Lavelle, Dunn shine in USWNT rout of Russia

The Equalizer Staff April 6, 2017 404
Rose Lavelle waits for a throw-in during the second half against England. (MEG LINEHAN/Equalizer Soccer)

Rose Lavelle made her third straight start for the United States on Thursday night against Russia. (MEG LINEHAN/Equalizer Soccer)

The United States defeated Russia on Thursday evening by a score of 4-0 on a night when Rose Lavelle and Crystal Dunn stole the show with their play. Lavelle was creative and fearless in the attacking third as she beat defenders and set up chances, eventually notching two assists. Dunn, the United States’ most dangerous offensive threat, put two in the back of the net after tirelessly exhausting the Russian back line.

{ALSO TODAY: Thursday Roundup: Heath, Horan questionable for season opener}

Jill Ellis’ side came out in a 4-4-2 which had them back to their recognizable four-player back line with Casey Short and Becky Saurbrunn holding down the center and Meghan Klingenberg, back on the field with the USWNT for the first time since September, and Kelley O’Hara flanking on both sides. The United States employed a three-back defensive line throughout all three games during the She Believes Cup and faced stark criticism for that choice after finishing the tournament in fourth place out of four teams. Russia, who has yet to see victory against the United States in eight attempts, came out with a 4-4-2 formation as Elena Formina’s side looked to get its first ever win against the United States.

It didn’t take long for the USWNT to get forward. Only 23 seconds in, Carli Lloyd was able to spring Dunn forward on the right side. Dunn shook her defender to drive end line and hit Lloyd in the box, but her shot went wide. The U.S. put their first shot of the game on target in the third minute when Samantha Mewis floated one into the box, but Russia goalkeeper Alena Belyaeva was able to deal with it easily. Just a few minutes later, Lavelle forced the first big save of the match for Belyaeva after beating four defenders across the top of the box and launching one with her left foot that Belyaeva had to bat away.

The U.S. got on the scoreboard in the 10th minute when Lloyd slotted Dunn a through ball on the right side that she buried far post past Belyaeva. With the strike, Dunn scored her 19th international goal in 49 appearances. One minute later, Russia registered their first shot on goal from outside the 18 yard box, but Naeher was able to deal with it easily.

The United States took a 2-0 lead in the 18th minute when Long re-directed a Lavelle corner with her head to the near post for her fourth international goal.

Inside 28 minutes, the U.S. looked comfortable on the ball as they continued to create chances and capitalize on them early on. Dunn was continuously knocking on the door of the Russia defensive line, although the U.S. was called offside for the fourth time under the half-hour mark.

In the 29th minute, Long took a shot from the top of the box, but she put it just over the bar. The third U.S. corner of the match came in the 36th minute as Lavelle stepped up to take it, but it was cleared away.

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Time and time again Rose Lavelle, in her third straight start for the USWNT, continued to shine on the right side. She continuously beat defenders on the flank and against the goal line to dominate that part of the park for the U.S.. In the 37th minute, Lavelle nutmegged her defender with a back heel that set up Mallory Pugh for a run out wide who then slotted one on the ground to Long across the six yard box, but she pinged it off the post.

Three minutes later, Dunn was able to win the ball high up off a defender and then finish on the right side with a shot on the ground that was slotted past Belyaeva to give the United States a 3-0 lead before the half. Just before the halftime whistle, Lloyd turned her defender at the top of the box and released a shot that nailed right off the post.

The United States came into the second half with a three goal lead when Alex Morgan (for Lloyd) and Ali Krieger (for Klingenberg) subbed on. Krieger joined Saurbrunn in the center back role and pushed Short wide. The second half kicked off with a few early chances for the U.S. but nothing concrete to show for it. On the other side of the pitch, Sochneva slipped past O’Hara on the far side, but her cross went across the box without being in reach of any Russian forwards in the 55th minute.

In the 57th minute, the U.S. took its sixth corner of the match. Lavelle launched one in, but it was cleared away. One minute later, Crystal Dunn was called offside. This was the 8th offside call on the US, and the fourth for Dunn. In the 60th minute, Belyaeva was forced to come up with yet another big save on Alex Morgan right outside the six-yard box on a through ball from Dunn.

Five minutes later, Pugh was taken down in the box and a PK was awarded to the USWNT. Long stepped up to take but hit it over the bar.

In the 67th minute, Megan Oyster made her debut for the United States when she came on to replace O’Hara. Two minutes later, Long saw redemption for the missed PK when she finished her second of the night with her head in the 69th minute off a cross from Pugh that she redirected and buried past Belyaeva.

Megan Rapinoe and Amy Rodriguez entered the match for the United States in the 78th minute for Lavelle and Pugh respectively. Rodriguez returned to the pitch for the first time since the birth of her second son, Luke.

As the game was winding down, Belyaeva was forced to punch away a dangerous Rapinoe corner in the 85th minute. In the 91st, Press hit one wide after a great first touch to set up her attempt. The whistle blew after three minutes of stoppage time and the United States secured the 4-0 win over Russia in front of more than 15,000 fans.

Next up, the USWNT will face Russia again Sunday in Houston.

U.S Starting XI: Alyssa Naeher, Becky Saurbrunn, Kelley O’Hara (Megan Oyster 67’), Meghan Klingenberg (Ali Krieger 45’),Casey Short, Mallory Pugh (Amy Rodriguez 78’), Samantha Mewis, Rose Lavelle (Megan Rapinoe 78’), Allie Long, Carli Lloyd (Alex Morgan 45’), Crystal Dunn (Christen Press 63’)

Russia Starting XI: Alena Belyaeva, Tatiana Sheikina (Ksenia Kovalenko 71’), Daria Makarenko, Anna Belomyttseva, Elvira Ziiastinova, Anna Cholovyaga, Elena Terekhova (Nadeshda Karpova 45’), Ekaterina Sochneva, Margarita Chernomyrdina, Elena Morozova (Elena Danilova 16’), Nadeshda Karpova

  • guest

    Dunn only proved that she isn’t a forward. That has to be a record for offside calls. She is a hustler, and she can make great plays, I’ll give her that… but that scoreline flatters Russia.

    • ok

      Yeah Press was so much better. Standing around waiting for a pass, losing the ball, kicking people in the face…

      • HOFCToDi

        Christen Press sucks

        http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=34687

        Christen Press
        Goals 0, Assists 0
        Shots Attempted 5, Shots on Goal 0
        Offside 0, Yellow Cards 1

        • FawcettFan14

          Your one purpose in life…

          • HOFCToDi

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

            The truth hurts.

    • Ron Rocha

      Yea but that’s an easy fix… slowing her down.

      • guest

        She gets tunnel vision. She needs to pay attention to what is going on around her and time her runs better. Granted she rarely plays forward for this team.

      • DNG

        A good team can do that a couple of different ways. They can drop off when the ball is in transition and they can also choose to give up the midfield and defend deep. Both would end up squeezing the space in behind and effectively slow her down somewhat.

    • Frozen Blue

      Yep those goals really sucked, USWNT forwards aren’t suppose to score.

      • #1Fan

        Surely we have to project performance vs the better teams. Dunn is another single trick player up front. Se sits on the last defender and is looking to be played in. She is always going to get high quality chances vs bad teams.

        Projecting vs good teams, I think there are better options, but who knows . To me Dunn, Morgan and WIlliams are all trying to score the same type of goal most of the time. Pick whomever you like best

        • DNG

          I think Dunn offers some advantages to Morgan and Williams. I think she’s a little better at holding the ball up and turning with it than the other two. She’s also good at ranging sideline to sideline and sucking CBs over to cover. She’s also better at winning possession up top than the other two. She doesn’t offer much in the air though and can be muscled around by strong CBs. I think she can do what Kelley does at RB better but obviously the coaches don’t agree.

        • Frozen Blue

          My point is, currently the forwards on the US team are not scoring, even against Russia the only forward to score was Dunn, she also had a number of good crosses. (Mixed in with total crap on staying on-sides) Play who is in form.

        • guest

          I completely agree with your opinion on the nearly identical qualities of these players. My opinion add Smith and maybe also Pugh to your list of similar players. I personally think they need more tools in their box to be able to score consistently against the better teams in the world at this point. The Russian defense was swiss cheese and they still had trouble finding the holes and figuring out what efficiently to do once they were through them.

          I personally think Lavelle has quite a bit of promise as a player who can find narrow seems against better players. However, I agree with you, she should prove that she can against better competition in the NWSL before being elevated. But that’s another thread. I think her career at Wisconsin was way overstated. If you look closely at her stats, she in no way earned the accolades she was awarded last year.

          • #1Fan

            i understand the need for a get in behind option on any team. Maybe 2, but i dont see where that alternative. aerial/hold up option is.

            Smith would ave done well in the game yday as well.

            We do need more variety from the striker position. We need some alternative qualities.

          • Guest

            Don’t you think Lavelle offers those alternative qualities? And maybe Heath and Press? Horan maybe also although these players depending on the formation are arguably midfielders. Although I believe Horan was a target in France. I do agree that although we do need a couple of speedy play in behind forwards we don’t need 5. Morgan, Pugh, Williams, Dunn, Smith. Sanchez seems to me to have some potentially interesting qualities. So does Savannah McCaskill. But she certainly is an outside the box choice. I know I might get flamed but I still see Dunn as an outstanding and truly world class outside back. Imho she saved the game for Swanson et al u20 World Cup where Brian was all but silent.

          • mockmook

            And dominance at the U20s seems to be very important to certain commenters here — they certainly look askance at players who aren’t dominating there.

          • #1Fan

            i was talking about qualities from the striker position

          • DNG

            There are a couple available but Ellis seems to always want to pair them with a player who gets in behind. I tend to think she should be using a player like Pugh or Dunn wide to stretch the back line instead of relying on the CF to do the job. This team has absolutely no presence in the hole when the two starters are two of Lloyd, Dunn, Williams, Morgan and other similar players are started together.

    • HOFCToDi

      Back to the chalkboard, junior.

      http://boswellspoetry.wikispaces.com/file/view/dunce_cap.jpg/230268140/826×582/dunce_cap.jpg

      Don’t forget your dunce cap.

  • HOFCToDi

    Lineup Notes: U.S. WNT and Russia Face Off in First Friendly of the Year

    http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2017/04/06/17/28/20170406-feat-wnt-lineup-notes-russia-frisco-texas

    Tonight’s Starting XI: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 14-Casey Short, 7-Meghan Klingenberg; 16-Rose Lavelle, 20-Allie Long, 3-Sam Mewis, 2-Mallory Pugh; 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.), 19-Crystal Dunn

    Subs: 8-Amy Rodriguez, 11-Ali Krieger, 13-Alex Morgan, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 22-Megan Oyster, 23-Christen Press, 24-Ashlyn Harris

    https://twitter.com/ussoccer_wnt/status/850136083207684097

    http://drawformation.com/post/58e7039092723/58e7039092723.png

    • guest

      Long’s putting her stamp on the club! They’re all doing that sideways look thing.

      • guest

        they try to do the model pout pose.

  • Ethan

    I only watched the last twenty or so minutes of the second half; so I can’t speak for the quality of play during that time. For the last twenty minutes though, the US didn’t really combine all that well. However, if Krieger had spotted Press after good passes by Long and Morgan, that would have been a great combination goal if Press finished the subsequent shot. (I’m assuming Krieger didn’t because there are no excuses for her if she didn’t. I don’t remember Press’ reaction, but if I was her, I would have been loudly calling for it. Then, I would have frustratingly raised my arms up when Krieger chose to play it to her left.)

    • DNG

      They didn’t really combine much at all the entire game. Russia left a lot of space for the US forwards to get in behind in the first half and that’s where most of the chances came from. First half was more open than the second half.

      • Ethan

        Yeah, agreed. I didn’t see much combination in the first half either.

    • kernel_thai

      Morgan made a lot of nice, quick passes during her half but I didn’t think her runs were terribly incisive. Press made some good runs but didn’t seem very sharp.

