Five reasons the Olympics are over for USWNT

Dan Lauletta August 13, 2016 575
Carli Lloyd and the USWNT are headed home earlier than expected.

Carli Lloyd and the USWNT are headed home earlier than expected.

The United States women’s national team failed to make the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time ever – in 13 tries – on Friday, losing to Sweden, 4-3 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 match through 120 minutes.

Here are five reasons the United States women are heading home instead of to a semifinal against Brazil:

Inability to break down the defense

When I spoke to Tony DiCicco before the tournament began, he predicted the United States would win but cautioned against having to go up against an organized defensive effort. “We saw in the Euros; we saw in the Copa,” the coach of the 1996 gold medalists said, “teams that are physically fit and organized give the bigger teams problems. That means the U.S. is going to have to break down really organized defenses. I don’t think we’re great at that. That’s my biggest concern.”

That concern was on full display for much of two hours on Friday afternoon at Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia. Sweden sat deep and absorbed pressure for a large majority of the 120 minutes and the U.S. was rarely able to break through to win quality shots in dangerous areas. It is not a tactic that works very often but it seemed the right way to go for Sweden who likely would have been decimated trying to take the battle to the middle of the park. It is also a strategy that has given the United States fits for the entirety of the Jill Ellis era.

[CURREN: Plenty of mistakes for USWNT, but you can’t win them all]

In the World Cup qualifying opener in 2014, Trinidad & Tobago bunkered in and a dominant but frustrated U.S. side escaped with a 1-0 victory. There were similar scorelines earlier this year against Mexico in Olympic qualifying and South Africa in a recent friendly. The difference with Sweden is that they managed to strike on a well-constructed counterattack to take the lead and alter the dynamics for the rest of the match.

This is a roster in transition

Despite the oft-regurgitated notion that the U.S. women are a never-ending string of great players ready to step in and keep the team at the top of the mountain, the truth is that the roster is in transition. Lauren Holiday’s retirement altered the landscape in midfield and even if Christie Rampone and Abby Wambach were operating in reduced roles at last year’s World Cup their leadership—and yes Wambach’s aerial presence—is not an easy thing to replace. On the flipside, Mallory Pugh was asked to play a vital role at 18 years old, and while she had a few spectacular moments, it is easy to forget that a year ago she had never even been in a camp. Even Allie Long at 28 wasn’t even in the conversation as recently as March and wound up being a starter.

As the women’s game catches up to the men’s in terms of development and parity, it is likely to mirror it more and more in terms of results. That means the United States and other countries may stay near the top for long stretches but will be more likely to trade off periods of dominance as golden generations roll in and out around the world.

The Rapinoe factor

Let’s get one thing clear: Once Megan Rapinoe was added to this roster, she was always going to be the player Ellis turned to if the team needed a late goal. It also needs to be said that even if Rapinoe was never going to play the 48 minutes required between entering the match and the end of extra time, when you’re losing, you worry about getting the match tied first, and extra time second. Those are the breaks of being the team playing catch-up.

The two points for debate are whether Rapinoe should have been on the roster in the first place and how the residue of her having to sub in, and then out, affected the team.

Including Rapinoe on an 18-woman roster was always a risk, and when the tournament started and she still had yet to play a competitive match and was not even dressed for the first two games, it went from a gamble to extremely questionable — especially with such a small roster and a healthy Heather O’Reilly along for the ride as an alternate. There could have been other options as well but we’ll save the roster development discussion for another time.

[MORE: Solo calls Sweden ‘cowards’ for tactics; Pia points to the scoreboard]

The issue of how this particular match played out is interesting as well. When Rapinoe came on she replaced Kelley O’Hara, leaving the U.S. in a three-back which was hardly a huge risk with Sweden sitting ever deeper. Once the U.S. scored it was time to restore the back line to the standard four and that’s where the head-scratching began. Rather than put on Ali Krieger, the starting right back at the World Cup and a proven penalty kick taker, Ellis replaced Rapinoe with Christen Press who was mostly ineffective even before skying the anchor spot kick high.

Anyone can come off the bench and have a bad day as happened to Press. But the odd maneuver left Heath to finish up at right back, which is glaring not so much for how she handled the position as it was for the absence of her considerable skills in midfield. No player who held over from Canada has improved as much as Heath and it was a rather stunning decision to have her on the field but not in a creative, attacking position on the flank.

Another option here would have been to just move O’Hara up—into the position she played when fortunes turned at the World Cup last summer—and then drop her back to fullback again as the situation warranted. But again, once Rapinoe was named to the roster, she was going to be the one in that position.

It happens

If you take a moment to think about it, the United States playing seven World Cups and five Olympics and never finishing worse than third is one of the more remarkable runs in sports. Player turnover aside there are just too many factors that can creep into a given day of soccer to make that anything close to ordinary. Think of the 1999 World Cup final when the U.S. twice trailed a good Germany team in the quarterfinals, or the 2011 World Cup when Wambach saved their bacon against Brazil at the same stage, or the 2012 Olympics when Morgan’s last-second goal in the semifinals prevented PKs.

Soccer is just not the sort of sport where the better team goes out and enforces its will every day. There are great goalkeeping performances, bad bounces, questionable referee decisions, and even sometimes bunker tactics, all of which can derail even the best sides on a given day.

[MORE: Brazil through to medal round on PKs over Aussies]

Before the match I expected the United States to win rather handily and if they played Sweden again this Friday I would probably feel the same way. But the one that mattered didn’t work out quite the way most thought it would.

Were they tired?

I’m not talking about the trip from the Amazon to play a Swedish side that was in the same venue as their final group-stage match. That may have been a factor late, and was mentioned by Ellis when she was asked why Crystal Dunn opened on the bench. The broader context of being tired is that after winning the World Cup last summer the players returned to NWSL and also embarked on a 10-match victory tour complete with goodbyes to Wambach, Holiday, Shannon Boxx and Lori Chalupny.

After a short holiday break came the January camp, and then SheBelieves Cup, a few more friendlies, the start of NWSL season, more friendlies, back to NWSL, and then more friendlies as final Olympic preparation. Carli Lloyd, in comments made on live television, said it was a long year and that is a big part of why the World Cup-Olympic double has yet to be pulled off.

In an era of women’s soccer when talking points usually focus on teams like Colombia and Costa Rica not spending enough time together, it might be time to start wondering if the United States actually spends too much time together.

  • John

    No mention of tactical mistakes by Ellis? Surely that should be in the top 5 reasons…

    • nstarsfan

      I think two points are missing.
      6. PK execution. We should be able to put 5 can’t miss players in PK situations. The other countries are better at this and likely practice it more. We’ve lost enough games because of PKs that we should be better.
      7. Pre-Olympic Schedule. This team has not shown good chemistry at the Olympics. This was not the only poor game. But after playing strong teams in SBC and then Japan we decided to choose Columbia, South Africa and Costa Rica for friendlies. Contrast this to Canada who built up to stronger opponents and appears in much better form. Canada also seemed to pick friendlies against teams they were likely to play in Rio. We needed to play bunker teams but also ones who could score. Did no one else want to play us?

  • riano

    I adore Rapinoe and I wasn’t shocked when she made the team, but after watching her 30min against Columbia, I didn’t expect to see her v SWE unless it wasn’t close. Her sub in was mystifying for all the reason you outline. Also admit I have not been a fan of seeing Krieger on the bench, but why she wasn’t used in this game when everyone in the world knew defending counters was going to be the highest priority I will never understand.

    • Sunny d

      I just don’t see why everyone says that Kling is amazing.I also don’t see why Jill says she is a modern outside back. She didn’t really impact any of the games she played and hasn’t for a while now. O’hara seems like a better attacker and defender to me. Krieger is the better defender of the two. Kling should be benched for now and we need to give KO and Krieger a look as the new starting outside backs. I just don’t see the hype around kling. One can only play so many bad games before they get called out for it. Try her in the midfield or something because left back hasn’t been working for her lately. I don’t know what happened, I don’t remember her playing as bad in the WC.(I know she wasn’t as bad yesterday as she was in France)
      Krieger and KO looked pretty good in the game against Colombia (aside from oharas dumb foul). It felt like the right balance. If you’ve seen my other comments you probably realize that I love a good defender lol.

      I’ll give Krieger another look in the NWSL and on the NT this upcoming year to see if she could still make it for the next WC and OG. Who knows. I don’t think Kling has done anything to show why she should be a starter (Unless she knows something that Jill doesn’t want to get out)

      Tobin Heath is a beast who should never be at right back, especially when you need a goal. I bet she wasn’t happy about being pushed back.

      Can you believe that she said she was happy with how they played? I need whatever she’s taking because I’d beg to differ.It sucks because there’s no reason why a team with that much depth and skill isn’t going to rio. I see a lot articles saying don’t place the blame on anyone but I disagree. The coach takes the blame for this. She screwed up

      • SpiritFan80

        I would love to see Krieger at RB, O’Hara at LB for a few games. Kling has definitely lost some form since last year, even with the Thorns. Jill prefers more attacking Outside backs even though we’ve seen quite a few problems with this against quick teams. Sauerbrunn and JJ have made a lot of mistakes since this Krieger was benched for O’Hara, since they are frequently left as the only two back defending when a team gets a quick counter.
        Agree that Ellis takes the blame for this one. With the players on that squad, there should have been no reason they couldn’t break down Sweden if she plays them correctly.

        • Bruce

          When is the last time we’ve seen Kling perform well against competition that had the ability to attack the NT’s back line?

          I honestly cannot remember.

          • Sunny d

            Me neither. Couldn’t do so against Japan in a friendly, didn’t so against France or Sweden at the Olympics. I just saw someone say that Jill ellis said in a podcast that she’ll tell her players shes closer with some than others. I don’t know if that is exactly true (I am going to go listen to the podcast myself) but that could explain why we see Kling so much. She is constantly calling her the prototype for modern outside backs and I just don’t see it. She did not play good in these Olympic games and there is no excuse for it. It’s ok to love a player but you still have to be the boss and sit them out when they aren’t performing well. I completely disagree with people who say she is better than O’hara and Krieger. But hey that’s just my opinion. I’m surprised people aren’t talking about this more.

          • Guest

            She was good against Germany at SBC but that has been it.

        • PK

          I guess after the Olympics they should look ahead into the future. As much as I like Krieger, I think the best for her to do now is to retire from the national team

          • Sunny d

            I see what you mean but I don’t think we should Krieger off so soon. Her NWSL has been really good this season. We’ll see what she does. I don’t see why we should write Krieger off when Kling isn’t doing anything good

            If she does good in 2017 I see no reason for her to step aside. We shall see

        • Steglitz49

          Pia used KO as LB in OG-12. She converted her from attack.

          Pia’s team won this match.

          Enough.

          • Myth2020

            If Krieger doesn’t get hurt in 12, KO is not in that position. She had to move back due to an injury, not because she is an awesome defender. She had done ok, but is not better than Krieger if you want defense.

      • BCAD

        I have been saying this since last year, before the world cup, that KO and Krieger should be our outside backs. We shouldn’t be having the O’Hara/Krieger debate which so frequently happens but why Kling is the automatic LB. Nothing against Kling but why has she been gifted this spot

        • mockmook

          Kling has had her moments — she isn’t chopped liver.

          But, she looked exhausted against SWE (and oddly, she didn’t even play in Manaus).

          Still, I blame the way the players are utilized (and the roster selections) more than I blame any player. Kling is told to play like a Forward wing, so that’s what she does — if she was told to think defense first, I think she would be a much better player.

    • Steglitz49

      Pinoe contributed significantly. Pinoe fouled Asllani but got away with it. Instead of a freekick to Sweden the US was gifted a goal by the referee (if you can call her that).

      Without that foul Pinoe’s contribution would have been zero. You could of course argue that the real contribution came from the ref.

      • necron99

        Ahh but it was just one more foul ignored. Your beloved Swedes were giving the old professional foul anytime they got caught up field after their attempt at a counter. And with a professional foul they should have gotten their yellow card. That is the only way to prevent a professional foul on every such play. The ref was being kind to the Swedes for quite a while a not giving such cards. Yes the ref missed a terrible offsides call at the end of the game, but the game would have been much more open if she was giving all of the deserved cards all the way through.

        • Steglitz49

          The referee crew was below contempt. Players have a right that they know the rule book. Lotta’s goal was fine.

          • necron99

            I agree her goal was onside. I wrote about your incessant complaining about the fouls

          • WosoFan

            He only sees or states what he want to see in order to fit his narrative.

          • necron99

            I figured it out, he is using a auto-email-spam software. That is why it always adds some stupid comment about Japan, Miyama, Kumagi, and madels to any message. They are random keywords to prevent the abuse system from thinking it was auto-generated.

          • Steglitz49

            The Swedes are going to Rio; the others are going home.

          • Steglitz49

            For Sweden I complain only about the foul that led to the 1-1 goal but the US got away with too much.

            The backside of winning at all costs is that nobody weeps when you lose.

          • necron99

            Got away with too much? Got away with 1/10th of the fouls commited by Sweden, and not one of them a “professional” foul to stop an attack. It is standard practice to give the yellow for a professional foul, the cost of doing business.

        • NYRick

          You raise an interesting point on the so-called “professional” foul. Usually that translates into a well-placed trip or tug that generally stops a counter or player advantage on the move. And most of the time (especially in WoSo) it’s never called yellow. If the refs called these many so-called professional fouls yellow on Sweden (we’ve seen this act vs. the US for several years now) than it is a different game.

          But we also have to look at the “professional” fouls that one Carli Lloyd gives against just about every team they play that are never called yellow as well. In short, the officiating in WoSo almost makes the sport unwatchable at times and diminishes credibility at every turn.

  • Terry Lash

    Dan, good article. Better than Ray’s. But seriously, you miss the big elephant in the room: Jill Ellis is not a very good coach. Taking Rapinoe to the OG is one part of this. Anyone with any sense would say that decision was nuts. But even more importantly, as you say, Ellis made very bad substitution decisions. But even more important than that, Ellis showed no ability to plan a strategy for countering the tactics of Sweden, even though everyone knew well in advance how Sweden was going to approach the game. Time for a coaching change for the USWNT.

    • SpiritFan80

      Jill Ellis got away with a lot of bad decisions last year because US won the WC. I think she also got a pass because she only got the job a year before the WC, some things seemed to be out of her hands, was forced to keep certain veterans on the roster. Now, with the loss, hopefully there will be more questions about her tactics. I think the players gave it everything they had, but were handicapped by Ellis’ decisions and playing several players out of their positions. Not sure if Ellis’ job is in jeopardy but I can’t imagine who would want it right now.

    • mockmook

      You’ve missed a “few”

      — Not making Lloyd conform to the team concept
      — Playing Press on the mid-wings
      — No roster changes that were based on merit
      etc.

      My “Monday Morning QB” Roster:

      GK(2): Solo, Naeher

      CB(3): Sauerbrunn, Sonnett, Johnston

      OB(3): O’Hara, Klingenberg, Kreiger

      CM(3): Brian, Laddish, Long

      OM(3): Dunn, Heath, Ohai

      FW(4): A.Morgan, Pugh, Press, Horan

      The first thing you have to get right is the midfield, and it has to be players who work well together and who can defend.

      • Terry Lash

        Yes, I agree with the “few” I did not state. Your suggested player list is an improvement of JE’s. Horan should be a part of the offense, either as a withdrawn central forward or as an attacking midfielder. She should have started against Sweden to provide some height in the box on set pieces. This should have been easy enough for JE to see in advance. I have only watched Pugh on the wings, where she has performed very well. Whether she is ready to be a more central forward, I am unsure. Ohai benefits from hindsight because during the first part of the NWSL season she was not effective. In part this was because Waldrum misused her. (He is another coach that should move on, but my opinion is probably a minority view.) Once she was returned to the wing she performed excellently and definitely now deserves serious consideration for a place on the USWNT squad.

        • Guest

          Ohai is successful when she has space to run at players. This does not really fit into the style that the team is moving towards. They need players that can combine and play in pressure and not just someone who can get around someone in space.

          • mockmook

            It doesn’t have to be that way — it doesn’t have to be either/or.

            You can have Heath on one side being “creative” and Ohai on the other bombing in crosses — both tactics work. Plus, no one will work harder at defending than Ohai.

          • AnotherGuest

            Ohai could possibly be a good converted modern outside back or wingback. I don’t really see her as a flank though.

          • mockmook

            Yes, love her for that (WB or OB) role.

        • necron99

          People complain that Morgan is living on her rep from 2012. Ohai is living on a rep from a u20 WWC and years at UNC. Both of those also had her playing with Dunn who has shown for her club and the NT what people expected to see. There are other players in the NWSL that have shown better over the last three years that nobody even mentions in these conversations. If people want to be taken seriously talking about merit and club form for NT choices, they need to leave Ohai out of their conversations.

          • Terry Lash

            I do not completely disagree with you about Ohai, but then I am not a critic of Morgan either. To me Ohai did not show enough the first two seasons to deserve a good look with the USWNT. But I do think in the last few weeks she has shown enough improvement to deserve a call up and opportunity to compete. In my view, the NT team should look broadly for possible new players. Ohai is one that should not be excluded. I do not think it helps your argument to say that those of us you disagree with you should not be taken seriously. Why should your view be sacrosanct?

          • necron99

            I don’t think my view should be sacrosanct. I mean that people that argue that a specific rule should be in effect and then argue for a player that clearly violates that rule to be included should be ignored.

            I also said people because there are many on this forum that do it constantly especially in regard to Ohai, but I did not mean specifically you

            I do not personally find NWSL form to be the most important factor, so I do not argue for or against players based on their NWSL form. It is just very interesting to me how many people use a double standard depending on whether it is their favorites or not. Of course after watching these forums for many years it is obvious that people will see what they want to see in any game played by the USWNT. They will write the same comments about the same players no matter what happens. I am not a big Lloyd fan, but if she scores 4 goals, has 9 assists, and completes 100% of her 100 passes 75 in the final third, some people would be in here describing how she was the worst player on the field.

      • Observed

        Solo is a massive liability as this point. She lost a step two years ago, and keeps hanging on based on her glory days, like Angerer.

        Press is a loser.

        I’d put Colaprico instead of Laddish.

        • Dillon77

          Looking down the road, I’d give Ms. Long thanks for the cup of coffee and give Colaprico and Laddish a shot. Love Colaprico’s instincts at getting the ball up and around the field. Laddish isn’t bad at that either and excels in transition. She’s got excellent burst speed.

  • Bruce

    How about these five…

    1. E
    2. L
    3. L
    4. I
    5. S

    Funny you can do the same thing with “Carli” and “Llyod”.

    • Elizabethjbly2

      <<hp. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!ir347m:….,….
      .

    • mockmook

      But, the Carli Lloyd “problem” is the JE problem. JE doesn’t force Lloyd to play in the team concept.

      • Bruce

        true

  • NYRick

    Sweden was a nightmare QF draw for them simply because the coach was going to play it the exact same way as last year’s WC group match.

    And she did. That’s reason 1-5.

    It’s called film. It’s called exploiting match-ups and tactics to your advantage…when you have a big advantage in the roster.

