Allie Long discusses transition to center back

Kieran Theivam January 20, 2017 327
Allie Long's ability to possess in tight spaces has aided her transition to center back. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Allie Long’s ability to possess in tight spaces has aided her transition to center back. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

U.S Women’s National Team defender Allie Long says she is enjoying being ‘the quarterback’ in the side as she continues to adapt to her role in Coach Jill Ellis’s defensive back three. The Portland Thorns midfielder was moved to a center back role following the Olympic last year, this despite her continuing prowess as a deep lying midfielder who has a habit of popping up in the right areas to score goals for her club.

Speaking to the media this week in Carson during the national team’s annual January camp, Long was asked about her role in defense, and she said it was a position she was continuing to learn and develop in.

“It’s like an extremely holding, holding mid, but I love it, getting the ball and starting the attack like the quarterback,” she said. “Obviously I have to keep learning it, and it’s different, but I really like it and it’s growing on me, for sure.”

Long’s position at the back for the U.S has divided opinion, with some accepting that her range of passing and reading of the game could see her settle into the role and others suggesting the shift removes her goal threat and potentially leaves her exposed with no line of defense behind her.

However, Long said that playing the two roles for club and country is going to make her a better player, helping her better read her defenders in Portland, and her midfield with the national team.

“That was one of the first things that I noticed, that this is going to make me so much better in my actual position, and I feel like I am learning from not playing there (in midfield). In an ironic way, it’s actually helping me become a better six.”

With no major tournament for the U.S until the World Cup in 2019, there is now the opportunity for Ellis to tweak and experiment with her squad. Long acknowledged that the players were being encouraged to try things in training this week, and were perhaps able to play with a bit more freedom.

“That’s a really good point, the next two years are like evaluating. But also, I was playing in training and Tony (Gustavsson, assistant coach) was like ‘try things, you’re in practice, this is your time to make mistakes, and that’s okay.’ He wants me to try to hit those long balls and try to play those passes that could be picked off, but just to be in those situations and literally grow.”

Although there is no World Cup or Olympics, there are huge games this year against great competition.

“Every time we’re practicing here,” Long said, “it’s preparing us to try different things against these great teams, and then we’ll see where we are at.”

Long has a history of looking to prove her doubters wrong, almost playing with a similar underdog mentality to that of Carli Lloyd. Now a regular in Ellis’s squad, she was asked whether her mindset was different from the player who was on the periphery of the squad, fighting for a spot on the roster.

“It is different, but I’m still the same person who wants to be the best player I can be. I’m so competitive and I want to win every time I step on the field, and playing for this team intensifies that.

“When your dream is just to get there, and now that I’m here, you set different goals. But the desire to be the best in that environment is still there.”

  • DNG

    This is one of Ellis’ more interesting experiments. I understand why she wants a player like Allie at the center of the back three in possession but her defending leaves a lot to be desired.

    • Gary Diver

      One of USWNT’s recent weaknesses is their vulnerability to counter-attacks. Doesn’t a 3-back formation increase this vulnerability? And don’t all 3 backs need to be great defenders?

      • AlexH

        I don’t think a 3 back is any more or less vulnerable than a 4 back for the simple reason that in a 4 back system the outside backs are expected to push up (sometimes all the way to the opposing end line) and contribute width to the attack. It all depends on where the defenders position themselves.

        • DNG

          You’re right. Conte switched Chelsea to a back three this year to improve his defense not his offense. I think it’s actually less vulnerable than any modern 4 back the way it’s normally played unless set up unless you play it like Pep has with city.

          • Steglitz49

            You can’t compare WoSo and BroSo in terms of play on the field.

            You can make some analogies with individual players but even that is fraught with deficiencies.

          • DNG

            From a tactical perspective I don’t really see many differences.

          • Steglitz49

            The field and the goals being of the same dimensions for women as for men, it impacts the play.

        • Gary Diver

          I guess SBC will be a good test for this experiment.

          Is there any possibility that Ellis wants Long on the field, but there are too many MF for everybody to have a spot? Ellis definitely like MFs and apparently more the better.

          • AlexH

            I think that the advantage of a back 3 is that it releases the outside mids to be true marauders. The weird thing though is that Jill doesn’t seem to want marauders but rather artists so I can’t quite figure out her rationale for this

    • AlexH

      I don’t like experiments of this sort. Centerbacks are centerbacks for a reason and Jill should probably find a good central defender than has ball skills then to take somebody with ball skills and try to make them a defender. Jurgen tried something similar with Jermaine Jones for a while. I like Long but I would rather that Jill look for somebody that knows how to play the position. Also, given that the WNT is in the opponent’s half most of the time and the backline is pushed high, we need CB’s that are FAST enough to get back when the other team inevitably tries to play through and over them in the counterattack.

      • DNG

        I don’t think it’s actually uncommon for DM or CM to be converted into CB when they are younger. The difference obviously being they Long is no longer young and she’s really been an attacking mid for most of her career. It takes years of experience to become a great CB. The lack of any decent passing CBs in the US does look to be the issue that sparked this idea. I agree that the CBs need speed if the US wants to defend their high line effectively. But in that case I’m not sure Sauerbrunn or JJ meet the definition of athletic enough. Sonnet does but that’s not enough.

        • AlexH

          Brunn and JJ definitely do NOT meet the definition of a fast back. But Brunn is near the end of her career and JJ isn’t so great that she absolutely needs to be back there either. Long would be OK if she had some athletes back there to cover her (the same can be said for the other 2) but I think a backline that consisted of Long, Brun, and JJ just won’t cut it.

          • DNG

            Long’s marking in the box still worries me and I don’t think much of her ability to clear crosses. Would her defending be enough against many of the US’s opponents? I think it would. I don’t think it’s good enough against a team like France though. I’m not a fan of JJ at all and agree that Sauerbrunn is close to the end. I wouldn’t put it past Sauerbrunn to remain effective for a couple of more years though due to her ability to read the game very well. I would not advise playing her as an outside center back in a back three though. She would probably be exposed badly by fast countering flanks.

          • Arcie Tillydee

            I know I’ll get howled at as a Thorns fanboy (a fair cop…), but I’d not be upset to see the Emilies (Sonnet/Menges) slotted in on the Nats. There’s a very good understanding in place between them, and all kinds of pace in recovery (Sonnett’s fast, Menges is faster).

            In addition, Menges has developed into a very good on-pitch leader, too (often gets the armband when Sinc’s away). Ellis has said “I’ve got my eye on you” to Menges, so I’m not giving up on her NT chances.

          • DNG

            I’ve watched the Thorns a lot over the last few years and really enjoyed watching them play this past year. I like both Emily’s a lot. I think they both have some more developing to do though before I’d before I’d be completely comfortable with either. Both struggle somewhat to move the ball effectively when pressured and that’s something that really needs to be solved.

            Then again I’m not at all comfortable with JJ starting and she isn’t great under pressure either. I’m sure you remember the CRS POR match a PP this year where JJ got pressured by Heath and then proceeded to give the ball away to Sinclair on the doorstep for an easy goal.

          • Arcie Tillydee

            I concur with that assessment of the Emilies, save that I’d not have huge issues were either to start for the NT. That’s probably because I also have a critical view of JJ, who has similar lapses, as you point out. But I’d like to see both of them clean up their marking a bit. More confidence when she has to take on a player to move/clear the ball would help Menges, and Sonnett still made the occasional rookie derp last season.

  • Gary Diver

    Problem and Solution

    (I had earlier put this in any thread)

    If beating a bunker defense is the problem, I am not sure a formation change is the answer. There are two keys to a successful bunker strategy: (1) good defenders, and (2) allowing the defenders to make their defensive form in the final third. One of USWNT’s problems is that they take too long to move the ball forward once they get it. Time and time again the USWNT defenders play around passing the ball back and forth between each other before going forward. (A big problem is that few of the USWNT defenders are good passers – most are just so-so.) So the opponents have adequate time to form their defensive formation and at that point it is very difficult to break through to get a good shot at goal. (The issue is a little like war battlefield strategy.) The best way to break a bunker defensive is to counter-attack quickly (blitzkrieg if you like) before the defenders can set up their set positions and that is what USWNT currently does not do efficiently or well.

    • HOFCToDi

      Blah! Blah! Blah!

      Shot straight.

      2016 Rio Olympics
      12 Aug 2016
      USA vs SWE
      Shot Attempts
      USA 27 SWE 6

      2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
      12 Jun 2015
      USA vs SWE
      Shot Attempts
      USA 12 SWE 9

      • Steglitz49

        You forgot their WC-11 match.

    • Steglitz49

      Your advice that — “The best way to break a bunker defensive is to counter-attack quickly (blitzkrieg if you like) before the defenders can set up their set positions” — does not quite make sense because the derisive term “bunkering” implies that that team does not get out of its own half.

      In such a situation you cannot counter-attack quickly.

      In Brasilia it was Sweden who did the counter-attacking.

  • guest

    bahahah I can’t wait for teh other teams’ forwards to have a field day torching Allie Long. They used to target Kling… Long is the new kling.

  • Gary Diver

    Department of Defense

    What happened to the great “Department of Defense” that won WC15 and everybody was heaping unlimited praise on just 15 months ago? They went from being the linchpin of USWNT to its weakest link in a very short period.

    • #1Fan

      A few of us were killed for saying that JJ was not very good 🙂

    • DNG

      I’ve said this a bunch but good defense is a team objective, not just the responsibility of the back line. The single most important event that improved the defense at the world cup was removing Carli Lloyd from central midfield. The team defended very well as a unit after that. The struggles since the end of the WC are due to a change how the US plays. If they wanted to be a team that almost never conceded they could be, but they’d essentially be a team that grinds out results and that would not help them progress as a soccer team.

      • Steglitz49

        To defend in soccer means having an organizer and staying focused. It is tiring.

        • rkmid71

          You can’t switch off as a defender. More mentally tiring than anything. It’s a lot different than an attacker who can switch off a lot with minimal consequence.

      • rkmid71

        I’m in favor of progressing as a soccer team. Why does it take so long? CBA? Coaching?

      • mockmook

        I’d consider great defending as “progressing”

        • DNG

          I meant in the sense of playing attacking football. I think they can find the right balance between attacking and defending. I only meant that I don’t think they should be happy with the status quo.

          • mockmook

            It’s still telling that your (our?) mind set is such that you just assume that when you mention “progress” we are supposed to know you are talking about enhancing the attack.

          • DNG

            Lol I suppose your right. I thought the content of many of my comments at least somewhat implied my views on the USWNT’s play and my support for an enhanced attack. But I suppose it would be a better practice to clearly state my meaning.

    • HOFCToDi

      Where are all these supposed goals allowed?

      • Steglitz49

        In Brasilia.

    • Guest

      JJ cannot pass, Broon is old, Kling cannot defend, Krieger on the decline. It had plenty of weaknesses per player. Though it did pretty well. Basically Ellis wants to have possession defenders. Though Broon, and Kling fit this aspect but lack pace to play in three back.

    • kernel_thai

      To be fair the DofD wasn’t given a chance. The reason it worked at WC was most of the attack came up the left which meant Klingenberg was mostly forward and Krueger was mostly back defending. Ellis got the big idea that she needed more attack on right so out went Krueger and Johnston & Sauerbrunn ended up playing a lot of 2back. As neither is fast it was a recipe for disaster.

    • guest

      kriegs and brunn got old for soccer players and krieger got personally victimized by JE in favor of KO. jj will continue to slow down and kling was always a midfielder more than a defender.

  • FawcettFan14

    I’m not convinced by this. The role of a center back isn’t just to quarterback from the position of low pressure. It is to react quickly to high pressure situations and anticipate runs opposing forwards will make. Long isn’t really suited to the defending part of central defender. It worked in the fall series because they were playing tomato cans. And even then there were defensive lapses.

    • ARED

      And, it’s not as if the USWNT should really be looking for ways to “set play” from any further back than they already do. The backline already is good enough to move the ball quickly and efficiently with the usual players. Have a midfielder like Long helps to give an outlet, and then she can move the ball forward. But sometimes even in midfield Long found herself stuck too deep to really connect with the forwards, so to drop her and inside her own half only leaves her trying to force 30-40-50-yard passes which are quite difficult, even if she is pretty good at this. Why not leave her as a midfielder to “quarterback” from a position where she doesn’t have to make a brilliant 50-yard ball to create a chance for a teammate? And where she can play the ball in to the forward’s feet. At CB she is also isolated from those such as Heath, Press, or Pugh who can combine with quick, short passes which can open the opponent.