    • Breakers fan

      I thought Morgan played a good to very good half. I tend not to micro-dissect or analyze every play because with soccer that effort will ALWAYS lead to multiple opportunities to locate moments of imperfection with which the informed fan can display his ability to show that he most certainly has noticed those moments. It’s the nature of the sport – a lot more moving parts than knocking down a free throw or a jump shot. Plus feet with shoes on them don’t have the mobility/agility of hands and fingers on a ball.

      Press – loved her trap of that incoming pass from I think Short -an awesome dead stoppage of the ball and a very good shot attempt, though ultimately an unsuccessful one. I know there were some down moments for her but others have pointed those out already so no need to repeat.

      • Ethan

        Yeah, I was mostly fine/content with how Morgan played in the minutes I saw although I think she could have been quicker to find Mewis on that breakaway.

        She controlled that ball very well, and she did well to get into the open space on that dragged shot. She also had that very nice pass into Morgan. Her shooting was just off yesterday though. (I wouldn’t say it was a very good shot attempt. However, it wasn’t bad, and she did have the right idea on it.)

        • Breakers fan

          I know you’re fair and careful with your observation and “criticism”. I wish I’d saved the game on my dvr so I could see the Mewis breakaway you reference. If the game is on the ‘net I’ll check it out. Do you know the approximate minute mark it happened?

          About Press’s shot – I may have overpraised it a bit — you said it well to say it was the right idea. It seemed pretty damn close to me – a tough shot, trying to curl it into the upper corner from a good amount of distance. Final adjective: Good shot. (I deleted the “very”, 🙂 )

          • Ethan

            Agreed that it was a tough shot to make. Maybe I’m being more critical because Press has scored on that kind of shot a fair number of times.

            The breakaway was late/very late in the game. Past the 85th minute or so I think. Not quite sure.

          • Breakers fan

            Thanks, will take it in today. Watching 2 baseball games (one at a time) on my dvr also, so a bit of a delay.

          • mockmook

            Baseball??!!!!???

            I knew there was something off about you….

          • Breakers fan

            🙂

            Hometown team, bro.

            Too slow a sport for you?

            Was my first love as a sport, my Dad coached our team. Those roots run deep.

            Tons of wiffle ball games with my brother also.

          • mockmook

            Even S49 understands that football is more important than life — so you can imagine how low down the scale base-a-ball is

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for your endorsement.

            Incidentally, you are using the grid-iron quote, not the soccer one. They amount to the same thing but have a slightly different flavour.

          • Breakers fan

            Steg, please hold forth about baseball…

          • mockmook

            Football being more important than life is a given, so not mentioned — but, notice, no words about base-a-ball:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PQ6335puOc

          • Breakers fan

            Haha – never heard that before. Thanks. Who will be causing this to happen the most in the NWSL this year?

          • mockmook

            CRS?

  • guest

    Rose Lavelle could easily take Heath’s job, or Lloyd’s job. The question is: is she mediagenic? She’s super quirky and has an interesting, pixieish look.

    • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

      Ladye Rose Lavelle?

      https://youtu.be/nlcIKh6sBtc

    • JL

      I think Lavelle would benefit greatly from having a season of NWSL under her belt first. She had some really good moves but also had some questionable decisions. She needs to get better with her right foot so she’s not always trying to get the ball on her left.

      • kernel_thai

        Lavelle is right where Pugh was last year at this time. Now u wait to see how defenses adjust to take away what she likes to do and how she reacts to it. Will be interesting to see how she does against Sweden & Norway on the Eurotour.

        • Breakers fan

          It may appear that Lavelle is right where Pugh was but behind that appearance is 4 more years of soccer under Rose’s belt, 4 years of college ball during which a lot was placed on her shoulders – Pugh has zero experience of that, and maybe more overall YNT experience (I think) than Pugh has had. The main thing is: 4 college years more.

    • Movement

      She also knows how to stop, collaborate, & listen (to what’s expected of her).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCrE2-y5nvs

      • newsouth

        Yo movement, do a christen press vid with billy joel’s pressure mixed a michael jackson song.

    • Ashley C

      The creepy misogyny masked as compliment on this site is…something else.

      • guest

        Funny, this sounds like the lesbian troll to me, the one who’s obsessed with Heath and Press and probably stalks them when they’re in LA. For one thing, a male hetero would never use the term “pixieish”.

      • Steglitz49

        The young lady can only make the most with what she’s got. She can’t make it with what she hasn’t — and it is too late in the day to use body paint because that stunt was done 5+ years ago.

  • Frozen Blue

    We are still having problems getting decent service into the box from the wings, very frustrating.

    • Kevin

      It’s kinda difficult when it’s oftentimes 2v5 in the box and you’re mainly serving it into players who aren’t going to score off a header other than Lloyd and Morgan. Dunn and Pugh definitely aren’t going to score too many aerial goals.

      • Frozen Blue

        Almost all of our service into the box from the wings in the first half was right to the goalie or out for a goal kick, I would not criticize the wingers if the service was good but people weren’t getting on the end of it. Second service can be on the ground not just in the air. Finally, the best part of Lloyds game is the header and she only got one chance from Dunn.

  • Ethan

    I wanted a behind the goal shot of Dunn’s first goal to conclusively determine if it was a goalkeeping error. Either way, Belyaeva was unlucky that Dunn’s shot took such a significant bounce.

    Before the 91st minute shot, Press also had another shot that went wide after doing very well to open up space for herself.

    • Frozen Blue

      Why does it matter, a goal is a goal.

      • Ethan

        Seriously? Well, I’m guessing you’re not going to like the edit I’m about to make. I’ve been pretty critical of goalkeepers on this site on multiple occasions; I wanted a better view to see if my initial impression was warranted.

        • DNG

          Looked like an error to me but like you I didn’t see a definitive view. It appeared as if it went right through the keeper from a tight angled shot.

          • Ethan

            Yeah. Regardless, I’m thinking she made a bigger error on Dunn’s second goal. I was having some stream issues; so I didn’t see it live and didn’t get a good viewing of it later. Strange that the commentators were very confident in saying that she couldn’t be faulted for any of the goals.

          • DNG

            Not many USWNT commentators are openly harsh on air. DiCicco being one of the few exceptions. I disagree with him all the time too though so…

          • Kevin

            Wagner is sometimes, I think even moreso than DiCicco.

          • DNG

            Less so lately. She was pretty critical of Morgan during one of the Thorns FS1 matches after the WC where Morgan was coming back from injury. She thought Morgan’s wasn’t timing her runs well enough and was taking poor angles that made it very difficult for her teammates to get her the ball.

          • Kevin

            She was a little critical of Morgan and Lloyd in the SBC… against England I think.

          • mockmook

            Wagner got on Dunn pretty good in this game for all the off-sides

          • Breakers fan

            My hope here is simply that Crystal learns from it. Better to happen against Russia in a friendly she otherwise did well in than a more important game. She hasn’t played striker all that often so it’s not hugely shocking she’s still within the learning curve.

          • DNG

            Here’s a replay of the goals. both of Dunn’s goals actually look very similar

            https://twitter.com/ussoccer_wnt/status/850195737199628288

          • Ethan

            Definitely same type of shot, which reminds me of Morgan’s brace against Canada in 2013.

          • Breakers fan

            Both good plays by Dunn – that’s the dominant reaction I have. First goal was a very nice shot, second goal — agree the goalie is too far (to her right, to Dunn’s left) but a properly hit shot again with her non-dominant leg. The key thing to note about goal #2 is how she stole the ball, but still kept it close to her to keep control of it and then she advanced the ball with a nice, soft dribble to allow her to get a shot off that still had a decent angle to it.

          • Ethan

            The first goal was a very nice shot. I do feel just a little weird saying that though because I agree with Kevin that that’s going wide without the keeper’s deflection.

            The second goal was a good shot/finish by Dunn. She didn’t need to aim for the corners; she just needed to get it by the keeper. Fair point on Dunn’s control and dribble.

          • Breakers fan

            Is there a behind-the-goal camera angle of Dunn’s first goal? I don’t doubt you, I just haven’t seen that angle yet – it’s the only one that would definitively tell you if you are right about that, of course.

            And about the 2nd goal – the praise deserved there is primarily as I said before – dispossessing the opponent, keeping it close and not exerting a heavy touch on the pre-shot dribble. Compared to what she did there the shot was easier.

        • Kevin

          I thought the same thing. Looked like it went right under her armpit and hit her arm right above her elbow, which if anything would have deflected the shot towards the net and it barely went in the side netting.

          From the camera angle and physics, I’d actually hypothesize that her shot was going to go wide.

          It looked like she made a similar mistake on Dunn’s 2nd goal as well.

          • Ethan

            Looking more closely, I think you’re right about Belyaeva on Dunn’s second goal. Right now, I just think her positioning was a bigger issue. (Although I’m looking to see if I’ve been too harsh there. Probably want to find a different angle of the goal at some point.)

          • Ethan

            I just watched the goal on U.S. Soccer’s YouTube page. Belyaeva definitely deflected the ball, and I think you’re right that her touch took it into the goal. She just couldn’t deal with the bounce of the shot.

            On the second goal, she couldn’t get down quickly enough. But she also didn’t check her positioning, which she did for Dunn’s goal.

  • Gary Diver

    Let the exaggerated hype of great performances begin. USWNT beats up on a tomato can and people fall over each other to gush accolades. Could Russia beat most top 10 NCAA teams? It would have been more meaningful and fun to watch the U23 team play Russia.

    • Frozen Blue

      No doubt, Russia was not as good as I hoped they would be, we played almost the whole game on offense in the offensive half yet even though we dictating play we didn’t look that good and only had 4 goals.

    • HOFCToDi

      USSF steps towards rehabilitation:

      3. Revert to four back formation

      equalizersoccer.com/2017/03/30/another-uswnt-injury-tobin-heath-out-of-camp/#comment-3233705384

      One item checked off the list.

      • Gary Diver

        Agree, but there is no law that Ellis will not reverse herself again.

        • HOFCToDi

          That’s #1 on the list along with her band of idiots.

  • Gary Diver

    Good Match?

    Beating an awful weak team 4-0 doesn’t look like a good scoreline. The US women’s hockey team just beat an awful German team tonight 11-0 in a semi-final match at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. USWNT is ranked no. 2 and Russia is ranked no. 25. USWNT should have been able to play with Russia and scored at least 6-8 goals.

    • HOFCToDi

      As was the case against SWE in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Olympics:

      Shooting Accuracy

      http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/boxscore?id=34687

      Shots Attempted 32, Shots on Goal 7

      • Steglitz49

        <25%

    • Kevin

      Hockey’s a higher scoring game. In the NHL they average almost 6 goals per game and there’s much, much, much more parity.

      • Frozen Blue

        Agreed but there should have been at least 3 more goals this game from Long alone, lots of misses all around.

        • Kevin

          Yup.

          I wasn’t impressed by Long at all, although the announcers were.

    • HOFCToDi

      Allie Long sailed a penalty kick attempt over the crossbar. 2016 Rio Olympics quarterfinals deja vu.

      • Frozen Blue

        Why did they let her take that after she missed two sitters, I was 100% sure she was going to miss.

        • HOFCToDi

          Head up, leaning back …………… perfect technique [sarcasm].

          JE’s freshly minted pet is a 14 karat fxxx-up.

  • tonysocref

    Thought I was dreaming until I read the match report.
    Lloyd only played 45 minutes against a tomato can. When was the last time this happened?

    • Kevin

      I was shocked too. Ironically, I thought she was actually having a decent game for once.

      • Frozen Blue

        Her and Dunn have chemistry…at least against tomato cans.

        • Kevin

          Pretty easy to have chemistry when the seams are 10 yards wide.

          • Frozen Blue

            True but what other forward pairing has anything remotely resembling chemistry?

          • Kevin

            Is there any pairing besides Lloyd and (insert forward here)?

