sauerbrunn – JJ – KO
            Brian (DM) – Long – Tobin (AM-ish)
            Press/Pugh – Morgan – Dunn

            Front line interchanging. Pugh, Tobin, Dunn, and Press are smart enough players to make that final 3rd creatively fluid. No place for Lloyd except as an attacker late in the game.

          • Kevin

            I think Pugh needs to be central. She is incredible in tight spaces and finding passing lanes. She creates havoc when she gets the ball in the middle.

            She’s going to rack up a million assists in her career.

          • Altius

            I think the only thing that pushes Tobin to the AM spot for me is her MUCH-improved ball retention. Her vision passing is better than her crossing, IMO. I also like Pugh cutting in from the inside and slotting in angled final passes (I think she’s better at this than Heath.) But again, fluid!

          • Steglitz49

            Tobin is a winger. She can play either wing.

          • Altius

            She’s also physically capable of playing at AM.

          • Steglitz49

            as is Carli — or worse

          • Steglitz49

            What are the news on her injury?

            Fridolina Rolfö is out for the rest or the tournament.

          • Craigaroo

            That’s sad. What was her injury? ACL/MCL? And who’s going to replace her?

          • Steglitz49

            All I have been able to glean is that allegedly the Swedes have started the process to be allowed to bring in an alternate but not which one they are considering.

          • kernel_thai

            I dont see the rush to get Pugh central. If u pasted Press in at the 10 for the next cycle Pugh would still only be 22 when u inherited it.

          • mockmook

            No rush, but it’s certainly arguable that Pugh is already a superior option for a CAM over Press.

          • Kevin

            Why wouldn’t you try them both?

          • Steglitz49

            You can’t have Press/Pugh as starters. You can have either Press or Pugh. After yesterday’s debacle, Press is history at least a f a the NT is concerned.

          • Altius

            Why do you think I put a slash between their names? Press or Pugh.

            Yeah, you’re Nostradamus with players’ futures. I’m sure that’s an accurate statement.

          • Steglitz49

            Make up your mind. JE must chose as Pia had to. Whom would you start? Press or Pugh?

            I vote for Pugh provided her injury does not cause longterm hassle.

          • Altius

            Depends on the game, the style of the opponent. Pugh had a patchy OG, but came good with some bright moments. Press had some stellar associative play, but missed the goal she needed.

          • Kevin

            Pugh created more chances than anyone.

          • Steglitz49

            Obviously it does but that goes for all the positions.

            JE had to field XI as did Pia. You pays your money and you makes your choice. Please make yours.

          • Frode

            Ellis would be a fool not to keep Press on the NT squad. Missing a PK doesn’t get you kicked off a team, even if you’re a bench player. You need players just like Press to build a new team and move toward a more technical style of soccer. And I don’t think Press will walk away from the USWNT (NWSL, maybe).

          • Steglitz49

            Where would she walk to? With that baggage and a reputation for choking, let alone walking out on Göteborg.

            Probably too late for that career in broadcasting too.

          • Lorehead

            Press has already met her contractual obligation to play two years in the NWSL, and she said she would rather have stayed in Sweden. On the other hand, Portland is going to need another striker to replace Christine Sinclair who is not Alex Morgan or Mallory Pugh and who does not count against the salary cap, and that might be Press. (Although Parsons has coached Crystal Dunn before.) Her style would be a good match for Heath, Horan and Henry.

          • Steglitz49

            She will be deallocated.

            There is one way of avoiding deallocation but she may not be ready to exercise that option.

          • mockmook

            She can get players like Press without taking Press.

          • Guest

            Pugh best moments have all come from when she picks up and distributes in the hole I’d play a 4-2-3-1 with Pugh as the CAM and Heath out wide .

          • Frode

            I wonder if Lloyd leads the team in offside calls? Ever since the WC15 she has been playing striker in a 4-4-2. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is playing a different formation. Ellis let this charade continue right up until the whistle blew at 122′. Let’s hope it does not continue post-OG.

          • Steglitz49

            The Swedish commentators were mesmerized by Carli. They kept referring to her as the best player in the world.

          • Kevin

            LOL… based on what, one game?

          • Steglitz49

            No. Her FIFA POTY award.

          • Kevin

            Which was based on one game.

          • Steglitz49

            So was Angerer’s.

          • NYRick

            That’s like me watching some Alpine skiing sport beloved in Sweden and then claiming that the 20th best skier has to be the best in the world. They are amazing.

          • Steglitz49

            They repeatedly mentioned that the US was the reigning world champions and had won the last 3 OGs and only lost one final, that in Sydney.

            To be fair, it was not the usual soccer commentating team because the broadcasting rights belong to another channel. Their experts and announcers were not as knowledgeable about WoSo as the usual crowd.

          • Steglitz49

            You can’t.

          • Kevin

            Exactly.

          • rkmid71

            Lloyd has 0 assists in the NWSL in 2015 playing mostly CAM as I understand. 56 shots, 4 goals, 15 SOG, 0 assists. How is that possible? You basically don’t give a damn about your teammates or the team. With the USWNT, they win most of the time anyway. With Houston they lose.

          • Kevin

            She dribbles with her head down, looks to shoot first, run over/through someone second and pass only if she’s more than 20-30 yards out.

          • Steglitz49

            Stina Blackstenius is 20, same age as Saki Kumagai in WC-11.

            In the modern game maybe there is a grey zone between 18 to 20? Miss Pugh is 18.

          • Steglitz49

            There are no goals in the midfield. The goals stand on the goal lines either end of the field.

          • Lorehead

            I don’t think the advice that you pick one lineup and stick with it works here, although that is what Ellis did in 2015. First, you want to give new players a chance and try out new ideas. Second, the Olympic tournament gives the team such short rest with such small rosters in the tropics that you have to rotate.

          • Steglitz49

            Whatever Ellis did did not work even with all the help from the refereeing team but that which Pia changed to hit the spot and was on the money.

          • Chak Khan

            Pia knew USWNT’s weakness by heart: it’s the midfield.

          • Chak Khan

            The WWC and the Olympics should be two year apart each other.

          • fourTurns

            that is reserved for THE WC

        • Frode

          As several on this site commented before the game, the way you beat a bunker is through persistent and meaningful possession in the final 3rd. This requires skillful players who are comfortable in tight spaces and a midfield capable of playing up the middle. Ellis did not field those players until it was too late, in my opinion.

          • Craigaroo

            I think we, as fans, tend to overrate the US players in their creative and technical skills in possession and in tight spaces. We don’t have a true #10 (Vero or the Kim Little of 2014/2015) and we don’t have a team of midfielders and forwards who can combine like France. France’s problem, mainly, is they don’t have the finishers, but they have a better “half-court” game (to use the basketball phrase)

          • mockmook

            “overrate the US players in their creative and technical skills in possession and in tight spaces”

            Are you kidding?

            They get almost no credit for their technical skills — everyone thinks they are just muscles and wheels.

          • Craigaroo

            That’s US-haters who say that (just muscles and wheels). The US fans all think we have this wonderful talent which the coaches simply don’t know how to use, but there are no US players like Vero or Kim Little. Not even quite a Fishlock. Not even a left-footed cross like Catley ever since Lopez-Cox retired.

        • mockmook

          I’m far Far FAR from an expert. but I’ll give it a shot:

          For the formation, I’d use a 3-4-3

          http://drawformation.com/post/57afd95c86d7e/sm-57afd95c86d7e.png

          [I’m using the current roster even though it isn’t ideal for a 3-4-3]

          This puts 3 Forward near to or into the box.