      I doubt any would suggest moving Long helps the defensive effort, but I also do not see how it helps the attacking effort.

      • Steglitz49

        WoSo is too different from BroSo to make meaningful analogies but it seems you see Allie Long as some latter day fmeale reincarnation of Bobby Moore or the Kaiser. It is an interesting proposition but I doubt she can fill that role.

        It was Lisa Dahlkvist who hit the penetrating, razor-sharp pass that destroyed the US defense.

        • ARED

          I see Long as a smart and competent player who can play a holding or pivot role well -better than anyone else has under Ellis.

          I believe her controlling and moving the ball to the faster and more creative players give them the ball in good positions, where without Long they would receive it usually in bad positions and have to fight to find any space or opening themselves. This is why the USA would struggle to create good chances, let alone to score against any decent opponent. You can blame Morgan/Heath/Pugh/etc for having a “bad game”, but if they only receive the ball in a crowd, and with no options around them to connect with, then what can they do? The team needs to fit and play together.

          So, I think Long is an important player because without this role the USA midfield has been very poor compared to the talent Ellis has in her team. Everyone becomes better when Long plays, and for me that is a very important factor many do not appreciate in midfield play.

          Yes, I like Dahlkvist very much, and she was the key player in many ways for Sweden I believe. That was an example of a team knowing how to play and being confident and patient in their effort. They did not have many chances or big moments with the ball, but they made their chances when they came -esp Dahlkvist! Meanwhile the USA got frustrated and uncertain, Ellis removed Long, and by the end of that match it looked like a group who had no idea how they should play.

          • Steglitz49

            I am not persuaded that the USWNT started out with any idea except that the QF was going to be a turkey shoot. In their ho the Swedes, if they had any sense, would just bend over and take it like a man.

            Instead the worm turned and the USWNT stood there naked without a paddle to get out of their creek and did not even have the nous to just swim.

            I maintain that Allie Long is the wrong side of 23 and even 24. JE is failing in her duty in not bringing on new players.

      • DNG

        Maybe you disagree but I don’t think Johnston and Sauerbrunn are very good at making that 25 yard pass past the first line of defenders into the CMs. The team frequently required the 6 to drop into the back line to pick up the ball. I also don’t really think they move the ball around the back quickly enough either. The team had a difficult time setting up a quick switch at the back to a FB that could carry the ball into space. Too often the movement around the back was slow to the point that it allowed opposing defenses to shift their shape to stop forward play.

        • ARED

          I totally agree with you here, that they have room to improve in the build up. I would emphasize that for me it’s not necessarily that the players cannot do it, as opposed to being are unsure or unable in their current formations and roles to do it.

          “Too often the movement around the back was slow”.

          I think speed of play and certainty in how they are trying to play are two key flaws. JJ and BS can make short passes well, and long passes well enough, and both can move forward with the ball if needed, and on the USA I think that is good enough. Those two CBs are better than most WoSo CBs in ball control, short passing, and long passing -at least purely on the skill basis. The entire team seems lost or clunky in build up, holding the ball when there is space to exploit, and pushing the ball when they should have held it, but I think when Long came into the team we saw big improvement in: 1) The CBs play on the ball, 2) The outside backs and winger’s ability to receive the ball in space and in advanced positions, and 3) The ability to, at least sometimes, move the ball forward through the middle (I am not a fan of Lloyd in the team, and believe removing her for a true CAM who can play through the middle would be the final step to make).

          I don’t think Long, Sauerbrunn, or Johnston are perfect players, but my belief is that if you surround the CBs with Long/Brian (or other good combination midfielders), and Kling, O’Hara, Heath, Pugh, Dunn, etc (or other good combination wide players), and Morgan, Press, etc (or other good combination forwards), and direct them to play the ball quickly and short to these players, and if that is not possible just play it long for Morgan/Press to chase (still an effective strategy in WoSo), that this plan would be enough. Don’t worry about playing the final ball from the halfway line. Just play the right ball, and know that usually that will be a quick one. They could play Andrea Pirlo at CB and even he would struggle to create great chances for the team from there, so I don’t expect Long, or the other CBs to do it…. ; ).

          • DNG

            I’m going to have to disagree with you at least a little bit only because I think Long gives us a good view on what a plus passer back there looks like. From my view I think both JJ and Sauerbrunn are uncomfortable playing those 20 yard balls on the ground into tight windows or just don’t see the passes. Sometimes I think they are hesitant to step into space when it’s given or they start to go and turn back because they can’t locate a pass(not always their fault). I think they both have poor passing range though. They both are at least somewhat aware of their passing rage because JJ has cut down on the long direct passes and Sauerbrunn rarely plays those types of balls. They can both make the short passes well enough but sometimes take to many touches to release the ball.

            I’m still a huge fan of Sauerbrunn though because she’s just an excellent defender. She reads the game extremely well and times her tackles flawlessly. The only times I can remember her getting booked in the past year or so were tactical due to someone else’s error. Outside of foot speed an maybe height I’m not sure you could ask for a better defender. I’m much less impressed with JJ though. I think she’s a pretty average defender along with not being a good passer and on top of that she’s prone to bad errors. She’s also not very fast and has been less effective at getting to headers on the near post since teams have started to deploy some near post zonal marking on corners and FKs. I’d much rather they invest more time looking for other options. I thought Sonnett and Dahlkemper were better central defenders than Johnston in the NWSL last year.

            I’m a fan of Long’s play the only weakness I think she has is that she’s not very fast or athletic. She’s a smart player though who by and large knows how to be very effective in spite of that. I was perfectly happy with her at the 6 and I think some of the criticism of her is unjustified.

            I kind of feel like I’m piling on Lloyd whenever I mention her now. If I thought there was no other player in the US who could score goals for her position maybe her selection could be justified. I just don’t find that to be the case though. Lloyd is given preferential treatment and is sheltered. She hurts the team playing against good teams if she doesn’t produce.

          • ARED

            We agree in general, but disagree on a few of the details -which is fine of course. I agree with your description of how they often look -hesitant. But I blame that more on Ellis’ failure to develop (and keep) a decent midfield, and the fact that Lloyd does not cover ground and cannot (usually) make herself an option to receive the ball from the CBs. When they know they have Long, or when it is Morgan/Press/Pugh/etc moving ahead of them, they suddenly seem to have better luck and less uncertainty. I am not saying they are as good as Long, or….(who do you believe are better passing CBs in the world….?), but I believe they are good enough -esp in relation to their defensive abilities. I just do not think a team as good as the USWNT should be relying on its CBs to be a large (or even the primary!!??) creative role in the attack.

            I rate Johnston higher than you, but I don’t disagree there are weaknesses in her game. She is young and a fighter though, I think it often works to have a fighter next to a smooth and cerebral CB. Sauerbrunn prevents most danger from happening, but if it does, I believe JJ is pretty good at flying in to stop it (O’Hara is as well).

            I also rate Long highly at #6, best the US has had under Ellis with no doubt, and it allows a CAM freedom to create from advanced positions -something that has also been missing under Ellis when Holiday could/should have been in that role. The problem remains that against Haiti and Colombia, Lloyd can play that role well. Against any strong defensive team, she cannot. For me Lloyd, despite her ability to strike a ball very well, is the biggest and obvious problem in the way the rest of the team is trying (and Ellis says they are wanting) to play. With Long as a #6, the five attacking players all look much better. And if Lloyd isn’t one of them, the team seems almost unstoppable to me -esp. if given time to develop together. First it was Wambach anchoring the movement and freedom of the others, now it is Lloyd. Ironically normal occurrence in the USWNT.

          • DNG

            I think it’s fair to blame some things on Ellis and I don’t think they need to be spraying 40 yard diagonals to the wings. I do expect the defenders to occasionally pass past the first line of pressure so that the team can keep more numbers in the middle to link further up the field. If the 6 has to drop to the defenders and Lloyd doesn’t check to the ball, Brian is the only central outlet for Long to play into, the wings have to pinch in to act as the link to the forwards, and the OBs have to push way up to act as the width. This is one place where I think it’s fair to criticize Ellis and Lloyd’s selection. She should have seen the weakness in central midfield and the Defense’s vulnerability to counters at SBC last March. It was very apparent to me. I’m not sure when exactly they started teaching this build up shape but I wonder if they got it from Ancelotti. I saw Madrid play similarly a few times except they would play 2 CMs plus a DLP and only one center forward. I don’t think Lloyd even strikes the ball that well. She isn’t a historically accurate long range shooter and despite her power and ability to hit the ball squarely, she can’t shape her strikes at all. Rapinoe is a player I consider a very good ball striker by comparison.

            There are not a lot of great passing CBs in the women’s game yet. Renard though is a very good passer with good range. I just don’t see what you see in JJ and maybe I’m wrong, but I think she’s slow to read the game and too easily get caught ball watching. Ogimi turned her way to easily on the goal in the WC finals. If Sonnett can improve her decision making under pressure marginally I’d play her over JJ. I think she reads the game better and is more athletic so she could actually provide some cover for Sauerbrunn. If they stick with a back three, Krieger wouldn’t be a terrible option either although I’d prefer they try and get younger.

            As far as potential CMs go I’m not sure if you saw Sullivan play before she tore her ACL but she looked to have promise. I hope we get to see Lavelle this March and I wouldn’t be oppose to Heath playing a bit in center midfield as well. I just wouldn’t play her in a 2 CM double pivot midfield. More of an attacking CM.

          • ARED

            Ha -perhaps I should say Lloyd strikes a ball very hard, not well! (I have said here sometimes that her only use to the USA is finishing from inside 6 yards and also aerial challenges. And (almost) all the others can do these things also! I would have dropped her from the 11 maybe in 2012 or even before….just like Wambach, she is extending her career at the expense of the “unknown” group of younger (better) players having a chance to develop a new team identity. I agree, Rapinoe’s strikes are much better in actual quality. I just try to give Lloyd something other than criticism, so I focused only on the power for that comment…. ; )

            As you say, Ellis should have seen the weakness in midfield (and therefore weakness in defense, especially from the counter) long ago -like I said, I think it’s been obvious for years that Lloyd hurts more than helps, and this is especially true against any good opponent. A team with this many good midfielders/attackers should not have been such an average (and sometimes poor) midfield for these past 4+ years. I advocated that Holiday, Heath, Pugh, and even Rapinoe would be better in the Lloyd role (CAM, #10, whatever we call it). Now Press is possibly the best choice, Dunn is there, etc. Or simply play a different (simple) system, because of course there are many strikers who can play and a simple 4-4-2 has looked quite good in the few moments when Wambach was not included. Ellis seems to force changes to the system instead of making 1-2 easy and obvious player changes. In 2014-2015 it was Wambach, and everyone else moved to suit her, the system changed, etc. Now it’s all done to fit Lloyd, and it is really disappointing for me to see a team managed this way, and especially to go mostly unquestioned. I doubt Ellis knows much about Ancelotti’s team in Madrid, lol, but perhaps I am too harsh to say this. (I have given up on rationalizing her judgment in football terms, and instead accept that she is committed to starting with certain players and then forcing the others in around however she can fit them).

            I agree Sonnett has a good level already and seems likely to rise. Johnston for me is a CB who will make mistakes but also save plays you don’t expect, and I do not expect perfection from CBs and often feel they are too quickly criticized. To consider Madrid again, I have laughed and defended both Sergio Ramos and even Casillas many times because they play a similar way -they take risks and sometimes are badly caught out. But I do not mind this, in fact I prefer them to be bold and aggressive since this is the mentality of Madrid, and I would say USWNT also -as long as it fits in with the other players around them. This is not to put JJ at that level, but only to show how I simply seem to have a lighter critique of these players who by definition will make some bad mistakes. When I look at the standard of CBs in the WoSo world, I find BS, JJ, and Sonnett to be pretty high. And when I review the team under Ellis, the back four was one of the few areas I would not have many complaints. The midfield often has been a disaster, and the attackers have relied on themselves not the team, because the team could not support them well.