          • Frozen Blue

            Sadly no.

          • DNG

            Front three of Dunn, Pugh and Heath were better against Colombia last April. Lloyd sat a bit deeper. Truth fully they just kind of played around Lloyd yesterday when they were breaking in behind. Lloyd did well to slip Dunn in on her goal but the defense there wasn’t too impressive nor the goalkeeping.

          • ARED

            Any pairing that played together without Wambach or Lloyd also playing forward/#10. I may have missed one or two matches, but I don’t think that has happened very often….even for maybe these past 10 years….lol.

          • ARED

            Yes, that was a very nice ball from Lloyd. One that the Russian backline was begging to be played over and over, and Lloyd found it once over two matches….. ; )

            At least Dunn stayed onside this time, so the ball was not spoiled.

      • AlexH

        I got that impression too. I was happy with how she played.

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    • Reality

      Although I was also a bit shocked at Lloyd being benched, on the other hand, Ellis wouldn’t have dared and Lloyd would have been very displeased if she had been taken out in any important game. But since this was against a 3rd tier team and Lloyd’s priority is avoiding injury for the upcoming CL games against Lyon, it makes more sense. You can be sure she will always get at least a half in any game since the 100 goals prize is within reach. However, even against this team, she didn’t make any progress toward her goal. We’ll see what transpires on Sunday.

      • ARED

        So, the USWNT benefits from her move to Europe -if only due to the travel and scheduling demands finally adding up to her not playing every 90….lol.

        • Reality

          Lloyd and Galanis have their master plan for her greater glory. The USWNT ironically gains temporary relief as does Houston for that matter, although one gets the impression that the Dash is low on her list of priorities. If MC somehow wins the CL, especially with a golazo by Lloyd…”shudder”…, she will easily be playing every game with the NT through 2020 and beyond. It will make Wambach seem reasonable in comparison.

          • ARED

            There’s a chance I suppose especially with the Germans facing the French clubs. It would be interesting if success in CL would help Lloyd continue to be favored over Press (and now several others), whose CL exploits only got her so far with the USWNT….lol.

          • Reality

            Press had the highest point total of any player during the 2013-2014 CL with 9 goals and 6 assists. She literally carried Tyreso to the finals. However, she did not have winning golazo in the final against Wolfsburg.

            http://www.uefa.com/teamsandplayers/teams/club=2600845/profile/index.html

            It just demonstrates that one can be a mediocre player most of the time like Lloyd, but as long as you make the occasional big goal at the critical time, your status as great is assured.

            Lloyd already is favored by Ellis over anyone else on the team. However, things can always get worse.

          • ARED

            I remember it well. ; )

            I would add to make it “(as long as you have a guaranteed starting position for 8 years and) make the occasional big goal….”.

            From Holiday, Averbuch, Lindsay, even Wagner, and now Brian, Long, Press, Pugh, Dunn, Lavelle, etc, there are just so many players who would love to have had even half the time Lloyd had in CM/CAM roles to cement her status. While someone like Solo deserves it, any GK would be a “legend” for the USA. I believe that an extended run in an attacking role essentially guarantees the same. You do need talent of course, but you will get so many chances against so many poor teams, of course you’ll look good at times and win a lot of games.

          • Reality

            You make an excellent point re: the forward position on the USWNT. If you are so fortunate as to snag that gig on a regular basis, it is inevitable that your goal totals will accumulate over time to a considerable figure. What makes Press’s goal total of 41 in 85 games impressive is that it was achieved with her being played out of position in multiple roles to which she was unaccustomed. Given her history of scoring as a forward throughout her career on every other team she has been on where she has been deployed correctly at the forward position, it is safe to assume that if she had gotten the forward gig when she first came on the team, her goal totals would be considerably better. But Wambach, Morgan and now Lloyd have enjoyed that considerable advantage.

          • ARED

            Yep. Wambach is the big example for me. I do not rate her too highly especially in relation to her goal records -and especially from 2011 onward. Impressive statistics yes, but she was in the best position to score in the world for over 10 years, scored mostly against average teams, and even still for most of the goals it was mostly just that short players could not stop her in the air. A great player, but if she were on Korea or even England, I think we’d see her be lucky to get 84 goals (not 184).

            Press’ USA goal record was strong already in 2013 and 2014, even as mostly a sub. At that time it seemed obvious to see the pair of Morgan *with* Press to score the goals heading into the WC, but Wambach somehow held her place. Unfortunately to this day Ellis has avoided trying that pair, and now Lloyd has moved from the role of blocking players like Holiday/Heath/Rapinoe, to the Wambach role of blocking Press -and now the many other newer attackers who have come into the picture. Press, to be fair, still has a very strong goal record, especially goals/90minutes. Also, 41 goals in 41 starts. Not so bad. Who knows if Press/Morgan should both have been playing for 4 years now, but it sure seems like idea to have tried it for awhile….lol.

  • Ethan

    DNG, Fun question: Would the Premier League and other men’s football leagues be harsh enough to not give Pugh the assist on Long’s second goal?

    • DNG

      I’m not sure. If they thought it clearly hit the defenders head first I’d say probably. I they couldn’t really definitively know from the video replay they might give it to her.

      • Ethan

        Thanks. So they probably wouldn’t give Pugh the assist because the slowed down replay clearly shows the defender heading it onto Long’s head. (I’d definitely give Pugh the assist.)

        • #1Fan

          it was a great ball in. Her best moment in the game for me. Wonderful shape on it and just the right pace.

          if she can get her head up more and deliver consistently from that spot, then she will certainly take her game to another level.

          • DNG

            She looks pretty one footed to me when it comes to serving shaped balls like that so I wonder if she might be better on the right so she can cross while still moving. I liked her run into space and low cross across the 6 to Long on that Lavelle back heel a little better than the assist.

          • Frozen Blue

            I saw that too, curious why she wasn’t on the right where she is more effective and Rose on the left since she doesn’t seem to have a right foot.

          • #1Fan

            the wanted inversion, but pugh tends to go end line instead of cutting in and shooting on strong foot. I thought they should have interchanged more

          • DNG

            She tried cutting in a couple of times. She has trouble dribbling through traffic and coming out with the ball though so it makes sense to me that she has preferred to go end line.

          • #1Fan

            dont be so hard on her. Why do you hate her so much ?

            😉

            I see the USSF went outside the box for the u17 and U20 hires

          • DNG

            So what you’re really saying is that they basically did the same thing with Carr and Klimkova that they did with Snow and Franch and promoted from within. If they weren’t looking at part time options, I’m not surprised they went this route. Not going to get any great college coach to leave for the U20s and U17s. While I say this I don’t really know much about Carr or Klimkova’s coaching styles or their ability to evaluate talent. Hopefully there will at least be more rotation(I know long shot).

          • #1Fan

            yep. Its the same people ALL the time . its one big happy family?

          • rkmid71

            I believe AH said “they know the player pool the best”. They seem to like their job. Rotation or looking at new players? That’s too common sense. One wonders how they explain the U17, U20 repeated failures amongst themselves. It’s forcing them to try very hard to hype the smallest successes.

          • Breakers fan

            Rose’s right foot will surprise you. It’s good. Not as good as her natural left but good – you’ll see.

          • Frozen Blue

            Then why didn’t she use it when she had an open shot inside the 18, instead she dragged it to her left and into traffic getting no shot off, I don’t even remember a right footed cross from her all night.

          • Breakers fan

            I’m unable to get into her head there – probably figured she could maybe do more going left, that something else might open up with another player maybe making a run she could feed. I’m not inclined towards that degree of micromanagement or microcriticism of one instance of a player who had overall a very good game but that’s just my style of overall evaluation and commentary. I’ve seen her use her right a good amount. Just be a little patient – you’ll get to see it.

          • mockmook

            Lavelle cuts back: Terrible!!!!

            A.Morgan continues wide: Terrible!!!! Why is she cutting down her angle?

          • Breakers fan

            GOAL!!!

          • DNG

            Hey I said that it’s not always the wrong decision to make the angle worse!!!!

          • mockmook

            Someone appears to have a “guilty” conscience 🙂

  • Gary Diver

    PKs

    What do the statistics tell us? It seems to me that Americans are not particularly good at PKs. Alex Morgan is not good at them and doesn’t like to take them. Press’ OG16 field goal was pathetic. And if I remember correctly there was a period during last year’s NWSL season where the PK misses kept piling up.

    Allie Long’s and Christen Press’ field goals seem like chokes. Is there more to it than that? Are Americans particularly bad at PKs?

    • Ethan

      If either Brian or Horan were on the field, I’m sure one of them (maybe Brian is higher in the pecking order) would have taken the PK. (I’m actually not sure how many penalty kicks Horan has taken in game action past high school. I suppose Brian doesn’t have the biggest sample size either. However, they both seem pretty competent at them.) The one penalty I’ve seen Rapinoe take was absolutely superb, but very small sample size. I believe Press has scored her last two penalties. Maybe it’s the fact that they take so few penalty kicks in game situations? I don’t know. Germany didn’t light things up in the penalty kick shootout against Italy in Euro 2016, and you know what they say about Germans and penalty kick shootouts.

      Edit: That wasn’t a particularly long period during the NWSL season though.

      • kernel_thai

        I think Long used to take them for the Thorns before Nadim showed up

        • Ethan

          She did, but she missed a couple in a row, which led to Morgan taking the one against Sky Blue. (Sinclair would have taken it if she hadn’t been taking off injured.) Given her record and how her kicks have looked, Nadim definitely deserves being the designated taker ahead of Long. Lloyd really is the only player in the NT with a significant penalty kick sample size.

    • HOFCToDi

      Andi Sullivan is the savior!

      Corner Kicks
      Free Kicks
      Penalty Kicks

      Free us from the roaring dumpster fire that is Allie Long!

      http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xx0AopECie8/UW9Q-JLY46I/AAAAAAAAAhw/Ti_ST53dPqY/s1600/Dumpster-Fire.jpg

      • dw

        Long >> Sullivan, sorry. She should have had 5. Getting her out of CB was the critical change.

        • Gary Diver

          I agree with HOFCToDi that Sullivan has great potential and Ellis needs her. Let’s hope she can make a full recovery from her ACL tear. Honestly, do you see Allie Long as a better option than Andi Sullivan for WC19?

          • dw

            Generally, yes. A lot is speculative coming back from ACL, and Lavelle has already leapfrogged her way into Sullivan’s spot. With the new CBA guaranteeing (most likely) Veteran Protection through WWC19, it will be tough for someone to break in, considering we have 9 players already vying for say 7 spots. And it probably sounds crazy, but Long has been a late bloomer, and I think she STILL has upside, especially moving her up the pitch, which honestly might never happen. But since USWNT aerial threat is reeling, Long may find an additional niche role there as well, adding to her overall versatility in general. And it’s not like losing a step will cost her much either. So, my honest projection has Long higher on the depth chart than Pinoe, Horan, and Mewis in 2 years and maybe even with someone like Morgan Brian, who IMO is on the decline, so you would need a bunch of players to displace Long, not just Sullivan. And I wouldn’t project Sullivan to be higher than Long in 2 years. Lavelle, certainly, and probably in less than 2 years.

          • #1Fan

            Has she? I saw Sullivan as more of a 6/8 option .

          • HOFCToDi

            Andi Sullivan is a #6 and not a flank midfielder.

          • CED

            Lavelle and Sullivan don’t actually play the same position. Lavelle is possibly a #10 or can play wide attacking MF. Sullivan is more of pivot or more of a holding MF depending on the system and how you want to number it #6 or #8. She’s a pivot. Sullivan would actually be in competition with Mewis or Long or Brian. The thing is nobody knows really b/c there is no system. Nobody knows if they will playing 5 MF’s system or 4, but it will surely cater to the albatross of Lloyd.