          Those Forwards should sometimes hold back on their attacks and let the CMs crash through.

          The wings need to make frequent journeys to the end line and put in crosses for the FWs or CMs.

          The three quick CBs need to stay home almost always and guard against counter attacks.

    • CED

      They played what they always play. The cater to Lloyd formation.

      • Altius

        Painfully true. She is always the odd one out, the “undroppable” player with almost no positional discipline.

        • NYRick

          Funny thing that Lloyd never understood. Her fame and money following the WC came about due to the popularity and mass exposure of THE TEAM in general following the victory. Her gripe has always been the “slight.” Hey I scored the winners in previous gold medal OG matches and no one gave ME the credit. She is the dangerous type of “team player.” One who needs to be the star for full satisfaction. That trainer dude of hers has made her extremely unlikable. People don’t give a toss about her freakin personal goals. They care about the US team winning.

          • Altius

            What Lloyd has done for the USWNT is unparalleled in its history. Her Olympic goals of years past, not to mention that WC final performance for the ages, may never be rivaled in terms of taking a game by the scruff of the neck and WINNING it in do-or-die moments.

            BUT…how long will the US concede to her limitations/greatness? She can play horribly for 89 minutes, compromising the team shape so seriously that it feels like we’re down to 10 players, then pull a rabbit out of a hat and make the win happen. Is it worth it? Can the US afford to keep floating under its potential in order to have a potential game-winner on the field, for whom everyone else must sacrifice? I think not. Keep her as a veteran sub, bring her on late in games where we need a wild card with grit, and that chip on her shoulder will be bigger than ever. She’ll be fired up to seize the win, and can create enough chaos to thrive.

            I respect the hell out of her for what she’s done. She’s the greatest not-very-good player I think I’ve ever seen, but the team comes first. They have to learn to move on, to reform themselves and create a cohesively functioning unit.

          • NYRick

            I’ve often compared her to Eli Manning. Good not great. But certainly known for the biggest of moments.

          • Altius

            As I’m from Boston, that one cuts deep!

            But I agree. Also, how does a player who trains as much as she does have such an abysmal first touch??

          • Craigaroo

            Lloyd often shows excellent technical skills including first touch. I didn’t see most of this match. If her touch was off (and I’m inclined to take your word for it), I’d attribute it to not having played many competitive matches this year due to injury. Who’da thunk it? Form matters, playing real games matter.

          • Kevin

            Huh? Lloyd has an awful first touch all the time.

          • Don B.

            One thing that amuses me about Lloyd is that her first touch is often terrible because she is always thinking of immediately turning upfield and charging toward goal, head down. This leads to dispossession rather quickly and then she runs 45 yards chasing the ball she just gave up. Not saying she always does this, but it’s happened enough to make an impression on me.

            When she and Morgan start together, I watch and compare how both of them cover the field when the other team has the ball in their defensive third. Lloyd is always chasing the ball, which is aggressive, but it leaves another player and a passing lane open and moves her far out of an ideal position for a counter or a support/assist role if the opportunity arises. Too often, she abandons her zone and leaves Morgan up top alone with two or three defenders, effectively nullifying any chance at a fast give and take counter attack. (Say what you will, but Wambach and Morgan seldom strayed far from their designated zones, and it led to quite a few goals and assists between the two. And no, that’s not “Abby ball”.) Morgan, on the other hand, places herself in the lanes between players and positions herself to take advantage of a miscue by an opponent, and she’s scored some memorable goals as a result.

          • Steglitz49

            In short, Morgan scored the equalizer, not Carli.

          • NYRick

            I always appreciate your descriptive player movement analogies. I’ve never forget one you had for Buehler in the day (she looks like a pinwheel in the box when she starts spinning her arms to clear a loose ball). That was so funny and spot on, and you are completely correct with Lloyd’s first touch. Rarely does she look up to pass first. It’s always an immediate charge forward with the ball. All the great players make the ball leave their foot immediately on first touch when they see something developing.

          • Craigaroo

            Interesting points about her positioning. I have no doubt some of the criticisms of Lloyd are well-founded, including her decision-making. But I’ve thought criticisms of her technical skills and first touch have been exaggerated for a few years. (Not talking about this tournament or yesterday’s game, which I didn’t see most of)

          • Kevin

            People have been complaining about her first touch on here for a very long time. This isn’t something that just sprung up.

          • Craigaroo

            I’m sure they have or at least have criticized her technical abilities. That’s why I’ve noticed over a long time that I don’t really agree.

          • Altius

            You and I must be watching different players…

          • Craigaroo

            I could easily be wrong but, yes, I formed a somewhat different opinion of her than most people the last 3-4 years before this one.

          • kernel_thai

            Lloyd is more like the running back who will grind out a 100 yards each game if ur willing to give them the ball enough. Problem is they hurt u if u want to run a passing attack.

          • Don B.

            You forgot to mention the fumbles.

          • NYRick

            Great analogy. But you could have continued it with “…and your QB is Aaron Rodgers.”

          • Steglitz49

            You make her sound like Zlatan when she would rather be compared to Rahn.

          • NYRick

            Putting Carli in the same sentence as a talent like Zlatan is really insulting to Ibra. That guy is a superstar and walks the walk. Looking so forward to this season with him at Man Utd. He already had the late winner in the Community Shield match against LC.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily.

          • Don B.

            I guess the main question about Lloyd is that if her first touch wasn’t a brick, if she didn’t turn the ball over so often, if she actually played and held her position, and if she would look up every once in a while to find an open teammate to pass to, would her “heroics” be necessary?

            I remember thinking in the SBC match against France that if she had scored that own goal it would have possibly made a big difference in her attitude and brought her down to earth a little. Hopefully losing out in this Olympics, and putting an end to her “best player in the world” title for at least a year, will provide a little humility. I’m not holding my breath, though.

            And yes, while I do appreciate her big moments, it doesn’t make me a fan of hers. Everything about her screams selfish, and it just rubs me the wrong way.

          • Altius

            So, if she was a better player, would the US be stuck in as many must-win last-ditch efforts? Not likely 🙂

          • Tania

            I think it may be too late for that. And I agree that she’s the most selfish WOSO player I’ve seen; I can’t stand it.

          • kernel_thai

            If they feel they need to keep Lloyd for marketing reasons (Im sure they have 100 goals circled in the Daytimer) they need to move her to forward. Give her Wambach’s old role and let Morgan play second forward. If u leave Lloyd in the midfield it completely blocks any modernization of this attack.

          • Kevin

            We need to schedule a lot more tomato cans like Thailand so she can get to 100 goals as quick as possible then.

          • NYRick

            Then she’ll want to get to 150 and even Abby’s record. It’s not stopping at 100 for her.

          • Steglitz49

            Yes. By not selecting her.

          • Bruce

            I can set a game up with the U11 rec league team I coach if that will help. Promise not to bunker.

          • Don B.

            This is going to sound strange, but bear with me. Before Morgan began her injury saga, she was closing in on Carli’s totals, and was going to blow by her in short order. When Alex went down, Carli began the current trek she is on now of doing everything she can to stay ahead in the goal total. I think it has completely changed her attitude, her approach to the game, and how she sees herself in relation to the rest of the team. Despite all that, she has played almost double the games of Alex, but is only 20 goals ahead. Taking all the penalty kicks has padded this competition in her favor. Perhaps this is all coincidence, but I don’t believe in coincidence. Whatever her motivation, in the long run, it has been to the overall detriment of the team.

