Bush: Ellis’ Three-Back Formation Fails the Test

Chelsey Bush March 13, 2017 592
Ali Krieger goes up for a header against Jodie Taylor in the SheBelieves Cup (photo: Chelsey Bush for The Equalizer)

Ali Krieger goes up for a header against Jodie Taylor in the SheBelieves Cup (photo copyright Chelsey Bush for The Equalizer)

Ever since Jill Ellis rolled out her three-back formation last October in direct response to the USWNT’s inability to break down a bunker that cost them a chance at an Olympic medal, everyone has been waiting for it to be truly tested. Despite a few nervy moments that made many uneasy, neither Switzerland nor Romania provided the desired test, and it was accepted that the time would come when three of the top five teams in the world traveled to the U.S. for the second SheBelieves Cup. We got the test we were waiting for, more than once, and, well, they failed it. Badly.

LACKLUSTER GERMANY PROVIDES LITTLE PRESSURE

With Germany the reigning Olympic champion and number two-ranked team in the world, expectations were high that new head coach Steffi Jones’ side would come out swinging, forcing the retooled U.S. defense to deal with the kind of pressure to which they had yet to be exposed. However, a sputtering German squad, who like the U.S. ended up scoring only one goal in the tournament, preferred to sit back and attack center midfield.

The result was that while Samantha Mewis and Morgan Brian were overrun in the middle of the pitch, Becky Sauerbrunn, Allie Long and Casey Short were never really pressured. It was the fifth straight start with Sauerbrunn on the right and Long in the middle, and the fourth with Short on the left, cementing this as Ellis’ preferred lineup. The biggest test for Alyssa Naeher in goal came in the 12th minute when Sara Däbritz got a step on Brian and fired a rocket from the top of the box, surpassing the back line completely. While Dzsenifer Maroszán rounded Short late in the game and got a superb cross off, no German player was there to trouble Long or Sauerbrunn, and the game ended with, if not an outright pass, at least a checkmark for the defense. They may not have been troubled, but they didn’t look too out of sorts.

{MORE: Williams wins the day for the US}

ENGLAND PRESSES NEW BACK LINE

Ellis went with wholesale lineup changes in the game against England, including Julie Johnston for Long, Ali Krieger for Short and Ashlyn Harris for Naeher in goal. For both defenders, this was the first ninety minutes for the US since the Olympics and first start since September. Interestingly, England has played with a three-back of its own of late, so we might have had the opportunity to compare the two at once, but they reverted back to a traditional four for this game.

England immediately went on the offensive, and although we saw rust from both the new faces in the back line (and late signs of fatigue from Krieger), they defended well despite a few slip ups that forced Harris to work. This includes a 32nd-minute clearance by Johnston who dropped the ball to the feet of Nikita Parris, who then split Krieger and Rose Lavelle for a point-blank shot. The English goal that let the game slip away in the 89th minute was off a set piece and a result of a weak clearance and miscommunication between Brian and Johnston. Neither the goal nor the preceding corner kick can be argued as direct results of the weaknesses of the formation; rather, they were simply the consequence of poor defending all around. Overall, the Lionesses presented a much stronger product than the Germans, and the defense was put to an equally stronger test. While it didn’t pass with flying colors, neither did it fail.

{MORE: USWNT loses 1-0 to England late | Photo Essay: USA vs England}

FRANCE BRINGS THE HEAT

During the 2016 SheBelieves Cup, France didn’t score a single goal. Prior to the tournament, they were unlikely candidates to play the best game against the U.S., never mind win the tournament entirely. But they did both, and emphatically.

Somewhat inexplicably given the stronger performance against England, Ellis reverted to her Germany lineup for the France game, only swapping Lavelle for Dunn at right wing. The result was that France put on a clinic, and the US was thoroughly embarrassed. A 3-0 score line in and of itself is not the end of the world – the U.S. regularly beats up on teams by much worse. It was the manner in which France picked apart the U.S. defense, a game in which every single goal was the result of a repeated defensive breakdown.

Let’s look at France goal by goal. In the eighth minute, Amel Majri stripped the ball from Brian in midfield and immediately slotted it through to Eugénie Le Sommer, who sped between Long and Short as if they were standing still, leaving Naeher no choice but to come out, fouling Le Sommer. Abily put the resulting penalty kick away, and they were on the board.

A perfectly weighted long ball from Wendie Renard landed at the feet of Le Sommer again, already well ahead of Short. Again, she easily outpaced Long (despite what appeared to be jersey and arm grabbing), caused a closing Sauerbrunn to slip on the wet grass with her crossover and sent it past a poorly-positioned Naeher. Up by two within ten minutes.

The U.S. attempted a brief rally in the second half, but in the 63rd minute their defense fatally stumbled once more. With Tobin Heath already covering Elodie Thomis on the left side, Mewis stepped toward Thomis from Le Sommer, and Short did the same, leaving Eve Perisset wide open on the flank. Thomis passed the ball to Le Sommer, who popped it to Perisset. With yards of time and space, Perisset sent in a low cross to Abily, who was inside the box unnoticed by Long despite Naeher both yelling and pointing. Sauerbrunn left Majri open at far post to try to close on Abily, but it was too late.

{MORE: France stuns USWNT | Lauletta’s final thoughts on France, USWNT}

REINVENTING THE WHEEL

Critics of the USWNT have long said the team was too afraid to lose, and Ellis has shown an admirable commitment to giving her players time to adjust to the new formation. However, it’s been six months, with seven games and a long camp in January, and they failed their biggest test with a big fat X.

To refer to the above example, Washington Spirit head coach Jim Gabarra rolled out a surprise three-back formation in the 2016 NWSL final, and it worked for most of 123 minutes, only falling in the last minute of stoppage time off a set piece, which doesn’t really reflect the formation. No matter how much time he’d practiced it, that formation and lineup had not seen any actual game time previously, so why does Ellis need months?

To answer, let’s look at the personnel. Gabarra placed his slowest center back, Whitney Church, in the center, putting two more center backs – Shelina Zadorsky and Megan Oyster – on either side. Above the back line he placed Tori Huster at defensive mid in the center, with fullbacks Ali Krieger and Caprice Dydasco (later subbed for Alyssa Kleiner) at wingback.

Ellis has chosen to put an attacking midfielder (Long) in the center, with one of the world’s best center backs whose biggest flaw is her lack of pace on the right (Sauerbrunn) and on the left, a fullback whose best quality is her attack (Short). In her second lineup, she placed an actual center back in the center (Johnston), with a player who has spent the vast majority of the last decade at right back on the left (Krieger). In all three games she went with a dual pivot above Long/Johnston and a rotating cast of a left wing (Tobin Heath), two forwards (Crystal Dunn and Mallory Pugh), and a center midfielder (Lavelle) at wide mid – all among the U.S.’s most creative attacking players.

The three-back requires two things – pace and defensive cover. Because a defender is removed when you go from a four to a three-back, they have more ground to cover and thus need the speed to do so. With the potential for space to be exposed, a strong defensive mid is also necessary, as are wingbacks with the defensive chops to fall back. While Heath and Dunn are both willing and able to drop back, it lessens their offensive threat, and honestly, it’s a waste of their talent. Pugh doesn’t have the necessary defensive skills, nor has she yet learned how to work with center midfield from a deep position. Lavelle was thrown into two new positions for her first two caps (both left and right mid) performing admirably, but a larger sample is needed to judge her at the spot.

Not to mention, Ellis does not consider her wide midfielders to be wingbacks. Rather, they are pure wingers who will only provide defensive cover if absolutely necessary, as they would in a more traditional four-back situation. A three-back formation is already vulnerable to being overloaded on the flanks, and the removal of the defensive mindset and responsibilities of these midfielders makes it even more so, as France exploited so thoroughly.

“These guys are not to drop into our back line unless they absolutely have to, which is what they would do in the same position as being a wide mid. If we’re overloaded in the back, they’ve got to provide cover,” Ellis said after the U.S. game against England. “So if you watch when they drop in, they actually drop into our midfield lines. It’s a three and then it’s a four. Are there times when they have to drop in and cover? For sure. But I don’t call them wingbacks. They’re full steam attacking players, and that’s their profile and that’s what I’m choosing to go with in those positions is attacking-minded players.”

Mallory Pugh tries to beat Jordan Nobbs to the ball at the SheBelieves Cup (photo: Chelsey Bush for The Equalizer)

Mallory Pugh tries to beat Jordan Nobbs to the ball at the SheBelieves Cup (photo copyright Chelsey Bush for The Equalizer)

It’s also not as if the U.S. lacks players who should excel at wingback. Krieger, Short, Kelley O’Hara (who saw little time at the tournament due to a slight groin injury) and Meghan Klingenberg (left off the roster as she regains fitness from a back injury) all deserve looks at the spot, although Klingenberg’s lack of pace and defensive positioning proved a great liability for both the U.S. and Portland last year.

Mewis, a center midfielder who started all three games as part of the dual pivot and had one of the better tournaments on the team, proves the players know their roles when they’re allowed to play in a natural and experienced position.

“I think that my defensive role becomes more important,” she said when asked about moving from a four-back to three. “I think that if I can disrupt tackles in the middle, that will save them from having the pressure, or having them [opponents] run at them. Also coming back and winning second balls is really important because there’s just one less person in there, so if we win the first one, I need to recover quicker and be ready to pick up that second one.”

So who should be back there? The center is obvious. Sauerbrunn reads the game better than nearly any of her peers and plays three moves ahead of the opposition, which is why she rarely needs to go to ground. Johnston, who has improved tremendously from her long ball and risky tackle days of the World Cup, didn’t show quite the composure one wants to see from the anchor but still played a strong game and would probably fit better on the flank. Krieger, although also a good fit at wingback, has a keen sense of positioning on the outside and knowledge of when to push forward. Both Johnston and Krieger are allowed leeway at this point in time given how few minutes they’ve seen in the formation compared to others. Short defends tremendously but appears uncomfortable with going forward and leaving space, something at which both Sauerbrunn and Krieger were noticeably better. Short was also pushed to her limit by Thomis, although to be fair not many defenders in the world can contain an in-form Thomis. And what about Emily Sonnett, banished to the bench; Emily Menges, who led the best defense in the league last year; or Whitney Engen, apparently dropped to move Long to center back?

Allie Long is a good soccer player who is key to Portland’s success and one of the best attacking midfielders in the league. Allie Long is not a defender. Yes, she’s being played out of position, and there is some leeway for that, but if Ellis is going to invest months and months, games and games, into converting her, results have to be better. Long is too prone to ball watching, hasn’t figured out her positioning and probably could have been called for two penalties against France. After spending her entire career in the attack, she simply doesn’t have defensive instincts. Ellis calls her the “quarterback,” citing Long’s strong passing game as one of the reasons she was moved back. That is all well and good–Long is a very strong passer–but that doesn’t matter when she’s so uncomfortable she simply acts as a conduit between Sauerbrunn and Short. Even at defensive midfield, a spot where she had a forgettable Olympics, Long appears immediately more comfortable on the ball. She’s just not the answer. Why, then, is Ellis so willing to spend so much time on this project?

“There’s always risk-reward in anything that you do, 4-4-2, 3-5-2, any positioning, any formation that you play. There’s always a risk-reward thing, and that’s what we’re trying to figure out,” said Johnston. “How can we play our best soccer?”

However they play it, this was certainly not their best soccer. They have the players to make this formation work, and Ellis is correct that they need more tools in their arsenal. But she’s making it harder than it has to be. The wheel is there. It doesn’t need to be reinvented. It just needs to roll.

Save

Save

Save

  • dw

    I know it’s the popular formation right now, but let’s be honest, if it didn’t work for Chelsea, or for Tottenham, or anyone not the USWNT, it would have been scrapped after 2 or 3 games. There would have been no continual dropping of points in an effort to “figure it out”. It worked, and that’s the reason it stuck. This formation hasn’t offered us anything positive (goal scoring down from what already was depressed, not including tomato cans). So where is the impetus to keep it? Right, because Ellis is clueless.

    And contrary to whichever poster wanted to “educate” me about the Chelsea system:

    1) Chelsea’s system does everything it can NOT to expose the back 3. They prefer to attack on the counter. When Spurs exposed a matchup (Deli Alli vs. Azpilicueta) they got beat.

    2) Chelsea has speed, skill and power up top (Costa, Hazard, Pedro) AND they know how to work together effectively AND they move the ball extremely fast AND they can consistently produce goals even without the overload effect that the 3 back provides.

    Do either of those sound like the USWNT system?

    • Arcie Tillydee

      Agreed all around. The formation only works with players who have some very specific, mandatory traits, among them pace and the ability to quickly recognize precisely where they need to be positioned (given the larger area to cover). The two outside backs need to be seriously pacey. ..players like Alyssa Kleiner or Emily Menges come to mind. The lone CB needs decent speed and even better quick recognition. I have to agree that that’s just not Allie (for all that she’s a favorite player of mine and has markedly improved her speed-of-play).

      I love the idea of using this formation to stack the midfield, an area in which the NT is often outplayed, despite having some genuinely great midfielders. But not with these roster choices…

      Also, Jill: FFS, stop messing about with Lavelle as a winger. Yes, she can play there and play well. But how in hell are you failing to see the potential Vero-tier CAM you have in Rose? Oh, wait…that slot is apparently Lloyd’s in perpetuity, despite her not really playing like a CAM and generally being “where attacks go to die.” /smh

    • Ethan

      The USWNT also has no one like Kante in midfield.

      • dw

        Right. Our DM’s aren’t doing enough to shield the back 3. As others have noted, I think this is primarily on Morgan Brian, but to a large part systemic as well. Even when playing good as Mewis has been, there’s been seemingly a large disconnect from the primary role of “protect the back 3”. Which loosely means disrupt anything coming your way. I just might have to watch the France game a 3rd time to find out if Morgan Brian disrupted anything…

        • #1Fan

          why is it on MB? She is not and never has been a defensive shield type CM .

          • dw

            Well, now she has that role playing DM in front of a back 3. You are correct that she did not have this duty before, but clear as day she does now.

          • #1Fan

            you see I dont believe she does. I think that is really the role of the #6. However, when you are outnumbered , the 8 has a tendency to play deeper and deeper..looking like a double piviot.

            i think its on JE. MB should not be on the field at all if that is the role

          • Steglitz49

            #6, the jersey of Bobby Moore.

          • DNG

            In the current formation it seems like both Mewis and Brian are sharing duties of the 6/8 in a douple pivot while Lloyd plays the 10. Neither can really perform the tempo setting 6 role in possession that Long was doing and I guess is sort of doing at CB.

            I definitely agree that it’s on JE for putting players in bad situations though and Morgan Brian isn’t the only square peg in round hole in this formation either.

          • dw

            Well, the actions of MB and JE tend to side with you, anyway. But those 2 defending mids NEED to defend first if you are fielding a back 3. I’m not saying you can’t forage forward when your team is in possession. But disruption is the primary task. I’m not saying a box to box mid can’t do this, because they can, and a lot of this has to do with how superior your partner is as a disruptor. Mewis is no Boxx.

          • #1Fan

            except I dont beleive JE came up with this formation with good teams in mind. I think the thought process was ..

            1. we keep facing teams who sit deep
            2. we are getting our full backs high but they are not good enough on the abll
            3. we are not creating enough

            EUREKA

            ill sacrifice a full back and get an extra midfielder in there to create an make chances.

            Think about it . When you are picking your center CB based on her passing range and calling her your QB, you are ASSUMING, you will have the ball

            All well and good vs poor teams, but vs better ones, it seems that the personnel is not suited to it,.

          • rkmid71

            And EUREKA, I’ll sacrifice a CB and get another midfielder in there to create and make chances. And why if this formation was not designed for playing against good teams, is she using it against good teams?

          • #1Fan

            you miss my point. she came up with it as a knee jerk. I dont think she thought about how it would do vs good teams. She built it up in her head only looking at the bunker scenario. No coach in their right mid ignores defensive side of things unless they think they will rarely be defending.

          • dw

            Again, you are making the staggering assumption that Ellis is anything but clueless.

          • #1Fan

            how so ?

          • rkmid71

            If true, that really is the height of arrogance.

          • #1Fan

            i dont see any other way to explain it. Ive never heard a manger pick a CB based on the ability toQB the attack

          • rkmid71

            Me neither. It’s nice to have at least one CB that’s a good distributor, but that’s a lot different than QB’ing the attack. I think it was just some stupid rationale for selecting Long instead of real CBs.

          • rkmid71

            Another square peg in round hole. MB is ok in defense, but defense is not her strength. I just don’t think JE cares that much. For her it’s all about scoring goals and she apparently thinks the more offensive players on the field in whatever position will help the offense. No wonder our forwards have a hard time. Our defense is getting worse and our offense is scoring fewer goals.

          • #1Fan

            an offensive player can only lay offense when her team is in possession. Some one has to win the ball and someone has to KEEP it. A minor detail JS seems to be overlooking.

      • dw

        Or Matic, for that matter.

        • #1Fan

          there are 3 back teams that dont use 2 destroyers.

          • dw

            Understood. But the non-destroyer needs to understand protection duties.

        • Ethan

          Fair. I didn’t mention Matic because I think Mewis, especially coming off this tournament, actually has the capability of playing his role on the USWNT. (I think Killion definitely does as well, but she really doesn’t seem to be in the fold.)

    • kernel_thai

      I think there is also a point to be made about one thing at a time. It’s nice Ellis is trying to bring along a couple young players but why is she doing it while she is experimenting with her offense? Wouldn’t u want consistent personnel getting the majority of the minutes so they could work on combining in the new system? Conversely, if u were looking to give significant time to young players wouldn’t u want to do that in a simple system the team was already well versed in? This is failing because Ellis is just throwing lots of things against the wall hoping something sticks like it did for her in WC.

  • Gary Diver

    Rationale for 3 Backs?

    For most of the past two years, USWNT has had a MF problem. It seems that the inexplicable decline of Morgan Brian’s efficiency since WC15 has made the MF problem worse. In an attempt to move the ball forward on the outside, Jill Ellis forced her OBs from pure defensive responsibles to take on an attacking role. Shifting from a 4 back to a 3 back formation, allows Ellis to add one more MF in her perpetual attempt to fix a dysfunctional MF.

    As long as Ellis is committed on keeping Lloyd on the field, any attempt to fix the MF problem is a really a bandage that will creates additional problems. Ellis currently has backed herself into a situation where every component of her team either has major problems or is under-achieving.

    Why doesn’t Ellis have the foresight and/or courage to replace Lloyd with Rose Lavelle? Now is the time to experiment fixing the source of the MF problem.

    • guest

      Ellis is praying for Sulli to get well sooner.

      • Bruce

        I like Sullivan, but 40 yard passes up the middle aren’t going to be available against top 10 teams. Lloyd is the elephant.

    • #1Fan

      tbh, I dont get the fascination with Lavelle being the automatic Lloyd replacement

      • DNG

        Right now I don’t really care who replaces Lloyd as long as she is actually replaced.

      • Steglitz49

        Rose Lavelle is more a Sara Däbritz or Sofia Jakobsson type of player.

      • Gary Diver

        Fine, please add a few more names of possible Lloyd replacements. Rose Lavelle has talent and potential and if others also have talent and potential, the more options the better. But Ellis’ plan to have a 36/37-year old Lloyd as CAM at WC19 is simply insane.

        • #1Fan

          are you saying that RL has those things basis her NT cameo or basis her College career ?

          alternative for a central attacking role would be Brian, Long, ( yes Long) , Press, Morgan Andrews, Corboz,. I see Ohai, SAnchez , Pugh as more wide players.

    • Steglitz49

      There is no rationale for a 3 player backline except when you dominate the match and can keep the opposition out of your own last 1/3rd. Even so, this is risky when the other team has the skill to counterattack with venom, as on the Glorious 12th last year.