    And more than anything it’s called coaching courage and ruffling a few feathers when the team needs to come first. Ellis had to (maybe that curse is now lifted) wash Carli’s car for life following the WC final. You can’t cater to that as a coach.

    Bill Parcells (paraphrasing): “Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a coach is move on from the veterans who I loved. The ones who bought me to the dance and the promised land. But you have to do it.”

    • Calci0

      Whoa, caught me off guard with the Parcells quote!!!!

      • Craigaroo

        Yeah, good quote. I saw it sometime earlier this year and I was thinking of it in regards to Rapinoe

    • rkmid71

      Not just Parcells, think about Bill Walsh. It happened to Montana and Rice for goodness sake. Only San Antonio Spurs and Popovich found a formula where the veterans and Popovich developed a trust and understanding about roles, playing time, etc. And only because Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Ginobli are the ultimate team oriented players. It doesn’t have to be about them. Duncan set the standard of course. I admire that guy. In my mind, Pia exploited the fact she knew JE would play Carli for 90′ and with most minutes forward. By the time JE changed, there wasn’t much time left. And then JE inserted Pinoe also playing directly into Pia’s hand.

    • Steglitz49

      In spite of that sorry excuse for a referee team the US did not win.

      That is the most amazing bit about this match. That such an important match could be handed to such an inept crew.

      • necron99

        **Auto-response 428 to response-bot**

        I forgot I am talking to a preprogrammed auto-response system. You will keep at this 24×7 answering every single response. Suffice to say, my
        answer remains the same. The offsides was a bad call. Otherwise the
        officiating was in the Swedes favor far far more often. Swedes were
        playing more physical, and committing more fouls from start to finish,
        they always have against the USWNT. Poor refs benefited Sweden

      • Guest

        We get the point. Get over it! You just sound like broken record.

        • Steglitz49

          You don’t get the point. That is the point (of repeating it).

  • BGH123

    They also need to adapt and learn to play better through the middle. It got better when Dunn came on, but their flank play is way too predictable.

    • Steglitz49

      Crystal Dunn was more than impressive. She was outstanding.

  • Ethan

    I know Krieger took a great penalty against Brazil. However, is that the basis for saying Krieger is a proven penalty taker? If it isn’t, could someone possibly point me to specific examples? Solely based on what I’ve seen, I’d say Lloyd’s technically the only proven penalty taker on the roster.

    • Calci0

      I’ve said it before, we don’t know how things go do at practice.

      • Ethan

        So, are you somewhat agreeing with me, or are you saying Lauletta knows what’s going on at practice? You can’t say someone’s proven based on one penalty kick in a competition match, albeit a very high pressure one. If Krieger had taken one and finished it against Japan, I’d be more accepting of Lauletta’s point, but even then, I’d say “Krieger showed that she’s cool under pressure in the 2011 World Cup”.

        • Calci0

          I’m tracking you now…. Were on the same page, and sentence. I was just a couple words behind.

        • Sunny d

          Yeah I agree with this. She was supposed to take final one against Japan also. Don’t you think it’s good to use the players that are good under pressure? Carli Lloyd seemed to be the only one who was truly calm taking the PK yesterday

        • Steglitz49

          I thought that Krieger’s ineptness led to Miyama’s 1-1 equalizer.

          That is not to take anything away from Aya Miyama who demonstrated amazing skill to slot that ball away but Krieger was the origin.

          • necron99

            Actually it was a ball cleared into Krieger that deflected into the goal. Krieger made no play on the ball, there was nothing she could have done about that.

          • Steglitz49

            The ball was not deflected into the goal.

            Instead Miyama controlled the ball, dummied Hope into one direction while flipping the ball with the outside of her foot in the other direction. It was truly amazing and best seen from the camera behind the goal.

          • necron99

            You understood what I meant. Buehler kicked the ball into Krieger, clearing the ball across the goal face. At best Krieger could have jumped the ball to keep it from falling to Miyama.

          • Steglitz49

            You make it sound like Alex got her equalizer in this match but it wasn’t.

          • Ethan

            Krieger didn’t cover herself in glory on that play, but Rampone and Buehler were definitely more responsible for Miyama’s goal in my opinion.

    • Sunny d

      I think they’re saying she did good under pressure in the 2011 WC. But other than that no. The world will never know to be honest

    • another guest

      “I’d say Lloyd’s technically the only proven penalty taker on the roster.”

      Huh? People are still waiting for Lloyds 2011 WC PK shootout missed shot to come back to earth

      • Ethan

        I’m talking about overall conversion rates. Lloyd’s got a pretty decent conversation rate, and she’s the only one who’s taken enough in actual matches for us to say that she’s proven. Plus, in spite of the Japan miss, Lloyd’s shootout penalties against Brazil and Sweden and her penalty against Germany help to show that she can score from the spot under pressure.

        • Kevin

          The 3 PK’s she took earlier this year were all awful. Two almost down the middle and one directly down the middle that rebounded to her.

          The one she took last night gets saved if the GK guesses the right way.

          • Ethan

            You could say that about so many penalties, including Asllani’s and Dahlqvist’s. (I will say though that those two likely had a good idea of where Solo was going.) Regardless, Lindahl did guess the right way on Lloyd’s penalty.

        • Bruce

          From a purely statistical point of view, the sample size of PKs available per player is so low that conversion rates is a pretty useless measure to use to justify any decision.

          PKs are a coin flip.

          • Steglitz49

            You are correct about the sample size but not the PKs being coinflips.

            Aya Miyama scored over and over again. I do not know of one miss by Miyama from the spot in a match that mattered.

          • mockmook

            No, you can evaluate technique and performance under pressure.

      • guest

        Good News!!! carli lloyd’s 2011 world cup final penalty kick ball has just been located on the surface of Mars by the Curiosity Rover. Japan has requested that nasa bring the ball back to earth so that japan can preserve carli’s ball and display it as a national historic object.

    • Guest

      Maybe because she is the only one allowed to ever take them, even in 10-0 routes of Puerto Rico

  • Bruce

    Calling out any player for missing the penalty is fair game. I was as shocked as anyone when Press lined up for that 5th PK. Her head just wasn’t there.

    But why take a dig at the on-field performance of a player who came on in the 99th minute, whose through-ball to Alex was the NT’s only real scoring opportunity in extra time and spent only 15 mins at CF?

    Are compulsory references to Press not performing even when she doesn’t play part of the EQ style guide? It’s just lazy.

    • SpiritFan80

      Press is a way better player than she gets credit for when she’s with the NT. Only seems to get a chance when A.Morgan is injured. Otherwise brought on in the dying minutes, mostly played out of position. Confidence has to take a hit. Shocked she was asked to take a PK, let alone the final one

      • necron99

        I think Press is a great player, and can continue to be a big benefit to the USWNT going forward. She does not deserve all of the blame for this loss or how the team played in the Olympics.

        But there is a problem with these statements about Press.

        We keep complaining that the team is built around Lloyd and it should not be. While I hate the team being built around her, we have seen in a couple of tournaments that Lloyd scores goals.

        All of the answers for why Press isn’t getting the job done in general against the top teams when she plays for the USWNT come down not enough minutes or being out of position. And the effects those things have on her confidence as well.

        But the end result is asking the whole team to be built around Press. And until the results come that is a leap of blind faith.

        There is a reason the 80th minute was called Alex Morgan time. Morgan didn’t come into the team as an immediate starter with the team built around her. It was still built around Abby. And she had players like Rodriguez and Cheney starting at forward in front of her. She came in as a sub. And she got the job done. She produced, and produced often enough in the big games including the WWC that it became difficult to chose other players over her. Remember even after WWC 2011 Pia had her on the bench until the Olympic Qualifiers. She pushed her way into the starting 11 in 2012. She has had ups and downs with injuries but she still is the most consistent player scoring against top 5 teams.

        Press had a full year to force the coaches hand with Morgan injured and did not get it done. She could have dazzled in her minutes in the Olympics. But she did not get it done, I am not talking about her PK. Think about her chances against Colombia. If this was the NWSL she scores twice, hell if it was a friendly against Colombia she scores twice. But she did not in the Olympics.

        This team needs Morgan and Press on the field and playing off of each other. That will make the team much more dangerous offensively. But Press needs to fix the issues in her head. She needs her yoga and meditation to work, or to see a sports psychiatrist. Even sometimes when she is successful she looks a bit too deliberate. Look at her goal against Costa Rica in the send off game. She was played in insanely wide open against the keeper. She still took a few beats to take her shot. Those are the seconds that a good defending team like France, Japan, or Germany are not going to give you. (Press has never blamed the coaches, so I am not going put words in her mouth and say she did). But it is not all on the coach. The players have to show the coach something to make the choices easy. Why do you think Pugh was starting over Press? Because everyone saw what she did leading into the Olympics and said, “damn Pugh needs to be out there starting”. Press needs to fix her head, nobody can expect the coach to change the whole team and hope it all works out.

        Press is a top quality player and a professional. I fully expect that she can fix her confidence. Hell if she had a quarter of Lloyd’s confidence she would be a dragon. She gets her head straight, doesn’t expect the coach to change the team, and does what everyone knows she can do when given chances. Then this team really comes into it’s own for the next 4-6 years.

        • necron99

          And to clarify I do not think the team should be built around Lloyd. I am just saying it is just as crazy to say that the team should be completely rebuilt just to suit Press and help her confidence.

          • Bruce

            I don’t see anyone advocating that the team be rebuilt around Press (at least not anymore). Not even NY Rick. Like all of the members of the NT, she’s got holes in her game that prevent her from being a “franchise player”.

            My original post had to do with lazy journalism by the EQ. Press was the ONLY player whose on-field performance was grilled by Curren/Lauletta after each of the four games. She came on in the 81st, 90th and 99th minute in three of those for God’s sake!

            I’d like a little less echo chamber / talking points and more thoughtful insight and analysis from the so-called experts in WoSo.

          • necron99

            The only game the Press deserved any stick for was the missed opportunities vs Colombia. But it happens to everyone.

          • Bruce

            There were no NT players to get excited about during the Colombia game.

            That stated: I’d venture Press’s first half at CF was more effective than Morgan’s second and that her 20 minutes at CAM/withdrawn forward were better than Lloyd’s half there. She ended up with 25 minutes on the wing after switching with Dunn, which were predictably meh. Press is not going to outplay any allocated wing (except Pinoe) at that position.

            If she deserved stick then everyone deserved stick.

          • Steglitz49

            Everyone deserved stick but most of all the useless referee crew.

          • necron99

            **auto response 431 to response-bot**

            We are talking about the Colombia game. Catch up

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe the refs sucked in that match too? After all, the US did not win so by your logic it must be the fault of the refs.

          • necron99

            **auto reponse 432 to response-bot**

            Actually I have never said that the refs were the reason the USWNT lost the game versus Sweden. It was poor play by the players and terrible tactics by Ellis. Pia outcoached her, and the Swedes performed their gameplan perfectly.

            But when you try to whine about fouls being the only reason that the game wasn’t put away sooner, and that the Morgan goal should not have happened you are talking out the wrong end. The fact was that missed fouls were by far in Sweden’s favor and you know it. We cannot know how the game would have played out if the refs had called the fouls correctly from the beginning.

            The bad offsides call was egregious on it’s own.

            You should get back to correct board etiquette and only give the same response in one thread on the board. You talk so much about old times and gentile crap and yet you have been ignoring this etiquette for years. Have a discussion once. Yeesh.

          • necron99

            She missed two wide open chances, for that she deserves stick. Chances were created for Press and she did not take them.

            Morgan did not score but she did not have chances placed on a platter for her.

            With the funky play against Sweden Morgan managed to score her half chance.

          • Bruce

            We see the game quite differently. I can live with that.

          • necron99

            If you cannot see a possible situation where Press deserves some stick for not putting away chances created then I don’t know what to say. You have no problem giving stick to the coach and any other player in your commentary for this and any other game. Press is not perfect, none of these players are.

            I will take it under advisement, we will never agree. I will read all of your comments appropriately.

          • Bruce

            That’s not at all what I said. But so be it.

          • Tania

            @Bruce when you say except Pinoe do you mean 100% Pinoe (because, if you… No. Just no.) or current, coming back from injury Pinoe?

          • kernel_thai

            It also doesnt help that Ellis treats her like a ping pong ball. In the Columbia match she played three different positions. While it’s nice to be versatile a little stability might be the best thing for her.

        • SpiritFan80

          I definitely don’t think the team should be built around Press. I do agree with what you are saying about Morgan taking the chances she’s been given since she’s been on the team. Like you said, Press hasn’t in big games or against top teams. She does seem to have a confidence problem and that is something she needs to figure out, that was why I was shocked she was taking a PK. I’m not expecting Ellis to rearrange things to boost her confidence. I don’t understand a coach continually playing a player in a position they aren’t having success at, seems not to benefit player or team. I am rooting for her to get her head right. I really do enjoy her style of play.

        • Steglitz49

          Christen will be deallocated.

          • necron99

            Not a chance. She will go back to Chicago and score a bunch of goals. And she will be a meaningful part of the USWNT line up as it continues to evolve. Hopefully with less Lloyd and a better CAM passing around.

      • Frode

        Who took Brazil’s 5th PK? Marta. And she missed it.

    • necron99

      The loss is not on Press for missing the PK.

      The question we need answered is how were the shooters chosen. And how was the order of attempts chosen.

      It may well be totally on Ellis, but for all we know the players decided amongst themselves. It could have even be Gustavson who picked. Sweden’s goalkeeper coach set their lineup. Press might have even asked to take the shot.

      Certainly it was not a conspiracy by Ellis to make sure that Press loss the game and was banished from the USWNT forever. There is no benefit for Ellis or the team in that.

      It could really come down to everyone looking scared and Ellis chosing her best finishers with not enough confident volunteers.

      I honestly expected Press to make hers easily. I thought so until I saw her run up to the ball.

      We have questions that need to be answered. How was the line up set. Did they practice pks against the keepers at every practice leading into and during the Olympics? And if they didn’t, then why didn’t they.

      • Bruce

        I read excerpts from a post game interview with Alex Morgan in which she implied that the PK lineup was chosen. I wish I could find where I read that, but I’m sure it was nbcolympics.com, espn or fox.

        • necron99

          Chosen by whom and by what criteria?

          I have read every article I can find and have not seen a peep about this Morgan quote.

          • Bruce

            If I can locate it I’ll post…

          • Bruce

            Found it. Says PK lineup was “selected”. Not definitive, but sounds like it was the coach’s decision.

            “I don’t feel like it should have gotten to penalties to begin with,” said Alex Morgan, “But when it did I still felt very confident in Hope [Solo, the U.S. goalkeeper] and the players selected. Obviously I didn’t convert mine, and being the No. 1 penalty taker that’s important to boost the confidence of the team. So I feel like I failed in that today.”

            http://www.si.com/olympics/2016/08/12/uswnt-sweden-olympics-hope-solo-quarterfinals-usa-elimination

          • necron99

            Sounds more like a descriptive turn of phrase then a statement of how the line up was formed. I hope we get more inside information. It would be very enlightening.

    • Steglitz49

      Whoever asked Christen to take the 5th penalty must be put out to grass. It was an incomprehensible choice for a free person to make. They have to plead insanity.

      Had the match been refereed properly it would have ended Sweden winning in regulation and saved Christen her name.

      • necron99

        If it had been refereed properly it would have ended 11 v 9 and the USWNT winning 4-0. But that is how Sweden has played for years against the USWNT, hack and Morgan. People said it before the game, Fischer et al will put the USWNT on their asses.

        • Steglitz49

          Dream on. Learn the laws of the game.

          • necron99

            Take off your Bjork colored glasses and watch the game as it was played.

          • Steglitz49

            It has been suggested that Lagerbäck’s scathing analysis of the ineptness of the Swedish defense against Brazil had effect. It is not known whether Pia sought him out but the former head coach of Sweden is employed by the channel broadcasting the OG on Swedish TV, so all things are possible.

            One of the charming bits in the OG was in the studio after the Sotuh-Africa game, when Rolfö and Seger sat with Lagerbäck. Lagerbäck used the video to show Fridolina things that she did great. It was a masterly performance at building confidence and teaching.

            This is/was Fridolina’s first major tournament (she missed WC-15 through injury). She is 22. To sit in the studio live on TV and be praised by a man who is a living legend in the soccer world must be: vow! No doubt off camera Lagerbäck showed her how she could have done other things better.

          • necron99

            There is nobody useful that could give that feedback to USWNT players. As I said earlier Markgraf said Lloyd was her MVP of the Sweden game. What kind of feedback do you think she would have given after the France game. I shudder to think.

            Actually Chastain can truly break down a game and it’s individual situations. I doubt they want to hear it.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed.

            Lagerbäck has said that he does not want another coaching job but has had his arm twisted to be an advisor to the new Swedish MNT coach. Many hope Lars will help with the ladies for Euro-17.

    • dw

      Yeah but is it really? 1 in 4 PKs are missed, so generally each team in a shootout is likely to have a player miss. So we’re going to vilify that player (and only those who miss on the losing side) forever even though that is the expected outcome?

  • Calci0

    It’s just frustrating, that you knew going in how Sweden was going to play the US. With that said, the team should have been ready for their defensive postured tactic, and found a way around it. It seems like it was a year ago the team was talking about how to beat bunkering squads, and I guess, up to this point that strategy hasn’t come to fruition. Alot of teams that bunker, tire, but Sweden, and other top 15 teams are fit enough for the most part, that if they use that tactic, it’s going to be a long game. Smart move by Pia, I think she saw what happened when she tried to play a little too open against Brasil, and ensured that gameplan wouldn’t happen again.

    • Steglitz49

      The difference was that Pia was forced to bring on Stina Blackstenius early. Stina did not let the team down.

      Many have questioned why Pia did not start with Blackstenius and Rolfö up top and bring Lotta in about 70 minutes.

      Maybe now she will except Fridolina is out for the rest of the tournament and it is unclear which of Pauline Hammarlund, Hanne Gråhns or Amanda Ilestedt she will call up. The smart move would be Gråhns but it could equally be Hammarlund. Ilestadt is less likely.

  • chive-on

    Press sucked this tournament. I’ll probably be stoned for saying that on here, but, eh. Not necessarily her fault all the time – that’s what happens when you don’t get many minutes – but it’s true. Subbing her on and then putting her in that position, asking her to take a PK was mind-blowingly stupid. Should have been Krieger, absolutely. Derp.
    Mallory Pugh was the best player on the team by far, for this tournament. Lloyd was meh (and yes I know she was one of the only ones that scored), Solo was meh, and Ellis was worse. In general I think the fact that the team was mismanaged (subbing and other personnel decisions) is why we lost. So depressing.

    • Bruce

      Heath?

      • newsouth

        this.

    • Gary Diver

      Heath and Dunn both worked hard and contributed substantially. Solo’s PK save was outstanding. You can only expect GKs to save 1 out of 5 PKs and Solo came through for the team. To save 2 out of 5 requires a combination of luck and poor kicks.

      • Steglitz49

        Solo blotted her copybook with her gamesmanship. She did the same in WC-11 and it did not work then either. Good riddance.