            Possibly the worst thing that could have happened to Carli and the USWNT was winning the POTY. Other than the final against Japan, she was not outstanding. As someone else said, she won POTY as a result of one game. For her, though, it was confirmation that she was doing it right, and what we see today is the result.

          • Steglitz49

            She is too old for that.

          • Chak Khan

            As midfielders: Morgan, Horan and ?

          • Don B.

            When you say Morgan, I assume you mean Brian. Don’t mix first and last names, it makes it hard to follow.

          • Chak Khan

            I stand corrected.

          • Bruce

            I think it was #1Fan who said that the USWNT is praying to score via set pieces when it should be scoring tap-in goals in bunches (sic). The creative hole Lloyd leaves in the midfield is not worth what she provides. Not by a long shot.

          • Tania

            “She’s the greatest not-very-good player I think I’ve ever seen”

            Yes. A thousand times yes.

            It could be her epitaph : She was the greatest not-very-good player in the world.

        • CED

          Look for it to continue for years. Ellis is going to let Lloyd continue to run/ruin the team.

          • Tania

            I was going to downgrade this comment, but I realized that would suggest I disagree. I definitely do NOT disagree.

            None of the problems that happened in this tourney can be addressed until you’re willing to cut Lloyd. It is like I said elsewhere – yeah, you can argue Rapinoe vs no Rapinoe until the cows come home. And the problem is that debate misses the true point – if the rest of your line-up/formation & strategy/tactics is so messed up that your 16th field player is going to mess it up, well verily & forsooth you have mismanaged the other 15.

            Fix the outside backs. Fix the center mid/dm situation. Address that this wing & a prayer notion expecting an 18 year old to carry the team on your back is playing with fire. Address that Solo wasn’t playing like Solo.

            You address those 4 problems and the person to get the last open spot on your roster is relegated to the level of importance it deserves, which is pretty much zilch.

        • Bruce

          Aly Wagner tweeted this during the game. I’d love to have the full context.

          https://twitter.com/alywagner/status/764150188910874624

          • Frode

            This lasted about 10 minutes, and then Lloyd, for some reason was back up with Morgan and Press was moved wide. I’d be interested in knowing who made that call.

          • kernel_thai

            Horan came in I believe. At tha point I think I go Krieger for Pugh and move Heath back into the offense

          • Don B.

            You could start Lloyd in goal and she would somehow find a way several times in the match to put herself in front of the other goal trying to poach something.

          • Bruce

            I originally thought (incorrectly) that it was in the early second half. The timestamp says you are right. Coincides with Horan entering.

    • Steglitz49

      Up where the sun does not shine and filled with hubris?

    • dw

      We have a formation?

    • mockmook

      It was initially a 4-3-3

      Morgan CF, Heath and Pugh on the forward wings

      Brian and Lloyd as left and right CAMs

      Long at DM.

      http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2016/08/12/14/28/160812-wnt-lineup-notes-usa-faces-sweden-in-2016-olympics-quarterfinals

      Of course, there was plenty of interchanging (and eventually formation changes).

  • NYRick

    Speaking of the Sweden goal, just how do you let that happen? I mean they got split centrally right in the seam. That has to be on Brunn more than anything. Great pass and finish overall, but that just can’t happen in a 0-0 match in the second half.

    • Gary Diver

      USWNT has been vulnerable to the counter-attack ever since Ellis has been emphasizing sending OB forward in the attack. Everybody says that moving the defenders forward as part of the attack is modern soccer but opponents are now effectively counter-attacking now with more success than is acceptable.

    • Steglitz49

      An exceptional striker gets an exceptional pass — a bit like Alex from Pinoe in 2011.

      • NYRick

        Sorry that can’t happen. Inexcusable. Brunn is supposed to be the best CB in the world. I know it happens and a great play all around by the Swedes, but in the 60th minute of a scoreless draw in a knockout match, a CB or two CBs can’t get split in the seam centrally like that.

        • Steglitz49

          Verily and forsooth.

          Can’t blame the ref on that one.

        • mockmook

          That’s what happens when you leave only two defenders in the back.

    • dw

      My opinion is elsewhere. Basically nothing was “let” to happen. A perfect pass, perfect run, perfect finish will beat you every time. Doesn’t matter if it’s 2 defenders or 5. Think of how many times you attempt this play and pass is too light, too heavy, or the run is offsides, or the forwards shoots into Hope. It’s not as if we let them waltz right down the middle. All aspects had to be perfect.

      • mockmook

        Actually, they were allowed to waltz down the middle.

        The CBs were split too wide (since they were covering the whole back line) and there was no DM to cover the gap.

  • NYRick

    Waiting for some media dolt to say, “If only they still had Abby…”

    • Steglitz49

      They wish they have Stina (Blackstenius, not Nilsson).

    • Davestwin7

      Michelle Akers basically said that on twitter

      • NYRick

        Well then start Horan or get Mewis in there. Against France that wasn’t a bad idea either if that’s the way you wanted to play. The US had the players to break down a bunker but not the coach with the courage to play the right mix and sit the old stars.

        • dw

          I’m with you. Make Horan the #9 and dub her Abby 2.0.
          But Ellis has no clue. And all you ever hear is “natural midfielder converted to forward at PSG…” from Markgraf et al…
          She was a high schooler with no natural speed. In USA soccer parlance, that translates to midfielder. When you get to a culture that selects forwards in other ways than 40 yard dash speed, then she was fast enough and good enough to be a forward.
          But the media coverup of JE’s cluelessness regarding Horan as a forward is funny (as in funny/sad), not to mention there are players at forward who are (were?) impossible to displace.

    • Frode

      As strange as it may sound, with Ellis’s tactics and Sundhage’s bunkering defense, Michelle Akers may have been right. With all the (bad) service into the box, it would have been nice to have someone bigger than Nilla Fisher in there fighting for the ball.

  • Gary Diver

    Could USWNT lose their no. 1 FIFA ranking?

    • If Germany, currently #2, wins it all, maybe. But Germany’s run will not be the impressive even if they do win it all so maybe not. Germany’s only win in the group stage was against the 93rd ranked team in the world (tied #5, lost to #10). Then they had the easiest quarterfinal opponent (#12). Then in the semi’s they have to beat a team they already lost to so that would be a wash. Then in the finals, the best they can do is beat the #6 team in the world which would be the highest ranking team they beat in the whole tournament. And where the US went out early, they did beat the number three team in the world (though just tying Columbia may hurt them a little).

      The FIFA ranking system seems pretty vague to me but in my professional armchair analysis, I would say if Germany win maybe, if anyone else wins, probably not.

    • Lodovico Settembrini

      In Rugby?

    • Steglitz49

      Unlikely because this match was a draw.

      Had Lotta’s goal stood (or that foul that gave the US its goal been correctly called) then the US would have lost. That would have benefitted Sweden and cost the US. As a draw this debacle was not too expensive.

      • CED

        Germany is going to be #1 by next rankings. They have potential games left with top teams at the OG. There is a multiple in the rankings based on importance Wcup, OG are equal, qualifiers, and friendlies the least. Germany also has 2 euro quals vs Russia and Hungary in September while US is playing friendlies vs Thailand and Netherlands…

        • Kevin

          I doubt Germany is going to pass us unless they win it all. Even then, I’m not so sure.