      As I tuped elseweher, the width of the field and the speed and size of the ladies compared to the men, makes a 4-back line a necessity in WoSo.

  • DNG

    “Not to mention, Ellis does not consider her wide midfielders to be wingbacks. Rather, they are pure wingers who will only provide defensive cover if absolutely necessary, as they would in a more traditional four-back situation.”

    The USWNT is not Manchester City. They do not have the talent to play like this quote describes against the best teams in the world. If Ellis can’t recognize this I don’t know what else to say.

    • #1Fan

      to play that way you HAVE to be able to dominate possession. its obvious, this formation is being implemented for 90 pct of our opponenets. teh 90 pct that we wooul beat 95 pct of the time no matter the formation. Vs the other 10 pct, this set up wioth this personnel wwill struggle

      • DNG

        Completely agree.

    • Steglitz49

      Carli Lloyd plays for Man City.

  • Bruce

    Best analysis I’ve seen of the 3-back experiment. The “Reinventing the Wheel” section absolutely nails it.

  • Bruce

    I’d be all in for a continuing 3-back experiment if there were any signs of progress or a systematic plan to learn, adjust and optimize. With everything wrong and everyone playing a sub-optimal position – there’s no chance of that.

  • Steglitz49

    The width of the field and the ladies being smaller and slower than the men, means that a 4 player backline is the safe and obvious startegy.

    WoSo teams can play with a 3 back line when the dominate the match and the opposition rarely if ever is in the last 1/3rd. Even then, it is risky with a strong counter-attack, like Sweden’s on the Glorious 12th.

    The nucleus of the poodle is how to position the remaining 6 players in front of the 4-player backline.

  • sudeep das

    3 back / 4 back aside they haven’t been able to solve the bunker as of now. Not too much creativity upfront. And on top of that add the number of opportunities missed / off target. Can’t win games if you don’t score goals.

    • Steglitz49

      None of the opponents in the SBC truly bunkered, did they? France for sure did not.

      • sudeep das

        Bunker shouldn’t be limited to numbers behind the ball – it can be very stout defending as well.

        • Steglitz49

          Sweden defended solidly and organized but when the opportunity arose they launched counter attacks. A bit like Italian men’s soccer 25-30 years ago when 1-0 was considered a high scoring game.

          • sudeep das

            Catenaccio I think they called it then

          • Steglitz49

            Usually. if not 3 or more players were stretchered off with serious injuries as well, it was considered an anemic game..

    • #1Fan

      can I ask what the bunker has to do with it ? Intelligent players and coaches solve the problems the game throws at them . its like this whole Bunker thing is a word that has grown up around the US WNT making excuses for losing to Swe. Every good team in the world faces some form of compact defense. The great ones find a way to solve it.

      • Steglitz49

        Hear hear!

      • sudeep das

        Bunker is a term – as explained to Steg it isn’t about numbers behind the ball but also compact and stout defense. As you said every good team knows how to solve it.

        • Steglitz49

          “Bunker” is a derogatory term used by teams who do not like losing about the opponets who put them out.

          Lars Lagerbäck is the master of the organized defense. No commentator dares call it bunkering.

      • dw

        Except when they don’t. Which is why the compact defense is popular.

        • #1Fan

          I said the GREAT ones find a way

          • dw

            The point being that on some days even the greatest of the great are kept out, either by heroism, bad luck, injuries, or an off day.

            But the way USWNT plays offense these days, a quality side does not need to bunker to keep them off the scoresheet.

          • #1Fan

            I agree, which is why you dont make your BASE formation one that only works vs teams that sit deep give you the ball back and look to counter once in a while. The better teams know how to exploit the weaker players on the WNY and the spaces 352 leaves.

          • Steglitz49

            3-5-2 is a misunderstood formation. It was Even Pellerud’s preferred starting line-up because it naturally developed into either 3-4-3 if the opposition was weaker than expected on 4-4-2 if the opposition was tronger than expected (maybe also 4-3-3).

            Pellerud used a number of ther combinations on the field but his basic strategy was to start with 3-5-2 and see how it went.

          • rkmid71

            Since replacing JE seems to be off the table, perhaps she can hire Pellerud as an advisor. I don’t think he’s connected to the Norwegian WNT at the moment. I suppose Canada wouldn’t be too happy in that scenario.

          • Steglitz49

            Pellerud will soon be 64. He almost to the day 5 years younger than Lagerbäck, who twice now has been coaxed out of retirement.

          • dw

            3-4-2-1 is the formation in use by the top 2 EPL sides…

          • Steglitz49

            BroSo is in many ways irrelevant to WoSo and this is a prime example.

            Men run faster, hit the ball harder and are generally bigger and stronger.

            In any case, teams of the Premier League have been notoriously bad of late in the men’s Champions League.

          • Steglitz49

            Which might explain France’s approach and success.

  • Breakers fan

    If only the best women’s teams played as often as MLB or NBA (figuratively there) or college teams in-season we wouldn’t have to reach as much for these big, knowing conclusions and pronouncements on such scant evidence…

    One sees how fast things change in soccer, and what was yesterday’s knowledge sometimes becomes today’s ignorance in about 10 seconds of play. That we have so few games against good teams – a few a year – is frustrating and above all begs for more games so that teams can develop more than it does to say “we ARE this… FOREVER!”. Not that we can’t talk about what we have seen. I’m referring mostly about our offense here. I think if we had more games it could develop. It’s the part of the pitch where things happen so quickly, where goats become GOATS in just instants of play. And our other lines, the midfield and defense- more games could lead to more experimentation. As is, we kind of get “crumbs” of data and have to make a meal of them for months, on the national team/international level.

    • dw

      I really don’t think the evidence is scant, only in the comparisons you provide. Even against tomato cans USWNT offense is anemic until the opponent becomes exhausted (which depends on the quality of the tomato can).

      • Steglitz49

        Verily.

      • Breakers fan

        To me it is (scant). I’d like to see a few games a week. That’s what a team does in season. Instead, since OG ’16 how many games have we had against good teams, like 6 in 8 months? I know what I’m proposing isn’t realistic, but if there were a lot more games we’d simply see a lot more, experimentation with lineups and positioning would be more likely to be implemented, and I think things we think are static wouldn’t necessarily stay that way.

        • dw

          You do remember that Ellis is the coach, right? If we had more games, we’d see more bad games trying to “figure out” the back 3. Static is a mantra in USWNT-land.

          • Breakers fan

            Well, that’s the question…would she experiment more if given more chances to? I don’t think anyone would have predicted the move to a 3 back after the WC win or a change from the 1 forward – you know what I mean – formation either. I think a lot has changed too from the WC win (the biggest event to tell you not to change things) in terms of who is playing where than most people would have predicted, so I think there are signs that she makes changes. More games – again, I realize I’m living in fantasyland here – would tell you more and would, I think, lead to more changes. Now, as things are, Ellis will have to make changes, if she wants to, based on the actual amount of evidence she has been given.

        • #1Fan

          its all about Club soccer. you need a competitive CLUB set up to analyse players better. the US has it, but chooses to ignore it

          • rkmid71

            We have a competitive college setup also, and they choose to ignore that as well (and just pick from their previously id’d U14s that have graduated and impressed so much in U17 and U20 WCs) — but maybe BJ Snow’s new job is to correct that situation?

          • #1Fan

            Lol. BJ Snow.

        • dw

          I don’t think I could stomach a few USWNT games a week in their current form.

          Think about SBC. How many new fans do you think USWNT gained? Heck, it could have been a net loss…

          • Breakers fan

            Maybe something’s wrong with me but I’m not nearly as doomy/gloomy/dire as most.I thought we clearly outplayed Germany (I know how they were weaker than usual) we outplayed England save for a few chaotic seconds around goal in the last minute of the game, and then we got beat soundly by France, though did get some good chances – Dunn’s volley, Pugh’s nice shot and the near goal from Horan. I move on a lot easier than most, I guess. Sure you make adjustments as needed but that’s what more games are for. That’s just the way I’m built with sports – learn, move on and try to improve. The ’60s called ’em “hang-ups”. Don’t have ’em. But I realize we’re not calling the shots. Relinquish control and hope for the best. It’s tough but I choose to be positive. To each his own.

          • mockmook

            “Maybe something’s wrong with me”

            Talk about a hanging curve-ball 😉

          • Breakers fan

            Knock it out of the park, bro! Make a fan on the street behind the stadium happy. 🙂

    • #1Fan

      but this is MORE true of every NT. its why Club play is so important. The USWNT meet more often than any NT in the world – male or female. i would bet on that .

      • Breakers fan

        I definitely agree that they don’t use the NWSL to their full advantage. Though I would repeat something that I and many others here and you have also said numerous times: that even though they may meet relatively often, that the # of games they get against the best teams is small, the # of players they look at in depth is small – due either to choices they make or constraints put on them by the CBA, so the # of changes they can make is smaller than it should be, which I know you agree with. I still would love it if the full team could have a lot more games against good teams. Impossible to not think that would be a good thing. Not sure how feasible it is in the real world.

        • rkmid71

          They don’t even seem to try that hard. People have floated many possible ideas to have greater competition. In addition to playing more top 10 NTs, play the US U23s (the US B team) more often in a public situation. Make those games meaningful. Play NWSL teams (obviously ex WNT players) — and club teams in Europe or Asia. Reward US players who excel in those competitions with camp invites, caps, etc.They seem to care more about the marketing benefits of Lloyd getting 100 goals, Solo getting to 100 shutouts, Wambach breaking MIa Hamm’s scoring record, etc. — by playing friendlies against tomato cans. That’s why other WNTs are catching up or have caught up — as if we haven’t been shooting ourselves in the foot and can’t do anything about it. Of course we can. We just choose not to or are too arrogant to see what’s been happening..

        • #1Fan

          i dont think that show Intl soccer works. Successful Inlt managers scout players in club football all the time. thast where you see players in really competitive environments as opposed to surrounded by the so called “best ” players. a good manager/ management team can use that info to build a good picture.

          the USWNT does nto seem to do that much.

          • DNG

            Well Ellis did make it to matches last year but apparently that doesn’t count for much more than an opportunity to prove yourself in camp.

          • Breakers fan

            I think we’re repeating one another. We both said our team doesn’t use the NWSL as well as it could. And I also said that it may not be feasible in the real world to play good teams much more often. I love rkmid’s suggestions, though, about how to improve matters in terms of good games they could play if they got more creative.

          • #1Fan

            I dont like the idea of releasing players from Clubs even more. I just think we need to use the NWSKL and College a lot more than we do. I also think this highlights the fact that those doing the selecting do not know how to project a players upside and abilities very well

            Pugh is a great example that no one talks about. Why the phenom build up ? She is a good player with upside, but the build up has done nothing for her imo.

          • Breakers fan

            Maybe more games can be played outside the NWSL season, as I too don’t like the idea of releasing players from clubs more than they currently do.
            I’m with you on the Pugh thing and I did not join that hyping. Her best games to date were her earliest so it’s not hard to understand how people got excited about her. even if it wasn’t right to be so effusive in praising her. Expressing excitement can be hard to restrain. No ill intent was meant, I’m sure. I have no clue what her state of mind is now about her soccer, whether her confidence is at all shaken. But yes, I’m with you generally on the side of holding a young player back a bit more.

          • #1Fan

            its the job of real pundits to be somewhat balanced. Im not talking about fans , Im talking the so called experts. I had a good debate with a poster on here about Sophie Smith. They seemed to suggest that Smith was perhaps a better prospect that Sanchez, even Pugh. Let say thats true. If it is , then Pugh is not that special if we are producing an equivalent player EVERY recruiting class.

          • Breakers fan

            I agree with you about that – that the pundits’ job is to stay balanced – good point. I personally didn’t focus in on the national media’s handling of Pugh in “the early days”. Was there a lot of hype? Hype meaning “excessive praise”, not just praise?

          • #1Fan

            not praise for things actually DONE. projections of being the best player on the team ALREADY. Projections of 200 caps. Protections of greatness. she may achieve it, but I dont get it .

          • Breakers fan

            Those things were said on tv? Not doubting you just want to know where they were said by national pundits and how big of an audience they were reaching.

          • rkmid71

            Touted as the “Best player in the history of the U20 World Cup” — never mind that the US teams she was on at U17 and U20 didn’t accomplish anything. Once never even getting out of Concacaf and qualifying for a WC. And what about club soccer? If a player is that dominant on a World scale, how could anybody stop her on the US club scene. But they did. People should just back off all the hype and let her develop. She’s a good player with potential.

          • #1Fan

            Could not agree more.

          • #1Fan

            yes they were.

          • dw

            AKA Tiger Woods syndrome. But you have to realize that national WoSo media is the house propaganda machine, and their marching orders are obvious. Overhype all young players. Pugh, Short, Lavelle, Dunn. All about the brand continuity.

          • #1Fan

            Yes. Except in golf you shoot scores. Less room for subjective BS

  • dw

    Since the outside defenders have wings in front of them, the criteria should be “players least likely to get beat”. Agree with the article put Broon in the center. Move Long up next to Mewis in place of Brian. It’s still a mess up top but at least it would be somewhat more stable in the back.

    • DNG

      That probably would have worked out a lot better especially if instead of replacing Brian with Long you replaced Lloyd with Long and moved Brian to the 10. I also would have started with Dunn at RWB. The forwards were still awful though so scoring might still have been an issue.

      • dw

        Also goes back to clueless Jill and her attitude towards a DM. US system has failed to find a Boxx replacment, and now we have implemented a system where a DM is more important than ever. Winters played an entire career without getting a cap. I don’t know enough about Sullivan to know if she’s primarily a DM or not.

        • rkmid71

          Failed to find. Are they even looking?

          • dw

            Prolly not.

          • DNG

            So Ellis brought in 5 CMs(Long, Brian, Mewis, Pinto, Lavelle) and not a true ball winner among them. I guess Ellis could have used Sonnett as a ball winning 6 but apparently she’s not good enough to get 30 minutes in the entire tournament at any position.

        • #1Fan

          PINTO

          • DNG

            I didn’t come away from the U17 WC thinking that Pinto was a great ball winner in midfield. Obviously you’ve seen her more than I have but do you think she’s a good ball winner, or just better than the other options?

          • #1Fan

            im being sarcastic:) not a ball winner to me .

          • DNG

            So Ellis brought in 5 CMs(Long, Brian, Mewis, Pinto, Lavelle) and not a true ball winner among them. I guess Ellis could have used Sonnett as a ball winning 6 but apparently she’s not good enough to get 30 minutes in the entire tournament at any position.

          • Breakers fan

            Not disputing anything here – other than saying we shouldn’t come to any definitive conclusions yet about Lavelle based on the tiny sample we’ve seen at this level (I and others have seen her play a lot more, but at this level we have little to go on) but what I want to ask is: Who in the women’s game of the last, say, 20 years, are “true ball winners”? And how would you define that term? Thanks.

          • DNG

            Someone who’s primary role is to break up play. Someone like Boxx, Buczkowski, Winters or even Brooks. All 5 of the CMs that I mentioned above are primarily passers and attackers.

          • Bruce

            I know that the numbers only tell part of the story, but the WoSo stats project actually provides some great insight into this question – since they’ve now compiled advanced offensive and defensive stats for almost every 2016 NWSL game.

            Players like Colaprico inevitably score significantly higher than peers when running an analysis based on per minute recoveries and passing efficiency in out of the back.

            Here’s a good example of this type of analysis.

            https://medium.com/positives-and-negatives/nwsl-defensive-play-fc3aa16f4db1#.gpbs80bvf

          • DNG

            Impressive from Colaprico and Dibernardo I wish we had a complete seasons worth of data to pull from though.

          • Bruce

            The project has compiled (I think) over 80% of the 2016 season games.

            You can run your own reports here!

            https://wosostats.wordpress.com/

            EDIT – conclusion is that you should use the data for per minute / per game analysis, not season totals (yet).

          • DNG

            The article was written last September and at that time I don’t think that many matches were logged. I may be wrong though.

          • Som Termanni

            85/103 as of yesterday, with 40 of them including additional location data.

          • Breakers fan

            Do you like Colaprico as a ball-winner for the NT? Doesn’t seem to be her biggest strength either. Where would you try her on the team? I do like her and wish she could get a shot.

          • DNG

            I don’t know. She plays the role well for the CRS and apparently better than I had originally thought. I don’t see why she shouldn’t get a chance to play there. I have to think that her size and athleticism is keeping her out because she’s a very smart player with excellent positioning that rarely makes mistakes.

          • #1Fan

            PINTO

          • DNG

            Yeah. That selection is mind boggling. I don’t understand it at all.

          • DNG

            There is obviously an uneven playing field for players that the coaches want to be pushed to the full team and are given every opportunity to succeed. It’s ridiculous that others on the “outside” have to work so hard for false hope and table scraps.

          • #1Fan

            this is true, but if I guy like me says it, you are accused of being biased. Ive seen ti form the inside in i would argue the purest position to analyse.

            when you see YNT strikers who dont score at Club or Intl level getting constant Camp recalls at the expense of kids that are scoring vs the same opposition them you have to ask why ?

            Look at a kid called Messiah Bright and tell me why she has never had a shot? or why MK McGuire was one and done.

          • Bruce

            Go by the numbers and Colaprico is the #1 ball winner at DM in the NWSL.

          • Breakers fan

            So – just asking – Colaprico “breaks up play” (DNG’s definition of “a ball winner”) the most of any DM in the NWSL? I don’;t watch her enough to know. This activity has been measured? Of course there’s no denying the inevitable subjectivity in anyone trying to compile *this* statistic.As in: what balls are under consideration for possible break-ups? which are not?, etc.
            Do you and the statistic maker have the same definition of ball-winner? You watch CRS – is she breaking up play a lot? I just don’t know.

          • Bruce

            WoSo stats uses the term “disruptions” as a measure of ball-winning and defines it as interceptions, blocks, clearances, dispossessions and tackles. The first chart on the article I linked to above shows that Colaprico uniquely excels in this category among DMs.

            From watching CRS, I’d say that Colaprico is probably a better ball-winner than a distributor in the pivot. The diamond-4 CRS runs makes it hard for opponents to attack up the flank, so play is funneled her way by design. She does an amazing job anticipating passes and is an extremely efficient tackler in 1v1 situations.

          • Breakers fan

            Good stuff. I have to think that you feel that Ellis is making (made, as DC was in a camp or two already) an error in not giving Colaprico a shot at DM with the NT? If you were the head coach of the USWNT what would your, first, midfield be that you’d like to be seen given a shot – feel free to name other lines if you want, but the midfield in all its parts is what we’re mainly discussing here.

          • Bruce

            I think that if you want a solid DM, then you have to give Colaprico a long, long look.

            #1Fan is probably right, though. JE seems to believe that she doesn’t need to field defensive players who can win the ball and instead that her team of attackers will be able to score with any ball recovery. If that’s the case, it kind of makes sense why Colaprico and other blue collar midfielders cannot get a cap.

          • DNG

            I would define it as a players at the top of the league in interceptions and tackles(dispossessions seem very similar to tackles). Blocks and clearances aren’t really what I’d be looking for primarily but they aren’t unimportant.

          • rkmid71

            Picking up free balls is another category — like interceptions reflects positioning. Aerial challenges won and win %. Tackling # and success rate reflect 1v1 defending.

            And then you have the passing stats. Both attacking passes and non attacking passes. There are so many ways players can impact a team beyond goals and assists.

          • Steglitz49

            Two players whom I had expected to have a big role in the USWNT — and they don’t get it.

