Lauletta: 3 things we’ve learned…so far

Dan Lauletta March 4, 2017 498
The USWNT and England line up before England's 1-0 win, its first ever against the U.S. on American soil.

The USWNT and England line up before England’s 1-0 win, its first ever against the U.S. on American soil.

HARRISON, N.J. — The 2017 SheBelieves Cup is now two matches old with a third still to be played on Tuesday in Washington D.C. For the United States it has been an interesting two matches. Saturday’s 1-0 loss to England was far more entertaining and sharp than Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Germany. That means the match against France next week will decide who wins the SheBelieves Cup.

What have we learned through two U.S. games so far?

Jill Ellis is committed to the three-back

The faces changed but the formation stayed. Julie Johnston took the centermost spot on Ellis’s three-back on Saturday and Ali Krieger played out wide. Ellis also swapped out Alyssa Naeher for Ashlyn Harris in goal.

“I thought we still stayed committed to what we are doing,” Ellis said. “We played out. I don’t think our goalkeeper punted. Our goalkeeper didn’t punt (Wednesday) so we’re still focused on how we want to play this game. Right now we’re still focused on our processes.”

I thought the back line played better in Saturday’s loss than Wednesday’s win. Johnston was more comfortable on the ball than Long and Krieger did more in the way of going forward than Short did. Sauerbrunn, the only player to start both matches in back, was also more aggressive. Unless they can build play from line to line opponents will continue to drop off and clog channels into midfield.

{RELATED: New US Soccer law says players, staff must stand during anthems}

Long was a late sub and played in the midfield before racing higher in stoppage time when the U.S. became desperate for a goal. Is that a sign that Ellis is beginning to lean elsewhere in her search for someone to anchor the three-back? It’s probably extremely premature. Long is a fine soccer player but she likes to play a 360 degree game when she’s at holding midfielder. As the anchor back it becomes a dangerous game to start looking behind you as an option. There is also an argument to be made that Long’s best assets are being wasted pulling her out of midfield.

The three-back is not quite as terrifying an option as the public reaction to it, but neither has it worked as smoothly as it would seem based on playing two top-five teams in the world and not conceding a goal in the run of play.

It’s all in the details

The U.S. has long been the team that crosses all the Is and dots all the Ts, but a few of those got left hanging on the Red Bull Arena breeze on Saturday.

“Sometimes when you fail the lesson hits home harder,” Ellis said when asked to compare the result to the performance. “Sometimes you don’t learn about the details of the game and how important they are unless you sometimes pay a price.”

England’s goal is case and point. For starters the U.S. were on their heels nearing full-time, but the sloppiness in defending the corner kick is what led to the team’s first outright loss in 15 months.

The initial corner kick was cleared but Lucy Bronze was posted at the top if the 18 where she was able to send a clear shot that hit the crossbar. Morgan Brian was in position to clear the rebound. It would have been a high degree of difficulty clearance, but those are the ones that turn losses into draws, draws into wins. As it happened, Johnston also went for the ball which was part of the reason Brian failed to get it out of danger. Ellen White swooped in and did not miss.

There were other examples as well. Johnston had a free clearance of an England free kick in the first half but failed to head it beyond Nikita Parris. The English forward then split Johnston and Krieger and would have staked England to an early lead had Harris not come up with one of her best saves in a U.S. shirt.

Ellis also referenced the U.S. leaving some goals on the table at the other end. And while England’s defending in its own 18 was stout, the U.S. also misfired on some shots that should have at least given Siobhan Chamberlain something to do besides watch then sail high or float wide.

These types of games happen of course especially when the conditions were barely humane. But the spotlight is on and for every late win by England they close the confidence gap that has long carried the U.S. women around the world.

Lavelle, Dunn, and that U.S. midfield

When asked about Rose Lavelle’s first cap, Ellis replied, “That is a phenomenal answer I got tonight. Rose Lavelle. She was fantastic.”

It was Lavelle who had the best US chance of the night, getting on the end of a Crystal Dunn cross and being robbed by Chamberlain who had to reverse course to stretch out for the save. For a player who had been in and out of camp without being capped, there is little doubt Saturday’s performance will lead to further opportunities.

Dunn made a strong move to beat Demi Stokes and create the chance for Lavelle but for the second straight match, Dunn underwhelmed at the wing back position. For as strong as she is at so many aspects of the game—defending, one-v-one play, speed—Dunn has not made nearly enough of an impact running up and down the flanks.

{LEE: Pugh helps inject youth back into USWNT}

Contrast that with play of Mallory Pugh and the teenager has stepped back in where she left off at the Olympics. Not only is Pugh quick enough to beat just about every outside back in the world, she can do it while maintaining possession and more often than not do something productive with the ball in the space she creates for herself. One of the best U.S. chances of the second half came when Lavelle and Pugh combined to decapitate England’s right side before ultimately winning a corner kick.

If there is one thing for certain about Ellis’s game plan since Rio it is that she wants the midfield to be a more integral part of the overall attack. They’re still figuring that out in terms of both assignments and personnel. Lindsay Horan and Sam Mewis looked comfortable together as did Horan and Lavelle. As a unit though the midfield is still not in lock step with the back line.

  • Bluenun

    If Ellis is going to stick with 3 back, I think Sauerbrunn, Krieger and Johnston is the better choice!
    Really like to see more of Press and Williams together!. Morgan and Lloyd seem non existent. Carli looked slow and her passes where off.
    Lavelle was on fire!

    • Arcie Tillydee

      I thought that three might have been better in a pure, “stop the attack” defensive sense, but Johnston and Krieger made a LOT of wonky passes that Long and Short don’t. I’m not sure I don’t prefer the latter combining with Broon.

      And yeah…Lavelle was superb, especially after the first three or four minutes (and I’m not going to ding her for some first cap nerves, especially since she settled down so quickly). It was fun watching her confidence grow as the game progressed.

      • TsovLoj

        I’d like to see more of Short, but it’s clear she has some learning to do. I think the author of the article has Long exactly right, though; she plays a better game when she’s far enough forward to pass back.

        • Steglitz49

          Indeed. Maybe Casey Short’s injuries have taken more of a toll than we would like to think. Also, Casey lost time when she was out injured and though she played well in Norway maybe she still has ground to make up.

        • Arcie Tillydee

          I think Allie has done well in that CB role (at the least as well as JJ…), but it definitely removes most of her considerable scoring+assisting threat from the game. For a couple of years now, she’s had the speed of play to compliment her excellent hold-up abilities, and has proven to be a very effective attacking mid in league play.

          And can we (generic…not aimed at you!) stop with the silly “but what about the next level?” stuff? With the exception of the teams in Shiba Leaves and a handful of others, international play ISN’T faster or more challenging than NWSL play. Even a struggling NWSL side is a whole bunch more dangerous than the majority of tomato cans the NT plays.

      • tonysocref

        As long as JE is experimenting, it’s time for us to see Sonnett in the middle of the 3 back and see what she can bring to the table. Yes, she made some rookie mistakes in her first season with the Thorns but as the season progressed (when she was with the team) she got better and better. She has been on every NT roster (matches/camps) except 2 (OG16 & Romania) since Oct 2015 yet only has 12 caps with a total of 397 minutes.

        • Lorehead

          And you know who else should be getting some caps? Emily Menges, of the NWSL Best XI.

    • guest

      That’s bull the starting 11 for the England deserved to win maybe if the forwards got a little more service there would have been a different result and Press was pretty much one of the reasons the team lost. Her lackluster give away caused the second corner and Williams did nothing for her almost 30 mins.

      • TsovLoj

        I’ve traditionally been a Press fan, but you’re absolutely right about that second corner giveaway. She did not impress tonight.

      • Bluenun

        Doesn’t matter who makes the mistake, never gonna win if nobody can put the ball in the net!!!!!

  • Ron Rocha

    I agree with the assessment of Dunn and include Heath. Vs Germany and again today I felt their talents were being kind of wasted and and they were not played to their strengths. But Ellis seems to do that a lot. Perhaps that’s the plan… to challenge their weaknesses. But sometimes you just need really good chicken to make a great chicken salad.

  • #1Fan

    Dont agree on his Pugh assessment at all.

    • TsovLoj

      Pugh’s biggest issue I can see is that she’s prone to being physically overpowered. What she needs is the equivalent of a Tancredi or a Buehler to look out for her.

      • Steglitz49

        Mallory is 5’4″, the same height as the average for the Nadeshiko. A couple of Japanese players have been short, Miyama and Naho at 5’2″ and Iwabuchi is 5’1″.

        Thus, Ms Pugh needs to learn to handle power or she will be irrelevant. She could learn from Jessie Fleming at UCLA.

      • rkmid71

        This is probably overly harsh, but she does have some history of flopping and simulation, usually in the box. Even last night it seemed like she was trying to simulate, draw a PK. It seemed to me that England player raised her arm to protect her face after that slide tackle when Pugh tried to go over her. Lloyd is like Tancredi and could do that job if she wanted. Last night, Lloyd got the YC for high boot to the face.

        • Ethan

          I remember Christiansen was perfectly happy going down and staying down on one or two other occasions.

    • rkmid71

      Why would he trash Dunn and in the next sentence prop up Pugh? Dunn led the NWSL in scoring. NWSL MVP, she’s a Herman trophy winner. She was on the 2012 U20 WC winning team and I recall assisted Ohai for the winning goal in the final versus Germany. She’s a much better defender than Pugh. Dunn was even more effective in OG16. Dunn has something intangible that Pugh does not have yet and has not shown. Those intangibles matter to me.

  • captainfate

    The three-back is only terrifying when Allie Long is the CB. If it was Broon/JJ/Krieger, Broon/JJ/KO or Krieger/JJ/KO, I don’t think anyone would freak out as much.

    • BCAD

      I feel like this is point so many are missing, and so many are trying to say. Am I a fan of the 3 back not really, but when Allie Long is the CB and we have 3 CB and a hybrid 4 if you count Krieger, on the roster it is mind boggling and cringe anytime the ball gets anywhere our own half.

    • Som Termanni

      At the same time, even with three competent backs, the mythical offensive numbers that Ellis keeps touting as the great advantage of a 3-back formation never showed up. US threatened occasionally but never dominated numbers on attack, which is her primary justification for this formation. We played better through mid than against Germany, but that still didn’t create chances up front, regardless of who was forward.

      • Bluenun

        None of this really matters if nobody can put the ball in the damn net!

        • Steglitz49

          as the English just did, rotters

      • Steglitz49

        Maybe the forward-line and attacking MF needs a thorough overhaul?

      • ARED

        I was just about to say the same thing:

        Who cares how the three-back looks defensively if it looks terrible when trying to connect with the midfield -and supposedly that is the reason it is being used. Now, if you do consider the defensive instability it offers, it seems more like a lose-lose than anything to me.

        Oddly enough, the only two brief moments Ellis had a team where the backline could connect to the midfield and the midfield to the forwards with fluidity and ease were:

        1) After Wambach was benched and Lloyd left the midfield allowing Holiday, Brian, Heath, Rapinoe (and O’Hara) to control the style of play.

        2) When Long came in during 2016 to play CM, controlling the play and distributing the ball to the attacking players.

        • mockmook

          3-backs are no worse or better than 4-backs at connecting with the midfield. That all comes down to players and player selection.

          • ARED

            Right…it’s nice if a system suits the players available, which I don’t think is really the case with a three-back. But my point was that if the intended goal of the three-back is to improve the offense (ha) or at least the possession into the midfield, well, I don’t think it’s helped anything. And most agree the defensive side has been more shaky to say the least. So what’s the point, if you aren’t achieving the goal, but are losing some defensive stability, how long can you keep trying it before you admit defeat?

  • guest

    I like how media like Dan and Farley are so biased that when their favorite Press makes a critical mistake that actually led to a goal we hear crickets.

    • guest

      call me crazy. but shouldn’t the actual defenders against the corner kick get some of the blame too?

      • ARED

        There’s a bit to go around, but I’d certainly be placing the manager at the front of the line after another lackluster performance by the midfield, especially the CAM role.

        If you create only 1-2 decent chances and no goals during 90 minutes, I’m not sure how mad you can be at a forward for losing the ball while defending in her own corner, or at two defenders for colliding while trying to clear a ball, or at the GK for not recovering quicker.

        • Ethan

          While Ellis shouldn’t be that mad at Press for her mistake, Press really should have known better. Mourinho was very, very critical of Hazard not tracking an Atletico Madrid player’s run that led to a goal and of Schurrle for not tracking Milner’s run that led to Lampard’s goal for Manchester City. (And Schurrle scored Chelsea’s goal in that match.) I’m not a big fan of Mourinho and wasn’t even his biggest fan at Chelsea, but I can only imagine how much he’d rip into one of his players doing what Press did yesterday.

          • ARED

            But what did she do? It wasn’t that she didn’t try, or wasn’t in position. It was that she did try, was in position, got the ball, and then hesitated. That for me is much different than not having the effort.

            Press looked for a pass, and there wasn’t one. England -I believe it was Nobbs -jumped on her fast, and won the ball. Yes, now we know Press should just cleared the ball as far as she could blindly, but in that moment, if you say you want to build out of the back as Ellis does (and was talking about how well they did sticking to this plan), and we know Press prefers to combine anyway, then I’m just not sure how big of a mistake she made. I think seeing a player in an unusual position looking for a pass but not finding one suggests doubts about the system more than the player -even if the player could have read the danger.

            And yeah, I will hold my tongue on JM -we should just be happy he played Hazard at all instead of benching and then selling him off…..

          • Ethan

            Nobbs didn’t jump on her fast though. Press clearly moved the ball in the direction of Nobbs and then tried to beat her. If she didn’t see a pass, she had plenty of time to clear the ball. (I will allow for some chance that I’m not remembering the play correctly, but I swear Press had a good amount of time before Nobbs started closing her down.

            Edit: I never said Press didn’t have the effort; I said she made the wrong decision. My point of using the Hazard and Schurrle comparisons was just to say that coaches can be very critical of defensive errors from attacking players.

          • ARED

            My perception was that Nobbs closed much quicker than usual in the WoSo game. I think the reason it seemed “so bad” was the same reason Press got caught -because usually in that area you have time to control the ball and then consider your options (and, 9 of 10 times the USA has someone ahead to try to connect with) but as soon as Press found no pass it was too late and she then just hoped to slip it past the charging Nobbs, but failed. But I also have to watch it again also, to consider it again.

          • ARED

            So, Press didn’t have a touch until the last second as Nobbs challenged her, although Press did allow the ball to run out wide.

            I know you didn’t mean she had no effort, I was saying that about Hazard/etc, and also in general. If she watched the ball and decided not to come back or run to defend, I would criticize her much more than for being in the right position and trying to beat a player but losing the ball.

            I think they look unsure at times defending corners, and the GK and Def changes don’t help this. I don’t really like how closed they are for corners, although it may be necessary to cover them (maybe). Heath in that spot seemed odd, and in general I believe the CBs are all struggling on all aerial balls b/c they are unfamiliar with the positioning and spaces. Many times have found a bit of trouble dealing with long balls played near them. But having one player a bit higher could allow Press to play that ball quickly and hope for the best -maybe even a counter. Instead she hoped to reach the corner and instead conceded one. I agree she should try to be safer there, I just don’t think that kind of play is so bad, compared to turnovers which come when you have easy options you ignore, or from lack of defensive effort.

            Ps, Let’s not forget that JM can be very critical even of a sunrise or a rainbow…. ; p

          • Ethan

            Yeah, agreed on Mourinho, and I don’t think Press’ play was that much worse than Lavelle’s casual flick turnover that ultimately led to the first corner.

            I would want one or maybe two players higher up when defending corners, and Morgan is generally or at least often higher up when she’s playing. Pugh was in the game though. She’s not going to be much help in the box; so, she might as well have been higher up if she wasn’t.

          • ARED

            I agree completely. I debated what I thought of Lavelle’s flick, and while I don’t really mind this play, I do think it is important to watch entire phases and not only the highlights -and this moment was the end to the USA’s positive phase, and the beginning to the phase which brought the goal for England -and I appreciate that you seem to be interested in this also. I still consider the 3-back issues to be a bigger cause (b/c you should still be able to defend a simple ball after this turnover) but that is up for debate. Lavelle and Press take chances on the ball, it is how they play, and neither of those chances were taken in terrible spots (well, Press’ was, but she had few options).

            Yeah, I just find it hard to believe the USA -still usually bigger and more athletic than everyone else -cannot defend the box with 9 leaving at least one above the box for free balls coming out, and to give an option when you do possess the ball as Press did. As we see, it actually prolongs the defensive phase if you are not prepared to transition forward.

  • Ando91881

    Before trashing Press for losing the match, put a little blame on Ms. Morgan for not scoring a goal in the first 60 minutes. She should have more career goals than she currently has, given how many starts she gets.

    • Steglitz49

      Is it cricket to refer to Alex as Ms Morgan when she is and has been for a long while Mrs Carrasco?

      Morgan is Alex’s artist name now, like Marta’s is Marta and ARod ARod and HAO HAO and KO KO. Louisa Nécib preferred to switch and play with her married name, Cardamuro, on her shirt like Lauren Holiday.

      • captainfate

        We don’t know if she has legally changed her name to Carrasco?

        Also, KO is… not married? Unless you mean it’s just a nickname. In which case Morgan’s is… Baby Horse.

        • Steglitz49

          The day that WoSo fans catch up with and join reality, WoSo will find it easier in the market place. Other sports have no issue with competitors changing their names on marriage.

          As regards the “baby horse” label, as I understand it, Alex has never liked it and has worked hard to be rid of it. It should not be used.

          • Kevin

            I think you’re the one that needs to catch up with and join reality. Women don’t automatically take their husbands last name, especially nowadays.

            This isn’t the 1960’s. It’s not insulting to call someone by their maiden name.

          • Steglitz49

            You miss the nucleus of the poodle.

            What is wrong with Alex, Alex Morgan or simply Morgan, which is what is on her jersey?

    • Bluenun

      Have to agree, our finishing was pathetic today ! Shots where all over the place instead of in the net! Can anyone score on this team!

      • sudeep das

        Been saying that for a while now. As a #1 team their finishing has been awful over the past year or so. So many 1 v 1 on the goalie missed, heavy 1st touches in the box, extra touch in the box, lack of first timers – at least keep half the chances on frame.

        • rkmid71

          I would emphasize the “or so”. Do you recall Lloyd’s NWSL stats over last few years? About 37% shots on frame, very low goal conversion relative to shots. If you shoot enough, some will randomly go in. You don’t get as many versus good teams.

          • sudeep das

            Absolutely – you won’t get many chances against good tight defenses. More percentage of shots from half chances / full chances has to be on the frame. Who knows where a lucky deflection may end up.
            Case in point – out of the 27 shots taken on the Swedish goal in that fateful match only 6 were on target!!! Waiting for the stats for this match.

          • ARED

            This is why it is important for them to either 1) Get a midfield (back) together, or, 2) Give up on the idea of pretyy build up and just send it long for their fast, talented forwards to try to press for chances.

            Seriously, how did they score against Germany? Press “pressed”, took the ball, aggressively took the space, and then three aggressive shots ended with one slipping in. I prefer them to play the players who can do both, but Ellis seems tied to a few players who can barely do one, and she anchors the team with her whimsical formations….

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            US- 2 SOG/ 14 Shots
            England- 3 SOG/ 8 Shots

    • rkmid71

      Very true. This is supposed to be an offensive juggernaut. Suffocating pressure. Put ex forwards and attacking mids in DM or HM and defense. I guess it works against most Concacaf opponents.

  • Cc W

    JE obviously has a plan, but it doesn’t seem like Carli is either playing within the plan or the plan doesn’t fit her skills. I almost get the sense that JE is basically setting her up to fail. Carli doesn’t look sharp – maybe she’s rusty, but she looks slow. I like Carli and think she’s been great, but I can’t help thinking she’s on the backside of things. I really don’t see Pinoe getting her spot back either. Leroux is another one who’s going to have quite the fight to get back.

    • Steglitz49

      Indeed. I suspect that Carli took the Man City pounds for that reason and will leave it to JE to deselect her. Each match for the USWNT earns Carli a bit more dosh, so why leave voluntarily?

      • Cc W

        Carli won’t go quietly into that good night. She’ll do as many others, she’ll stay around too long.

        • Steglitz49

          In a lean year, an allocated USWNT player makes $150,000 and i fat ones $275,000. Very few if any other WoSo players today make $150,000 a year, except Alex based on her Lyon salary. Nobody sane will give up that USWNT gravy voluntarily.

          The big money today is in the wealthy leagues in Europe.

          • Ante Kovic

            Is there any evidence that any club besides Paris and Lyon are paying big figures?

          • Steglitz49

            Unless you are a USWNT allocated player and only play in the NWSL as a crew member and not as an officer, you do not earn a lot. Many European clubs can not only match but exceed the NWSL basic.

          • Tom F

            Bayern Munich & Wolfsurg, Man City & Arsenal?

          • guest

            No the big money is in sponsorships. Some (press, tobin, moe, alex, carli) of these players are making millions in endorsements.