            I like Sullivan, but do not like or agree with the growing hype there seems to be surrounding her i. I guess its the inverse of the same belief with JJ -I try to stay calm about reviews on young players, both in the positive and negative. Sullivan looks good sometimes, and looks average (to me) at others, and this is normal. I thought Lavelle was by far the best player in the U-20 WC in an average USA team (which included Sullivan, Horan, and Pugh). I expect them both to improve to be very good players along with many Americans, but as usual, which ones “do the best” will depend a lot on how and if they are used by Ellis.

            I imagine Lavelle would be a better #6 already than everyone we have seen play there except for Long and perhaps Mewis, but until we see her playing we cannot know. I doubt she will play as a CAM before she is 30, because if Holiday never could, why should we think Lavelle will? So many options for Ellis, I hope at least we see them get to play in the coming years, even if it is in a flawed system and in odd positions. Again, I think a simple 4-4-2 with Press and Morgan in front of Heath, Pugh, Brian, and Long is a winning team. Include almost any player you want except for Lloyd and I still think that is true.

          • Steglitz49

            Stop typing about Press. It is hard to believe that after the fall of 2016, even JE can hang on to her.

          • ARED

            What, just erase her from the team and all conversation? That is a ridiculous assertion Steg. Are jumping on HOF’s bandwagon already? ; )

          • Steglitz49

            Last August and September were revelationary. Black on white, twice over. RIP.

          • ARED

            Yes, you love to judge a player and sentence their career to the garbage from a single play or game. And I will always oppose that notion, it is ridiculous, as I say.

            This player has performed for the USA in limited roles, and for her clubs in massive roles. Whether she should start as the main striker is one thing to debate, but to suggest she disappear is pretty offensive (to the game, I believe). Same for Long and Sauerbrunn. Sometimes you lose. You love references to other sports -in tennis you can make 30 errors and play a brilliant match. In basketball shooting 4-10 is considered good. In soccer, which is a game of huge skill played with the feet not the hands, errors will happen and using them for hype and headlines beyond a certain point is erroneous and eventually disingenuous.

          • Steglitz49

            It was two misses both in key games.

            Soccer is not basket ball.

            I suspect that Sauerbrunn and Long were at fault for the Swedish goal in Brasilia. The USWNT as a whole was at fault, not least the captain, but I have yet to see a proper analysis of that match. (The Swedes, not surprisingly, focused on the incompetent referee crew, and the verbal slanging match afterwards.)

          • ARED

            I know, soccer is much more difficult than basketball! As far as scoring. In basketball you score every 30 seconds. In soccer though, it is more rare. This means the goals a much more important, but also the mistakes. So there is pressure and you must cope, but still, in a career a player will sometimes do well in these moments and sometimes suffer. But the team is more important. In basketball you only need 5 (and really only 2-3) players to perform well. In modern soccer, you cannot win without a full team effort. In WoSo there is more margin, but against the best teams you need the team.

            And, obviously you have not read my analysis of that match then…. ; p

          • Steglitz49

            No.

            My simple mind tells me that the USWNT were overconfident. Mega overconfident.

            They saw the Swedes as ripe for the plucking. In their minds, if the Swedes knew what was good for themselves, they would bend over and stick their tails in the air and act as submissive as possible.

            Behold the USWNT surprise when they found that the worm had turned. Not only turned but had grown teeth and claws too. No longer a trukey shoot.

            Worse, there was no Plan B. They had forgotten that iconic clock in Zurich and the Motherland Calls statue.

          • ARED

            I agree the US often seems to have an idea that they are the best and anytime things don’t go well they have to face it as a crisis. It should not have been a surprise at all how Sweden played, or that the US may struggle to score. But they felt like it was a crisis, and this time they could not face it well enough.

            The analysis of the match is simple though: Sweden was committed and smart with their defensive approach, the USA was unsure and unwise with their attacking approach. This meant it would be a close match, and Sweden being so clinical on their goal made the difference, because usually even when the USA struggles to score they do not often concede, which allows them to eventually wear a team down to score, or at least reach penalties.

            So yes, the team was a bit overconfident and when challenged it fell apart instead of having resolve with the plan, or a change to a Plan B, as doubts arose -and rightfully so, they were not positioned well to win in my opinion.

          • Steglitz49

            That Sweden played so well was a big surprise. They had suffered their worst ever defeat in the group game with 1-5 to Brazil. They slipped in on a piece of banana-peel.

            The US seems not have had a Plan B. They could not change their game to cope with this unexpected situation.

            The CBA/MOU stops the head coach from cleaning out the Augean stables.

        • ARED

          Perhaps a bit like my assessment of Heath…lol. It’s a different question to ask “how do they play?” vs. “how do they play in this team/system?”

          For example, I think part of Heath’s “improvement” last year was simply due to Long relieving the burden of Heath having to always receive the ball under pressure with no good outlets. Any attacker is better if they receive the ball in a better position. Add that Pugh often broke the defense and gave Heath balls not only in space out wide but in positions to shoot, and we saw Heath’s goals/assists go up. It is harder to quantify with the CBs, or Kling for example, but I believe there was a positive change, when they were surrounded by players who can combine, play quickly, and roles were clearly defined. Unfortunately, Sweden was a challenge and perhaps they had not played this way long enough to know how to be resilient and patient. Also, Ellis pulled Long off quite early in that match I believe. And finally you end the match with Heath playing defense, nobody playing midfield, and you cannot create any chances.

      • DNG

        I don’t think I was clear on this but I would not play Long in the back line. I don’t think she’s a strong enough defender to be in the Luiz/Alderweireld/Bonucci role that Ellis envisions.

  • Guest

    I don’t understand this. Yes she is good in possession but she lacks speed. Which is huge for a CB in 3 back system. Your gain is negative as well. Imagine this with Meghan Klingenberg back as Outside back. Yikes. Better possession the ball well and score goals.

    • DNG

      I don’t think they should use Allie Long as a CB against top teams. I don’t think she’s a good enough defender. However, I don’t think her foot speed would matter that much if she was protected by 2 athletic CBs and played between them.

      • #1Fan

        Spot on. Its all about the shape you defend out of and attack from. It is a testament to how tactically inept we are as a nation that we have so few players who can fit this basic requirement. Outside back is another role we seem to never have the tactical nous to play well. Its all straight line running and commitment. Very little craft.

    • Arcie Tillydee

      If Ellis was concerned with pace at CB, she wouldn’t have kept using Broon and JJ so long…neither is pacey. I agree with speed being critical in a 3-back system. For me, that means defenders who tend, in more conventional systems, to switch between CB and OB…and/or genuinely fast CBs (like Emily Menges).

      • Steglitz49

        They were torched in Brasilia for sure.

  • Jim

    Right now she has Becky and Casey as outside backs, what happens when Kling returns?

    • DNG

      Doubt she’ll see many minutes at all. She’s not a fit for any position in this formation.

    • Tony

      She doesn’t have a job if were playing a three back. Just like Julie Johnston and Kelley O’Hara. Starting job. Why this system sucks

      • DNG

        Kelley O’hara can play wing back in this formation.

        • Steglitz49

          Verily.

    • I’m still not sold on Casey as a starter. She hasn’t shown me anything that the other OB’s have shown me.

  • Guest1

    What are we playing?
    F Dunn F Lloyd F Morgan
    M ? M Brian M ? Heath
    D Short D Long D Sauerbrunn
    GK Naeher

    • Z

      They don’t have a defensive midfielder with Sullivan hurt. Pugh hasn’t played on the team in a while but she’s Ellis favorite out wide. I guess Lloyd a forward now which benches Press or Dunn.

      • #1Fan

        I dont think Sullivan is really a DM in the true sense of it.

        • Guest

          I’m guessing you mean that she isn’t really a player that is going to blanket the field and recover possession all over the field. More of a deep-lying playmaker.

          • #1Fan

            Exactly. She is much better in possession that out of it. Most DMS are really there to stop the opposition playing fluently and to break up attacks. Against a good team, I could see her getting exploited defensively.

          • Guest

            The US haven’t used a player like that in years. Boxx was probably the last and I’m not sure why. In all honesty though, I don’t think I could name a dominant defensive midfielder in the NWSL that could be the US’s Makalele. Maybe there are some gifted athletic defensive midfielders coming up through college I don’t know about.

          • #1Fan

            I think its becasue in the “flight to technical soccer” people forget that iut takes all sorts to make a good team. The art of defending has been relegated to the “not sexy so I dont need to do it box ” Almost every player in the US Youth system I know who plays a defensive role plays ANOTHER position for their Club. In other words they are all converted frm elsewhere.

          • Guest

            That makes sense from a youth perspective. The youth club scene is all about winning matches and showcasing talent so what you say about youth players playing different positions for their clubs is unsurprising. Christie Rampone was a converted forward who became an excellent defender though. Maybe she’s an exception but it’s not impossible to have success converting athletes into defenders. Kelley O’hara has done a pretty good job of converting to OB too.

          • #1Fan

            It should be the other way around. The youth scene should be about developing players and showcasing ability. The Youth NTs should be about taking that talent and molding it to WIN on the Full NT. Playing the different positions is surprising to me because they play far more minutes in Club soccer so its a bit much to become a good defender when you rarely play there. i would have thought the YNT coaches would want these kids to at least learn new positions by playing them. Im not saying its impossible, far from it, the only thing Im saying is that these kids/women are not very experienced at the art of defending. They dont get much practice. OB is really an attacking position in the USSF model. They push them really high in possession and out of a 4 back, the CDM drops in between the CBs to give a 343 attacking shape. So O’Hara is really being used to offer attacking width as opposed to defending much.

          • Guest

            Maybe you know more about this, do forwards and defenders get equal consideration when it comes to obtaining scholarships? That could make a big different in the position a kid is pushed to play. I do agree that it makes sense to want defenders to get the most minutes there while playing for their club.

            Outside backs push up in a lot of formations while in possession. Dropping the DM into the center of the back line is a little different. That might actually take away some triangles in the early build up phase.

          • #1Fan

            out of the 433 that they have preached for the last 2 years at youth NT level, they want the CDM dropping in to ice up the ball from the CBS and the OBS pushing on..The LW and RW are really LF and RF and the play narrow allowing the OB to push on. so there are lots of triangles . 2CBsto CDM is a triangle as is CB CDM RB or LB . The 2 CMs can also be involved with the CDN and the LB/RB.

            Scholarship dollars are very hard to quantify because they dont necessarily correlate to the best players. I think its safer to say that a top level forward is rare so does garner a lot of offers. I think all positions are recruited on need and ability at most schools so a school in need of a top CB is not going to overlook her for a forward. However as I said, I believe goalscorers are very very rare. At the end of the day, If the YNT thinks that a CM is a better CB, then its wuite likely that a top College coach may think the same. Some positional transitions are bigger than others.

          • Steglitz49

            Michelle Akers was a long time ago.

          • mockmook

            You heard it here first, and this is likely the last time you will ever hear of it 🙂

            Ella Stevens will be the next great DM. And, yes, she can defend.

          • Steglitz49

            Sullivan is injured. Knee-injuries are the bane of WoSo. I would make no prediction about Ms Sullivan yet. She may have to spend two seasons with Avaldsnes first.

        • DNG

          It seems as if Ellis has prioritized that the 6 must be a good distributer. A DM who excels at winning back possession and is a great distributer with good range is very rare. I don’t know if I can really expect Ellis to find a “perfect” 6.

          • #1Fan

            because JE – wrongly- seems to be building a team with a singular focus on beating teams who defend deep and counter. Its all so functional. With the advantages she has , she should be building a great team that can play attractive soccer. So I get it straight the 6 must be a passer as must the 5. Long thinks she’s the QB and you want a passing 6. So I ask who is actually going to defend? Im not suggesting the perfect 6 exists, but her projected spine seems to have no one who excels at actually defending.

          • mockmook

            Just because a player excels at passing doesn’t mean they suck at defending.

          • #1Fan

            bit extreme. I dont think anyone said that was true.

          • mockmook

            That’s the implication running through all these comments.

          • #1Fan

            I dont think it is. I think people are simply pointing out that there is no real CDM. The only player I would say excels at passing is Brian. Maybe I’m missing someone.

          • DNG

            I don’t think I’d say that Brian is a significantly better passer than players like Horan, Heath and Long although I do think she’s the all around best passer. I think she’s still a notch below a player like Little that can put up great completion percentages in the heart of defenses and has better range.