          • Breakers fan

            I agree that we may need someone more of this ilk. Gotta wonder if someone is out there in our pool who is better than who we currently have. I think she/they probably is/are. I’d have to watch the games again to see how lacking she was in this area but I wonder about Mewis with this. Not saying she’s good or bad at it, I just didn’t really hone in on this aspect of her play that much. Did you? Qualities for this job appear to be: speed, anticipation and toughness. Have to be able to get to balls quickly to break them up. I saw Lavelle win balls probably better than you would expect at Wisconsin, but that isn’t where I’d ideally use her. At age 16 I’m certainly not ruling out Pinto. I wonder about Kayla Mills in this capacity but let’s see how she does with Sky Blue first.

          • dw

            Weird that Kim Little plays DM for country…

          • rkmid71

            You put your best player in the position to have the greatest impact and give your team the best chance to win. It doesn’t do much good if she’s their leading scorer if they allow twice as many goals. I’m assuming that’s what they’re doing. Why is that weird?

          • dw

            We no, that’s the obvious reason, unless Scottish coach is like Ellis. But Little is like one of if not the best attacking mid in WoSo. Scotland needs to find a DM too. We don’t actually use them in the USA, so find a US player with a Scottish grandma..

          • #1Fan

            thats where we disagree. i think Lavelle has been playing “at this level” or very close to it for a long time. I just dont buy this huge step up.

          • Breakers fan

            By “this level” I meant solely “on the national team” – not “how well she played”. I also feel that way about Lavelle – watched her in about 6 games with Wisconsin this year and have seen her on YNTs in the past – that she has been playing very well for a long time, which only makes sense that someone would largely play the way she has been playing. What’s “this huge set-up?” That people would like to see her tried at Lloyd’s current position? I think that’s all people are saying: “Maybe try it.” Nothing more grandiose.

          • #1Fan

            STEP up. this perception that until you play at NT camp you cannot appreciate the “level”. I think that is pure propaganda and no one inside the ropes has any incentive to say otherwise so it carries on.

          • Breakers fan

            I very much agree that a good scout can appreciate the level of play of a player at “levels” other than, lower than within the NT and I think you’re right to say it.

            What did you mean by “STEP up”? why did you write it? Thanks.

          • #1Fan

            becasue you quoted set – up ..i wrote step up ..I was referring to the step up to NT level ie no expereince pre that counts and the only sample size worth evaluating is NT camp/ matches.

          • Breakers fan

            My bad – thanks. I think we’re in agreement about Lavelle.

          • #1Fan

            to me its not just Lavelle

            Pinto promotion essentially has to say 2 things

            1. she played well for the U17s
            2. she has more upside than every College and NWSL player

            I would ask them, on what basis???

            I would be ALL for a Pinto promotion IF JE had said

            I watched the U17 WC tape and I saw a player who was dominant. She made great decisions and was clearly better than the rest. We elevated her to the u-23 camp because of it. Go look a the tape for yourself.

            The problem I have is we never heard ANY real reference to her competitive performance in Jordan. So the decision to elevate was based on ………………..

            I think you owe to us the explain WHAT got player into camps. heck you owe it to the NWSL players so they know what the bar is. I bet there are several NWSL and College players. EVEN Club players who say. Im as good if not better so why have I never even been to a camp, let alone a full call in to a roster for the SBC ?

          • Breakers fan

            Quite well-said. I couldn’t say it any better. I am with you. It’s a shame that Woso journalists either didn’t *try* to probe more deeply, investigatively into this matter and get the answers to the questions you asked. or if they did try, WHY were their efforts rebuffed? What is trying to be kept under wraps, if anything? The answers from Jill may be simple and may be “This is my perception based on an admittedly small sample size, I see an upside that, at that age, and then projected forward is above anything I see from players 5-10 years her senior. So I just want more looks at her and want her to experience this level of competition”. It could be based on just that, but as you say, we didn’t even get to hear that answer, if that is what it was.

          • guest

            you are going be waiting a long time if you are hoping for a jill ellis press confererence. she only answers pre-screened written questions she wants to answer from ex-uswnt puppets.

          • guest

            Despite her big 10 midfielder of the year designation, I do not think Lavelle had much of a season of success with Wisconsin last fall. You don’t tear it up in an Ok but not spectacular conference, but you are elevated ahead of people who were successful at the pro level. I don’t understand that.

          • #1Fan

            give me some names.

          • guest

            Depends of course in which role JE sees her but as a wingmidfielder/wingback I would start with Dunn who does not seem to be a favorite, but I think should be. Ohai is the obvious grouse.
            Even a player like Shea Groom who seems to have some flexibility in roles and Danielle Coloprico should have been brought in to get a try in the midfield. I think Menges and or Sonnet should have been tried in the back and maybe then seen what Short or Sonnet could have done in the wingback position.
            There are many more options of course. I am not saying any of these are “better” only that they were options to include players who excelled in the NWSL.
            I think its is dangerous to the health of the NWSL to ignore players who are clearly successful in favor of others more untried.
            The Pinto inclusion when she could have played with the u18,20,or even 23 instead is mind boggling.

          • guest

            And uh Jessica McDonald

          • guest

            I also think that probably JE wanted to have Andi Sullivan as her right out of college young superstar. However when she got hurt I think she turned to Lavelle for that role. Even within the college ranks probably Morgan Andrews and or Savannah McKaskill (playing out of the 10 I think for the 23s) were more accomplished.
            I forgot also Daphne Corboz in my NWS/pro list I am sure there are others I forgot as well.

          • Breakers fan

            How many Wisconsin games did you watch? To me she was clearly very good. She played DM – she’s not going to “tear it up” in the stats dept.

            In principle I’m generally with you in the basic “seniority” view of things, of promoting first, but not in an absolute way. WHO in the NWSL would you have before her? Who’s getting wrongly passed over at that position?

          • guest

            I think I watched 4. She was shooting a lot. her goal/shot percentage was poor. She was moved to a 6/8 role because Wilkins wanted her on the ball more. She went on many dribbling runs ending in a low percentage shot. Maybe that’s what she was supposed to do, but she was largely ineffective. I am not saying she is a weak player though. I thought she was by far the best in her u20 although both she and Horan were played out of position and French though Pugh was going to succeed as a #10. I didn’t agree with her adjustment of moving Horan back instead of Lavelle forward which would have resulted in her two best players playing in their two best positions.

            I object to her being moved ahead of players who have proven themselves in the NWSL while Lavelle, in my opinion, did not tremendously excel in the big 10 this year.

          • #1Fan

            give me some NWSL names

          • Breakers fan

            Ok, at least you did she her at Wisconsin some. We differ in our overall evaluations of her play. I think she did better than you did, though I admit she wasn’t always great, she made some errors (who doesn’t?) She won I think a couple games crucially for Wisconsin late in the year with goals. Wilkins made it clear the Lavelle got better as the season went on and when they were in danger of not even getting into the NCAA tournament. Lavelle was a huge contributor to that happening for them. There’s no question about that. Ask Wilkins if you doubt me.

            So, you still haven’t named who you think is better than, has more upside than her in the NWSL. Who do you like more than her who hasn’t gotten a shot yet? Keep in mind that a national team has to, at least I think they should, look long-term to some extent in their player selections, at least in terms of who they want to take a look at. If you’re going to say Colaprico then you won’t get much of an argument from me – not that I think she’s better necessarily but that I don’t think she hasn’t gotten a fair enough shot yet. Is it her you’re thinking of? Who else?

          • guest

            I answered some below. Basically I agree that she got better as the season went along. i was specifically watching her because I think she is very interesting. I don’t know what Wilkins was coaching her to do. her stats are poor this year overall when looking at how many minutes she played. I am not saying she is a poor player only that I think she hasn’t yet proven her value to be jumping over others who have been more proven.

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks. At least I know how you feel. We just rate her differently in the end. I’m not as strict with the seniority idea as you, I think, though I do tend, lean towards it, no question.

          • Breakers fan

            I would also question the “her stats are poor” idea. Stats to me is everything, ev-er-y-thing a player did and anyone who watched her saw her do a lot of good things for Wisconsin,. As you say I bet she was told by Wilkins to take shots from the DM position which is by and large where she played last year.

          • AlexH

            I think RL played very well for somebody that got tossed into the mix against the world’s best teams, so I think Jill (gasp) got this one right. I was a bit disappointed that RL got stuck wide though, rather than playing the position that got her noticed.

          • #1Fan

            Wide roles in a 433 are usually a good place to get your feet wet. Wide roles in 352 vs good teams is totally the opposite

          • dw

            Big 10 MF of the year and 5 bucks gets you a latte at Starbucks.

          • #1Fan

            I keep repeating myself. its becasue Ellis thinks that there is no need to WIN the ball. There si only a need to do something with it when it is eventually given back to you.

            I do think there is some truth to this vs bad teams. it is better to shadow press and just wait for the inevitable mistake . Not so with good teams tho. Reminds me of the article from @fitzcamel re the UNC effect.

          • Bruce

            Explains oh so much.

          • #1Fan

            if you heard her comment re France – she said they were much more “direct” than she expected. As in she was looking for short intricate passing allover the field where she would use US speed to prey on the inevitable error.

            Bad surface, cold weather . rain.- France took what the game gave them and had the players to do it

          • rkmid71

            It pisses me off that you’re even talking like this. This is the most basic common sense stuff I can think of. Of course that’s what France did. This happens in youth club soccer all the time — some teams have the players to do it and adjust as fits the situation.

          • #1Fan

            Are you mad at me becasue you think Im wrong? maybe I am . but I can explain it any other way.

          • rkmid71

            No. I think you’re probably right. Which is what pisses me off at the whole situation. Which we seem stuck with for the forseeable future. That’s pisses me off even more.

          • #1Fan

            if your 34 yr old captain. your first name on the team sheet cannot solve problems. Then why would you expect any other player to be able to ?

          • AlexH

            The style of play that Lloyd is attempting at 34 is mind boggling to tell you the truth. She made a brilliant career out of being opportunistic and ruthless and now she is out there pretending that she is Xavi. It isn’t going to work.

          • #1Fan

            oh man . that made me laugh out loud. So true. PoY mate. must be true.

          • DNG

            “pretending that she is Xavi”

            Thanks for that.

          • Steglitz49

            No thank you. WoSo asks for WoSo similies. The ignorance of non-US WoSo is little short of incredible — and sad.

          • Steglitz49

            Xavi? Marta? Sawa? Dombracheva? Neuner?

          • AlexH

            The fact that Ellis was surprised by the French directness speaks volumes because a) it’s her job to know what her opponents are up to and b) if you put a team out there that can’t handle direct play then it is an absolute no brainer that you opposition isn’t going to try to steam roll you until they are stopped.

          • DNG

            Ellis should not be surprised at all that France play direct when it suits them. When France starts a player like Thomis out wide it should at least be in the back of Ellis’ mind.

          • #1Fan

            the problem is failing vs France – who I think are the best team in the game will be put aside and we will “succeed” vs Russia. et al. Problem solved

            its like Morgans Hattie this weekend. I file that under utterly irrelevant after the SBC., but some think its a sign she is “back”

          • Steglitz49

            Respect, please! Alex Morgan has the campaign medals and scars of valor.

            Let’s wait till after the matches against Wolfsburg before we throw her to the She-wolves!

          • dw

            That’s right, listen to Steg. Alex should be able to lock her spot down for at least 6 more years, 7 if she wants another OG.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex would be the first to hold up her hand if she was not all there.

            Let’s wait and see till after Alex has faced the Shewolves before we cast her adrift.

          • dw

            Crazy talk. She will take the lessons of those who preceded her and hold on as long as she can.

          • Steglitz49

            ARod might be her model. She is a good model because ARod has probably got more out of her soccer than many a lass.

            I suspect that the USSF worry that Alex may do a Gold-Lena though at 27, almost 28, it will have less impact than at 24.

          • dw

            Last time I checked ARod is still on USWNT.

          • Steglitz49

            That was my point. Started a family, two sprogs, won the WC and avoided the Bomb in Brasilia.

    • Steglitz49

      Broon has become too slow. Replace her. She ain’t gonna get faster for WC-19.

  • Sam Huard

    The back three was obviously a disaster for most of the tournament but I am more concerned with the lack of scoring against real opponents. The USWNT struggled to create chances even though they had an extra midfielder. The final pass has been lacking for a while now even with all the attacking talent out there.

    • dw

      Extra midfielder doesn’t mean anything if you are limited to attacking down the flanks. And I don’t think it’s been noticed but I don’t think either Brian or Mewis are “allowed” to play higher than Carli, so that further hamstrings attacking down the center. No aerial threat isn’t helping either (even though we have players who could provide that role.)

  • DNG

    For anyone interested is a passing comparison between Brian and Killian done by WoSo stats. Unfortunately it isn’t based on a whole seasons worth of data but it’s pretty impressive from Killion and the stats show that there isn’t a big different between the two if we ignore the fact that Brian isn’t really a DM despite her playing the position for the Dash and USWNT.

    https://wosostats.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/morgan-brian-and-sarah-killion-using-stats-to-differentiate-midfielders/?platform=hootsuite

    • GT

      As a Sky Blue fan, big fan of Killian. Very steady, very reliable, high “soccer IQ”. Reads the field well.

      • #1Fan

        same. One of her teammates told me that she rarely makes a mistake.

        • rkmid71

          Was it the standard “speed of play” excuse from camp that she wasn’t selected to SBC roster? Never mind the NWSL performance against all those same WNT players. An opportunity lost to really test what appears to be a high potential player in a huge area of need that has been weak for the USWNT for the last two years. I guess Pinto was the better selection.

          • #1Fan

            I don’t know why. She was just telling me how good Killion was

  • Steglitz49

    Please select 6 players to play in front to a back 4 and position them.

    • rkmid71

      How about this? I would put Heath on whichever side she prefers. Killion would tend to hold more than Mewis. I would start with Johnston, but try faster CBs to pair with Sauerbrunn. Like Menges, Sonnett or depending on which ones do well in NWSL. I recall Menges is pretty tall and might replace some of Johnston’s set piece abilities. In the short run, I would have those four compete for the two CB spots. Also, I would play Brian a half and Press a half at CAM and see which is more effective with Morgan. I would also like to experiment with Lavelle and Pugh in CAM. Williams and/or Press can sub into Morgan’s spot if Morgan’s not getting it done. I”m also an Ohai fan and would try her in Pugh’s spot so she can combine with Dunn. When Sullivan is fit again I would try her in either Killion, Mewis spot — and I would bring in Colaprico and give those players opportunities to compete for those two spots. See what midfield players are most in sync or effective. Horan I’d like to try up top because she’s good at combining and good size/power/heading and can score. I’d give Savannah Jordan a long look and a few caps and test out Leroux again. Short can compete with Ohara. Ohara and Dunn I would let have some fun now and then and play them in Heath and Pugh spots, but their main position is OB.

      http://drawformation.com/post/58c71f0833a0d/58c71f0833a0d.png

      • DNG

        I’d play Horan at CF and Sonnett at CB but this looks like something to try. I think Menges looks taller than she is since she’s pretty lanky. She’s listed as 5’7″. I’m not really worried about set piece ability at the moment. Let’s focus on organizing the defense and fixing the midfield first.

      • mockmook

        Still sucks if JE constantly sends both OBs forward so they essentially play a 2-back.

        • DNG

          JE should never send both up at the same time usually when one goes forward to overlap the other tucks in and stays deep. One of the CMs should also be prepared to cover a counter as well.

      • mockmook

        Step 1 — Get rid of the current CBA

        Step 2 — Pick the current best in-form players

        Step 3 — Winning!!!

        http://drawformation.com/post/58c7479fb2ea0/sm-58c7479fb2ea0.png

        • DNG

          I think you are going to have a lot of disagreement on who are the best in form players but your lineup looks fine too.

  • AlexH

    It’s not the system it’s the players. The French got their first goal going through. Their second going over and their third going around. Perhaps we should have been the team playing the bunker.

    • #1Fan

      Correct. the French showed you what versatile talented players can do when the system allows them to express themselves. they solve the problems the game presents .

      • AlexH

        The problem with the US is that expression and system are mutually exclusive. There seems to be more value on toeing the party line rather than getting results.
        Also, she seems to be so in love with her system that she can just plug anybody in anywhere and expect results.

        • #1Fan

          agree on part one. the set up is such that politics play a huge role.

        • rkmid71

          “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” ~ George S. Patton

      • Steglitz49

        2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 are not enough evidence for you, obviously.

        • rkmid71

          You’re right. One success does not make a trend. And as others have said, the big immediate test is Euros. But there is no doubt they were impressive at SBC, especially versus the USA. I doubt they will lose their motivation given the 2019WC is in France.

          • #1Fan

            Clarefontaine started admitting girls in 1998. I think the FFF have made steady progress. I dont think they qualified for a WC till 2003.I could be wrong . so in 14 years, they have gone from irrelevant to up with best in Class. The problem with the one success argument is it ignores the journey and its trajectory. France have done a great job of developing and producing players. The arrow is pointing up. The u20 team also had some good players on it.

          • Silver Frost

            FFF keep finding talent. They just started Perisset the OB. She has excellent ball control and distribution. We don’t have a defender like that.

          • rkmid71

            We don’t select defenders like that. We put forwards in OB.

          • #1Fan

            I think we might, but who knows. the U17 obs were dire.

          • rkmid71

            I don’t know about U17, but at least some U20 obs were formally forwards at club level. Very little experience as defenders other than their time at YNT camps. The selection wasn’t about ball control and distribution. Or even 1v1 defending. It was about forward skills like attacking on the dribble and presumably getting forward and scoring. I know some of those obs. Ball control and distribution was not a skill set the coach’s or selector’s prioritized. It’s no coincidence that the U17s and U20s mids and defenders couldn’t possess and control a game at their respective WCs and gave up a huge volume of shots relative to shots attempted.

          • Steglitz49

            Sweden and Germany face each other in their group so they could meet in the Final!

    • Steglitz49

      La Sistema has to do with music — in Venezuela to boot — does it not?

    • mockmook

      No, if you put FRA players out of position, they aren’t going to be as effective.

  • Bruce

    Off-topic: The remaining preseason rosters are quickly being revealed.

    The Red Stars roster bellow just reminds me what a blow it was to lose Vasconcelos before she even started. The likely only path to diamond midfield upgrade now is Proffitt taking over DM, pushing Colaprico into the AM and DiBernardo to the left flank. I don’t like it.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if an undrafted forward with a decent hold-up game (Simone Kolander?) bumped Walls or Hoy off of the roster.

    http://chicagoredstars.com/chicago-red-stars-begin-2017-season/

    • Bruce

      Just noticed that Brittany Ratcliffe is in camp with CRS as a midfielder.

      • Breakers fan

        Wow – that’s the Colaprico influence, no question – they played together at UVA. Good for Brittany. I wish her well, have liked her solidly as a player for a few years.
        And you guys swooped up Kolander?? That’s a heckuva free draft pick……potentially……I only saw her in one game but I know she’s highly rated by some and has great height and good to very good speed.

        • Bruce

          Where did Ratcliffe play for the Breakers?

          • Breakers fan

            Right side – seemed kind of in between forward/midfield. Flank, wing, whatever the term is. She was a right-side forward at UVA. She’s quick/fast, relatively. Has been trained at UVA so that’s a good thing.

    • Reality

      CRS still has one international slot left, but Dames will probably trade it for a draft pick.

      • Bruce

        No doubt.

      • Steglitz49

        Sign Marta!

    • Steglitz49

      Does a kolander not leak like a sieve?

  • Patrick Keeler

    The telling thing to me is the Ellis quote about her outside players not being wingbacks. Does anyone know of any team in the world playing a 3-5-2 without wingbacks? And what is the point of these wingers when you play them on their weaker side (right footed Heath on the left and left footed Lavelle on the right) which causes them to come inside and now everyone is clogged in the middle. If the problem was compact defenses clogging up the middle then certainly cramming more bodies in there isn’t the answer. Especially, when Lloyd is already in there moving with the pace and finesse of a steamroller.