          They have a loss to CAN and a tie with AUS. Their wins are against ZWE and CHN.

    • Craigaroo

      Extremely unlikely. This doesn’t count the most recent pre-Olympics friendlies but the US has lost roughly 22 rating points in the World Cup which would make their rating 2146. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, Germany has lost more rating points so far (-42) making their rating 2073.
      ¶ If Germany beat both Canada and Brazil 2-0 to win the Olympic Gold Medal, they would gain roughly 24 points and 12 points making their rating 2109. If they won both games 3-0, I think it only adds about 6 more points, which would bring them back to their current 2115.

  • Gary Diver

    Personally I think Julie Johnston is over-rated on set pieces. A spark once in a while but overall not consistent enough.

    • David K Anderson

      Unfortunately, set piece goals, even if infrequent, are spectacular…and JJ’s mediagenic. Better CBs get beat out by that highly marketable combination.

      “U$WNT”

      • Gary Diver

        “U$WNT”

        That is cute and we all should put it on the back burner for later use.

        • Steglitz49

          But they drop at least $100,000 this season if not more.

          And next season some will be deallocated. Better get blessed before the axe falls because once in the club the axe can’t.

        • Craigaroo

          Not sure if it’s true or not, but one of the characters in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged said the dollar symbol originally came from taking a very thin “U” and superimposing it on the “S”. Something which may seem increasingly remote because of computerized typefaces which only have a single line thru the “S” in the dollar sign.

    • kernel_thai

      Eight goals on set pieces is a career for most CBs not what hey do in their first 15 months. But any complaint on set pieces usually falls two ways…either the ball is there and the shot is missed or the ball isnt there. I dont recall Johnston missing any attempts so I guess it was the later. To that problem Id look more to the coach than the players. Set pieces r about repetition, practice and more repetition. In my recollection, the following people have taken corners recently: Rapinoe, Heath, Pugh, Dunn, Brian, O’Hara. U dont get consistency by changing kickers. It should have been Heath whenever she was in and either Brian or Pugh when she wasnt.

      • Kevin

        Agreed. Sounds like JJ is underrated on set pieces to me.

        • Steglitz49

          Wendie Renard’s spiritual sister?

        • Bruce

          The same physical play and recklessness that makes people cringe when she’s playing her core is a huge plus in the box on set pieces.

          Wait. Where have I heard that before?

          • Kevin

            Here’s where I disagree. I don’t think she’s reckless.

          • Bruce

            I watch her quite a bit for CRS. I’ve come to think that her best qualities are her physical presence and decisiveness in her play at CB. That stated, she’s often out of position and really doesn’t have much pace – which leads to more hard challenges near the goal than one would like.

            I’ll take the good with the bad. She’s better than most. I wouldn’t consider her a lock for continued caps with the NT, though.

          • Kevin

            I would. Pencil her in for 2019 WC.

      • Paul Klee

        I really hope that Jaelene Hinkle gets another chance, I would love to see her taking corners from the right side, that left foot of hers is awesome.

        • Craigaroo

          Yeah? I’ll have to pay closer attention during the Flash games. I think Hinkle’s very good, very dynamic. I didn’t particularly note the quality of her crosses and free kicks.

          • Paul Klee

            She’s also deadly from the left flank bottom of the center circle at putting quality balls into the box. Tough as they come on defense takes no crap.

      • rkmid71

        It’s outrageous. Heath was in form and doing great. And not just corners, those free kicks in scoring range. What in the hell was Lloyd doing there? Heath could have been looking for her head in the box.

        • kernel_thai

          And that’s the truly dumb part. US really only has to quality headers…Johnston and Lloyd. Why u would take Lloyd out of the box to take a free kick and announce it’s a shot on goal? It is silly. And when was the last time Lloyd scored from outside the box on shot or free kick? I honestly cant remember but it wasnt this year and might be the bomb against Japan.

    • billy

      I think she’s overrated in general. She’s lacks composure. Reckless, sloppy distribution … often times devolving into kickball.

  • Gary Diver

    August 12, 2016 – a date which will live in infamy in UWNT history. Outrageous coaching and poor execution. If Ellis doesn’t change her ways, USWNT fans will have little to cheer about in the future.

    Maybe Tim Nash can recall his book and add chapter on the day the soccer music died.

    • Steglitz49

      The Swedes will celebrate it for a while to come.

      Garnted, won’t quite match Charlotte Kalla or Sarah Sjöström but if the NT goes the whole hog, they will live in fame.

  • Gary Diver

    “World Cup qualifying isn’t until the fall of 2018.”

    Essentially we have a year and a half to talk to ourselves. This is going to be a very long year and a half for USWNT fans.

    • David K Anderson

      Good thing I’m in the club > country crowd. =P

  • newsouth

    i just noticed press and morgan missed the penalties. ussoccer is operated by clowns. these girls should have been the pippen and jordan of women’s football the last 2-3 years, developing as an unstoppable pair. instead, morgan has been hampered by injuries because teams could rid her for 90 mins, and press was left looking at sweden highlights on an ipad on the bench. mark my works. someone 10 yrs from now will be laughing at ussoccer, ellis and that little troll Senile

    • newsouth

      it’s so funny we have debated on here for 3 yrs that press and morgan should have been groomed to take penalty kicks, carry the weight of the games in the final minutes as a pair and looked at each other as friendly competition and motivation to excel. ops, you tend to choke when you were prepared for the moment which they should have been prepared for 3 years. nice going USSoccer with two of the most deadliest forwards over the last couple of years.

      • Steglitz49

        WC-11 should have taught them something. It did not, obviously.

    • Steglitz49

      A new star was confirmed: Stina Blackstenius. Move over Christen Annemarie.

      • Craigaroo

        Who also was a decision “forced” upon her coach. Some Swedish fans have been grousing (it can be reported now that, as Steglitz49 informs us, it’s official grouse hunting season) about Pia Sundhage not playing Blackstenius more. In this game, she only came on due to the injury to Rolfo. Similarly, with Germany, Svenja Huth, who was an alternate, joined the active roster and played yesterday only due to the unfortunate injury to Simone Laudehr.

        • Chak Khan

          Lloyd was called in when Boxx was injured. Ever since she has been catapulting. I must agree that it’s often painful to watch her not able to keep the ball once she has it in possession … how briefly that is.

  • BGH123

    I am glad that Jill Ellis realized the importance of a DM, but the way she utilizes them makes their offense a little flat. I think this is more on JE than Long, but the splay the ball out to wide open players on the wings is not worth the “changed the point of attack compliment.” It is obvious when you do it every time, and it just gives the opponents a chance to set the bunker, as they know we are going to play it wide and then try to put it in

    • Altius

      I think Brian is ideal for this position because her vision and passing and positioning is just better in that role than anyone else’s.

      She is Busquets to Allie Long’s Mascherano. Can they both perform there? Yes, but one can run the game from deep, while the other just does a job. The entire game can look different depending on who plays there.

      • Steglitz49

        Please can you translate that into WoSo players, preferably of the Swedish variety.

        • Altius

          No.

        • Bruce

          I’d say in this metaphor Mascherano = Jen Buczkowski.

          Busquets = a WoSo player we would all like to meet. Maybe Brian? Maybe Colaprico? Maybe not.

          • Steglitz49

            try Mizuho Sakaguchi ?

      • Paul Klee

        IMO if you’re going to run your fullbacks as essentially withdrawn wingers, then you need your #6 in addition to being the pivot also be a destroyer. I think that is what Ellis saw in Allie Long.