        • PK

          She always did it. She did it against Germany in the QF of the last WC before the crucial PK of Sasic. She was successful with doing so. US won the title. They all become heroes. The best sport team of all time. The most important people in world history. Winning is all in the US. Being superior to all other nations is what the US believes in and what they want to see. It doesn’t matter how you achieve that. Solo knows that. And that also explains her reaction after the game. If the US lost it only could have been caused by cheating or unfair behavior of the opponent. She just represents the US spirit

          • Steglitz49

            A slight exaggeration but I get your drift. Thank you.

          • PK

            True. And in fairness. That thinking is widely spread around the US. But that doesn’t mean that all US folks act and think like that. But there is a tendency for sure #victorytours #greatnesshasbeenfound #baseballworldseries

          • mockmook

            What is wrong with wanting to be “superior to all other nations”?

            Should we want to be like North Korea, Iran, Russia, etc.?

      • mockmook

        That PK wasn’t well placed — it was too close to Solo.

  • Calci0

    I not one to disparage a player, so please don’t take my words as such, but I do think it was a curious move to bring Rapinoe, after such a devastating injury. It reminded me of Canada bringing Sesselman, knowing she hadn’t been able to really get match fit. With Morgan at last years WWC, she at least played in a could tune-up games. So her inclusion was understood. I’m not in anyway laying blame on the decision to bring her, but I do think it’s a odd move considering her lack of game time (not counting practices). I really don’t like trying to use hindsight, because even less than 100%, had Rapinoe given the US the lead with a moment of brilliance, like you can often get from her, no one would be questioning her selection…….

    • Bruce

      I don’t think you’ll find many here who blame Pinoe.

      Her inclusion is an indictment of Ellis’ inability to evolve the NT beyond it’s reliance on over the top play, crosses and set pieces. I still can’t believe she was the first sub and that Ellis completely changed the game’s dynamic to accommodate her.

      • SpiritFan80

        Pinoe not being able to play any minutes in the 1st sendoff game should have kept her off at least the 18 roster. No matter how good she is in big moments, I don’t know how they realistically thought she would be able to play meaningful minutes. I have to believe that a fully fit, healthy HAO is better than, at best, a 50% Pinoe.

      • Guest

        In no way can you really blame Pinoe. What was she gonna say “I know I just worked my ass off to go through rehab and get ready in time but I think I am going to deny this spot on the Olympic Roster and turn down the potential 200k I make when all is said and done”
        It is completely on JE for taking a player not capable of playing 10 minutes

    • Steglitz49

      Pinoe gave the US the equalizer by fouling Kosse Asllani. What should have been a freekick to Sweden became a 1-1 goal.

      One hopes this referee crew never gets to handle a match of any significance again. heck why should any teams anywhere have to put up with this useless bunch?

      • necron99

        I guess I have to add this statement after every one of your complaints.

        The ref was bad and ignored 10 Swedish fouls for every one of the USWNT. Especially the “professional” fouls they gave so the bunker could reset. The missed cards would have changed the game immensely in regular time.

        • Steglitz49

          The ref and one of her linesmen did not know the rule book.

          Players have a right to be refereed by a crew that knows the laws of the game.

          Carli should have been warned earlier and should have had a second yellow card. The ref was too in awe of the reigning POTY, the reigning world and olympic champions. Any other explanation is too horrid to be contemplated.

          • necron99

            In awe my ass. Like pretty much every WoSo game that is played the refs just let way too much physical play go. But if the ref was calling the game tight, it would have changed the game for the USWNT’s advantage. Sweden was fouling to slow the game down and let the bunker reset. If the USWNT strung together 4 passes, there was an ankle bite of a shoulder barge. This is not hockey.

            But if you think it has anything to do with the USWNT think again. Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan got away with a tackle in the box that should have been a PK for France.

            Brazil got away with a tackle that should have been a PK for Australia. And their keeper took 4 steps off of her line on every single one of her pk’s during the shootout.

            It was terrible refereeing all around.

          • Steglitz49

            Failure to spot some fouls is an occupational hazard but not knowing the rule book or, worse, failing to apply it is beyond contempt.

            Another way of analyzing the match though not excusing the abysmal refereeing, is to recognize that the USWNT are used to using their size and strength to their advantage. This is fair enough and doing anything else would be stupid. Unfortunately, they are used to teams saying — after you, ma’am.

            Also, USWNT players are always in the faces of refs and particularly the linesmen making that great tennis player of old seem restrained and polite. They continually harass the referee crew as they did in this match.

            Here they faced a team that gave as good as they got. Who stood firm, held their ground and were not intimidated. Had a work rate beyond the normal. Vow! shock; horror!! How dare they?!

            As for the ref crew they need the optician urgently. Hopefully it is not contagious. Then they must reread and master the rule book. As for refeering — never again.

          • necron99

            **auto response 430 to response-bot**

            The USWNT fouls considerably less often then the majority of their opponents. That is libel from your Euro friends who have hated the old long ball to Abby style instead of the pretty pass around style of France. Sweden has been long known to play physically even amongst their Euro neighbors. A check of FIFA game stats will show both of these things to be true. Sweden came into this game planning to foul the superior and smaller USWNT players. It was discussed before the game was played. Go back and watch Fischer fouling Morgan repeatedly in the Algarve Cup a few years ago.

            Complain about the offsides but the game was more fundmentally changed by the lack of fouls called early.

            And you made zero comments about why the refs were even worse in those other QF games. Did the refs ignore those pks in the other games to somehow benefit the USWNT?

            You are ridiculous. But that has long been known.

          • Steglitz49

            We are discussing the QF of OG-16. The first time the US has not reached the SF in the OG. Ignominy. Maybe the end of the NWSL?

            Again it was a team from the far north that did the damage. Something about high latitudes and midnight sun and pickled fish probably.

            There will be no $100,000 per person Victory Tour now. Maybe hitting them in their wallets where it hurts will cause change, though I doubt it. The veterans can cope with losing 100,000 bucks.

          • necron99

            Are you really going there? Versus a league that barely survives by having most teams not pay players at all (low salaries are better than none). A league that averages attendances of 300 people. Sure it has existed forever lurching along between teams folding, or being carried by towns giving them allowances. It is by fortune of the socialist healthcare system that their costs are so low that allows them to exist at all. Even the lowest attended team in the NWSL has far more revenue than any team in the Damelsvenkan. But with the need for health insurance and no stipends from town governments, and every player getting a salary the costs are higher.

            It is better to be a team that finally after 25 years failed to earn a make a top 3 in a tournament, then to be a team that has never even earned one. Not even with a whole extra Euro tournament that takes away most of the top world teams to give them an easier chance at getting one.

            People expect a lot from the USWNT because they consistently deliver.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden has the population of NJ or MA, not even that of California.

            Your analysis of the dreadful situation in Damallsvenskan is on the money. Why do you think Schelin, Sembrandt, Jakobsson, Lindahl, Fischer, Seger, Dahlkvist and Asllani have played abroad?

            WoSo in Europe is changing with the rich men’s clubs putting money their way. The NWSL expands by MLS-teams. 30% of WoSo in the US is now owned by the men. If two more teams join, it will be >40%.

          • dw

            Just because people plan to foul you does not mean the refs can’t suck as well. I’m with Steg. The sport as a whole needs better refs, more technology. Just like FIFA needs less crooks, USWNT need new coaching, younger players, etc, etc…

          • Futbol5

            Please stop responding to him. I’m getting of all the scrolling I have to do to ignore him.

          • Ethan

            I haven’t seen the Australia penalty shout, but the no-call on Buchanan is easily as bad as any individual decision in the US-Sweden match for me. That wasn’t just a “failure to spot some fouls”; that was a failure to spot a game-changing foul that would have made Canada’s task much harder (i.e. possibly/likely going down a goal and likely down a player). Anyone ask Herdman, Sinclair, Tancredi, and co about that play?

          • Steglitz49

            I did not see that match so can’t comment.

            Tancredi went to play in Sweden and that obviously paid off.

            Refs are reluctant to give red cards. The ref in the OG-12 final did not give one though the same ref gave one in the WC-11 final. Make of that what you want.

          • Guest

            Sweden should have been handed yellows for persistent fouling much sooner than the first yellow was shown and I agree that officiating has been terrible overall outside of the ridiculous missed calls.

  • smallbatches

    My take: I thought they looked pretty good. Especially when Dunn came on. They were connecting well in Sweden’s half.

    I think the midfield needs work. Brian needs to be a better quarterback. Lauren Cheney when she was playing well added a lot to breaking down other teams and scored goals. Too many times I don’t even know where Brian is on the field. Kim Little personifies “attacking midfielder”. She is always a threat and must be marked. Brian still hasn’t exerted her personality on this team. I want to see more fire out of her.

    Allie Long, Probably gets an incomplete. She is so new she is just trying not to screw up and holding mid isn’t her natural position. So she isn’t really playing free at this point. I think this is Sam Mewis’s position for the future.

    The back line. Kling has no more room to develop. She is maxed out. I think we can find someone with more speed on the flank and more physicality. She cannot handle speed. I still think Sydney Leroux would be a pitbull of an outside back.

    JJ needs to work on her passing. But I love her courage. She is not afraid. She makes her mistakes but she is young still and will get better.

    O’Hara I think can get better. Offensively she didn’t really add much this tournament. But she has all the tools and a great motor, she is a tireless worker and can play multiple positions.

    Hope I am afraid has passed her due date. It’s time to see what else they have and move on. She was ordinary in this tournament and considering how few chances she has to handle not very good. It’s been obvious for a while. She has had a long career and been one of the best ever. What she said about Sweden was foolish and poor sportsmanship. Instant karma on that one.

    Morgan. She didn’t do much. We didn’t score many goals. But I think she is working harder to improve. She is never going to be demoted so let’s appreciate her work ethic and it seems she is taking over leadership of this team. She has matured a lot over the last couple of years and since Abby left has become a better teammate.

    Carli want to play until the next Olympics. This must not happen. She needs to be phased out over the next year. She had her day in the sun. She has scored some epic goals. But playing high where she is now will never help us break down teams like Sweden. She is basically a freelancer. We need someone who works well with Morgan up top. Christen. I love her but I think she must be feeling pretty low right now. I like to think if she got to play consistently with Morgan every game it would help build her chemistry with Morgan and grow her confidence. BEst thing for her right now is to go back to Chicago and go on a tear.

    Mal Pugh. I am really shocked at how good she is. She needs to start everygame. She can take on people and she sees the pitch better than just about anyone on the team. A real threat and just a babe. She could be a great one is she is developed properly.

    Dunn too was impressive. You can’t coach speed and she is feisty even though not that big. I think she is still an option as an outside back. She has the speed needed to match up with the elite forwards.

    Jill Ellis. I like her. And when I hear her talk she knows the game. But she doesn’t seem to be able to adapt her tactics to the opponent and she has obvious loyalties that seem to hurt the growth of the team. If she stays she needs to bring in more players and give opportunities to players that are new to the team. Goalkeeping is one area. And strikers another. Morgan and Carli can play a half or sit out once and awhile. Bring in more NWSL players for friendlies. Make it a priority to change the style of play when teams are parking the bus. This issue will not go away. Everyone we play knows it. It’s time we find the players who can solve it.

    • SpiritFan80

      I don’t think Carli is going anywhere for awhile. She’s a captain and entrenched in that leadership role within the team. Those who get to the top ranks of the team seem to get to choose when they leave the team regardless of how well they are playing. I do think she is a good player and has a lot to offer. She’s got to work with the other midfielders at getting better cohesion going. Its really a mess right now. I had hoped that she and Morgan Brian playing and training together in Houston would help forge a partnership that would translate to the NT. Carli was only flying in for games after WC last year and then was injured at the start this season. We will see what happens when they return. She will be 37 at the next would cup, so I’m not sure how realistic it is to think she will be a full time starter then. I do think with how committed she is and how serious she takes her training, if she wants to be on that roster, she could very well be there. Whether or not that’s the best thing for the team, I’m not so sure.

      • Bruce

        I think that you really need to put “leadership” in quotes in that context.

        • SpiritFan80

          You’re right. I use “leadership” liberally there. Don’t exactly mean it in a positive way. More in the aspect that there seems to be 4-5 players that are the driving force behind decisions that are made within the team.

      • Frode

        For Lloyd’s inclusion in any 2019 and 2020 roster to be legitimate, she cannot start and play every friendly for the next 18 months. Ellis has to try different people, new and old, in different combinations. I am worried this could get ugly.

        • mockmook

          “any 2019 and 2020 roster to be legitimate”

          There is literally no set of circumstances that would make Carli’s inclusion legitimate 3 yrs from now.

        • kernel_thai

          So here is today’s philosophical question. Imagine if u can that both Lloyd and Rapinoe’s injuries made it impossible to select them. Would a strong Olympic performance by the team have been enough to force evolution or would things simply have returned to status quo next year?

          • Guest

            I want to see Rapinoe in 3 years before making any concrete decisions. Even though I think bringing her to Rio was a huge mistake(playing her was worse), I think she is still world class on the ball and can play in this more possession style system Ellis is using. Lloyd has been a terrible player for years now but she has a knack for poaching goals in very important game. I have very little doubt that the team would be better if Lloyd never played another minute. #1Fan also made a comment in another article in reference to the supposed leadership of the team.

            http://equalizersoccer.com/2016/08/11/uswnt-sweden-preview-in-current-form-shouldnt-be-contest/#comment-2834471756

            “a close friend of mine is besties with a very well known player.. I just asked her this and she replied with this

            hear ya, but that’s not happening
            though those in the know would tell you
            that the choice of captains are laughable
            lloyd and sauerbrun
            instead of giving it to actual leaders, they went with what they considered the better players and who were actually the biggest bitches who they didn’t want to piss off by not giving it to them

            Food for thought”

          • kevin

            so this leaves us with a question. who are actual leaders of the uswnt? any opinions?

      • Steglitz49

        If Carli has any sense she falls on her sword. She is getting married and can employ an obvious exit strategy.

      • PK

        Schweinsteiger is 30. Schweinsteiger was key at winning the last WC. He was not good enough anymore at the next important tournament in 2016. He is smart enough to retire now from the national team in style. Carli?

      • mockmook

        Lloyd isn’t really suited for the midfield — she makes an “interesting” target/poacher Forward.

    • SpiritFan80

      I also hope Christen goes back to Chicago and does really well. I really wish she would start more often for the NT. She wasn’t put in the best to showcase how good she really is. It’s a shame.

      • Steglitz49

        Her confidence may now be hit for six.

        • Tania

          @Steglitz49:disqus – if that means what I think it does, I agree with you. As much as I like her, I think it may be too late to fix the damage that’s been done to her on the national team level.

          • Steglitz49

            It is a cricket term. Transferred it means totally overcome or obliterated. A bit like a home run.

    • Steglitz49

      Holiday, please.

      Yes. Dunn added value.

    • Washfan

      Another person putting the most dynamic and scoring threat on defense in Dunn – are you kidding. Look at what she does on attack. If you had Dunn up top next to Alex they would still be playing. This person scores in many ways

  • Volley

    Ellis’ tactic is to rely on the individual (emphasis on that word) offensive skill of the players on the pitch rather than coach a team game. It explains why Krieger got dumped (generally) and the ridiculous decision to play Heath at RB in that match. She sees the game as a series of consecutive 1v1’s rather than as the team sport it is where you use multiple players to break down a team especially when they are bunkering. It explains the ridiculous 5/26 shots on goal/shots ratio. Everyone is trying as an individual rather than working together to achieve something. It explains why you throw away the best defence in the world for ostensibly a more powerful offence but you don’t actually get it because goals, especially in tournaments, need to be achieved collectively. It explains the total lack of balance the team is playing with because everyone is just doing what they individually think will help score a goal rather than through the efforts of the team with a game plan, and with an eye to the fact that this game is about defence as well as attack. Ellis just does not get the sport. She thinks she can reinvent the way the game is played when the reason no one else has played that way is that they already know it doesn’t work.

    • Ghost

      I just don’t get it. Defense was so good at the WC last year. Best backlline i’ve ever seen. There was no need for the changes she made to it (which had no impact on their game in a good way.) I really don’t get it. It just won’t work against a really good team and all the teams at the Olympics are really good teams. why try it?

      • Kevin

        She only made 1 change to the back line… KO for AK, and that had nothing to do with why we lost.

      • dw

        Um, it’s the offense that sucks.

        • Frode

          Yes. It was the offense that sucked. Morgan was worried after the France game. She came right out and said it. Their super-aggressive, start-studded attack had managed only 3 goals in 180 minutes of play. She was right.

          • Guest

            One problem is building your entire offense around Morgan and Lloyd.

          • guest

            and playing them 90 minutes every tomato can friendly game. thus not giving the backups many minutes until the knockround of the olympics when you are in desperation mode.

          • John

            The US plays so many Tomato cans as well. Why have they set up a friendly against Thailand? So they can smash 10-12 goals past them and please the sell-out crowd? Because it’s not like Ellis will select a weakened team against the Thais to blood a bunch of newcomers. It’ll be a full strength team.

          • Camoes

            Solo will start, of course. She needs the minutes. LOL.

        • Guest

          I think that’s part of the point though. That change was made knowing it would disrupt the defence with the aim of improving the offence. And it simply has not. It’s not been worth it at all.

          • Frode

            Bringing up the outside backs might have improved the attack if Ellis had deployed midfielders and forwards capable of precision link-up play in the final 3rd. Instead she went with speed, aggression and big fat scoop of Lloyd.

          • necron99

            And yet they never actually played with speed or aggression, especially in the middle of the field. Only a few runs by Dunn or Pugh. The rest of the play, movement or passing, was way too slow.

          • Bruce

            I’d love to watch again with a more critical eye, but my initial view was that there was some good off-ball movement and change of the point of attack in the upper third in the first 20 minutes or so of the game.

            It really got stagnant after that with increasing reliance on crosses and over the top balls until Sweden scored. I think the team just got impatient and abandoned it’s commitment to putting in the work in the midfield to break down the defense (again).

          • Steglitz49

            You do not want to watch again. the ineptness of the referee crew will make you weep and probably vomit too.

          • Bruce

            We get the point Steg. We get the point.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. At lest one does. That must be progress.

          • AGuest2

            We got the point the first time you mentioned it, but like someone else who seems to have a low regard for you, you have the same tendency to run it into the ground. Move on to something else, and try to avoid such repetition in the future.

          • Steglitz49

            You are sanguine about it because America benefitted.

            Just agree that the refereeing was abysmally inept.

          • That was a big thing that I felt, too. That they abandoned their passing and link-up play when that got impatient/worried after not scoring quickly against a pretty terrible Sweden team. After that it was long ball desperation play for the rest of the game. Lloyd had been pretty off her game recently, too, and unable to stay onside during this tournament. That had me worried from the start. I’m actually shocked she landed her PK and didn’t sky it.

            I also agree that we need better PK takers. Frankly, I would have chosen someone unexpected, like Broon, to take a PK over Press.

          • Observed

            The Brazilians had women taking PKs with little or no experience. I think one of the last was a rookie NTer! That was so exciting.