    • #1Fan

      well yes ..
      hard to say Victor Moses was one before this season 🙂

      • DNG

        Victor Moses plays at least something resembling a wing back though even if he isn’t really suited to the position. I don’t think I could say the same of Heath, Lavelle, Dunn and Pugh during SBC.

        • #1Fan

          i agree, I was being a bit cheeky..hence the little 🙂

    • Andy

      Yeah, our flanks were exposed that whole game without the wingbacks.

    • htm222

      I’m pretty sure heath is lefty. She writes with her left hand.

      • Breakers fan

        Sorry to others to repeat this, but Heath is right-foot dominant, though she writes with her left hand, same with Becky S.. Alex Morgan is the opposite. As are many others I could name in my life. That said, she’s above average with her left leg, but clearly not as good/strong as she is with her right.

        • Timber Dave
          • Breakers fan

            Awesome, thank you! I’ve never seen that before. No way a left-foot dominant player hits a ball like that with her off-foot. Or, I should say that it would be one very, very, very rare woman who could.

          • Steglitz49

            Tobin’s Aya Miyama / Roberto Carlos moment. I have always wondered whether she learnt that from Zlatan while at PSG. Does anyone know?

          • Zlatan 0 CL titles

            She doesn’t

          • Steglitz49

            Who does not? Miyama?

        • dw

          For what it’s worth (next to nothing actually) I am left handed and right footed.

          • Breakers fan

            It’s worth a lot if it’ll keep these Tobin Heath autograph-getters from assuming she’s left-footed just because of how she signed their shirt!!
            just kidding, mostly.

            Just out of curiosity, (and for my research) do you do most things righty or lefty, considering you’re split in the kicking/throwing realms?

          • dw

            I write and eat left handed. Everything else righty. I think this is pretty common among cross-dominant/mixed-handedness folks.

          • Breakers fan

            Hunh…thanks, The only thing I do lefty is fire a rifle (from camp and target-shooting days) – but that’s due to which is my dominant eye – mine is my left. I won’t belabor this but I want to ask one more question because i’ve seen this vary with handedness…..shooting pool…do you do it on the right side or left side, in other words, which hand/arm for you draws the pool stick back and fires it forward?

          • dw

            Righty at billiards (and shooting).

    • Timber Dave

      Yes, how can you play a 3-5-2 without wingbacks? A principal feature of the formation is getting 4-5 players in or near the backline when defending. Otherwise good attacks overwhelm you.

      Like France’s did.

      • Connietprather

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !dy276c:
        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
        !dy276c:
        ➽➽
        ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs565DirectKnowGetPaid$97/Hour ★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫::::::!dy276c:….,……

    • DNG

      Yes Manchester City.

  • Patrick Keeler

    Part of the USWNT problem with defending is that they refuse to commit the professional or tactical foul. For two decades, they could make up for positional mistakes with their pace. But now other teams have equal pace and no longer can anyone catch these attacking players when they exploit defensive positional problems. You can’t be 100% in position all the time, especially when there is an unforeseen turnover. Every soccer team in the world makes up for this by knowing when to commit a foul before the attacker is 1 v 1 with the keeper. When JJ was caught ball watching against Sweden, and BS tried to cover, she went for a last ditch clean tackle. A foul there, and she was in position to give one, gives up a free kick, probably gets a yellow, but there is no goal. Everyone does it. I heard once that the USWNT takes pride in not playing that way. Well, other teams do it to them routinely and they can’t get by without it anymore.

    • Andy

      I completely disagree. “Professional foul” is pathetic and I’m glad that we have such a negative stigma to it. We can win without such dirt. We’ve done it before. We’ll do it again. We just need to deal with the obvious issues staring us in the face first.

      • Patrick Keeler

        I just saw Pulisic give one on Saturday, so he is a dirty player unworthy of playing for the USA? It is part of the game and the holier than thou attitude lost us the Sweden game and will lose many more as the women play with one hand tired behind their backs.

        • Steglitz49

          They lost to Sweden on the Glorious 12th because the underestimated the turnips, sold the pelt before they had shot the bear, and, when weighed in the balance, were found wanting.

          • Kevin

            They lost to Sweden because Jill Ellis was their coach. She’s a terrible coach that constantly makes bad decisions and that game was the highlight of her incompetence.

      • guest

        the uswnt need more luis suarez euro diving to get to the next level.

    • Steglitz49

      BS. BS was too slow.

    • dw

      Agree completely. If beat or about to be beat, foul. Absolutely part of the game.

      • Steglitz49

        ever heard of the phrase “bringing the game into disrepute”?

        • dw

          Propaganda by more skillful teams in order to dissuade lesser teams from fouling. Foul. Take your yellow. Move on.

          • Steglitz49

            Azusa Iwashimizu took a red in the WC-11 Final. Alex Morgan induced it.

            It was Aya Miyama who collected the yellow card.

            The same ref failed to return the favor in the OG-12 final when she should have issued a red card and a penalty. She forgot the exhortation: “always do right because it impresses some and annoys the rest”.

    • Sorry No

      Foul, take yellow and PK. Now you are down 1-0.

      • dw

        The concept is that you foul before the player is behind you…

  • Bluenun

    I’ve said it before , I’ll say it again! Fire Ellis! She has proved over and over again, she does not know how to use her personnel. Plays people out of position. Has no knowledge of tactics or how to make adjustments at the half. Has no personality or communication skills.

    She has never had a winning or successful program since she starting coaching college.

    US wins despite Ellis. They win because these women work their asses off to be the best! She has the best defense in the world sitting on the bench, that should tell you all you need to know. We need them on the field since we have no scoring! God, I could go on forever …………

    • Steglitz49

      Won the WC. First time for 16 years. Became COTY.

      Silvia Neid was not sacked when she lost to Japan on German grass in the QF of WC-11.

      • dw

        #FireEllis

      • Gary Diver

        Was Silvia Neid an incompetent head coach?

        Winning a WC is not a pass for being clueless and incompetent. Nobody on this site can explain what Ellis’ is attempting to do.

        Why is Carli Lloyd her WC19 CAM? Why is she playing so many players out of position? Why has Morgan Brian and Mallory Pugh not developed into better players? Why nobody here can explain Ellis’ game plans/strategy? Why has she refused to have any press conferences to explain her awful decisions during OG16? I could add several more “whys”, but you get the gist.

        At WC she had two problems: a dysfunctional MF and an ineffective front line. In following two years the situation has gotten worse. Looking at how Ellis is running USWNT there is no bright side.

        • Steglitz49

          Because Germany lost in the QF, Germany did not get to go to OG-12.

          Winning a WC tends to give you a pass. When that WC was the first for 16 years and the head coach managed it in spite of carrying a bunch of Veterans on her back, the GOOJ pass gets bigger still.

          Because of the CBA/MOU JE has to give some players enough rope to hang themselves.

          • rkmid71

            She’s being quite generous with the rope, especially since the result is that her own rope is shortening. I guess Solo, Rapinoe, Rampone, Wambach, Boxx would be included in “some” players — they essentially hung themselves (hoisted by their own petard in your words). Lloyd is being extended a lot of rope….by her comments she thinks it’s a foregone conclusion she has enough rope to make it through 2019/2020. Other players she has no problem kicking to the curb (Engen, OReilly, etc). Would Geno Auriemma manage the USA Women’s Basketball Team this way? Hell no.

          • Breakers fan

            I think if the possibility of Jill getting fired gets really serious and real, if it isn’t confined to things like on-line editorials here and there, like this one…..and I have to think she will be able to sense its degree of actual seriousness from internal circles, then THAT is when we’ll see her drop the PR, political correctness stuff and play the lineup she thinks really gives her the best chance to win, or at least I would hope she would do it then. This pre-supposes that she is knowingly possibly hamstringing the team and herself by who she plays, which I think she probably does know, if I had to bet on it.

          • Steglitz49

            JE has nothing to worry about.

            USSF knows they must sort out the men’s NT. That is where the big money is.

            Anyway, no commentator has come u with a serious, viable alternative to JE. College coaches likely will want to stay clear of this one.

          • dw

            CBA is the elephant in the room. If a new paradigm is created, perhaps a coaching switch too…

          • Steglitz49

            As many and various have noted. Thus, it won’t help simply to fire JE. They must fix the CBA/MOU.

          • Steglitz49

            The US WNBANT has so many good players that when its players foul out another equally good can be put in. Other nations do not have that luxury.

            It probably was time to send HAO and Engen packing. I expect a whole bunch more will be gone by the start of 2018 and again 2019.

          • rkmid71

            You’re just saying that some had/have longer rope than others. She stuck with Wambach until the last possible moment and nearly gave away the WC. That’s a lot of rope. The USWNT also has many good players, more than most other countries. There is no need to play unfit, out of form, past their prime players. Many other teams do not have the luxury.

          • Bill

            Or…the rope is out until the CBA is signed. Nothing takes the starch out of militancy like confusing unexpected losses within 7 months of each other with many a poorly positioned and poorly playing, strangely substituted, or passed over, or fired, or sidelined, or suddenly asked to change once proud player in a game where confidence matters

        • dw

          Neid was incompetent at WWC15.

          • Steglitz49

            Already in WC-11.

            But her contract was renewed and in OG-16 they won gold, admittedly by an own goal.

      • Bluenun

        LOL, you really think they won the WC because of anything Ellis did!! They won out of their own own desire. I was there and she just sat there saying nothing during the games and again making NO adjustments when they came out sluggish and barely making it out there group!

        • rkmid71

          It’s interesting. As the coach, JE gets the credit whether she did anything or not. And Lloyd takes Golden Ball because of the goals in the first 15 minutes of the final. Those were mostly off set pieces. What about all the games before? Our midfield was a disaster before Lloyd was removed, which is the reason the defense and Solo had to play stellar to keep the USA alive. JE and Lloyd end up as FIFA COTY and POTY respectively.

          I think they won the WC because the defense and Solo kept them alive during the first 2/3 of the tournament. Then the midfield showed up big time in the semis and finals after those forced changes got the right 4 players in mid (Brian, Holiday, Rapinoe and Heath) and they performed as a unit and worked hard on both on the attack and on defense. Sauerbrunn I had as the MVP for the USA in that tournament. But she wasn’t even named to WC All Star team.

          Now that more time has passed, I’m wondering whether we should be giving Wambach and Rampone more credit — perhaps it was them that recognized the Lloyd issue was jeopardizing their WC hopes and Wambach was willing to remove herself up top for Lloyd as a means to improve the midfield and improve their chances. Removing Lloyd would have been worse than removing Solo in 2007. Like lighting a fuse on a bomb. I think it’s time to light that fuse. Well before WC2019.

    • guest

      i know one person who is praying for that….hope solo.

  • Bruce

    We floated here last month that SBFC looked ripe for a trade of an established defender for a solid attacking threat. Grubka now not listed on the preseason roster. Let the speculation begin.

    https://twitter.com/WoSoWeekly/status/841311708585054208

  • Ron Rocha

    All along I’ve said that Ellis approach is to select a style of play and then ask players to fit the style vs selecting the best players and building a style to best fit their talents. I believe she is very talented at soccer knowledge but is lacking at recognizing player talent, assessment and management. If it were a war she would tend to keep her fighter jets rolling around on the ground because she believes a tank war is what’s needed. You’ve got to make the best of what you’ve got, not try to make chicken salad out of chicken poop.

    • rkmid71

      How can she select the best players if she is lacking at recognizing player talent? If she had an ounce of common sense and self awareness, she would recognize her weakness and delegate to someone who does do these things well. She can still take all the credit as far as I’m concerned.

      • guest

        She did BJ Snow…
        Sooooo proven as a talent identifier as evidenced by his insightful and successful roster for the last 2 u17 cycles…oh wait….

        • #1Fan

          ROFL . at least we have Frenchie to boost morale ….

        • rkmid71

          Don’t know what to say. Just sad. I guess we can add can’t recognize coach talent to the list. Gulati has other priorities — the USMNT and WC qualifying. Players deserve better, at least some of them.

          • #1Fan

            A very good friend who has USSF ties told me that the biggest issue is we have no idea what a top player looks like. No idea what we are looking for at youth level and no idea how to nurture it. He says there are people in the system that have and do, but they are all marginalized by the current regime

          • dw

            This totally fits with my worldview.

          • dw

            Klinsmann knew what a top player looked like. A European player with US grandparents.

          • #1Fan

            To be fair he actually does. Problem is on the men side the us does not have many

          • DNG

            Klinsmann is a poor tactician even if he can identify talent. Not a good HC in my opinion.

          • #1Fan

            I just said he knew what a player is.

          • DNG

            Just meant that less talent was only one of the problems for the men. My expectation are not anywhere near as high for them due to having less top end talent. If the goal is for the men to be as competitive as they can be with what they have I’m not sure less overall talent is the biggest problem.

          • dw

            Doesn’t matter if he knew or not. He was primarily looking overseas and not at home. What he didn’t understand is that if you build a team of the 200th-500th best German players that just happen to be eligible for US and will NEVER get a look for Germany, you actually have less of a chance of beating Germany than with the 30 best US born players.

          • #1Fan

            maybe yes, maybe no. We will see with Arena. I think you need good players and the US does not really produce too many. im not here to debate the pros and cons of Jk, but he certainly knows what a good player looks like.

          • dw

            Well, he couldn’t identify Don Ovan as such, could he?

          • #1Fan

            I wont kill a coach for moving on from a player too early( if indeed it was). its lot better than too late ( see Carli Lloyd) Klinsmann is a very good evaluator of talent, just a poor tactical coach

          • kernel_thai

            Well it was easy…he could tell by their passport.

          • guest

            Now we know…
            Players atheltic enough to take the ball after a mistake by weak back 4 defender and score many unassisted goals. The newest wunderkind in this mold-Sophie Smith

          • #1Fan

            Is that not how we have played for a long time ? Use our athletes to prey on the fact that in WoSo the lower relative technical level leads to enough bad passes and/or touches to score off ? The pressure to “create” is zero so we dont produce any. We celebrate players who score, because often it IS a solo effort .

            we call France “chokers” because – in spite of creating chances they dont bury them and we get a great chance of a turnover and score. We ignore the fact that they created chances for passing and movement. And then one day they bury the caches and dont make the killer mistake and all of a sudden we look bad.

            or our youth teams implement the same plan except now the only teams that make more errors than we do are the real minnows. The better nations can exploit our mistakes and can create . A Sophie Smith does not get enough fodder to be effective, even against the decent ECNL teams – BUT she plays Intl competition and puts up number. Now what does that tell you. Why did she not play vs Japan from the get go? or even vs Ghana? What has changed from 6m ago to now? ill tell you – WEAKER OPPONENTS in games that dont count for much.

          • guest

            Uh, yes that was my point

          • #1Fan

            thing is I hear s many people refer to so many of the current US players as being world class. Like they are doing things that other players are not.

    • Steglitz49

      It could be as simple as that the players are not as good as they like to think that they are.

      • rkmid71

        That’s probably true. You should have said the “players selected” are not as good as they like to think they are. It’s in JE’s interest for everyone to believe they are, because she selected them..

        • Steglitz49

          It was understood

          I also think that the Allocated USWNT players have not much motivation in the down years. They get their $100-150,000 whatever happens.

      • Bill

        Or, building on that idea; not as good as both the player and JE think they are:
        Exhibit A: Lloyd
        Exhibit B: Long
        Being wrong on those two players…each core to the front or the back are enough to swing games against top teams

        Yes the midfield has to be solved. Somehow that seems worthy of “trust the process experimentation” . Being demoralizing wrong on two key players to the scheme they play is what the top coach in America gets paid the big bucks to fix

      • Ron Rocha

        Probably no player ever is. I know I wouldn’t be. The point is that a good manager works to and with the players strengths and adepts to what works best and not just create something to put their name on it.

  • “… who was inside the box unnoticed by Long despite Naeher both yelling and pointing. Sauerbrunn left Majri open at far post to try to close on Abily, but it was too late. …”

    Pretty much sums up what happens with Long at CB. Long ball-watches, is out of position, or doesn’t notice attacking players. That results in an attack through the center that Sauerbrunn has to move in and attempt to clean up, leaving her side of the pitch exposed.

    This was a great article. Nice detailing of what type of players do well in a 3-back and what players don’t. This playing-out-of-position habit that the USWNT has is getting very old.

    • #1Fan

      is a system a good one if it takes so many players playing out of position to fill it optimally? is that NOT a huge red flag ?

      or do you take talented players and put them in roles thy can succeed at. I think ellis should pick the BEST 352 lineup with players who play those roles on a reg basis. and compare it to the best say 433 line up based on similar rules, then go from there.

      • DNG

        The US probably have the personnel to play both systems pretty well. I think it would be tough to judge which one is better over the next year since the place to see how things are going are the friendlies they just finished. I tend to prefer the 4-3-3 if a team has the personnel for it. 3 back systems tend to be pretty rigid in my opinion.

        • #1Fan

          i dont mind which, btut i fear she thinks you can put the same players in BOTH teams

          • DNG

            I think she can use a lot of the same players in both teams. If she played with a 3-4-2-1 like Chelsea, she could use Heath and Pugh as attacking mids but that means that only one CF gets to start. I don’t think the personnel for that formation is so different from a 4-3-3 with the exception of the CBs. It would be different for a 3-5-2 but she could still use many of the same players. Just need to make some adjustments to a couple of positions.

          • Steglitz49

            Chelsea Ladies?

          • DNG

            Thinking about this some more I think I do care which style of play the team choses to play and I think US Soccer should as well. I don’t think they should lose the direct elements of their style but I do think those players also need to be able to break down any organized defense as well and I’d start with players who can do that even at the cost of immediate results. Pressing and always attacking, I’m good with that identity. I think sitting back and waiting for counter while other teams dominate possession is pretty unacceptable for a nation claiming to be a leader in WoSo and it reinforces the culture that has previously been established.

            Even if people are upset about it and complain that the league doesn’t matter I’d leave Williams home for the next round of matches. If I’m going to complain about players like Morgan and Leroux, I should be consistent about Williams as well. Obviously there is too much politics involved for there to be any huge changes immediately but that’s where I’m at.

          • #1Fan

            Thing is, I have accepted that its all about winning. So however they achieve that I accept puts them above criticism. Do I prefer a certain style? Absolutely. Do I think the USA should be able to win AND play pleasing soccer? Yes . However is they dont and win, then there is not much I can say,

            Back to my fav topic, the Youth. the troubling thing is we have been losing consistently playing awful soccer.

          • DNG

            I don’t think it should be good enough to just win win and I think that if the US had not won the WC 2 years ago the discussion would be different. I think that attitude of win at all costs is part of the problem. For the Japanese, winning requires them to chose technique focused players from an early age because they do not produce the athletes. The US choses the athletes because it’s easier. The only thing stoping the US from playing attractive football and getting good results too is their player selection from the youth on up through to the full team. The youth system is currently a mess but Swanson coaching the U20’s part time was miles better than French full time. He found a way to play direct players like Ohai and Dunn with indirect ones like Brian and Dibernardo. Why shouldn’t the other coaches be held to that standard?

          • #1Fan

            we agree. Unfortunately winning ends all arguments.

          • AlexH

            The most recent failure wasn’t due to the US choosing athletes over technicians it was because the US chose NOT to put athletes on the field where we needed them and the French rode through us like a biker gang at a church picnic.

          • #1Fan

            im not sure I agree, but I get your point. Again, I assume this is because you will accept “just” winning.

          • AlexH

            I am bias towards winning anything that involves hardware even if it is technically a friendly. I will tolerate losing if there is something to be gained by it like experimenting with new players or formations. Unfortunately neither was true for this tournament. Jill played mostly the same old same old and she has had multiple friendlies and camps to shake the bugs out of her “new” formation.

          • #1Fan

            I get that, so you dont care how we play as long as we win ?

          • AlexH

            Within the caveats I mentioned, yes. Sports is a zero sum game where only 1 team can hold the trophy over their heads.