          • guest

            jj has a ton of sponsors also

          • Steglitz49

            Alex and Carli, millions of dollars; the others millions of pesos.

          • Bill

            Proof?

          • tonysocref

            Don’t you mean the 6 or so wealthy teams in Europe?

          • Steglitz49

            It depends how you define the money available to the lasses. Lyon is not that wealthy. They just put money into their ladies team.

            Arsenal, Atletico, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Man City, Wolfsburg, Frankfurt, Lyon and PSG are names that trip off the tongue. You might want to add Potsdam and Montpellier to those able to spend a bit. Glasgow just acquired Savannah Jordan, Avaldsnes has been good to Americans in the past and other Norwegian clubs are getting in on the US axis.

    • captainfate

      vs Germany it looked like JE wanted Carli to press up higher (which is what Carli’s been doing for the past 2 years, but suddenly didn’t want to do vs Germany?), which she improved on a little this match, but it was an overall quiet game for her (besides the fouls and general aggression).

      I feel like Carli wanted the other 2 forwards to be closer to her (while sitting deeper), while the other 2 would prefer to be a little higher up/closer to the defenders. She should have been at a spot just behind Morgan/Pugh line, but in front of the Lavelle/Dunn line to connect those 4 players in the middle of the park.

      I wouldn’t miss Pinoe at this stage. She’s still good, but at her age, we’re better off sticking with Dunn/Pugh/Heath/O’Hara as options on the wings.

      • Som Termanni

        I think USSF’s anthem posture dictate is as good a signal as any that Pinoe is gone for good.

    • rkmid71

      JE is in charge. If Lloyd is unable or unwilling to play within the plan, what is JE supposed to do? I suppose Lloyd could try a Sermanni type coup. Unlikely to work this time as there is not enough critical mass of veterans left and they lost a lot of credibility with OG16, the CBA mess, etc. Even with WC15, many of the hard core vets didn’t play much. JE is certainly giving Lloyd every opportunity to succeed (too much imo). A national team has to play the best players NOW and not play favorites based on what they might have done in the past. I don’t see it as setting her up to fail. She may well be hoping that she succeeds. It’s similar to how she handled Wambach — though JE no doubt would prefer not to wait til the 11th hour to fix an obvious problem this time. Leroux I’m rooting for. After OG16 and the aftermath, I am indifferent and don’t really care that much on Pinoe.

      • Bill

        Absent Solo and Pinoe, I dont think the other good enough veterans are politically minded. Morgan, Heath, Press, Broon, all seem to be team focused and long term thinkers…and love to play soccer. The others, Brian, Krieger, Harris, KO, pose no threat and are easily replaced so they also just want to keep on keeping on.

        Lloyd is on an island compared to the Wambach days.

        I am influenced in this opinion by a player who used to be on a team that played Delran all through Lloyds time there. She said that by the time most matches were done both teams hated Lloyd for she would never pass and would steal the ball from her own teammates to make long runs and shoot bad angle or not. “she was like a basketball chucker no matter how off her shots were…except she would literally steal from her own teammates to get shots off”

        “She was a great one on one player but our strategy was to win in the second half because she had half the players on her own team not wanting to play anymore”

        Interesting to flash forward all these years and sense how unaware and single minded Lloyds traits really are.

        I think one small injury and Ellis claims she has to get match fit before she can start. Then Ellis claims she does not want to disturb team cohesion and chemisty ( gambles the team does well without Lloyd in). Problem with this strategy is that Lloyd is an iron willed player and does not get hurt often

        • ARED

          I think the problem with that strategy is that it is trying to ignore or avoid a problem and hope it solves itself.

          Any manager should have the freedom and power to take a player like Lloyd from captain to being completely out of the picture, just like that. I am not sure whether JE has this power, so perhaps others above her can be blamed also, but if that is the case she has accepted her role as a figurehead and earns criticism for this as well.

          • Bill

            Yeah its complicated. After all, the NWSL and the NT also like all those posters of Lloyd in every airport terminal ( the United Airlines Olympic tie in) and perhaps fear another woman’s soccer player wont get national brand endorsement reminders to every little girl that you too can be a celebrity one day by playing soccer

          • ARED

            And it was the same with Wambach before. I always wondered, if in most pop-culture the young and hip are glorified and the old are ignored -esp for women -how is it that the USWNT marketing efforts are clinging so hard to Wambach, Rampone, and Lloyd (and Solo), when they had Morgan, Holiday, Heath, O’Hara, Press, Sauerbrunn, Leroux, etc, all there as well.

            I think US Soccer has been very slow to risk any changes to the USWNT (or even the USMNT), and it seems fear of losing what they have plays a role….

        • rkmid71

          After being named captain, I had been hoping that Lloyd could change, mature. I’ve concluded it’s too ingrained. Passing is what creates team cohesion. Not caring who gets the credit. Lloyd’s goals are all individual goals, about her getting the credit. Everything out of her mouth. As captain. I’ve heard enough. To her credit, she’s accomplished a lot, but now she’s old and past her prime. If she can’t accept a different kind of role, she’s not a leader. It’s just more of the same self centeredness. The lack of passing is a cancer to a team. Your statement about “half the players on her own team not wanting to play anymore” is exactly right. How many ignored runs can you make before you stop making the runs? She’s not a good passer or timely passer because that’s not and has never been her priority or instinct. She’s often out of position trying to look for opportunities to score and get individual glory. Teammates have to cover for her to have any chance of the team winning. It’s tedious to watch.

          • NYRick

            The NY Mets are going through this right now with David Wright. Actually have been going through it for a good almost 4-5 years with Wright who has never been the same player since his first 3-4 years in the majors. Point is, sports is a harsh business. It shouldn’t be sentimental or who has the hammer from past fame, but it often is. For every Tom Brady and Derek Jeter, there are hundreds of David Wrights hanging on way too long and hurting the team. They don’t want to hurt the team, but their ego won’t let go of the fame. Wright does this every year, and the Mets in the off season never adequately search for his replacement. Come April/May he is shot, much like they thought, but they are stuck to the July trade deadline to try to find someone. And rarely do you find a big star needed to fill that spot.

          • rkmid71

            Since you bring up NY baseball, I’ll give you a Mattingly quote:

            “When I gave up me, I became more. I became a captain, a leader, a better person and I came to understand that life is a team game…And you know what?…I’ve found most people aren’t team players. They don’t realize that life is the only game in town. Someone should tell them. It has made all the difference in the world to me.”

          • ARED

            That is good!

          • ARED

            “How many ignored runs can you make before you stop making the runs?” -I think this is something many seem not to notice, let alone appreciate. I always try to defend the efforts put in by team-first players who cover the ground and make the runs. And then, many have the audacity to yell “why is nobody there!!” the one time out of 10 the non-passing player actually does pass the ball. The answer is simple, I cannot read your mind. 9 times taught me to not expect the past -or in Lloyd’s case 9 years. So I will make the run when I can, but if it leaves the team open behind, sometimes I will stay -because I am trying to find ways to help the team win.

            Ironically I believe Lavelle covered more ground in support of her teammates both offensively and defensively in this match. While Lloyd probably covered the least (other than maybe the CBs).

      • Cc W

        I agree with all of that.

  • Gary Diver

    Food for Thought

    1. If Ellis is serious about a 3-back formation, she needs to have backs who can effectively play a 3-back formation. That means the defenders who cannot play 3 back need to be benched or released. I used to be a big fan of JJ, but she melts under pressure, a terrible passer, and in general makes too many mistakes. (The German WC15 SF taught us something about Johnston but Ellis is a slow learner. Sauerbrunn has no confidence in moving the ball forward. Ellis needs at least one ball whiz who can quickly move the ball forward out of the backfield. A 3-back formation can leave you vulnerable and the backs need to be able to quickly backtrack. Krieger is getting long-in-the-tooth.

    2. It is insane to think Carli Lloyd can be a starter at WC19 as a make-believe forward. Every match Ellis treats her as a starter is one match wasted. Lloyd immediately needs to be relegated to coming off the bench.

    3. Ellis needs to act like an intelligent coach and play her player where they play best and where they make the best team. For example, she should bench Lloyd and replace her with Rose Lavelle. Is she using Morgan Brian in her best position? Where should Dunn and Pugh play? And maybe Alex Morgan is no longer a starter,

    4. Most people feel Lindsey Horan is too slow for the MF. Try moving her up front. Is she slower than Wambach?

    5. On a different topic, CED stated “If Ellis is serious about playing a more technical, possession, style in her 3 back system, she should try line up with Heath, Dunn, Pugh, Lavelle, Brian, Press as your front 6. sit Mewis deep, and then play 3 defenders. Try what defenders you like but Krieger and Johnson are not 3 back type players. Both are way to spastic under pressure.” Good suggestions.

    • Steglitz49

      As CcW and others have already postulated, JE looks like planning big changes going forward. Carli joining Man City would fit with that.

      Maybe JE is waiting for the new CBA? Maybe she is waiting for high water? What she does need to do is to bring forward modern goalies.

      • Gary Diver

        Ellis better not lose to France, for if she does it will create one of the worst yearly start for USWNT in nearly 20 years. She needs to find some workable answers soon or she will be under the microscope and/or gun.

        • Steglitz49

          JE need not worry. She is the reigning WC coach. It would be odd to replace her but if the WC is poor, JE may (have to) fall on her sword before OG-20.

          • Gary Diver

            Was Claudio Ranieri worried after being awarded 2016 Best FIFA Men’s Coach Award?

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Raineri had a leeway with the fans, media, players, and ownership as long as he didn’t delve deep into the only unacceptable option which was a relegation battle.

            Ellis losing a practice tournament to three teams that should be more prepared won’t hurt her.

          • Steglitz49

            In club soccer in England, the traditional situation is that when the Chairman of the club says that “the Manager has the full support of the Board” it is code for him to tender his resignation before he is sacked.

            Thatcher sometimes used the code for her ministers, whom she wanted to resign.

        • guest

          France always chokes. They choked today against germany.

    • kernel_thai

      1. Not sure what u want Johnston to do. She produced the same side to fake possession passing that Long was praised for against Germany. And there was the add bonus of her defending her position. She put out numerous fires, controlled the box and made a series of plays that were highlight worthy. Long doesn’t play CB that well in her dreams.

      2. Lloyd has scored most of her goal recently against soft teams. Ellis doesn’t seem to notice such things but last year Lloyd had 16 or her 17 goals against teams outside the top ten.

      3. Faulty premise…Ellis can’t act like an intelligent coach.

      4. The problem with Horan up front is the new run and gun style. Horan might be good in the #9 if the US possessed the ball in the attacking third and worked for goal. In a track meet style they need players who can repeated sprint forward and then get back. That’s not Horan.

      5. Remember Hoosiers when Hackman pulled a player out who was making his shots because he wanted them to pass it around. Ellis needs to watch that movie. If she was serious about a possession style it isn’t about ur three backs passing it around for a while, it’s being able to complete short passes all over the pitch to create opportunities. No matter how technical a front six Ellis throws out there, if it’s one pass then cross it into the box ur not getting anywhere.

      • NYRick

        With their lack of finishing, much like Hoosiers, we need to have Ellis pull a Hackman and take the team out for a pregame talk at the goal with a ladder and a measuring tape. “Team, the goal is 8 feet high by 24 feet wide…”

        • Steglitz49

          8 ft by 8 yds — was those 8s on purpose.

          The penalty spot is 8 + 0.5×8 = 12 yds from the goal. 12 yds is 11 m. The Germans call a penalty ein Elfmeter.

          What JE and the USWNT need to do is go and contemplate this (you’ve seen me post it before): https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0e37b9a9146ae430060a45bb31749c1aab9f993e6b0a720c2237deabf1d41252.jpg

          • rkmid71

            Would Germany be the same today if not for 1954? One of the biggest miracles in football history. Bigger than the Miracle on Grass. It restored some dignity to Germany following WWII. The Mighty Magyars had a record of 34 wins, 6 draws, and 1 defeat since August 1949. A team of amateurs had beaten the world’s highest ranked team 3–2 in the “Miracle of Bern”. Who is Helmut Rahn again? There were three controversial incidents in the final, each favoring the Germans. Hungarian GK was allegedly obstructed for the second German goal, Puskás apparently equalized in the 89th minute but was deemed offside, and there was an alleged foul on Hungarian player in penalty area in the final minute.

            It’s like when Russian Greco Roman wrestler Karelin, 3 time Olympic champion nicknamed the “Russian Bear” from Siberia, lost his last match. I just watched a special on him. He made no excuses and gave credit to his opponent though the loss was controversial and he had a broken rib. His lifetime record 887-2. The USWNT are not even remotely close to the dominance of the Mighty Magyars or Karelin, but would do well to contemplate the clock.

          • Steglitz49

            It poured with rain on the day of the final. Today the roof would be closed. The rain affected Hungary’s slick passing.

            The Hungarians had slaughtered Germany in the group game. A bit overconfident maybe?

            There is always controversy in sport. In the WC-11 final, when the score was still 0-0, a Japanese player was wrongly ruled off-side. In the OG-12 final the famous bearhug in the penalty area was missed. In the Miracle on Grass two decisions were wrong. All these favored the US. How likely is that?

      • Arcie Tillydee

        Have to disagree on #1. JJ, when she DID try something other than a cross-field pass, tended to turn the ball over, to make a poor read of the play. Long has way, way better vision upfield. As expected, JJ’s a better pure defender, and yesterday she didn’t have her usual three-or-four-a-game defensive derps. But she’s not nearly as good as Long at hold-up play with the ball when she needs to be (she tends, as Gary points out, rush things under pressure and boot the ball to nowhere…or the other team).

        Krieger was a turnover machine at times, too. I don’t think either of them are a great fit with the 3-man back line. In some ways, Broon isn’t either (she gets torched by pace sometimes), but is adaptable enough to do well in that formation.

        Let’s face it: yesterday was the first loss with the 3-at-the-back formation. Yes, it’s more complicated that that, but the fact remains this lineup is the first to lose with 3-at-the-back.

    • HOFCToDi
  • Tom F

    judging from all the posts so far apparently one thing that Dan & or the rest of the EQ regulars haven’t learned—commenting on what England did right(instead of what the US did wrong). after all England won the game!

    • rkmid71

      I would venture to say most on EQ are USWNT fans first and foremost with fewer England fans. The focus is on giving opinions on what the USWNT could do better. Other than giving credit to England for winning the game. England is a good team. Don’t expect many posts to be pointing out the England strengths and weaknesses. The focus is on the USWNT’s game and quality. At this stage in cycle, fans want the USWNT tested against good teams, to try different combinations of players, find the best TEAM possible over the next couple of years. A loss here or there is not a big deal. Technically this was the first loss in a long while, though it sure feels different than that given OG16. In my mind, still way underperforming versus potential. Not versus other teams though.

      • ARED

        I think that all makes sense, but I think is best to combine with that an understanding of the opponent. And specifically, if you lose because of a single goal you can ask “Was it a lucky goal? Was it a good goal? Why didn’t we score any goals for 90 minutes? etc”).

        I believe Nobbs, Bronze, and White all made very good plays on that goal, so while you can blame Press, Heath, Mewis, Brian, Johnston, or Harris, it may be more wise to just say “sometimes you will play ok without a big mistake, but still concede a goal”. So as Tom F says, consider what England did right. It’s like watching Messi dribble through 3 defenders and then listening to the EPL commentators try to decide which of the 3 defenders to single out as the “blame”, without recognizing that in the world of football, perhaps no defender would have stopped the goal. Sometimes you will suffer on the pitch, and that goal was an example of it. Ideally your team spirit and team setup allow you to fight through these things to win anyway. But I think the USA has a problem with the “setup”, as we see when they play top-8 teams.

        • Ethan

          I get the philosophy, but “sometimes you will play ok without a big mistake, but still concede a goal” doesn’t apply. There were several notable mistakes. Heath made the smallest one with her weak header clearance, but some people might even think that one was fairly big. Johnston made the notable mistake of not communicating better with Heath and then Brian, Press made a very big mistake of not clearing the ball and trying to dribble around the English player, and Sauerbrunn should have reacted quicker to the rebound and gotten to it before White. Bronze’s shot was incredible, and White showed great poacher instincts. However, there were so many clear mistakes that led to that goal, and it was nothing like Messi dribbling through 3 defenders.

          • ARED

            I’m not saying it is the same -I am trying to point out how many, especially those outside of a team, tend to focus on pointing at “what went wrong” so they can have something to say about it (though interestingly enough they tend not to look to find and discuss “what went right”). I take into consideration that yes, each part you mention was a mistake on some level (we may argue the details), but, I also consider that it is a very cold and windy day, it is the 90th minute, and England was very good on this play, and also made the US suffer for the 90 minutes. I am not actually inside the team, so I cannot know what was said to Press or Heath about their roles, or whether Johnston did communicate well or not. For all we know, Ellis or Harris gave specific instructions to any of those players which actually led to their “mistakes”. It took a kindly falling ball, a brilliant strike, a collision, a good reaction finish, and a blown offside call, to make that goal. If any of those things go wrong, it is a 0-0 and nobody remembers or cares about any of it.

            But I can say that as manager, I would be very disappointed in that result, and mostly I would be furious that I could not come up with a way to create more than 1-2 quality chances in 90 minutes against a team “we” far outweigh in talent. I would not be upset that Heath’s header wasn’t better -she is not a CB and it really is difficult to head a ball on a cold/windy day. I would not be upset with the poor communication and lack of cohesion, I am the one who keeps changing everyone around (and pins them into a lousy formation…ha!). Disappointed yes, but I think it is unfair to be upset with the players for not being perfect in a difficult time of a difficult game. Why was the ball in the USA third to begin with? Now, if they had been given a winning formula/system and were comfortably playing within it, or were lacking effort, I would be quicker to point fingers. But all of their woes from the moment Blackstenius scored until now seem to be more about Ellis’ reaction than any one player’s failure in a given moment. Soccer is not a game of perfection, it is a game of beautiful, or painful, imperfection.

            (Sorry it’s so long).

          • Ethan

            Agreed that Ellis should be more angry with herself. If I was Ellis, I also wouldn’t have taken off Mewis seeing as she had a great game. Plus, Brian was shaky throughout her cameo and made one of the mistakes leading to the goal. (Not quite sure if Brian subbed in for Mewis though.)

            It’s just that so many players made errors in quick succession. If it was just one player making a big mistake, I think it would be easier to swallow as a fan. That does support your point that so many things had to happen for the goal to occur. (I wasn’t paying full attention to Johnston getting back to the rebound on the replay; so I didn’t see any interference. However, the lines official should have definitely been able to make the call. I suppose the lines official didn’t do anything because Taylor didn’t go for the ball, and I’ve only seen interference called when a player disrupts a goalkeeper’s ability to make a play.)

          • ARED

            I believe it was Mewis and Horan out, and Brian and Long in, whether it all was at the same moment or not. I actually like the second pair, but to completely change your midfield in the second half is a risk to say the least -in a cold and tight 0-0 even moreso. I was referring more strongly to the overall methods of Ellis and things like Lloyd being involved at all and the USA still having trouble moving the ball from back to front or side to side….pretty basic things….than suggesting she had poor in-game management. I can’t even judge her on this, because I cannot understand what she is trying to do so much of the time. Is she trying to push in this match, or save players for the next? Is she trying to go for a winning goal, or conserve the draw?

            I think the ARs are always scared to raise the flag until they are sure, but technically it is the job of the referee to determine the interference -but they often seem to be (or pretend to be) unaware if the player is offside, or unsure that they interfered. Rarely called, but as a player or manager I would always struggle with this because it is clearly written in the laws, and for me a good defender will always be affecting knowing someone is in behind them inside the penalty area. You have to be covering them in case the become onside again, but if they are still offside when the ball comes, blow the whistle everytime I say. It’s an advantage, gained from breaking the laws of the game.

          • mockmook

            I have no problem with the subs — these games are in quick succession and you are trying to see how players perform in different situations.

    • ARED

      I just mentioned that on the other post, lol. At least in relation to the goal, it seems wise to consider at least briefly that perhaps it was just “well played” by the opponent.

      • rkmid71

        It was a good cross into a dangerous area. It was an even better shot by Bronze. And then credit to the others for crashing the goal on the rebound. I won’t forget Usme from Colombia in OG She was on fire on free kicks. Every one seemed to be near perfect. She almost had 3 goals. I may be embellishing, but the one that missed was a bullet with tons of power from way out about 30 yds off the crossbar,

        • ARED

          Yes, Colombia still has to grow to really challenge the big teams, but they have many quality players -especially when it comes to individual moments on the ball.

          And yeah, for this goal I think the biggest part was Bronze -what a great strike! And I think it was actually quite unlucky that Johnston and Brian collided, and that this only happened because Taylor was in the way -and she was offside. If I were Johnston I probably would chased the referee around the pitch over that one…..(I believe that was clear interference, but many referees don’t notice or or consider this kind of play to be interference. And in WoSo, there is is no chance with the low quality of referees).