          • dw

            Well at least you qualified your very sensible comment with the reality that this is the WNT, and there is no system. You are in the MF pool, and if you rank higher (read: have seniority), you will be shoehorned into an non-natural position rather than have another player who might be better at that position (read: younger than you) selected ahead of you. That’s USWNT roster selection since time immemorial.

          • mockmook

            Lavelle’s senior year was spent at DM where she excelled.

          • Guest

            What’s your definition of excelled in that position in that year? I personally thought she was less than inspiring and her statistics were poor considering the huge amounts of minutes played and the huge number of shots she took.

          • mockmook

            “What’s your definition of excelled in that position in that year?”

            She won many plaudits for 2016 (and, that certainly factored in to her being drafted #1). The most important plaudit she “won” was that I thought she excelled at that position.

            What statistics would impress you for a DM? What statistics show how good of a job a DM is doing?

        • HOFCToDi

          Allie Long is a defensive disaster waiting to happen.

          Oh wait, it already has ……………………………………..

          2017 SheBelieves Cup
          USA 0 FRA 3

  • Guest

    What’s been up with Pugh lately? She made a few good plays (it was Russia, Everton did) but most of the time she seemed to be playing with tunnel vision and seemed to never make the right pass. I noticed this in the SBC games as well.

    • #1Fan

      if you looked back at the history of Pugh comment in the last year on EQ, some of us have said this for a long time. She is a dribbler. She is not a player of vision.;

      Maybe over time she will be. The original hype built on beating awful teams seems to have subsided to a more realistic assessment.

      I remember when people were calling her the best player on the team. Is that now Lavelle ? [JOKE]

      • DNG

        I don’t really think I’d call her a dribbler. I guess she is a good dribbler in open space. I think her vision is okay but her decision making a couple of times yesterday could have been better. She has a tendency to force in crosses when she gets trapped in the corner.

        • #1Fan

          because she traps herself there . she runs , head down and then runs herself out of options.

          I see potential, but if I am honest, I dont think she has separated herself from other similar player at all.

          • DNG

            Usually there should still be a short circulation option at the corner of the 18. It’s a learning process and she’s trying to make stuff happen so I can be a little patient. She’s still pretty good at getting end line and crossing. I do think her dribbling movements still really rigid compared to how fluid Pinoe looks when she changes direction with the ball.

          • Bruce

            Compare to what we were saying about Pinto last week. I’d much rather see a young player trying to do too much than the alternative.

            Not sure what Lavelle will ultimately be, but she’s going to be fun to watch.

          • #1Fan

            Pinto would actually excel in a game like yday becasue she does not need the spotlight. Would just keep the ball moving.

            Pinto is going to struggle defensively vs better teams, but in ydays game she would have been fine.

          • kernel_thai

            My worry about the Lavelle adjustment is on Wisconsin she had to do everything and Boston may be similar. She needs to play within herself on this team.

          • Breakers fan

            She shouldn’t have to do everything on Boston, as much as with Wisconsin, though even there I wouldn’t use the word “everything”. If she is doing good things with Boston I don’t care how much she does. The goal is to help the team the most you can, not put a cap on yourself. I don’t see her as a selfish player, though. I see her as one who is trying to advance the ball, improve the team’s position at any point in time. As far as “playing within herself” – kind of a vague term, you’d have to explain it a bit more – do you mean “limit herself more?” I like a creative player who is willing to take chances like she did last night. It’s not always going to work out but when it does the rewards can lead to goals – which are of course the Hoiy Grail, the object of the sport. What all the work is for. She’ll have to pick and choose her moments but I trust her judgment about that.

          • kernel_thai

            Her role on the NT is get the ball to the scorers in good places. She is new to this team and gets a pass from me for a while. Still, her play reminded me most of Rapinoe who also has moments of brilliance with the ball at her feet. My problem with Rapinoe over the years is that she seems to consider everyone else the second option.

          • mockmook

            “she seems to consider everyone else the second option”

            I don’t think Lavelle will ever go that route — she appears to be the self deprecating type.

          • kernel_thai

            Hopefully not but this isn’t new territory. We went thru a long spell with Heath where she would take on just because she could and end up dribbling into double teams and cough up the ball. It took a long time for Heath to become more selective in her attacks so they were a positive. Im hoping for a shorter learning curve for Lavelle.

          • Breakers fan

            If she’s going to play centrally then another part of her role on the NT is to score but I agree with what you say is her primary role. She did that in that game, brilliantly at times as you say, and I feel otherwise was trying to. Sometimes you have to hold onto the ball longer to create a real opportunity- that is perfectly fine with me. Rigid players are common. Mostly I agree with you about quick passing – but she did that too – the back heel was as fast as you can get rid of the ball. But, also,those players who “wait”, who have the ability to keep the ball until something is there are rare, and I prefer them as they indicate that someone has ball skills – something that is always preferable in a player. But yes, there were 1 or 2 times, as I recall from just one viewing of the game, that she held onto the ball too long – my definition of “too long” probably differs from yours a bit, but I also feel that there is no rigid touch or time limit always and necessarily.

            It’s to be expected that an intellectual forum such as this will have a sort of desire to go against the grain, against what the masses are being fed and say that Lavelle was actually *not* good in this game so I’m not surprised to see that view popping up in this thread. It seems that finding a way to be critical in every instance is some sign of ultimate enlightenment about the sport. Your use of her “getting a pass” indicates you may be in that camp in this regard.

            I I don’t think she was flawless but I’m with the masses and commentators in thinking her first half at least was excellent. Her 2nd? I wish I’d saved the game on my dvr, but it’s one half of one game even if it wasn’t great – not saying it was bad, my recall is that it was just ok. I don’t bear down with extreme force on players like a lot of people do if I see real talent and then see an error or two. I see those special abilities in her – no doubt created by putting the hours and hours and hours of work in. It didn’t just magically arrive in her. And I think I’m definitely more on the side of allowing and encouraging flair and individual play at times in players able to do so. But that which is done in the service of the team, and I feel strongly that Rose fits into that category. Your last sentence indicates you do not, correct me if I’m wrong. We disagree there most likely in assessing her level of selfishness.

            I also am not as harsh on Rapinoe as you are, though do agree with you at times about her. It’s super early with Rose. I plan to enjoy it and even if she weren’t on the Breakers I would do so. I’m certainly not going to be wringing my head and hands about her every touch. That’s the opposite, I imagine, of what I’m going to do with regard to her, though I know I’ll be in the minority here in taking that approach.

          • mockmook
          • Breakers fan

            Thank you! :-). Oops – 🙁

          • mockmook

            “an intellectual forum such as this”

            I just spit out my imaginary coffee (and, again, when I looked in the mirror)

          • Breakers fan

            Get some actual coffee and read it again. 🙂

            I’m sure you understood how I meant it.

          • Breakers fan

            I’m watching the 2nd half now – thanks again!

          • Breakers fan

            To clarify a little – there are a lot of smart, knowledgeable commenters here who I enjoy reading. I don’t want to paint with too broad of a brush and just because I have a point of view, generally, it doesn’t mean it’s right or superior, it’s just mine.

          • kernel_thai

            Sure there needs to be a scoring element to her game but she needs a pass first mentality. What I don’t want is her dribbling across the field looking to set something up. She needs to move the ball quickly. If the entry pass is there, do it…if not move it to the open player and make a run herself. Whenever she does these long probing runs the rest of the attack stops moving.

          • Breakers fan

            My objection to what you wrote is that it suggests that you can *never* do certain things. As if the doctrine comes before the situation you face, always. As if some scientific study has definitively proven that dribbling more than some small number of times is always worse than …even forcing a pass. I’m more lax and uncertain in my judgment of the sport than that. Part of your post has the phrase “move it to the open player”. We know what that requires – an open player. Another part of your post was “the attack stops moving”. Nothing is stopping them from moving as she dribbles. In fact, as I see it, if the defense is having to mark a moving Lavelle that is a great chance for others to make a run. She I bet is looking for open runners as she dribbles. Dribbling also forces everyone to move, it creates, as I see it, if done well. Things can open up. If she were doing long dribbling runs all the time and losing the ball then I’d have concerns. We’ve seen her in a game or two and we’re acting like we know her game well, which is ludicrous of course. And if she doesn’t lose the ball as she dribbles no big harm is done. If she does lose the ball dribbling it is the same as making an errant pass. Possible we’ll always interpret/evaluate her play differently.

          • mockmook

            Best comment ever in the history of the internet….

            (or, perhaps I’m slightly exaggerating)

          • Breakers fan

            I’m blushing, and feverishly looking to upvote every comment of yours I can find!

          • kernel_thai

            Pretend ur a forward standing on the shoulder of ur defender. Ur options r make ur runs and be off side or stand around and wait till the pass is actually made. Id much rather see one and two touch passing. The forwards know what to expect and defense has to chase a moving ball instead a player dribbling the ball.

          • Breakers fan

            But you’re acting here like Lavelle is an eternally dribbling machine – that she also doesn’t execute 1 and 2 touch passing. Do you think that of her? Each situation is different. Dribbling can lead to good outcomes – look at what it did for her at the endline the other night. I don’t set hard and fast rules that must always be followed. Think of Marta dribbling the ball. Ohai beats people on the dribble with her speed at times does she not? I’m not in the “never dribble” crowd.

          • kernel_thai

            It’s not only Lavelle. There was a play in the second half with Pugh coming down the left side with the ball. Morgan was on her outside pacing her while Dunn and Lavelle were making runs at the posts. Instead of moving it to one of her three options Pugh decides to dribble it across the top of the 18. Those 3 attackers who were going at full speed now have to pull up their runs to stay on side and the advantage was lost. Pugh ended up pushing it outside to O’Hara on the flank. As to which crowd…While passing is usually best, dribbling towards goal forcing defenders is ok as long as u can get the pass off. Dribbling laterally usually plays into the defenses hands.

          • Steglitz49

            That is Pugh’s Achilles heel. Until now, that type of play has paid dividends for her but what gets you here does not get you there, if you see what I mean.

            Pugh has to learn a new way of playing but with her college days ahead of her, time is on her side. Rose Lavelle is here and now and has to make any leap asap.

          • Steglitz49

            Marta is the greatest. Even today as she is getting older and the injuries have taken their toll, Marta is still one of the very best players in WoSo.

            Not really fair to compare to Marta. It is a bit like saying that “X is not as good at free kicks as Miyama”.

          • DNG

            I agree with your premise overall as it relates to dribbling. Dribblers can break lines and shift defensive coverage which creates openings for others to exploit. As it relates to Lavelle against Russia on Thursday, her dribbling was only okay for me. I was probably more impressed with her more simple touches away from pressure than I was with her end line touch past and nutmeg where she overcooked her dribble twice and the move ultimately led to no shots. Lavelle’s vision while dribbling was okay but she is clearly very talented and show promise. A couple of years in the NWSL will hopefully go a long way in polishing her play. She probably needs to work on her right foot(or confidence in it) too. The play where she cut in on her left instead of just taking the shot with her right at the very least displayed a lack of confidence in her right. I suppose we’ll see just how one or two footed she is soon. She actually reminds me of Heath and Rapinoe in general.

          • guest

            it certainly is alot easier to break down a defense if you can get the man advantage with timely dribbling if need be.

          • Steglitz49

            Rose Lavelle is pretty new to the USWNT while Mallory Pugh has been part of it for a year or so. Rose has to find her NT style now, in the next couple of games, while Mallory has her college days for development.

          • ARED

            “….will have a sort of desire to go against the grain, against what the masses are being fed”

            -I think this part is actually quite a good point. (About this site, and maybe a lot of other places also). But I guess I’d be more fancy academically if I imagined some abstract reason to disagree with you, even though it’s a great point!

      • AlexH

        I liked how she played though. She plays without fear and goes at the D. I thought she made some good passes off of her runs and the times that she ran herself into a dead end had more to do with her teammates slow reaction to her runs then the runs themselves.

        • #1Fan

          different view for me. I thought she played like someone pressing. trying to force things. The talent is there, but unfortunately, most teams are a big come down in terms of ability from the top few. Its hard to place performances in ydays game alongside those in the SBC.