          • #1Fan

            Ty. I would say I understand that fro a players PoV. not sure I do from a fans unless you are saying that National Team support > All.

          • DNG

            There is very little at stake financially in WoSo. There are not huge purses for winning tournaments like there is in the mens game. I don’t see any point at all to winning at all costs for the WNT. I also think that those returns will lessen as more teams begin to look like France. I don’t think a team of athletes would have an easy time dispatching France although I guess they could attempt to stop them from playing. Again, not something I find acceptable.

          • rkmid71

            I’m with you on “not seeing much point to winning at all costs”. It matters to me how you win. That’s how you win the hearts and minds and fans. What makes UConn women basketball special is not just their extreme winning record — it’s how they play the game and the respect they show for the game, no matter the opponent, every minute of every game. The discipline and attention to detail that takes in practice from every player to perform as a team that way consistently in games is off the charts. It’s hard to see how it’s sustainable, but it’s being going on that way now for a very long time.

          • AlexH

            At the youth level player development / gaining information trumps winning which is why I was really annoyed that Pugh had to go play in the U-20’s

          • #1Fan

            becasue you dont think she needs it ?

          • AlexH

            She is already on the senior team and has little to prove. Better to use her spot to find her backup than to risk injury and to undermine her education.

          • #1Fan

            i think she has a lot to prove. But I also did not see the point of the U-20 thing from a soccer only PoV. I do think she would have wanted to go having played with that group for a long time

          • rkmid71

            A priority in her education is learning what it takes to win. I just as soon her learn that somewhere other than the USWNT.

          • mockmook

            Can’t she learn that on both the USWNT and on her “club” at the same time?

            The USA doesn’t need to win anything until WWC19, they need to learn how to be better every game.

          • rkmid71

            I suppose. But the OG didn’t teach her much. Other than how not to lead. She has a very different, non leadership role on the USWNT. There was a much greater opportunity for her to take the lead and show the way with the U20s. And now with UCLA. It will be interesting how the team dynamics will work at UCLA. No one is going to give her anything in college. And there’s no excuse. UCLA has as much “talent” as anybody and a deeper roster than most — which makes a big difference in college with the sub rules.

          • DNG

            I don’t think I agree. France has the athletes and players with technique. They are the better team and I don’t think a team of athletes will easily overcome them. I think it was you that suggested the US should have been the ones to bunker. If that is the only way the US can beat a team like France and in the future others. I’m saying that it’s not good enough.

          • DNG

            The failure at SBC was entirely due to Ellis’ system and playing an attacking midfielder at center back. There are other defenders to chose from as well if you are displeased with the current ones but I’m not sure I buy that their lack of pace was the biggest problem. The team only scored 1 goal the entire tournament.

          • kernel_thai

            There r obvious parallels betweens Swanson’s u20 team and the WC team. Both teams won by defending well and grabbing goals as they could. Both teams had trouble consistently manufacturing offense. Now move ahead to Ellis trying to modernize the offense for the NT. Wouldn’t a better approach have been to keep the defense strong while u slowly try and upgrade the offense with more technical players. Instead, Ellis systematically dismantled the defense that won her the cup as a means to improve the attack by adding numbers.

          • DNG

            How did Ellis systematically dismantle the defense? The only change to the back line from the WC to the Olympics was Kelley O’hara and that really didn’t change the team that much. I guess you could criticize their approach at the Olympics but I don’t think that would have done much to help them break down Sweden.

          • rkmid71

            Long as essentially a DM? That’s a big change and certainly compromised the defense. I guess she was forced to change midfield by retirement and Rapinoe injury, etc. but that was doomed to fail. I was arguing at the time for Sonnet in place of Long.

          • DNG

            Holiday was never a great DM and I really don’t think Long is so different of a player.

          • rkmid71

            It was the Holiday Brian partnership that made in work in the WC. Brian was more of the holding mid and Holiday played more box to box. My sense was that the level of communication and trust was very high between those two. Long is no Holiday.

          • DNG

            Sure, Holiday is the better overall player and Rapinoe tore her ACL. Still, I’m not buying that the US lost because Holiday retired and Pinoe was injured. They should have been good enough to beat Sweden with what they had and as it happened they probably did get a little unlucky.

          • rkmid71

            We had or could have had more than enough to win. But they chose not to have Sonnett on the roster. She was an alternate. She would have been better defensively than Long in that spot and I think would have paired better with Brian. And it’s not like we were or have been scoring more goals with Long in that spot. Or now in CB.

          • DNG

            Sonnett would not have been a better DM/CM than Long. She would have been okay at retrieving the ball but she’s not great with it under pressure right now. She could have been a DM that retrieved the ball to make short passes to Brian but with Lloyd playing so high and essentially useless as a midfielder, I don’t think it would have worked. I can come up with a number of better combinations than the US started against Sweden and some include Long. I just don’t see Long as this big problem that others do. The MF problems with Long in the lineup are really not that different from the ones with Holiday in the lineup. They could have played this front 6 and I think they would have figured it out.

            Heath——-Press———Dunn
            ——–Brian——-Long——–
            ————–Mewis————-

          • rkmid71

            Isn’t Sonnett a hell of lot better athlete, faster, quicker, more defensive experience than Long? She played at UVA She knows how to pass and distribute. Long got smoked in OG and now in SBC. Mewis wasn’t on the OG roster nor an alternate. Dunn I agree should have started or subbed in much earlier. And Rapinoe should have never seen the field.

          • DNG

            The defensive problems against Sweden was not really the midfield though Sweden was essentially giving the ball right back to the US if the counter wasn’t on. Their was entirely set pieces and counters. Sauerbrunn and Johnston should both have done much better on the goal. If they need midfielders to deal with one direct ball than the US needs better center backs.

          • rkmid71

            Wasn’t it Long that passed it to the Sweden player that started the counter? What did she do after the pass? Where was she positioned? Yes … they need at least one speedy CB and athletic OBs. That’s why I like Dunn and Ohara in OB. Not Kling. Not Johnston. But you need an athletic, quick, high soccer iq DM if you’re pushing up your OBs and they’re slow and don’t recover like Kling. Kling was all about getting forward and doing something on offense. Brian was more savvy about positioning and defensive cover in the WC compared to Long in the OG…even though Brian is not particularly athletic either.

          • DNG

            Yes, OBs were in their correct positions and not in a position to cover the lone attacker up top. That was Johnston’s responsibility after Sauerbrunn pushed up to press the ball. Misplayed passes happen and Long is definitely not absolved of all blame. But the CBs both should have done better and dealt with the situation. The mids didn’t factor in at all since the first ball was played past them.

          • rkmid71

            My recollection is that it was two passes right through the middle of the field, albeit two quick passes.

          • DNG

            I just checked the replays. You are right which makes this even worse for the CBs. They are both back and get beat up the middle by one ball. That’s unacceptable defending from the two center backs.

          • rkmid71

            Where was Long positioned? What did she do after her pass intercepted?

          • DNG

            No where near in position to make any play on the ball. Here’s the highlight video.

            http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/us-falls-sweden-quarters-eliminated-olympics

          • rkmid71

            No where near? It looks like she’s about 5 yds from the passing lane. And the video doesn’t show where Long was when she passed to Sweden, what she did after and before the first Sweden pass on counter. The video just shows the last pass. She had some time to recover it looks like. Brian was trying to pressure the ball I believe. And Long is just a few yds behind? So we need to see a video which shows the whole play. I don’t see her sprinting to get into passing lane. She can’t be flat with Brian … they’ve got to be staggered. Maybe it was Brian who should have dropped back when Long had the ball?

          • DNG

            I haven’t been able to get the full match replay to work but I think Longs pass is deflected straight to Seger who immediately plays the pass into Blacksteinus. Long was the mid that was a little bit back and Brian was chasing Seger. Even full sprint though Seger gets to that ball first. The two CBs need to deal with it.

          • rkmid71

            “Sweden won possession deep in their own half and Asllani played a short sideways pass to Dahlkvist whose one touch
            pass split the USA center back pairing for Blackstenius to run onto.” I recall Sweden played very quickly after they won the ball. But it was combination passing, not just off a deflection. Agree that the CBs can’t be split like that, but one of the CMs needs to be in that passing lane — you can’t get beat down the middle like that. I’m pretty sure Long had the primary holding role in that game.

          • DNG

            I would say that it depends on the situation and that I would need to see the entire play. She was acting as a DLP as the lone holder in possession but the US tended to play a double pivot while defending. Hard for me to say what she could have done differently without seeing the whole play

          • DNG

            US actually had a few good chances to convert just didn’t happen on this day.

          • mockmook

            I believe Mewis was an alternate.

            Regardless, she had an excellent SBC, and seems to be developing into a decent defender — I suspect Mewis is the better DM at this date.

          • DNG

            Your right. So that messes up my XI. I don’t think it’s as strong with Horan as a DM. Could have dropped Rapinoe for Mewis though.

          • rkmid71

            I stand corrected Sonnett, O’Reilly, Mewis, Harris were alternates. Agree about Mewis. I had her and Killion in my 4231 proposal below. I saw Mewis as more of box to box. But I guess it depends on who she’s paired with.

          • kernel_thai

            It was the disparity between Krieger and O’Hara, tho Krieger is the better defender, it was O’Hara being more willing to be pushed into a higher role. Suddenly they were getting caught with KO and Kling high up the pitch. She also moved from a pair of DM to a pair of attacking miss which also reduced cover on the counter attack.

          • DNG

            They took Sweden to extra time and then penalties in an match similar to their WC match. I don’t think Sweden would have had much issue doing the same with Krieger in the lineup at the Olympics. It’s going to be tough to break down an organized defense when Lloyd is the “creative playmaker” in the hole.

          • kernel_thai

            The difference between the Sweden game in OG and the China game in WC was the ability to not give up the counter attack goal that put them in a hole. Then the lone goal they r able to scrap against the bunker is the winner and not just the one that forces extra time. The US has long been the team that needs to get that first goal so that the opponent has to open up the game to try and equalize.

          • DNG

            I honestly think we are looking too much into this Allie Long think. The problem is Ellis and how she built the teams and the players she selected. I can pick good line ups with or without Allie Long. Ellis just didn’t pick a good line up and I don’t support a defensive game like the WC game against Sweden where two GK’s basically kicked the ball back and forth to one another for 90 minutes. That was pathetic way more embarrassing to me than the loss. No one is going to care about WoSo(other than US fans) if that is the standard.

          • #1Fan

            On Lynn Williams – Is it not a surprise to you that players like her are so effective vs 90 pct of the opponents. It just highlights how far away we are. On a relative basis your fav Adama Traore is miles better and on the Mens side he is pretty ineffecctive.

          • DNG

            On the men’s side every first division team is athletic/organized enough to deal with Adama Traore relatively speaking. Only 3-4 top national teams(possibly only 1) in the world on the women’s side can deal with Lynn William’s pace and she can still get away from her defenders at any given .

      • DNG
        • Steglitz49

          These comments have been made before by many and various commentators on the EQ. Nothing new there.

    • Steglitz49

      What bothers me is that I have not seen such a clear dissection of the Glorious 12th aka Bomb in Brasilia. Could it be because Chelsey Bush does not know any of the names of the Swedish players?

      • rkmid71

        It might be because Chelsey Bush does not want to be blackballed by USWNT coaches and execs. Just like those announcers that have to parse every word and dance around any clear dissection.

        • Steglitz49

          One match did not much matter while the other one mattered an awful lot.

          Thus it is safe to droll over le Sommer but not Blackstenius, likewise Renard but not Dahlkvist.

      • dw

        Equalizer writers did not enjoy the editorial freedom last year that they are exhibiting recently.

      • Frozen Blue

        It does feel like the Olympics was a secret shame that has just been swept under a rug never to be spoken of again.

        • Steglitz49

          Verily and forsooth.

    • AlexH

      On top of that, our back 3 spreads itself out and wanders all over the field. Every 352 that I have ever heard about usually asks the back 3 to stay close and stay home, but Jill seems to think that throwing people forward to throw people forward is always the option.

      • Jon Michael Tupper

        Agree completely. Coach E. is obsessed with pushing everyone forward. Becky way up for supposed long throw ins, for me, is a throw away. A lot of time it’s a short toss. Then there’s a scramble to cover her space – who? Brian, Long, Short, Heath, Horan? that creates man cover and space cover – either they’re playing – confusion. I’d suggest two changes right away: 1. sit Long completely 2. Becky @CB, long throw ins in last 2minutes of a close game only.

    • Jon Michael Tupper

      “This playing-out-of-position habit that the USWNT has is getting very old.’ Well said. Allie Long displayed her MO in the first game she played CB – ball watching, getting caught out, not quite enough pace to slide tackle from the back. She’s been consistently poor like that: what J. Ellis has been watching I have no idea. I’m not a coach, and didn’t play much. And I can see Allie’s poor defensive talent. Ellis did a similar poor decision tactically with Pinoe and O’Hara in Rio.. I agree with Solo: during games Coach E not very good tactically.

  • htm222

    Ellis is the problem. Remove her and this is a winning team again. I still have hope that it is going to happen before 2019.

    • rkmid71

      How long before 2019? Once we get close to 2019, it’s too late. I don’t think it’s likely, but I guess there’s always hope.

      • Timber Dave

        Not gonna happen before 2019. Look how long it took US Soccer / Gulati to replace Jürgen Klinsmann. They don’t recognize poor coaching when they see it.

        Yes Ellis won a World Cup, but only after basically being forced to give up on her long-in-the-tooth warhorse, Abby Wambach. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wambach and what she’s done for the USWNT and WoSo in general, but by 2015 she was past her sell-by date and Ellis took forever to recognize that. The same is true of Lloyd now — we have younger, better options, but Ellis refuses to see that.

        • htm222

          It’s why I’m hoping they lose to Norway in June, as bad as that sounds. Losing to the 11th ranked team would be even more embarrassing than the SBC and OG and maybe USSoccer will see the light. It’s very possible too – England lost to Norway last month (I believe?). Hopefully Miss Ada brings her A-Game.

          • dw

            Norway has their own problems. 11th place at Algarve.

          • htm222

            I still don’t think they can’t beat the US under Ellis. Especially at home. Need to employ the right tactics of course.

          • guest

            U$$F will just use the excuse that the US was jetlagged and they never play away games. Wasn’t that their excuse for the Sweden QF? Lol.

          • Rosinante

            Yes, that was unfair indeed.

            It is a shame that FIFA and IOC allow competetions to take place outside the US.

            WC 2015 was already a scandal.The deserved boycott has been prevented only by having the US games played close to the border

          • Bruce

            Quick: name a Canadian city that isn’t “close to the border”.

          • mockmook

            The sprawling metropolis of Yellowknife

          • htm222

            edmonton and saskatoon aren’t THAT close 🙂

          • Bruce

            FIFA should have relocated the ~80% of the Canadians who live near the border 500 miles north, just to make it fair.

          • Steglitz49

            … and Sweden finished 7th.

          • Steglitz49

            Losing to Norway is an easy job for the PR snow-job. Norway won the WC in 1995, Olympic gold in 2000 and was in the 2013 Euro finals. No disgrace in losing to such a merited NT.

  • dw
  • #1Fan
    • Steglitz49

      All this has been typed by many and various commentators on the EQ but because you block so many of them, you have not benefitted from their insights.

  • Gary Diver

    2018 SBC Catch-22

    Apparently the feeling is that Jill Ellis will get additional time on her learning curve. Here is the problem. There is nothing worthwhile or challenging between now and 2018 SBC other than playing 11th ranked Norway.

    Let’s assume that Ellis and USWNT limps forward. At SBC, USWNT will either (1) play great soccer, (2) play so-so soccer as they did in 2016, or (3) play awful soccer as they did in 2017.

    If USWNT places 3rd or 4th in 2018 SBC, it is terrible team failure. With a little more than one year before WC19, it would be difficult to fire Ellis at that point. So waiting until 2018 SBC is essentially throwing the dice and hoping Ellis will learn from her mistakes and improve the team, which so far has not been the case.

    If USWNT fails at 2018 SBC, a number of people (not just Ellis) should immediately be fired, but it may be too late in the cycle to fire anybody.

    • Steglitz49

      We can expect the US to play a few other European teams leading up to Euro-17, not just Norway.

      Granted, neither Sweden nor Norway are ranked so highly but, maybe, you should take a leaf out of FIFA:s books and ignore the rankings when it suits you. Ada and Andrine Stolsmo Hegerberg, Caroline Graham Hansen and Maren Mjelde are enough to strike fear into many a WoSo heart.

      • William T

        They play 11 vs 11 and not 4 vs 4 or 5 vs 5

        And I don’t think that Andrine has the level of the other three

        • Steglitz49

          Norway has the population of Oregon.

          Granted, Andrine is not quite at the level of the other 3 but you play with the players you have and Andrine plays for Birmingham City.

      • Kevin

        Even if Sweden, Norway, and any other Euro teams we play leading up to Euro-17 aren’t ranked so highly, it will still be a much tougher match on the road for once. Hopefully, we lose the next 10 games Ellis coaches.

        • mockmook

          “Hopefully, we lose the next 10 games Ellis coaches”

          Or, better yet, she doesn’t get 10 more games

    • mockmook

      1) Early 2018 would be a perfect time to fire JE

      2) The USA is attempting to put together a set of matches against top teams this summer — also a perfect time to fire JE

      3) Don’t be such a pessimist.

      • Steglitz49

        Who are you going to replace her with? Abby? Carli?

        • dw

          Pretty much anyone.

          • Steglitz49

            That is the nucleaus of the poodle, is it not? To name a specific person.

            After all, who would want to drink from this poisoned chalice?

          • rkmid71

            I was just typing the same thing. You’re saying who else in their right mind would take the job. Especially after the Sermanni example. It depends on the CBA and it would have to hit rock bottom so that the coach would have real authority to be a coach. Maybe one of those assistants (Swanson?) or former NT coaches (DiCicco?) would be willing. I can’t believe Swanson puts up with this nonsense. But if I was Gulati I would start to develop short list, make some confidential inquiries.

          • guest

            DiCiccio has openly stated that he would like to return as WNT head coach. Vlatko Andonovski? Hugo Perez would be my choice but no idea if he would even entertain coaching women

          • Steglitz49

            The issue, as I see it, that given the US player pool and tradition, the head coach of the USWNT can be and is expected to win. Anything less, even a silver medal, can be construed as failure.

            Being head coach of many other countries, is seen as what it is. Norway and Denmark with 5m and Sweden with 10m and NL with 16m even Canada with 35m inhabitants, do not feel the same heat — and the dregs are not so bitter.

          • AlexH

            That’s usually the expectation for the best team in the world. On the men’s side you don’t here Jogi Lowe whining about processes, growth and evolution do you?

          • Steglitz49

            JE does not whine. You can accuse of her many things but not whining.

            Carli seems more whiny and inclined to blame the juniors.

            Maybe call Norio Sasaki, Tomas Dennerby or even Silvia Neid?

          • dw

            Pfft. Anyone with any soccer sense at all taking over would look like Da Vinci, Galileo, Einstein, and Stephen Hawking combined….

          • Steglitz49

            Would you settle for Semmelweis or do you need to reach for Marie Curie or Barbara Mclintock?

      • john

        Late 2017 so the new coach gets to run the Jan. camp?

        • mockmook

          Any day is a perfect day to fire JE 🙂

    • guest

      USWNT will (per Ellis) also have matches with Brazil and Japan in 2017

  • Bruce

    First day of preseason and there’s already an ACL injury to report.

    Wishing Ribeiro a speedy recovery.

    https://twitter.com/TheDanLauletta/status/841394197395591170

    • Steglitz49

      The ACL, the Achilles Heel of WoSo, maybe its bane.

    • Dang. Poor girl.

      Also, KC is losing draft picks at an alarming rate.