          • Bruce

            Personally I’m waiting for Brian’s potential to translate into something real and sustained on the pitch. How many games did we see her on the NT last year? In any one of them could you say that her presence changed the dynamic of play for an extended period?

            I know that you could say that of Heath, Dunn, Lloyd, Press and even Pugh.

            I don’t think she is *active enough* to be the dominant CM we all hope she will be. Looking forward to being proven wrong, though.

          • DNG

            I don’t really agree with this view. The nature of the game itself kind of tends to over focus on the players that produce end product. While end product is essential to winning there is usually a lot that goes into a goal before the final pass whether it’s taking the ball away from an opponent or contributing to the build up play of a goal. A player like Brian is one I is constantly contributing to her team in a positive way. Playing most of the year at holding mid that is unlikely to turn into anything flashy you’d remember her for. As for Brian’s presence changing the dynamic of play I think this is clearly seen when she is left out of a line up either due to injury or rest. Her replacements(at least for the US) are never really able to adequately replace her very solid CM play in my opinion.

          • Bruce

            I just don’t see that from her.

            I don’t see her putting the work in to pressure/tackle/recover. She seems to disappear for long stretches of the game. On offense, I cannot recall her ever really moving the defense by playing with the ball at her feet or making runs.

            Sure she has passing vision and touch, but for the most part all we see from her is changes of the point of attack.

            None of that has to do with end product.

            But speaking of goals and assists, Brian has 3 goals and 7 assists (including set pieces) in her last 44 games. She’s been in the AM for just about all of them. That’s just not nearly enough production for someone who is capped to play a “creator” role.

          • DNG

            We clearly have a different view on this player. I think she pressures, recovers, and tackles fine but she’s definitely not a destroyer. I can’t say that I every really see her disappearing from games when she is healthy. She’s always around the ball setting tempo on pretty much all of the teams she plays for. As far as her playing attacking mid, I don’t think I’d classify her position as an attacking mid and she’s definitely has not been played as a 10. 8’s don’t always have the gaudiest numbers.

            Also, the vast majority of goals go to the forwards. Lloyd also managed to end the year with more assists than any of the wings. The players with the numbers will be the ones on the tip of the spear and that’s not really where Brian plays.

          • Bruce

            Appreciate your POV.

            There’s no doubt that the skills are there. Would love to see her with a higher work-rate when at #8 and #10 this year. I just feel she leaves a lot in reserve by waiting for the game to come to her instead of seizing control. Maybe 2016 injuries are to blame. Time is going to tell on this one.

          • rkmid71

            Agree about 2016 injuries. I wonder whether she was truly fit for OG (if not, they should have taken someone else). She didn’t play much for Houston last year. I sometimes wonder about that head blow she took in WC. And now hamstring issues. The wear and tear of the pro game can take a toll. But I’m a fan when she’s fit and on her game.

          • DNG

            I thought she played pretty poorly just before and during the Olympics and didn’t look fully healthy until they concluded. I believe she had a hamstring injury that limited her movement. I see her role as more of the secondary assist provider. It’s her job to get the ball to Heath, Dunn, Pugh, or Lloyd and those are the players that typically ended up with the assists.

          • rkmid71

            I think what sets Brian apart is not only the quality of passing it’s the speed of decision making. It’s not just about completion %. She brings an intangible quality — a team oriented way of playing that was sorely missing and made a big difference in the 2015 WC.

          • DNG

            I don’t think Brian is the only player that plays the team first passing approach. I think the three other players I mentioned do as well. What I do think set’s her apart from the players above are the skills I think she’s slightly better at than they are at: quality of passing, speed of decision making, and completion% ect… Is the 2015 WC team a much worse team if Long is playing next to Holiday instead of Brian. I don’t think they are.

          • rkmid71

            What we know for sure is that anything was much better than Lloyd playing next to Holiday in midfield. Brian is better and she’s 23 and Long is 29. I became much more of a Heath fan in 2016 the way she played for club and country. I will also always remember her goal (assist from Brian) versus Japan in WC final that put the nail in the coffin — though everyone else seems to only remember Lloyd in that game, but she was done after first 15 minutes (helluva 15 minutes though). Horan I see as better in forward position.

          • DNG

            If it wasn’t clear, I think Brian is probably the best overall center midfielder on the team at 23. Yeah any CM but Lloyd playing next to Holiday was an improvement. I can’t agree more on Horan. I’ve been saying it for a while but I think forward is her best position. They need to get her a place around goal where her physicality in the box can be a real asset.

          • Bruce

            Agree on Horan needing more time to use her physicality in the box. She’s an upgrade and natural successor to Lloyd in that category.

          • Bruce

            That’s a pretty low bar considering who she replaced in that WC.

          • DNG

            I’m not defending the use of Long as a CB. I don’t think playing Long as a ball playing 5 and Sullivan as a ball playing 6 in at the same time is a good idea for probably similar reason to your own. If Ellis doesn’t have a ball moving 5 who is also a good defender, she shouldn’t be trying to shoehorn a life long attacking midfielder who has just recently started to learn how to play the 6 into that role. Ellis needs to make due with what it has.

            Personally, I’d organize the team in a 3-5-2 instead of the 3-4-3. I’d keep Sauerbrunn in the center of the back three for the time being and surround her with some good athletic defenders like Sonnett or Krieger for example. I think Long(or Sullivan) would be fine as a passing 6 with good defenders behind her and I’d look for someone to play next to Brian who has a high work rate, is a good passer, can run with the ball and defend well.

            Also, I’m not totally sure that the 3-4-3 suits the US personnel. I didn’t really like the look of it in either of the Romania matches. The US are not a very good ball support team anyway and the 3-4-3 seemed to require some longer more difficult passes into the forwards that a good defensive team would snuff out or disrupt. I think the 3-5-2 would be more balanced for the the current squad. I’m not against going back to back 4 formations either.

          • Steglitz49

            Till we know how Sullivan’s injury repairs, the less said about her the better.

          • Steglitz49

            You state that — “Im not suggesting the perfect 6 exists” — but most would contend that among the men it was Bobby Moore.

            You may be right that there is not a female of the species but I doubt that that is correct, just that your prejudices get in the way.

      • Bruce

        Brian is not a lock for starting XI. Frankly, neither is Morgan.

        • lol

          yes she is, moron. who is a better CM right now than Morgan Brian? And Alex “The Great” Morgan will be on the roster this cycle if she wants to be. She is a special player with all those desirable intangibles … if nothing else you want her as a supersub when you need a hardheaded goal scorer who will do what she has to do, including risk her body, to get things done. She can also assist.

          • sam

            I wouldn’t cut Morgan right now for WC19 for many reasons, but she might not be a starter.

          • Steglitz49

            Moe or Alex?

          • guest

            both.

          • Steglitz49

            Fair enough. Just checking.

          • Well in Bruce’s defense, the lineup’s lately have proved that neither is a “lock” for the starting XI right now.

          • annie

            brian is a lock right now unless injured. maybe Alex Morgan is not but it would be a mistake to cut her imo.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear! Alex strikes fear into the hearts of the opposition even when on the bench knitting.

          • Sure, I’m not disputing that.

          • guest

            nobody said alex should be cut. they just said she isn’t a lock starter in their opinion.

          • HOFCToDi

            The next lineup that matters will be at the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying.

          • eye roll

            Bruce is a pressgang member

          • Steglitz49

            Not convinced. He is more objective. A man of the people.

          • HOFCToDi

            Bruce is a blithering idiot.

          • Bruce

            You can’t read my 12 word post completely and I’m the “moron”. Love it. Moving on.

          • Steglitz49

            Read my lips?

          • HOFCToDi

            The shoe fits.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex Morgan, yes; Moe Brian, not sure.

          • Stegpitz49

            morgan brian is safer than alex morgan

          • Steglitz49

            Moe Brian is safer for the opposition than Alex.

            Please note it is Alex who is paid 25,000€/month by Lyon, not Moe.

          • #1Fan

            it is interesting how the perception of Morgan is so polarized.

          • Bruce

            Only here. It’s a poison to this forum.

          • DNG

            I kind of find it funny that at the slightest hint of Morgan criticism, There is a whole host of people telling me what a choker Press is even if she wasn’t part of the discussion at all.

          • guest

            that is the alex morgan gang troll brigade for you. they like to criticize others but they can’t accept any criticism in return.

          • DNG

            What are you talking about? I have never trolled Morgan. I give clear reasoning as to why I am not the biggest fan of hers and I welcome criticism of my views on her and of the players I like and defend. I enjoy well reasoned debates and reading others viewpoints. Bruce wasn’t even talking about press in his original comment.

          • guest

            i wasn’t talking about you. i was talking about the alex morgan gang people.

          • DNG

            My mistake then. I feel as if I’m typically associated with that group. There aren’t many posters here that I would call trolls. The only one I really consider a troll and had to block was HOFCToDi.

          • HOFCToDi

            The “Press Gang Troll Brigade” have spewed the same garbage for four years.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press
            Summer Olympic Games
            Goals – 0, Assists – 0

            Christen Press
            SheBelieves Cup
            Goals – 0, Assists – 0

            Christen Press
            CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
            Knockout Stage
            Goals – 0, Assists – 0

            Christen Press is the quintessential international fraud.

            4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
            78 caps
            2 head coaches

            Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

            garbage time
            prima donna
            selfish shot hog
            tomato cans

          • HOFCToDi

            Calendar Year 2016
            FIFA Top 12 Ranked Opponents
            USWNT Goals Scored
            Press – 0

            Calendar Year 2016
            FIFA Top 12 Ranked Opponents
            USWNT Assists Provided
            Press – 0

            Christen Press is the quintessential international fraud.

            4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
            78 caps
            2 head coaches

            Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

            garbage time
            prima donna
            selfish shot hog
            tomato cans

          • HOFCToDi

            Sunday, 21 Feb 2016
            TSG announces CWOQ Best XI, Awards
            ussoccer.com/v~13.17/~/media/images/wnt/gallery-images/2016/02/160221-wnt-v-can/photo-gallery/160221-wnt-vs-can-photo-gallery19.jpg?h=600&w=786&la=en&hash=BF5ABEEA5BE7034EF13FA4F320F9E7BB8E549331&yocs=6_&yoloc=us

            concacaf.com/article/tsg-announces-cwoq-best-xi-awards

            By the way, Christen Press is not on the list.

            Christen Press is the quintessential international fraud.

            4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
            78 caps
            2 head coaches

            Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

            garbage time
            prima donna
            selfish shot hog
            tomato cans

          • HOFCToDi

            Friday, 11 Mar 2016
            Morgan, Solo and the USA Sweep Awards at 2016 SBC
            ussoccer.com/v~13.17/~/media/images/wnt/gallery-images/2016/03/160309-wnt-v-ger/160309-wnt-vs-ger-gallery20.jpg?h=559&w=800&la=en&hash=B1A7B6E0C01C796F4C31CF422F0CC370A4D5CF89&yocs=6_&yoloc=us

            ussoccer.com/stories/2016/03/11/13/17/160311-wnt-morgan-solo-and-the-usa-sweep-awards-at-2016-shebelieves-cup

            By the way, Christen Press is not on the list.

            Christen Press is the quintessential international fraud.

            4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
            78 caps
            2 head coaches

            Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

            garbage time
            prima donna
            selfish shot hog
            tomato cans

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press
            2016 Summer Olympic Games
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 6, Shots on Goal 1
            Penalty Kicks Attempted 1, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

            Christen Press
            2016 Rio Olympics
            12 Aug 2016
            USA 1 SWE 1
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 2, Shots on Goal 0
            Penalty Kicks Attempted 1, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

            rio2016.com/en/football-womens-quarterfinal-fb-3

            Christen Press
            2016 Rio Olympics
            09 Aug 2016
            USA 2 COL 2
            Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 4, Shots on Goal 1
            Penalty Kicks Attempted 0, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

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

            Christen Press is the quintessential international fraud.

            4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
            78 caps
            2 head coaches

            Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

            garbage time
            prima donna
            selfish shot hog
            tomato cans

          • DNG

            Many of the US players are polarizing here. Brian, Heath, Press, and Morgan just to name a few.