        • Altius

          I see her as a good box-to-box, but I really think she lacks as a pivote. She doesn’t have her head on a swivel the way Brian does. When she receives the ball, she can be caught unawares and stripped of it almost immediately because she doesn’t know where the opposition is. You CANNOT be that liability in front of the defensive line. The best mids are always looking, especially as they receive the ball. She just doesn’t have the same soccer IQ or instincts as Brian.

          • Paul Klee

            Don’t disagree Brian is better as the pivot but I see her as to fragile to be a long term option as a destroyer, perhaps if the USWNT went to a 3-5-2 it would be a more ideal situation for her.

          • Altius

            Long definitely has a good physicality, but I think “destroyer” is such a limited role that curbs the whole style of a game. As per the example earlier, Mascherano is one of the best, toughest tacklers in world football. Man could stop a truck. And yet the skinniest, slightest of all the players on the Barcelona team plays in that position because his ball-winning is second to none (WITHOUT going to ground), his one-touch passing is peerless, his awareness is sensational…I could on on and on. Del Bosque said it best about that type of player: “You watch the game, you don’t see Busquets. You watch Busquets, you see the whole game.” When he’s withdrawn, the whole game crumbles, sometimes a bit, sometimes a lot.

            Not to turn this into a Busquets testimonial, but the fact that the USWNT has a player in that style at their disposal but Ellis chooses to go with a more traditional “destroyer” instead just burns my football soul!

          • Bruce

            Lot of truth to that. The problem with this team isn’t giving up goals, it’s scoring them against any semblance of defensive structure. Changing the mindset for the role of the #6 is a no brainer – albeit not the only way – to address that.

          • Paul Klee

            One or the things that was great about WC15 was the tactical camera, being able to watch the #6 when she was on the ball and see all her available options.

          • Steglitz49

            Are you meaning Mizuho Sakaguchi by any chance?

          • mockmook

            I guess my problem with Brian (and some other players) this year was lack of urgency. I don’t know if it was the hammy (for Brian) or the game plan (conserving energy), so I should wait until I see them all in the SBC next year and see how everyone is doing against top level teams.

            And, ideally, they’ll be doing it for a new coach 🙂

          • Altius

            I’d say this year was a bad cocktail of poor coaching, shifting Brian’s position just as she was getting accustomed to its demands, and her recurring injuries.

            Ideally, she’d get to play under Andonovski’s coaching. I mean, damn, look how Cheney played with FCKC. She was a full-potential player there, without the tactical shackles that the NT usually imposed on her.

            In an ideal footballing world…but I dream.

          • Guest

            I don’t necessarily see Brian’s play as lacking urgency. I think she actually brings much needed patience in many situations. There were a lot of times at the end of the Sweden game where I thought the US was playing so fast it was hampering their efficiency. Playing quickly and efficiently is always the goal but, sometimes a little bit of patience is really what is needed.

      • mockmook

        We need to look beyond the current squad for the ideal #6

        • Steglitz49

          The ghost of Bobby Moore casts a long shadow.

        • Altius

          Of the pool of available US players, who do you think fits the bill?

          • mockmook

            I’ll (sort of) answer in a second, but first the desired traits:

            Most important: Is an excellent defender, works hard
            Is comfortable with the ball, can distribute, a good passer
            Above average quickness and speed for a mid
            Young/young-ish

            Not sure I have anyone that checks all the boxes. And, I’m not entirely happy with the choices currently playing as DMs

            So, some players who might work:

            Skroski
            Julie King
            Sonnett
            Westphal
            etc.

            The problem is, JE won’t take an established DM, much less take the time to develop one. If forced to name an established DM, I guess I’d go with Amber Brooks.

  • Gary Diver

    What Was Lost? (aka Why August 12, 2016 Was a Very Bad Day for USWNT Fans)

    What was lost:

    1. Historic first of winning OG after WC.

    2. Dominance in OG.

    3. Positive team and program mojo.

    4. Any sense (by some) that Jill Ellis knows what she is doing. Ellis’ coaching in the Swedish game has to be seen as one of the worst in the past decade by a US national coach.

    5. Ellis let her team down by having no plan to counter a strategy she knew was going to be used against her and to allow USWNT to be vulnerable to counter-attacks and to unrealistically and unprofessionally inserting Megan Rapinoe into the game expecting her to perform a miracle. Unbelievable bad management of the team in a crucial game.

    This will remind people that Ellis’ genius roster switch in WC15 SF game against Germany was forced upon her by the suspensions in the China game and not of her choosing.

    6. Ellis’ integrity and honesty. When she recently said that it was always her intention to put Megan Rapinoe on her roster if she could play, it contradicts what she told the American public numerous times that she would not include Rapinoe until she was convinced that she was match ready by watching her play at least two matches. This does not pass the smell test.

    7. Positive mindset going forward to WC19. (Jill Ellis and John Herdman are driving in opposite directions down the same highway.) Why does France always under-perform? It is more mental than physical. Now one wonders if American confidence in themselves has been badly dented and it is Ellis’ fault.

    8. Major setback for “equal pay for equal play” movement.

    9. Major let down for USWNT fan base, who are greatly disappointed and to some degree angry by this poor performance. Will anybody really care when USWNT beats up on Thailand next month?

    • Steglitz49

      August 12th is known as “The Glorious Twelfth” because it is the start of the grouse shooting season.

      This may sound like hogwash but allegedly a serious attempt to avert WW2 and topple Hitler stranded on that all the key British people had gone off to Scotland to shoot grouse.

      • Gary Diver

        Off-topic, but entertaining:) Who else could find a connection between a soccer debacle, grouse hunting, and a WWII conspiracy theory?

        • Craigaroo

          It’s quite apt, actually, as losing to Sweden certainly seemed to kick off grouse shooting season here among the USA’s fans.

          • Bruce

            Carli just tweeted that it’s Wabbit season.

          • Steglitz49

            Wombat?

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

      • Lorehead

        That does not match the actual events of August 9–16, 1939 (on which date Sir Neville Henderson wrote home, “I was impressed by one thing, namely, Baron von Weizsäcker’s detachment and calm. He seemed very confident, and professed to believe that Russian assistance to the Poles would not only be entirely negligible, but that the U.S.S.R. would even in the end join in sharing in the Polish spoils. Nor did my insistence on the inevitability of British intervention seem to move him.”) or the situation in August 12, 1938, which was a few weeks before Neville Chamberlain negotiated the Munich Agreement.

    • dw

      Some of those things we never had anyway. Specifically 4,5,6.

  • Gary Diver

    Should Dunn have started?

    It seems to me that the only players who shined were Heath, Dunn, Pugh, KO, and maybe Long and Brian. Dunn’s work ethic and focus was amazing and I wonder if she was used properly by Ellis.

    • Paul Klee

      In retrospect yeah, but since they probably thought they were going to win safely she was sitting on a yellow had a propensity in this tournament for committing “borderline” cuationable fouls. I wouldn’t have started her.

    • ARED

      I think it’s worth mentioning that it took Press only about 10 seconds on the field to create a better chance/pass for Morgan than Lloyd or Dunn made the entire match. I agree Dunn would have been much better than Lloyd, as she at least looked bright and created some space for herself. Unfortunately she couldn’t quite turn it into quality chances.

      • ARED

        That said, I will always agree with you 100% about this: “I wonder if she was used properly by Ellis.”. And that can be applied to every American player in my opinion.