      • Bruce

        Their 2017 draft was ranked near the top, but now their down to Gibbons, Shaffer and Beal. Good players, but not the elite draft class it looked like in Jan.

        • Steglitz49

          Money maketh woman?

  • Bruce

    FCKC lists their preseason roster. I think that makes all teams reporting in. Suddenly, this looks like a team with questionable depth on the attacking side of the field.

    FWIW, Sydney Leroux is reported as being in camp. ARod is not.

    Sydney Miramontez from NEB is on the list of invitees as a DM/CB. I would not at all be surprised if she found her way onto this roster.

    https://www.fckansascity.com/news/2017/3/13/fc-kansas-city-preseason-opens-with-28-player-roster

  • football-women.com

    Because back line problems are not the main problem that kind of sounds all a little bit off topic?

    • Bruce

      True, there’s a reluctance by many to name the CMs – particularly a certain POY – as the common denominator in this team’s problems. Whether using a 4 or 3-back formation, the USWNT center midfield is where attacks go to die.

      I agree with the gist of this article, though, that the 3-back experiment is close to becoming a total, systematic failure. Ellis has introduced so many new variables that it’s almost impossible for this team to establish any baseline of play against which changes can be tested and measured. She’s totally mishandled the team in that respect and wasted the last 6 months without building the basis for anything moving forward.

      Really like your blog, btw.

    • Reality

      Liked your analysis of the SBC. What do you see as necessary for the USWNT to progress in the next 2 years in roster, tactics and style of play?

      http://www.football-women.com/2017/03/13/3-questions-for-the-us-to-take-away-from-the-shebelieves-cup/#more-4532

  • southbayfan

    Ridiculous! There’s no evidence that Jill Ellis was testing anything during the She Believes Cup. The coaching was entirely aimless.

  • JoJo Canyon

    Free HAO.

    • Steglitz49

      You need to ask the Gunners, not JE.

  • Connietprather

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !dy276c:
    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
    !dy276c:
    ➽➽
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs565DirectKnowGetPaid$97/Hour ★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫★★★✫::::::!dy276c:….,…….

  • john

    Even if Ellis is correct and the 3-5-2 is the best system for the US how long can she peddle a system that players either don’t believe in or doubt players within that system. Yet, that gets her back to facing the Sermanni issue of who’s in charge -coach or players.

  • john

    Someone needs to pin Ellis down and have her provide examples of how this formation is accomplishing any of the things she thought it would address. It hasn’t improved the offense and it has definitely weakened the defense. Ask her the bonus question – can this pool play this formation and has she identified players she believes can?

    • Steglitz49

      One presumes that if USSF dismissed JE then they have to pay her severance pay, usually a year’s salary but could be more. If JE resigns of her own volition, they don’t owe her a red cent.

      Unless USSF have a person waiting in the wings to take over, they might as well save themselves some dosh and keep JE till her contract expires.

  • Gary Diver

    What is Jill Ellis Learning?

    USWNT main problem during most of WC15 and since then has not been the back line, but the MF. Tinkering with the back line to fix a MF problem makes no sense and is evidence that Jill Ellis is incompetent.

    USWNT’s MF cannot move the ball forward nor complete three successful passes in a row. Any team that cannot move the ball forward through their MF is in trouble.

    Until the MF problem is fixed, all else is window-dressing.

    Two immediate MF problems (and there are others):

    1. Carli Lloyd as CAM.

    2. Pairing Morgan Brian with Lloyd. It is telling that the Lloyd-Brian combo at Houston has been underwhelming. It is shocking that Morgan Brian has regressed as a player during the time she has been teamed up with Lloyd. It is reasonable to expect her to develop further as a player during the past 1 1/2 years, but it has not happened.

    All USWNT problems go through Carli Lloyd. Jill Ellis’ willingness to play many of her players out of position, to play Allie Long as a CB, and to sacrifice her back line in order to keep Lloyd on the field tells us all we need to know about Ellis’ mindset and competence. But what has she learned?

    IF for the upcoming Russian matches, Jill

    1. Starts Carli Lloyd

    2. Uses 3 back formation

    3. Plays players out of position

    4. Plays Rose Lavelle as a winger

    5. Plays Allie Long as a CB

    THEN we have proof that Ellis learned nothing from SBC.

    • AlexH

      Nope the backline still sucks. They aren’t getting much help from the MF but that doesn’t excuse their lameness. Just look at France goal #2 or the goal that put us out of the Olympics. They are slow, they are out of position and they mark soft.

      • Steglitz49

        The goal that gave Sweden 1-0 in Brasilia was exquisitely crafted. All glory, laud and honor to Stina and Lisa — but where was the US defense?

        • AlexH

          Reading their press clippings about how great they were.

    • Steglitz49

      The question remains: where is the informed and detailed analysis of the Glorious 12th aka Miracle on Grass aka Bomb in Brasilia.

      Just like the 8-1 in 1981, we see no serious analysis of USWNT’s Stalingrad!

      Wonder why? W O N D E R why? Not the Wonder of Bern but the Miracle in the Djungle!

  • Gary Diver

    Quality Soccer

    USWNT are the current world champions, but since WC15 they have rarely played like the world champions. How many matches since WC15 have USWNT played up to their potential? How many matches has the team played better than the sum of its individual players? How many of its young players are developing into better players? Is the team playing better as a team with more confidence and a common purpose?

    There is a strange myth that USWNT can play mediocre soccer for 2 12 years and then suddenly shift gears and win WC and OG tournaments. OG16 should be evidence that the USWNT myth is just a myth. And at this point in the current cycle, England, France, and Canada are all moving forward, while USWNT is not moving forward.

    • #1Fan

      i dont think anyone believes that. Surely a better question would be how often has the team played better than the sum of its individual players in the Ellis era ?

      • AlexH

        The knockout round of WC-15 where it was evident that the team pretty much stopped playing the way Jill wanted and decided to win.

        • #1Fan

          interesting. Ok

        • Steglitz49

          You forget that the ref was on their side, as the ref was on the Glorious 12th and for that matter in the OG-12 final and even in the WC-11 final.

          Four (4) times to have benefitted from the refs. Seems like carelessness.

      • Gary Diver

        “How often has the team played better than the sum of its individual players in the Ellis era?

        Excellent question. Too often USWNT plays like a bunch of players thrown together without a common purpose. It is not clear what Ellis does at the pre-match camps. With the talent pool at Ellis’ disposal, USWNT should be a dominant team, but unfortunately they are rarely dominant.

        At Euro-16, most teams that played well were teams that played better than the sum of their individual players. The coaches of the teams that did well were identified as coaches that had a vision and a strategy to carry out that vision. Jill Ellis reminds me of England’s Roy Hodgson playing players out of position and playing with no sense of purpose. And we know how that story ended.

        The is a limit of how far USWNT’s underachieving is going to carry them in the future.

        • #1Fan

          but they are a dominant team results wise.

          • Steglitz49

            ?? Que??!!!

          • Gary Diver

            Forgetting about the results, how would you rate the quality of play on the field during the full 90 minute matches by USWNT in the last 1 1/2 years?

          • #1Fan

            i think that is a very different question. You have to differentiate between results and style and understand that it is very hard to always have both.

            I dont like the way the WNT plays and NEVER have, but its hard to argue against the results. Even the the so called OG-16 disaster is a bit of an overreaction.

            based on the ^^ Im the wrong guy to ask about style of their play, BUT i will always acknowledge that they have been a dominant team results wise.

          • DNG

            “You have to differentiate between results and style and understand that it is very hard to always have both.”

            While I agree with you and this is true, I think accepting this is a big part of the problem. I think they also have enough currently to play an attractive style and be successful at the full team level.

            Youth levels are another matter but I think at this point change needs to start at the top. The Youth scene has a lot of other motivating factors few of which have anything to do with trying to develop great well rounded soccer players.

            Whether or not it will actually happen is another matter. I can only hope that Ellis has some idea of what she’s doing and is systematically working to move Lloyd out no matter what I think of her tactical nous

          • #1Fan

            you are preaching to the choir. I have never accepted it and believe that the US should be playing attractive soccer that wins. However there are many fans here who just want to win. they dont feel that the US has any more responsibility than that.

            I hated Mourinhos style but he won so you cant really say too much.

          • DNG

            I’m probably in the minority but I don’t believe that the national team needs to win at all costs. I think Mourinho kind of does so I respect him even if I deplore his style of managing. I get that some would argue the same for the NT though.

          • #1Fan

            but the US WNT is as close to a Club as you can get for a NT.

          • DNG

            The day that there is a CBA without year long contracts and I don’t need to hear about the USWNT being a club team can’t come soon enough.

          • rkmid71

            I think the word “dominant” or “greatness” is thrown around way too loosely. Based on what I see on the field, the USWNT is far from dominant. I’m looking for margin of victory. Goal differential versus top 10 teams. Nobody outside the top 10 coming close to winning. Consistency. Quality.

          • #1Fan

            At this moment, probably not. The comment (which I think has been now edited) was suggesting that the US was not dominant over the life of Ellis. I was just saying that we can hate JE all we want, but they were dominant up to the SBC.

            in a game like soccer, I dont look to closely at margin of victory, just results over time. They have been the dominant team for a long time.

            You only have to look at the reactions of Eng and Fra after winning games at the SBC to know that they agree.

          • Kevin

            “but they are a dominant team results wise.”

            It’s easy to be dominant when you play all 21 of your non-Olympic games in 2016…. AT HOME… and mainly against tomato cans.

          • DNG

            True but if they played a organized 442 with their best players and a good coach against the top sides in a league format I’d bet they’d be better than any team in the world besides France.

          • Kevin

            That’s not making a good argument for Ellis and her “results”.

          • #1Fan

            I dont think anyone is trying to make an argument FOR Eliis. I just think some are muddying facts.

          • #1Fan

            i dont get your point. GD suggested they were not. Im simply saying they clearly are. I understand the frustration with the WNT, but the facts are the facts.

          • Kevin

            The USWNT has played 38 games over the past two years since the World Cup.

            • 34 of those games were at home
            • 4 of those games were at a neutral site (Olympics)
            • 0 of those games were away

            They only have 3 losses at home since the start of 2005 (129 games) with a record of 115-3-11. The losses were Wambach’s retirement game and these last two SBC games.

            They’ve only played 15 away games since the start of 2010. They are 7-4-4 in those games.

            I’m saying you can’t ignore the fact that their record is going to be seriously inflated by playing EVERY game at home and mostly against very weak competition.

          • #1Fan

            You are arguing a point no one else disputed. GD said they were not dominant team

          • Kevin

            I’m not trying to argue anything. You said…

            “but they are a dominant team results wise.”

            I’m just trying to point out that their results are seriously inflated by playing just about every game at home, occasionally on neutral ground, and almost never on the road.

          • #1Fan

            if i just look at OLY and WC results for the last four tournaments of each, they seem pretty historically dominant to me

        • Steglitz49

          There were two surprises in Euro-16: Iceland and Wales. Lars Lagerbäck, who crafted iceland’s path is now coach of Norway’s men.

          In OG-16 there was one surprise: how poorly the USWNT played.

          • Stegblitz

            There was no Euro-16. Euros taking place in a 4 year rhythm. Since we have Euro-17 it is logical that the last Euro was in 2013

          • Steglitz49

            I replied to Gary Diver who used Euro-16 as an example. He specifically makes a comparison between England’s Roy Hodgson and JE.

            Euro-13 was played in Sweden at sold-out stadia in glorious weather. Germany won by beating Norway 1-0 in a final where Norway had two penalties saved. In their SF, Germany beat Sweden 1-0.

      • mockmook

        “i dont think anyone believes that.”

        Believes what?

        Just a friendly observation: You often reply to “complex” comments like GD’s above without saying what portion or player you are commenting about. But, perhaps I’m the only one sometimes struggling to follow your arguments.

        • #1Fan

          GD Said

          There is a strange myth that USWNT can play mediocre soccer for 2 12 years and then suddenly shift gears and win WC and OG tournaments.

          • mockmook

            Thanks!!!

            I suspected that was the sentence, but then the question that followed didn’t follow — if you get my drift 🙂

  • Gary Diver

    Strategy

    Is it not true that great coaches always have a game plan and an unique strategy for each match. John Herdman sees himself as a field marshal. I am not a big fan of him, but he does prepare a strategy for each match that his players have confidence in and buy into. (Though sometimes he tries to be too cute, like the CONCACAF final when he kept Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson, and Sophie Schmidt on the bench to all be substituted in as a second half surprise blitzkrieg.)

    I do not ever recall seeing people on this site saying: “Jill Ellis’ had a great game plan which was beautifully executed by her players.” When is the last time anybody here has made positive comments about Ellis’ strategy?

    • Steglitz49

      Herdman has done more than OK with limited resources. Whether he would consider taking the reins of the USWNT is a fascinating question. Maybe after OG-20?

    • Kevin

      RHETORICAL QUESTION: Can you name a time when Jill Ellis made a smart tactical move, formation change or substitution during *any* game?

      How many times do we see a lineup and end up scratching our heads? It’s like she’s trying everyone out everywhere. She’s just throwing everything against the wall and hoping something sticks.

      The only thing she has going for her is that she was coaching the WC, but everything leading up to that tournament was a mess and everything after that tournament has been a mess. The team was playing terrible prior to the WC, was playing terrible throughout most of the WC (until Carli started scoring off set pieces), played terrible in the Olympics and played terrible in the SBC.

      She tried a million different combinations of players and different formations prior to that WC. We won the WC, but as it has been pointed out a thousand times, it had absolutely nothing to do with the changes JE was making.

      2015 WORLD CUP

      We won the World Cup with her at the helm, but the team was seriously struggling all year prior to the WC, specifically we were struggling to score. Hell, she had Carli playing LM/RM in the loss to France to start the year and the entire Algarve Cup. In the WC we got lucky to get a very easy draw. We scored a total of 7 goals in the first 5 games of the WC with 3 of those goals coming in the opener against Australia. Two of those goals were against Colombia in the 2nd half (53′ and 66′) after they were playing a man down (red card in 47′).

      She was playing a lot of people out of position as always and made some strange substitutions. The Sweden game immediately comes to mind.

      Here’s her substitutions against Sweden in that game…
      • Morgan Brian starts at RM (out of position of course)
      • 58′ – ARod sub into F, Press moved from F to RM, Brian out
      • 68′ – Wambach sub into F, Leroux moved from F to RM, Press out
      • 78′ – Alex sub into F, ARod moved from F to RM, Leroux out

      She’s obviously not a good coach at all.

      • #1Fan

        We won the World Cup with her at the helm, but the team was seriously struggling all year prior to the WC, specifically we were struggling to score.

        And yet several folks think AM is the best striker in WoSo ? Or do you put the failure to score on Ellis?

        • Gary Diver

          I remember reading some articles just before WC15 essentially saying USWNT had an embarrassment of riches at the forward position and expected Wambach, Morgan, Leroux, and Press to score tons of goals. Now we knew Morgan was working her way back from an injury and Ellis was trying to work Morgan back into a starting role by the knock-out phase.

          How many goals did Wambach, Morgan, Leroux, and Press score? (Press may have been used as a winger.)

          So going back before WC15, USWNT has had a dysfunctional MF and an ineffective front line. Can you explain why?

          It would seem to me that with all the resources available, a good coach could have fixed these problems. And I assume these two problems are interconnected. As I mentioned elsewhere, a MF that cannot efficiently move the ball forward is going to create problems elsewhere.

          • #1Fan

            Is it possible that the coach is average AND the players are overrated ? Or is it only Ellis

          • Gary Diver

            That is a good question. I assume you believe that Ellis is average and the players are overrated. If so, you may be right and maybe I’ve been giving Ellis too much credit for the subpar play of USWNT over the past 2 years. Though consider the MF, is it any better now than it was last year? How can one explain keeping Lloyd as CAM? How can one explain moving Allie Long into CB? How can one explain playing Rose Lavelle as a winger?

          • AlexH

            No and Yes. Even an average coach should know when their players are overrated and adjust call ups and minutes accordingly.

          • #1Fan

            its a collective. they are believe their own BS even though there is evidence to the contrary. When you are surrounded by yes men/women and players who you “control” financially., who is the dissenting voice ?

          • rkmid71

            I can’t believe Swanson puts up with this nonsense. I don’t see him as a yes person.

          • #1Fan

            Puts up with what? He coaches the players he is given to coach

          • rkmid71

            Puts up with square pegs in round holes. He has no input on that?

          • #1Fan

            Input is irrelevant. There is one Head Coach

          • mockmook
          • #1Fan

            Sorry, but you lost me

          • mockmook

            “Inout is irrelevant”

          • #1Fan

            I think your joke lost its lead when i corrected the typo.

          • guest

            He still must see the mistakes…right? Is he afraid of losing his seat on the bench if he suggests that Emily Sonnet is in good form and deserves a shot or any other of the many possible coaching contributions? You say that isn’t his role as an assistant. I say a good assistant must offer his opinion on the players he is training and evaluating, and he offers opinion and insights that influence the product on the field. So either:
            1) He isn’t offering his opinion in which case I do not believe he is doing his job because I believe an assistant must provide another set of eyes to a head coach who cannot be able to see everything herself.
            2) He is and she isn’t listening. In which case he should consider abandoning the sinking ship. I don’t think I would want to be associated with this mess if I felt I had no influence to be able to help right the course
            3) He thinks it is all good; they put the right players on the field, they trained them well and it is heading in the right direction. If he is clearly as bad as she is.

          • #1Fan

            He is an American who loves the game. Why would he abandon the team or the girls ? If he walked , what would it say about the USSF? Have you seen his UVA teams play? have you seen the players he recruits? if you have, then 3 is clearly nonsense.

            Only he can answer your questions but If i had to guess its a derivation of 2. I dont see him as a guy who would blindly campaign for UVA players, so …

          • guest

            It would make a real point about the situation to the USSF, possibly help to promote change which would then benefit the girls and the USA . Yes I have. Yes I have. In fact I have spoken to him at length on several occasions. I think he a man of real integrity. Hence I think he is probably pretty darn bothered by the whole situation.

            #3 is in the realm of possibilities if one doesn’t know him and is therefore included for others’ benefit. I agree on 2.

            There is a difference between advocating for players whom you believe can make a difference and add to the level and “blindly campaigning” I agree with a lot of what you say. However, you sometimes take other poster’s points further than clearly intended.It’s your passion on it all, I think, and I can appreciate that.

          • #1Fan

            Firstly I apologize. Not my intent. Secondly it’s more disgust than passion these days. Love the sport but hate the way its organized here. USSF are just at the to of the pile

            Apologies again

          • guest

            One can be passionately disgusted…
            All good I enjoy your comments. Thanks

          • mockmook

            The players are overrated by who?

            Regardless, while I see individual players on various NTs who are better than the corresponding USA players, I don’t see any team that is better than the best of the USA as a collective.

            Give me the right coach and no CBA restrictions, and I will win the next WWC with the best of the USA’s players (though you may not like the style — or, they may surprise us and play “beautiful”, too)

            ————–

            Seems there is plenty of evidence that JE is not a good coach, so I won’t even address that.

          • #1Fan

            well when everyone thinks its the coach only, I assume they must still believe that the players are great. I dont think they are.

          • mockmook

            Maybe not “great” at the moment, but greater than other NTs as a unit (if we pick the right set of players)

            But, by WWC19, one or more of these players should be “great”

            Jordan
            Lavelle
            Dunn
            Skroski
            Sullivan
            Pugh
            Brian
            E.Stevens
            etc

          • #1Fan

            I hope they all are

          • DNG

            I think I see a collection of very good players. The problem is that, bar France(and even them) I don’t see a collection of great players on any one team. The number of truly great WoSo players is very low. And I do think Ellis is a dreadful tactician.