          • Gary Diver

            You forgot Carli Lloyd, Lindsey Horan, and Allie Long.

          • Reality

            What is interesting is that the two biggest trolls here at EQ are both diehard Morgan fans and vicious Press haters. They want Morgan to have all the glory on the NT and perceive Press to be a threat to her status. They refuse to admit that pairing the two together would be advantageous to the NT. I suspect their fear is that Press would somehow diminish Morgan’s position on the team so their strategy is to constantly diminish Press. Their insecurity about their favorite betrays their indifference to what could improve the team. Their obsessive Press hate is poisonous to the tone of discourse here at EQ and leaves one no option but to block their trollish comments.

        • Steglitz49

          Alex Morgan is the Charlotte Kalla of WoSo. If you prefer a male analogy, try Torgny Mogren.

    • Steglitz49

      Which translated reads:

      Chelsea — Houston — Lyon
      ? — Houston — ex-PSG
      ex-Avaldsnes — Portland — KC
      ex-Potsdam

    • guest

      that right side would get torched on defense with heath and sauerbrunn’s lack of speed.

      • mockmook

        Wut?

    • mockmook

      If they are going with a 3-4-3
      And, if they have Long as a CB:
      They need to have the CMs who will both play as #6’s

      http://drawformation.com/post/588543c92829f/sm-588543c92829f.png

      (Using the current Roster, using only 3 subs as if in a “normal” game)

  • #1Fan

    I found the entire Q&A fascinating. In effect JE said/acknowledged that Lloyd was no more than a designated shooter. In another Alex Morgan quote I was impressed by her desire to get better, but pretty stunned that you can play at the level she is and not be much better at the thigs she says she needs to improve on. Facing up defenders and beating them of playing teammates in.

    All this tells me that WoSo is very different. You dont see many limited players with hundreds of Caps in the mens game.

    • DNG

      It seems to be starting change a little bit but you’re right. The current state of the game and the game 4 plus years ago just didn’t always require skills are pretty basic elements of effective play in the men’s game.

      • #1Fan

        Agree its starting to change, Its hard to explain to people that in spite of being the leading nation in WoSo , that tactically and technically the USA has lost so much ground to others.Even in the WC win, they were outplayed for long stretches.

        • Gary Diver

          Part of the problem is that too many people here view winning major tournaments as the only thing that counts. (The flip side is that some people feel that if you don’t win or at least get to the SFs, you’ve done poorly and should be embarrassed about your play. For example, the poor results of U20 and even poorer results of U17 at the end of last year have tarred all those teams’ players.)

          For the problem of the over-importance of winning tournaments, consider WC15. One could argue that in the whole tournament USWNT played only one great match: SF against Germany. After the Colombia match, some people were calling for Ellis’ head. After the China match, which USWNT only won 1-0, people were calling Ellis a genius for splitting Lloyd and Holiday and making substitutes that she was forced to make because of suspensions. The Germany match would have been a great match for USWNT if Julie Johnston had not pulled down Alexandra Popp and USWNT dodged a lethal bullet when Johnston was not red-carded for the foul. (It would have been very difficult for USWNT to have won that essential match if Johnston had been sent off.) And the final match against Japan was not a great match – for some odd reason the Japanese were not ready to play that match and before they woke up were down 3-0.

          So people believed USWNT was a great team in 2015 because they won WC15, but you can win tournaments by playing so-so soccer. You just have to survive until the final and then outplay your final opponent. USWNT may have been a great team in 2015, but their WC15 play was not great soccer.

          • #1Fan

            Dont agree on part of it. Results did not tar them, Performance and style of play did. And for all the tar, some of them were in Full NT Camp so In guess it didnt stick

          • Gary Diver

            Though I see things differently, I appreciate your point which was expressed in a humorous way.

            It is funny that the flip side are PKs. Nobody remembers if you successful kick a PK (success rate is about 75%), but if you miss a crucial PK your name will go down in infamy.

          • Steglitz49

            We can agree that both the WC-15 final and the OG-16 QF in Brasilia were strange matches.

            Nevertheless, it is easy to forget how close the matches were in the knock-out stages of both OG-16 and WC-15 so the WC-15 final stands out a bit more than the Brasilia one, not least when one remembers the WC-11 and OG-12 finals.

          • HOFCToDi

            If you want style, cheer for the France women’s national football team.

            2016 Rio Olympics
            6 Aug 2016
            USA 1 FRA 0

            2016 Rio Olympics
            12 Aug 2016
            CAN 1 FRA 0

            2016 SheBelieves Cup
            Goals Scored
            Alex Morgan – 2
            ENG – 1
            FRA – 0

            All that fluff produces NOTHING!

          • HOFCToDi

            You are clueless.

          • Steglitz49

            They won by a penalty.

          • HOFCToDi

            You are clueless.

            Popp should have been red carded for the scissors tackle on Megan Rapinoe. No attempt to play the ball whatsover.

            Maier should have received a second yellow for the forearm shiver to the back of Megan Rapinoe’s head.

          • Steglitz49

            The US gets the benefit of the doubt from refs in big tournaments. The USWNT players have perfected the art of harassing the officials. Therefore, I agree with Marco van Basten’s idea of limiting it to the Captains to speak with the refs.

          • HOFCToDi

            “Part of the problem is that too many people here view winning major tournaments as the only thing that counts.”

            Beating FIFA Top 10 Ranked Opponents count.

            USWNT Career
            FIFA Top 10 Ranked Opponents
            USWNT Goals Scored
            Morgan (DOB 02 Jul 1989) – 34
            Leroux (DOB 07 May 1990) – 8
            Press (DOB 29 Dec 1988) – 3

            Christen Press is the quintessential international FRAUD.

            4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
            78 caps
            2 head coaches

            Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

            garbage time
            prima donna
            selfish shot hog
            tomato cans

        • Steglitz49

          “the leading nation in WoSo” might be amended to “a leading nation” if you take all of this Millennium into account.

      • Steglitz49

        2011 is soon 6 years ago, when the world was exposed to Japanese tiki-taka play.

    • Bruce

      Is there a more complete Q&A online that I’m missing? Link?

    • Steglitz49

      The truly great are always searching to improve.

      You can be forgiven for contending that 25,000€/month might have been persuasive too.

    • Steglitz49

      As regards your “hundreds of Caps” as far as I know, there are not that many WoSo players with 100 caps. As far as I know there is no male player with 200 Caps.

      • Som Termanni

        There are at least 180 women’s soccer players with at least 100 caps. Of those, at least 13 of them were capped at least once in the last year: Sinclair, HAO, Lloyd, Solo, Janine Van Wyk, Annike Krahn, Abby Erceg, Kim Little, Heath, Morgan, Marta, Sauerbruun, and Kaire Palmaru.

        The US has 35 women (most of any nation) and 16 men (2nd most, behind Saudi Arabia’s 17) with 100 or more caps.

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you. (I was thinking of goals, my error.)

          Men have played international soccer for 145 years and women for about 45 years yet there are about 180 ladies with 100 caps and 360 men, a ratio of 2:1.

          It must mean something, just not sure what.

        • tonysocref

          To expand on that a little, there are 18 women with 200 or more caps. 11 of them are from the US with Lilly and Rampone at over 300 caps.
          Highest US player on the men’s side is Cobi Jones with 164.

    • guest

      she’s been saying the same thing for fours years about improving. what you see is what you get now most likely.

  • Jamie

    What starting line up does Jill want?

    • guest

      One that has INCLUDE CARLI LLOYD. Who cannot play possession football, a system were trying to play. Fitting in kick and chase player like Alex Morgan

      • guestttt

        they should just be starting Christen “The Choker” Press all the time. cut every other forward.

        • mockmook

          I like your strategic acumen…

      • HOFCToDi

        Christen Press sucks.

      • kernel_thai

        FIFA Best Player award came with a coupon good for 90 minutes per match for the next three years.

        • Reality

          Don’t forget “at forward” or “at withdrawn forward” or ” just hanging around the goal wherever she is positioned”.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press is the quintessential international FRAUD.

            If it wasn’t for Sydney Leroux, Christen Press would be NOTHING! Spoon feeding at its best.

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2014-concacaf-womens-championship/141024-wntvmex#tab-1

            ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2015-fifa-womens-world-cup/150608-wntvaus#tab-1

            Christen Press
            FIFA Women’s World Cup
            Goals 1, Assists 0

            Christen Press
            CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying
            Knockout Stage
            Goals 1, Assists 0

            Christen Press
            Olympic Games
            Goals 0, Assists 0

            Christen Press
            CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
            Knockout Stage
            Goals 0, Assists 0

            Christen Press
            SheBelieves Cup
            Goals 0, Assists 0

    • Steglitz49

      A winning one?

  • brdn08

    Every back line is bad if the mids in front of it don’t understand spacing. That has been the undoing of the US since Lauren Holiday retired. Most importantly, the problems of 2014 have resurfaced. Entirely too much space is allowed between the last mid and the back line. Johnston’s only real weakness is that she panics whenever she has to turn and face her own goal. You also can’t keep asking Sauerbrunn to basically defend half the field. It’s impossible to do consistently and eventually it will catch up to you.

    • HOFCToDi

      It’s all about the four across the midfield:

      Pugh – Brian – xxxx – Heath

      xxxx – Killion, Sullivan

      • Steglitz49

        Sullivan is out injured. We do not know how well or fast her knee recovers. A spell in Avaldsnes may be required.

    • kernel_thai

      Holiday was an awful defender. The farther forward she got to play the more positive her impact. IMO Boxx was the last player they had who got the position.

      • brdn08

        You’ll have to give me some game examples. I saw her give teams fits even when the other mids were hanging her out dry.

    • DNG

      I agree that horizontal and vertical compactness between the defensive line and midfield are essential to solid organized defending. I don’t think that’s why the US has been left vulnerable in the last year or so though. I’ve only really seen two teams over the last year that have been able to break the US down when they are in their shape. France and Japan. The rest of the teams that have managed to score on the US have done so on the break exploiting the slow pace of the US CBs and the lack of cover due to so many numbers being committed forward. I don’t really think the loss of Holiday is to blame for the defensive lapses. I definitely disagree on Johnston. I think she has other weakness as well besides her panicking with the ball facing her goal.

    • Ethan

      With the exception of the semifinal and final of WWC2015, Holiday struggled significantly in center midfield for the USWNT in 2014 and 2015. I didn’t think her passing was all that stellar for the most part, and like kernel_thai, I wasn’t really impressed by her defensive work.

      • brdn08

        Totally disagree.

      • ken long

        your words make you sound stupid

    • guest

      holiday couldn’t slide tackle to save her life.

      • guest

        i don’t think she even attempted one slide tackle the entire 2015 world cup.

        • mockmook

          Can you tell me which USA players did attempt a slide tackle?

        • Steglitz49

          This could be because it was played on artificial surfaces in stead of natural grass.

      • brdn08

        Your opinion is your opinion

      • Steglitz49

        It is not easy to slidetackle on plastic. Natural grass, yes; artificial surface, not easy if at all.

    • HOFCToDi

      Seriously?

      2016 Rio Olympics
      12 Aug 2016
      USA vs SWE
      Shot Attempts
      USA 27 SWE 6

      2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
      12 Jun 2015
      USA vs SWE
      Shot Attempts
      USA 12 SWE 9

      The US men’s national basketball team doesn’t always win the gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games.

      • brdn08

        Obviously I grade the US on a curve. The team os far better than any team it plays. So when they lose in disgusted. I have also consistently argued that poor finishing has been the US’s greatest failure. My argument is that the US would have been fine if Ellis could have simply settled on a replacement in the same mold of Holiday. There was no need to make wholesale changes to the defense. The US should stick with a 4 back.

        • HOFCToDi

          Watch Jill Ellis move back to a 4-2-3-1 when Allie Long gets skewered by the likes of ENG, FRA, GER at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup.

          • Steglitz49

            A decent starting XI. I presume you have Dunn as a sub. HAO can devote herself to the Gunners.