      • Guest

        Her game winning assist in closing minutes against France in SBC last year was a tomato can? Or he assist to heath in concacaf final vs Canada? Or her running making Lucy bronze look silly vs England?

        • #1Fan

          Has anyone said she cant run and cross?

    • Ashley C

      I’ll be curious to see how she plays with Fleming (if Pugh stays long enough) because Fleming has great vision and football IQ. Perhaps they learn something from each other.

    • guest

      Pugh has always been dispossessed easily. She is also courageous and aggressive. I’m not sure why she was trying to do too much on her own last night considering she was actually an assist leader in her limited time last year. It’s probably the culture of competition … goals = glory if you are listed as a forward on this team.

      • rkmid71

        Lavelle (another newbie) was getting all the attention…even without scoring goals. And it was in a prime attaching role. Pugh is used to getting attention lavished on her and everyone telling her how great she is. Now that was diverted to Lavelle. I agree with #1Fan — she was forcing it. Basically trying to do something spectacular to regain the attention. Basic immaturity in imo. Re: culture, this culture of competition is only those “in the club” — they want to minimize competition from players outside the club. Lavellle is in the club now.

  • GT

    Only watched the first half. Very impressed in particular with LaVelle, Dunn, Pugh, and O’Hara in terms of speed, athleticism and creating opportunities. But at the same time many mistakes: off-sides, poor shots, at times poor decisions. However, all in all, very hopeful for the future. America always seems to have great athletes in the pipeline.

    • #1Fan

      Athletes have never been an issue

  • Ashley C

    I can’t gauge anything from these types of games/opponents and only watched the first 45 or so – but thought Lavelle was excellent again.

    • Frozen Blue

      While I love her dribbling she was frustrating me by the end of the half, always cutting in to play it on her left, no crosses in on her right and she passed up an open shot with her right to cut it into traffic for her left and lose the ball.

      • ARED

        Until Ellis drops Lloyd or plays Lavelle in middle I would get used to seeing this. I agree it can be a problem, but as with Heath it can still be quite effective -and is probably a better option than trying to build chances another way (like using Lloyd).

    • kernel_thai

      Lavelle is endlessly slick but u can’t really gauge anything about her either because the Russian defense was so slow. I did like her inside tho

      • Ashley C

        I thought she had a lot of positive moments during SBC but I really want to see her in an environment where the match matters and the pressure of that. SBC is good but even then it’s a glorified friendly.

  • sudeep das

    A bit off topic – is the USWNT the only top team not to score against Sweden? Everybody else is finding a way to penetrate the Swedish defense it seems.

    • guest123

      They scored against them in Rio.

      • sudeep das

        Yeah my bad – somehow that match still feels like a goalless draw – maybe due to those numerous futile attempts on goal by the USWNT.

    • guest123

      Also, if you back to November 2011 they scored in a friendly in Arizona. They tied the game late to keep that home winning streak going.

  • kernel_thai

    As the game was a waste of good grass, I might as well try and have fun rating the players
    Naeher…B…Could have used a chair and a book
    Pugh…B-…still basically just running at people but did have that sweet assist
    Mewis…B+…steady with some nice thru balls
    Sauerbrunn…B…or maybe she could read to Naeher
    O’Hara…B+…very active getting forward and into the offense
    Klingenberg…C-…Invisible…cant ever remember her being such a non factor
    Rodriguez…C…not a wide player
    Lloyd…B…some nice passes and a great turn on the shot that hit the post
    Krieger…B-…standard fare from a defend 1st player in this type match
    Morgan…B…some nice short combining but didn’t produce good runs in the box
    Short…B…very active , liked her better at outside back
    Rapinoe…C+…impact type who didn’t make much of one…looked healthy tho
    Lavelle…A-…Insanely slick/can’t penalize her for plodding defense
    Dunn…B+…2 Goals and nice passes…needs to be able to count to 2 to be on side
    Long…B+…2 goals. who in their right mind would play her at CB?
    Oyster…INC…didnt really get tested enough to form an opinion.
    Press…B…made some nice runs but couldn’t convert, seemed a little out of sync

    • Frozen Blue

      I would change O’Hara’s to a B- she was active but her crosses were poor, Long missed 3 easy goals, she was a C+, her 2 goals were her only highlights, and Lavelle has to use her right foot to get an A, so a B/B+ for her.

      • DNG

        O’hara’s crosses could have been better but the speed, fitness and overlapping runs is something this team desperately needs to keep in the lineup. She was also pretty calm in possession.

        • AlexH

          The crosses are key though, are they not. Otherwise the overlap is wasted. KO played ok on D but I thought she should have done better in the attack especially given the lame opponent.

          • DNG

            It is and something she can work on. It doesn’t help at all that this team has no great aerial presence.

          • Frozen Blue

            You can’t exactly blame her bad crossing on the lack of targets when the ball goes right to the goalie. Also she had Long, Lloyd and Mewis as targets all very good with their heads.

          • #1Fan

            how was Pugh crossing? Or even lavelle? inconsistent,

          • Frozen Blue

            Poor, all were poor and it’s something the team needs to improve on.

          • DNG

            It could be better and it’s something I’d be willing to work through given the other options. It’s not like she’s never made a good cross they just weren’t great yesterday.

      • kernel_thai

        Two goals from a deep midfielder r a pretty big highlight. She does get dinged for the PK and the open shot she drubbed.

    • guest

      Press was more of a B-. Shooting was off, looked inactive and a bit lost even compared to Morgan who I generally don’t favor over Press.

  • guest123

    In spite of the win against Russia yesterday, either the USWNT or stadium security has got to do better to prevent pitch invaders. It is really concerning (no matter what the intention is) that a pitch invader has gotten to Alex Morgan 2x in Texas within the last year. The last one was when the Pride played Houston. Ironically, they play in Houston on Sunday.

    https://twitter.com/Uswnt_khalessi/status/850229905774133249

  • AlexH

    So Jill was quoted by the sideline reporter that the WNT needs to find 3 elite CB. Aside from “No Duh” the obvious response is, “Then why the hell did you keep putting Allie Long (who may be serviceable but never elite at the position), Brunn (who we pretty much know what their is to know about) and JJ (also well known and not elite) instead of trying to find new people?”

    • HOFCToDi

      Jill Ellis wasted six months on Allie Long playing in a back three while Emily Sonnett rotted on the bench.

      ussoccer.com/womens-national-team/lineups/2016-lineups

      • CED

        Jill is a waste….stop..end.

        • HOFCToDi

          So much for the brilliance of foreign coaches:

          Jurgen Klinsmann – Germany
          Jill Ellis – England

          • Steglitz49

            Pia Sundhage — Sweden

            Even Pellerud _ Norway (Canada, TnT and then Norway again)

        • kernel_thai

          To be blunt Ellis is a cancer. Her decision not only effect this team but r probably undermining future teams.

          • ARED

            She undermined her own “future” team all along. They narrowly won the WC despite that, but at the Olympics they could not overcome it. I don’t think they will win in 2019 unless Ellis drops Lloyd and turns over the team to the others in time. It could already be too late, but in 2015 she waited until the tournament already had started, so we cannot know at this moment for sure.

  • truf

    How many people have posted “Why should Rose be on this team? What has she done? She’s tiny,..etc etc”

    i cannot tell you how many times i’ve had to defend her…proving, most posters here don’t actually bother to watch our players OR they really don’t know much about this sport.

    • guest

      She puts on a good show. ‘Nuff said.

    • #1Fan

      or proving that some have a different opinion to you. Do you feel vindicated basis last night?

      • guest

        Serious question, is there any player that you are excited about?

        • #1Fan

          I not even sure what that means . I enjoy watching Fishlock, Little, Rebnard, Le Sommer., Maroszan, Fleming. a few others.

          Im not sure what excited about means.

          In general the game the US plays does not excite me much and watching them bully awful teams at home is not exciting at all t o me.

          • guest

            I meant american players.

          • #1Fan

            i believe I answered your question.

          • DNG

            Young players I’d personally be excited with if the US had a good coach. Brian and Horan.

          • anon

            ha. I think you and I are the only Horan fans on here. I’m less of a fan of Brian – as far as a CAM I think Lavelle has more potential and Mewis has more potential at DM. I’m curious to see her up front but there is so much talent at forward that I’m not sure what to think at this point.

          • #1Fan

            do you really think there is so much talent at forward?

          • AlexH

            It all depends if you think a fwd need to kick the ball within those stick thingies.

          • #1Fan

            i did not make the original comment

          • guest

            It’s hard to know considering we are still dragging Arod and Leroux along, and not playing or calling up youngins with potential.

          • DNG

            I don’t think Lavelle will ever have the vision and passing ability that Brian currently does. If you played Brian as the 10 in a team like Portland I think you’d see a special player

          • anon

            What I like about Lavelle is that she is a hustler. She is also faster than Brian. Lavelle just captures my attention.. Brian has never done that. I also think she’s mediocre in Houston. I’m curious to see how they both do this NWSL season.

          • DNG

            When you can move the ball fast and play at a very high tempo. Foot speed is not essential. Look at the Japanese women’s NT if you want some proof of it working.

          • anon

            I agree re Japan but I think Lavelle can do both. I’d like to see her in a stretch of games at CAM but we all know Ellis is going to shuffle her out to the wing now. Again, I’m curious to see what she adds to the Breakers.

          • DNG

            Lavelle, the player I saw yesterday, does not move the ball like Brian.

          • LM

            Sadly, I found the game boring and the US play very predicable. Much of the attack was comprised of crosses and ambitious shots from outside the box. With the opponent and all the time and space, I was hoping to see more quick combinations and fluidity. Seemed like a lot of selfish play. Does the new contract pay bonuses for SOGs?

          • #1Fan

            when playing a team that over matched, i wanted to see one 2 touch play, fast ball movement leading to tap ins.

            I saw a lot of dribbling, most of it with no end product and some great individual touches fro a few players.

            In games like that its very easy to dominate the ball. That tendency has to be resisted. I felt Lavelle and Pugh played like they were trying to show us all how much they can do.

            I would like them to relax a bit and let the game come to them a bit more. let the ball move and watch the gaps open instead of forcing it off the dribble.

            I think they will in time.

          • DNG

            To be fair they did create a couple of chances that could have resulted in tap ins had AL had a better game. I don’t think the players we saw last night are were a group of one and two touch players. Could they potentially be in the future, sure, but that’s not what they are now. Ellis seems to just let the players work out problems on their own out there so I’m not sure there is any clear directive to play that way.

          • rkmid71

            To play quickly is a choice by all the players, individually and collectively. It doesn’t matter what they do against poor teams. It matters against good teams. There is clearly no directive to play that way … otherwise players that don’t play that way (assuming the coaches know what they’re doing which is a big assumption) would be benched or not selected to begin with.

          • Guest

            Little while back I said that Fleming was the quality of the NCAA and I think you argued with me. She’s my favorite player in the world right now. Maybe not because she’s the best yet, but because she has the potential to be and is different from the rest. She’s unusually fun to watch in the way she comes up with unusual and sometimes unpredictable solutions to the problems she encounters on the field. Unfortunately I wonder if the USA would have even “developed her” in our youth system much less our ynt system. Is she a “Messi equivalent” the USA too focused on the fast and physical and less on the sophistication to be able to spot genius in its childhood ranks?

          • #1Fan

            The discussion was would Fleming be better if she went pro. I think i recall saying yes she would, but that was not too important. Either way, I enjoy watching her play.

          • Steglitz49

            She must go to college. No bones about it.

        • Bill

          maybe watch the French team or the Lyon team?

          Watch how many players pass fast, pass well, pass to lead the other players in stride, square to shoot in a step and shoot fast.

          i had not until recently. It really helps “see” our team and players.