          • Bill

            I think you set up an either or forced choice that simply does not allow multiple possiblities or causes:
            1) The coach is average but their below average weakness is placing too many of the players in suboptimal positions
            2) The coach is about average in every other way but does not correctly understand how long some players can handle uncertainty without questioning and losing confidence
            3) The coach is above average in every way but a few players dont like or dont have confidence in some other players and so until internal disputes work themselves out its a mess
            4) Everything is fine but for two players who the other players have no idea what the coach is thinking and if there is a meritocracy based selection of who plays what positions and how much.
            5) CBA debates take up all the players emotional energy when they get together
            6) The players ( every single one of them) are overrated by the same amount every month since WC-15.
            7) The players are overrated once they are on the NT but all the other players not yet getting a chance are underrated.
            In sum, this is a congealed bowl of spaghetti. The assertion that all the players are overrated is easy to make and hard to factually support. Could it be true? Absolutely. Likely? Only possible to factually support if they are in the right positions playing for a great coach with a long term proven record ( Like evaluating players between dynastic runs of the Yankees or Wooden)

            Are some of the players overrated? Absolutely.

            Are some of them playing out of position? Absolutely

            Are some of them bewildered and questioning the coach? Absolutely. They are used to winning and they want to win…and they ran a long gauntlet of merit to get on the NT.

            How about this as a factor: For some of them they have lost the most number of times in a 12 month span than any prior 12 month span…think morale is high? Think they believe the right decisions are being made?

            I respect so many of your contributions so I dont wish to come across as unfriendly or disrespectful but I dont know how we could begn to analyze “over rated” as a factor at this time

          • #1Fan

            I think many of them are overrated. Especially in the system they are being asked to play. Basics seem to be failing some of them but with no fear of being replaced I’m not sure how you address it. Lloyd talking about the WC19 after the Last game of the SBC is telling. I would be worried for my place.

            Not sure how you got to my meaning, but I was responding to the coach being the only one at fault. It’s a collective failure to me. And many if the points you raise could well be a factor. I painted it black and white but clearly it’s grey

          • DNG

            I think it’s a bit unfair to call players overrated when they are put into roles and systems by a coach that does not suit their abilities. I have no problem calling out players as well when deserved but with regards to the full team specifically in the latest friendlies. I’m not sure how much useful info I can take from that with regards to individual performances. The system that was chosen clearly does not suit a lot of the players and even more than that I’m not convinced that the coach actually understands the shape she chose well.

          • #1Fan

            well for the players I am referring to overrated may be the wrong choice of word. Past their prime may be better. unlikely to achieve the levels that people seem to expect. That is the context in which i am saying overrated. The roles are impacting some, but some are in roles that they should not be struggling in.

          • DNG

            True but there is a huge difference between say a problem with Allie Long playing CB(whether or not she is a legitimate CM option in 2019) for the first time in her life and Carli Lloyd who should arguably not be in the team right now and who this formation was built around. I think I can reasonably name the coach as a big problem in both of those instances even if one(or both) of the players is(are) a problem as well.

          • DNG

            The coaching problem is making it tougher for me to accurately assess other players too, some of them young and supposedly cornerstones of the future. What am I to think of Morgan Brian’s recent play? It’s starting(is) to fall off a cliff and I don’t think it’s her fault but It’s becoming more difficult to make the distinction.

          • Bill

            Ok…thanks. Now I understand. I especially agree than many have a carry over reputation “earned” in other systems, coaches and positions. IF this version of the NT places 5 starters 15% off peak…then yes as a team the gap between reputation and current capabilities of the whole team is “overrated”

            Sometimes, in my worst conspiratorial moments I wonder if one of Ellis driving objectives is to break the “star system” comfort by making them uncomfortable and unsure…thereby “coachable” and unlikely to pull a Fletcher Christian routine a la what earlier versions did to Sermani or Ryan.

            She sure does seem prone to fight the last war in a lot of her decisions. Watching and knowing all this goes on especially during a CBA re negotiation and she is either trying to make the personal insecure point that ” I’m the Boss around here” or she thinks along with the USSF that the old culture was dysfunctional and needs to be broken for US Womens Soccer to eventually do better.

            Strangely, none of us, or them know, if the marketing of stars ( A time worn tactic and certainly one the NBA and the NFL used to boost ratings in decades past) is a better path to revenues or forcing a better form of soccer is the way to teach the next generations. (I know which Id rather see…but I dont know…a lot of fans root for players more than the uniform)

            Thanks for the courteous reply.

          • mockmook

            Bottom line, I think I’m being realistic that the USA should be the best team, and should have a better than 50% chance of winning WWC19

            What level do you think they can attain with an excellent coach and an “open” roster for WWC19?

          • #1Fan

            it depends how you define level. I believe the USA should be playing high quality winning soccer. I dont think we have a monopoly on the best players in the world.

            I think the USA should be making the semi finals of the major events and from then on out its a crap shoot.

          • #1Fan

            Ive said consistently Morgan is part of the issue and been told by several here she is world class and the best ST in the game

          • rkmid71

            I want to see Morgan (and others for that matter) for a period of time without Lloyd getting in the way and therefore a more functional midfield or partnership up top.

          • #1Fan

            I dont. I want to see different players, period. I dont put it all on Lloyd really, or Ellis. Its a collective failure in my opinion.

    • HOFCToDi

      If the USA was a soccer power, Jill Ellis would have been fired by the end of last week. Sunil Gulati did not learn his lesson with Jurgen Klinsmann.

      • rkmid71

        It would be a breath of fresh air if JE stepped up and took responsibility. Provide a contrast to JK. She could say: “You know, we didn’t get it done in this tournament. I didn’t get it right in terms of tactics or personnel.” There will be changes and we will get it fixed to the best of my ability. Or if Lloyd as captain took responsibility for SBC performance, acknowledge she didn’t play her best, or for OG performance. Instead she pointed the finger at others, mainly the new players. Solo in OG pointed the finger at Sweden for being cowards. How cowardly was that?

        Only Sauerbrunn has said anything resembling taking responsibility. We haven’t heard anything from JE about the OG or really anybody. She is the coach. No analysis of their OG performance (except that Q&A posted on the USSF website?). We won’t see it for SBC either. Just a complete leadership vacuum. How can you possibly move on to improve if you don’t even acknowledge mistakes? “The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of the man/woman.” I would be more forgiving and think more of JE if she was willing to do this. Unfortunately, the character of this team’s leadership is weak (except Sauerbrunn).

        • DNG

          LOL. Lloyd take responsibility for losing or her personal SBC performance. Good luck with that.

          • rkmid71

            Time to make Wambach coach. Wambach would have no problem benching her.

        • #1Fan

          OG performance WAS analysed. The Swedes played a cowardly bunker and we were unlucky. What more do you want ?

          • rkmid71

            Was cowardly an excuse in SBC? Or was that one “we have a lot of new players, it’s a process and we were unlucky.”

          • #1Fan

            I have no idea. I have been consistent. I think we have an aging and overrated player pool, a coach whose entire existence is based on keeping that status quo.

            Ellis was not hired to be a visionary. She was hired to continue what Pia was doing. I have always thought that and constantly said that i think many of the players are overrated as well.

            I just think this is the natural progression of an ageing roster. Throwing in a few Pughs or Pintos does not change it. You have almost lost an entire cycle of player by your desire to not make changes. The thread of natural progression has been broken,

            Im not an Ellis fan at all, but winning the WC is as good as it gets. It validated the USSF strategy – its irrelevant whether by luck or judgement now. Gulati is not going to suddenly say it was luck.

            There are also many folks who said very little along the way but are now hop in arms. Why? because the US lost. They have not been paying attention along the way OR they were happy to win by any means. Its interesting to see them jumping ship now

          • rkmid71

            Sounds like we can expect another another close call in Concacaf like in 2011 or a couple decades until the chips fall our way again in a WC. I guess that’s good enough for Gulati. As a fan, it sucks. I remain an optimist that someone will stand up and say that’s not good enough. Better is possible.

          • #1Fan

            Do you think Gulati knows what it takes to win a WC? or build a great team? He simply panicked and went with status quo. We will see what knee jerk reaction he makes next

          • mockmook

            “Its interesting to see them jumping ship now”

            They are still more aware than JE

          • DNG

            For what it’s worth I do think the US were a bit unlucky at the in that match. Some personnel changes would have helped a lot though. Luck is part of the game.

        • HOFCToDi

          Who picks the roster? Who picks the lineup? Who picks the substitutions? Who picks the tactical formation?

          The 2017 SheBelieves Cup was a flat out embarrassment.

        • HOFCToDi

          What was the fate of the Brazilian head coach after the embarrassment on home soil in the semifinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup?

  • Gary Diver

    Has any of the USWNT players of the past recently spoken out about the current state of USWNT?

    • Steglitz49

      I doubt it. Why should they? Why would they?

      Even in a lean year they collect $150,000 for turning up.

    • guest

      Yes Michelle Akers was very outspoken during the 2015 WC especially when the US was performing very poorly.

      http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2015/06/22/usa-colombia-jill-ellis-michelle-akers

      But i would like to see a South American or European who hasn’t coached women before step up as technical director. The japanese brought in a Brazilian (Zico) in 2002 when their federation decided how they wanted their teams to play. The Japanese adopted the same style for both their women and men.

  • #1Fan

    The answer has arrived – full team next

    http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2017/03/14/21/25/20170314-feat-u20wnt-sophia-soars

    This coaching staff are a joke. The lack of consistency is hilarious. 6m ago BJ Snow (Now i/c College scouting) decided this kid was no good enough to play starting minutes at the WC. He preferred Kuhlmann, Tagliaferri and Sanchez. Thats fine. Now we introduce a new set of eyes, April Heinrichs and now the USSF is writing long articles and starting up the hype machine.

    Honeslty, its pathetic. It does nothing for the kids. It seems that the USSF policy is to find young marketable GOALSCORERS at the expense of everything else. We BREED selfishness that percolates in the way our teams play by glorifying stuff that really does not need to be

    • DNG

      I think your friend had it right when he said that the USSF does not know what it’s looking for. They only see surface statistics and ability.

    • #1Fan
      • DNG

        I mean, Dortmund gets it. They’ve been in the business of developing top end talent for a while now and Pulisic is far from a finish product or a certified star.

        Maybe the USSF needs to start hiring people from Europe if they can afford a great technical director.

    • guest

      Really strange that they keep elevating pretty much the same type of player. Best at poaching goals off mistakes in the back and scoring unassisted. I guess that is an important trait if you have no midfield playmaking ability. However, i think we might very well have asome outstanding midfield playmaking ability in Brian, lavelle and even horan although i like her as a forward who plays well with others. Put Pugh on the outside. Sanchez is another Pugh and may actually be better.
      I saw you referenced messiah bright and MK McGuire. I think they are similar no? Bigger players scoring from strength? Could it be that their ceiling is projected to be lower than some of the others? Or is it a style of lay issue.

      • #1Fan

        my point is exactly that. they ARE similar in some regards so why no look ? I would say both could become target players.

        We dont seem to like playmaking forwards who can pass/link up with CMs or another striker. We love the “head down and dribble/shoot” type.

        • guest

          Mk McGuire is not a playmaking forward. She scores a lot of the same goals being able to turn a weak or slow centerback. She does not combine. messiah bright seems similar but i think has some more layers. No doubt she should get a chance. Someone doesn’t like Solar Chelsea apparently since they are clearly a dominant team in the 00 age group you reference. Not sure how MK is doing in the new ECNL environment or if there have been enough games to even tell as yet

          • #1Fan

            Sorry, I was not suggesting wither was a play making forward. Just suggesting that BOTH players have had extended success and have never been given much of a look relative to players who are similar.

            I wish more kids got a real chance . IS Mk mcGuire or Messiah bright any less deserving than say and Olivia WIngate ?

          • guest

            They are both much more deserving if the basis for selection is production on age. However, since Dewhurst has been a 2000 birth year assistant is it a surprise that his 2000 kids have nearly all been invited? I don’t know why 2 of them seem to have stuck including Wingate. I fundamentally have a huge problem with a club coach providing services as an “assistant at these camps. At the minimal it provides an unfair psychological advantage to some kids over others. At its worst it can result in selection occurring based on qualities other than performance and more importantly projected ceiling.

          • #1Fan

            i dont like naming kids that much, but i felt I had no choice to illustrate the point. I agree wtih you. Dewhurst is an example of all the conflicts that exist in youth soccer . ECNL Board , US Club soccer board , YNT assistant, DoC of Club with GDA and ECNL. How on earth can someone like that NOT have an agenda ?

            His players were routinely selected to YNTs and yet in ECNL league play his teams are far from convincing. These are teh people that exert huge influence on YNT PDP and Id2 selection.

            It is hard to take the USSF seriously when they dont remove guys like this from any involvement in YNTs. There are forwards in his own conference that are not only better players that OW, but score more, assist more on far worse teams against exactly the same opposition. Im not sure how it gets more apples to apples than that.

          • guest

            Completely agree with you. I think someone doesn’t like Solar Chelsea. They have some of the most exciting midfielders and forwards in the league and the team is hugely successful Why don’t we see more of those players on camp rosters? I definitely agree that the Stars forward is average at a very high ECNL level. The team is modestly above average although i think a kid who performs and carries a weaker team maybe ultimately the better player even if production is equal. I also think there are also more exciting and technically sound creative midfieders too playing head to head with them including on SC

          • #1Fan

            I mention SC players here all the time . A few got looks when they were U-14 and then seem to have been passed over.

            There are not many kids carrying weaker teams. So much of the youth landscape s about consolidating better kids on a few teams, winning and calling it great coaching !! You then parlay that to a USSF gig and invite all your own players . Then call it better coaching and attract more kids to your great Club.

          • guest

            We definitely agree on the YNT agendas. I thought you might be interested to know the U17 boys residency is in its last semester. I have known several boys who have attended.

            http://www.soccerwire.com/news/nt/international-men/u-s-soccer-u-17-mens-national-team-residency-program-to-close-down/

            They are making Tony Lepore the “Director of Talent identification”. Jeez. i wonder if it would be possible to get Hugo Perez interested in girls. Get him in and …wow.

          • guest

            Also I think the Michigan hawks guy is the same.

      • #1Fan

        Here is a good one for you from TDS

        Last August, the U.S. U15 Girls National Team won the 2016 CONCACAF U15 Girls Championship in Orlando. The U.S. was dominant at the event. The home team scored 49 goals over the seven-game event. USA also recorded a shutout in event game in Florida too.

        The impressive showing at the regional event was the debut for the 2001 age group on a big stage. There was plenty of potential on display in Florida, but that roster did not include some of the best in this age group as Lia Godfrey, Jordan Canniff, and Kennedy Wesley were already promoted to the U17 Women’s National Team age group.

        we played NO ONE. but the article sees fit to tell us that 3 players who made the flight to Jordan are the best in the age group. How so? we got waxed in Jordan, they hardly played and – the most important thing – at this age we see the later developers coming thru no ? So why on earth do we assume that we already know who the best kids are? Because ONE coach – BJ Snow said so ? Where are the later developing kids? Or have we stopped looking?

        This is your youth Identification folks. we play events where we score 7 per game and make judgements off those games or we allow a 2x failure to tell us who the best are.

        • #1Fan

          Read this …does it sound familiar. Could you redact the name and put anyone of 10 others you have heard in there ?

          F/M Mia Fishel, San Diego Surf – The Golden Ball winner from the 2016 U15 CONCACAF Championship is the driving force of the attack with this team. If the coach decides to play her at forward, she has the skill, speed, and strength to beat defenders 1v1 and create chances on her own. If the coach decides to play her as the attacking midfielder, she has the vision and creativity to set-up her teammates for goals. Fishel is in line to be the name of this team as the player who sees most of the ball in the attack. When this age group gets everyone on the same team, it’ll be interesting to see how the coach balances the talents of Godfrey and Canniff, as both are wide players who are ball-dominant.

          • #1Fan

            More

            F Kalyssa Van Zanten, Eclipse Select SC – Dominant U.S. Youth National Teams have been built around talented center forwards for as long as the Federation has existed. Van Zanten is the early candidate to be the superstar for that role. She fits the prototype of a center forward for the Youth National Team with speed, skill, and power. She is more advanced than most in her ability to play with her back to goal and to finish in traffic. She is capable of reaching a higher ceiling than most, but filling the shoes of Civana Kuhlmann is an awfully difficult task. Fair or not, she will be compared to the one who came before her and Kuhlmann was one of the best in that role during the past team’s success.

            Why on earth is Kuhlmann a role model ? so we can score 3 vs Paraguay and none in any of the games that counted?

          • #1Fan

            GK a star of an event where US averaged 7 goals per game…OK

            GK Ruthie Jones, Charlotte Soccer Academy – Goalkeeper has been notoriously difficult to predict with this age group as the players who emerge first rarely hold onto that title by the time the World Cup starts 18 months later. However, Jones has been the top dog with this team and looks firmly in control of the process at this point. She was a star for the CONCACAF Championship winning side and continues to improve with each season.

          • #1Fan

            And last ..

            The most tepid write up for BY FAR the kid with the most upside and talent. Better than Wesley already and they are talking pushed out of the squad ..SMH

            D Makenna Morris, Bethesda SC – Morris is a 2002 so she would have to play up an age group to make this squad, but she has been in the mix with the 2001s at a number of events in the past. With Wesley back in the picture, Morris might be pushed out of the squad. However, the coach could elect to play Wesley in a central role, which would allow Morris to shine as an outside back while playing up an age group.

          • DNG

            You paint a very grim picture, but the evidence is starting to mount against this current regime. If Ellis eventually does get the ax does the rest of this inept staff follow? If so I might root for the NT to lose every single one of the matches in the supposed July tournament, and lose big. I think I heard Brazil, Japan and Australia.

          • #1Fan

            I value your opinion. Forget the last kid but I read those descriptions and I cringe. We pedaestal these kid early and the spend years reinforcing it. We act like this is it. No one else and remember there is no CBA here. So should we be shocked that the attitude at senior level is any different ? The ones who have come thru the system feel it’s the norm and the ones who did not think it’s time to make up for lost time !!

            I like Press but I’m now rabid fan. But to think she never got a look in in spite of being dominant in College is stunning really

          • DNG

            I think I’ve said this before but the pedestal could potentially have seriously adverse affects on the development of a talented young player. If you keep telling a player they are the best when they are not(or even if they are) what motivation is there for them to improve? When you shut out others over and over again to the point that they think their chance is lost or the hill is insurmountable, why should they keep playing? Honestly, I do feel a lot better about the younger generation because of how they all seem care about playing for their NWSL clubs. The older generation though, that is going to be a tough band-aid to rip. The types of things they are doing with Pugh and Pinto are concerning though and it really will be a tragedy if we miss an entire generation of players due to this antiquated method of player selection.

          • guest

            It seems that the YNT coaches are very insecure regarding their ability to identify talent. It’s as if they think they must pick the chosen few and stick with them no matter the actual performance; they thereby “validate” their selections. Rather than keep moving kids, and combinations of kids, in and out of the camps to best understand the “pool”, they stick with a group for years. Few kids getting more than a cursory look when added into the mix of almost all incumbents.

            I know that many of the one and dones didn’t even get a real shot to show what they could do. Chosen because the stood out at a big event or consistently performing often an age group up, they nervously sit on the bench during camp competitions while the same kids gain comfort and confidence often while their own club coaches (under the guise of a YNT “assistant) cheer them on.

            I am completely dumbfounded that there hasn’t been an attempt to look at more new kids in this new cycle. Do we expect the u20s to fair better in 2 years largely represented by underaged players who failed last year on age?

          • #1Fan

            the problem is that IF a coach sees 3 kids and ranks them 1-2 3 , they have very little incentive to change their opinion. Especially if 1 plays for their Club or in a region where they see her play often.

            for 2 or 3 to surpass 1, they need to be seen / given opportunity. When these NTs get together, 1 starts …2-3 get limited minutes. Then they play a weak team and 1 scores or plays well. 1 is not re-inforced and 2-3 now have no chance.