          • pawn2nd

            Nope. Dunn has to be in there. She is a Killer who always knows where the main chance is. I also think Kilng has to be there just for the attitude she brings to the D. And everyone talking about how slow Sauerbrunn is: short memories much? nobody remembers her taking the PERFECT angle vs Lisa DeVanna in the WC? That was a fantastic through ball and Broon snuffed the attack by herself! Speed is important but there are other things that are equally important. Instinct and consistency being two of them. Who remembers when Johnston gave up the penalty and Sauerbrun went over and settled her down for the rest of the game and helped her maintain the level of play necessary for a WC win. just my 2cents…

          • Steglitz49

            Dunn can come on as a 55-60′ sub. Klings, I am not convinced though it is hard to argue with you.

          • guest

            dunn, who lost a spot at PSG to canuck Lawrence.

          • HOFCToDi

            Ellis Calls 29 players to U.S. Soccer National Training Center for 2017 January Camp

            ussoccer.com/stories/2017/01/04/20/26/20170104-wnt-2017-january-camp-roster-release-ellis-calls-29-players-to-carson

            Forward Mallory Pugh (knee) and defender Meghan Klingenberg (back) were not available for this camp due to lingering injuries. Both are expected to be available for selection for the SheBelieves Cup.

            Back injuries can be tricky.

          • Steglitz49

            The 4 goalies make no sense. JE has lost the plot on goalies.

            Some of the forwards and midfielders do not make sense either but I presume it has to do with employment law etc.

          • guest

            idiot. Press and Lloyd are going to start, probably rotating with Morgan. I will be very surprised to see Lavelle or Killion.

          • rkmid71

            JE apparently now likes Lavelle. And what’s the issue with Killion? I would try both her and Sullivan in that spot once/if she makes it back. At the very least I would try this out. Lloyd should be a sub. Press not good as sub. Maybe just have her in reserve.

          • guest

            Press should be starting, not a sub or reserve. She is the best CF they have.

          • guest

            press is due for an injury and was apparently limping during camp. HOFCtoDi would die of happiness.

          • guest

            she was limping the first day but is fine now. she was on the starter practice team this week.

          • guest

            press is the iron woman on the uswnt.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press
            2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
            16 Jun 2015
            USA 1 NGA 0
            Minutes Played 0

            resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/65/00/60/eng_31_0616_nga-usa_fulltime.pdf

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Christen Press
            2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
            30 Jun 2015
            USA 2 GER 0
            Minutes Played 0

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

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Christen Press
            2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
            05 Jul 2015
            USA 5 JPN 2
            Minutes Played 0

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

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Nevermind Christen Press started eleven of the first twelve matches for the USWNT in calendar year 2015.

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

            ROFLMAO!

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press
            International Women’s Friendly
            21 Oct 2015
            USA 1 BRA 1
            Minutes Played 0

            foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=24140

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Christen Press
            International Women’s Friendly
            25 Oct 2015
            USA 3 BRA 1
            Minutes Played 0

            foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=24141

            Christen Press was BENCHED!

            Nevermind Christen Press started eleven of the first twelve matches for the USWNT in calendar year 2015.

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

            ROFLMAO!

          • HOFCToDi

            You are a clueless moron.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press sucks, dumbass.

  • wosofan

    Allie Long with Ashlyn Harris in goal is mistakes waiting to happen when we go up against France, England and Germany.

    • Steglitz49

      How about Sweden?

      • wosofan

        What about Sweden? Are they in the She Believes Cup that I was obviously talking about?

        • HOFCToDi

          Sweden crashed and burned at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, failing to qualify for the knockout stage. Sweden was a flash in the pan at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

          • wosofan

            Ok.

          • HOFCToDi

            Sweden failed to win one game at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sweden was a flash in the pan at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

          • wosofan

            cool

          • Steglitz49

            The critical fact is that Sweden inflicted the worst exit ever of the USWNT from a tournament.

            Worst. Ever. Sweden meted out that measure in 2016. The USWNT cup flowed over but the dregs were bitter.

            At the end of the day it comes down to this: that in Brasilia the USWNT had its worst ever exit from a major tournament at the feet of Sweden.

            As far as one can tell, Alex Morgan in Lyon at 25,000€/month and Crystal Dunn in Chelsea Ladies seem to have survived that debacle, while HAO, who was not there is at Arsenal Ladies.

            Put to the sword worst ever by Sweden.

          • Kevin

            Man, you must really think Sweden sucks. You keep acting like the US lost to a terrible team (on PK’s).

            The 25 year streak of finishing every major tournament with a medal will never be matched again. It’s ignorant to think that the streak would have gone on forever, especially considering the competition is much stronger now than ever.

            At the end of the day, the USWNT are the reigning World Cup Champions for at least another 2.5 years. I’ll take a gold in the WWC and a knockout in the quarterfinals of the Olympics every 4 years until the day I die, and so would any coach/player/country.

          • Observed

            Would be fun to know how many posts he has made alluding to this game since it happened. Definitely multiple hundreds. Which is not winning graciously but rather gloating, bragging and rubbing the results of one game – PKs — into the face of the loser over and over and over etc., etc. ad infinitum. Is this typical of the general Swedish character?

          • Steglitz49

            An incompetent referee crew stopped the US losing in play. Probably the nadir of WoSo refereeing because the crew did not even know the laws of the game.

          • Observed

            Very questionable – whether the Rapinoe play was a foul as she got the ball first, and of course the Lloyd goal which would have given the US the win is also debatable but there’s no way you would bring such a thing up.
            Gloating, and desperate, incessantly repetitve clinging to 1 game months after the fact – not a good look but I suspect that months will turn into years. Knock yourself out.

          • rkmid71

            If we have to worry about getting fortunate on ref calls (Johnston in WC, Rapinoe in OG), we really do have issues. It would be nice to hear some clear analysis of what went wrong in Brazil from the USWNT coaching staff. Kind of like DiCicco’s 100+ page report post U20 2008 WC. Btw they won gold yet he said at the time “we cannot confuse our success in 2008 with everything is right with USA girls’ and women’s soccer.” Yet here we are in 8 years later and 2016 was probably the worst results ever for USSF women’s teams. The U17s and U20s have been poor for many cycles. Not only bad results, but getting significantly outplayed in many games. The good news — it really can’t get much worse can it?

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

            I am yet waiting for that analysis. It will never come.

            After failing to win WC-11, the PR-machine was able to turn that final into Alex’s coming-out party (instead of a celebration of Aya Miyama).

            Tomorrow is another day, and all that.

          • Observed

            In the big picture it may be wisest to just start cheering for another team, spare yourself the apparent agony, if the pain is too much to bear casting your eyes any further upon the red, white and blue.

          • rkmid71

            If the status quo persists, you might be right. Already I’m leaning towards focusing a lot more on USA Basketball Women’s National Team, despite my love of soccer. That’s a real national team. I had hoped for better.

          • Observed

            For me personally it’s not a problem to keep rooting for our team. I was just proposing a solution for those who seem to be in a lot of agony watching our teams. So many factors at work in all of this and all of them out of my personal control. i will hope for the best and enjoy rooting for the players and teams we have. It’s not super, super serious to me. It’s a fun part of my life. I wish for the best but enjoyment will occur for me. It’s a priority and it’s not hard to do, as a fan. I may be disappointed but I won’t be angry with the players I see. I hope for the same things you do but will do my best to enjoy the ride no matter what. If you root for a pro team in another sport – do you jump off the bandwagon if they have bad years or are you loyal to them? No right way. I stick with my teams and find things, players to enjoy no matter the result. Not that I am complacent, it’s just that I know it’s out of my hands.

            The players we see on all these American teams, it’s certainly not their fault. One can question the coaches from the outside. The players who aren’t there but you wish that they were there, may they appear someday. Could be that our expectations were skewed out of alignment with reality too much, and with long-term effects, by the overall success of the Hamm/Foudy/Lilly/Akers years. And even since then – 3 Olympic Golds and one World Cup win.

            What could they be doing, as a national program, that they aren’t currently trying to do? You can’t change American culture so you have to do it from within your inside soccer environment that you try to create. My guess is that they’re doing what they can with the resources they have. Do you know of specific things not being done that could be? I would be fine with a change of coaches at some youth levels just based on final results though I don’t know how much blame to put on them as opposed to all other factors. Never met them,never watched a training session of theirs, etc.

            I do love our basketball team too, the rest of the world in the women’s game won’t catch up for a long time, if ever.

          • guest

            not selecting unhealthy,unfit and out of form players for major tournaments would be a good professional start.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point — “3 Olympic Golds and one World Cup win” — goes a long way towards explaining why the Bomb in Brasilia bruised so many hearts and minds, and annoyed the rest.

            Having typed that, I agree with you that most if not all involved in WoSo are trying their best but as guest, whoever that may be, noted — at least one of the selections for OG-16 was a bit odd and stuck in the craw.

            Maybe the US could concentrate on improving female refereeing. When two of the top handball refs in the world are a pair of identical French female twins born in Marseille and living in Montpellier, how come can’t we get even decent female soccer refs? Those ladies are reffing men’s matches in this year’s men’s world championship and doing a fine job.

          • mockmook

            BTW, I think JE is moving in the direction I’m advocating by picking Long to perform a specific mission.

          • Steglitz49

            A move that has come a bit late in her career when she is getting a bit long in the tooth but better late than never.

          • rkmid71

            Hope you’re right. Though the Long CB experiment sounds like a kamikaze mission (like the Press midfield experiment), especially the proficiently defend part. The team would have to have excellent quick defenders around her to make up for that deficiency. We don’t need to compromise like that. In my mind, either she cuts it as a midfielder or not. The USWNT does not need to retrain a career mid into a defender, a career forward into a mid, etc. That should happen at club level or not at all.

          • kernel_thai

            Ur not concerned about Long’s age?

          • mockmook

            Sure I am.

            Just noting that JE does sometimes pick players for roles. This is a welcome change from her throwing all her Forwards on the field and having them play DM, wide mid, etc.

          • mockmook

            I want to select the best player to get the ball from A to B (and to proficiently defend her area of the field), then I want the best player for moving the ball from B to C, and then the best at C to the back of the net.

            So, instead of picking players who are best at fulfilling their particular mission, the teams appear to pick the players who have the most awards or accolades.

          • Steglitz49

            In this context C = Stina Blackstenius while B = Lisa Dahlkvist. I can’t remember who A was. It could have been any of Seger, Schelin, Fischer or Samuelsson but could have been Sembrant.

          • rkmid71

            I think you’re saying select players to make the best TEAM. Cruyff said, “Choose the best player for every position, and you’ll end up not with a strong XI, but with 11 strong 1’s” and “In my teams, the goalie is the first attacker, and the striker the first defender.”

          • Steglitz49

            An over-abundance of choices. The issue is that the US has so many good players that it is a problem whom to pick. Even then they manage to pick players who are not fully fit or past their prime, presumably on orders from on high.

          • rkmid71

            The Paradox of Choice?

          • mockmook

            I can’t believe Cruyff is plagiarizing me again 🙂

          • Anson

            BUT IF YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE, CHOOSE DEFENSIVE NOT OFFENSIVE PLAYERS! USA ONLY HAS ONE DEFENSIVE PLAYER and SINCE THE GOAL IS BEHIND THE FIRST ATTACKER CHOOSE DEFENSE! And didn’t Cruyff say “I’m ex-player, ex-technical director, ex-coach, ex-manager, ex-honorary president. A nice list that once again shows that everything comes to an end”?

          • Steglitz49

            You can’t be serious.

          • Steglitz49

            I take rkmid71’s point to be that the USWNT squandered a chance to be historic. Thus, their record for 2015-16 is worse than Japan’s for 2011-12.

            How that could happen is worthy of an in depth analysis. The fans deserve better.

            Meanwhile, Colombia is starting a women’s league of their own.

          • guest

            or he could just kneel in protest.

          • Steglitz49

            Carli becoming FIFA POTY says more than WoSo fans like to acknowledge.

          • HOFCToDi

            Steglitz49 has absolutely no life.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNeva4uNf4Q

          • Steglitz49

            S/he pursues happiness.

            Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet, the mild cigar.

            The USWNT would do well in contemplating Petter Northug.

          • rkmid71

            Would you also take a 16 year WC drought or one world cup every 15-20 years or so? The fact is the USWNT could be so much better than it is. The best funded, best resourced team, biggest player pool in the world. Sweden doesn’t suck. They tied the USWNT in the World Cup. And I guess Colombia doesn’t suck either. And the USWNT was able to beat France despite being outshot by double. I expect a lot more and that’s no disrespect to any other team/country.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

            Don’t rub it in. They can’t cope.