          Hope that helps…i meant it with all good intentions

          • guest

            Why has France choked hard in every competition? When was the last time they placed at a major event? They beat us at SBC because of Ellis’ bad personnel decisions. I’m not that sold on LeSommer, Thomis and co. Abily is getting up there in age so they probably can’t rely on her much longer. Henry and Renard are my favorite french players.

          • HOFCToDi

            All I have seen from France this decade is failure:

            2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup – 4th
            2012 Summer Olympics – 4th
            2013 UEFA Women’s Euro – 5th
            2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup – 5th
            2016 Summer Olympics – 6th

      • AlexH

        Why are you so hard on Rose? She isn’t a good as all the fawning commentary, but it’s not like she sucked either. Considering her newness to the team, the fact that SBC opponents were real and, most importantly, the vomit worthy performance of many of her cohorts in recent games, I think there are better places for your worry and derision. I could provide you with a list in the unlikely event that you do not have one.

        • DNG

          I though she was okay and that’s it. Same as pretty much every other player that played against an Russia who are a very poor team.

        • #1Fan

          Balanced commentary is not hard. In fact the boom bust analysis basis the opponent is far more irrational and stupid.

    • CED

      Instead of trying to crow you should be asking questions and be disturbed. Lavelle had shown nothing before this year though being in camps for a over a year. Why? She was never played. So, if Lavelle was so great as people who watch training claimed and is now just getting to show in actual games, it’s b/c Ellis finally decided to play her. That is just another indictment of how horrible a coach Ellis is and the corrupt WNT system. Logic would say, Lavelle didn’t suddenly become good the last 2 months. So, the truth is Ellis kept a MF on the roster for OG who was unfit to play(rapinoe), while never even giving Lavelle a chance, she was never capped. Btw, this was the same time the team needed a playmaker in the MF. Somebody who could have possibly broke down the Sweden bunker that knocked them out. Why? The vet protection system! If Lavelle was never given a chance in 2016 she couldn’t show she was1000 times more fit and able to contribute over Rapinoe. Rapinoe was physically unfit for the OG, but was kept to collect roster bonuses and what they all thought would be a huge bonus for winning the OG.

      • truf

        If you actually follow soccer, you would have seen rose play for years against professionals in the U23, U20, U18 tournaments.
        She has had these skills for years and has always delivered. So I have. I idea what you’re talking about.

        • CED

          Too busy trying to crow about U results, which mean garbage b/c the world is littered with U stars who bust. You thus misses the entire point…typical WNT fangirl thinking

          • truf

            About 90 percent of stars under 30 played in at least a U20 tournament. You really don’t know what ur talking about.
            Fan girl? No. informed? Yes.

          • CED

            U teams around the world are even more tomato cans than full Woso NT. Concacaf U teams are absolutely utter garbage. That’s why U results mean garage the competition is mostly garbage. It’s why the U teams have inflated records and then when they face had decent teamsthey lose in U wcup…They have inflated perceptions b/c of garbage competition they face 95% of the time. A 2 year old knows more about the game than you..You’re the king od the fangirls..overtaking Lorehead in your ignorance.

          • mockmook

            U teams as a group are competitively closer because players haven’t dropped out to get jobs

          • Steglitz49

            I am with MockMook on this one. The U19/20 and even the U17 have a different pattern from the seniors.

      • guest

        i still can’t believe ellis and rapinoe were not fired after the rio olympic disaster for their selfish, deceptive and incompetent behavior.

        • mockmook

          Perhaps this tells you something about Gulati at the USSF

  • AlexH

    So here are a few things I observed. I am trying not to get carried away by the score so these are points not made by the commentators.
    1) While everybody seems to be having a Rose-gasm, I was a bit concerned that she passed up a golden opportunity to take a point blank shot with her right foot but rather cutting the ball back to her left. She played fantastic, but a professional who is confident enough to execute a no-look nutmeg really ought to have the confidence and ability to shoot with either foot when in the 18.
    2) On that topic I was pleased that Dunn scored both of her goals on the move and with her left foot. It really shouldn’t be that praiseworthy but for the fact that nobody on the team seems to be able to put the ball on frame with any regularity, so Dunn really needs to play up top. (BTW I thought her offside strategy was BRILLIANT as she was clearly trying to wear out the linesman’s arm early in order to set up offside runs latter in the game!)
    3) Allie Long proved that you can score 2 goals in a game and still manage to disgrace herself. She missed golden opportunities, her passes were mediocre and every time she touched the ball it was like somebody hit the slow motion button on the remote. If Jill has finally come to the conclusion that Carli isn’t going to be our AM then she really needs to try RL in that spot. Long should go to the bench and assume the role of team Swiss Army Knife because she is OK at lots of things but really not great at anything.

    • Bill

      Comments and impressions with out much thought to them:

      I am not sure that RL is a 90 minute player yet.

      Pinoe seems to have lost a lot of speed and quickness

      Pugh does not seem to have vision yet and i dont think she can out speed or break down enough other national team opponent players.

      Short has improved since the 2016 fall games

      Mewis is not only good, she is improving

      Mewis and a fully back Sullivan would make this an interesting team.

      Mewis and Sullivan and Heath on one side and Lavelle on the other with Dunn and whoever would make for an interesting team.

      Krieger was benched for a few games in favor of Long as a defender?

      I suspect Press will be passed by as one of the four forwards on the team by 2019. Long I hope will be surpassed.

      I do think the team was happier to play a 4 back and responded with more energy

      • guest

        There isn’t really another Player that can do what Press does. She is different than the others. I think her spot is pretty solid unless she gets hurt. They need a vet presence in the front and I figure it will be her and Morgan if healthy.

        • guest

          Press was pretty bad last night but she isn’t an end of game spark plug and it is stupid to use her that way. She should start and play the bulk of the minutes depending on the opponent

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe she is being eased out? Given enough rope to …

        • Steglitz49

          If Christen wants to stay on the WNT for WC-19, she had better start delivering the goods. Alex and Crystal could play up front.

          • guest

            oh shut up. She is more effective than Morgan right now. She is just a better pure forward than the others. She was the only difference maker in the SBC when she actually got to play a full game. Alex and Dunn have their strengths, but Press is the best in front of the goal.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex Morgan put in sterling service for Lyon in both games against the Shewolves. Lyon pay her 25,000€ per month for the pleasure.

            Crystal Dunn plays for Chelsea and Carli for Man City while HAO is with the Gunners. Basta.

          • guest

            Morgan Press
            Dunn Lavelle Mewis Heath
            KO Brunn JJ Kriegs

          • Steglitz49

            If you are going to keep the dinosaurs on the team, you must have Carli too for consistency.

            Rejuvenate, rejuvenate, rejuvenate.

          • guest

            I think this is the best current day lineup but I agree that there is room for mix n match with others like Pugh, Brian, Williams, Sonnett, etc

          • Steglitz49

            Let’s wait and see how it goes for the 3 musketeers abroad. Will they continue to be sharp or turn into blunderbusses?

          • CED

            LOL.

          • Frozen Blue

            Don’t put KO and Dunn on the same side they have no chemistry.

          • ARED

            Have they played together much? I think that KO tends to play well with everyone, while Dunn actually I don’t think has so much chemistry with anyone in the build up play. When others find her in good positions she can score goals, but I don’t really see her finding great connections with her teammates consistently.

          • HOFCToDi

            Christen Press sucks.

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

          • HOFCToDi

            It’s only a matter of time …………………. Leroux and Morgan.

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#976021

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#972143

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971734

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971522

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971369

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971353

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971345

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971339

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971335

            fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/matches/round=250258/match=300066382/photos/index.html#971331

          • Steglitz49

            Whatever floats your boat but it was a long time ago.

        • HOFCToDi

          Christen Press sucks, dumbass.

          • guest

            Yeah, her brilliant play that led to the only SBC goal against the #1 ranked team sucked, dumbass.

          • HOFCToDi

            Keep grasping at straws:

            Christen Press
            2017 SheBelieves Cup
            Goals 0, Assists 0

            Christen Press
            2016 SheBelieves Cup
            Goals 0, Assists 0

          • HOFCToDi

            Brilliance is a spoon fed pass by Leroux to Press:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YfouCE8-54

            Since you are a dumbass, you will give no credit to Leroux.

          • guest

            What does this old play have to do with current events? Leroux is history, Press created that goal out of nothing.

          • HOFCToDi

            Keep grasping at straws.

      • HOFCToDi

        As the case with MLS ……..

        worldsoccertalk.com/podcasts/mls-tv-ratings-struggling-fix-world-soccer-talk-podcast/

        79:20

      • Reality

        As a relatively new commentator here at EQ, you are perhaps unaware that the mere mention of Press causes certain Press hating trolls to emerge to attempt to discredit her and discourage discussion.

        Having said that, let me offer a reasonable response to your comment re: Press. While I respect your opinion, I do not see any explanation for it. Please expound.

        • guest123

          Every player gets criticism. Press gets less here than most. You don’t need to run to her defense every time someone says something critical about her. Are you a relative? What is your personal investment in her?

          • DNG

            Sure, but not every player has their own personal troll. I can only think of one actually.

          • guest

            No one pays attention to that guy. Morgan, Carli, Dunn, hell even now newbies like Lavelle and Pugh get more criticism than Press does.

          • DNG

            I think everyone was criticized in the March matches except for maybe Mewis. I criticize all players when I think it’s deserved. I don’t have a problem with saying that Press didn’t look that good last night or that she was really poor against France. I do probably criticize the other more though but that’s mostly because I usually don’t need to be the one here to criticize Press.

          • ARED

            Well, from my experience the players on the field tend to get a lot more criticism than those on the bench…. ; )

          • Steglitz49

            Comment is free — but, why wait 8 days?

          • ARED

            Let’s just say I was on the road or something…..There’s more to life than football, and more to football than the women’s game…..

          • Steglitz49

            He is a longstanding member of if not a founder of the Press gang. Their high priest NYRick has kept a low profile since the Glorious 12th and the NWSL SF.

      • DNG

        I am a little curious. Who do you think will pass Press by 2019?

        • anon

          If Ellis is the head coach I don’t see Press ever having the opportunity to be the feature forward for the bulk of minutes like Morgan was in 2015. I could be wrong, and the CBA (that she was a big part of) will almost certainly guarantee Press’ spot on the 2019 roster, but I really don’t think Ellis favors her at all.

          • guest

            Morgan was a once in a generation media phenom like Mia. Unless someone with that kind of star power emerges in the next two years (who would that possibly be?) I expect to see a rotation of forwards that split time under Ellis.

          • DNG

            Morgan still is a media phenom. I don’t think she’s close to Hamm as a soccer player.

          • hmmm

            Who would that possibly be… who knows. She’s probably in college, like Morgan was in 2009.

          • Steglitz49

            Alex Morgan’s media phenomenon was built on repeated clutch play and body paint.

        • Bill

          DNG,

          Here is how I thought about it:
          – If there is anything we do well in American women’s soccer its produce forwards. Right now we have Lloyd, Williams, Morgan, Horan, maybe Dunn depending on who else plays. .You know better then I the potential up and comers ( Jordan?).

          – Next, we have 2 to 3 starting positions for about 6 players.

          – A counter factual is the CBA and the fact that 5 of the above are protected ( Press, Morgan and Lloyd with perhaps prime inner sanctum bias towards them). So I maybe very wrong and Press will be on the team. Sure hope she does well. She clearly has skills.

          However, when a player is not able ( often not their fault…coaches, styles, aging stars ahead of them, hot shots behind them) ( Williams, Horan and Press I would put in this category) to shine and the team is below expectations they become vulnerable. So a well graded minor leaguer or college player who just does not get some key hits may then lose the managers confidence and then others are tried and games to show well become scarcer and they try too hard and then they dont get regular at bats or carries or passes. Many a good player gets shunted by bad coaching and hasty decisions when the team plays badly. Then they get a “reputation” warranted or not. Strikeouts in the clutch become proof not just part of the game. Drops become “proof” . Clanging three pointers become proof. Are they really? Not at all. Is that reality in sports? Yes.