            This cycle go es all the way up to the top. It takes a brave coach to sya – I THINK 1 is the best player, BUT its in the NT BEST interest for me to give 2 and 3 opportunities even at 1s expense so they also can show us what they can do. This rarely happens.

            The new cycles have started and its largely the same kids. We essentially have a Youth CBA in place long before they get to the pros.

          • guest

            That is very interesting information. Sad really. I would not just say brave about the coach who would consider offering the players the opportunity to earn a new ranking is “good” or even just adequate. But I think there is too much emphasis on these camps where the playing field is not even. Put them head to head in a nuetral environment. A DA all star festival comes to mind..

          • #1Fan

            there is. but it replicates the USSF NT relationship with the NWSL.the games you want exist in the ECNL, but the USSF staff dont care. They routinely ignore kids who light that league up, for kids that dont.

          • rkmid71

            They also don’t seem to care that U17 and U20 YNTs have been failing so regularly (despite all the advantages), both from results and performance perspective. Apparently, that’s all part of the plan. USSF is run so differently than USA Basketball.

          • #1Fan

            The culture of reward for non performance is well established. I see YNTs as a place to experiment and GRADUALLY whittle down the huge pool to a group of players you know. Players who play the style you want. USSF dont. they feel they have already got the players. I saw a u-14 camp pic the other day form quite a few years ago. i think 80 pct of the kids in the pick are STILL YNT regulars. Thats a staggeringly high percentage given the results and the natural development of kids from 13-17

          • guest

            You would think they would give the late bloomers extra looks. many have developed sick skills to deal with their smaller size during the u13-16 years after they hit puberty they can be lights out. yet it seems to be too late for them as if they get a look it isn’t really a fair chance.

            Do you think it equalizes in college? Is the slate at all clean or does the residue continue on beyond the fact that the YNT stars are usually selected first by the most well known programs?

          • #1Fan

            Im not asking for extra looks. Just one would be nice 🙂 The parallels to the senior team are eerie.

            I do think it balances out a bit in College, but remember, its not like EVERY selection is wrong or even that the players they constantly select are not good. They are, but so are MANY MANY others who never get a sniff. There are very few kids who are clearly better than the rest. there are some. Even those kids ,in my opinion , should not be at every camp. They should start to be permanents in camp as the rosters solidify before a youth World Cup.

          • DNG

            “The parallels to the senior team are eerie.”

            I don’t think it’s that eerie. It’s the culture that has been established when the team was first created. It’s difficult to see this changing unless club becomes more important than being a member of the NT or there is real impetus from within to foster real change.

          • #1Fan

            What team though.? Im amazed that its the same with the U16 team . The Clubs are more important then the NT at this level. The Clubs get the kids College looks etc.

          • DNG

            Full team. I think it’s trickled down and that they never really knew how to select players at any age group. I agree on the Clubs. I think the Clubs are more important for the full team too but I guess the leaders of that team don’t agree. If you make decision based on club performance I think it’s a lot more straight forward and even if not everyone pans out you can give most of the deserving a chance.

          • #1Fan

            I dont think its the leaders. I just think the process is corrupted by Club bias. As a group, our Club coaches dont care about making sure that the best players in their regions get recommended. They only care about their own. Why? becasue a NT cap is a marketing tool they can monetize. The desire to see the best players get ahead is not there. I hate this. it only happens in sports that no one really cares about. This cant really happen in Basketball or Football because there are too many eyes on it and real money is at stake. A top drawer soccer would last 2 seconds in the Football world if the ratings they put out on players were as terrible as they are

            Bottom line is WoSo has no economic anchor to bring it in to line. Or better still the economic drivers promote dishonesty and lies. Keep telling parents that Jane is great because they pay 3k per year to hear you say it. Keep telling prospective parents that you are a great club coach becasue you had 3 kids go to NT camp.

          • DNG

            So the only real long term solution then is to try and make professional club soccer for women financially viable to enjoy a stable career. and lean on the clubs with an incentive to develop players to do it. NWSL is a long way from that.

          • mockmook

            Who did a better job than TDS at identifying the top picks in the NWSL draft?

            (of course you can say that the NWSL coaches don’t know anything either, but at some point this gets a little suspect. right?)

            Next year, please give us your top prospects for the NWSL draft and we can see how you do relative to TDS.

          • #1Fan

            Where does it say anything about TDS rating of College players ? TDS rate players from 2017 to 2020 grad class. Club players. Their rankings are awful.

            Don’t see what the NWSL draft or my projections have to do with the point being made

            TDS are helping drive the Club process. The Yourh process.

          • mockmook

            OK, I don’t pay attention to those rankings — I only use them for woso NCAA

          • guest

            Completely agree. I understand you don’t like to name names, but since this is positive, which kids are clearly above the rest? I do think Sanchez has something that Pugh doesn’t in regards to more tools in the box.

          • #1Fan

            I dont mind naming names of the kids we all know . I meant the ones that most dont . I think people tend to gravitate towards forwards . ill give you my opinion on kids who are not in College as of yet

            GK- Ivory – her communication and org skills are excellent. Dohle – big prospect

            Defenders – Mackenna Morris – If she stays at O/B could be really good. K Sample – very poised, rarely panics B Martinez – Solid ell organized defender

            C Midfield- Tbh, no one sticks out here for me and that may well be the issue.

            Attacking Players – S Yates – good finisher and good on the ball.

            By no means comprehensive. Just a few kids I like.

          • DNG

            I would imagine central midfielders are really hard to develop in this country based on the up and down nature of the game here but you could probably speak to that better than I could. I don’t get to see a ton of high level youth matches.

          • #1Fan

            the game does not lend itself to it for sure. Maybe im wrong, but Ive said that the way we play our game at youth levels is why we produce the players we do. A player like Brian is a Martian on earth. A real outlier in terms of how she sees the game relative to others. If you put her on the French or Japanese teams she would thrive. She is good enough top try and adapt, but she is a fish out of water currently on the WNT. Brian at a similar age was MILES better than Pinto, but she was trying to break in during a different era.

          • DNG

            I think your right about the game at the youth level. Especially at lower end of the skill levels. Teams don’t even attempt to try anything other than boot the ball down the field there.

            I have faith in Brian. I do think we will eventually see her thrive(hopefully soon). Lloyd just really has to go though. And I do think there are a good number of US players that I’ve seen her work well with too. Hopefully I don’t have to see her tragically wasted in Houston too much longer either.

          • #1Fan

            I hope not. At UVA she was really special.

          • mockmook

            I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I think you are way too critical of HOU — if Brian isn’t fitting in there it is more on Brian.

            They have some of the best mids in the league. And, they have dangerous targets to feed the ball to.

          • DNG

            It’s all about Brian’s limitations and fit with the team. She doesn’t fit in with the rest of the players. I am in no way suggesting that Houston completely rebuild their team around Brian because I think what they have is good and that would require a complete overhaul. Direct teams can be very successful in the league, just look at what WNY(now Carolina) did last year. However, if Brian doesn’t fit in with Waldrum’s vision of the future he should trade her preferably for a top end central defender and or CF to a team that would use her better. Playing her out of position in a team whose style does suit her skills is a lose lose for everyone. Amber Brooks was arguably just as good in that DM role last year.

          • mockmook

            “Playing her out of position in a team whose style does not suit her skills is a lose lose for everyone.”

            I don’t think either of those things happened/apply — again, if she didn’t perform, that reflected more on her (or her injuries).

          • DNG

            Houston are a direct counter attacking team playing Brian as a DM. Morgan Brian’s best position at UVA was as a CAM in a much more indirect style of play. I’m not disputing that she didn’t perform for Houston and maybe injuries had something to do with this as well. Regardless, I think Houston is a terrible fit for Brian stylistically.

          • mockmook

            I think you are mischaracterizing their team and where Morgan has mostly played.

          • DNG

            How am I mischaracterizing their team? How would you describe them?

            I see a team that has forwards that thrive in transition not one that looks to break defenses down. I see wings that like to push past and run before crossing. I don’t really see a lot of effective combination play or patient build up which is where I think Brian would thrive.

          • mockmook

            That describes every team in the league.

            Every team is a hybrid that uses direct and indirect football.

          • DNG

            Just because every team has moments where they need to build from the back or take the opportunity to counter does not mean that teams don’t have an identity. Some clearly more than others though. For example. The Thorns cross far less than the Courage or Dash. If we look at a lot of the Dash’s most dangerous attacks and the ones that result in goals I think we’ll find that far more often than not they come from transition attacks and that’s why I labeled them how I did. Morgan Brian never going to be a great player in a team who’s most dangerous attacks most often come in transition.

          • DNG

            Morgan Brian pretty consistently played below Andressa and O’Sullivan. She was often the deepest midfielder in possession. Maybe Houston can’t get back the required value for her so it’s worth it for them to keep Brian but I stand by my claim that Houston is not a good fit for Brian.

          • DNG

            Are you taking about tempo setting and passing CMs her or DMs or all of the above?

          • #1Fan

            Im just trying to think of kids who stand out at either of those things really. But HS and younger.

          • DNG

            Okay than I’d say it’s a little surprising that you haven’t seen any ball retrievers that stand out could it be a case of clubs and coaches devaluing that role?

          • #1Fan

            i have seen them, but none that really stand out. Mainly becasue even in a ball retriever I look for decent distribution and game reading.

          • DNG

            I see so then they have to be a somewhat well rounded player then. Makes sense.

          • #1Fan

            to stand out to me at CM. yes.

          • rkmid71

            Better than the rest at what age? As you pointed out above, a very high % of the kids at U14 are still YNT regulars. And as you say, if the results and performance were better, probably we would all trust their judgement more. But both suck and have for some time. What makes it acceptable to keep going on this way? Is it that USSF has a monopoly, the women aren’t that critical in the grand scheme of things, they win enough. There is no accountability as far as I can tell. That’s why they try to hype and inflate the smallest success and ignore the losses.That’s why we get no analysis/explanation from the HC after OG. That’s the culture. USA Basketball has a much more open process for selection — which is done by committee with all members fully known. They select 3x the players they need for national trials. The year I looked at, only about 1/3 of the ones selected were listed on the ESPN HoopGurlz.

          • #1Fan

            better than the other kids on age.

          • rkmid71

            How would you know after U14 if you don’t continually refresh the pool and keep looking at new players? And that assumes you got it right at U14.

          • #1Fan

            i think our wires are crossed. Im just saying that in each age group there are very few stand outs. Im not commenting on how they progress. When we pick a U-14 team, if you believe me that there are very few standouts, we should be getting a vast number of players chosen over a cycle we really dont realtive to the size of the country. Then to see 80pct of them still perceived to be the best at u16/17 is remarkable

          • rkmid71

            Gotcha. And I would assess each age group each year….to see how that top 10 or 20 standout players is evolving. And it wouldn’t be all about the forwards, who may actually suck at other positions.

          • #1Fan

            we agree. They say they do, but I just see the same players seemingly getting carried forward.

  • #1Fan
    • Bruce

      Should we interpret from this that she sees the 3-5-2 as the best fit for the personnel she has, and that it is here to stay?

      • mockmook

        I didn’t get that from the article.

        What I did get is that JE thinks she is putting players in positions to succeed. Obviously I disagree.

        • Bruce

          I won’t try parse her words, but it seems like she is saying that the 3-5-2 is an evolution of play that she identified based on current player skills.

          Wonder if she drinks her own cool-aid.

    • mockmook

      Did you write all those comments yourself? 😉

    • DNG

      I know I am always talking about the coaching, but the more I think about it the more I think the problem is really at the top with Gulati and his entire staff. There seems to be some pretty serious conflict of interest stuff going on with US Soccer and MLS as well as much as I also want the MLS to succeed.

      • #1Fan

        Gulati is a problem. he is a business man but lacking in soccer knowledge. Coaching u-12 boys teams in Westchester is the height of his on field expertise. Smart guy though. Im surprised he survived the Blazer stuff, but still he is lacking real soccer people. May be a coincidence, but his knee jerk reactions on the last 2 coaching changes has been to go back to his comfort zone. JK>Arena Sermanni>Ellis …both appointments were partly to mollify the players.

  • Jon Michael Tupper

    I just joined this group and enjoy the intelligence and sense of the game a lot.

    What I see under Coach E’s. guidance since Rio is tension. It’s palpable in many of the players: creativity seems stifled, through passes and good service are hard to come by. Not many seem to be having any fun – meaning enthusiasm. Yes they’re paid professionals. Did you see England and France though? They were full of life and enthusiasm. Contrast Lloyd, who looks lost – like what do you want me to do Coach? Heath was downright disgruntled in the SBC final. Sauerbrun’s saying all the right things, and, during games is left either too far up the field from her throw ins, or having to cover for Allie, who’s so out of position it’s painful to see (absent a few nice blocks and tackles (sic?) against France.)

    Morgan has diminished time on field and when on is frustrated with poor or no service. She’s not dogging it; she’s working hard, with no smiles, no pats on head like Cheney used to do. Head down: hey coach I’m workin here. Got it. See?

    Press looks energized though. In the last year her game has changed. She’s using her speed and power in pursuit, box to box. She is passing much better too. Her finishing will come along. Mal Pugh is enthusiastic too. She sees the field and flow of movement and energy really well.

    Constantly having players, professional or not, under evaluation is a strain, I think.
    Ellis’s starting point after the Olympics was : no one is guaranteed anything here. Each player will have to earn a spot to play. Maybe ok for a little while, say 6 weeks before a qualifying set of matches, or now to bring a pool of 50 to 30. Saying it is the standard every day from now on out I think is suppressive: she’s said she doesn’t care about players learning to work well together. It’s a total set of results she seeks.

  • guest

    i am just waiting for the new 2017 uswnt allocation list. i predict there will be quite a few gift names on that list as usual. enough for a 1000 comment EQ discussion. i just wish the allocation lists came out in the middle of the nwsl season and not after five months of nwsl inactivity so club player outperformance could be more easily recognized.

    • mockmook

      I think the lists are supposed to come out “early” so that clubs can plan how they will fill out their roster and apportion their salary cap money.

  • guest123

    Off-Topic: I guess the hockey team has more guts to strike than the soccer team,

    https://twitter.com/JulieFoudy/status/842013812744105984

    • DNG

      Striking is really in no ones best interests at this point.

      • Steglitz49

        “Arise ye prisoners of starvation
        Arise ye wretched of the earth
        For justice thunders condemnation
        A better world’s in birth!
        No more tradition’s chains shall bind us
        Arise, ye slaves, no more in thrall;
        The earth shall rise on new foundations
        We have been naught we shall be all.”

    • Gary Diver

      Women hockey players are in a worse situation than women soccer players. This issue is between the players and USA Hockey, but one only needs to look at the situation at the professional level to see where the frustration is coming from.

      There are two North American women’s professional leagues: Canadian Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which does not pay its players a salary, and the American National Women’s Hockey League, which pays its players a small salary. “NWHL informed its players on November 17, 2016, that they would all be getting up to a 50% pay cut. The league claims the pay cut is needed in order to sustain the longevity of the league. This dropped the league player minimums to $5,000 per player.” (Wikipedia)

      So the average North American woman “professional” hockey player earns around several thousand dollars per year. That is amazing. So are women suppose to play hockey for the love of the sport and loyalty to their country?

      “‘Enough is enough’: US Women’s Hockey Team Plan Boycott Over Low Pay”

      https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/15/us-womens-hockey-team-boycott-pay-dispute

      • #1Fan

        I sympathize with them, but what exactly is the solution? Are we saying that for Womens sports without solvent pro leagues, the federation should pay them market rates? What about the other player sin the league?

        • DNG

          You’re right. Ultimately it would be better for every player including the federation players(of both sports) if the players did everything in their power to create and draw interest in their respective leagues and it led to success.

          My problem with the USWNT is that I don’t know what they’re fighting for. If it’s more of the same, I think that works against the efforts to support a strong league. While I have sympathy for them as well, I am much more concerned about all the players at the bottom not being able to make rent or having to live with host families and ultimately the economics need to make the sport viable.

          • guest

            So my little kid as part of a GDA club went to private training session at one of the venues. Two players waved as they walked out. All others completely ignored the kids. Here’s a bunch of little girls, out in the freezing cold, wearing holding jerseys and hoping for a signature or even a quick photo op. They got nothing to incentivize them to watch this team. My previously gushing kid came home and said, “they weren’t very nice”. Marketing opportunity lost. Don’t think my little one will be begging me to take the family to see the WNT play in the future. We will probably go anyway because I am interested in WoSo, but for the rest -interest plummeted.

          • Steglitz49

            In Sweden they just televised live the final of the Steel Cup. It is the final of the competition based on the landscapes (provinces) of Sweden for girls aged 14-16.

            270,000 tuned in to watch, not bad in a country of about 10m inhabitants. Like unto 8m in America watching — not bloody likely, is it?

  • ken long

    excellent analysis which highlights the coach’s incomprehensible thinking about basic fundamentals in the design and manning of the formation. Its not like this is some academic exercise in exploring the possibilities of a random set of ideas.

  • Denverexpat

    First 3 at the back defensively – you need quick athletic defenders who can interchange and communicate. They were better with Johnson in there because she has the athletic ability and leads the back line. Long was lost defending and her marking was lax at best.
    Secondly – when in possession – teams let the back 3 pass the ball to each other all day because they dont have the ability or vision to find the players in the midfield or forward to get the ball forward in space. They whole formation was predictable, slow and easy to defend.

    Not all of this is on the back 3 – center midfield was also missing in action. They fail to show for the ball in space and when receiving tend to play it back or sideways vs turning and getting the ball moving quickly. Bryant is a momentum killer when in possession and Hewis wasnt much better.

    Up front – very little movement TO the ball…always a run away and looking for a ball into a space to run to…surely we have more accomplished players who can do both?

    I’d drop some of the old players if the USWNT wants to truly start over – Lloyd, Morgan, Press, Bryant were all sub par in the tournament.

    Having been in the states 30+ years and around the Women’s game as a coach at various levels, college – club, it amazes me when the USWNT cannot bring 11+ talented players together to crush the opposition. With all the girls that play, the US dwarfs participation by other nations yet we are starting to fail… a fish rots for the head so time to change leadership ( Ellis to start with) or more disappointment is coming

  • truf

    Nice article, but the author should be referencing the sources..he took part of this almost verbatim from my post on big soccer…along with a few other folks’ posts.

    • mockmook

      Link?

  • bd

    I have no problem with a 3-5-2 system in general, but I think it’s a poor fit for today’s USWNT.

    Our most creative and dangerous attacking players over the past 2 years have been our wide forwards: Heath, Dunn, and Pugh – and we’ve looked best when they’re able to get endline and send in ground crosses. In a 3-5-2 they can’t do that, because they have to worry about covering wide spaces defensively, or if they do we’re exposed to long, wide balls on the counter. It also relies on center-forwards with excellent hold-up play to relieve pressure, which I’d argue we’ve been missing since Wambach / Rodriguez (underrated part of her game).

    I’d love to see the USWNT go back to the 4-3-3 that produced great soccer last year in the Olympic build-up, with some new faces in midfield. Kling-Brunn-Kreiger-Ohara, Lavelle-Sullivan-Mewis, Heath-Dunn-Pugh. Health constraints aside, I bet this lineup would have scored more than 1 goal in all of SBC, while letting fewer in.

    • mockmook

      Your 4-3-3 is good in theory, but as you probably know, Sullivan is injured.

      I’d put defensive “destroyer” in her place. Perhaps, Kayla Mills.

      I’d replace Kling, too. I think Ohai could play that position (though her eye issue might make being a back a problem).

    • Frozen Blue

      I’ve always thought that about Rodriguez as well, her skill for hold up is even more impressive considering her size.