  • Reality

    If the USWNT loses to France, will the Sermanni protocol apply to Ellis? In his case, there was a coterie of veterans who resented Sermanni’s emphasis on younger players. These veterans felt threatened and made it known they were displeased. Gulati reacted and Sermanni was fired. Now that the those veterans are largely gone and younger players are being given a real chance, what happens when the USWNT does not win their second major event in a row? The only veteran left is Lloyd and she depends on Ellis to play her every game for 90″. It is interesting, however, that Ellis pulled her after 60″ in this game. Since apparently no players are rising in revolt against Ellis (certainly not Lloyd…not yet), I have three questions:

    1) Will Gulati apply the Sermanni protocol for losing to Ellis?

    2) Will Ellis finally bench Lloyd for holding the team back in its development?

    3) If Ellis benches Lloyd, will Lloyd turn against her and make waves?

    • rkmid71

      1) No. JE is the WC winning coach. And no other decent coach (at least an outsider) would likely take the job at the moment. I was kind of hoping that Swanson, an insider and part of the WC winning coaching staff would take over at some stage. But it’s still too much of a mess for him at this stage. JE is doing the heavy lifting at the moment.
      2) She benched Wambach for WC. That was no small feat. And won. It will take a bit more time, but I think so.
      3) We already know the answer. Yes. Pia stated that Lloyd is very sensitive. When she feels the coaching staff doesn’t have confidence in her, she is the worst. One never knows whether Lloyd is making waves or not. I wouldn’t rule it out based on the history.

      • Reality

        1) Then the WC victory will continue to carry both Ellis and Lloyd for the foreseeable future even if the team suffers from Ellis always deploying Lloyd. Any hypocrisy involved here re: different standards?

        2) Wambach was faltering for years prior to the benching so Ellis had sufficient justification. Lloyd’s effect on the team is also pernicious but she is now the Captain thanks to Ellis plus having won 2 POY’s for her WC golazo.

        3) Yes

        • rkmid71

          1) Tons of hypocrisy. And don’t think the other players and potential players aren’t aware. The favoritism. It’s fundamentally why they perform so far below potential imo.
          2) Though Wambach had been faltering for years, she was voted 3rd in FIFA POTY in 2014. The 3rd best player in the world going into 2015 WC year. She elected to not even play in NWSL in 2015. Allegedly we now learn due to marital problems or drinking problems or whatever which presumably she explained to the coaching staff. And she was a captain. Nevertheless, she was in starting lineup at beginning of the WC. What justification did JE have for that? Wambach retired in December 2015. You can go from POY to benching to retirement relatively quickly.

          • Reality

            “You can go from POY to benching to retirement relatively quickly.” Ain’t that the truth. The POY farce seems to be more a lifetime achievement award based on name recognition.

          • ARED

            FIFA awards are always questionable even for the men. For the women, it is even worse it seems.

            A bit like the referee quality….

          • Another career?

            Her great performance in the 2012 finals, then gone in 4 years. Lloyd’s performance in 2015 WC finals, then what in 4 years?

          • rkmid71

            Who knows? But for Wambach, it was 3 years. 2012 OG finals was in August 2012. Wambach announced her retirement in October 2015 at age 35. She effectively retired after the 2015WC in July 2015. She did not play in the NWSL in 2015. She was not a key player on the field at the 2015WC, Her off field leadership appears to have been important. Lloyd?

      • ARED

        The fact that it was “no small feat” to bench Wambach is what makes the USWNT such a strange thing.

        They had to wait until they were on the brink of being eliminated at the World Cup, and even then it was a big and bold move to finally remove Wambach. Yikes!

        • rkmid71

          Agree. Just ridiculous. This a national team. Unfortunately, you can’t change the culture overnight. Hopefully, they are taking small steps now to do just that and to achieve their objectives in 2019/2020. This fan doesn’t want to wait another 16 years for a WC title.

          • ARED

            I agree not overnight, but if a having a (new?) coach who removes players like Lloyd or Wambach instantly can go a long way. Sermanni tried to do it in a PR-positive way, and he ended up paying for it (of course he probably had little choice given to him). It happens all the time in world football, we see a new manager come in and drop a few players he does not value.

            Imagine if they hired Arena for the women instead of the men. Somehow I’m not sure he’d bite his tongue and play these games which sabotage the team effort on the field.

          • Reality

            Since Luis Enrique is leaving Barcelona FC, it would be interesting to see how he would handle the USWNT.:))

          • ARED

            It’d take him about 5 minutes, and then he could still rest…. ; p

            I believe Arena has a reputation to speak his mind, no? That is why I used him, although I suppose most men’s managers would fit that description.

      • Frozen Blue

        Strongly agree with 1) I don’t think there is a better coach out there at the moment but I hope the federation is keeping their eyes open to possibilities.

        • ARED

          They played against a better coach in this very match in my opinion.

          Is England more talented than the USA? Are they even close? Look at their recent matches, and tell me which side gets more out of their abilities…..

          • rkmid71

            I don’t think that’s what Frozen Blue is saying. There is probably not a “better” coach for the USWNT at the moment. There are plenty of better WoSo coaches. Even Pellerud, Pia Sundhage, Norio Sasaki, Mark Sampson, etc. Also, in the college game, you’ve got Swanson, Dorrance, et al. DiCicco? I would like to see some top Euro men’s coach take it on just for fun, like Mourinho. With carte blanche authority…no BS from the USSF poobahs or CBA restrictions. Don’t think the system could handle it though. It would be like shock therapy.

          • ARED

            I think there are several WoSo managers there who would be an improvement, but I really do not rate Ellis very highly…..lol. Some would probably leave their jobs to go to the USA, but some would be wise enough to wonder if that would be a mistake I think.

            I would also like to see an outsider come from the men’s game (but not Mou!!). Vlatko is arguably the best NWSL coach, and nobody from US Soccer knew him before, right?

        • Altius

          I really want Andonovski for the national team. I think he gets the best from his players, sets up proper tactics to utilize their strengths, and imbues belief the whole squad through. Would love to see what he could do with a talent-stacked roster like the USWNT.

          • mockmook

            Love Vlatko

            But, would also consider Christy Holly of SBFC — he performed miracles last year, not the least of which was to have the squad imbued with high morale and belief in themselves.

    • ARED

      Ha, I just posted about largely the same topic (Lloyd).

      1) Doubtful -The narrow in in 2015 probably allows Gulati to avoid making any changes for quite some time. Although he did finally step up and fire Klinsmann, which was one small positive step at least.

      2) Doubtful -But I was pretty surprised to see her come off. I’d be truly shocked if Ellis would ever play a full side without Lloyd for a full 90 (let alone for a few months), and I have to wonder if part of the reason is that she knows there’s a good chance it will make it obvious that reinserting Lloyd is a mistake. A similar process occurred with Wambach. Morgan and Press (or Leroux/ARod/etc) never even played together for 90 minutes. Shocking. Now, it’d still be a shock to see Morgan, Press, Heath, Pugh, Lavelle/Dunn, etc. all play together without Lloyd clogging up the center of the attack.

      3) To her credit, I don’t think she will too much. But personally I do not care for the focus she has always put on her own game and results, or the negative tone she takes to any criticism at all, becoming defensive. I think this attitude has a negative effect already, along with the fact that Lloyd’s game is naturally more self-centered than for the team. So even when she wants and tries to encourage others, if her tone and her actions on the pitch don’t support it, the other players will have to either passively fit in, or actively confront this, and I think we see this disconnect at times.

      • Reality

        1) I’ve always maintained that Gulati would not discharge Ellis since both of them are integral to the current USSF philosophy. Klinsmann had less rope and like Sermanni, It was relatively easy for Gulati to pull the plug.

        2) Good point about the shenanigans put on by Ellis to preserve Wambach for as long as possible and prevent any viable replacements from gaining sufficient time on the pitch to displace her.

        3) I would like to think that Lloyd would gracefully move aside, but her declarations and attitude negate any such action on her part.

        • ARED

          1) Well, I thought resigning JK before the 2014 WC gave him a lot of (undeserved) rope, but at least they eventually pulled the plug.

          3) Yes, I am trying to be positive and not controversial…..we’ll see if and when it starts to occur. If she’s not on the roster she can’t do too much damage though, can she?

          • Reality

            3) My concern would be Lloyd causing disruption among the players in the clubhouse. As Captain, she has the greatest responsibility to the team not herself.

          • ARED

            I agree, but I find her leadership style to be very much the “I’ll take 22 shots, and ignore 22 passes, in order to lead this team to victory”. The USWNT players always talk about individuals having to “step up”. I think they would be better if they could learn to “step down”.

            In fact, I saw Lavelle interviewed and ironically laughed b/c of how she handled some criticism from DiCicco. She made jokes against herself but also faced the questions straight on without being offended or defensive about the idea she or the team wasn’t perfect. She wasn’t worried about putting herself down a bit, because she knows 1) It’s a team game, and 2) It’s not a personal attack for someone to question a part of your game (as a team, or an individual). Again, I don’t mean to be rude but I wonder if the captain could learn from this example…..

          • Reality

            Lavelle shows a lot of poise both on the pitch and off. Her and Sullivan are the answers to the the USWNT’s prayers for the midfield.

          • ARED

            I believe in Lavelle from what I have seen, and have for some time. I have seen enough from Sullivan to want to see more, but am not sure how it will all play out for her -hopefully she grows into that role well, but I tend to urge caution, especially if she is inserted in the current flawed setup and expected to somehow fix it (like Lavelle is apparently supposed to create goals from a wingback position….).

          • Reality

            The current flawed setup is predicated on Lloyd being in the middle floating between the mid-field and the box in a free lance role which is very disruptive. I envision Lavelle and Sullivan in the midfield sans Lloyd. But……

          • ARED

            Yep….it should work, I guess I just am very slow to over-hype young players. Even with Lavelle I have only spoken about her in private until she was finally called to the USWNT, because I don’t like to play any role in building the hype-monster.

            So with Sullivan, I’ll be watching, but I won’t say much until I see more. (But maybe she’s better than Lavelle, and I just can’t see it).

          • Reality

            Time will tell…but they must be given real opportunities to prove themselves which theoretically means benching Lloyd…unless of course Ellis makes her a CB.:)

          • ARED

            Agreed -and based on history one assumes they won’t get those opportunities until they are about 29….

            Ellis has brought in 2-3 younger players now though, and seems to have moved from keeping *all* the aging vets, to only keeping a few special ones. Players like Ohai and Groom probably aren’t impressed, but Pugh, Brian, and perhaps Lavelle and Sullivan seem to be getting caps at least, even if not in a well-constructed team.

          • Reality

            The USWNT seniority-celebrity system is the wonder of the WOSO world.

          • CED

            In this 3 back formation there are 5 MF’s. I potentially see Mewis sitting/ deep, Sullivan higher, Lavelle as the #10, then wide Heath, and a battle between Pugh and Dunn for the other wide spot.

          • ARED

            It could work. I still don’t like the formation for this team, but at least with those players -if Lavelle and Sullivan grow as people hope -it would better suited than with Lloyd and whoever else can be fit in next to her….

            But if/when Lloyd goes, so does the need for this formation.

          • NYRick

            “The USWNT players always talk about individuals having to “step up”. I think they would be better if they could learn to “step down”.

            FABULOUS PERSPECTIVE! Well done. I recall a Lloyd quote in the months leading to WC15 shortly after Sermanni was fired. It was to the effective (just paraphrasing here), “Abby will be ready, Rampone will be ready, Hope will be ready, I’ll be ready…”

            Notice it wasn’t THE TEAM will be ready. Individuals and their star power (at least then) ruled the day.

          • ARED

            Haha, I think I remember that one. Yeah, I don’t mind players going off at times, or being a bit awkward in front of the microphones, but with the USWNT it is obsessive it seems -to focus on the self. And though they clung to being “the best team in the world”, they seemed to get more defensive or forward in these comments, because their results in the WC were not backing up their claim to being the best.

            Passion is good, and caring is good. But you have to know how to manage and use these things. Some sports are for the individual, soccer is definitely for the team -especially in the modern time.

          • rkmid71

            For a team to be great, individuals have to sacrifice for the greater good. There is a big gap between what they say and what they do. It’s not or hasn’t been the modus operandi of the USWNT. Until that happens and the players embrace that philosophy (not caring who gets the credit), the team will perform well below its potential. It’s been this way for a LONG time now. USSF leadership seems to have accepted that this state of affairs is ok or satisfactory. They actually seem to think and believe “greatness has been found” — remember the tshirts? They have way too low a standard. I want a Geno Auriemma type coach who will find the right players with the right character and value system and to continually demand and obtain the best out of each player and refresh the roster as needed along the journey.

          • ARED

            Those shirts, as with many USA interviews and sound clips over the years, were pretty bold to say the least…..

          • Rufan

            I saw Lloyd at Rutgers and she never saw a shot she did not like. She also ignored her teammates (few assists) but in retrospect she did not have a lot to work with in those years.

          • NYRick

            Lloyd is, and always has been, what is known in English soccer as a “glory hound.”

          • ARED

            Yes, I mean I do try not to only critique her because she obviously is a strong player over the years, and I imagine in NCAA she was a massive player. But I think that while sometimes the “solo method” can work sometimes it hurts the team at a certain point, and with the USA she is surrounded by players who can play just as well and sometimes better than her, especially now as she ages and the youth has taken the sport to a new level.

            And this level means that more and more teams can stop the solo method, because they control the ball and defend as a unit. Ignoring passes usually leads in turnovers, and with Lloyd that has been the case far too often for far too long, in my opinion.

          • rkmid71

            “She did not have a lot to work with” — even if that’s true, it’s no excuse. I believe a player must make a best effort to work with the teammates she has. That will make the TEAM the best it can be and play up to its potential, even if it’s still well below other teams. The good of the group always comes first. If a player is not doing the things they should, put them on the bench. They’ll come around.

        • NYRick

          On #3, don’t forget her quest for greatest WoSo player ever. In her mind, she needs one more WC and one more PoY. Ellis messing with that the next two years would make her go bat shite crazy.

          • Reality

            Don’t forget the 100 or perhaps even 200 goals! 🙂

          • NYRick

            She’s sitting on 96 for awhile now. She’ll be getting even more antsy. And in her mind once again ( 5 twenty goal seasons) to age 40 is definitely a possibility. It’s madness I tell you.

          • ARED

            Hmm…..I didn’t remember she was close to 100. Only took her what, 250 matches and 2,500 shots to get there?

            You’re probably right, another 250 caps are deserved in the push for 200 goals! ; )

    • NYRick

      Actually, I think Lloyd was subbed out around the 75th minute, not 60th. Tobin came in late for her.

      1) Sermanni was butchered by the vets. Really no one that’s left is going to make the major waves against Ellis if it starts to go the wrong way. I mean it seems Morgan and KO have the most tenure aside from Lloyd and they won’t say anything. Krieger will be gone for WC19 so she has no pull.

      2) Lloyd will never be benched as a starter as long as Ellis is the coach imo.

      3) Yes. Most certainly. And it will get ugly.

  • ARED

    Is anyone doubting Lloyd as the biggest/clearest issue at this point?

    I imagine that in each match 3-4 other players on the field would have done better *for the team* in the CAM role (Press, Pugh, Heath, Brian, Lavelle, Mewis).

    I also imagine that the team would be better off removing Lloyd and inserting the fourth defender, and simply letting the other players be free without having to play with/through Lloyd, and wait for her to cover the ground or pick her head up.

    All of the micro-level discussion of whether Morgan or Press was better, or why they can’t create more (and *better*) chances just seems to go in circles when your key creative role is filled with a player who arguably shouldn’t be on the team, let alone in that role.

    (Of course, the second-biggest issue for me is the continual rotation of odd formations Ellis uses to try to fit Lloyd/Wambach into the lineup. Why should the USA be playing with this formation, focused so much on the back. Should they not focus on the attacking third and try to control the match from there?).

    • Bruce

      My take exactly. In both of the first two games, the US attack essentially played around the CAM position.

      If the goal of this tournament is to experiment with new formations and personnel, it will be a crime if others are not given a long look at the 10. The 3-5-2 simply will not be an option without some sort of creative presence in the attacking midfield.

      • ARED

        “the US attack essentially played around the CAM position”

        I think this sums it up perfectly. Unfortunately it has been true for about 99% of the past 5 years -and much of that time it was also true for the “striker position”. Criminal indeed, I would say (in a sporting sense…lol).

        I don’t like the formation, but I think the formation is far less important than the players selected -and therein lies the problem.

    • NYRick

      Lloyd is probably going to score two poacher goals Tuesday night, the US will win the SBC because Germany will beat England, and then it’s onwards to WC19 for her and Ellis (basking in another big team win) will be grateful and accommodating as always to her. That would be a program nightmare.

      • ARED

        Haha, oh boy.

        (ie, You’re probably exactly right).

      • Reality

        Does assuming the worst inoculate one against the nightmare coming true?

        • ARED

          From my experience: No. It just mentally prepares you for the inevitable.

          • Reality

            One can only pray that this particular type of outcome is not inevitable.

      • rkmid71

        France might just be very accommodating! They have the blueprint. Just leave her unmarked on set pieces like Japan in those first 15 minutes. Then buckle down and play in the last 75. That would be a good challenge and you kill two birds with one stone. “Pretend inferiority and encourage their arrogance.” Though France might need this for their own self belief.

    • Altius

      This team will never have an optimally functioning MF as long as Lloyd has some undisputed lock on that number 10 position. She’s not good at anything except scoring clutch championship-winning goals. She has an atrocious first touch, very little field awareness, blind-man passing, and is prone to fouling. Has she rescued this team to multiple trophies? Yes. But this team would function as a unit much better without her. And if you need a Lloyd rocket to win you the game in the dying minutes because your team couldn’t get it done beforehand, then sub her in, all fired-up, and watch the chaos.

      Will say it again, she’s the greatest not-very-good player I’ve ever seen in my life. I respect the hell out of her work ethic, and she’ll go down a legend of US soccer. But this team needs to find its best setup, and no way in hell does Lloyd fit in that unit.

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    • FawcettFan14

      If Lloyd is going to be on this team, a better role for her at this stage is an offensive supersub, if they are trailing and need a bull-in-china-chop type battering ram with a nose for goal.

      As the #10 she disrupts the offense too much.

      • ARED

        I agree, although I believe they also have 5-10 other players in the country who can play similar roles. But Lloyd coming with full energy late in a match could at least give her a chance to influence the game positively, against a tired and softening defense.

        • NYRick

          She would never agree to that. She has become bigger than the program now, much like Abby. She indirectly calls the shots from here until she says the curtain closes. She has the hammer.

          • MtnSkier

            Unfortunate as it is, you nailed it!!!

    • dw

      I know you only hear it from me. But Long is the best CAM we have.

      • ARED

        Fair point, I value her there also, but have to see it in action to know what I think. I believe I did mention her elsewhere in a marathon thread about CAM/#10/#9 options who are better than Lloyd right now. I got to 11 and stopped.

        I think Long would be a force, but my suspicion is she would struggle to find time on the ball and space in between the lines against top opponents. This of course is true of any player, but I think other options may fit better if the US is trying to play a fast tempo and quickly punish any mistake or opening. Part of why I don’t like Lloyd there is simply b/c she can’t cover the ground, and even when she helps win a ball it usually takes her 3 touches to pass it, which allows the defense to recover. Long would be smarter and more team-friendly at least, but with so many talented players who also happen to be fast and threats on the dribble, I would lean that way –but certainly would be giving them all auditions (Pugh, Lavelle, Long, etc).

        Long has been absolutely immense for Portland though, and I think is probably in the best-11 NWSL players all time. So, plenty of reason to see why you think she could be the best -at least for now.

  • Frozen Blue

    I think this Dunn assessment is one of the most ridiculous this I have read. Dunn owned her defender and made the most productive centering passes into the box the whole game. Pughs one great end line run as a forward resulted in a poor centering pass missing an open Morgan. Then he comments that Pugh is so much better in the same position and can beat any outside back in the world, ha! She was switched into the same spot Dunn was playing a majority of the night and couldn’t get past her defender and was even criticized by Wagner (who fangirled over her during the Germany game) as making poor decisions on the ball and always trying to do the same thing.

    I guarantee if Pugh would have had the same game Dunn did tonight it would have been proof positive to her fan girls that she was the best player on the pitch, as that is exactally what happened after her subbing on Wednesday with far less.

    • ARED

      They are different players, but I do see your point. I felt Pugh struggled a lot at times (but I still felt she was doing more to help the US attack than most players….lol).

      I think Dunn is very good -if she happens to be on the ball in a good spot. But she doesn’t seem to be able to create these good spots for herself often or her teammates almost ever. If she finds herself in a good spot, Dunn then be deadly either with a shot, dribble, or cross. But that is true of many USA players, and I think their bigger issue is in connecting the ball to those dangerous players from the midfield. Pugh shines at times because she can run through the lines and into attacking positions with little or no help from the midfielders, but ideally you’d have more teamwork and less focus on single players making a name for themselves at the expense of their teammates. This of course is more or less how fans tend to see things….ha.