          Many many a poster claims Ellis does not give a player a fair chance to get on the team. Ok…thats going to happen to people on the team.

          As Horan has chances and does not convert them, She gets less chances…less rope and time to prove herself or to find chemistry or show she can do it if you serve her just right.

          Morgan and Lloyds clutch past play gets them more chances. Every goal Lloyd gets is “proof” she still has glory and there fore she gets time. Ditto Morgan. Unless injured…at some point deserved and undeserved reputation shrinks or increases time.

          And what is the one major variable that leads to anyone scoring and showing they can make a difference? Time.

          For all we all know Press is and could be better than Morgan or Lloyd. She does not get their time until they first fade or get injured. When they do age or get injured…does the time go to the second player who has been around a lot playing garbage time? Or does it get split with the new hot shot to prove herself?

          Could hitting in front of Ted Williams get you more strikes to hit? Yes. Could the guy two slots after him get those meatballs? Yes. But he did not and then when Ted retired he was a “proven” 6 slot in the order.

          So to me, I think Horan and Press are players we need to root for in 2017 for if they dont show well…by 2019…well its nice our proven second string is playing well. “Too bad she is not in her prime” is a very unfair label

          I dont know Press or Lloyd or Julio. I wish them well. Under Ellis we have no no no idea how good any of the players could actually be. Thats what happens when leadership is mediocre…there is not a meritocracy.

          In thinking about it I was wrong. I forgot Horan was on the team. She is much more likely to never get a real shot in her prime. And so far, I cant see how Williams is better then Press. But she is young so “seeming” to heat up as a scorer in NT games in 2018 may be problematic for Press. So her competition in 2019 is: Lloyd “a proven clutch player” and Morgan “a proven big game player’ ( which Press could be, but we dont know that ..she came along when Morgan and Llloyd got there first.) and any new player who seems to be playing well. She constantly has to prove herself in an environment where merit and “better” player has no meaning.

          With 32 teams I am guessing that fully one third of players drafted to the NFL do 20% worse on teams led by clowns than they would if they got drafted by Green Bay or Pittsburgh, Much less the Patriots where you can be ordinary and win two SB before your first five years.

          Sorry, I dont have a remark on Press as a player. I do sense the odds are stacked a bit more given the timing of her career. Chances are more important to Press than they are to Lloyd or Morgan.

          • Reality

            Appreciate the thoughtfulness of your exposition.

          • Bill

            I screwed up when I first read your reply down below. Sorry about that…long day left me less than calm

          • Reality

            No problem. Thank you.

          • Bill

            Respect. Thanks

          • mockmook

            Could have saved a lot of time and just written:

            Whoever got a contract for 2017 will get plenty of chances — everyone else is on the outside looking in.

          • kernel_thai

            It’s going to be interesting who she starts when Heath returns. U have the reigning US PotY and the two young phenoms all playing the same two spots

          • mockmook

            Pugh looked really bad — however, that probably won’t last.

          • DNG

            Pugh looked more or less to me how she normally does. Some good decision making some poor and still limited in what she can do in certain situations. I thought she was okay overall though she’s only going to learn what she needs to be better at by trying things and messing up.

          • Breakers fan

            I agree – overall her worst game to date, though she did have that good in-ball to Long and maybe a few other nice plays. That’s just based on one viewing and I am going to at least watch the 2nd half again, but I remember thinking during the game “She is not doing very well tonight”. I’m a fan and I wouldn’t of course give up on her, but that game was the first where my concerns got a bit more serious. She is athletically gifted and gives 100% so she has those attributes on her side which will help her. I’d be fine with others also being given chances over the next year or two, as DNG writes below.

          • DNG

            You play them all and a couple others. That what I think Ellis should be doing at each position. Give everyone in the 18 at least a half in friendlies. Which will be every game until WC qualifiers. No need to decide on who plays the most right now.

      • Kevin

        Long is just keeping Andi Sullivan’s spot warm until she returns from injury.

        • Breakers fan

          Interesting theory that makes sense. You may be right but I have my doubts. Sullivan may have to earn her spot back, whatever that means in exact concrete terms. Possible both start and play a lot? Doesn’t seem like they should but you never know with Jill. We’ll see.

        • Steglitz49

          If the injury does not heal appropriately, it is a whole different ballgame. Kim Kulig never really came back in spite of trying her best; Kim does not play anymore.

          • ARED

            A sad one.

    • guest

      Rose belongs in the center of the pitch. Put her at central attacking mid for the next game and bench Long/Carli.

      • anon

        Long is literally un-benchable under Ellis. At least she isn’t playing CB anymore – small mercies.

  • Gary Diver

    Déjà Vu All Over Again: the more things change the more they stay the same

    Why can’t USWNT “star forwards” score goals? It was a glaring problem at WC15 and ever since. Is the problem with the MF? Is the problem with Carli Lloyd on the field? Is the problem with Ellis playing players out of position? Is the problem bad field tactics? Is the problem overrated forwards?

    Ellis is not solved any of her WC15, but instead has created additional problems which she is clueless.

    WC15 Redux
    http://soccer.nbcsports.com/2015/06/05/meet-the-uswnt-womens-world-cup-team-forwards/

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/2015/06/24/united-states-marches-on-in-womens-world-cup-despite-offensive-struggles

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2500277-womens-world-cup-2015-defense-is-key-to-uswnt-going-forward

  • Bruce

    OFF TOPIC – Anyone know where I can find game-by-game NWSL attendance figures for 2016? I thought I saw that before, but now all I can find is season totals.

    • AlexH

      They are very small numbers so in order to find them you need to wear your glasses or squint real hard.

      • Bruce

        Already looked between the cushions of my couch. Not there.

        Seriously though, I’m fairly confident that there is a page with a game log table that includes this information out there somewhere.

    • CED

      There use to be a week by week break down as each week of the season occurred. NWSL site may have taken it down and just have a cumulative for the season.

    • HOFCToDi

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Chicago_Red_Stars_season#National_Women.27s_Soccer_League

      chicagoredstars.com/chicago-defeats-washington-3-1-in-final-match-of-the-2016-nwsl-regular-season/

      chicagoredstars.com/red-stars-fall-3-2-to-ruthless-fckc-in-midwest-showdown/

      chicagoredstars.com/red-stars-battle-back-from-early-slump-tie-seattle-2-2/

      chicagoredstars.com/red-stars-continue-undefeated-home-streak-after-defeating-fc-kansas-city-1-0/

      chicagoredstars.com/chicago-shows-promise-draws-1-1-with-visiting-houston/

      chicagoredstars.com/chicago-downs-boston-3-0-behind-huerta-brace/

      chicagoredstars.com/red-stars-portland-draw-1-1-in-fierce-battle/

      chicagoredstars.com/huerta-scores-as-chicago-ties-sky-blue-fc-1-1/

      chicagoredstars.com/chicago-makes-it-two-straight-with-1-0-defeat-of-orlando/

      chicagoredstars.com/chicago-downs-western-new-york-1-0-in-home-opener/

    • Rdalford

      The NWSL attendance stats for individual games were previously included in week by week match reports and in the individual match write-ups. However, as others have noted, the end of year stats package only contains team totals and averages.

      Some of us (idiots) do keep the individual game by game attendance.
      NWSL 2016 attendance – home game attendance by team detail.

      Boston 2016 total=35704, avg=3570 (mean) with median 3743
      (3743+3698+3622+3288+4007+3743+4379+3762+1435+4027)=35704

      Chicago 2016 total=30045, avg=3004.5 (mean) with median 2842
      (2529+4024+2502+3131+2553+3621+2550+3355+2068+3712)=30045

      Houston 2016 total=56963, avg=5696 (mean) with median 5656
      (7440+5081+6293+4570+5661+4329+5012+6819+6107+5651)=56963

      FC KC 2016 total=31624, avg=3162 (mean) with median 2718
      (8022+3022+3282+2217+3104+3041+2013+2206+2414+2303)=31624

      Orlando 2016 total=87851, avg=8785 (mean) with median 7195
      (23403+8211+7841+6870+7143+5842+7247+7052+6788+7454)=87851

      Portland 2016 total=169449, avg=16945 (mean) with median 16937
      (16073, 15823, 18114, 16931, 14287, 16942, 19231, 17152, 13752, 21144)

      Seattle 2016 total=46018, avg=4602 (mean) with median 4576
      (3987+4083+4631+4056+4682+4356+4521+5103+5888+4711)=46018

      Sky Blue 2016 total=21621, avg=2162 (mean) with median 1899
      (2571+1252+1275+2754+1542+1732+1552+3108+2055+3780)=21621

      Washington 2016 total=37817, avg=3782 (mean) with median 3562
      (3578+4333+3545+5750+3448+3036+3631+2930+4527+3039)=37817

      WNY 2016 total=38683, avg=3868 (mean) with median 3763
      (3615+3910+3940+4526+2235+3024+3114+4314+3556+6449)=38683

      • Steglitz49

        Thank you.

        We wait with bated breath to see the impact of Marta.

      • Bruce

        Thanks!

        Found a good repository online if you know a little about page-scraping…

        http://us.soccerway.com/national/united-states/national-womens-soccer-league/2016/regular-season/r34741/matches/?ICID=PL_3N_02

        • Rdalford

          I have NWSL attendance spreadsheets for each year but somewhat lacking in computer skills
          I had previously posted the attendance info above to old EQ articles so just had to find article and cut & paste

          hope that eventually NWSL stats/box scores improve and make finding attendance (and other info) easier.

      • Steglitz49

        By both means and medians, attendances in the NWSL are among the best in the world. Very few teams in EU average >2000 per game.

        Where there are discrepancies between means and medians they are usually explained by one outlier, that is the numbers are fairly steady.

        If >3000 is a critical number, only Skye Blue fails on means but they play on natural grass, which must be counted them for merit.

        On medians, Chicago and KC also fail the 3000 test, not just Sky Blue.

  • guest

    I wonder if Lynn comes back into the lineup and if so, who doesn’t dress? Pugh? I figure it won’t be Carli or Rose.

    • guest

      Maybe Ellis realized she made a mistake with Lynn and she won’t dress again.

      • AlexH

        If so, JE should be drawn and quartered because she just LW a contract.

        • HOFCToDi

          Emily Sonnett was allocated and not even invited to the latest training camp.

          • CED

            The insanity of WNT CBA..you get paid whether you’re there or not, according to some accounts Tier I + NWSL is 165K

          • HOFCToDi

            Christie Rampone was allocated in calendar year 2016 and she did not attend one training camp. What a racket.

          • guest

            remember what the uswnt gang of five said on their uswnt tv sympathy tour. they complained the usmnt get paid bonuses if they win or lose while the uswnt get paid even if they don’t show up. just outrageous deception to the american public.

    • guest

      Kling maybe. She might put Dunn back on the wing

    • HOFCToDi

      What so great about Amy Rodriguez last night?

      • guest

        True.. I actually forgot about her lol. Insane that she and Pinoe are contracted for another year.

        • Steglitz49

          Mother of two kids = worth her weight in PR-mints.

          • guest

            Strategic pregnancies = smart monetary decisions for bubble players like Leroux and ARod. No way ARod is in the World Cup picture and it’s a waste of time to have her dressing. Sorry, this is a sports team, not any other kind of business where age, pregnancy and physical changes don’t matter. Give her maternity pay, a few games to make her case, and then de-allocate if she doesn’t make the grade. They need to be looking at young athletic players. ARod wasn’t even good when she was 20 years old.

          • guest

            apparently the maternity leave benefits have been increased in the new cba. will be interesting to see what they are.

          • guest

            So I don’t really follow men’s sports, and I realize they get paid enough per year to essentially never have to work again. But let’s say a man has a medical condition that leads to him being de-commissioned for 16+ months like pregnancy. How long does he have to get back into form?