  • Gary Diver

    U17

    Our U17 team played Brazil on Tuesday at Michigan State and tied them 2-2.

    http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2016/08/10/13/38/160810-u17wnt-draws-2-2-with-brazil-in-front-of-2250-fans-at-michigan-state

    These two teams were suppose to meet again last night. Does anybody know the outcome?

    • Hans Castorp

      If there is dead silence on the outcome, it means they lost big.

      • Gary Diver

        Good point. There seems to be a pattern from USSF of no news is bad news. And USSF does not seem to care about its USWNT fans nor wants to increase its support from them.

    • Bruce

      Up now. 1-1 Draw in Holland MI (on the lake)

      Match probably drew more attendees than the last few CRS games. SMH.

      http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2016/08/13/19/00/160813-u17wnt-draws-brazil-1-1-before-2278-fans-in-holland-michigan

      • Gary Diver

        Thank you for this news.

        “2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup that will be held in Jordan from September 30 through October 21.” Just several weeks away.

  • Bruce

    Wondering what would have happened if JE would have committed to picking apart the Swedish defense by committing to playing her four best play-makers in the attacking midfield for 90. ( Pugh, Brian #8/10, Press #10/withdrawn fwd, Heath).

    It’s a horror story when you look at how that four-wide front evolved during the game.

    • dw

      I think you are forgetting Long. Of course she was the first subbed out.

      • ARED

        I’m not one for drastic “fire the coach” calls, but that decision alone was inexcusable. The team was better with Long, and it was obvious despite Ellis’ best efforts to hide/ignore this fact.

        They had good control and some good chances in the first half. From the time they removed Long they looked to have no idea of how to play through the midfield, and when Heath went to RB they didn’t even try really. That might work against Costa Rica. Not against Sweden apparently….

    • ARED

      Pugh and Heath looked very dangerous, Press did in her short appearance. With Long and Brian behind, and Morgan in front, that is the obvious answer to opening any defense for the USA.

      It did feel a bit ominous like a horror film, watching and knowing they were not going to remove Lloyd and Sweden was going to deal with all/most long balls. USA did get one to fall for Morgan, but even that was more luck than them opening the defense.

      • Bruce

        At the end of the game, the only one of the four playing an advanced attacking role was Press – from the wing. Inexcusable.

        • ARED

          It’s things like that which do really make you wonder about Ellis and her thinking -to a larger degree than just a few odd choices. It’s difficult to really even imagine what her justification for some of these moves is, beyond a lot of naivety….

  • Happy

    This team had an unhelpful mix of leaders, from Coach to veterans. They played tight. The volume of shots, most off goal, demonstrated a lack of patient buildup, the “lock picking” this game demanded. The pressure Lloyd puts on herself was felt by the entire team, and there were no other leaders with the right mix of personality and position on the team to buffer it. HAO might have made the difference, just by being named to the 18. OTOH, Crystal Dunn has fun playing, and it showed in her game.

    I don’t want Carli back, performance on the field aside, unless she shows a kind of multi-dimensional leadership that I haven’t seen from her yet, either on USWNT or on Dash. A desperate 37/38 year-old Lloyd, focused only on physical performance by herself and her teammates, will be a dangerous Captain, especially with no other player in a position to balance her attention to demons.

    • Steglitz49

      Time to slash and burn. Free use of the pruning saw, secateurs and winnowing-hook, let alone the onion hoe.

    • Craigaroo

      The Family needed more buffers (?!) – That’s for you Godfather fans out there…

      • Steglitz49

        Did they not go to the mattresses too and sleep with the fishes?

        • Bruce

          Ellis post game speech…

          There’s a plane waiting for us to take us to Miami in an hour.
          I know it was you, Carli.
          You broke my heart.
          You broke my heart.

          • NYRick

            Ha Ha. Classic.

  • Steglitz49

    Jess is all class.

  • Gary Diver

    Is USWNT staying in Rio till the closing ceremonies? They weren’t there for the opening ceremonies.

    • Rufan

      Flew home today (Saturday) 0.

  • Gary Diver

    PKs

    1. Who decides who takes the penalties and in what order?

    2. Is there any changes in order and/or shooters that could have a better option than the one used?

    • Bruce

      I saw excerpts from a post game interview with Alex Morgan yesterday in which she implied that the PK lineup was chosen by the coaching staff. Can’t for the life of me remember where I saw it, though.

      • WosoFan

        I saw a post interview that she mentioned that she has been practicing penalty kicks everyday for the past month or 2. So it might be pre-determined?? But yes based on previous penalty kicks I would have not picked Morgan. It is not her strong suit.

    • ARED

      1) Jill Ellis (unless her decision is to not make one)

      2) Lloyd’s the best in the world at possibly one thing -penalties. Common logic is to use your best shooter first or last, and one who can handle the pressure.

      The fact that only Lloyd ever takes penalties, and then she didn’t shoot first seemed very odd to me. Morgan and Press are great players, but how many penalties have they gotten to take for the USA combined? Big time pressure on them, especially Press who was basically told repeatedly that she wasn’t good enough by Ellis through Ellis’ tenure. “But now I want you to score the hardest penalty….”. Hmm….

      • x

        I do wonder why they had Lloyd in the middle. Do they have to submit the lineups beforehand or do they just call people up? If they can adjust on the fly Ellis might’ve been afraid they’d lose PKs with Lloyd on the bench and moved her up. But of course that could’ve been prevented by having her shoot first.

        • ARED

          I can’t speak to most recent regulations (and I’m not going to check the Laws of the Game right now), or if FIFA upholds them, but I’ve always seen a decision of the takers during the break before penalties. So a set list, at least for the first five.

          For some teams this means players fighting to take them, for others it means a lot of quiet players laying on the ground hoping the manager doesn’t ask/tell them to take one….

          • x

            Yeah, Lloyd going 3rd doesn’t make much sense in either scenario, but it’s even dumber in the case where the lineups are fixed beforehand. Ugh.

          • ARED

            I’ve never been on a team at a tournament where potential penalty takers wasn’t discussed frequently. It is impossible to think that they haven’t thought it through -unless they thought they’d never be forced into penalties….

            My order would have ideally been:
            Lloyd
            (Rapinoe)
            Morgan
            Press
            Heath -5th
            Brian -4th or 6th depending on Rapinoe
            O’Hara
            Horan
            Long
            Pugh

            The key being that Lloyd scoring first would set the tone and relieve a bit of pressure on 2-5. Missing the first adds a tangible weight to each remaining shooter and the GK. Solo seemed to be trying too hard -it’s better when the GK feels a save is a bonus rather than a necessity. If Lloyd’s taken 99% of the penalties for over a year, she has to go first for me…..

  • Gary Diver

    Has anybody seen a “Get Rid of Jill Ellis” petition yet?

    • Davestwin7

      Ellis is inept. Changes occurred during the wc because the players had a meeting and told her what they wanted. She and they got found out this Olympics. But no Coach is going to be able to come in and change up the older players. Sermanni tried and looked what happened. They play on their terms.

      • David K Anderson

        Precisely. Ellis was selected, in part, because she won’t rock the boat for the Old Guard. Almost all of whom will be gone in 2019…but only “almost all.”

        And that’s the problem. This is Carli Lloyd’s team for the foreseeable future…to the detriment of the careers of people like Rose Lavelle. Look how long it took Tobin Heath to emerge because a less-technical style dominated.

    • dw

      Pay scale.