          • Guest

            Or Johnston, Heath, Dunn etc.

          • Chak Khan

            I’d put Dunn first or last.

        • John

          The US has one out and out World Class striker now. When she is fit, Alex Morgan is it. The mature others (Leroux, Horan, Press) are good players but not really world class strikers. Pugh and Dunn we’ll have to wait and see if they can mature to that level.

          • #1Fan

            Morgan is criminally overrated. She really is. Especially as a lone ST. As she loses a step, her one asset – pace will no longer be enough. You are seeing traces of that now.

          • Guest

            She didn’t have the pace to beat Mbock against France although Mbock is freakishly fast for a CB. I would imagine that unless Morgan’s game undergoes a major transformation, her production will slow down considerably in the next couple of years. Her ball skills are far below average in my opinion which is one of the reason she really struggles to hold up and keep possession when the counter isn’t on. I don’t think she’s very good at all in a congested box.

          • necron99

            I am sure that Mbock is as fast as Morgan. But placement of the pass for a breakaway is what matters. Mbock did not have to do much work because any balls played to Morgan was prayer balls at best. They were balls that needed Morgan to outrun Mbock faster on a longer diagonal run and then make something out of it as well. Johnston was faster than Blackenstius, and she ran her down, 3 more yards and perhaps her slide blocks the shot. But the pass was amazing, the defensive placement poor, and the run good enough.

            Name the current USWNT player that is better at holding the ball up in a congested box. The correct answer is none of them. None of the players is good at it, and Morgan is at least average with them. I suggest you go back to the WNT v France game in Connecticut in 2014. Morgan comes on late after not playing for months, takes the ball dribbles thru France’s box, turns super Wendie Renard, and scores past Bouhaddi.

            The problem is that the team is not training for hold up play, or not translating it to the games. They are not pinging the ball around the outside of the box and making incisive passes. When they pass into someone near the box, the rest of the team is far off, and not trailing into place with urgency. It leaves the hold up player with the choice to shoot early, or be swamped in 4 defenders with no options to pass. The effects whatever player is getting the pass. And it all starts with poor movement and passing in the midfield. They cannot play the ball thru, and end up making a 25 yard pass on the ground or over the top to get near the box. Once near the box their movement and passing is equally bad.

          • Guest

            Morgan scored 2 goals in the June 19 2014 game against France and neither are what I would consider playing in a congested box. The play you are referring to she took one or two touches at most to cut inside torwards goal before shooting. Morgan is not a good dribbler at all and I think #1Fan is 100 percent correct that she is an overrated finisher. Morgan is more of a volume shooter than anything.

            You have a point that most American forwards are not hold up forwards but I’m willing to bet that Horan can play that position if she can start to play better she has already shown flashes of excellent hold up play, good awareness in the box, and the ability to one time finish with her off foot for Portland.

            I definitely don’t deny that the midfield ball movement and off ball movement is very poor. I think Lloyd is a big part of the problem with regards to poor play through the middle and passing around the box. The couple of times Pugh was able to pick the ball up in the hole against Sweden she was able to spilt the defense and play dangerous passes.

            Even if Pugh was in the hole starting over Lloyd, I still don’t think Morgan is the right striker for the team 3 years from now and I would try Horan or look for another option.

          • necron99

            Congested box. Georges on her back foot, Renard directly in front of her and not wrong footed tracking closely, being closed down from the right. Takes a touch creates separation and scores.

            Horan lost her starting job in PSG as their hold up forward. She scored against the minnows, and not the big fish. If you go 4-4-2 sure. But she is better attacking out of the midfield. Put her in and take out Lloyd. The reality is anything good starts with taking out Lloyd or at least removing her from the midfield and we saw that it did not work well with her as a forward. She can be a great player and still be the the player that gums up the machinery. She just does not fulfill a role in the midfield. Her roaming leaves holes that the best teams can take advantage of. And it matters because you need to beat the best teams to win WWC and Olympics.

          • Guest

            This is the play you are talking about right?

            https://youtu.be/_bkbTLwaZ3w?t=7137

            The only two players in the general vicinity are Georges and Renard and Morgan has plenty of space to cut inside. I’m not claiming that she doesn’t do very well to score here but we have very different definitions of a congested box.

            Horan got replaced for PSG because they signed Cristiane who I think we can agree is the better CF and, in my opinion, better than Alex or Press when healthy. Horan also had a bunch of injuries playing for PSG which hampered her movement a lot. Ironically enough Horan has a better goal scoring record than Morgan in the NWSL while playing in central midfield. I’ll take that with a grain though because Portland is a far superior team to Orlando. Horan, to me at least, seems like the prototypical lone striker. I don’t know if she would succeed against the best NTs in the world but that wouldn’t stop me from giving her a run out for a few games. I hope Portland does this at some point.

            I completely agree with every one of your points on Lloyd. I think removing Lloyd will solve a lot of the major problems regardless of who the team’s starting striker is. I think Lloyd needs to either accept a bench role or be removed from the squad if she kicks up a fuss.

        • kernel_thai

          Yes and that’s Ellis’ true genius. She wins the freakin World Cup with a defense that doesnt give up a goal for over 500 minutes and her big idea is try and improve the offense by taking away from that defense. It’s a stunning piece of reasoning.

      • Gary Diver

        When you are facing a team who is playing bunker soccer and can counter-attack, you never play with two defenders. Giving up one goal will probably lose the game for you so you have to be very careful sending OBs forward. The other aspect is that USWNT took so much time to go forward that Sweden was able to form their bunker positions before USWNT got the ball into the final third.

        • Steglitz49

          There was no evidence before this match that Sweden could counter attack.

          How do you defend against Lisa Dahlkvist’s dream of a through ball and Stnia Blackstenius’s speed and composure?

          (Stina is 20, the same age as Saki Kumagai was in WC-11.)

  • Gary Diver

    How About Pathetic Coaching?

    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. And where is that poster hiding lately?)

    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. It came to pass.]

    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

    • Frode

      Good calls all around!

      So, are Ellis and her staff really that clueless? Or did they have too much confidence from Olympic quals, friendlies and even SBC (error of satisfaction)? Was Ellis simply unwilling to change tactics because she was afraid of failure? Was she superstitious (never underestimate this in sports)? Did she not have confidence that the team could play any other style (failure of planning)? Hopefully, Ellis is looking inward right about now and not blaming the 18 + 2 outstanding players she selected. They did all they could.

      • Gary Diver

        I will have some respect for Ellis if she is willing to take some responsibility for the many mistakes she made involving OG16 all the way to having Christen Press take the final PK. And USWNT fans deserve some answers to why things went so off the rails and what is going to be done to correct the shortcomings.

        • Frode

          For me, respect will come from taking responsibility for specific failures, not just “I’m the coach, so I’m ultimately responsible.”

          In her defense, coming out of WWC15, she had a bunch of ageing veterans on the verge of retirement and an antiquate style of play. Her job was a tough one, if not impossible: 1) improve the team’s style of play, 2) bring in new blood for 2019, 3) keep fans happy by playing veterans in friendlies, AND 4) win the OGs. Had she focused solely on #1 and #2, #4 might have come easier.

          • Gary Diver

            Agree completely that saying “I’m the coach and therefore take responsibility for the team’s failure” doesn’t cut it.

            I understand that Ellis was not given an easy situation to deal with but her many individual decisions during the tournament including (1) putting Rapinoe on roster, (2) using Rapinoe in QF game, (3) putting Heath in OB position, (4) not adequately defending against Sweden’s counter-attack, and (5) having Christen Press take the intense pressure fifth PK, among other bad decisions, have no excuses.

          • Frode

            Yes, these are the specific failures I hope she takes responsibility for. There are others, too, mainly the over-reliance on a single mode of attack.

          • Tania

            @garydiver:disqus – still say & 2 are being overblown at worst, and mislabelled at best. The Rapinoe issue is a symptom of the problem (and in this case it ain’t the Veteran Protection thing), it isn’t the actual problem. The problem is rooted in Ellis’s coaching methods, possibly her personality. If it is her personality – if she’s really just that stubborn & tunnel-visioned – it’s not fixable.

            Rapinoe & Dunn improved the pacing & energy of the second half. Rapinoe made the play that regained possession so that Brian could set up the goal to Morgan.

            A coach who is better at player management/subbing & tactical matters, formations, etc could have actually effectively executed Ellis’ stated strategy for how/when to use Rapinoe.

            Frankly a lot of the starting line up should have been different for this game. Alter the starting line up and you address your points 3-5.

            I’m saying 4 because in my gut I think the core problem with how Ellis coached this game is that she pretty much expected the game to go into extra time & was never really willing to hit the gas hard enough to ensure they got it done in 90. She figured Sweden, if they could keep up the bunker for 90, certainly couldn’t for 120, and it’d be a 1-0 game.

          • Guest22

            Her early comments about the OGs indicated that winning them was not her top priority. She was looking to WC’19. I don’t see how it would have hurt anything to actually try and win the OGs before she started trying to significantly alter the style of play. Doesn’t matter now, but it really burns me to see them struggle so badly.

        • guest

          i expect the us sports media to ask and ellis to explain her decision on the addition and use of megan rapinoe for the rio olympics

          • mockmook

            You’ll be waiting a long time…

    • necron99

      Former WNT player Aly Wagner believes that the team knows how to break down the bunker and the players just failed to execute. She does not believe the failure is on Jill Ellis.

      Of course I did not see Ellis up off her bench yelling for her players to execute the gameplan better.

      • Gary Diver

        Totally disagree with Wagner. If she doesn’t believe Ellis isn’t responsible for the tournament failure she has no credibility. Ex-USWNT players are rarely good analysts.

        USWNT has faced several bunker teams and I don’t recall a single case where they broke it down well.

        With Sweden, USWNT was dealing with a team who could also counter-attack. Several times I had heart palpitations whenever Sweden got the ball and was racing down field when USWNT only had two defenders. A counter-attack goal was waiting to happen sooner or later.

        • necron99

          I didn’t say I agree with her. Former player Kate Makgraf said Lloyd was her MVP of the Sweden game. So……

          • Bruce

            Markgraf is the worst.

          • Steglitz49

            The MVP for the US was the referee crew.

          • necron99

            Wait wait I get it now.

            I know you are but what am I?

          • Guest

            You sound like a broken record on the inept refereeing.. Reminds me of the anti Press troll repeating the same repetitive dribble over and over again.

          • Steglitz49

            Where is HOFCToDi when we need him?

            Curiously silent. Has he had apoplexy?

          • Ethan

            I thought Lloyd had a decent first half, and she scored her penalty. However, her play in the second half and extra-time (notably taking two reasonably dangerous free kicks away from Heath) was nowhere near MVP level.

          • kernel_thai

            I thought it was Lloyds best effort of the tournament but Lloyd’s problem isnt effort it her role being contrary to what the rest of the team is trying to do. If ur given a free role on the offense like Lloyd u have to do something with it or all ur doing is leaving ur team a player short.

          • Guest

            Eh. For all the grief Heath gets for holding the ball too long, some of it deserved, Lloyd was doing a lot of the same against Sweden even in the first half. I thought she was slow to play give and goes and give up the ball to her teammates far too often. She also should not be taking any free kicks period. The other thing that confused during the match is why Ellis would want Lloyd on the ball so much to begin with. Pugh, Heath, and Brian are significantly better creative players than Lloyd ever will be and it seems wasteful not to run the offense through those three players with Morgan and Lloyd(if she must play) getting on the end of final balls. I don’t think anyone should have to pull Lloyd aside and tell her she is not a good dribbler to get her to stop attempting to play hero ball.

        • kernel_thai

          Let’s say I buy into what Wagner said. That means she believes they were trying to break the bunker correctly but just not executing well enough. Problem is they tried everything in the tool bag. Dunn and Pugh sliced thru on the ground, they ried to slip and flip balls into the box and there was even a period of hailing crosses down on the 18. If they knew how to do why were they experimenting?

      • guest

        what did wagner say about the addition of rapinoe to the olympic roster? let me guess, the ex-uswnts don’t have any opinion about the veteran retention program. they will say injuries hurt the uswnt’s chances but of course they won’t say the unhealthy players should have never been on the team to begin with. but as with most things in life, it came down to money and getting those uswnt bonuses

        • guest

          the uswnt and ex-uswnt players just try to protect each other to keep the money train going.

        • necron99

          It was a single tweet. I questioned their lack of preparation to beat the bunker, and her response was “we all know how to beat the bunker, it was failure to execute”.

          I also questioned Markgraf on her choice of Lloyd for MVP on the Sweden game. I mentioned her passing and poor first touch. She said that she was seeing things that we did not because she was watching the field and not just what the camera was focused on. I asked whether all of those unseen things (movement off the ball, runs, etc) made up for the seen things (poor first touch, bad passing). She did not respond.

      • mockmook

        Very disappointed in Wagner.

        Yes, the players could have done better, but they also needed a better game plan.

        And, the use/mis-use of Rapinoe was inexcusable. Also, the switch of Heath was mind-numbing.

      • kernel_thai

        The problem with Wagner’s theory is the starting team was much more effective against the bunker in the first half than after Ellis made half time improvements. In the first half they created a lot of good chances but couldnt score. The second half seemed much more of an aerial assault. After the goal Dunn and Pugh attacked more on the ground but that is just the way they play.

  • Dennis Nguyen

    The Ball is round. Soccer is a deliciously cruel and unfair, reasons why we love it so. You have to take good and bad fortune equally if you are a fan of soccer. In soccer, the “better” team wins on average just a bit over 50 percent of the time. Is the US team, on paper better than Sweden? Yes. Is the US team better if we play 100 times against Sweden? Yes. This particular outcome was a draw. The PK is nothing more than a glorified coin toss. I want to make it clear that we didn’t lose, we fail to win in regulation and extra time. A draw is the historical results when the US plays Sweden.

    As a US Women Soccer fan for over 20 years, I have to first congratulate the Shield Maidens of Sweden. Their shield wall held. They worked as a team and they believe in their game plan. A determined, discipline team, with a clear game plan, drew an individually superior team on this day and then won the PK.

    It is easy to focus on Rapinoe. Had she scored and won the game for us, we would have marveled at Ellis genius. What I don’t understand is why didn’t Ellis have contingencies for what happened. She knew that Sweden would bunker and counter. There should have been contingencies for what would be the game plan if Sweden scores first, what would happen if we need to score late, what would be the substitution pattern for when we go into extra time. The substitution makes no sense, as most would agree. I can’t imagine that the substitutions were pre-planned, suggesting that she panicked.

    • guest

      we saw from the colombia game when she was only 15 minutes fit that megan rapinoe had no business being subbed into the sweden game. she did nothing to show she could score or win the game against colombia. there was no reason to try it again and waste two subs in the process which could have helped to win the game. rapinoe said she was “100% ready to go” and she wasn’t even close to that. which we would have known if she had played in a competitive game prior to the olympics instead of waiting till the middle of a major tournament. rapinoe and ellis decided to take the risk anyway and they lost. it is now time for the both of them to do the honorable thing and fall on their swords.

    • Gary Diver

      “The PK is nothing more than a glorified coin toss.”

      Truer words have rarely been spoken.

      • Steglitz49

        Wrong. Aya Miyama is the best example that the statement is hogwash.

      • PK

        Was the same said after the glorious PK against Brazil in Dresden in the WC 2011 QF? The famous last penalty of Krieger has been shown over and over again

        • Steglitz49

          The US only shows successes.

          • necron99

            The US only knows successes.

            And yes it was said that PK’s are a glorified coin toss before those kicks were taken, and before the WWC 2011 final pks as well.

          • Steglitz49

            In the original summary of the Japan-US algarve match of 2014, Aya Miyama’s Roberto-Carlos-freekick was initially edited out. Eventually, after complaints, it was added in but only from the least favorable angle.

            Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Life goes on.

      • FlyingSquirrel42

        I’m kind of surprised PKs have survived this long given how much criticism there is about their inherent randomness. Games end up being decided based on something that has little to do with the skills normally needed to succeed in soccer – how often does somebody get a wide-open shot at that distance with no pressure from defenders? Even in hockey, penalty shots are the equivalent of breakaways, which do actually occur from time to time and without putting the goalie at such a huge disadvantage.

        The only thing I can think of is that the alternative would be to keep going and going until either somebody scores or players are collapsing from exhaustion, and that the latter would be a real concern if you have a team that’s bunkering down.

        • mockmook

          Maybe something like what is done in college football?

          Perhaps 5 v 5 near one goal, give the ball to a team and give them 2 minutes to score. Switch teams and let the other team try to match (or exceed) what the first team did. Repeat until there is a winner.

          • guest

            Or a juggling contest? Whoever drops the ball first loses?

    • Steglitz49

      Only the ineptness of the referee prevented this from being a formal loss on 0-1 in regulation. Even if you let the foul that led to -1- go by, it should have ended 2-1 in extra time had the refereeing crew known the rule book.

      • necron99

        I guess I have to add this statement after every one of your complaints.

        Theref was bad and ignored 10 Swedish fouls for every one of the USWNT. Especially the “professional” fouls they gave so the bunker could reset.The missed cards would have changed the game immensely in regular time.

        If you have 7 players on yellows in the first 30 mins it changes your aggressiveness on defense. But the ref finally started giving her 3 yellows late in the game. The game would have been much different from a foul perspective if the ref had been competent from the beginning.

        • Steglitz49

          This inept crew must never be allowed to fficiate again. Even a match between 3 year olds must be kept away from them.

          FIFA has to fix the refereeing. Pump money into it. A good start would be to make sure the refs know the rules and apply them.

          • necron99

            I forgot I am talking to a preprogrammed auto-response system. You will keep at this 24×7 answering every single response. Suffice to say, my answer remains the same. The offsides was a bad call. Otherwise the officiating was in the Swedes favor far far more often.

          • Steglitz49

            The US are used to using their size and strength to their advantage. They are used to teams saying — after you, ma’am. They continually harass the referee crew as they did in this match.

            Well. Once in a while they face a team that give as good as they get. Who stand firm, hold their ground and are not intimidated. Vow! shock; horror!! How dare they.

            As for the ref crew they must see the optician urgently. Hopefully their affliction is not contagious. Then they must relearn the rule book. But as for refereeing — never again.

          • necron99

            **Auto-response 427 to response-bot**

            I forgot I am talking to a preprogrammed auto-response system. You will
            keep at this 24×7 answering every single response. Suffice to say, my
            answer remains the same. The offsides was a bad call. Otherwise the
            officiating was in the Swedes favor far far more often. Swedes were playing more physical, and committing more fouls from start to finish, they always have against the USWNT. Poor refs benefited Sweden

          • Steglitz49

            In the end the referee crew were prevented by the pso from stealing the match from Sweden.

            The ref can’t be blamed for the glove change. She had no choice but no doubt breathed a sigh of relief when Lisa dahlkvist hammered in the last nail.

  • Gary Diver

    Jill Ellis can’t be fired because she has a contract? Tom Sermanni may beg to differ.