      • Frozen Blue

        Yes I saw that regarding Pugh vs Germany, her ability to run through lines and make something happen, I also noticed that she was only able to do this when she had plenty of space to turn AND get up to full speed. When she was pressured either initially or before she could get up to speed she was unproductive. She is not going to get that kind of time and space unless she is subbed in vs tired top ten teams or vs tomato cans and teams are going to figure this out and pressure her. Last night the left defender did a good job not letting her get to speed and knew her go to move and cut her off.

        • ARED

          I agree things are tighter as the opponents get better, and than ideally a team as good as the USA wouldn’t need to rely on whether an individual can break a game open all by themselves in order to score a goal -which is often what the USA seems to be relying on and even planning for.

          But I will say that I think Pugh can and often does slip and glide past defenders who pressure her quickly -sometimes even 2-3. I think she’s a special player who deserves more chances and support -but that hardly means she is perfect -and the media hype machine already seems stuck on her. I would say the same about Lavelle for example.

          • Frozen Blue

            No doubt Pugh is a good player and should be developed, I’m just sick of the mindless hype especially at the expense of another good player. Dunn is often over criticized or just plain ignored for her efforts.

          • ARED

            Fair enough. I guess it depends on where you look/listen too. Because I actually always find it a bit nauseating how there is absolutely no meaningful critique offered by the media. It’s always “Hooray, 100% Great, Go AMERICA! Girl Power!!”.

            Even when things are clearly wrong -sometimes drastically so. And then, whenever the results slip up, even sometimes just conceding a goal, the response is shock and crisis, as if they all bought the hype that they were unbeatable.

          • mockmook

            I’d say a lot of the hysteria is here (not in the “media”).

            Players are relentlessly criticized as if there is some other players who will be totally effective. The team is relentlessly criticized as if other top teams don’t have the same problems. The USA does, after all, usually beat every other team.

            Not saying some criticism isn’t warranted (and I especially don’t like the JE’s fitting of personnel to her formations), but it seems some here only want players who are absolutely perfect.

          • rkmid71

            No. Perfect isn’t possible. But players willing to work hard and continually strive towards that would be nice. No guaranteed spots on the team. Maybe starting with selecting fit players would be step 1. Then we can move to step 2. Step 2 would be not fitting square pegs into round holes, which I think is your point.

          • ARED

            I agree the web can be the worst of all. I was specifically referring to the “PR” of the USWNT. If you watch the USA tv and see/hear what they say, how they say it, etc -and it’s usually all just pure propaganda from the team and coaches themselves. Everything is always “great” and “positive” and “this will make us better”. But it’s pretty rare you hear them say “I’m not sure this new formation everyone keeps talking about is such a good idea”, or “You know what, it looks like right now Rose Lavelle, Mallory Pugh, Christen Press, Morgan Brian, or maybe even Sam Mewis would be better suited to fill the CAM role for this team”, etc.

            It’s fine, I don’t expect any real crunching analysis, but it’d be nice if they weren’t all in complete denial about certain things (like Wambach, or Rampone, or Lloyd, or Boxx/Chalupny/etc).

          • NYRick

            I agree. I laughed when I read the article. I thought Dunn was effective out there and England from the 60th minute on was going to have trouble with her speed and tenacity. When she was subbed out around then I said nooooooo.

      • Frozen Blue

        Can I just ask did you honestly think Dunn played bad last night, as the author of this article suggest?

        • ARED

          Didn’t see this question…

          I do not rate Dunn quite as high as many in general, but of course I believe she is a skilled and dangerous attacker. I thought she played about as she usually does, but since England was good and the USA average it wasn’t a great match for most USA players.

          I would prefer if she had more patience and vision, and feel others offer it better, so I would use Dunn as a sub to change a match, or in specific matches to exploit matchups on the wing. In this match, I was at times finding Dunn to make “bad” decisions, but that is in the eye of the beholder by definition -and for me it was happening from most of the US players for most of the night. That is why Lavelle stood out so much, not because her execution was perfect, but because her reading of the game and her instincts were so good.

          I agree the author singled her out too strongly, although I suppose he was perhaps hinting at a larger picture than just this match as the title suggests.

    • Reality

      I think that Pugh has been fulfilling the role that O’Reilly had on the flank. She has great potential, but I think that she also has to learn that instead of running all the way to the end line, she can also cut back more often toward the middle or pass earlier to open players toward the center.

      • ARED

        I agree, although when Lloyd is always floating around in that central area, I would also look to avoid playing into her due to the expectation that it will result in a turnover. In 2016 Pugh had a lot of success in attacking outside and then cutting the ball back on the ground for runners -including Lloyd -to reach inside the box. But England usually has 6-7 players fully recovered, and without Long in the midfield, I think the USA attack found a lot less space in general -Pugh included.

        • Reality

          Creating space is the key for players who rely on speed. When the opposing team manages to clog things up or your own players do the same, then the speed game is not as effective. When there is no space, that’s when the team has to shift gears and play a smart and effective inside passing/possession game. Then space will be created again. It’s like any other sport where you mix up your tactics on the fly to create defensive overcompensation. However, this is not easy to do and only the very best teams can manage it consistently.

          • ARED

            That is why I mention Long specifically, I believe she has been the best player to control the ball and move it well throughout the team from the midfield during the time Ellis had been manager. Brian and Holiday did well for a few matches also, but they still relied heavily on attacking down the outside. Long actually gave them a bit more ability to choose either side OR the middle, and she usually was smart with the choices she made.

          • Reality

            I agree that Long is better employed in the midfield rather than the back line. However, given the youngsters that are coming up like Lavelle and Sullivan, I don’t think that Long will be a candidate for WC2019. But she certainly provides a lot of value for the time being.

          • ARED

            I think that is a question that should be considered from now until WC19. But instead the question is completely dodged by Ellis changing her system again, forcing a bunch of players into slightly/significantly more difficult positions for them……

            I’ve thought the CM position has been poorly handled even before Ellis, but with Long we finally had seen proof of a holding player doing all the things they said the wanted (“setting play”, “changing the point”, playing “quick and fluid”), and we also saw an instant improvement in all of the attacking players (due to finally getting the ball in better positions). But Ellis didn’t seem to like the answer she was getting, and while Long may be a question mark at CM for 2019, she is currently the best one in that role, but a big question mark right now at CB. It just doesn’t make any sense, unless it’s an intentional “phasing out” by Ellis, which would be a shame I believe.

          • Reality

            “…Ellis changing her system again, forcing a bunch of players into slightly/significantly more difficult positions for them……” is SOP for her. Does her quest for “versatility” outweigh the diminishment of effectiveness is the question.

          • ARED

            No, is the answer. (I believe….lol).

            The least versatile player gets the best role, and Ellis loves all the versatile and team-oriented players (Heath, Brian, Dunn, Press, Pugh, Lavelle, etc), because they allow her to continue to barely support the facade of that player…..

          • CED

            Long was actually very poor when she came in to the MF in the game. Even going back to last year I never saw much out of long. Long for me takes way too much time to make up her mind, gets caught in possession often, etc… Mewis played that spot well today, but has been lackluster in games last year for the most part, with a few good moments. If Mewis can put more games together like Eng, she should earn the spot. The other MF bright spot was Lavelle, she keeps playing that way it’s going to be impossible to keep her on the bench.

          • ARED

            I think Mewis certainly has the most high-end potential of those we’ve seen in that role, especially in the long-run if she can grow. Sullivan may factor in later. But I believe Long played well, and certainly far better than any other option, in the holding role in 2016. It’s not about her doing anything fancy, it’s about her spreading the ball around and sometimes drawing defenders to herself, both of which free up space for the players you do want to do fancy things. Either way, I doubt many would argue that the backline is better now than before, or that the midfield is. So that is an interesting thing to consider when wondering what Ellis is trying to achieve.

            I think Lavelle would be the best holding midfielder right now most likely, but would be much better for the team (and herself) if she were used as a CAM in some form, or at least a true CM perhaps in a partnership with Brian or Mewis. But she needs plenty of time and grace to grow into any role, just as all players do.

          • Reality

            Well, the best way is to let them all compete for the midfield position. We are finally getting good young players coming up and Long will have to prove herself against them. But I am more concerned about the back line for the future especially since Ellis is favoring a three.

          • rkmid71

            “Impossible to keep her on the bench” — unfortunately, you might have just explained why we don’t see new players more often in games seen by the public. JE’s job becomes harder — she can’t easily explain away or rationalize choices based on closed door, controlled camps. That’s why we never saw Pinoe or Boxx or others in games before the OG and WC respectively.

          • Silver Frost

            As with Press, this coaching staff is playing too cute with the talents of Long. They have brilliant ideas about putting Long into a role she is not superior at. Long is a great middie, a scoring threat. WNT needs players who are superior at every position, not just “good enough” at every position. Ellis, for all her acumen, can’t see that these are women, not chess pieces.

          • ARED

            Actually, watching Ellis does remind me a bit of a chess player who is so proud to show how tricky they can be, while completely ignoring that their opponent is about to win by a simple attack in plain sight.

            Long as CB seems with little doubt to make both the midfield worse and the defensive line worse (although the 3-back gets some credit for both). In 2015 I was crediting Ellis for “at least knowing better than to mess with her back four”. But sure enough before long I was proved wrong…..Maybe if the midfield was better without her, or if they had no other CB options, but they have 3 strong options at CB, and so far I’d argue no one has been close to Long’s consistently positive effect in the holding midfield position. But I don’t really expect Ellis to swallow her pride and switch back to the old way. Just as I don’t expect her to drop Lloyd. But those are the first two things I think they should do.

          • NYRick

            Take the crossbar shot by Bronze that led to their goal (her shot by the way was a cracker and deserved to go in without the melee that followed), but that is the shot I want Press taking on this team. She is open all the time at the top of the 18. She naturally floats there when the play is on the wings and instead Pugh keeps pushing to the endline. Cut back a bit and slide a short pass to Christen and let her do her thing. Aside from the great save in the first half on Lavelle, their keeper didn’t have to do too much.

          • Reality

            Sampson has done an excellent job in prepping the English team for the SBC. They have had good showings against both France and the US and are highly motivated to prove themselves. Giving Ellis the benefit of the doubt, if she is using this tournament for experimentation, then losing is always a possibility. Sermanni wasn’t able to accomplish this goal but Ellis will probably get away with it. The real experimentation should be done by having Lloyd sit out the tournament and see how the NT does without her.

        • rkmid71

          Pugh can’t “avoid playing into her due to the expectation of a turnover”. Her job is to play to the open player, no matter what she thinks of her. It’s the coach’s job to get the right players in the right position.

          • Reality

            Is it just my imagination or has Pugh been favoring the cross to Lloyd over other players who may have been open?

          • NYRick

            Lloyd seems to have her ear a lot during the match. I noticed Lloyd coming over to her to talk during short breaks (player down, goalie holding ball etc.) while watching the match in person.

          • Reality

            I saw on 2 separate occasions in the second half where Pugh was running to the end line and centering the ball to Loyd while Press was wide open around the 18. Perhaps that also happened with Morgan earlier?

          • NYRick

            I know this sounds bias, but I was watching Press specifically at times when she was making her runs, how she hangs on the backline and there were opportunities to get her the ball for sure. Press has a great feel for things in that area, but she truly needs someone with vision. I never understand why Heath is a flank player and not more central. And if you recall one of the Andi Sullivan matches, she found Press perfectly for a goal.

            When you are playing the #9 (which Press was playing exclusively when she entered) you need service. Instead our attack consisted of oohs and ahhs of Lavelle and Pugh running with the ball down the flank. Even Morgan was clear a few times as well. They have to get them the ball. I didn’t look at the stats, but how many shots on goal did the US have. I don’t think either Morgan or Press had a shot on goal, or even a shot for that matter. That’s the system, something is wrong.

          • Reality

            The service to the forwards has been ineffective so far in this SBC. So while Pugh and Lavelle show potential for the future, they need more experience in integrating with the forward line particularly with Lloyd out of the way.

          • NYRick

            This isn’t brain surgery saying this but Lloyd is becoming Abby in Abby’s last year to two years on the team. Both don’t know where the hell to go anymore, and both hunger for goals for relevancy. I am encouraged by the young play of both Pugh and Lavelle (they will learn from experience), but coaching is essential for both right now. I don’t advocate bypassing college, but both would be served well exclusively playing their club soccer in Europe now for a few years. The lesson of Press in Europe hasn’t resonated well with young American star players.

          • Reality

            “The lesson of Press in Europe…” has apparently resonated with older players like Lloyd and Dunn who presumably want to gain some of the skills that Press already possesses. Oh, there is that money too…

          • ARED

            With respect, Rose Lavelle right now has more tactical and technical understanding than the majority of the USWNT -including Carli Lloyd. Pugh is strong as well compared to many of her teamates at least.

            Lavelle is undersized, and usually not as fast or strong as the opponent. That was the biggest concern for her adjusting to the international game, but England is a very strong team both physically and tactically, and Lavelle was for me the best player on the field. So I understand your point about wanting to develop these players -and your fears of them being ruined by American coaches are probably valid -but I think the answer is to just give them freedom. It’s funny, but sometimes that’s all you need to do as a manager. Pick the right players, and say “go have fun”.

          • ARED

            I agree, although want to mention that part of what made Lavelle so good was the fact that she, from the outside wing/back position, was the one connecting with the strikers. She played multiple balls for Morgan and Pugh that led to chances for them running in space, which has been very rare for USA forwards under Jill Ellis.

            Shockingly rare, I would say.

          • Bruce

            I saw the same, and thought to myself that play from the wings was too impatient and could have benefited from an extra pass.

            I’d have to rewatch the tape to be sure, but I’ve got no recollection of Morgan (or Williams) popping out to the 18 with the ball in the corner. Those two are comfortable crashing the box, while Press typically looks to float to an open area.

          • Reality

            Press is good at finding seams, but teammates have to find her in the seam in a timely manner in order to obtain results.

          • Silver Frost

            This is really the tragedy of Press. The squandering of her talents on the part of coaches is a crime.

          • Reality

            I believe I have said that more than once…actually maybe more than 100 times.:)

          • Ethan

            It wasn’t the 18, but Morgan “floated” back to the best possible open area for a cutback from Pugh after Pugh got past Houghton early in the first half. Pugh should have cut it back to Morgan, but she played it horizontally across goal.

            You’re right that Morgan is comfortable crashing the box to start with, but she will hold her run after crashing if it leaves her in a better position. Examples: In the first match against Japan last year, Morgan initially ran towards the goal, but she then instructed someone else to take up a central position. She then held her run and got spotted perfectly for Pugh. In 2012 against Ireland, Morgan wasn’t crashing the box, but she clearly pulled back to allow Holiday (Cheney at the time) to play the ball to her for her second goal. For her first goal for Orlando last season, she got herself into a similar position that she did yesterday for Pugh. That time, Catley found her perfectly. Morgan doesn’t always get her runs right, and I was very critical of her movement on that open goal chance for Lyon that quite a few of us ended up discussing about. However, she definitely “floats” to open areas. Those open areas aren’t at the 18, but they’re equally open and ideal spaces for the ball to be played to her.

            Edit: Morgan also pulled back on Lloyd’s play that led to her crossing for O’Hara’s goal against Germany. However, some people were actually critical of Morgan for not crashing the 6 yard box there. So maybe you won’t like that example at all.

          • ARED

            I did notice two clear chances for Press where Pugh did not play the pass. I don’t think too much about it for only a small sample though….but certainly Lloyd has an ever-present impact on how those around her play, whether we want to talk about it or not.

          • ARED

            Well, I agree and disagree. If I look up and see Alex Morgan on the back shoulder, I will play quickly the ball into space and know that 9 of 10 times this is a good ball. But if I see Lloyd or Horan, I will know that 9 of 10 times it is a poor ball, so I will look for another option. I believe -esp for a midfielder -it is the job of the passer to know who they pass to and how that player likes the ball.

            Lloyd likes the ball any way she can get it, but the reality is that if she is “open” but only by a yard, she will often take too long to control and move the ball, and so if I pass to her and see a counter begin, and I am out of position to recover, then I consider it my job to also prevent this. This is an example of why I believe Ellis is at the center of all of these things. She puts players in positions and roles on the field, and far too often I think she is putting them in bad positions where they have either no options, or no good options.

      • NYRick

        That’s a great comparison. People forget that HAO was also lightning fast and at one time a 17-year old phenom on the team. One thing HAO could do a helluva lot better playing that role…get the ball into the box accurately. Pugh tries to do a little too much herself and then slants her pass (when it does come) basically anywhere. Initially last year, Heath was smart enough to run on a few from the other side and across the box for goals. Players on the pitch with her have to realize that she freelancers and be ready for anything or anticipate where a stray ball may go for a scoring chance. You are not going to get the ball on your foot from her.

        • Reality

          It is a learning process and Pugh is still a youngster. Heath has, as was mentioned in the broadcast, been able to maximize her strengths in the team context which has made her a more effective player.

          • necron99

            I wonder if seeing Rose playing had a detrimental effect on Heath’s play vs England?

            Last year Heath took a giant leap forward that many had been waiting for. Instead of just playing around she used her skills to attack creating open chances for others and even scoring a few time for club and country.

            Last night coming in as a sub we saw the old Heath. She slowed the game down. After an initial move forward with the ball she stopped and started dancing around with it. It allowed defenders to get into better positions and mark the players making forward runs.

          • Reality

            I think that any time a new player is added to the on-field equation, it changes the dynamics on the pitch not only because of unfamiliarity with the new player’s tendencies, strengths and weaknesses but also just a simple lack of experience in interaction. Once Lavelle and the rest of the team play together more, she will become more integrated in the flow of play with the rest of the team including Heath.

        • Altius

          I was actually quite frustrated with Pugh’s decision-making last night. She got to the end-line and then produced nothing. All the wing trickery and pace in the world won’t mean anything if she doesn’t execute that final pass, that pointed cross. She CAN – she just needs to get out of her own head, look up, and connect her thoughts.

          • ARED

            Or, as someone just mentioned below, is it Carli Lloyd that she (Pugh) needs to get out of her head…..

            I agree Pugh struggled in this match, but unfortunately even so she was one of the better creative USA players. The goal should be to combine as many fast, creative, fluid players as possible, and hope they blend together to make things happen without too much pressure on any one player or pass. Without this, you continue to see Pugh or Press or Morgan receiving the ball and trying to force a play that is not available, often because they are only getting a few decent chances on the ball and so they overplay whenever they do get a chance.

        • Ethan

          Well, it wasn’t hard to anticipate last year. Almost all of her crosses were along the ground and ended up between the top of the six and the penalty spot area. That’s right around where Morgan set herself up on Pugh’s run in the first half. (And Morgan definitely got the ball on her foot from Pugh against Japan. That was a smart run on her part, but it was expected. Pugh made a great play there.) For some reason, Pugh chose to not cut the ball back yesterday. I didn’t think Pugh had a great game yesterday, but I think you’re underselling her a little and overselling Heath. Holding her run on those two goals was smart; however, it wasn’t “rocket science” and something you expect all the time from your opposite side winger.

  • guest

    Bronze is a tremendous talent but she was bringing out her inner Tancredi last night. England was a bit dirty. Unfortunately that is how you beat the USA… you have to match them physically and fitness wise.

    • ARED

      I don’t think dirty -I just think the referee needs to pull out the cards and play her role.

      I hate when referees make themselves the story by forcing cards, but there were two clear yellow-if-not-red-cards that she ignored. Morgan could easily have been injured, and this tackle was very poor. Again though, I think the referee had set the tone long before it, so Bronze only pushed up to that line. She would argue that seconds before a foul went uncalled on the edge of the USA box, and Bronze recovered 80 yards to make that clumsy challenge on Morgan. It does not excuse a bad challenge, but I blame the ref more than Bronze.

      • Steglitz49

        The US always moans when the opposition stands firm and don’t give an inch. The USWNT players are experts at harassing the referees and touch judges. That way they avoid being carded till late in the game and get others carded.

        the new rule that allows only the captain to speak to the ref crew will be a great step forward.

        • ARED

          Someone sounds a bit upset…. ; p

          Watch the tackle on Morgan by Bronze and you don’t think it’s a clear yellow??

          And that has always been the rule for some time, has it not?

          • Steglitz49

            I take your word for it.

            In the Miracle on Grass, Carli got carded in the 110th minute, about 100 min too late.

          • ARED

            Another example of WoSo referees letting too many card-worthy tackles, which injure star players and stop attacks (both bad for the game), go unpunished.

            Lloyd did see yellow for kicking Nobbs (if memory serves) in the nose. And of course she was upset it was called a foul I am pretty sure.

    • guest

      pretty ball doesn’t win against the usa. it’s why sweden gives them problems and they usually crush teams like france and japan.

      • Steglitz49

        not in 2011, WoSo’s spiritual version of 1954.

      • ARED

        I’m not sure “crush” is the word I would use. France in 2011, Japan in 2011 and 2012, France in 2014, France in 2016, Japan in 2016……these were not “crushing”, or anything close to easy wins for the USA. Just listing these ones off the top of my head…..