            Colombia has just started their own ladies soccer league! See elsewhere for a detailed description.

          • Kevin

            What does losing the previous 3 WC prior to 2015 have to do with the conversation?

            In 2003-04, US won Olympic Gold.
            In 2007-08, US won Olympic Gold.
            In 2011-12, US won Olympic Gold.
            In 2015-16, US won the World Cup.

            I think it’s pretty safe to say this was the best cycle in the past 16 years, yet this cycle wasn’t good enough for you guys? LMFAO

            Of course I think they could be better but the USWNT isn’t leaps and bounds above everyone else. They’re the best, but the gap has closed and it’s mostly because the quality of play of the other countries has improved.

          • rkmid71

            That comment was 12 days ago. Is there a statute of limitation? What leaves a sour taste is the miserable way the cycle ended. Basically a historic opportunity wasted. Self inflicted failure, not that others were so good. The 2015 WC win was great, but even then one came away with the feeling the margin of victory was unnecessarily close, and that the USWNT was fortunate and not really so much better than the other teams.

            JE herself has said if we stand still, we will get run over. Whatever gap existed (and not sure we can claim superiority with such a WC drought) has closed because the quality of the other countries has improved AND the USWNT hasn’t. Lastly, yes my standard for this team is apparently much higher than yours — they have the most resources, the biggest player pool, and the college system so more players continue playing longer as well. No excuses in my book.

          • Kevin

            Ironically, 4, 8, 12 years down the road, only few will remember how the 2015 WC really played out. How we struggled with Sweden & Nigeria in the group stages and Colombia & China in the knockout rounds and then were fortunate to get by Germany in the semis.

            All anyone will remember is us smashing JPN 5-2 with a 4-0 lead and a hat trick for Carli just 15 minutes into the game.

            Many uneducated journalists and “experts” will remember that team as the greatest women’s team ever because all they’ll look at is the final result and just remember the memorable final against Japan and claim it was US dominance when it was really just an outlier.

          • rkmid71

            Even in the final and despite the score, it didn’t seem like “dominance” except for the first 15 minutes. After being asleep at the beginning, Japan came back from 0-4 down to 2-4 with still plenty of time left. They outplayed the USWNT for a long stretch. It was the Heath goal that killed off any hope of a historic Japan comeback..I was nervous until that happened.

          • dw

            This is one of your stupidest positions, perhaps of many, although I agree with some:

            2016 OG: SWE 1 – US 1 (SWE through on PKs)
            2015 WWC: SWE 0 – US 0
            2014 Algarve Cup: SWE 1 – US 0

            So that’s 2 draws and a loss in 3 games in 3 years.

            Pia knows all our players. She knows if she parks the bus, we don’t have the precision or power to break them down. She also knows where we’re vulnerable on the counter.

            If there’s a team that has our number it’s the Swedes. Yes they continue to underperform, just not against the USWNT, were they tend to play over their heads.

  • Guest

    http://isiphotos.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/USWNT-Training-January-19-2017/G0000RQNi7B1AAGo/I00002f8xgL1PLrs/C0000V4C9d7ub_Ps

    Based on this pic plus other pics of scrimmages from camp, to me it looks like these are the starters/usual subs. Maybe Mewis taking over for Sullivan?

    • guest

      lol Alex Morgan in the doghouse.

      • guest

        she knew exactly what she was doing going to Lyon. Jill probably had “a talk” with her about her future at the forward position which is why she is going to Lyon to “learn to be a winger and other positions” as she claimed in her recent podcast with Abby. She is too easily replaced by Press, Dunn, Williams, Lloyd, etc

        • Steglitz49

          25,000€/month probably helped Alex make her decision.

          As for the 4 you named, none is a threat to Alex playing for the NT.

    • Bruce

      That Brunn or JJ standing behind Mewis?

      • Steglitz49

        Stand by your (wo)man?

    • Paul Klee

      Is in that Casey Murphy, you think she’s starting in goal?

  • Katie Curtiss

    If Ellis is sticking with the 3 back and Long in the middle of that Long has to do a better job of staying back. The outside backs already move up the sides, and because long is offensive pro, she has a tendency to creep up way too much leaving the back and the goalie exposed

    • ARED

      It’s a silly idea for me, because Long’s passing is less effective from that role to begin with (than from the midfield), and so the attack is actually worse off with Long at CB. And I don’t think anybody sees it as an improvement to the defensive b/c, as you mention, Long is offensive minded and the outside CBs and wingbacks will all naturally want to advance since the USA holds possession so much. This obviously leaves them wide open to a quick counter, where we have seen even fast and smart players like O’Hara unable to recover in time.

      So if it weakens the midfield, and it weakens the defense, why is it a good idea? lol. Some might argue the players used in midfield are or will become better options, and perhaps in time this is true. But in that case why not simply let them play in front of the normal backline, at least some of the time?

      • Steglitz49

        Today JE must only look at players aged 18-24. She must dismiss anyone 25 or older who is not already well established.

        The Bomb in Brasilia gives this charge. She cannot carry on with all the old. She must weed them out, the sooner the better.

        • ARED

          “She cannot carry on with all the old.”.

          I agree, but change the “she” to “SG”, and then change the “SG” to “US Soccer”. ; p.

          Sometimes decisions at the top make the best efforts of those at the bottom futile. Blaming Allie Long, or Sauerbrunn, for losing in Brazil is ridiculous for me. Any player can miss a play or a shot or a clearance. But the USA should be able to create many good chances against a team like Sweden, but they were lost and confused. By they end they were playing with about 5 forwards and 2 midfielders, meanwhile, Tobin Heath was playing right back. The team should be looking to the future, to find a blend of new and old talent. But I do not see much promise if Ellis is the one deciding what the blend will be, or who will play which roles….

          • Gary Diver

            Eyes on the Prize

            If the prize is WC19, Ellis (and SG) has a little over 2 year to get their act together. What is Ellis’ long-term strategy? The 3-back formation baffles me, especially from a coach who has publicly said she doesn’t believe in formations.

            Compare USWNT with Canada. It is quite clear what direction Herdman is moving. For WC19, the only players over 30 years old on the field will be Sinclair and maybe Schmidt and Scott (in secondary roles). He has young players he has confidence in and who have confidence in him.

            I agree with Steg that Ellis should be thinking future and clearing out the deadwood. USWNT won WC15 with the oldest team and for most of the tournament they looked like the oldest team. There is no way that USWNT will be fortunate again with a team of long-in-the-tooth veterans.

          • ARED

            Well as I said, I think there can be a mix (say of over-30 and under-30), but I see no reason to believe Ellis will find a good mix.

            The one benefit is this group of players who are 27-31 now are better, for me, than the “veteran” group at WC15 of Wambach, Rampone Boxx, Chalupny, and even Lloyd. In 2019 if Heath, Morgan, Press, Sauerbrunn, O’Hara, etc. in the team I don’t think this would be bad, to add to a younger group of Pugh, Brian, Dunn, Sonnett, and perhaps newcomers like Williams, Mewis, Groom, Lavelle, etc.

            If the younger players are better and ready, as they were in 2012-2015 but were ignored for the veterans, that is a mistake. But my guess is a few of these players will still deserve to be key players in 2019. (And further, my guess is that Ellis will keep some of the ones who should go, and leave out some of the ones who should play….lol).

          • Steglitz49

            In a squad of 20+3 there should only be a couple >30, one of which would be a goalie.

            JE must cut both Sauerbrunn and Press. They failed in Brasilia. This is not a time for weaklings and shrinking violets.

          • ARED

            As with many other occasions, your intolerance of a player being human is something I cannot accept. Players will always make mistakes, it can happen. The question is are you playing the right way, and trying the right things to have the best chances to score and win. Ellis is the one who undermined her own team in multiple ways (changing lineups/formations, playing players in uncomfortable roles and positions, taking injured players, and worst of all, not having a clear and established method of play and a clear idea of what “plan B” is).

          • Steglitz49

            Sasic stepped down from the German WNT after WC-15. She then started a family. Life goes on.

          • mockmook

            Even with your “etc.” it hurt to not see Ohai 😉

          • ARED

            Yes thank you. She is the group for sure. But I admit I haven’t seen her enough in the right situations to have a personal judgement of how much of a role she could or should have. (And I consider that to be a big flaw of the Ellis era, that we have not seen more of these players playing internationally over the past 3-5 years).

  • xanthophobe

    I just don’t understand the need to convert Long into a CB. I’m not Long’s biggest fan but I’m okay with her being in the national team pool, but we have plenty of center backs to pick from, why use her there? I’d so much rather see a young NWSL CB in there (Oyster/Dahlkemper/Menges), at least to give them a shot. Also it seems insane to me to cut Whitney Engen from the team and then convert Long into a CB. Long’s a fine player but I really just don’t get it.

    • wosofan

      The strategy behind it is that she can play passes that no other CB in the United States. Her range is incredible and can play people in from the back line.

      • Alex25

        Her range of passing might be good, but does she really have the required decision making skills? Her cheap turnover of possession led to Sweden’s goal in the Olympics.

        • wosofan

          We will find out, this year is the perfect time for this kind of experiment.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden are not playing in the SBC. S stands for she not swede. Root vegetables of the world: unite!

      • xanthophobe

        Yeah but I feel she’s always been suspect on the defensive side of things. I wouldn’t take a good passing range over the ability to defend.

      • Which is fine, even fantastic, if she were going to have another solid CB back with her. But playing in a 3-back (especially in a program which sends one or both outside backs up the wings), it’s wildly dangerous. She’s not a defender, she’s a massive card risk, and as we still have one of the best CBs on earth, why are we insisting on slotting Long there instead of as DM / whatever ?

        I expect Ellis’s next move is to play a 1-2-4-4

        • mockmook

          The OBs (really outside CBs) will stay home.

          The WBs/OMs in the 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 do the function of the OBs in the 4–4-2 or whatever 4 back system you use.

          This is how I would protect Long:

          http://drawformation.com/post/588543c92829f/sm-588543c92829f.png

          (Lavelle and Brian would be playing as DMs)

          And, Long is not a hapless defender — she can learn to protect her area.

          • In theory they’ll stay home, and you’d be right about function of WB/OM, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Also, is that the best use of them? Yes, if it’s Sauerbrunn and Krieger. But not if it’s almost anyone else currently on our bench. Plus again, eyes, belief, etc.

            We shouldn’t be structuring our DMs to protect Long, especially as she’s probably not even a Top 10 CB available to us right now.

            I don’t think she’s a hapless defender, so much as I think her deficits are most apparent, and good qualities quite wasted, in this position. Not to mention the time and energy spent ‘converting’ her rather than letter her continue to improve where she’s at (to be fair, she’s been bounced around quite a bit). That seems an Ellis special; if she thinks you’re good at X, then you should also be able to start at Y.

          • mockmook

            You’re likely right that this is JE being reactive again.

            Ideally, she would have come to the conclusion (independent of results) that she could have a better team if they played a 3 back. And, that the middle CB needed to be a ball handler (but also a defensive stud/stalwart).

            THEN, she would have identified a young/young-ish practicing CB (or two) who fit that description and pulled her in to the USWNT.

            Seiler (Florida) fits the description, but is a bit undersized for that position.

            Maybe DeBree from Duke fits the bill.

            It’s kind of sad that it is so hard to think of players who match the requirements — I’m drawing a blank for a NWSL player — perhaps Averbuch, but she’s not so young-ish.

          • ARED

            I agree, but I do not believe Ellis has come to the conclusion that the team should have a 3-back, or a “ball handler” at CB as an independent idea. I think she finally was faced with Long forcing her way into the team, and then looking for a way to make room for too many players in the midfield and attack.

            It is a tough problem on a team like the USA, to be certain. But I might argue that with Ellis there have been 2-3 players who are given roles which benefit themselves more than the team, and the rest are moved around to suit this. So I do not think there is much loyalty to the 3-back system, or even to Long as a CB. I think it’s just a secondary result of the primary goal.

          • Steglitz49

            Allie Long will be almost 31 when WC-19 rolls around. JE might as well look at players aged 18-24 today.