  • dw

    I see you working, Dan. Countering Tim’s Anson Dorrance with a DiCicco name drop. Well played. But the best tactic you’ve used is introducing really crappy writers like Ray and Tim, beside which articles such as these seem Pulitzer grade material. At least with Dan I have a sense he knows WoSo. Sometimes I don’t think some of the others know anything about soccer at all. But the knowledge level among the regulars here is high, so you can’t really fool us with writers who know less than the average poster on the forums here.

  • Gary Diver

    “One Reason the Olympics Are Over for USWNT”: Jill Ellis

    The match was USWNT versus Sweden + Jill Ellis.

    1. Ellis had no plan A to deal with Sundhage’s bunker soccer which she knew she would be facing.

    2. If a team is playing bunker soccer against you and has the capacity for serious counter-attacks, you NEVER, NEVER play with only two defenders. Ellis violated this simple rule and USWNT paid the price.

    Australia’s goal reminded me of the good ole days when we have a healthy Sydney Leroux in her prime. Just get the ball to her and let her do the rest.

    3. The rope-a-drop tactics of Sweden wore Tobin Heath, who was USWNT best player in first half, out. It also wore the rest of the team down.

    4. Putting Heath as an OB was insane.

    5. Bringing an unfit and ineffective Rapinoe into the game was insane.

    The British CBS commentator suggested that Ellis wanted Rapinoe to try score a direct corner kick goal. If so, Ellis should be fired for such stupidity.

    6. Ellis’ positioning of players was a mystery to even her supporters.

    7. Ellis’ attitude that formations are not important – you just put the best players on the field and let them figure things out themselves really says she has no general game plan.

    It is amazing that people on this site cannot agree on what formations Ellis is actually using in a game.

    8. When a team is playing bunker soccer against you, you move the ball forward quickly so they cannot form their bunker. Ellis’ methodically slow ball movement out of the back line gave Sweden time to regroup into their bunker positions.

    • Steglitz49

      #2. Sweden had given no evidence of being able to counter attack. They struggled against South-Africa, were wiped out by Brazil and the China match seems to have been consenting adults in public.

      #3. Muhammad Ali was the greatest. If it worked for him, it should have worked for the reigning world and olympic champions playing with the POTY, ranked 1st in the world. Granted, the swedes are Ali in your analogy, which is great praise indeed.

      #4. Who else could have been put there? Hardly Dunn who was actually achieveing something up front.

      #5. Pinoe’s foul on Kosse Asllani led to the 1-1 equalizer instead of a freekick to Sweden. so Pinoe contributed decisively thanks to the incompetence of the ref.

      #9. Everyone agrees that this was an incomprehensible choice for a free person to have made.

    • Tania

      @garydiver:disqus – I also watched the British feed (I’m assuming you mean BBC, not CBS) and yeah. I heard that too re:Ellis wanting Rapinoe to try to score a direct corner kick goal. That’s why I’m so churlish re: the criticisms of Rapinoe’s play. She didn’t convert, but she was actually doing the things Ellis wanted her doing.

      #7/#8 is key. Why I was happy with Dunn & Rapinoe is that I thought when they were both on the field the team had more shape/formation. And I thought they were trying to do #8.

  • Will Jennings

    Tobin Heath shifted to Right Back?

    The lighting rod needs to be up high, not by the back gate.

    • David K Anderson

      Perhaps the single most egregious mistake Ellis made in that game…and there’s plenty of competition for that dubious honor. Heath was the major creative spark in that first half. Pulling her back was utter insanity.

      • Steglitz49

        What other choice did she have?

        Dunn was creating stuff up front so she could not bring her back. Lloyd would have been worse than useless.

        Who?

        • Bruce

          Dunn came in for Long at 60 minutes and pushed Brian back to the 6. She put the team on her back for 15 minutes with Heath still at the wing.

          It was the Rapinoe sub for O’Hara at 75 minutes that essentially removed Heath from the attacking half and killed the team dynamic.

          • Steglitz49

            But KO plays back. KO was converted into a back by Pia, the coach of the Swedes.

            Why not play KO in the back where she belongs?

            (I know that at Stanford KO played in the attack but Pia made her a back for OG-12.)

          • Bruce

            KO was playing right back. When Pinoe entered for her it gave the US three wings (Pinoe, Pugh, Heath) plus Dunn up top with Morgan.

            Heath moved back as a false RB but because the US no longer dominated possession after the sub really never got the chance to join in the attack for the final 45 minutes. Tragic.

          • Steglitz49

            Thanks for the analysis. It was not obvious to me. It looked to me as if KO was part of the attack, not defense.

          • Bruce

            KO pushed forward from OB for as long as the Swedes allowed the US maintain possession in the attacking half, which was most of the first half.

        • dw

          Keep Pinoe in the States and keep Heath in her starting position, perhaps?

        • Tania

          When Rapinoe came off, Heath should’ve moved up & Krieger should’ve been put at RB, rather bringing in Press.

          Do that and the subbing is a lot less problematic.

  • Gary Diver

    Christen Press’ Missed PK Is On Jill Ellis’ Head

    I feel very sorry for Christen Press who is a very nice person and just wants to contribute to the success of USWNT. Good that her supporters are coming to her defense.

    Obviously the pressure of taking the final PK against Sweden got to Press. Her shot was the worst of the 24 PK shots yesterday and went several feet above the crossbar. There is no way that Ellis, who Press knows doesn’t have confidence in her, should put her under so much pressure. (Note that Marta in a similar situation missed her shot.) Shame on Ellis for her terrible judgment with the PKs.

    • Steglitz49

      I don’t.

  • Miami66

    So will this actually effect the fifa women’s rankings at the top? I’m assuming not since Japan didn’t get to move past the USA-Germany, 1-2 stronghold after beating both in 2011 WC. Obviously Canada will move up big time, as will Brazil, but I guess USA-Germany will remain? You’d need Sweden or Brazil to possibly topple them without Japan or England around. Not that the rankings matter all that much (though the women’s rankings are done better than the men’s).

    • Steglitz49

      As regards the rankings, the WC-11 final and this match are considered draws.

      Both matches have in common that inept refereeing almost cost the winners their victories but the referee crew of this match was particularly abysmal.

      • Chak Khan

        And they still get to keep their jobs? Bring in the replay NOW!!!

    • Craigaroo

      Back-of-the-envelope calculations:
      US 2144 (-22 points in Olympics)
      Germany 2073 (-42)
      France 2038 (-26)
      Canada 2030 (+92)
      England 2021
      Australia 1995 (-16)
      Japan 1991
      Brazil 1979(-3)
      Sweden 1978 (-24)

  • Steglitz49

    Awkward and bizarre analysis. No insight.

    Why would the US be any more tired than the Swedes?

    The Rapinoe factor was a self-inflicted wound. Worse, had her foul on Kosse Asllani been called correctly, it would have been a freekick to Sweden and the Swedes would have won 1-0 in regulation.

    Sweden’s roster is as much in transition as the US’s. This was the first big tournament for Stina Blackstenius, who scored, and Fridolina Rolfö, who was injured. Others were new arrivals too.

    Break down defense? The US are the reigning world champions and olympic champions too. In the SheBelievesCup they bested England, France and Germany and here they had beaten France 1-0.

    Even with the help of the referee team the US still could not hack it.

    • necron99

      Because the US played in Manaus and have to fly 3000miles while the Swedes chilled out at the pool. Pia even said she played for the tie to be able to not travel.(I am sure she was comfortable with the USA match up as well).

      Feel free to talk about the missed offsides at the end, but stuff the talk of missed fouls in your pie hole. The ref let the Swedes play their typical hockey style without getting cards until it is way too late to matter.

      • Steglitz49

        Overpaid and impotent would have been a sharper summary.

        • necron99

          Hehehe we were talking about the USWNT not Sweden. Delivering a gold medal in 2012, and a WWC win in 2015. What has Sweden ever delivered. Nothing. They should be paying to play.

          • Steglitz49

            Losing those $100,000 per person from the Victory Tour will hurt. Ouch! But, the USWNT players will still earn about $150,000 or a little more.

            I doubt any of the Swedes earn $100,000 let alone $150,000.

            Overpaid and impotent sums this sorry excuse for an NT up to a T. Pandering to veterans and certain players comes home to roost. Anyone for gravad lax or pickled herring_

          • Bruce

            Factor in healthcare costs and the fact that the Swedes get about 2 months more vacation…

          • Steglitz49

            It is 25 days ie 5 weeks.

            Healthcare is defrayed through taxes. There are copayments.

      • mockmook

        Do you have a link for Pia saying she played for the tie?

      • Chak Khan

        At the beginning of the game, I noticed how tired the US looked. I was thinking out loud: “What is in the water?!!”. The SWE looked REFRESHED. I’d like to join their party! As far as the game is concerned, it’s a painful lesson. Now it’s “So what! Now what?!! Next!!!”

        • necron99

          During the mens WC 2014 only one team that played in Manaus made it past their knockout game following playing in Manaus. 6 teams lost and 1 team won. That is a pretty bad records.

          In this Olympics only Brazil won their QF after playing there.

  • Hans Castorp

    I don’t read too much into the loss. This team has failed to beat Sweden for 4 years straight. Nobody cared when it didn’t matter.

    If we had lost to Colombia and faced Canada in the QF, we probably would have gone on to win another gold, and everybody would be talking about how uncompetitive woso is.

    • Steglitz49

      Hear hear!

      That combination of pickled fish, midnight sun and high latitudes strikes again.

      • Bruce

        What. No Kalles?

        • Steglitz49

          How could I forget? Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

          • Bruce

            I’m beginning to question your loyalty.

          • Steglitz49

            it is fanatical but no to the Pope …

    • mockmook

      “I don’t read too much into the loss. This team has failed to beat Sweden for 4 years straight.”

      Maybe you (like JE) should think there might be need for an adjustment of tactics.

  • Elizabethjbly2

    <<hp. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!ir347m:….,….

  • newsouth

    bunker down my a$$. balls were flying in the net from all over the place. sweden may not be fast but they can match them strength for strength which is 2/3 of their game. 1/3 is speed and a bit of technique from the few specialty players on the roster. YOU GOT BEAT SOLO. AND ELLIS TURNED TWO OF THE MOST TALENTED FORWARDS IN THE WORLD INTO PENALTY KICK Choke ARTISTs B/C LAME LLOYD AND WABACH WERE GIVEN KICK PRIVILEGES FOR WHAT EVER REASON.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_JJeSp3qZQ

  • John

    Here’s something for us to discuss. Grant Wahl has named his preferred starting 11 for France 2019. Ellis will still be the coach.

    Hope Solo; Kelley O’Hara, Julie Johnston, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg; Morgan Brian; Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh, Tobin Heath; Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan.

    http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2016/08/13/uswnt-future-rio-olympics-womens-world-cup

    So more of the same! And very little discussion of Ellis and her coaching errors.

    That would be a disastrous starting 11. So many players over 30. With a coach with little tactical nous.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      I agree that would be a disaster. Its the exact starting line up from this year just with Dunn thrown in for Long, which even if you played it now is going to result in Brian being overrun in a lot of games.

      I’m not definite that Solo is done, its hard to tell with keepers, but its surely time for others to at least be tried.

      Lloyd should definitely be done before then. She’ll spend the next 3 years being outperformed by Horan in the NWSL, it would be indefensible to keep her in the side after that, can’t imagine how badly people on here will be raging if Lloyd is still the centerpiece of the side come 2019.

      Few of the others are certainties too, the US has so many talented players who could push for places in years to come.

    • Steglitz49

      He is an ignorant peasant without vision. No need to discuss further.

      • Sunny d

        Steg i like you. We may only disagree on our views of Krieger because she’s been really good recently in the NWSL and I know you don’t like her. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that. However I seem to agree with you on mostly everything else (is that odd?) especially your opinion on grant wahl. It Seems like people look to him as a god.

        Grant is clearly a fool if he still has klingenberg on the roster. Teams like France, Brazil, Japan, and apparently now Sweden will only get better. They’re going to eat that left side alive if she is still there. You think she’s got some dirt on Jill? I can’t see any other reason as to why she is a consistent starter. What do you think?

        • Steglitz49

          I have not the foggiest. I think her on the line clearance against Sweden in WC-15 gives her an advantage.

    • Guest

      Ugh this lineup makes me nauseous. So much great talent in college and Nwsl. Kling lost her starter spot IMO.

      I have to wonder if this loss gave a glimmer of hope to some never called up players.

    • Gary Diver

      STUPID ANALYSIS

      If those players are all on the WC15 roster I will be off USWNT!

      Half of Canada’s OG16 roster in under 23. All of the competitive teams in WC19 will look little like their WC15 versions. Wahl’s roster makes only two and a half (KO) changes from last year. We need new blood and a new coach.

    • Bruce

      So the answer for a team lacking midfield possession and creativity is to remove a CM and add an athletic wing? There isn’t one player in that 11 proven to be a box to box force in the center of the pitch.

      God I hope he’s wrong.

      • mockmook

        Any recommendation for that box-to-box force?

        • Bruce

          That player(s) isn’t currently on the NT.

          I’ll spend more time looking at NWSL CMs from here on out – as I don’t think I know enough to comment intelligently. I like what I’ve seen from DiBernardo in a central role, but I’m sure there are others that should get a look.

          • mockmook

            The best I can come up with off the top of my head is Dunn — tons of energy, decent enough ball handler, and we have hundreds of good forwards/wingers already.

            Andi Sullivan is supposed to be all that, so keep an eye on her.

            Also, maybe one of Hahn, Ratcliffe, Arlitt, Lavelle, or Racioppi might do the trick.

          • mockmook

            BTW, NCAA Women’s Soccer kicks off Aug 19th — woohoo!!!

    • CED

      Wahl as usual doesn’t have a clue.

      • John

        Does he even watch NWSL?

      • kernel_thai

        Or is more interested in his access than broaching the truth. Solo should have called him a coward.

    • mockmook

      Well, I up voted you before I looked at the article.

      It’s written in a bit of a convoluted way, but it appears:

      That line-up is only what Wahl would use if he was stuck with the current roster.

      With those restrictions, he has it pretty much right.

      • John

        But no critique of Ellis at all. Has any media in the US pointed the finger at her at all?

        • mockmook

          The Dorrance article is now up, and guess what, again no criticism of JE — UNBELIEVABLE!!!

    • Guest

      Perfect except for Solo, O’Hara, Klingenberg, Lloyd

    • necron99

      Wahl didn’t say this is what he wanted in 2019.

      He said this is who he would take and how he would line them up in 2019 if he could only chose players from this Olympics.

  • NYRick

    After taking a step back a day or so later…

    1. Lost in any critique is how bad Kling looked in this tournament. And no one has mentioned a word about it.

    2. Engen played two games and I thought did well and we quickly go back to JJ who was on a knock and always looks slow to me. And what happened to the weapon she was on corners?

    3. To the people who write the articles on EQ, it’s OK to slag Press on the PK, but she is the first one listed as ineffective etc. in every article. That’s kind of absurd for someone who entered 3 of the 4 matches in the 81st, 90th and 99th minute.

    4. Further on the writers of EQ, it’s time to stop kissing Carli’s ass and making excuses. When one of your headings is “Inability to break down a defense” then it may start with the captain. Just say it. Unless of course you’re afraid she will cut you off from team access.

    5. Fisher is the dirtiest player in the sport. If this were hockey, an opposing coach would send out their goon to teach her a lesson. She’d be great in water polo I’m sure. You know the defenders who sit in the center of the goal and basically dunk/drown the player with the ball ready to shoot.

    6. Lotta is a great professional. She played hard, clean and is not a whiner and took the best PK I saw. Plus, her OT goal was a goal but that’s been talked to death.

    7. Pinoe-Ellis. The nonsense of the VRP (Vet Retention Program if you’re keeping score at home) has to stop. People feared this was going to bite them. Guess what, it bit them. If for no other reason than you move your most creative and effective player to play defense at the most critical junction of the match. Least of which burn 2 subs.

    8. Morgan-Press. Sorry, they needed minutes together. That was all that was needed for a good 3-4 years. Well, it’s done and over now. Forget it. You won’t hear me advocating for it anymore because I fully realize the window is over, the cycle is over. The VRP played a role in this, but it could have been something special even going into next cycle. Kill Press all you want for choking and never coming through. Much of that is on her, but the coaching staff blew a big opportunity never letting this tandem fully develop.

    9. Pugh and Dunn showed up and gave it all they had. Kudos to both.

    10. Hope. It’s time.

    • Guest

      I wouldn’t count out press especially if there is a coaching change. She is the best replacement for carlis withdrawn fwd position and as much as ad nauseum you say she’s in for another cycle playing 90 every game that is not going to happen. Most seem pretty supportive of her play, most of the greats have missed PKs

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        Tobin Heath and Carli Lloyd both missed penalties and came back, so it definitely doesn’t mean Press is done.

        • Steglitz49

          Tobin Heath’s penalty was saved. Carli’s went over the bar but she had scored in the OG-08 final and scored the goals in the OG-12 final. Christen may not bet any more chances.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            Over and missed penalties are worth exactly the same. Christen might not get any chances, its hard to say without being the coach, but there is no reason that this should be the end for her.

          • Steglitz49

            It is every reason. She has a reputation for choking and disappearing in key matches. This was unequivocal evidence.

            The person who put Christen in the #5 spot, should also be pink slipped.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            Plenty of players miss penalties. It is evidence of nothing.

          • Steglitz49

            Nobody expects her to be Miyama’s spiritual sister. Marta and Alex are well established.

          • Guest

            In key matches? How many key matches has she been played in? None at the WWC, and CONCACAF matches do not count since the US-U17 team could win that tourney, so I am not really sure about this reference to disappearing in key matches. In regard to this one however, I do not understand how anyone could have expected her to come off the bench and saved this team. Ellis has crushed her confidence over the past year and then she throws her into a do or die situation and expects it to go smoothly.

          • Steglitz49

            The 2014 Champions League final is a fine example. There are others.

          • rkmid71

            I’ve seen it mentioned somewhere else. I wonder if Carli moved herself up (replacing Press) once the US got behind early after the Morgan miss — thinking she might not get to shoot if she didn’t. I can’t believe anyone with a brain would put Press #5 intentionally from the beginning.

          • Steglitz49

            The order is given to the referee before the shooting starts and cannot be changed.

            It is like the singles in the Solheim and Ryder cups.

          • kevin

            do we know this as a fact for the olympics and the world cup? i am really having trouble believing ellis would choose press to kick the last #5 PK beforehand. this is such a monumental blunder. the #1 and #5 spots are critical

          • kevin

            i would have preferred press to shoot #3

          • Steglitz49

            Yes. You must appoint your 5 kickers in advance. I do not know for certain if you must give the order of all 11 in advance but I think that is also required.

        • mockmook

          It’s not just the missed PK.

          • Frode

            Press is going nowhere unless she chooses to quit the USWNT. She only failed in 2016/OGs if you expected her to come off the deep bench and score goals/save the team. Totally unrealistic. And if you only pay attention to goals/assists and don’t watch the games closely, you miss all the important things Press does: opens space with movement (the best on the team), keeps possession in the final third, switches point of attack, poses a credible scoring threat at the top of the box, gets endline, etc. Just watch. But if you don’t have time, just read what Ellis has said. I would not be surprised at all to see Press on the pitch more in 2017 than in 2016.