        I see your point, and agree the USA suffers more when the opponent creates chaotic games than smooth and easy ones. But sometimes France and Japan do that with their possession and passing, just as Sweden and England do it by being disciplined and efficient on counters or set pieces.

  • annie

    What the heck is Man City going to do with Lloyd? Watching England last night, I really don’t think they need her…

    • NYRick

      She is going to become their female Frank Lampard. On his last year in the EPL, on the roster, has to play sometimes somewhere, getting paid big money…and no one knows quite why anymore.

      • Ethan

        I’m obviously biased because he’s my favorite player of all-time; I’ve been a fan for close to 14 years. Regardless, Lampard still put in some good shifts in his last season with Chelsea, and given how many games there are in all competitions in a season, I didn’t wonder why he got some game time. Regarding getting paid big money, people wonder why all professional football players get paid so much money. Lampard was and still is a club legend with Chelsea and played at a high level pretty much up until he left. Not surprising that he was still being paid big money. Sorry if I’m being too aggressive here, but the comparison doesn’t work for me. (I do understand comparisons being made because of the whole “late runs into the box” similarity though.) But hey, if Lloyd can match the play of a player high on the all-time Premier League goals and assists leaderboard, Manchester City would be happy.

        • NYRick

          I’m with you on Lampard. All-time legend for Chelsea. My point was more his time at Man City (last EPL season) before coming to the MLS. I find it heart-breaking when a player so identified with one major team moves on to one of the biggest competitors in any sport. Something always wrong with Roger Clemens pitching for the Yanks for me. I get the money game etc. but it just was wrong to see him in a Man City uniform. Also, I haven’t checked by did he retire from NYC this year?

          • Ethan

            I have to apologize here; for some reason, I thought “last season in EPL” equaled “last season with Chelsea”. I suppose I just erased that season with Manchester City from my mind. (Although I do think/recall him having a good period of form during that season.) I wasn’t a fan of him playing for Manchester City, but I was too much a fan of his play over the years to really criticize him for it. Same with Cech for Arsenal. Yeah, Lampard has officially retired from professional football and will be starting on his coaching badges.

    • Steglitz49

      Of course they don’t need her, like Lyon does not need Alex, Arsenal HAO nor Chelsea Crystal. PR. A belt to go with the braces.

    • #1Fan

      what are Lyon doing with Morgan? No different.

      • ARED

        Selling shirts, tickets, and maybe even some television…. ; )

    • Bakkar

      The last time a English team played a UWCL final was 2007. Maybe they do need her

    • Ashley C

      A lot of the headlines are something like “the best player in women’s football is heading to City.” I suppose from a PR standpoint it’s great. Same for Morgan in many respects.

  • Gary Diver

    Moment of Truth Tuesday

    If France beats USWNT and Germany beats England, USWNT will finish last in 2017 SBC tied with England. Two home loses in a row may be a first in USWNT history. And USWNT will have started off with one of their worst starts since winning the first WC in 1991. If Claudio Ranieri can be fired just a few weeks after being awarded 2016 Best FIFA Men’s Coach Award, why can’t Ellis be fired?

    Carli Lloyd’s Tuesday performance should be under the microscope. I like the idea of using her as a supersub forward. Her doing-her-own-thing freelancing and nonexistent defense is an unacceptable liability.

    Ellis needs to quickly fix her MF, back line, and start grooming a new goalie.

    Ellis should start now by putting Rose Lavelle in Lloyd’s spot. And then she should be thinking about having Lavelle, Morgan Brian, and Andi Sullivan on the field next year for her MF when Sullivan recovers.

    Ellis has to have a back line who can move the ball forward quickly and effectively. The poor forward ball movement hobbles USWNT’s offense. Defenders need to defend well, but they also need speed and the ability to handle the ball well. I don’t see Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Johnston, or Becky Sauerbrunn on the starting WC19 roster so Ellis should be grooming other defenders who are better handling the ball. Krieger, Johnston, and Sauerbrunn are not comfortable with the ball. That is bad. And too many of Ellis’ defenders tend to panic when pressed. That is a recipe for a counter-attack vulnerability.

    • Altius

      That exact MF please.

      • rkmid71

        Btw — that is exactly what HOFC has previously proposed and which I fully endorsed as well. Assuming Sullivan recovers and regains her prior form. The odds are good. Kiliion was supposed to be the temrporary Sullivan replacement, which I would have liked to see. It could have happened at SBC to really test it sans Sullivan. We’ll have to wait. I think there are other matches planned against top teams later this year. Let’s hope.

    • Frozen Blue

      At this point I would pick Mewis over Brian, she has come into her own in the last few games. Brian has never been as good for me, since the World Cup.

    • CED

      Sauerbrunn will be there baring and absolute implosion or injury, whether she should be there is another story. Ellis doesn’t have the guts to cut her. Krieger and Johnston can’t play a 3 back, their skills sets are not conducive to it. But, will she have the guts to cut both?. Krieger yes, I think she will give JJ a million chances and she will need to implode not to make it. Ohara is a crap shot. Totally agree the back panics under pressure, sometimes even mnot pressure. There were at least 5 times yesterday they just booted the ball out when it was not necessary. Krieger was the biggest culprit and JJ not far behind. The 3 back formation afinity is a consequence of the teams inability to control the MF and generate attacks. Instead of finding the right MF, she is trying a work around b/c one of the multiple part solution is sitting Lloyd, which she won’t do.

      • Gary Diver

        Becky Sauerbrunn as Poster Child of USWNT Shortcomings

        I believe Becky Sauerbrunn has been a great defender and an under appreciated player for a number of year, but her career is a poster child for what is wrong with USWNT.

        1. Sauerbrunn was denied an opportunity to play for USWNT for several years for apparently personal reasons by USWNT coaches. It was only a few years ago she got her well-deserved starting position. The allocation star system held her back.

        2. Being an allocated star player, Sauerbrunn’s spot is denying young defenders an opportunity as she herself was denied years earlier.

        3. During WC19, Becky Sauerbrunn will be 34 years old. She barely was able to keep up breakaways during WC15. She will have lost one or two steps in WC19 from her WC15 performance. And Sauerbrunn is very uneasy handling the ball. It is painful to watch Sauerbrunn and Johnston meaninglessly pass the ball back and forth to each other to avoid having to make a forward pass.

        • NYRick

          Correct on all 3 accounts. This USWNT is rich in irony.

          1) Hope and Scurry. If you let her Hope would play forever and called Scurry washed up and old when she was emerging.

          2). Abby. No explanation required.

          3) Lloyd. No explanation required.

          4) HAO. Easily would have played on the NT for 3 more years in they let her. Yet at one time she was the 17 year old who was given the golden opportunity.

          5) Becky. Solid player but you are 100% on the money with your analysis of her. She actually sat for Buehler and she was a far superior defender in comparison even at a young age.

          • ARED

            She played brilliantly when Buehler was suspended for the SF of the WC 2011 as well, but still was benched and Buehler, Rampone, and Co. had a shocker as Japan happily punished some pretty poor play.

            I don’t think Sauerbrunn should be dropped from the roster, or even the first-11 right now, but certainly there are some ominous signs when looking forward to 2019.

            I’m not sure ANY of the USA defenders look better in a 3-back system though. Does anybody argue this? The best 2 might be O’Hara and Klingenberg, who we haven’t seen, but for the most part I think they are all better in just a simple flat 4-back. I don’t see any need at all for this who contingency.

        • tonysocref

          #4. As long as the we have a CBA that has guaranteed contracts and # limits on who the coach can bring in, it’s not going to happen.

          • necron99

            There are guaranteed contracts but there are NO LIMITS to the number of players the coach can bring in. There is a minumum number of players on contracts.

            Not bringing in more players is a choice the Fed makes to save money by avoiding a higher number of contracts.

          • tonysocref

            Let me re-word that to #of non-contracted players the coach may bring in. Even JE has indicated that that is one of the constraints with the current CBA.

      • rkmid71

        “Totally agree the back panics under pressure, sometimes even not pressure. There were at least 5 times yesterday they just booted the ball out when it was not necessary.”

        Finding the right midfield and the right defenders. But I would start with the midfield. This is just basic fundamentals. I think this is a function of player selection. Not selecting excellent, quick, confident, experienced DEFENDERS and MIDFIELDERS who can defend with ball skills. Believe me. they exist. They put attacking players or forwards in DM, HM. They put forwards in OB. YNTs and the USWNT. You can live with turnovers on the attack as you take chances. But turnovers matter in your half and there are consequences for not being organized and working together. I think that’s why they panic. They are not used to it. Turnovers, lack of possession, resorting to hero ball. These players can cope against poor teams. Against good teams, not so much. I think other teams have gotten wise to the weakness. All they need to do is match the physicality. If the idea was to outscore the other teams, we need to average more than .5 goals per game against top teams. Again, though the finishing could improve, I think it mainly stems from the defenders and midfield not getting the ball to the forwards in good positions often enough. We have some of the best forwards in the world.

    • NYRick

      I agree with you. Tuesday needs to be approached as a big game for the US. This SBC tournament this year and next is really the best comp they will play till WC19 and you have to relish that. And in case no one is fully looking, it seems England is more than capable of taking the top spot over the US, Germany, France in the next two years. They have a great young coach, who has instilled a system that the players buy into, and they have a country born and bred on the sport. I’m sure there are now plenty of young English girls who want to be the next Lucy Bronze. Look out, we woke up a dragon in the sport.

      You are absolutely dreaming if you think Lloyd won’t play 90 on Tuesday. In fact there would be no Vegas odds for it, that is a 100% certainty. I also think Heath will start and play a good portion if not all of the match and you won’t see much of Lavelle on Tuesday. I think Ellis should play Morgan and Press together to start at forward and role the dice with them together in a big game. This game will decide the championship. I see England tying Germany at best, if not losing outright.

      • Gary Diver

        Both England and Canada could leap-frog over USWNT if Ellis doesn’t make some serious changes soon. She needs to be looking over her shoulder or she will be looking at her competition in front of her.

        • NYRick

          I never thought in a million years that the US program could fall to possibly even #3 or #4 in the world in the next decade. But I’ve changed my mind on that. That’s very possible. The US needs a young coach in the Sampson mold to progress forward or I think it’s inevitable.

          • Gary Diver

            Jet lag may have saved USWNT’s No. 1 FIFA ranking. Germany is breathing down USWNT’s back.

          • HOFCToDi

            Oh shut up!

            The Frauen Bundesliga has been in season since late August/early September.

          • Arlie Earl Jones

            By when did the German team played or trained together before they travelled on Monday – 2 days before their first match – to the US?

            Their players didn’t play or train together for months. Important players are missing

            Current rankings are not important, development of the WNT is important. Winning easily against Germany was nice, but for the sake of good evaluation of where we stand we should keep the circumstances in consideration

          • HOFCToDi

            Two can play this game. The last match for the USWNT was 13 Nov 2016.

          • HOFCToDi

            The Frauen Bundesliga was on break from 19 Dec 2016 thru 11 Feb 2017. Shame on Steffi Jones for not taking advantage of the time off.

          • Ashley C

            I’ve seen some people who rail on Sampson or Herdman’s approach to the game, but both seem to learn from their mistakes, tactics and try to adapt and adjust. Ellis on the other hand…

          • ARED

            I’d say the two have some similarities, but I see Sampson as bringing more creativity and value to England compared to Herdman. Herdman is quite pragmatic and enthusiastic which has worked well at times, and not as well at others, but while Sampson can be very conservative, he also can be very adventurous. and usually to good effect. It will be interesting to see how both sides go as they bring in the next wave of players.

        • HOFCToDi

          Half of the outfield players (10/20) currently on the USWNT roster for the 2017 SheBelieves Cup are under the age of 25:

          Johnston, Julie (DOB 06 April 1992)
          Dunn, Crystal (DOB 03 Jul 1992)
          Mewis, Samantha (DOB 09 Oct 1992)
          Brian, Morgan (DOB 26 Feb 1993)
          Williams, Lynn (DOB 21 May 1993)
          Sonnett, Emily (DOB 25 Nov 1993)
          Horan, Lindsey (DOB 26 May 1994)
          Lavelle, Rose (DOB 14 May 1995)
          Pugh, Mallory (DOB 29 April 1998)
          Pinto, Brianna (DOB 24 May 2000)

          • ARED

            His point was not that the USA is a bad or even an aging team.
            His point -I believe- was that the USA has talent that is not being used well, if Ellis does not “make some serious changes”. Everything is not an insult.

          • HOFCToDi

            Yet it was a 28 year old, who has accrued over 80 caps, with the boneheaded turnover that led to the second corner kick for England.

          • ARED

            And what led to the first? And what led to the 89 minutes of fruitless labor to that moment?

          • HOFCToDi

            The substitutes were no better than the starters.

          • ARED

            Maybe not, but that doesn’t answer the question…. ; )

            It took 89 minutes to reach the point where Press was defending and gave up that ball. Yes, it led to the corner, which led to the header, which led to the volley, which led to the rebound, which led to the collision, which led to the bad clearance, which led to the quick shot, which led to the offside goal, which was allowed and won the game.

            It’s fine to critique that play, but I’m just suggesting that it’s a long match and they could have controlled it better throughout, or scored a goal, if they were hoping for a better result. “Leaving it late” is by definition a risk….

          • HOFCToDi

            Big picture.

            This match and the next match will have little bearing on what transpires 27 months from now.

            The poster in question is the resident Chicken Little.

            http://api.ning.com/files/Kmd9nT1FlrKg242QvYg5jA5uByzbHcOnw3NEF6Ek04xkMiKGb8Kg-VbLshWlqMOFeXmbGBC3bgafB*Jq2Efq92RgqxtrDCvf/image.png

          • ARED

            Maybe so, but his point of “both have coaches who are willing to make major changes to produce the best team on the field. Could Ellis learn something from them?” seems pretty fair to me.

            Ellis has continually clung to old players and old ideas about certain parts of the game. She has now made a few major changes, but they seem more reflexive to support the existing core ideas than any kind of aggressive move to push the team forward.

            And you are the one who was complaining about the boneheaded turnover which led to the corner kick, while I am urging calm over a series of plays which led to the goal, and on the game overall as well.

          • HOFCToDi

            Your Precious Press, not the international superstar after all.

          • ARED

            I heard one time Mia Hamm lost a challenge, not the international superstar after all.

          • HOFCToDi

            Mia Hamm was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame.
            Christen Press will be lucky to even receive consideration.

          • ARED

            Well, those awards can never really be trusted. If Press ever wins a World Cup I guess she might get considered.

          • Observed

            She did win one. WC 2015.

          • mockmook

            And she was a “difference maker” according to JE

            (of course, she says all subs are “difference makers”)

          • ARED

            (Exactly).

            ; )

          • HOFCToDi

            I’ve got access to MOTHER now, and I’ll get my own answers, thank you.

            Evaluate player pool. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.

          • ARED

            Who is MOTHER? (Sorry, I may be ignorant…lol).

            I agree, evaluate the player pool would be #1 -assuming you trust the staff in place to do so. #2 -Develop the preferred players over two years -assuming you trust the staff to do so….

          • HOFCToDi
          • ARED

            Oh, so it’s a smart computer? So in WoSo, who is that? Alexei Lalas?

            ; p

          • HOFCToDi

            The Company delivered orders. The “company” Jill Ellis works for is the USSF.

            Don’t be so naïve that Megan Rapinoe is “injured”. I’ll bet Sunil Gulati got an earful from the corporate sponsors after the stunt she pulled.

          • ARED

            Oh now I understand -look at us, you teaching me, me listening and learning about strange (to me) films -isn’t this nice??? ; )

            I agree of course on the “Company” concept, it has been clear for ages and while I doubt they would bury Rapinoe for a big tournament over this, but since she’s been out anyway it made it easy to just leave her out.

          • Observed

            Why did Press have to clear anything until that point? There were 10 other team members who failed to keep the ball away from goal, or to score one for USA. You fail to notice that soccer is a team sport.

      • Steglitz49

        JE should not play Alex Morgan at all. Let’s see what happens. She must start Rose Lavelle.

      • dw

        This game is Lloyd’s biggest chance to 3-peat, although she could win it probably doing nothing all year, thanks to the actual process being a complete joke.

        • ARED

          Maybe she can bang in a hat trick against Yeovil Town with City and “earn” it that way……

    • HOFCToDi

      Sunil Gulati only cares about FIFA World Cup Qualifications.

      Pia Sundhage orchestrated one the worst losses in the USWNT history during the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying yet was not terminated. I guess you completely forgot about the two legged playoff:

      ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/tournaments/2011-fifa-womens-world-cup-playoff#tab-2

      You stem from the culture of instant gratification.

      • Som Termanni

        Sermanni got fired for an Algarve Cup 7th-place disaster that involved two losses months before qualifiers started. That tournament had no bearing on qualifiers either.

        Are you saying Gulati fired Sermanni after a two-loss finish in a meaningless away tournament because his failure was close to WWC qualifiers? That Ellis’s job is safer despite potentially following an embarrassing exit from the Olympics with a two-loss finish in a meaningless home tournament, simply because Ellis has more rope with which she can hang herself before qualifiers start?

        • HOFCToDi

          The USWNT allowed five goals to an opponent that did not even qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. A FIFA Women’s World Cup that expanded the field to 24 member associations.

          Aside from the 2014 Algarve Cup debacle, please state the last time the USWNT allowed five goals.

          • Steglitz49

            You only need to score one goal more than your opponent to win, as witness the restored clock https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0e37b9a9146ae430060a45bb31749c1aab9f993e6b0a720c2237deabf1d41252.jpg :

          • rkmid71

            What the heck was Solo doing that day? Was she out too late the night before? Denmark had only 9 shots, 7 SOG, and scored 5 goals. That’s a 29% save percentage. Denmark’s GK, Stina Petersen (Rollins College in Florida), faced 22 shots, 11 SOG. The US scored 3 goals. Lloyd was Budweiser Player of the Match. Here was the lineup:

            USA: 1-Hope Solo; 25-Meghan Klingenberg (5-Kelley O’Hara, 60), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Whitney Engen, 14-Stephanie Cox (20-Abby Wambach, 85); 9-Heather O’Reilly (15-Megan Rapinoe, 54), 12-Samantha Mewis (4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 62), 10-Carli Lloyd, 19-Kristie Mewis (13-Sarah Hagen, 82); 23-Christen Press, 2-Sydney Leroux

          • HOFCToDi

            “What the heck was Solo doing that day?”

            Trying to get Tom Sermanni fired.

        • HOFCToDi

          Greg Ryan only lost one game as head coach of the USWNT. The loss was the biggest defeat in USWNT history.

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_women%27s_national_soccer_team

          • Steglitz49

            Pia Sundhage was Sweden’s head-coach when Sweden suffered its biggest defeat in SweWNT history. About a week later, on the Glorious 12th, Pia’s Swedes put the USWNT to the sword and turfed them out of the OG without a medal.

          • dw

            Glad to see the Veterans’ Protection Program still in place after all these years.

            Why was it so clear then that it cost us a WWC and we haven’t been able to see it since?

          • HOFCToDi

            Ask the entity unwilling to change, the USWNTPA.

            The player allocation system is the root of all evil. Absolute power corrupts absolutely:

            Avarice
            Entitlement
            Exclusivity

            I did not see any issues with Bruce Arena calling up whoever he wanted for “camp cupcake”.

            #PaytoPlay

          • dw

            For a change, we agree completely.

        • HOFCToDi

          If anything, Sunil Gulati now has the impetus to purge the players from the USSF payroll over the age of 30 whose signatures were on the EEOC filing:

          Solo
          Lloyd
          Sauerbrunn
          Rapinoe

          In one fell swoop, Sunil Gulati rids himself of the USWNTPA troublemakers as well as one major headache.

      • Steglitz49

        Alex Morgan saved their bacon with her right-footed shot at 90+2′ (maybe it was 90+4′).

    • HOFCToDi
  • Gary Diver

    Whatever has happened to Morgan Brian?

    Brian was the youngest player on the WC15 roster and become one of the heroes of the tournament win. What has happened since? Is she being played in the wrong position? Has (or is) she injured? Has she already peaked?

    • Altius

      I’d venture to assume it’s something like “what happened to Busquets this season?” His skill and astonishing football brain did not vanish into thin air. The tactical setup of the team around him stretched his responsibilities, overextended his duties, and caused him to suffer.

      When the tactics are cleaned up, like the last couple games that Barcelona have played? He puts on a midfield masterclass.

      I’ve compared Brian to Busquets before in their physicality and style. Gangly, swivel-headed, elegant, very high footballing IQ, passing through the lines, etc. Both will suffer without a functioning MF around them. Both are at their best when their positional setup is clear, and both will look poor when the tactics are shoddy and the team setup feels chaotic. Brian would THRIVE in a proper tactical MF. She could run the game from deep if given the right coaching.

      Let’s hope one day we get the right manager in place to see such a treat…

      • Gary Diver

        Another issue that Ellis needs to fix by making major systemic changes in the MF.

      • ARED

        This is proven by the fact that for the short period when the midfield was Holiday, Brian, Rapinoe, Heath (and sometimes O’Hara or Press), Brian and the team played very well, and won the WC. And this happened with almost no training or preperation in that system, because Ellis refused to change until halfway through the WC when it was forced upon her.