          • ARED

            I fully agree this should be the idea, to consider as many young and new options as possible. But to keep Long in the first 11, but at CB seems to be a misguided attempt to have it both ways. Why not first play the other young midfielders with the better/usual defenders, then play Long with the other/newer defenders. Instead, Ellis changes and dishelves everything at once, and no one really knows their role or how to combine with those around them.

          • Steglitz49

            You can’t have it both ways and the captain and vice-captain must sit down with JE and work through the options. That is not only their duty, it should be their joy, to make a more perfect USWNT.

            They need to ponder the possibility that the FA women’s Cup final could feature both Crystal and HAO and then a couple of weeks later, the ladies Champions League final with Alex. None of that may happen but 2017 belongs to the brave.

          • ARED

            The best result from that meeting might just be for the coach and captain to be the ones to step aside…. ; p

            But obviously they would not do this, even if they could see it was the way to “a more perfect USWNT”….

          • Steglitz49

            They won the world cup. They are entitled to defend it. But the coach calls the shots.

          • ARED

            I agree enough with this, I cannot say it is wrong to let a WC winning coach stay, but, I think they would be better if they found a better option. And, I think they’d have a better chance of winning Oly16, WC19, and Oly20 -so, if it were my decision, I would not risk three more titles because of the one that Ellis won -by some very fortunate margins I believe…..

            I also believe it is a offense worth removing to have run the team and taken the veterans as she did, but we know that is most likely not only Ellis as much as her bosses and the players themselves, so I accept the picture is corrupted.

          • Steglitz49

            Who is the better option?

            Anna Signeul has just agreed terms with Finland. The Norwegian WNT hired the Swede, who worked such wonders with Linköping. There is that jolly (overweight) coach of Eskilstuna United. Patrice Lair is at PSG. Maybe the current coach of Montpellier would be interested? As far as I know Thomas Dennerby no longer coaches but I don’t know if he is back working as a senior detective for the Swedish police.

            There is always John Herdman!

          • ARED

            Tom Sermanni? ; )

            I believe there are many potential coaches, including many who maybe have never had a team before. Whether borrowed from the Men’s game or simply former players like Akers, Hamm, Parlow, I really do not rate Ellis very highly so although in most sporting worlds I hesitate to remove a coach, I definitely feel they could find a better option. They already did once, but they fired him.

            And I prefer Mark Sampson to Herdman, but he might look at Sermanni and decide to stick with a stable English side. For that matter, Stajcic is another, but why would he leave?

          • Steglitz49

            Your points are well taken. I suspect that a quality coach ico a college program is unlikely to leave to manage the USWNT.

            Seeing that the US always qualifies (2010 was an exception but Alex raked their coals out of the fire) maybe it is enough to appoint a USWNT for the actual tournaments? Then you could get a college coach on leave of absence for 3-4 months.

          • ARED

            Maybe, but I don’t rate NCAA high enough to think that would be necessary. I suppose a few might work though, and may have new visions for the program.

            Take 1/10 of the money they gave to Klinsmann, and offer it around Vlatko, Sampson, Hamm, Parlow, etc. Or be crazy and find a French or Spanish coach…. ; )

          • ARED

            It would have helped if Ellis had not spent the first 2-3 years of her tenure refusing to believe the position existed, or at least refusing to try it out (…..as you and I have previously discussed ; ) ….). Instead she anchored Holiday and Lloyd together in a mutually-harmful partnership for the ages.

            She had Lindsay, Averbuch, and Long to use all along if she wanted someone in that role. Not to mention trying some of the other outsiders like Winters. And as I’ve said to you before, Lloyd has the qualities to fill that role in many ways, but never was tried with her as the holding mid and Holiday as the CAM.

          • Steglitz49

            JE won WC-15. The US remain World Champions at least for another 2.5 years.

            JE lost it in Brasilia. Two culprits were Long and Sauerbrunn. Let the axe swing if they won’t fall on their swords.

          • ARED

            In your mind those are the culprits. Others might argue more of the inability of the front 6 to create chances and breakdown decent defenses. And some crazy folks might even suggest this in turn creates the biggest culprit, the manager herself! ; )

          • Steglitz49

            I contend that the USWNT players were at fault. They were overconfident and when the worm did not lie down and die or at least allowed itself to be raped, the USWNT had no plan B.

            The overconfidence of the players stand to reason. Sweden had played lousily and suffered their biggest loss ever. Why worry about them? Those Swedes were ripe for the plucking. When the USWNT faced a porcupine instead of a chicken, a tiger instead of a decalwed kitten, the US players found themselves morally bankrupt.

          • ARED

            Who’s job is to create the plan? Ellis barely settled on a plan A, let a lone a plan B!!

            Of course they player could make it work despite this, as they did in Canada 2015, but that was a fortunate result for Ellis. Sometimes throwing so many talented players will work even with little plan/practices/confidence developed. Usually, it will not.

          • Steglitz49

            Easy to blame JE. The players must shoulder their responsibility.

          • ARED

            Yes, but I am not talking or coaching a player here, I am posting online my opinion of the greater problem. Every employee can look at how he can perform better, but if the CEO demands they use their time and energy in misguided ways, how long should we blame the employee for spinning their wheels in the mud?

          • Steglitz49

            It is up to the captain (and vice-captain when there is one) to have frank and open discussions with the head coach in a comradely spirit of mutual trust.

            The harsh reality is that the USWNT expected to get to the OG-16 final in a walk and once there in a trot claim their appointed gold medal. It never occurred to them, even after the alarm bell of Colombia, that it might not work that way.

            After the OG QF they looked as stunned as after the WC-11 final. That they might not have been able to anem many of the Japanese players nor recognize them in photos in spite of several of them having played in the US, they ought to have lerant and done their homework.

          • Breakers fan

            Kallman? LOTs of experience there. Tough, smart. Good, careful passer.
            I’m really mad she hasn’t even gotten 1 camp call.

          • mockmook

            It’s not just the passing ability, but also the speed of thought/play

            Honestly haven’t watched CBs enough with this metric in mind

            But, like u, I do like Kallman

          • Breakers fan

            My recommendation of Kallman was with all factors of play and ability in mind, based on my admittedly limited amount of knowleged. Although the Breakers have given up a lot of goals, in very few cases do I ever remember thinking “THAT toal was Kallman’s fault.” Playing CB on the Breakers isn’t the typical situation, and as good as I feel she has been, it’s hard to evaluate her compared to other CBs in the league who have had a much better midfield/forward group with whom to work. And that’s why I want her to get a call-up, so they can see her outside of the Breakers and among their players. I’m not certain she’ll measure up but my gut tells me she’d be as good or better than Allie Long at that position.

          • ARED

            An Ellis special indeed. Removing a player who lifted the team in her natural position, in order to 1) Change a backline which had been the line with least problems/controversy, and 2) Change the midfield, yet again.

            The team does have room to improve, but the endless efforts to force players to fit around Lloyd is beyond just being a mistake at this point….it truly is unbelievable. (Press, Dunn, Heath, Holiday, Long, O’Hara, and more have all been moved around to benefit “the team”. Lloyd has been moved around also, to find ways to maintain her role as “the team,” one might argue….). Overlooking 1-2 obvious and simple moves in order to make an constant flow of complicated and odd ones really is a big problem I believe -the reason why they can so often have difficult matches and bad results.

          • Steglitz49

            A 2nd FIFA POTY in a row requires consideration.

          • ARED

            Consideration sure. But just because a player is successful does not mean the team will be. One should outweight the other, if you care about winning anyway….

          • Steglitz49

            2016 was the worst in the past 25 years of the USWNT. The worst. Ever. But, the electoral system of FIFA gave the POTY to Carli. This may be more evidence of a strange system than Carli’s ability but she has that POTY and it is the only thing that USSF can milk for the women for a long time.

    • Steglitz49

      Did you understand the need to bring Pinoe to OG-16?

  • guest
    • Steglitz49

      Please withdraw your comment.

    • lol whut is this

      i cant stop laughing

  • Timber Dave

    Allie Long is a terrific attacking midfielder, a good defensive/holding midfielder, and a question mark at center back. Jill Ellis continues to shoehorn her into positions she doesn’t really fit in, probably to get her and Carli Lloyd onto the field at the same time. Lloyd is a good goal-scorer, so I can see why Ellis is trying to do this, but it’s definitely awkward for the rest of the team, including Long.

  • ARED

    “…Jill Ellis continues to shoehorn…”
    “…it’s definitely awkward for the rest of the team…”
    “…it seems insane to me to cut Whitney Engen from the team and then convert Long into a CB…”
    “…You’re likely right that this is JE being reactive again….”

    The wisdom of EQ shines through…. ; )

    And to summarize Jill Ellis’ apparent approach to managing her players -or at least the result of it: “…I think her deficits are most apparent, and good qualities quite wasted, in this position….”. I believe this applies/applied most of the time with Press, Holiday, Long, and commonly has with Heath, Dunn, and any forward who had to play with/behind/in support of Wambach.

  • Gary Diver

    3-Back Questions

    1. Where did Jill Ellis’ conversion to a 3-back formation come from?

    2. Do any other top WoSo teams use it? (I noticed that Lyon used Amandine Henry as a back during the Champion League final last year.)

    3. This is a new strategy for USWNT, but other than SBC there are no USWNT Friendlies scheduled for 2017. Doesn’t a new formation require a lot of practice matches?

    4. How much of the 3-back formation centers around Ellis wanting Allie Long on the field? Does Long ever play CB for Portland?

    5. Which USWNT players are the losers/superfluous in Ellis’ 3-back formation?

    6. I am not an Allie Long expert, but she will be nearly 31-years old during WC19. USWNT has been burnt too many times in the past 1 1/2 years with counter-attacks. All things being equal, each 3-back needs to cover more field than each 4-back. That additional field to cover seems to me to require additional speed. Having a 31-year old as the centerpiece of this formation could be wishful thinking. Recall that USWNT defenders could not catch up with Stina Blackstenius in the Swedish OG16 QF counter-attack. Does USWNT backs have adequate speed to cover the back third against effective counterattacks from top teams?

    • Steglitz49

      No easy answers.

      1 & 2) The 3-5-2 was Even Pellerud’s prefered starting formation in WoSo because it naturally mutated to either 3-4-3 or 4-4-2.. Given that Pellerud is one of the most influential coaches in WoSo, maybe JE picked it up from him. At the same time, most WoSo teams play 4 at the back and then a number of variations among the remaining 6.

      3) I expect friendlies will be played. The US prefers to pay in the US where the gate is better and they can usually induce the other NT to come over because they too benefit financially but this year the Euros may force the US on the road.

      4) 3 in the back is only safe in WoSo when you dominate the play and there is no risk of any incisive counter-attacks. Sweden were able to mount such attacks and other teams like Denmark and Norway might well too.

      5) Young and up and coming players.

      6) This point has been made elsewhere before.

      7) JE must concentrate on the 18-23 year olds, not the 28-32 year olds.

    • mockmook

      Thought by going to a “dead” thread you could escape me?

      Bwahahaha!!! 🙂

      (1) / (2) — UNC has won a bazillion College Cups playing the 3-4-3

      Brazil’s WNT has often used a 3 back line.

      Or, perhaps she took it from this brilliant post from early 2015:

      http://drawformation.com/post/54d2d14d0fcb8/

      (3) Ehhh, soccer is soccer. Plus, this will be entertaining. PLUS, it keeps the players interested and alert.

      (4) JE could get Long on the field without a 3 back. JE has said why she is doing this OVER and OVER — she wants someone in the back who plays the ball where it needs to go and does it with alacrity.

      (5) At the moment, JJ

      (6) The coverage of “extra” space will primarily fall on the outer CBs

      AGAIN, this is actually better (if used properly) than when JE plays 2 in the back by sending her OBs forward from a 4 back line.

      All those counter attacks you are moaning about happened against a putative 4 back line.

      (7) Long is there precisely for her technical skills. And, JE is auditioning younger players to make this work (like Short and Ohai)

      (8) Are you going to ask these same questions (with slight variations) in a week?

      • Steglitz49

        7) Casey Short is 26 and Kealia Ohai will be 25 in a couple of days.

        Casey lost 2 seasons to injury and then made up for it playing for Avaldsnes and making the 1st XI of Toppserien. Kealia has been overlooked imho but it is a bit late in the day to bring her in.

        Sentimentality aside, both are on the wrong side of 23 and even 24.