    • CED

      Ellis is under contract till end of 2020. The only way they force her out before then is if they crash out of Wcup 2019 before semis. Even then they would be reluctant to bring somebody in with an OG the next year. Ellis is around thru thru 2020 barring personal illness, etc…They aren’t going to fire her.

      • Gary Diver

        If she doesn’t change her ways there is no way I can follow this mismanagement for 4 more years.

      • Observed

        Depressing. USA won’t win in France next WC. Not after seeing what this team did last night.

    • Altius

      Andonovski for the USWNT.

      PLEASE.

  • Gary Diver

    Action Heat Maps

    Has anybody seen any action heat maps for USWNT players? That would probably tell us a lot about who is doing what.

    https://www.quora.com/How-are-player-heat-maps-generated-in-football

    • Bruce

      I’ve looked around for those earlier this week. Couldn’t find any.

    • ARED

      I’ll paint you some:

      Heath: Everywhere, both wings, all three thirds, a lot of good touches/passes/tackles/etc.
      Pugh: Everywhere on wings, more and more good touches centrally, lots of good touches/passes/dribbles/etc.
      Morgan: Good movement and variety of pressing defenses back and dropping off to combine with the midfield.
      Lloyd: Offside, or waiting at the top of the box to make her next offiside run. Sometimes she’ll vary it and stay onside but be a step slow to reach the ball.

      • Observed

        Morgan, unable to shoot on frame more than once in 7 attempts.

        • Don B.

          Entire team 27 shots, 6 on frame, according to USSoccer. Some of those misses had to come from other special snowflakes.

        • WosoFan

          Well according to the article you linked she had 2 shots on goal out of the 7 attempts. And 1 goal. But I agree her finishing needs work.

        • WosoFan

          Well, my mistake a diff person linked the article. But yes Morgan had 2 SOG out of 7. 1 lead to a goal. Carli had 5 shots none on goal. So we have 14 Shots unaccounted for.

        • ARED

          Fair enough, but which strikers or Americans fared better in efficiency? Or in impact?

          I thought she was good but not great, but she did finish two of her few chances of real quality. I imagine with a functioning midfield and/or Press joining her she’d have fared a bit better.

      • Bruce

        Lloyd – a singular point on the heat-map so concentrated it burns straight through.

        • ARED

          Haha….that’s probably more accurate. As the other players move, sometimes that point happens to be onside, and sometimes offside -since it’s not as if Lloyd ever seems too bothered with noticing where the defensive line is or staying in front of it….

  • Bruce

    Don’t look now, but there is a spontaneous outburst of love for Christen Press trending on Twitter.

    Count me in on the group who really want this young woman to catch a break. #dogsforchristen

    http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/08/uswnt-fans-share-pics-of-their-dogs-to-comfort-christen-press-after-missed-penalty-kick

    • Steglitz49

      The Brits — trust the Brits in these matters — have translated Pia’s classic rejoinder to Solo. It reads — “I don’t give a crap. I’am going to Rio; she’s going home”.

    • Steglitz49

      “Young” is a relative number, 28 is hardly young. Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky are 19 while Simone Manuel is 20.

      • ARED

        One wonders how “young” the great Steglitz49 is….lol. ; p

        • Steglitz49

          Old as the hills?

      • Bruce

        Young to me is now older than it was when I was younger.

        • Steglitz49

          Like middle-age it is a moving target

          • Steg Watch

            So why the trollish comment?

    • NYRick

      Great to see. Nice person, deserves the support.

    • Reality

      It is good to see this spontaneous outburst for Press…

      https://twitter.com/hashtag/DogsForChristen?src=hash

    • Guest

      Seems patronizing to me. She is a professional and this was a team loss. I think of they get a new coach she will play a lot more since she is the best CAM option right now

      • ARED

        I agree, a better response is to point out how her manager spent 4 years saying/showing she didn’t value her, and then asked her to take the deciding penalty kick after her poor tactics and substitutions put her team in a very dodgy position.

        Morgan first, Lloyd third, Press fifth, Heath not chosen? Seems crazy, doesn’t it?

        Remember -a new coach might also understand that a team can play with more than one forward! ; )

        • Bruce

          Forget soccer. It’s a nice gesture by a huge number of people. Let’s just enjoy the humanity of it since it’s not an everyday thing.

          • Tania

            I took part; it was in response to some nasty, mean spirited, bullying tweets. And I mean vile – as in folks tweeting she should kill herself level nasty. I saw it with my own eyes.

          • Bruce

            Sad. I haven’t used twitter in at least 2 years but logged on to post the hashtag. Only seems right to support someone who has been nothing but a good soldier throughout it all. I wish her well.

          • ARED

            Fair enough. I appreciate that people feel bad and wish they could help. But I guess my experience in these cases is that sometimes people trying to cheer you up can be frustrating and/or misguided if you were hindered in your ability to perform.

            In my opinion Press might need cheered up because her manager handcuffed the team and especially Press which led to a bad loss. But not because she is to blame for the loss. I’m not here to speak for Press, but if she doesn’t feel the loss is her fault, then this response seems patronizing amidst a USA career in which she has largely not been afforded the chance to really play. So, I suggest a more resounding message might be to review the facts and the game, and support Press (or Heath, or Morgan) based on how the game/tournament/year/career played out, not based on how the shootout they should never have been in ended.

    • x

      Sounds like the surprisingly kind (mostly) internet response Laura Basset got after England’s elimination in the WC last year. That’s good.

  • BGH123
    • Observed

      Everything he said was written here on EQ first, except blaming Broon for the goal, and noting how Morgan can’t shoot straight.

      • BGH123

        It is nice that a source that rarely posts negative things about the USWNT articulated some of the complaints of the faithful

      • Bruce

        I actually blamed Broon for the goal.

        • Bruce

          not proud about it, though.

      • guest

        anybody know what klingerberg was doing on the play? seemed like the play ended up near the fullback area

  • ARED

    “Even now, it’s hard to pinpoint why…..”

    This comment sums up a lot perhaps. Last year I said it felt like “the emperor has no clothes” -there was a huge feeling of empty praise and denial about the state of the USWNT, both from inside US Soccer and from the media. They played a bad style, they played bad players. They barely could beat teams like South Korea. They finally changed just enough at the WC to just barely win it, but now 2016 has had an eerie feel of déjà vu.

    It is not hard to pinpoint why they couldn’t score. Carli Lloyd doesn’t create and rarely finishes from open play. So the other attacking players have a huge burden trying to do it themselves, and from the periphery since Lloyd has the spot they all want and excel at in the middle. Usually they win enough set pieces (and play poor defenses) so it works, and sometimes they even play well enough to create from open play -but that is an exception, even for this great USA team. Allie Long helped immensely in this regard as she truly could dictate the game and penetrate defensive lines from her holding position, which took pressure off of Heath, Pugh, Morgan, and Brian and got them more accurate passes in more advanced positions. But Ellis doesn’t value this, and naturally her first move was to take Long off and abandoning (intentionally or unknowingly…) any ability to play through the middle.

    They have 4 players better than Lloyd at a CAM/forward position (Pugh, Press, Heath, Brian), but chose Lloyd for her past/status/etc. Last year they did this with Wamabach (over the better choices of Press, Leroux, ARod). They would not have won in 2015 without benching Wambach. I thought they may have a chance to pull through holding Lloyd up in 2016 due to the excellence of players like Heath, Morgan, and Pugh, but it was always going to be a close call, even with Germany and France stagnating. A self-inflicted weakening of their potential level brought the field closer to them, and the field took advantage.