        The midfield also had some decent spells in 2016 when Long played with Brian, allowing for a well-functioning midfield to create chances as the team played quite well. Unfortunately this time they fell the first time they hit a wall against Sweden, aided by the fact that Ellis subbed Long off and then had to sub Rapinoe on and off, and the team had lost all direction, which as you suggest, caused the individual players like Brian to struggle. Heath was playing RB to finish that match I believe. Shoddy tactics indeed….

    • Steglitz49

      heroine — not to be confusbed with heroin

  • Altius

    Let’s play a little Football Manager here.

    So having analyzed the game, the player strengths/weaknesses, and the tactical shortcomings, how would everyone here set up a starting XI to optimize this squad?

    • ARED

      1) Drop Lloyd
      2) Play a hi-pressing 4-4-2 with anyone else. Or a 4-3-3, 4-1-3-2, 4-2-3-1, or a 4-5-1. But probably not a 3-4-1-2.
      3) Watch the goals fly in.

      • ARED

        Seriously though, I’ve felt since about 2012 the answer was Press with Morgan. Holiday/Heath/Rapinoe and Long/Averbuch/Lindsay behind. Now players like Brian, Pugh, Lavelle, and Mewis are entering as Holiday and perhaps Rapinoe have faded. But there is plenty of talent to play however you want, and this has always been true. The back four from the WC/Olympics was pretty strong, which I assume is why Ellis immediately decided it should be totally changed! ; )

        Morgan-Press
        Heath-Pugh-Lavelle
        Long
        Kling-JJ-Sauerbrunn-O’Hara

        (Subs: Brian, Williams, Dunn, Mewis, Krieger, Sonnett, Groom, etc).

        • Altius

          I’d go with something similar. For attack-heavy, primarily wing play, a 4-4-2:

          Morgan – Press
          Heath – Lavelle – Long – Dunn/Pugh
          Kling – Johnston – Sauerbrunn – KO
          Naeher

          When needing a more controlling MF, 3-4-3:

          Heath – Press – Pugh
          Lavelle – Sullivan – Brian – Mewis
          Kling – Long – Sauerbrunn
          Naeher

          • #1Fan

            Morgan …not for me. She needs to go to Club soccer and PROVE she is back. I see no evidence that she deserves a spot on current form.

            Dunn is ahead of Pugh for me and more versatile

            Kilng.. not for me. Too slow for an outside back.

          • Altius

            Completely agree about Morgan’s form. She needs to regain it. I’d only pair her up front with Press because of their complementary skill sets. I like Kling for her tenacity, sound positioning, and teamwork, though she’s definitely not the speediest…

          • #1Fan

            Fair comment

          • ARED

            Yeah, I think that while you always have to continue to prove yourself, in general a long track should still be considered and Morgan has it.

            And in WoSo, this is true all the more. There is almost no such thing as stable club play, so basing everything on club form seems a stretch. A factor yes, but not the only one -especially if it’s a striker with 70 goals in 120 caps, including some of the biggest goals/assists/plays in the biggest matches of the past decade.

          • #1Fan

            I think with respect, she has been sub par for a long time. But in a NT dominated culture you look at history with fondness and nostalgia. I respect he achievements, but she is miles form being the player she was in 2012 and the RoW has adjusted and gotten more serious about WoSo. The attitude you just outlined is why Lloyd can write her own ticket and keep playing 90 mins.

            I dont beleive in it, but not being originally from the US, maybe its easier for me to be dispassionate about it

          • ARED

            Well, I understand why you do so, but I believe you take what I say to support Morgan too far when you say it is the same as the argument for Lloyd or others. And remember, I said each time that you still must continue to prove yourself -not be starting matches and tournaments only because of the past.

            Morgan is 27. Lloyd is 34. I have said many times here and elsewhere that WoSo more than men’s seems to be a young women’s game, and so I do think the eyes should be on Morgan and all players as they approach 30. But from 24-28 seems to be a good time, if the player is fit. 34 does not. And I don’t think it’s wrong to value international play more than club play. Whether we like it or not, no league is strong or stable enough to come close to the status of the World Cup or even Olympic games. This is more true in the USA it seems, but I believe it is true globally from my experiences at least. So, when talking of the USWNT, I base it on who can/has/will preform in that arena.

            And whether it’s Lloyd, Morgan, or Sauerbrunn, I think they earn the “first look” based on their past record. But a “look” does not mean they are kept in the team after the first day of camp. I would have dropped Lloyd in 2013, after giving her a look. And I certainly would have given a lot of looks also to competing forwards to Morgan, which may have changed the current reality. But, from the outside of the team, I see no other options who offer what she does -albeit inconsistently at this point in time. It’s silly to go too far on this path, but for me, until Morgan isn’t the one scoring the goals in the crucial games I will still consider her as a top option. Her game can be simple, but WoSo has not evolved enough yet to where simple is not effective, as seen in USA-Sweden last summer. Both goals were simple, and Morgan scored the one that saved the USA (if only for 30 minutes). Lloyd is such a huge problem that it’s hard to even know how to talk about Morgan, or Press, or any other attacking player. But I am not prepared to dismiss Morgan.

            And I try to view it the same for any country, whether it is one I am connected to or not. I respect the USA a lot, but I have little respect for US Soccer or it’s nature however, this I can say without a doubt. ; )

          • #1Fan

            I believe she HAS been given credit for her history, but her current form no longer justifies automatic starting. Or even being in the squad. i would have left her In Lyon to get healthy. Used it as an excuse. Now, it just looks to me like she is really struggling over there.

            Im not dismissing her. Im aging prove to me you are a top striker NOW. I see quite few who offer something very similar. Williams does for sure. Dunn could ( Alto I think sub optimal). There are quite a few.

            If Morgan has “earned” the right to aloof thru goals, then How can you want Lloyd out? She has scored more than Morgan has and in bigger games.

          • ARED

            Again, I said she earned the right to be looked at. I do not believe there are 4 or more other forwards better to prevent her from getting called in. Then it is up to the manager -I am not inside the team or at training. Yes, Williams is good and growing, yes I think Press and others (Leroux) haven’t gotten proper consideration as forwards. And yes, Morgan has struggled with injuries and inconsistent periods. Yes they could play through Horan, or Pugh, or maybe Dunn.

            But, Morgan:
            1) Scored 17, assisted 3 in 21 matches last year. Including the goal against Sweden when plan was broken and they needed a goal. She also scored against France, Germany, and Japan in 2016. These are the teams I value goals against the most, and Morgan has always excelled against them.

            2) Has averaged over 1 goal / 90 minutes in 4 of her 7 USA seasons. (And only was below 0.7 / 90 minutes once).

            For me, both the eyes and the stats suggest she still has quite a lot to offer, and I’m not sure where in the world of WoSo having a bad month or even a year of form means you don’t get called in. Managers pick players they hope can perform, and I think Morgan is a good bet when fit. I don’t see how her 2016 record suggests any kind of massive drop in form. I sometimes we see the slump from her amazing goal rate to begin her career, but slowing down a little does not mean she needs to be dropped. Again, first things first, let’s see the team without Lloyd and let the 27 year olds reign for a year or so with the young ones filling in the gaps, before we pull Steglitz’s agist cutoff of 25 and below only.

          • #1Fan

            That’s all fine. By that metric Lloyd has to play then

          • ARED

            I think we are making different cases here. You keep saying “then Lloyd should play”, but I have never said Morgan should play a second based on her past, aside from in training. If you believe she is out of form for a long time or that somewhere between 1-5 other forwards were better in 2016, or could have been better if given the chance that is fine -I am only saying I do not see the case this way.

            I can name 10 players I think are better at any midfield or forward role than Lloyd, and have shown it in their time with the USA. I can make the case with stats, which is harder, and with the “eye test”, which I believe is obvious but this is why it comes down to the manager. I have made big decisions before, but this one is for Ellis to make. I see mountains of evidence against Lloyd, I see only scattered bits against Morgan.

            (Pugh, Press, Dunn, Mewis, Brian, Lavelle, Heath, O’Hara, Williams, Morgan, and Horan. I think all 11 would be better in an attacking role than Lloyd, right now. I think their “chances created”, “assists”, “goals/minute played”, “distance covered”, “shots/shots on target”, “giveaways”, “tackles won”, “passes completed ratio”, as well as their age, all suggest they are better options to pursue at this point in the cycle than Lloyd. And I think watching the game, it is obvious that Lloyd hurts the team, in a very active way.).

            I watch this team a lot, and have yet to see any real case against Morgan if she is fit.

          • #1Fan

            you watch the NT a lot ? or her Club teams a lot?

            on your Lloyd point, can you not put some of the players that you mention at “attacking” players in the 9 or the 10?

            I dont think you can put Dunn, Mewis, O’Hara,Williams in the 10. I think Dunn and Williams could play the 9. Lloyd scored several goals last year so if your objective measure is stats as it seems to be for Morgan, then the same should apply to Lloyd. If you put lloyd or Morgan IN camp, they have to play because of the personalities they are. I would have neither at this stage.

            I would like to see Morgan prove her fitness/ level at Club before I played her here. I dont think she has looked sharp for some time. The first thing that goes are the legs and that has always been her edge.

            Im fine with disagreeing on it, but your position on excluding Lloyd seems odd to me. I think they both make the team worse whilst increasing their own personal statistics.

          • ARED

            More INT than league play, but it all varies.

            #9 vs #10 -I don’t think you *should* put those players there, but I believe they would be a step up from Lloyd, mostly because they might occasionally try *and* succeed in combining with a teammate. ha. ha. ha. And more seriously, since some players like Press or Pugh can play 9 or 10, and others can play Mid or #10, it means you can take Lloyd out for a Mid or for a striker and adjust the others around to fit. If you move Lavelle from wide to CAM, you can replace Lloyd with Heath/Dunn/Pugh/etc. in the lineup. A lot of ways to play these players, who I think all offer more than Lloyd, while hurting less.

            I agree with you about the personalities, this is often underrated. I don’t see Morgan as nearly the problem of CL or AW here either, but it is undeniable that if she were not there the others would be more free to express themselves. I also agree that in the “real world” of football, it is usually best to be settled and sharp at club level before worrying about NT play. But I don’t consider WoSo to be in that normal football world really. INT is still the driver, and so the players who can succeed in that realm have value, even if they are lacking form or fitness. ***Whether it is enough value to outweigh other options can be a tough call and up to the manager***. I said Rapinoe deserved a chance to try for the Olympics after injury, but I doubted she would really make it -and it was Ellis’ job to evaluate her and make that tough call. I believe the past does earn them this small benefit, but I am not talking about 2012, I am talking about “In our last completive matches these players were important, so they will come back next time”. If they come back and fail, then you can replace them easily. As I said, Lloyd and several others would have been replaced far sooner in my view,

          • ARED

            Stats are *not* a good measure for me, and soccer is about much more than stats, but, you can check them to see what story they tell, and see if it matches what you see with your eyes. For example, if you adjust out weaker opponents and penalties, and then look at goal stats, it shows Morgan even stronger, and tends to show Lloyd (and Wambach) much weaker. So I don’t use that alone to take an opinion, but when I’ve thought the player should be dropped for a year, and then realize they mostly score on penalties, and headers against Haiti, it does affirm the theory to some degree -or on occasion make me question an idea if they conflict strongly. So I cannot deny that Lloyd scores a lot, and even a few very big goals. But I can look at her efficiency, who she scores against, how she scores, how many chances she needs to score, who creates the chance that she scores (often not her), and things like this to help justify what I’ve believed for some time: That she’s a good, but self-centered player and the team can do better at this point.

            I find Morgan to score more goals against top-ranked teams, in open play, and that she creates some of these herself, and I value all of these attributes. Perhaps Williams and others can show they are able to as well, but all I am saying is I am not sold based on any case against Morgan as of yet. But against Lloyd I think the scale weighs much differently. And yes, I can accept the idea that the team is better without both, but I do not agree with it.

          • NYRick

            Steg would “Logan’s Run” Make a Wish kids if you gave him the choice. He simply has no tolerance for any player over the age of 25 (which is pushing it for him). Alex at 27 must be driving him batty right now.

          • ARED

            I had to google that movie….lol. You should be a comedian with multi-referenced jokes like that. ; )

          • Steglitz49

            Over 30. I can accept over 29 at a pinch.

            Strictly speaking my mantra is that an NT can tolerate one or two players out of 20 that are 30 or older.

          • DNG

            I’m not ready to say Morgan isn’t one of the top 4 forwards for the USWNT but I can’t say that she’s been that great over the last 2 years. Like #1Fan overall goal numbers by themselves mean very little to me with the NT. Morgan did do a good job of scoring against top teams last year though so I can’t say she wasn’t one of the top forwards. It’s just difficult for me to find out where the other forwards stand when they don’t get equal opportunities.

            Lloyd needs to go. I don’t care what her goal and assist totals are this year. It’s almost like playing a man down when she plays against good teams as she does very little positive against them.

          • ARED

            Yes, I never mean to suggest that Morgan should always play and others not be tried. I always hint, but try not to be too harsh, to say it’s really a bit embarrassing for the USA, I think, that they never have tried these obvious solutions b/c they hold on to Wambach and now Lloyd so much -and sometimes I do believe this is b/c they don’t have the vision of the game to do better (there, I said it! I’m sorry!).

            I value what I see much more than stats, but some things you both see and can record as stats if you have good methods. For me, goals/assists/key passes from open play are far more valuable than from set pieces -especially penalties. Also, I value performances against the top-5 teams way more than any other. And after the top-12 or so, it really is silly to care for the stats much at all. So if you adjust your stats, they can be useful, and we both have said we accept that Morgan scoring those big goals against the big teams does mean something. For me, stats either confirm or make you question what your eyes tell you, but I will trust my eyes in the end (but I do not trust Ellis’, which shocks you I’m sure….lol).

            But without a doubt, I would have been playing Morgan WITH at least one other forward AND a good CAM since about 2012, and been happy to sit Morgan for others if they were in better form.

          • Ethan

            Funny thing is I think Morgan was better as an all-around player in 2013 and 2014 even if her stats weren’t as good. (And her stats for the NT were still great considering the game time she got. Plus, she was on a great run of form before her MCL injury in the 2013 NWSL season.) Morgan’s 2012 was absolutely incredible, but I’m sick of people saying she hasn’t performed well since then because her goal/assist stats don’t pop as much. She definitely hasn’t been sub par for a long time and wasn’t outperformed by anyone against the top sides last year, but most people who come to this site already know my opinion. Agree to disagree.

          • #1Fan

            I don’t look at stats much because abs goals is a real bad metric on its own. I think the attacking play has been sub par.

          • Ethan

            Then we obviously have different opinions on Morgan’s overall performances over the last couple of years. Fair enough.

          • NYRick

            As I’ve said elsewhere on this thread or another regarding Morgan…in no uncertain terms imo she has done more for Woso than any player in the sport’s history. Yes history. Sorry Mia. Sorry Abby. Sorry Marta. Sorry Carli Sorry Hope. You all had great careers and impact and even casual sports fans who didn’t follow women’s soccer knew your name or heard of you. But didn’t necessarily see you play all that much, if ever. Alex’s popularity, looks and charisma following WC11/OG12 made the casual fan watch. That’s fact. No player has had a greater impact on the sport and she deserves the money and endorsements she has gotten and continues to get. That’s why I get on Steg with the “Alex is a mega-star” stuff. She is. He just does it though to always include tweaking Press in the process, which is wrong and unnecessary.

            So with that said, as you know, I want Morgan-Press as the two forwards. Williams is certainly in the future, maybe even the present. But I want Morgan-Press to win a tournament together (maybe Tues. night if Ellis allows it). Let them be the stars for one night each scoring big goals. That’s what I have wanted to see for 4 years. It’s way past due. The problem is obviously a coach who won’t let it ever happen and a ego driven player who won’t take a back seat to the future like a smart captain and team-first player would.

          • mockmook

            Morgan’s charisma was NOT on display in the England pregame interview — she seemed rather annoyed to be at the game.

          • #1Fan

            Did not see it, but I can only speculate that she sees the writing on the wall even if her more ardent fans dont.

            Its interesting that Lyon have protected her with health stories whilst the USWNT has no issue trotting her out there,

          • #1Fan

            when I comment here, I am not looking at much but player ability. All the other stuff you said may or may not be true, but as a PLAYER she does not belong in the same conversation as Marta.

          • DNG

            It’s an exclusive list that belong in the same class as Marta. Maybe Hamm and Akers. No one has really been able to match Marta’s goal record.

          • #1Fan

            i was told on here that Morgan was better than Hamm and that Hamm would not even get in to the current team 🙂

          • ARED

            Who instead of Kling? Kreiger and O’Hara? Or Short? Or an “outsider”?

            I think Kling is very good if they have possession and/or are controlling the game. She can suffer when asked to defend too much, esp. against fast players in open space, but usually she can avoid that and be assisted by the CBs and Heath.

          • #1Fan

            So she is a slow winger then. I dont want that at O/B. Why do we have to pick a team now? this is what i hate the US system. There is so little experimentation. I would LOVE to see Gibbons at O/B. Has all the tools to be very good.

          • Altius

            Interesting. I don’t know Gibbons enough to comment. Though personally, I’m okay with FBs that aren’t the fastest PROVIDED that they have excellent positioning and decision-making, a la Philip Lahm or Dani Alves. I’d take fast and tricky wingers ahead of them, though.

          • #1Fan

            Lahm can defend and has excellent positioning.
            Alves was very quick.

            To play a Kling, you need to have a team that is great in possession.

          • ARED

            Yeah, that’s always sort of an underlying clause to any of these discussions here -what “could happen”, and what “should ideally happen”, and it’s all just based on opinion. And I don’t think we have to pick, but if we say Kling isn’t good enough, or many will say Morgan, or Press, or Johnston, or in the past Heath, and Rapinoe, and Sauerbrunn, and O’Hara, I just always wonder “well who is a better option?”. I am more free in criticism of Lloyd or Ellis’ roles b/c I believe there are clear alternatives. I don’t criticize Jozy Altidore’s role, b/c I think the US team probably still needs him, flaws and all.

            I like Gibbons from what I’ve seen, but if I haven’t watched players enough or in person I usually don’t say much about them until they are called to the team -and I know you know more youth players in the US than I do. But I see your point, and certainly agree that in about 50% of their matches the USA can and should be experimenting more.

          • guest

            unfortunately, this is the time of the year when the uswnt makes cba allocation decisions. and decides winners and losers.

          • guest

            and who get’s guaranteed contracts.

          • Reality

            One of the broadcasters last night who talked to Morgan related that Morgan had thought that NWSL had become too physical but she thinks that Lyon is not physical enough. So I guess that International play on the NT is just right for her.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex will get plenty physical when Lyon play Wolfsburg in a couple of weeks time.

          • Ashley C

            I think she will find CL play a little more physical than anything in the French league that only has about 3 good teams.

          • Reality

            This is true. CL play is highly competitive with much prestige at stake. Wolfsburg will definitely supply any needed physicality.

          • #1Fan

            that is an interesting remark. I wont comment as I did not hear it myself.

          • DNG

            Wagner relayed that Morgan at times thought the NWSL was too physical and that she kind of misses the physicality now that she’s playing with Lyon. Personally I think the NWSL is way too physical and it’s too easy to take top players out of a game by mugging them on the pitch.

          • #1Fan

            i agree that in general in the US , it is far too easy to kick talented players out of the game because its considered to be toughness, grit, playing with heart, hard play. In reality its just dirty and has an impact on the types of players you produce.

          • Ashley C

            Her best opportunity is to play well in the CL. Other than that, club play is hard to measure right now as the WoSo grows.

          • Ethan

            Lavelle and Kling on the same side? Yikes, that scares me against any top team with fast right-sided players.

          • ARED

            What do you consider Lucy Bronze….? ; p

            Lavelle should be a risk in that kind of position, but she defended better, possessed better, and created better than Dunn on the opposite side for me, and with Krieger’s help I think they controlled that wing slightly better than Bronze and Nobbs.

          • Altius

            (Not set in stone for every game, but speaking in terms of a regular setup that gets the best of the team. If you want to tweak a player or two to nullify an opponent’s strength, we would be free to do that 🙂

        • Ethan

          Love the Morgan-Press pairing, and I think Lavelle fits that wide position. I would prefer Mewis over Long there, but I understand your preference. I’m assuming you’ve put Klingenberg here based on her play before her drop in form. If so, I’m okay with that. I just hope the opposition right winger isn’t blazing fast.

          • ARED

            I tend to say “Long until someone else wins that role from her” (which Ellis conveniently did for them by moving Long away).

            And, “Kling because I plan to have the ball a lot and create a lot, and only occasionally have to defend, in which case I’ll take my chances”.

            Ellis seems to be convinced that tying 3 CBs, plus 2 wingbacks, plus 2 holding mids, ie 7 players to extreme defensive responsibilities is enough to secure the back, while being satisfied to have the 3 up top try to pound one goal in per game. Some say Kling is risky, I say this way is far riskier -you might even lose to England on a late set piece….. ; )

          • mockmook

            I’d say it is more adaptive to the opponent.