      • Anon

        Carli was the most gutted after the match. I think she knows her era is over.

        • Steglitz49

          She probably realizes that she made a big contribution to the defeat.

          • Guest

            No. Her header should have counted. Nice Swedish theatrics there.

          • Steglitz49

            I think you were watching replays of some NWSL match from yonder years.

          • guest

            i would like to see a close-up replay of that play.

        • Guest

          No she doesn’t. Look at her tweets. She is full steam headed for 2020

          • CED

            She is delusional. She is incapable of playing her actual position of CM and if Ellis wasn’t a horrible coach she would have not built a horrible system catered to her, One that requires a bunch of others to play in their not best positions to appease Lloyd.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      On JJ and scoring from corners, I’d suggest it might not be her fault, since the set piece takers have changed. I don’t mean that as a bash on Heath but you’d assume Holiday and Rapinoe took them for a reason last year.

      Also sides are much more aware of her threat now, so there is that too.

      • Bruce

        In the Sweden game, I don’t recall even one corner or free kick being sent to the near post. Carli’a number was called pretty much every time and Pino sent the others out of play.

    • Lodovico Settembrini

      I would add that this tournament proves that those teams who play rather attacking football (US, France, Germany) are struggeling a lot against teams which have a good defensive structure, play rather pysically, are focusing on remaining with a lot of players behind the ball and have 2-3 fast players upfront.

      Two of those teams are now in the semis (Sweden and Canada). Australia was close to it. England would have played similar.

      Brazil is kind of the exception to the rule so far. They play kind of unorthodox to me.

      Germany struggeled a lot against two of those teams (Australia and Canada) and was lucky to play againt China.

      Let’s see whether it continues. Germany again against such a side (Canada) and Brazil against the other one (Sweden)

      Either it will be a new trend in women’s soccer or teams like US, France, Germany and Japan have to find new ways to cope with it

      • Guest

        Solo needs to find a new job. She’s allegedly moving to north Carolina…. Perhaps she can coach at duke which is the only thing that could make me dislike her more (kidding.. Sort of). She seems like the type that will get into trouble if she doesn’t work full time .

        • Steglitz49

          She is not the only USWNT member who should get her CV out.

          As it is, Brian, Dunn, Heath Pugh and Alex, can consider themselves reasonably safe.

          • Anon

            Please this team never pink slips anyone. JJ and Press will be back if they want to be. Long is an Ellis pet who will stick around and I think horan can still improve

          • Steglitz49

            They have to now because this is the biggest ignominy since the 4-0 drubbing by Brazil 9 years ago.

          • Guest

            Please. Long will be into her thirties. She shouldn’t have been a starter at this Olympics, period. If she is still around after this I will be pissed.

          • guest

            all uswnt players get at least one year guaranteed salary going away present from the uswnt.

          • CED

            The team lets people deiced when they want to leave..ie..Rampone, Boxx, Wambach, etc… Second they can’t get rid of players in 2017. The CBA which is still valid states that a player who makes the roster of Wcup or OG is guaranteed allocation the next year. All 18 people on the roster for OG are guaranteed spots for 2017. In fact, even of the players who were allocated and didn’t make the roster, the only 1 in slight danger is O’reilly, b/x they have showed no desire to use her but keep her around. The true test will come 2018 when all the pregnancy people are back(Arod and Leroux), Rapinoe will be healthy from the ACL. ,Will Ellis start to phase out the over 32+ crowd which there will be many to give opportunities the young players like Sanchez, Lavelle, etc…

      • Steglitz49

        Brazil beat Sweden 5-1 in the group game. It might be closer now but they should win.

        As regards modern soccer of strong defense and attacking in numbers, it is here to stay. It worked for the Nadeshiko and Iceland’s men.

        The IOC and FIFA would prefer to see Brazil v Germany in the final followed by Brazil v Canada. After that Germany v Sweden would be (slightly) better than Canada v Sweden.

    • Steglitz49

      Players have a right to be refereed by such as know the laws of the game. The abysmally inept refereeing almost cost Sweden this match. FIFA must fix the quality of the refereeing and be more judicious in their choices.

      #6. It should have been 1-0 in regulation. Overlooking Pinoe’s foul on Asllani which led to 1-1 instead of freekick to Sweden, Lotta’s goal was as you typed good. The refereeing was an outrage. Utter garbage.

      #5. The US are not used to players standing their ground, holding fast and giving measure for measure in return.

      #7. JE obviously had orders to take Pinoe. The cost was greater than the bean counters of USSF could have imagined. Hubris.

      #8. To allocate the 5th penalty to Christen is an incomprehensible choice for a free person to make. An acute psychiatry consult is needed. Hopefully it is not contagious.

      #9. Agreed.

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        I’ve got some more refereeing for you to complain about from the match Steg.

        In the 6th minute Sembrant heads the ball up and off target after failing to get high enough with her jump to get over the ball…

        https://i.imgur.com/8O0YK0x.jpg

        She immediately turns to protest to the referee…

        https://i.imgur.com/ErBXzLs.jpg

        I wonder what she was so upset about, could it be Julie Johnston making no effort to play the ball while clinging on to her that was preventing her from jumping?

        https://i.imgur.com/9Etibzj.jpg

        I caught this when I watched the first time round (although for some reason I thought it was Long on Rolfo), and couldn’t believe it wasn’t given, the ref is looking right at it from 5 yards away.

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you.

          At best the ref was incompetent. The worst is not worth contemplating.

    • Chak Khan

      #8 I still have hope. I cannot recall which VT but I remember AM and CP pairing. It worked out well. Perhaps, it’s time for AM and Pugh. They did well in VT as well.

    • newsouth

      8 – two of the best combo forwards in the world choked b/c in god knows how many years now with the NT they never took kicks under pressure. PRESS AND MORGAN NOT TAKING KICKS IS LIKE MARTA AND CRISTIE NEVER PARTICIPATING IN PENALTIES AND SHOOT OUTS FOR BRASIL

    • Terry Lash

      Agree basically with all points except #1. Commenters have pointed out Kling’s struggles, starting with the game against France. JE puts her in games to get way forward, but she lacks speed to get back to defend. Mostly I put this on JE, whose strategy seems to be mostly to out score any opponent. Not a very sophisticated approach, and it did not work well in this tournament.

    • Guest

      Agree on all but especially number 5, I thought I was the only one who thought that

      • Frode

        The Nilla-monster.

    • kernel_thai

      U hurt Buchanan’s feelings with number 5.

    • Bluenun

      Agree!

  • Be Real

    Excuses, excuses, excuses, then justification…are you really so tied to USSF that you can’t write an article that lays open the underlying problems in US women’s soccer? Who cares if they are pissed at you and even deny access; what good really comes from it anyway? Perhaps it’s your friends and associates that you do not want to throw under the bus. If so, get over it, Good reporters keep these things separate. Or maybe you feel you’re livelihood will be compromised? That one I almost get. But please just leave the page blank before delivering another whitewash such as the above.

    • NYRick

      They have no problem killing Press because they realize she is generous and like a lamb to them and will never give them a hard time regardless of what is said.

      • Steglitz49

        JE must tender her resignation. It is up to USSF if they accept it or not. They ought to give her a second chance.

        China hired Bini. Maybe the US could hire Dennerby?

      • Calci0

        Who is “killing” Press?!?

      • Guest

        As the great Shannon miller said “past performance doesn’t matter if you can’t perform when the time is right.”. Press has yet to perform when the time is right .

        • Frode

          When the chips were down, neither did Dunn or Pugh or Morgan or Lloyd or Horan or Rapinoe. This was the FIRST knockout game in a major tournament Press has played for the USWNT, and she got thrown into the match late. Why do people keep holding her to such ridiculous standards of performance?

          • mockmook

            Because the USA is blessed with players who have come through in “crunch time”.

          • Frode

            Then all the players should be held to the same standard. And by that standard you could say that Lloyd and Morgan failed profoundly since they have come through in crunch time before.

          • mockmook

            Lloyd and Morgan have both scored massive goals in “crunch time”. Morgan just scored another one against SWE — and Lloyd perhaps should have also gotten credit for one.

          • Frode

            Are you kidding? So scoring massive goals in the past somehow excuses Lloyd and Morgan for failing to put away this game? And Press is blamed for not taking the team on her back in her first 20 minutes of knock-out stage play? Ridiculous.

          • kernel_thai

            The problem isnt that Press skied an open shot in 122 minute. The problem is Ellis watched Press fail to get that shot on frame, did the calculations in her head, and gave her the 5 hole in the shootout. Did Ellis really need to see it again to be convinced?

          • NYRick

            Akers. Abby. Morgan. Lloyd. Who else? Think about it? Who really else? If you want to count Solo too, then fine. She also now has two major shootout losses on her resume.

          • necron99

            Dunn and Pugh both scored in the Colombia game with lesser opportunities than were given to Press in that same game.

        • NYRick

          Not going to disagree with you. I would seriously challenge someone (without looking it up and even maybe ball parking it) tell me how many goals Abby scored in the WPS and NWSL? Answer: No one gives a toss. As a US player the only thing that matters is what you do on the NT. Press has had limited chances granted, but she has had some chances to really shine in a big spot and didn’t. Those are facts.

  • john

    Based on the body of evidence we (and Ellis) had why would you turn to Press as the savior. Beyond where she played, when she played, who she played with was there any indication she would answer the call? That is what had me shaking my head.

    • Guest

      My guess is she nails them in practice. She is the most lethal shot on the team when she has her head on straight. And maybe she volunteered.

      • Chak Khan

        No one has has wondered the role of the co-captains Carli and Broon in pumping up the PK kickers prior the event. We all know how Abby and Rampone would have done. Press especially needed.

        • Mo

          I wouldn’t be surprised if press volunteered for the fifth spot knowing its her potential chastain moment

          • Steglitz49

            Why would she run around in her sportsbra in a QF? It would give her an automatic yellow card.

          • Chak Khan

            The look on her face and body language indicated otherwise.

  • Gary Diver

    Steg has said: “Sweden had given no evidence of being able to counter attack.”

    Really irrelevant. What is relevant is that when Sweden showed it could dangerously counter-attack against USWNT, Ellis made no adjustments.

    • Steglitz49

      What adjustment could she have made?

      How do you defend against Lisa Dahlkvist’s dream of a pass and Stina Blackstenius’s composure?

      They prevented Lotta from passing first to Sofi and later to Stina.

      • MurderOnZidanesFloor

        Sauerbrunn was out of position, she was half way to moving back into defence after pushing down the left to give a passing option, which was necessary given how far forwards Kling had pushed.

        Long gave the ball away very cheaply with a straight long ball forward, obviously she was bored of having possession.

        The pass was great, as was the finish, but there were defensive failings involved as there is on almost every goal. In fairness Ellis took off Long, who as I stated above played a big part in giving away the goal.

        • mockmook

          Jeez, Long is pilloried for not taking chances passing forward, and then one goes awry and she is pilloried for that.

          Perhaps Long imagined that she would have some defenders behind her if things went wrong.

          • Frode

            Ellis set up the central midfield to break like this. The proximate cause is Long’s giveaway. The ultimate cause was Ellis’s stubborn refusal to change formations/tactics against the Swedish bunker.

          • Steglitz49

            The USWNT forgot that there might still be life in those old dogs on the other side.

        • guest

          what was klingenberg doing on that goal? she seemed alot higher than rest of the defensive line

          • CED

            A central counter is not the LB job, they had 2 CB’s who were both beat centrally by 1 ball, which should really never happen

          • mockmook

            I’d argue that one of the OB should have stayed back, and they should have lined up as a 3 back line until someone else came back in support.

          • CED

            Absolutely no need and would have made no difference. The ball was played down the seam between the CB’s. Whether the LB or RB was back, they would have zero chance to provide cover. It was 2 CB’s vs 1 , it’s JJ and Broons fault on the counter. If Sweden was keeping 2 players high than 1 back should stay back or the holding mid drops. Look at teams like Barca or Bayern, they send their Ob’s up and you see the #6 drop.

          • mockmook

            With 3 back, you essentially have 3 CBs — one right in the middle.

          • CED

            They would not be lines up that way. Have you evebr played the game or coached it? I doub it if you think it would have prevented anything It would have made zero deference, the ball again was right between the CB’s, This has been explained already. You are bending over backwards to find an excuse for the Cb’s blunder.

          • mockmook

            Apparently you have never seen a line shifting over to fill the space left by a missing player.

            Watch a few thousand more games, and one day you might notice it.

          • CED

            There is zero need to have 3 people back when the team is leaving only 1 player high. Again for the 3rd time, an OB would have made no difference, They would have been way to wide to provide cover b/c the ball was central. But please keep making asinine excuses, as you clearly are JJ or Broon fangirl and can’t admit they made a world class blunder that should never happen, They should never get beat in the seam centrally.

          • mockmook

            “There is zero need to have 3 people back when the team is leaving only 1 player high.”

            Please try to be coherent.

          • CED

            You clearly have no knowledge of the game only a person ignorant of the game doesn’t know what this means Thanks for proving it and showing again you can’t admit your fangirl crush, made a world class blunder.

          • mockmook

            So, even you can’t explain what you mean. That clears things up.

      • Frode

        I and others warned that the US defense was vulnerable to counterattacks up the middle, especially after a central midfield giveaway. That is precisely what happened.

    • Calci0

      Sweden had evidence of being able to counter when they beat the US 1-0 in the AC.

  • Gary Diver

    Ellis’ Decision to Have Morgan Kick First

    The first shooter sets the tone of what will happen afterwards. Only an idiot coach would choose a player who does not like to shoot PKs and who missed one under pressure for Portland late last year.

    • Calci0

      So should Barca not allow Messi, Neymar, or Suarez to shoot on a PK shootout because last year I think they were all at about 50%

  • Steglitz49

    Zlatan score on his debut in the Premier League. Everything is going Sweden’s way. A pity for MLS that he did not chose the US but a collective sigh of relief for the NWSL.

    • guest

      Who can take a man who wears a bun seriously?

  • Gary Diver

    Julie Johnston

    I am a Red Stars fan and any Red Stars fan can tell you Johnston has been caught out on counter-attacks a number of time in the past two seasons. Do people (including Ellis) remember the WC15 SF game?

    When a team is getting scoring attempts off of counter-attacks because you only are using two defenders and one defender has a history of being beat, you stop sending both OB forward.

    • kernel_thai

      Didnt the counter come thru Sauerbrunn? Johnston failed to outrun a forward which isnt a shock but broon left the door to the hen house open.

  • Gary Diver

    Megan Rapinoe

    Can anybody explain what was in Ellis’ head when she substituted Rapinoe into the most important game of the year and Rapinoe is not game fit and totally ineffective? I am totally at a loss unless Ellis is totally incompetent.

    • Calci0

      The thought most likely was even at less than 100% Rapinoe could do something special. And to be fair she has a track record for stepping up and making a play. The idea was probably inserting her would have the US winning in regulation. We have the benefit of hindsight, but had Rapinoe scored a goal from outsid the 18 with a awesome shot, are we having the convo? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Ellis played to win in regulation…… Had she played for extra time people would be up in arms.

      • newsouth

        the only play i remember from here is 2011. you must be talking about plays with the reign

        • Calci0

          She was huge against Australia. And other tourneys.

          • NYRick

            Big game against Canada in OG12 semi with 2 goals. I think a bit overrated in terms of the praise at WC15 after the Aussie match. And of course the big assist to Abby at the gun in WC11 Brazil match. Those are her big NT moments.

      • mockmook

        We had this convo before OG16 — Rapinoe should have never been there.

        • Calci0

          Well I will say had I been put in position to be coach, independent of Ellis’s decision. I probably would not taken a player that was unfit to the point they had zero PT leading up to the tourney.

      • Guest

        I don’t know why you are providing a what if scenario. Even before the Sweden game everyone could see that Rapinoe wasn’t more than 20 minutes fit. Even at her best it is difficult to predict her scoring a goal or providing an assist in 20 minutes against a bunkering. At the time the team was down a goal and the liklihood of going to extra time was pretty high. Essentially wasting two subs on an unfit player who provided nothing and couldn’t separate from her defenders was a ridiculously poor decision.

        • Calci0

          Again it’s all hindsight. Examples of injured players making impacts: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/01/11/top-10-gutsiest-in-game-performances-by-injured-athletes/

          • Frode

            This is an exception, not the rule. And many people (here and in the real world) were questioning Rapinoe’s selection months before Ellis even named her 18!

          • Calci0

            Well I admit it was a curious decision. And put in her place with the pool of players avail, probably not the selection I’d have gone with. But once she was on the squad and against Sweden that’s the rational I can come up with………

          • mockmook

            You sure seem to be saying her “thought process” was right — you’re definitely bending over backwards to defend her. What happened to your non-judgmental posture?

          • Guest

            No it isn’t, because I would have still been complaining about the decision had Rapinoe scored and won the game or the US. Her performance in the Colombia game of Rapinoe made it easy for everyone to see that it was a huge gamble to play her in a match that could go to extra time. None of those examples are even remotely comparable to Rapinoe.

          • Calci0

            So be it, I’m not here to change your mind. But I find it hard to believe someone would be on the board “complaining” about her selection had she hit a game winner. And they are legit examples that don’t fit your narrative so they are ignored, no worries.

          • Guest

            I don’t understand why it is so hard to believe that I disagree with the decision regardless of what Rapinoe does. It sure seems like many here, myself included, disagree with Lloyd starting despite scoring in 2 of the 4 games. The examples you provided aren’t even remotely similar. Even if it was exactly the same I am basing my judgment on what Rapinoe showed us against Colombia which was a clearly compromised player who couldn’t be effective for more than 20 minutes. All Ellis proved by taking her was what a poor decision it was to begin with. She needed to be able to get through 45-60 minutes to be a useful player on a game to game bases and she was hardly a third of that.

          • CED

            Please all the players unable to play a single competitive minute for 8 months?

      • guest

        we also have the benefit of the previous game. did rapinoe do anything special against colombia two days earlier? did rapinoe score outside the 18 with an awesome shot? she hasn’t played in nine months. it’s one thing to play to win in regulation and it’s another thing to waste two subs on a very low percentage chance in a game likely to go to overtime. the only chance was basically a hail mary to lloyd like the 2011 world cup cross.

        • Calci0

          Ellis was following the similar strategy she used with Morgan last year. Morgan didn’t play long minutes her 1st time out, or light up the scoreboard. Again I’m not here to say she was right, or wrong, just maybe what her thought process might have been.

          • mockmook

            I’m here to say her thought process was wrong.

          • Calci0

            Noted 😉

          • kernel_thai

            So ur saying Pinoe will be ready by the gold medal mach? : )

      • Bruce

        What’s hard to accept is that you cannot really see any real comprehensive strategy behind the Pinoe sub. If Ellis was deciding to go all-in on direct service into the box, why on earth would she move her other best service option (Heath) to RB?

        If that was her plan, why not direct sub in Pinoe in for Pugh?