  • Gary Diver

    Worst Tournament Refereeing Ever? Did Referee Steal Game from the French?

    There has been so many terrible calls in this tournament, but has there been any worse than the non-call on Kadeisha Buchanan for a late, reckless take-down of Eugenie Le Sommer in the penalty box at 10 minute mark. It was an outrageous game changer. And Buchanan’s cleats were upward during the tackle – she should have at least received a yellow card. It would be easy to argue Buchanan should have been sent off with a red card for the blatant reckless tackle that could have easily injured Le Sommer. Again and again Buchanan gets away with murder on the field. She is the poster child with what is wrong with WoSo refereeing.

    Could someone please post the video of the play so everybody can see for themselves how egregious this non-call was?

  • Gary Diver

    Why are so many offsides called on USWNT? it can’t be that hard to stay onside or is it?

  • Gary Diver

    Why can’t USWNT shoot straight? Almost every open shot was at least 2-4 feet above the crossbar. Is it that hard to shoot on goal?

  • guest

    and to think some people thought a 50% megan rapinoe would be better than anyone else the uswnt could have chosen. this is a lesson the uswnt should not have had to learn the hard way. soccer history should have already taught that lesson to the uswnt.

    • Frozen Blue

      In retrospect bringing 3 left side wingers and 1 right seems silly, HO as a right side player would have been more useful. I was not one of those who thought Rapinoe should have come but I wasn’t that keen on HO either.

    • guest

      this is why rapinoe should have been required to prove her health, fitness and form in competitive games before the olympics. not right in the middle of a major tournament after nine months off due to injury. this decision was so negligent it should cost some people their jobs including megan rapinoe.

    • Gary Diver

      An 80% Rapinoe is not better than any other healthy player. An 80% Rapinoe proved to be a handicap.

  • thegirlnextdior

    loooooool @ whoever said this tournament was gunna be a cakewalk for the uswnt. i prefer an underdog story anyway.

    • Don B.

      What is this “loooooool” problem you have? Overactive saliva glands?

      • thegirlnextdior

        im not the problem mate. jill ellis is 😉

  • Gary Diver

    If I Could See the Train Wreck Coming, Why Couldn’t Jill Ellis?

    This disaster is mostly due to Jill Ellis’ incompetence as a national coach. I had been worrying aloud and issuing warnings for the past month that what happened yesterday could happen. (Didn’t somebody post a nice cartoon saying “The Sky is Falling”? Yes, it fell.)

    I went back and collected the concerns I had about USWNT and Jill Ellis’ coaching. (These do not include Ellis’ totally inexcusable stupid decision to “put” Megan Rapinoe on the OG16 roster.

    Here are previous warnings and dates (too bad Jill Ellis only reads the “The Jill Ellis Diary Entries”):

    [Please read my last warning.]

    What I fear most are formations/strategies that others have already suggested other coaches will use against USWNT. Prevent the ball from being moved down the sidelines and clog up the middle or essentially use a 7-2 bunker formation. In both cases an effective counter-attack against USWNT could produce a 1-0 victory. If other teams can’t outplay USWNT, they could still win by out-coaching Jill Ellis. Unless they get behind, USWNT will be in the driver’s seat. But if any team can force the game to PKs, all bets are off. – July 12, 2016

    If the South African game put USWNT into a relaxed mood, something seriously is wrong. Eking out a 1-0 win over S.A. highlights the strategy to beat USWNT. Play rope-a-dope soccer. Either focus on shutting down the alleys while clogging the midfield or play basically a 7-2 bunker formation. USWNT gets very impatient when they can’t methodically move the ball forward and is susceptible to a counter-attack. Playing for a 0-0 tie is boring soccer, but if any team can do it in a knock-out game, they would probably have the advantage over USWNT in the PK shootout. (Americans don’t seem to do particularly well in PKs.) – July 17, 2016

    No USWNT fan wants to see a bunker game, but for some team’s personnel that might be their best option. Until the first goal is scored, anything is possible. – August 1, 2016

    Bunker Soccer: Seeing what Portland recently did to Seattle using 5 defenders, one wonders if New Zealand will try something similar with USWNT. (A commentator said that “Portland played an ugly game, but so what, they won”.) There is no way New Zealand can play USWNT straight up so their coach needs a plan B and bunker soccer could be it. No USWNT fan wants to see a bunker game, but for some team’s personnel that might be their best option. Until the first goal is scored, anything is possible. – August 2, 2016

    Strategy: Should USWNT patiently and slowly move the ball upfield with a lot of back-and-forth passes or should they attempt to quickly move the ball upfield with a minimal number of passes? – August 4, 2016

    USWNT needs to watch their guard against counter-attacks, especially when they are committing their OBs to a slow attack. Personally I think USWNT is risking having their defense being out of position to defend when they “methodically” move the ball back and forth in a slow advancement. Using the war analogy, you do not what to leave your rear guard vulnerable while you play around going forward. Maybe USWNT should consider the famous Nathan Bedford Forrest military (mis)quotation: “Getting there firstest with the mostest.” – August 5, 2016

    One of the lessons of Euro 16 is that coaching strategy can play a role in the outcome of games and tournaments. When this tournament is over, the postmortem will show some coaches did everything possible for their team to medal while other coaches shoot themselves in the foot and went home empty-handed. – August 8, 2016

  • thegirlnextdior

    john herdman doing wonders for canwnt, meanwhile all jill ellis did was make the team a mess loool wouldn’t wanna be her.

    • Steglitz49

      JE won the World Cup — in Canada to boot.

      • thegirlnextdior

        jill ellis was truly lucky in the wc

        • Peter

          Usually you need a bit of luck to win a major tournament. Think of Portugal’s recent Euro win. The French could have won it. So could have the Germans who were, in my opinion, the best team in this tournament. And the US’s WC win last year – don’t we all still remember how Sasic failed to score on a penalty for a foul that should have led to a red card for JJ? Next in that game the US took the lead through a penalty for a foul outside the box. That’s luck … Canada was lucky yesterday to not have the French score on a penalty after 10 minutes. Buchanan clearly brought down Le Sommer but the ref didn’t give the penalty. (There is a clip of the foul in the EQ article on the game.) Brazil should be out of this Olympic tournament – if the ref had given a penalty for a foul on Heyman in the 82nd minute …
          I think the fact that no team has managed to win the world cup and then the Olympic tournament the following year points to the role of luck. After all team composition and standing relative to adversaries usually do not change much from one year to the next.

          • mockmook

            Except JE doesn’t put together the best USA roster, so she depends on luck more than a “normal” coach.

          • thegirlnextdior

            the Le Sommer foul could’ve led to a 50/50 chance for a penalty. Buchanan should’ve gotten a yellow card. Le sommer was diving all game and the ref noticed and decided not to give the penalty. Australia were robbed of penalties. and the penalty that was awarded to canada after an alleged handball was abysmal. the reason the USWNT lost was because of poor tactics, and poor substitutions. Jill finally is getting exposed

          • David K Anderson

            Red card, I’d say (she looked like the last defender…so DOGSO). Horrible missed call that may have changed the outcome…

            And yes: this loss for the US is on Jill more than anyone else (although several US players had stinkers). Multiple head-scratching decisions…

      • Gary Diver

        Actually playing in Canada for USWNT was not much different than playing in the US – huge crowds of Americans.