            If the opponent is very strong, and it is necessary, then the players well be more defensive.

            Against weaker or tiring opponents the players can be very attacking from almost every position except the back line.

            And, I’m not sure if this is any different for other formations.

          • ARED

            I think certain teams and certain players fit certain formations better, and there is nothing wrong with this formation itself, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for the USA.

            I tend to think if I have a team who is strong and full of talent, I will try to maximize possession, chances, and goals, and win by being aggressive. If I have a team who is lacking in talent compared to opponents, I may try a formation like this which can be dangerous but secures the back first (in theory).

            I do not think the USWNT should be afraid to play aggressively against any opponent, and I feel it is self-defeating to ask players like Heath and Lavelle to cover 120 yards on the wing, playing vital roles at each end. the 3 CBs need a lot of protection, and the 3 attacking players cannot get the ball or chances if they wingbacks don’t create for them (since the CMs and Lloyd cannot do this through the middle).

      • NYRick

        For Tuesday, she will stay with the 3-backline. It is worth to continue this experiment against 3 top teams for better or worse. Whether she ever finds the right back 3 to make that work is anyone’s guess moving forward. With that said for Tuesday, here’s what I think she will start:

        GK: Naeher
        3-backline: Brunn, Long and Short
        Flanks: Dunn and Pugh
        Central: Lloyd, Mewis, Brian
        Fwd: Press and Morgan

        Although she could go (actually more likely) Morgan and Lloyd at forwards, Press out completely and the other player added is either Mewis or Lavelle. Wouldn’t surprise me. I think this is the perfect match to see if Morgan and Press could do it, find a way for 80 at least to win this game. Plenty of time to experiment further with Williams. This is afterall still a friendly and with the loss to England they have put themselves behind the 8-ball to actually win the tournament. Just go for it for once Jill.

        • NYRick

          Sorry I forgot Heath. Heath for Mewis in my lineup.

        • ARED

          I was giving an “optimal” lineup as Altius suggested, not a “prediction”.

          Predicting Ellis has gotten a bit hard, esp in a short event like this. And it’s really just a depressing exercise at this point, no? ; )

          I do agree though, that if healthy there is absolutely no reason not to start Morgan and Press together now that Ellis finally is playing some form of two forward system. If not now, when?

        • Steglitz49

          JE ought to play Lavelle again.

          She should not play Alex because it is worth seeing how the team performs without Alex.

      • #1Fan

        451 would be interesting.

        Horan
        Lavelle Press
        Heath Dunn
        Brian
        LB CB CB Short

        Not sure about the other positions

        Mewis, Long could replace Brian. Could shift Lavelle wide and play Pugh. But you get the idea. Im not sold on the defensive positions at all. I put Short in by default

        • ARED

          I would like to see it (or have seen it 3 years ago). I think this is better than the current formation most likely.

          I’d like to see Horan get a nice long look in a system that suits her. I personally have kept lower expectations than some, but certainly she has both a strong presence and strong technique. Her speed of play seems to continue to improve, which is the biggest factor for her I believe. I still tend to believe that the USA is better off playing the Morgan/Press/Williams/Pugh fast and aggressive players, because so few teams can cope with this. But having Horan as a target forward could certainly be effective in many cases.

          I think the defenders have all looked poor lately, but I tend to think that’s more of the formation than anything else. As ever, it seems Ellis is almost trying to intentionally muddy the picture for us….

          • #1Fan

            Speed of play is a collective thing. It’s hard to play fast when there are few runners or they are all making the same run. It’s why I laugh when I hear about the legendary speed of play in practices.

          • ARED

            I agree 100% with you here, and that is why I believe we need to see it in these matches, or at least in the friendlies and CONCACAF matches to let the players have a chance to show and grow.

            And I do mean Horan’s technique specifically when I question her “speed of play”. She tends to like to have a moment or a few touches on the ball while she picks up her head and considers. This is fine, as long as she can be effective, but it can sometimes be a problem as the opponents close you down quicker (like it is for Lloyd perhaps at times).

    • mockmook

      Get the central midfielders right and build out from there:

      http://drawformation.com/post/58bc53d95db71/sm-58bc53d95db71.png

      #NotMyRoster

      • ARED

        “Get the central midfielders right and build out from there”

        Will someone please send Jill Ellis a poster or a coffee mug that has this printed on it?

      • CED

        Krieger needs a permanent bench spot just like most of last year. Ohara, no thanks as wide MF, the least of al the options on the roster.

        • ARED

          O’Hara wasn’t too bad as a wide MF in the latter stages of the WC win….

    • Frozen Blue

      ………………Williams…………….
      ……..Press…………Dunn………
      Heath………………………..O’Hara
      ………..Mewis…Unk……………..
      Short……..Long……..Sauerbrunn

      …………..Naeher………….

      If O’Hara is hurt I would put Dunn there and Lavelle or Horan with Press. I would not put Lavelle or Pugh on the outside vs France because I don’t think they could handle the defensive responsibility. My unknown in the middle could be Brian but she just doesn’t look that good to me lately. Could move Long there and JJ on back line or put Sonnett there and free Mewis up to move forward.

    • dw

      So if we’re going to play Manager, can we start with no formation USWNT has used since has been better than the 4-4-2 we are for some reason trying to replace?

      • NYRick

        I’m with on the 4-4-2 for Tuesday:

        GK: Naeher
        Backline: Short Brunn JJ Dunn (why not?)
        Mid: Carli (you know she’s getting 90 so why bother with anyone else), Heath and Pugh on the flanks and Mewis as my holding mid.
        Fwd: Press (90) and Morgan (75)

        Only two subs: Brian for Mewis, Williams for Morgan

        US 3 France 1, two goals for Press, one goal, one assist for Morgan, two assists for Heath. Germany and England will tie 1-1, so US wins SBC.

        • Steglitz49

          Why bother to play Alex? Give her a rest and see how the team does without her.

        • Bruce

          I would be disappointed if the 3-5-2 experiment wasn’t allowed to run its course. That’s what this part of the cycle is for.

          • DNG

            After this tournament I think we’ve seen the 3-5-2 quite a bit. I’d like to see other formation or familiar ones with different personnel too.

    • tonysocref

      Since this is supposed to be the time to experiment for this cycle. Why don’t we go all out and have a little fun with the current roster. Granted I would prefer to see other players on the roster but for now let’s try this 🙂

      Campbell
      Johnson Sonnett Sauerbrunn
      Mewis
      Pugh Brian Dunn
      Lavelle
      Horan Williams

      Common theme. With the exception of Sauerbrunn, all these players are 25 or younger.

      • Steglitz49

        Why not ditch Sauerbrunn too while you are at it?

        • tonysocref

          Because the only other player on this roster that falls in the 25 or younger category should be home with family and friends watching the matches from the couch not the bench.

    • HOFCToDi

      2017 SBC, USA versus FRA

      http://drawformation.com/post/58bca3c4e5628/58bca3c4e5628.png

      A combination of the future with the present. However, the USWNT needs to find a long term replacement for Becky Sauerbrunn.

      Injury Report
      Morgan, Alex – ankle
      Pugh, Mallory – knee

      If the USWNT does not score a goal in the first half, bench Press and Dunn for Morgan and Pugh.

      • Steglitz49

        Given your usual diatribes, you list Press!

        • rkmid71

          Maybe HOFC is softening just a little. I think it’s with great reluctance and only because it’s a friendly. Morgan has an ankle issue. Press is fit and seems to do well versus France. And he’s not giving too much rope, just a half. For me, I would like to see Morgan & Press together without Lloyd in AM for at least a few matches, preferably against top teams. There must be some reason it’s not happening? But I agree with mockmook, that even more important is getting the central midfielders right. If you do that, we’ll be able to judge better the forward combinations and all will look better.

          • HOFCToDi

            I’ve got access to MOTHER now and I’ll get my own answers, thank you. (See below for the reference to MOTHER.)

            http://www.filmsite.org/alie3.html

            Evaluate player pool. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded. I repeat, all other priorities are rescinded.

            It’s calendar year 2017, rotate the squad. If Kelley O’Hara was not injured, I would have started O’Hara in lieu of Dunn.

          • Steglitz49

            I don’t understand why JE insisted on calling up Alex. Was it to crack the whip and make her suffer? Might as well have left her in Lyon to recuperate.

          • rkmid71

            Agree. But how do we know whether JE insisted or was it Alex? Maybe she’s recouped enough by now to put in a solid effort versus France. That Bronze tackle on Alex was nothing to mess with though and I thought I saw her holding her ankle after.

            I have some sympathy for all the forwards, including Alex. The midfield remains dysfunctional IMO and now the defenders and GK seem discombobulated. At least Lavelle was trying to get them the damn ball in a position to do something. The USWNT has the best forwards. We need to sort out the rest and then things will come easier for Alex and the other forwards — higher quality chances, better scoring efficiency, etc. The midfielders and defenders create the platform for the forwards to thrive — though they never get the credit they deserve.

          • Steglitz49

            JE has two and bit years to get it right for WC-19.

            As we learnt from OG-16, there are more than enough good NTs out there.

      • smallchief

        Almost right, HO. But i think Lloyd is almost certain to start. Morgan will be a sub — or plead injury. Lavelle deserves some minutes so maybe she subs for Lloyd or Heath.

        Dunn or Pugh on the right flank? That’s a close call —

        Another close call is Long or Johnston as the center back. I slightly prefer Long.

        A good performance by Mewis will cement her position as a starter in the midfield.

        Horan is good — but where does she fit? Brian vs Horan for a starting position? Or, given the not so great performance of our forwards, maybe Horan moves up and becomes one.

        • #1Fan

          i dont think the aim is to end the event with a WC-19 team. so I think every player picked should get game minutes. Its part of the evaluation.

        • HOFCToDi

          Allie Long is not a centerback. Allie Long is not a defensive/holding midfielder. At the age of 29, Allie Long is not the future of US Soccer.

          Barring any setbacks, Andi Sullivan should be ready for next year’s winter camp since Andi Sullivan will be more than 12 months removed from ACL surgery.

          Calendar Year 2018
          USWNT
          Defensive/Holding Midfielders
          Mewis, Samantha (DOB 09 Oct 1992)
          Brian, Morgan (DOB 26 Feb 1993)
          Sullivan, Andi (DOB 20 Dec 1995)

  • Reality
    • ARED

      I mentioned this somewhere below or on the other thread. If I were Johnston, I’d probably have been sent off for “dissent”….. ; )

      But I do believe these kinds of plays are influencing the play unfairly from the offside position and should be called -but usually are not. JJ literally had to foul/push through Taylor to reach the ball, or she most likely would have been the one to reach it before Brian, and most likely the goal would not occur then as her angle was better and she is a defender. Even if she were simply taking up space it could interfere, but this was as clear as it can be for me.

      • rkmid71

        Agree. Clear to me too. But it’s fair to say that the USWNT has benefited more often than not by ref calls. Remember Canada in OG? Or Japan in the 2011WC. This is one of those that instant replay would be helpful as a lot was happening very quickly And it was game changing. But it’s only a friendly. I always think about Henry’s handball versus Ireland, the Maradona “Hand of God” goal versus England, etc. etc. It’s just part of soccer. Be happy that it goes against you in a friendly which you don’t care much about.

        • ARED

          Yes, I certainly was not upset to see England get the goal…. ; p

          But I try to be fair, and so I must admit that for me this has to be offside. You bring a lot of memories to mind though, and for me the 6-second call was perhaps the craziest. I wish referees would enforce this closer, but to wait until that moment to finally do it for the first time in FIFA history….well….that was hard to believe!

        • Ethan

          Canada in OG? That’s still the Olympic match people point to with refereeing that impacted the result? Tancredi should have been sent off before she could assist Sinclair on Canada’s second goal. Canada down to 10 players with the score still at 1-1? Nothing’s impossible, but it definitely would have been more difficult for Canada to pull off a result there. Now, Japan in OG? Definitely. Two definite PKs missed and no incorrect calls in Japan’s favor. Japan 2011 WWC? Are you only talking about that missed offside call that Steglitz49 always brings up? That was a poor decision, but the player was still miles away from goal going against one of the best, if not the best, one-on-one shot stopper in the international (maybe not club) game. However, I don’t look at that match as a match that the ref decisions favored by the US because of how dominant the US was and because Japan’s first goal was such a 1 in 1000 freak goal.

          • Steglitz49

            It was a wrong call and the player that was free was at the time one of the very best female strikers in the world.

            Japan’s first goal was not “a 1 in 100 freak goal”. Instead it shows Aya Miyama’s great skills.

          • Ethan

            A poor pass out of the back from Rampone, a very strange clearance into the center of the box from Buehler, and a weak, awkward attempt to rectify Buehler’s mistake from Krieger led to Miyama’s goal. That many clear cut errors in succession don’t happen often. They do happen (i.e. England’s goal last night) but pretty rarely (i.e. 1 in 100).

            Miyama is a very skilled player, and she showed great composure there. However, that was a finish you’d expect any professional midfielder/forward to make.

          • Steglitz49

            If you look at it from behind the goal, you see the skill.

            The WC-11 was in many ways Miyama’s. She scored the 1-1 equalizer, she hit the corner that led to the 2-2 equalizer, she netted her penalty and picked up a yellow card along the way. Not a bad day at the office all things considered.

    • NYRick

      WoSo refs have a difficult time even pulling out a yellow after a player is maimed. Something that subtle like Taylor’s offsides/interference on this goal is far beyond the depth of any WoSo ref or lines person to ever call.

      • Steglitz49

        Action replay at goals is being experimented with in Germany and Holland. If the experiments work, UEFA will apply them to all nations. Then FIFA will follow suit.

        Schelin’s goal in extra time in Brasilia was incorrectly disallowed because the touch-judge did not know the rules. It was a good goal. Had the centre-ref known the laws, she could have overruled the touch-judge but she did not so she did not.

        There have been errors in men’s games, including big, critical ones.

        To decide whether a foul is a foul is to some extent a matter of judgement. Likewise whether to give a card or not. But touch-judges must know the laws.

    • Ethan

      That’s a missed call for me. I didn’t spot that. So that incorrect offside goal from 2 years ago is canceled out now. And Taylor was involved in that one as well.

      • Reality

        That what makes refereeing such a gratifying profession.

      • ARED

        I wasn’t going to say it, but the USA certainly had this result coming for a long time…. ; )

      • CED

        LOL…Typical US fans can;t take a loss. The goal was perfectly good.

    • tonysocref

      Missed call for me. As soon as Taylor turned and started moving towards the ball to make a play, the flag should have been raised.

      • Steglitz49

        You need a camera at head height looking across the field to see what the touch-judge saw.

        Nevertheless, seeing that a goal stops play, provided the experiments in Germany and Holland are successful, video review of goals may well be in WC-19.

    • CED

      You people are grasping at straws. The call was perfectly correct,,Goal!

      • Ethan

        An offside player interfered with a defender getting back to clear the rebound. That’s not grasping at straws at all. Nothing perfectly correct with the call.

        • Steglitz49

          Action replay at goals may well be standard by WC-19.

        • CED

          Your desperation is noted..It’s a 100% correct call. Stop your crying.

        • HOFCToDi

          Blown offside calls transpire on the men’s side, as well.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCuscDxUw0Y

          Live with it.

          • Ethan

            I have moved on from it. And thanks for the history lesson. It’s not like I’ve regularly watched men’s football since I was 11. CED seems to be under some sort of magical spell and thinks that the call was correct. I’m merely explaining that it wasn’t.

          • HOFCToDi

            The best one recently was the hand ball goal scored by Alexis Sanchez. The EPL referee went to the opponents locker room at half time to apologize. Now what good does that do? How about initially making the correct call on the pitch?

          • Steglitz49

            Sanchez could have owned up, like Klose did.

      • Steglitz49

        Because the call went against the US, the call was wrong.

      • guest

        It’s a debatable call. That Lotta goal in the OG QF? That was an objectively botched call because she obviously wasn’t offsides. That said, the Lloyd foul/goal that led to it was debatable.

  • NYRick

    Forgive me, but why do I think (unfortunately know) that if by chance Ellis is replaced before the next WC, that the new coach will be none other than, wait for it, drum roll please…one Abby Wambach. That would make sense to Gulati and the program cheerleaders. Abby’s coaching message…I want to make the USWNT great again.

    • guest

      Even Gulati isn’t that crazy. In my fantasies, Laura Harvey working with the U23s == maybe she’s in line for the job post-2019 WC.

    • guest

      what? this is purely weird fan fiction. abby has never coached and if you listen to an interview with her she says she has no interest in it other than young children.

    • Reality

      There’s always Rampone.

      • NYRick

        Yes, that is a possibility too. A strong one. She has coaching experience as well in her past. Not saying she doesn’t know her stuff, but I’d prefer an outsider and one removed the program’s past to a respect. I guess they tried to do that with Sermanni and we know how that turned out.

        • guest

          Rampone was one of the OG’s of USWNT corruption. Her remaining on the team despite not going to camps and being unhealthy left a bad taste in my mouth. I guess she was acting in her own self interest and according to the rules but that crew set a bad precedent for veteran tenure and blocking development of young players.

    • Gary Diver

      “Make USWNT Great Again” Is there a trademark issue?

      • NYRick

        Not if you add, “Greater than Ever Before.”

      • guest

        With Trump there would be. Trump is extremely vindictive and loves filing frivolous lawsuits to destroy people and companies. Just stay away from association with the orange clown.

      • Ashley C

        “No foreign players allowed”

        • HOFCToDi

          Oh the irony!

          Sydney Leroux was one of Abby’s best friends. I guess that only applies to the men’s side.

    • Ashley C

      Don’t put this into the universe.

  • GT

    I thought Lavelle, Pugh, Horan, Dunn and Mewis were very strong. I thought Johnson and Krieger were shaky at times.

    • guest

      What? JJ was a beast last night. So much better than Long.

      • ARED

        I think they both were fine in that they never were beaten for goals (from open play). But certainly we can read more into it, and for me JJ was very strong in all facets, while Long was “good enough” defensively and a little better than JJ in distribution.

        I think it’s silly to worry about distribution from your CBs though, they should be there to defend first and it should not be rocket science to move the ball into the midfield. It’s far more important to have midfielders who can distribute the ball, and ironically Long can do that better from the midfield than she can from CB. Seems a nice little switch to exactly where they were a year ago would be best…..

    • guest

      Horan has to be the most polarizing player right now because people either think she is the worst player on the field or one of the better ones.

      • #1Fan

        becasue she is not the prototypical NT player.

      • Frozen Blue

        Agreed, I’m not one of her biggest supporters but she is growing on me. I like how hard she is working to learn her new position. My hope is that all that work in the midfield will make her a more successful forward when she is moved into a more natural position for her. My only remaining critique of her is she needs to stay on her feet when things get physical she falls way to easily.

        • #1Fan

          On e thing that I think is getting lost is that the Ellis “plan” is to shoehorn as many High IQ soccer players as she can into a lineup. Why? Because we dont have many in the US.

          Im not convinced that Horan will ever move to an attacking role, even though i think she could make the attack more potent as a target player/facilitator.

          • Bruce

            agree

          • Frozen Blue

            Yeah, I don’t like this philosophy either no one knows their position well enough to help those around them or create any kind of team cohesion.

  • Guest

    Do we think Ellis goes back to the Germany lineup on Tuesday?

    With Heath, Long, and Brian only playing 15 minutes Saturday I assume they’ll go 90.

    • Steglitz49

      She would be daft not to play Rose Lavelle again.

    • Kevin

      My guess is it will be a combination, with many of the players who played well in either game, plus Carli Lloyd.

      • #1Fan

        Thing is IF the aim of early camps/ games is to solidify ahead of WC-19, then I believe every player called in should see the field as part of the evaluation process, injury notwithtanding. I feel no different about the Full team than I do the U-15s.

        If Pinto is good enough to get here, then I want to see her get 20 mins at least. I dont care what the score is.

        • Bruce

          I’d hope to see a combination of GER and ENG starters – but most importantly I’d like to see a more active/creative player at CAM. JE really should take a look at Lavelle, Press or even Pugh (though I don’t think she’s ready) on the AM. I’d take any player who’ll work for touches and can turn on a defender.

          I’ve always been a doubter about Pinto getting a cap, but never really can tell what Ellis’ plans might be.

        • Kevin

          The 23 player roster is pretty standard and wasn’t chosen by Ellis. Maybe it has always been her intent to only play 18, but she’s not going to just leave 5 roster spots open… and who knows when you’re going to have a string of injuries/suspensions.

          It’s hard to evaluate players if you’re spreading minutes across 23, but it’s also a great chance for those who probably aren’t ready yet, like Pinto, to experience it as well.

          • #1Fan

            not if several of those players have 100 + caps

      • mockmook
      • mockmook

        I’ve got my hopes up to see Lavelle starting again — but JE takes great pleasure in dashing my dreams…

  • Dennis Nguyen

    does anyone here play soccer? Or is this your standard, arm chair, out of shape men who likes to talk about things they know just a tiny bit about, but think they know than 99.9999 percent of the population of soccer players.