        The whole thing reeks of desperation and absolutely no planning for a scenario that was likely to occur.

        • Tania

          This! In & of itself, bringing in Rapinoe was NOT the problem. How she got into this game & what it caused (Heath at OB) was the problem.

          • Paul Klee

            After Pinoe’s performance the Columbia match, bringing her in against Sweden at the point she did was a mistake. Pinoe at best is 10 min fit probably more like 5. Save her for the 85th minute or better yet as I said before the match bring her in for penalties maybe in the 115 th minute.

          • Tania

            @Paul Klee I concede your point and ask a question…

            In order for a player to be used in the penalty kicks, they have to been on the field as part of the extra time, correct? Are there any restrictions as in a minimum amount of a time a player has to play in order to be allowed to take part in the shoot out (I know it’s not referred to as a shoot out, but really, that’s what it is, so… ).

          • Paul Klee

            Stoppage time of extra time you could put them in and they be available for spot kicks. That might be cutting a little close though. If the refs doesn’t allow the sub before she blows the whistle.

          • Tania

            I’d say 10-15, but I take your point.

            I think Jill panicked and figured if she waited that long they wouldn’t get the equalizer.

            Again – would not have caused such a problem if Ellis had created a better starting line up and scenarios around subbing. She should have thought it all through enough to not put herself in a position to have Heath back on defense. Still believe that error was far more egregious than playing Rapinoe. They should’ve started Krieger & Kling or Krieger & O’Hara so that when Pinoe came off, they could use whichever player (Kling/O’Hara) was on the bench to get her off, thus, maintaining their defensive formation & not sacrificing too many chances to the Swedes in their attempt to tie the score.

    • guest

      ellis was praying rapinoe could duplicate her 2011 world cup cross to abby wambach at the end of the game. only problem was wambach wasn’t on the team anymore.

    • Steglitz49

      Pinoe did her duty. She fouled Asllani and the equalizer resulted. Can’t ask for more.

  • Gary Diver

    Three Year Question: Is Jill Ellis Incompetent?

    Did USWNT lose because Ellis made a dozen of independent mistakes or because she is simply incompetent? We may have to wait 3 more years to find out the answers. USWNT beating up on tomato can tells us nothing. Maybe if USWNT poops out during SBC next spring, the scales will fall from the eyes of people living in denial.

  • Gary Diver

    Best Future for USWNT

    If Ellis does not own up to her many coaching mistakes during OG16, our only hope for WC19 is for USWNT to flame out at SBC next spring. THEN people will ask questions and demand answers.

    • Guest

      Don’t worry, Heather Mitts says that everything is fine!

  • Gary Diver

    Soccer is a Cruel and Unfair Sport

    Two QFs decided by glorified coin tosses and Keisha Buchanan got a free pass when she deserved a red card at the 10 minute mark where she missed the ball and took down Le Sommer with open cleats in the penalty box as the last defender.

    • guest

      i would like to see soccer consider what the nhl does. the teams play with less players in overtime to encourage a result before pks.

    • Ashley C

      Oh look. Another whiner. It’s as if some people on this site live under a rock and never watched football before.

      • David K Anderson

        Whiner? That tackle was as clear a foul as you could ask for. Straight red (for DOGSO) all day long…

    • WOSO Fan

      Never mind Buchanan. Better example would be the non-call on Buehler for a NFL style tackle in the USA’s box. Should have been a strait red and a pk to Japan. Changed the outcome of the gold medal game. Should have been Gold to Japan and Silver to the USA.

  • NYRick

    The PK shootout rule in soccer. Not because they lost, and I know that this has been debated, but the PK shootout is the STUPIDIEST and MOST RIDICULOUS way to decide an elimination soccer match. And Steg please don’t chime in with the “this is how it’s been done for years” and “can’t mess with the beautiful game rhetoric” nonsense.

    The major reason that it’s done: You don’t want to kill players out there who already have run 120+ minutes. That’s it. That’s the only reason why they have it. Which is flat out silly. Simple solution: After the 2 OT, institute a rule that teams get 2 more subs to make. And the tournament rosters are 20 players in the OG instead of 18. Done.

    I’m a hockey fan and I’m sure many of you out there can appreciate the incredible drama of a Stanley Cup game going several OTs to decide it. You don’t think those players are dead tired. I recall the Rangers McDonaugh playing about 42 minutes in a multiple OT match against the Caps a few years ago. Talk about tear out your heart drama. It’s thrilling to watch. Especially once a series gets to a 7th game. In tournament soccer, playing multiple OTs until one team wilts would be high stakes drama as well. I would much rather see the game winner in the run of play rather than a post practice shoot around with a goalie. And mind you, these goalies cheat a step or two as well before the shot.

    • mockmook

      Players would literally die from exhaustion.

      • Guest

        Agreed. I would change the pk rule only for final matches so the players aren’t destroyed for the rest of a tournament

        • NYRick

          Stanley Cup has the OT rule play till you drop from game 1 of the first series and you have to win 4 series to win the championship. No championship is harder to win in any sport than the Stanley Cup. As for soccer, there are only 3 knockout games max, if you have to go deep into OT for 2 out of the 3 that would make the championship more than earned.

          • Steglitz49

            Hockey is hockey and soccer is soccer and never the twain shall meet.
            The heart of man has long been sore and long is like to beat.

          • NYRick

            Extra time = grit/will to win + adversity. A shootout with kicks is a wimp’s way to decide things when it comes to a championship or moving on to play for a championship.

          • Steglitz49

            Japan and Sweden would not agree with you, I expect.

          • kernel_thai

            If u had unlimited subs that u can roll on and off at will it might work. If in Hockey the same six players were on the ice thru all those OTs u might not like it as much.

      • NYRick

        Basically it becomes a game of attrition late then. If you have to play 11 v 10 or 10 v 8, that would be like having a power play. The fitter team gets the advantage. Plus, I mentioned the 2 extra sub rule once it gets beyond 120 minutes.

        • necron99

          The big problem I have with it is that players should be ready for the PK shootout. It is a completely known quantity. They should practice it against keepers every training. The should be able to make two different chosen shot locations with their eyes closed 95% of the time. Just like free throws in basketball it should be fundamental.

          Now my argument against the PK shootout is the poor officiating that allows one keeper to take 3-4 steps forward moving even before the ball is struck, ie Brazil v Australia.

    • Guest

      Golden goal or have teams do the PSO before extra time to force one team to attack.

      • mockmook

        “PSO before extra time to force one team to attack.”

        Walk me through this, I’m a bit slow.

        • kernel_thai

          Penalty Shoot Out.

          • mockmook

            LOL

            I got that!!!

            How do you have a PSO before extra time? Why will that force a team to attack?

          • kernel_thai

            I dont think there is any value to it. The U17s do this and teams still bunker. I remember the US played Mexico in CONCACAF and outshot them a million to one but it was still 0-0 at the end of regulation because Mexico realized they had a better chance of winning a shoot out than a football match. I did post a suggestion above tho.

      • Steglitz49

        FIFA tested the golden goal for about a dozen years. Please see my other entry for details.

      • kernel_thai

        Hehe. Even if golden goal was still in it was pretty evident the refereeing crew was having none of it.

      • kernel_thai

        If FIFA wanted to reward attacking football they could penalize teams that bunker going into extra time. This could be done based on difference in possession or SOG. U set sandards and if either team meets that standard at the end of regulation, the team not meeting the offensive minimum loses a player. If both teams meet the minimum there is no penalty. Something like that would encourage less bunkering.

    • Steglitz49

      In the early days of soccer in Italy matches did not end in draws. Instead 10 min extra time was played. If it was still even, the ref decided who had won!

      Soccer tested the Golden goal for ca a dozen years but abandoned it. Oliver Bierhoff scored the first ever golden goal in the Euro-96 final. I think Liliam Thuram scored one or even two in WC-98. WC-03 was won by a golden goal (Nia Künzer — one of her only two goals for Germany) and even OG-08 may have been on a golden goal.

    • kernel_thai

      Not sure there is a viable replacement unless u want to just decide tied matches with game statistics. Not a very crowd pleasing solution.

    • Craigaroo

      Stanley Cup overtimes are great. But in hockey you have continual substitutions. And in hockey you get a lot more chances at scoring, more shots, shots on goal, chances, half-chances, the lot. So forget it.
      ¶ The PKs could be made more fair (and less dependent on the coin toss) by adopting the tiebreaker method from tennis, where one side goes first, but then they alternate taking two serves in a row. Too often, in soccer, the side which loses the coin toss is always under the pressure of playing catch-up.

      • Guest

        As someone who has played competitive hockey in his youth and knows from experience, overtimes are exhausting even with continual substitutions. There were times when I played 3 games in one day and by the end of the third game it was tough to move. Sudden death in hockey almost is always influenced by fatigue in one way or another.

        • mockmook

          I’m sure he’s not downplaying the exertion of hockey overtimes.

          But, in soccer, the player can’t rest.

  • Ashley C

    Many of these reasons/excuses comes down to Ellis and her inability to have a plan b for her players. Not to mention she had to know Sweden would park the bus and try and take advantage of one or two small opportunities.

    • kernel_thai

      U cant go into a big tournament and not be prepared to face different scenarios. The US was prepared to play teams that would run up and down with them and bad teams that rolled over. Preparation falls solely on the coach. If she couldnt prepare for this why believe she can prepare for 2019?

      • NYRick

        1) You knew you were playing France in the group stage and you had no defensive plan for Renard on set pieces. Can’t give the JJ excuse either. You need to team defend or double team a dominant player in the air like that, just like opponents had to account for Abby in the air in her heyday.

        2) At worse, you had 3 days to prepare for Sweden. You have seen them and their personnel numerous times (even in big tournaments) the last 4 years. You have to come up with new monkey wrench for them to deal with. You sure as hell knew how they were going to play it, and you played into their hands with your personnel choices and your tactics.

        That’s all coaching. Those are only 2 big ones and they didn’t even make it out of the quarters. I’m sure there would be a few more dozzies if the team went farther.

        • kernel_thai

          3 days to prepare. Actually it wasnt a big assumption when the draw was done months before that, if seeding held u would likely play a team like Sweden or China that bunkers in the quarter final. It was also clear watching the match against South Africa in July that this was still an on going issue.

          • Chak Khan

            Prior to the game with RSA, the fanbase erroneously predicted USWNT would easily beat down the team 10-0. My prediction was more like 3-0. But RSA was great at frustrating the US. After the 1st half, my thinking was, “US will run into that same wall in RIO. They must find a way soon!” It was one of the best friendly game. Pia must have devised a plan of action while watching that game a thousand times.

          • Tania

            That’s why I get so irked at the complaining about Pinoe’s presence on the roster. What ultimately defeated them was a problem that existed even when she wasn’t on the roster due to her injury. The complaints about her would be a lot easier to take if they HAD figured out the line-up to demolish a bunker & her return messed that up.

    • Guest

      But but but she put the best players on the field and it was up to them to figure things out and adapt, not about the formation or tactics

  • Guest

    Press never looks like there is any fire or intensity. Hate on carli but you can see the passion behind her shots.

    • Guest

      Have you seen how amazing she is for the red stars?

      • Steglitz49

        Have you seen how stunning she is without her kit?

  • Bruce

    There’s a lot of discussion here about how Ellis’s in-game decisions versus Sweden show that she’s not fit to coach. I think that the problem runs much deeper than that.

    Given an entire year to turn most of the world’s most talented players into a cohesive unit, she completely failed to help this team develop any consistent tactical approach or attacking identity whatsoever. Instead of a fielding a well-oiled machine at the OG, the US sent what looked like to be a team of All Stars who have only spent a few weeks together.

    I ask you the following…

    1. Does the NT decide to morph from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 and back to create strategic advantage or does it simply change formations haphazardly when one player decides to play up top?

    2. Do the current batch of CMs even have the attributes (work rate and physicality) needed to execute in the 4-4-2 when that one player abandons the midfield?

    3. Has it established reliable player pairings and clear roles that allow the results of team play to be greater than the sum of individual efforts?

    4. Can it commit to any advanced style of play for more than 20 minutes before reverting back to over-the-top play and crosses?

    5. Can the team routinely create goals through collaborative team effort, and not just 1-v-1 play, set pieces and out-muscling others in the scrum?

    6. Do substitution patterns ever show that the team is pursuing a tactical advantage, or are they simply focused to exploit one-on-one match-ups?

    7. Most importantly, has this team shown any confidence this year that its tactical approach can generate goals vs. even slightly structured defenses?

    For months, JE has preached that the ever-changing nature of formations and moving players around the pitch was its greatest asset. In fact, it is its greatest weakness. By denying the USWNT an established tactical identity, Ellis has robbed its players of confidence, its pairings of synergy and any real evolution of team play.

    The USWNT can field 11 of the best players in the world, but not one of the top 5 TEAMS. That’s not nearly good enough.

    • mockmook

      1) The USA typically shows as a 4-4-2 while defending and as a 4-3-3 when attacking.

      2) Lloyd is part of the “2” in the 4-4-2, so in that sense, she isn’t abandoning the midfield. But in the 4-3-3, Lloyd does often “abandon” the midfield.

      All CAMs go forward, it just seems that Lloyd forgets where her main responsibility is supposed to be. But, again, it is JE who gives her this freedom.

      • Bruce

        No issue that the team always plays 4-4-2 defending. My post is all about attacking identity (or lack thereof).

    • Frode

      Great post!

      #1. It does seem that the 4-2-3-1 and the 4-3-3 tended to fall apart because she-who-shall-not-be-named was always playing striker (how many offside violations?)

      #2. I don’t think any 2 CMs in the world could reliably hold the field, but that’s what Ellis asked of Brian and Long. Having Lloyd there, or better, a different midfielder would have made all the difference.

      #3. Synergy is the right word. It’s more accurate and more precise than “chemistry.” There are certain synergistic groupings that were tried briefly and passed over for individual brilliance.

      #6. This is a trap for coaches of world-class talent. Ellis fooled herself (“let them figure it out” approach) and fell right into it.

      • CED

        #6 Let them figure our approach is b/c Ellis doesn’t have a clue. She just sits on the bench and hopes for individual moment to overcome the fact she has instilled no actual plan B strategy for the team.

    • Pinkman

      How do you know that the USWNT can field 11 of the best players of the world?

      How do you compare them? Are you following also the German, French, Japanes and Swedish Leagues?

      Are they really all top level tactically and technically?

      Why were Heath and Rampinoe not able to make any impression in France. They were even not in the starting 11 in a lot of important games

      Can you remember how weak Kling was in the CL final against Wolfsburg. Did Press make any positive impression in that game?

      Krieger was not able to make the starting 11 in Frankfurt at the end of her German days

      Having the advantage of being able to train as a national team for most of the year compared to other countries where players are coming together just for some weeks gives the USWNT a huge advantage. If they would have 11 of the best players in the world they would be unbeatable.

      Do not let you fool by all those games in front of a home grounds against teams having traveled and having jet lags. When playing not at home (or in the south of Canada with all the US fans behind them) all those players were quite mediocre in matches in Brazil (end of 2014), France, Algarve, etc over the last 2-3 years

      Just cause every US fan girl and all the US media hyped those players into a different universe does not mean that they are so much better than others

      • mockmook

        Perhaps not individually better than everyone else in the world, but history suggests the collective 11 is stronger than what any other country can field (at this time).

        • Pinkman

          Tend to agree with that one. I guess the biggest factors are mental strenghts compared with being able to be togther as a team for several months.

          However, history also tells that there have been 15 years without a WC title

          And when seeing the France – US games of the last years I never had the impression that the stronger team won, but the much luckier one with mental advantages

          • necron99

            You keep mentioning all of the time that the NT plays together. And then you mention France. It is just as important to note that the majority of the FraWNT plays together at Lyon, and the other major chunk together at PSG. That core has been playing year round for club and country for 8 or more years now. Of course this helps greatly with supernatural passing., when you know what your teammate is going to do and when from years of games together. The hours of time for France is clearly ahead of the time the USWNT plays together.

            Now other teams like Sweden, Germany, etc. They do not have the hours together of France or the USA.

      • Bruce

        I’m not saying that they have the top 11, but for the dynamic, athletic style they can play and should be able to use to dominate, they have a huge share of the top prospects.

        Look at the Olympic final eight. How many members of the Brazillian, Chinese, Australian, Swedish, French, German and Canadian teams would even get a call up to a USWNT camp?

        I’d venture to say that most of the other quarter finalists might have only a player or two who would even get a look.

        • Steglitz49

          Sweden? Stina Blackstenius, Fridolina Rolfö, Jessica Samuelsson, Sofia Jakobsson and Hedvig Lindahl at least.

          Possibly a couple more but I contend that Schelin, Dahlkvist and Fischer might be considered too long in their teeth.

          • Bruce

            It’s all about styles Steg. The US has an opportunity to play off of an athletic style that others cannot match – and it has done nothing to do so systematically.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden more than matched them in this QF. When did Sweden last lose to the US in a WC or OG?

            Japan outwitted both Germany, Sweden and the US in WC-11.

          • PK

            I thought this forum is about soccer and not about athletics. Are you sure you are following the right sport?

          • Steglitz49

            Anyone for gymnastics? or swimming while we are at it? I am partial to diving btw.

          • Chak Khan

            Rugby! Now we can talk about ahtletism, speed and skills!

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            Golf! Justin Rose! What’s that? China down to 3rd?

            I’ve never cared in the slightest about that sport until now.

          • Bruce

            The US has won plenty of WCs and Olympic Golds playing an ugly, athletic brand of soccer. It would be silly not to recognize that.

          • kernel_thai

            Ha and who exactly is the pretty team left at OG? Brazil has flare but
            it’s their athletic players that drive them. Germany and Canada r blunt
            instruments and Sweden cant get out of their own end.

          • PK

            Who will win the next men’s WC? Jamaica or

            Kenya? What is your bet?

          • Bruce

            not following. no opinion.

          • Steglitz49

            I will add Linda Sembrandt while I am at it and also Michelle deJongh and Hanne Gråhns, maybe even Pauline Hammarlund, and why not Amanda Ilestedt while I am at it.

          • Bruce

            Many a fine player who wouldn’t get a look under the US system. It’s just different.

          • Pinkman

            Bruce, I get that. And you might be right with that.

            But you may understand that your comments could have been interpreted in a different way as well. Thankss for clarifying

          • Bruce

            It comes with being an American in a football forum. No problem from my end. Carry on.

          • Bruce

            I would truly love to see more beautiful football played in the US ( men and women ). Our system is decades away from producing that due to a “win now” mentality that focuses young players on game outcome and not development.

          • Frode

            Spot on. I have also raised a daughter in the American rec-select-premier club system, and it’s all about selection, not development. Selection is focused on size, speed and athleticism, because that’s the quick path to winning, and winning attracts parents and $$$. Nevertheless, there are skillful players making their way through the system. We’ve seen the first wave (Horan, Klingenberg, Brian, Press, and Pugh), and there will more to follow.

          • Bruce

            I find the travel club route extremely frustrating, but know that I’m in the minority among parents.

            My girl’s team has something like 50 games and 80 practices scheduled for the next 10 months. First tournament is only 14 days after the first practice. Training focus is on fitness and tactics with little time spent on technical skills.