    • HOFCToDi

      Half of the outfield players (10/20) currently on the USWNT roster for the 2017 SheBelieves Cup are under the age of 25:

      Johnston, Julie (DOB 06 April 1992)
      Dunn, Crystal (DOB 03 Jul 1992)
      Mewis, Samantha (DOB 09 Oct 1992)
      Brian, Morgan (DOB 26 Feb 1993)
      Williams, Lynn (DOB 21 May 1993)
      Sonnett, Emily (DOB 25 Nov 1993)
      Horan, Lindsey (DOB 26 May 1994)
      Lavelle, Rose (DOB 14 May 1995)
      Pugh, Mallory (DOB 29 April 1998)
      Pinto, Brianna (DOB 24 May 2000)

      Waa! My player was not chosen to the roster!

      Waa! My player does not start!

      Waa! Dispatch the wambulances!

    • HOFCToDi

      What was your special order?

      Evaluate player pool. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.

      What about the paying customers?

      I repeat, all other priorities are rescinded.

    • ARED

      Are you suggesting out of shape men cannot play soccer, because if so you have not met my family…. ; p

      I think there is knowledge and then there is insight, and while plenty of posts make you question both fronts, as well as strong biases, I have found enough to enjoy seeing what people have to say. Also, if you are new you might try the non-USA articles, because they tend to have less emotion and more information shared (even if it is still modest in nature).

    • Bill

      You do realize that you are not engaging in:
      1) Analysis?
      2) Effective communication?
      3) A contribution?

      You are:
      A) Emoting
      B) Demonstrating Exhibit A in a pot calling the kettle black assumption of a self nominated superior viewpoint

      Submission:
      1) Some posters are also emoting, some are showing off ( as are you) some posters are learning by analyzing out loud, some are engaged in a sport and team they like by wishing things were better faster

      2) Humility? Self awareness? Patience? Lead by example?

      Thanks for your consideration Dennis

    • Kevin

      I’m retired from soccer after 2 ACL injuries. Played all my life up until age 36 when I blew out my other ACL. I was playing indoor soccer 4 nights a week at the time. I was playing club soccer growing up and played a few tournaments in Europe in 1990 while the World Cup was taking place in Italy and played a tournament in Italy the week following the World Cup, including a game in Verona Stadium where the USMNT had just played a game a few weeks prior.

      My first job was refereeing soccer. I did that for about 3 years until I turned 16.

      Is that good enough for you? Do I have your permission to post?

      Guess what, all of that means nothing. When I was in grad school at Ohio State about 10 years ago, I went to a bunch of Columbus Crew games with a good friend I made from school. He went to every game, still does. I probably went to half of them for the two years I was in school there. He was 5’5″ tall, weighed about 130 lbs, and never played soccer a day in his life. He loves soccer and watches it all the time, but never played and he definitely knows more about soccer than many of us, myself included.

    • Frode

      Not well ranted. This is the internet, dude.

    • guest

      yes, i play soccer every weekend… on xbox one fifa soccer.

  • Dennis Nguyen

    What will it take for most posters here to be happy? Answer? Nothing. This is not analysis. This is whining and complaining. We win, not happy, we lose, not happy. Certainly not happy with US soccer, not happy with NWSL, not happy with MLS, not happy with college soccer, not happy with the coaching staff, not happy with any players who not a newbie. After one or two year, they must surely suck and need to be replace. Not happy with high school soccer, not happy with pay to play academy, not happy with American soccer “culture” or lack thereof. Anything to be happy about? Yes, happy there is a forum so you guys can “show off” how knowledgeable you all are, by being “not happy” because experts such as you are not satisfied by anything less than superlatives that sadly only you can achieve.

    • ARED

      And so you are “not happy” about everyone being “not happy” here? ; )

      I agree humans seem to gravitate towards the negative, and had a thread here discussing how people often want to point fingers and focus on what went wrong on a goal with very little or often no mention of what went right in scoring it.

      But, I think it’s also worth noting that there are a wide range of opinions, so yes you can find critical comments about every topic or every player, but that does not mean every person here or elsewhere dislikes every player, just that someone does, which is probably statistically certain anyway….

      Of those topics mentioned, I tend to support MLS for their impressive 20-year growth, and point out how in comparison NWSL and the women have a long road ahead, and we should keep expectations (and demands) within reason. But every large organization has room to improve, as does every team in every sport, and, well, this is the internet, so I think people like to push it sometimes with the comments as well.

    • NYRick

      With all due respect you may need to take a course in human psychology. Since the advent of the internet, and really Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, popular blogs and such, you are going to get opinions. And as a vast number of human studies have always shown, humans tend to be more negative than positive towards each other. It’s human nature. :–)

      Then you want to pose, “does anyone play soccer here” argument, which is silly for two reasons. One, you truly don’t know anyone’s playing or coaching background and two, the “did you ever play the sport argument” assumes that one can’t enjoy art without performing it. You can watch a great artist, musician, actor, athlete and not be able to perform their art like they can, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, critique it, immerse yourself in it, learn it.

      To best answer your question is anyone happy here, the answer is most likely no. That’s the fun and beauty of being a human and hopefully always learning, always growing, always striving. Does it tend to be negative and have roadblocks. Absolutely. This USWNT on it’s own is a very political organization that makes many unusual to some/most and polarizing decisions based on personnel and coaching. If you went on a Univ. of Alabama football comment board you will find incredible critique and negativity on a variety of topics and players. And take a look at their success over the years. What the hell do they have to be be angry about? But they are now I’m certain, especially after losing to Clemson for the title.

      So bring your opinion, and “show-off” as you say like the rest of us. You may actually learn something. And grow.

    • Frode

      Well ranted.

  • Desireegbottoms

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !do203c:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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  • Reality

    Somewhat off topic but not really since it tells the story of a true champion and the human spirit….the sport of Adventure Racing and a remarkable team…

    http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=18814225

  • Gary Diver

    What Has Jill Ellis Learned? (More important than what we’ve learned.)

    It is fun being a Monday (soccer) quarterback, but if the coach is incapable and/or unwilling to learn from her experiences, we are just entertaining ourselves until our next disappointment.

    1. Will Ellis start Rose Lavelle against France? Does Ellis the courage and intelligence to not start Lloyd and start Lavelle in her place in the MF?

    2. What to do with Allie Long?

    3. What to do with Mallory Pugh?

    4. What to do with Crystal Dunn?

    5. What to do with Lindsey Horan?

    6. What to do with Alex Morgan? Is she injured or is she on the backside of her career? Other than the two goals in last year’s SBC, she seems to have peaked 3 years ago and strangely as did Sidney Leroux at the same time. (Morgan was best as a gunner getting the ball while playing next to Abby Wambach.) Is Morgan’s problem physical or mental? This decline is very strange, especially when we see 33-year old Christine Sinclair still scoring goals and making a difference.

    7. Who on the back line can move the ball forward quickly and effectively? USWNT’s back line playing with each other is simply ridiculous to watch. Nobody seems to want the responsibility for getting the ball quickly to the MF. Somebody has got to do it.

    8. Is Brianna Pinto going to sit the bench again wasting a possible look-see? If she doesn’t see the field, Ellis did her an injustice by not allowing her to be with the U23 team in La Manga. (Why is Pinto on the roster if she isn’t going to play? Was it to give Mallory Pugh somebody her own age to talk to.

    9. The goal of a good coach is to get his/her players to play better than the sum of the individual talents. The players have to buy into what the coach is attempting to do, as we now see with the English and Canadian teams. The players on the pitch need to play as an integrated unit with a purpose where every player knows their role and complement each other to the maximum extent possible. So far Jill Ellis has failed to create a “lean, mean fighting machine” that is a dominant force in WoSo. If USWNT loses to France, the excuses need to stop.

    P.S. If France beats USWNT and Germany beats England, does that reduce the point lead USWNT has over Germany in FIFA rankings?

    • #1Fan

      1. Lavelle had a good game. but lets relax a bit. Plenty of time till WC-19
      6. Cant compare the 2. One a target type player, the other a speed , “get in behind” player. Morgan was/is all about her speed. Thats fading.
      7. Thats is a team question and more about options ahead than the ability to pass fast
      8. Possible. I think that she should get her in, but there is a case for saying the experience alone was/is worth it. Big stadiums, crowds and other obligations. Also the social side of it. Pugh is close to many of the players like Horan and Brian., so no…Pugh does no need Pinto
      9. the culture to date of the US team has rewarded selfishness handsomely and it has not hindered winning so why do you think it will/should change?

      I said before and Ill say again. If Ellis finds out more about the newer players , then the result is not that important. We could argue that Lavelle, Mewis and Horans performances have already made it a success

      • Gary Diver

        “If Ellis finds out more about the newer players, then the result is not that important.” Good point and I don’t disagree, but I feel Ellis has to start creating a team that buys into her vision of formations and tactics, and plays as a unit with a common purpose. Watching many of the Euro-16 matches, the teams that did well (and over-achieved) were nearly all teams that played as a unit with a common purpose. Those teams believed in their coaches’ vision of what was to be accomplished on the field. I see that common purpose in the English and Canadian teams and I do not see it in USWNT.

        • #1Fan

          did you read point 9 ?

          • Gary Diver

            In terms of a reality check, getting convincingly beat by France will be better for USWNT in the long run than scraping by with a so-so victory where everybody will yawn afterwards. Sometimes a failure tells us more than a victory.

          • #1Fan

            maybe, but I do think the history is very relevant. The 2 coaches that challenged that entitlement were Greg Ryan and Sermanni . what happened? the replacement was whom ? A step back to familiarity. Some of the very players who got her the job are still there. The US desire to build and promote “heroes” leads to a culture of me first. So many of the games we celebrate are marketed around individuals. Its how the US media sell a sport, so this is not surprising. You read about goals and assists, not much else.

            Lloyd is a great example of a player who I dont think makes a team better, but is first name on the team sheet and touted as being great. She also talks in a very me first way AND is captain so none of this is a great surprise.,

            The number of competitive WoSo nations is small enough and will not grow exponentially. Whilst this attitude may cost the USA a few championships and may hinder the more flowing playing style you covet, the worst that can happen is they are say 5th in the World and still a favorite for every event they enter.

            You realize very quickly that the pursuit of aesthtic “change” in the US WoSo scene is high risk/ low reward. The boat is not going to be rocked much.

          • Steglitz49

            You type that — “The number of competitive WoSo nations is small enough and will not grow exponentially.” Though this is strictly speaking true, it does not reflect reality. The statement may not be economical with the truth but it is economical with the actuality.

            Euro-17 will give us a better inkling and any Asian Championship but we can agree that the following teams are not half bad:
            — Ger, Swe, Can, Bra, Aus, Chi, Fra, Nor, NL, Japan and Eng, together with a watching brief on some other ones like Col, Bel, Spain and Rus.

          • Steglitz49

            Japan swanned off with the 2011 World Cup silverware. The Nadeshiko became the World Champions. Sweden put the US to the sword in Brasilia, handing the US their worst ever Olympic WoSo. What do we read in the comments?

            That the US did not lose either the WC-11 final or the OG-16 QF. These games are considered draws as far as the records and statistics are concerned. The expression “damned lies” leaps to mind.

            The day that fans of the USWNT join reality, much will be achieved. We don’t need their snide and spiteful comments, that US WoSo fans love to post. We need open honest assessment. We need love and cherish.

            The USWNT meanwhile could return the favor by abandoning their entitlement syndrome.

      • DNG

        I agree that the two can’t be compared but Sinclair doesn’t seem to be playing as much of a target anymore. Not sure she has the legs to make lots of runs to get on the end of crosses anymore. She just has better goal scoring instincts than Morgan does around the goal and is still a pretty good finisher. If I had one criticism of Sinclair in Portland this year it was that she wasn’t enough of a target in the box. She’s much better at protecting the ball than Morgan and I think she’s also a better distributer.

        • Steglitz49

          Christine Sinclair is a fine player with a temper much adored by Canadian WoSo fans. Alex Morgan is a WoSo mega-star who is paid 25,000€ per month by Lyon. There all similarities end.

        • #1Fan

          call it heresy, but I think Sinclair is a better player than Morgan.

    • Steglitz49

      1. Yes. JE ought to.
      2. I have not the foggiest but leave her off the NT. Hope she gets pregnant?
      3. Let her play at UCLA.
      4. Play her as an attacking wingback, like Sameshima and Kinga for Japan, Leonie Meier for Germany.
      5. Tell her to get fit, improve her accelearation and thereby lose some pounds.
      6. JE should not have brought Alex from France. Wait and see how she plays for Lyon and take it from there.
      7. None. Find the needed players. They must be somewhere.
      8. Having called Pinto, she must play her for some minutes at least.
      9. A bit unfair. JE’s team won the WC. How the players squandered OG-16 is beyond comprehension. Like Germany, the US only needs to be all right on the night, ie the games that matter.

      Meanwhile, the Algarve Cup and its sisters the Cyprus and Istria Cups are entertaining. Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.

      • Gary Diver

        #2: Interesting comment.

        #3: Pugh will be 21 years old at WC19. Basically I agree she should try to get the maximum out of her UCLA experience, but she should still be on the USWNT roster. That is what Jessie Fleming is doing.

        #5: Don’t USWNT have fitness coaches and sports psychologists?

        #6: I agree Morgan should have stayed in Lyon. But there seems to be something going on with her.

        #7: Ellis doesn’t seem to currently have players who are confident moving the ball forward from the back line. And as you said, they must be out there, so this falls on Ellis and her scouts.

        #8: If Ellis doesn’t give Pinto time on the field in the France match, it was cruel putting her on the roster.

        #9: As they say, “What have you done for me lately?” Claudio Ranieri was awarded 2016 Best FIFA Men’s Coach Award and then sacked a few weeks later.

    • AlexH

      I would like to add. Does Jill realize that the WC allows a roster of 23 players so it really isn’t necessary to have players who shine in multiple positions? Levelle by all accounts is a CM. She did a fine job on the flank but she is not a flank player in a 3-5-2. She should have taken Lloyds place in the middle and not Tobins out wide. The rest of your points are spot on BTW.

      • Steglitz49

        JE is painfully aware that she will be asked to take a few newly baked Veterans to France, that is players that she would not voluntarily select.

        Therefore, JE must have players who can play multiple positions because the dead wood has to be accounted for.

        It will not be 20+3 in WC-19, more like 16-3 if the US is lucky and maybe even 14+3, depending on how much ballast.

      • #1Fan

        intersting that you see it as Tobins place .

        • rkmid71

          Of all the players, Heath has probably earned that status the most over the last year.

          • DNG

            I don’t think #1Fan meant that Tobin shouldn’t be in the starting line up. Personally, I don’t think she’s really a fit as a wing back in the 3-5-2 stylistically or physically. It diminishes her ability to play inside with the ball and combine with teammates in the attacking third while forcing her to play a cross heavy support role as the primary source of width on her side and defend as an outside back.

          • AlexH

            Tobin is extremely fit. About a year ago the federation released the fact that HAO broke the beep test record and that Tobin and Kelly O’Hara got the next highest scores.

          • #1Fan

            she may well be , but she is not a wing back imo 🙂

          • mockmook

            She may not be the best option there (and it may not be the position that best suits her talents), but it does support that JE isn’t crazy for playing her there.

            I’d rather have Ohai — someone who is probably faster and seems more suited for just staying wide and delivering crosses when attacking.

          • AlexH

            Yeah whatever happened to Ohai? She played well enough in her first batch of games to warrant another look I think.

          • #1Fan

            I think that Ellis is missing a trick. She is building teams to break down a bunker. I think she should just build the best team. Heath is probably in that team, but not at LWB.

          • rkmid71

            Agree about wing back and 3-5-2. She’s Outside Mid. They tried her other places incl. HM, but don’t think that suits her either. She gets caught in possession too often … you need to play simple, quickly for those CM positions. That’s not Heath.

          • #1Fan

            This ^^

          • #1Fan

            i guess thats the issue. I know a coach I respect greatly, who thinks Heath is terrible 🙂 He thinks she is great at skills and has good touch but not in the context of the game. His comment

            Heath is someone with great individual skills who doe snot know how to play the game

            I dont agree with him , but I get his point.

          • rkmid71

            I understand where he’s coming from. I know players that are so focused on their own trickery, trying to beat a player 1v1 with moves, that the whole game almost freezes, the defense gets organized, etc. etc. While teammates trying to figure out when they’ll get their head up and look for a pass or whether they’ll just shoot. In the meantime, they are often double teamed and the ball taken away. Of course, the 1 in 100 that all that stuff works draws the oohs and aahs, thus encouraging the cycle to start all over again. And college coaches seem to like and notice that stuff.

            Having said that, I thought Heath was much improved and played well in the 2015WC, 2016OG and deserved her 2016 USSF POTY.

          • DNG

            I think there were and still are times where that coach’s views are justified. I don’t agree either but part of my frustration with Heath sometimes is that she doesn’t make the simple play for a silly reasons.

          • Bill

            Certainly agree with that assessment a higher percent of the time prior to last year.

            Both Ellis, and to her credit; Heath, indicated she has been clearly challenged to do better at that. She relies on breaking down an opponent to get into space…there are times and games where that will be very valuable. Certainly, given that Morgan, Lloyd and Wambach ( nor Horan and Sinclair) were often not moving around well enough to pass to, its tough to see advantage in passing to statues.

            Given its a habit of thousands of hours of playing soccer; I am interested to see if it continues to get better this year at Portland.

            Certainly, there were a lot of assists and not a lot of turnovers in 2016…and we like assists, Her teammates seem to think she is a team first player and they would be the first to get ticked off by an inefficient show off.

            We shall see. I would ask if her lack of speed would make her better inside if she also can learn to pass faster

        • AlexH

          Just saying so for brevity. Tobin has been starting their regularly. That’s all. If Tobin starts playing poorly then it can be somebody else’s place.

    • HOFCToDi

      Nothing is riding on Tuesday’s matches. The focus for calendar year 2017 is player development and player evaluation.

  • WNT Follower

    By the way – does anyone know about the result of the U-20 match against Germany’s U-19?

    US Soccer informed us that the U-20 defeated Norway’s U-19 with 8-2. They haven’t issued an article about the match versus the Germans. That makes me suspicious

    https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2017/03/05/05/19/20170303-recap-u20-wnt-defeats-norway-8-2-on-windy-day-in-la-manga-spain

    • Steglitz49

      Sunday 5th March, La Manga U19 tournament
      The USA lost to Germany: USA 1-2 Germany

      The other scores were:
      NL 0-5 England
      Scotland 0-0 France
      Denmark 0-0 Italy

      Following on from England’s wins over the USA at senior and U-23 level on Saturday, Sunday’s matches at the La Manga U-19 event began with the Lionesses defeating the Netherlands 5-0.

      Germany were 2-1 winners over the USA, having scored both their goals in the first half. Janina Minge and Jana Feldkamp for the Teutonic lasses, with Sophie Smith replying but with only 8 minutes remaining.

      Scotland managed to hold France to a goalless draw, despite losing the previous three encounters with Les Bleuettes.

      • Gary Diver

        Isn’t U19 an odd division when you’ve got the major U17 and U20 divisions?

        • Steglitz49

          Not really.

          The European Championship is for U19. The 4 SFs then get to play in the U20 World Cup the following year. I think Asia does the same as UEFA.

          The problem is that FIFA windows do not apply to non-senior teams. Thus, Sweden went to the U20 WC without several of their top U20 players, including Stina Blackstenius and Natalie Björn and a couple more, who had won the U19 Euros in 2015.

        • #1Fan

          The US has a U19 as well.

          • CAN

            But they sent their U-20 to participate the U-19 tournament. Strange

            The Germans continue to be Germans. Their best striker got a ACL in their first match of the tournament. And their best midfielder injured her knee in their second match against the US U-20

          • mockmook

            This U-20 team is actually composed of U-19 players.

  • Gary Diver

    U23 Win

    USWNT U23 beat Norway 1-0 with Morgan Andrews scoring the winning goal. Any comments by anybody who watched the match would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • htm222

      I heard they were very poor against England

      • rkmid71

        We only get to hear about the wins. Don’t expect the full picture. That’s kept in house. Unless DiCicco is coach and writes a report. It was easier for him because his U20 team won the WC. But still he warned about the issues years ago, many of which still exist.

  • #1Fan

    http://www.theawayendfooty.com/the-home-front/2016/3/1/skill-is-decision-making-not-scissors

    Sums up most of my feeling towards the way we have been teaching the game to middle class girls. The methods are changing. Will take time. We are seeing a mix of it now in the National teams.

    • ken long

      Yes sir! we need more Busquets, Carrick, Zavi, Makaelele mentality…our midfield weaknesses are becoming clearer every tournament

      Andonovski at FCKC knows how to build midfields; he NEVER played Holiday out of position, and he got the most out of ARod, and he will help Leroux thrive. would love to see him at WNT, except for the fact we’d losxe him in KC.

      It was embarassing to watch Ellis attend our games and not even understand what she was watching