          • Frode

            My observations of premier/travel club soccer is that meaningful training is scarce. It’s all about tournaments, showcases and winning. Coaches don’t have time to develop players. Instead, they plug whoever’s most effective in a given position. If they work out, they stay there forever; if they don’t pan out, they are discarded to the bench or a B or C team. So many players of potential are neglected and discouraged from the game. And don’t get me started on deficiencies in tactical and skill training. It’s stunning that a young woman can go through 5+ years of premier-level club “training” and not be able to pass/shoot with both feet, let alone trap the ball.

          • Bruce

            My expectations are pretty low. I feel your pain.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden can’t afford to pay their NT players.

            Most of them play abroad. The ones who don’t have either returned, like Lotta and Lisa, or are waiting for the optimal offer.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            England.

            Big Sam will put Andy Carroll up front, while the rest of the team works really hard winning the ball back before sending another 60+ yard pass up towards him.

            Who needs over 25% possession anyway?

        • Pinkman

          American hubris

          • Bruce

            Easy out on a conversation.

            It’s about the American style of play. The USWNT path to success is not at all like Euro teams or Japan’s. We’ve got well over 1 million girls registered nationally in youth soccer – probably as many as the rest of the world combined.

            Those girls (my daughter included) learn soccer in an environment where athleticism is valued over technique. It’s not better or worse, just different. If used correctly, the NT here should be able to literally run others off the field. It’s not being used correctly.

        • CED

          That doesn’t mean much, A team where players know their roles can often be better than a team of supposed all stars. How many players for Atletico Madrid would get to play for Barca or Real. Yet Atletico give Barca and Real the toughest games and the team both like to play least in la Liga b/c Atletico players know their role and play the system incredibly. Atletico have way less talent on paper than both.

          • Steglitz49

            Real Madrid does not have a ladies team so that answer is easy: none. — Unless you mean one of the other Reals who have a ladies team.

            Barca does have a women’s team but I don’t know the lasses in Atletico Madrid. Generally the Atletic club of Bilbao is better at WoSo than Atletico Madrid.

          • CED

            As expected purposely obtuse and asinne

          • Steglitz49

            This is a WoSo site and we are discussing the QF between Sweden and the USA in WoSo at the OG.

          • Bruce

            “Atletico players know their role and play the system incredibly.” – Couldn’t agree more.

            The original post on this thread hammers on how the lack of an established system, pairings and roles is JE’s biggest failure as a coach…

      • CED

        Krieger is on the track of becoming an Oreilly. That means, still on the roster b/c WNT can’t get rid of people b/c CBA. Also, new talent is greatly hindered from getting chances but Oreilly and Krieger will not play in games of importance. Ideally this will happen to Lloyd and she will just quit.

      • Steglitz49

        Klings was fine in the Champions League final but the Germans cheated. Tyresö had put out the ball so Klings could get treatment. While Klings was off the field Wolfsburg did not give the ball back to Tyresö in the timehonored manner but played it themselves and scored.

        It was Christen Press who was anemic in that Champions League final but so was Pinoe against Wolfsburg the year before.

    • Steglitz49

      The Brits referred to the GIs as “overpaid, oversexed and over here” during WW2. We could adopt it to “overpaid, overrated and impotent”. Other variations spring to mind.

      How many US and how many Swedes dropped their kits for personal gain?

    • Jean Perroni

      Many of those “best american players” won t make into the best teams in europe like Lyon, Fankfurt, PSG, Volsburg. American women are the fittest ones no doubt but other than that they are not in the same level of the best players in Europe, Brazil, Japan when it comes to skills and technique.
      Womens football is still in its early age and being physical is the way to go but as you see in mens football athetism is not enough…

      • Bruce

        Well stated. I agree.

        • Jean Perroni

          I think USA will come back stronger next time because they have a lot of talanted young palyers in Dun, Brian, Pugh and Horan those are great palyers. But you should also focus more on basic ball control and skills at young age.

  • BGH123

    I think some of the midfield issues can be boiled down to chemistry. The midfield she fielded had not really played together and she never really decided on a consistent group, which can be partially attributed to injuries. Think about it Horan and Brian started most of the year, and it seemed like that was who she going to stick with. Them Mewis got some time, and it seemed she wold go too. She then brought in Long, which was a little bit out of left field, and she replaced Horan. I think the inconsistency prevented them from building any kind of chemistry

    • Frode

      Chemistry, maybe. It might also have to do with the fact that they were playing with 2 midfielders. Everyone else was dedicated to the attack.

      • BGH123

        They also lacked creativity, which was surprising. I think Allie Long is a good player, but I could not stand when she and others got credited for “changing the point of attack” when all they did was pass to someone wide open on the wings, which every team knew was our bread and butter

        • Bruce

          Not surprising when you don’t play a creative player in the core play-making position.

          • BGH123

            Exactly. We are so susceptible to the bunker because we don’t have someone who can play out of middle. People may hate this, but I think Mewis could have done that. She has the size, strength and is good on the ball

          • CED

            Mewis should be tried at #6, Move Brian to #8 and Pugh is the #10. Brian and Pugh are obvious. The #6 spot should have had tried to be filled for the last year. Multiple people should be tried there starting immediately, better late than never. They knew they had no true #6 and playing Brian there was wasting her talent.

          • Steglitz49

            What is the news on Pugh’s injury?

          • Hans Castorp

            There’s about a half dozen articles post-match talking about the young superstar as being the future of US soccer. None of them bothered to check in on her injury.

            Journalism.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. Let’s trust that no news are good news.

          • David K Anderson

            Fortunately, we have a player in the system that is _ace_ at that very thing: Rose Lavelle. Ellis seems to consider her unready (a point I harp on as being nonsense, and suspect is a personality clash), but that’s her game: technical playmaking from the CAM role. She scores a fair bit at the college level, but as an international (and club pro), I suspect her future is as more of a Boquete or Miyama type of midfielder.

          • ARED

            I think it’s a position clash more than personality.

            Which is to say that Lavelle plays CAM, and that position is not open for applicants. If it were, we’d have seen Press, Pugh, Heath, and Lavelle play it during friendlies and CONCACAF matches…..

            We’ll see if this finally changes or if it’s “four more years” of Lloyd/Ellis.

          • David K Anderson

            That could well be…and it’s too bad. The team won’t move into the modern era, tactically, under this status quo…and it wastes Lavelle’s Vero-tier potential.

          • ARED

            I agree. Just like Pugh, Johnston, Dunn, Brian, etc, I never assume a young player will fit in quickly or at all until they prove it, so I’ll say the same for Lavelle. But, it’s hard for me to understand why Ellis has seemed to play more of an active role in stopping/slowing the incorporation of all of these players (except for Pugh -for the most part) than in finding/supporting/preparing/utilizing them.

          • Johnny B

            Creativity? I thought it’s about athletics

          • Bruce

            Yea. We’re hoping to play Allyson Felix at CAM.

          • mockmook

            How about this guy:

          • Bruce

            Maybe we can convince Kim Little to defect.

        • mockmook

          If we are talking a 4-3-3, as CED said we need a real #6, a real #8 (Long?) and a real #10. So, it’s personnel as well as chemistry.

          If choosing to play today (after some practices to build chemistry), how about:

          06 – Laddish
          08 – KO
          10 – Brian

          • Steglitz49

            Please could the female Bobby Moore step forward.

          • rkmid71

            I’m not sure JE and the crew really know what to look for or appreciate Bobby Moore qualities. I read that it wasn’t like he was one of those players that everyone knew would be great in his youth days. But he had desire and determination and he was a great learner. A lot of intangibles that aren’t obvious at first sight. Words you see to describe him are cool, calm, courageous. A real leader. Played his best in the big games. Evidently he wasn’t blessed with great pace and people said he wasn’t that strong in the air, but nobody outran him or outjumped him. Read the game extremely well. Yes, please look for and give chances to players like that.

          • Steglitz49

            Moore became captain of England’s NT at the age of 22. He was 25 when they won the WC.

          • CED

            KO as #8 is laughable.

          • mockmook

            Indeed, why would we want to have a tireless ball-winning, fast, competent ball handler as our #8 ???

          • Guest

            I don’t really think KO is a great ball handler or passer but it wouldn’t hurt to try. I would love to have a ball winner with her motor in central midfield.

          • mockmook

            “She finished her stellar college career at Stanford with 57 goals and 32 assists, both school records at the time”

          • Guest

            She was playing as a forward in a 2 front. Morgan racked up a ton of assists in 2012 and I don’t think she’s a great passer especially in central midfield. If KO is going to play in the middle her decision making needs to be much quicker and her touches cleaner. The one think I really like about Allie Long for all her other faults is that she always gets her body between the ball and the opponent with her touches and moves the ball quickly.

          • CED

            Ohara is not a #8..it’s laughable. mediocre at bets on the ball. Not even close to what a good #8 player should have in style of play. Keep making me laugh with your nonsense..barely off the floor from your nonsense that the goal on the counter was b/c their wasn’t an OB back. Keep fangirling

          • ARED

            Let’s not forget that these numbers and positions mean different things to different people. The role of the “#8” is not a single established thing around the world.

            Imagine Iniesta and Jermaine Jones. Both could be called a #8, but can it be more different? How about Modric, Khedira, or Essien? Lampard and Gerrard?

            Long could be a tough, strong, box-to-box #8. Brain: more delicate and precise. Heath: well-rounded. Pugh: harnessed, but capable (in that role). O’Hara would be a fighter who’d help break up possession from a superior midfield (though I agree not her best role). Dunn similarly would be scrappy but not as strong in possession.

            It goes on and on. Seems the big thing most can agree on is that Lloyd affects all other midfield roles….and not for the better….and the USA midfield has room for improvement.

          • Guest

            Does not seem that great at ball handling. Never seemed to be able to play well in pressure with the space she had playing on the wing as an OB, so what makes you think she would be able to do that playing in a clogged midfield? Her touch is sometimes a bit heavy also

          • mockmook

            Every candidate for the #8 has strengths and weaknesses — who is the sure thing as the USA’s #8?

          • Guest

            I want to see Nairn there, if not her then maybe Colaprico, or Laddish

          • Guest

            No thanks on Narin. Colaprico and Laddish are better and should get looks first. Narin is not good enough with the ball and has below average athleticism. There’s a reason Garbara has not started her every game this year. I don’t think the other two have missed a start when fit.

          • Guest

            I do not remember her not starting? I remember Lohman not starting a few but not Nairn.

          • Guest

            She didn’t start in the first Portland game, the one they tied, and I thought there was at least one other.

          • mockmook

            I bet O’Hara is a better ball handler than Nairn — plus faster, and more fit/tireless.

          • Steglitz49

            KO is getting long in the tooth compared with the others.

          • mockmook

            “If choosing to play today”

          • Steglitz49

            We are building for WC-19. The Swedes are going to the Maracana; the US are going home.

          • mockmook

            Do you even know what a hypothetical is?

        • ARED

          I don’t think Long is the best holding midfield in the world, but in a very short time -less than 10 games -she became the USA’s best option there. She was able to play balls on time and on the ground, something the other CMs had struggled to do. She also managed to connect with Morgan and Press -giving the balls behind the defense as well as to feet to hold up and combine.

          Long did struggle to combine with Lloyd which caused problems, but that is true of every other player and Lloyd as well….

    • CED

      LOL…The US played 15 friendlies before OG in 2016. They had plenty of time to find a MF, but Ellis hasn’t a clue, though the answer is obvious. She also never looked for a real answer and was hoping to get lcuky like Wcup 2015. Brian should be playing the #8, bring in a true #6 to try out and play Pugh as the #10. Of course since things are designed to cater to Lloyd and her poor touch foul machine, turnover machine, etc..none of that happened. The team has no play maker in the center of the field, there is a reason everything comes from the wide attacking MF’s. The only play making from the center came when occasionally Pugh pinched in and played some thru balls and one two’s.

      • mockmook

        I don’t think it is obvious at all that Brian is the kind of energizer player for the #8

        • Steglitz49

          What the heck is #8 when it is at home?

          • mockmook

            Translate, please.

          • Steglitz49

            You want a #8 but what do you mean by that?

            Cruyff played in #14 by accident. He started his career in #9. Nordahl always played in #9. The Kaiser also changed shirt number.

            #10 became coveted because in position specific numbering it was the most diffcult position to play in.

            Tell me what is a #8?

          • mockmook

            What formation are we talking about?

          • Steglitz49

            The right formation.

          • mockmook

            I know it’s pointless, but I’ll try once more get you back to reality:

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            I think a #8 is meant as in a box to box midfielder, if that means anything more to you.

          • mockmook

            He wasn’t trying to be edumacated, not really (it’s doubtful he didn’t already know), just being his normal “flamboyant” self.

          • Steglitz49

            King Eric played in #7 for Man Utd. Else he played in something else (#11?)

          • David K Anderson

            It’s hard to say who’s the best box-to-box mid on the current USWNT radar. Brian is a possibility. But so are Horan, Long, and at least three or four others _not_ on the OG roster. I don’t think the US have a true box-to-box MF that can compare with the very best (Henry, Fishlock…), but we have several players who are good at the role (and have further development headroom).

            That said, I’ve been advocating a move to a single pivot for the USWNT for a while, and with that the d-mid really needs to stay home in front of the back line most of the time. For me, that would mean a call up for a player like Keelin Winters.

          • MurderOnZidanesFloor

            I like Winters but given her age I think its unlikely she will be the solution. Colaprico seems the obvious answer in a true DM role to me.

          • mockmook

            It is getting late for Winters, but probably not too late (only 30 yo at WWC19).

            But, none of the current DMs really separates themselves from the pack for me — that’s why I’d like to see some others tried there (like Skroski, King, Westphal, Sonnett).

          • Guest

            Sonnett could be a great DM. Along with reading the game pretty well at her young age, she’s good on the ball and can carry it up the field if necessary. A player who can dribble like in the center that can be a huge asset when breaking down defenses.

          • David K Anderson

            Very true. But she’s unlikely to get a look there at club level unless Henry gets injured (especially next season, in which the Thorns should have Henry for the whole thing).

          • David K Anderson

            Agreed, going forward. I’d have probably called up Winters for this one (and WWC15), but Colaprico deserves a look at this point.

          • Guest

            Fishlock is like the female Modric and one of my favorite players. I’m not sure there are really any comparable players to Fishlock right now, even Henry is more of a holding player since she doesn’t really have the pace to be a runner. Henry’s ability to set tempo in possession however, is probably unrivaled in WoSo. She is the best deep-lying playmaker in the women’s game. If only they had been born with American lineage.

          • mockmook

            I stand (perhaps) corrected — if he really thinks Moore was a #8 (position wise).

          • Steglitz49

            Bobby Moore wore #6. He generally played just ahead of the back line. In a sense the Kaiser played much the same position but the way the Kaiser played he was called a sweeper, a term not often used about Bobby Moore. The Italians called the position libero. The Kaiser changed his shirt number but I can’t remember why.

            Those positions are not used much if at all today.

        • CED

          You should have followed Brian her entire career when she’s playing her correct position, which isn’t for WNT.

          • mockmook

            Which was more the #10

        • kernel_thai

          Not sure u can really have an energy player at the #8 if Lloyd is ur #10. Someone in the higher midfield had to actually be willing to say there.

          • Guest

            Not true at all. I think Fishlock would be a perfect 8 on every team. A box to box player is exactly the type of player I would want as an 8 with Lloyd as a 10. Although just about any top team would be better with a real 10 instead of Lloyd.

          • mockmook

            Well, we were talking about the ideal midfield — which somehow didn’t include Lloyd 🙂

            Regardless, that box-to-box player is ideally in constant motion (Fishlock-esque).

          • ARED

            Haha on Lloyd and the ideal midfield…

            These roles/numbers/positions all mean different things to different people/nations….

          • kernel_thai

            Then play Lloyd there and get over the faery tale that she is a #10

          • mockmook

            As the #8?

            Are you crazy?

            And, I’m sure you were just recently posting comments about how Lloyd doesn’t work in the midfield.

      • Steglitz49

        I blame them for dropping their kits for the cameras for personal gain. Also, more of the Swedes have come out of the closet than the Americans.

    • David K Anderson

      Good point. If Ellis was thinking about chemistry (and still wanted to bring Allie Long in, which I think was a good call), she’d have replaced Brian, not Horan. Long and Horan have had Thorns training camp and some matches to get a good start on their chemistry (and add in Tobin Heath, for whom the same applies). Midfield with at least some built-in chemistry.

      I know that sounds like a Thorns supporter talking (and it is), but I’m not claiming that’s the theoretical ultimate combination for the Nats. For chemistry in the midfield – assuming a three-player midfield, since Lloyd plays as a de facto forward – that would have been her best option with the roster she had.

    • necron99

      I think that we are also overlooking another factor. Some of the main cogs of the team chosen to start did not play for extended stretches going into the Olympics. It isn’t just Pinoe, who at least was not a starter.

      Brian and Lloyd had barely played coming into the games. Sure they got a few easy games before the send off, but they did not look sharp and did not need to be to win those. I am not a fan of Lloyds play in the midfield. Sure she scores but passing and creating not so much. But in these games her first touch was dreadful, and her passing was poor. She often tried no look passes to nobody. Brian disappeared for long stretches, and was not as mobile as she usually is. She is not a fast player, but usually positions herself well. She was slower than normal. The team that started was not in sync at all. That happens when the players are not able to practice and play together.

  • Gary Diver

    Technically speaking, USWNT lost on penalties. Ellis’ choice of Morgan, who does not like doing penalties, shoot first, and Press, who knows Ellis does not have confidence in her, to shoot the most critical round shows a shocking level of incompetence.

    • kevin

      i can’t believe ellis would choose morgan and press #1 and #5 beforehand. #1 and #5 are critical spots. i would have put them in the middle and lloyd on one of the ends. unbelievable.

  • lightcomingon

    What I don’t understand is why the hell she left Krieger on the bench during that game. She is excellent at one-two touch passes, something you need to unlock bunkers. She can play quick, combine with almost anyone and, yes, even defend!

    Ellis had no answers when we played Sweden. Hell, even Colombia took advantage of Ellis’ half-assed tactics of just everyone play up! Everyone take shots! Something’s bound to go in!

    I’ve never liked her as a coach, even before the World Cup. She truly has no idea what she’s doing, leaning on Lloyd, Solo and a half fit Rapinoe to save the day. Guess what, you had 18 (HAO should have been one of them) players available to you that I’m sure would be more than willing and able to play well, had there been a good game plan in place and smart substitutions.

  • smallbatches

    One concern I have for the future is we seem to be getting smaller all over the pitch. Pugh 5’4″and Dunn 5’1′. Morgan Brain 5’7″, O’Hara 5’5, JJ 5’7″, Kling 5’2″, Morgan and Press both 5’7″. I see us being pushed off the ball much more than in the past. And since Abby is no longer with us, who are we putting in the box on set pieces that can get up in the trees. Sweden definitely out muscled us. We need some size in the midfield and back line for set pieces if our skill players are trending smaller.