          • rkmid71

            Teams have to move on with the players that are fit and that can play. Contracts determine the individual player options. But during the 16+ months of de-commissioning, if someone better comes along, whatever form they get back to may not be good enough anymore. A coach has no obligation to actually play a particular player in any particular role. In non sports, many women I know take barely any time off due to pregnancy — work nearly up to the day of birth. Work from the hospital following birth. And get back into the office asap. Not because they have to, but because they choose to and want to.

          • guest

            Of course, that’s why I’m saying that sports teams are a unique case. The woman cannot play at all while she’s pregnant and needs (apparently many, in the case of Leroux) months to get back into shape.

          • Steglitz49

            Marie Dorin Habert, Drama Dombracheva and Marit Björgen are good recent examples that make your case.

          • Steglitz49

            where do you get the 16+ months from? Just look at Marie Dorin Habert and Darya Dombracheva, let alone Marit Björgen.

          • guest

            there might be a few more strategic pregnancies by uswnt vets in the next two years before the 2019 world cup. rapinoe , kreiger, harris or lloyd.

          • anon

            this is so misogynistic,

          • guest

            Not really. Athletes, male and female, go into sports with the knowledge that it is a temporary career for young fit people. Same with professional models and maybe a few other professions. If you can have a baby and come back able to compete with the best, great and you should be afforded some opportunity to do so. If you can’t, you can’t.

          • Steglitz49

            Selfevidently, that probably is what will happen but seeing that WoSo has a an image of being a coven of lesbians, a few hetero mums are worth their weight in PR-chocolates.

          • guest

            Um, ok troll. The biggest names in the American game are married to men (Alex, Hope, Lloyd). If a disproportionate number of lesbians choose pro sports as a career, it is what it is. You could argue there is a larger number of lesbians than expected in college sports as well. Who knows what the real reasons for this are. No need to drag around straight players who are out of form for PR purposes. That’s sports.

          • Steglitz49

            Image is image and truth is truth. Who of the players did the USWNT most harm in OG-16?

          • guest

            all of them really except Lloyd for some unknown reason. Hope, the most, of course. Morgan lost her starting spot and is lucky to get 45 minutes in a match these days. I know you want me to say Press but she has been starting against top competition so… bye bye troll.

          • Steglitz49

            It has been argued with some conviction in the EQ comments that Pinoe did the most damage to the USWNT in OG-16. She did this by not recusing herself when selected, by not holding up her hand and confessing that she was not fit enough to be picked.

          • NYRick

            I know you like to go there with this stuff, but I honestly don’t think it matters. Or it shouldn’t to nab her a federation slot payday. And really nothing against ARod, but she has had a long go with this program and has been extremely average or below average most of the time, and isn’t it time to give that slot to a younger player? She is a much better club team player than NT player.

          • Steglitz49

            ARod has played her cards to perfection. Indeed, it has been a weak hand and you could argue that she sharpened them in 2012/13.

            Syd, accidentally apparently, has had success off the field too and like ARod avoided the opprobrium of OG-16.

            Now the USWNT must move on to more sunlit uplands. They must redeem the time between now and WC-19. I doubt that the US general public will tolerate another abject failure.

        • guest

          good to see rapinoe is 20 minutes fit again.

  • CED

    The 1 positive out of the CBA and it’s continuation of the asinine structure is that the number of allocated players is reduced and leaks say it can lower than the current 22 under the new deal and USSF wants to go in that direction. This will put a bright light on the have and have nots and force people to face the reality of the NWSL finances. But, will also likely make the vet protection worse b/c people in their twilight Rapinoe, Krieger, Lloyd, etc… will not being sticking around in the NWSL the second they lose allocation and are not the entitled ones.

    • #1Fan

      please talk to Lorehead.

    • Bruce

      If lowering the number of allocated players means more budget for camp and roster bonuses (as reported), it’s a move in the right direction.

      • CED

        No, it just means they are paying the entitled and chosen few more. The result eventually will be the desired one exposing the fraud of the system and NWSL as a nonviable league. What happens when they cut allocation to 20…Some of the previous haves b/c have nots and they make a stink, then it all unravels as it should.

  • ABCDE

    I lol’ed at Press’ yellow card. Is that her first one in her pro career? Did she actually kick that girl in hte face or was she just acting? Ellis does want her to be more aggressive.

    • ABCDE

      also the initially disputed Long goal looked like an own goal to me. Did she really get her head on the ball before the Russian player?

      • Kate

        I also thought it looked like an own goal.

  • Guesting

    Worst player was Pugh. Then again, I barely noticed ARod, Kling or Krieger so maybe they were worse. Short is still an unknown to me… not sure why Ellis loves her so much

    • ARED

      Sometimes “barely noticing” a player is actually a pretty good thing. I’d argue that ARod and Kling were quite good, especially Kling (ARod barely played, but her touches and runs were good).

      Notice how the second half was much more disjointed than the first for the USA attack? Notice how Kling’s best skill is playing quick and simple balls to combine and connect with her teammates, instead of over-playing? I think Short is improving, but tends to take a lot of time and touches and usually is still inaccurate with her passes. So, Kling with her unnoticeable quick one-touch passes may be forgettable, but also invaluable to the buildup play. O’Hara does the same, although usually is a bit more noticeable as well due to her high-energy game and quality attacking skills.

  • NYRick

    I recorded the match and just got around to watching it. Here are some thoughts:

    1. Russia is the ultimate tomato can. I’m blaming Trump’s fondness for Putin for even the mere scheduling of these matches. They’re that bad.

    2. As with the ultimate tomato can (they are seriously bad and unable to string two accurate passes together) it is hard to evaluate anyone fairly. Obviously Lavelle had some stunning moments but she is not pulling that stuff against the top teams but it is fun to see on occasion.

    3. All this talk of “technique” and a change in philosophy for this team is hogwash. It will once again just be about superior athletes for the US team. Dunn is one. Pugh is another. Both are incredibly undisciplined and will rely on biggest the fastest and scrapiest players on the pitch for as long as their youthful legs will let them. With this, they will find limelight, great US media and fanfare and always be in Ellis’s favor.

    4. If Lavelle is being groomed to be the star, just put her at the #10 right now and let’s see how she does. Yes she can beat average players on the flank, but her penchant to migrate to the center all the time makes the #10 maybe a natural for her. She does have vision so I would just forcefed her there. But…oh yeah, sorry forgot. Lloyd is the #10 or whatever she wants till 2020. My bad.

    5. I’m an Andi Sullivan fan and sorry to see her injured this year. I actually think she will be more of an impact player than Lavelle if she recovers well from her ACL.

    6. Dunn just went offsides. What was that, about the 6th time in a half?

    7. Pugh just dribbled into traffic. What was that, about the 5th time in a half.

    8. Dunn and Pugh are good players, they just need discipline which they won’t get from this coach.

    9. Did Lloyd actually only play 45? That was downright shocking and she had to be pissed after seeing the PK in the second half that she didn’t get to take.

    10. Morgan and Press didn’t impress much in the second half. Ellis is building the team with the flank players and the forwards are becoming irrelevant. Both need to bury their chances when they get them or it will get worse for them with Ellis.

    11. Where does Heath fit in now with Lavelle’s emergence? Or Brian? Once again Carli is creating a logjam in the center of the pitch as to who should play.

    12. Mewis impresses me. Just steady out there and should remain as the defensive mid at all times.

    • Steglitz49

      #10 — Alex’s strategy is to impress in and for Lyon.

    • mockmook

      There is some hope that JE will become much stingier with Carli’s minutes after her milestone.

      Look how quickly they turned on Hope after her 100

      • NYRick

        She’s been stuck on 96 for awhile now. Maybe she’ll score 4 tomorrow and be done with it.

        Or…she painstakingly stay at 98/99 till a few weeks before WC19.

        Nothing surprises me anymore with this program one way or another.

        • kernel_thai

          Four PKs?

      • kernel_thai

        Am I miss remembering or didn’t Jill Ellis, back in the Fall of 2015 when Lavelle was first invited in, say Lavelle was having trouble with the speed of play? Really? Why am I having a little trouble believing that one?

        • guest

          she may very well have been. USA v. USA in practice is probably far tougher than USA v. Russia/90% of their competition. She’s done well but I think like Pugh, she’s still an unknown

          • kernel_thai

            Tougher…for sure but I doubt it’s any faster than US plays in matches.

          • Steglitz49

            The US plays very fast indeed. Odd though that since WC-15 their results have been a mixed bag — and some would include WC-15 in that too, even if they did win it.

          • ARED

            I actually think the USA far too often looks unsure and too slow in the buildup, but then also fast and out of control during the final phase of their attacks -and that is why Pugh last year and now Lavelle stand out so much, because they had a better understanding from their first cap of when to play fast and when to play slow. Pugh seems to have learned from her teammates to dwell on the ball and look to shoot a bit too much, but still I’d argue that neither Pugh or especially Lavelle have looked slow for even a moment in their short USA careers.

            Lavelle plays about 3x faster than Lloyd right now, and is 10x better already at knowing when to play fast/slow/aggressive/patient/etc, so it’s pretty difficult to believe anyone trying to find reasons for her not to play. Unfortunately nothing new for USWNT to hold back young players and even publicly criticize them while refusing to criticize the “vets” who presumably should be more able to take it, but seem far more sensitive to it.

          • DNG

            I don’t think I really agree about Pugh knowing when to slow down play. To me it looks as if Pugh is always playing rushed. She only really knows how to go forward and go at two speeds, fast and faster. Lavelle tends to hold onto the ball a little longer but even she was always looking to play fast. What I don’t see from either yet is taking a second to look up and deciding that it might be better to slow play down because the quick hitting attack is not on. In build up I think the whole teams still looks to slow and unsure about how to progress a lot of the time. It doesn’t help the the CBs aren’t exactly comfortable making quick first time passes. And while it really is painful too still see Lloyd in the lineup slowing everything down they did seem manage just playing around her on Thursday because Russia were really no threat and not that organized.

          • ARED

            That is why I said I thought Pugh is learning to play the wrong way with the national team it seems -which is pretty sad, no? You may not agree, but I felt in her original matches and throughout most of 2016 she was a player who was happy to play fast and simple, take only one touch, to play to the side or back when needed, etc, and then to push (a pass/shot/dribble) when she had space or if the game called for it. But, in 2017 she seems much more likely to push her luck as an individual and with the forward runs as you say, always trying to just continue simply with speed (and talent, to be fair). Which for me is the summary of the USWNT for the past 10 years….

            Lavelle it is the same, on a very small scale. I do think she also has been pushing too much individually at moments, but in the defensive and midfield third I think these two have shown that generally they understand and can see the game better than many of their older teammates -and I believe they also have shown themselves to be better in the build up and creating chances (often with a play in midfield, not in the final third). But as you say it doesn’t take much to be better than the USWNT has been with build up play. With Mewis, Pugh, Lavelle, Klingenberg, and O’Hara they looked pretty good I would say, and if they would add Heath and remove Lloyd I think after 10 matches the team may really show progress in the midfield and buildup play. But I think it’s difficult to ask a 20-year old to have the patience and selflessness when your captain does not -which is why the Lloyd role has been so glaring to me for so long, and the damage in not only tactical within a single match. I agree Brian also has many good qualities and reads the game well, and is another young player I think has gotten a bit lost in the Ellis-Lloyd-USWNT.

          • DNG

            I think she was playing simple because she was really nervous about starting for the NT at 18. Watching her with the U20’s last year showed me the same player. I think she is completely capable of playing simple, but that’s not really the way she was brought up in the youth system where she was a goal scoring star. She still is a good slasher but the rest of her game needs a lot of refinement. Her dribbling in particular could use a lot of work. It’s very static and she has not shown the ability to quickly change directions with the ball. She often runs into trouble when she does not beat her defender to the end line. And I definitely think it’s a product of the system too. Player’s like Heath, Brian, Horan and Long though will play how they want to play regardless of the USWNT history. I think Pugh could too in the future but she’s a very direct player right now

            I think Lavelle and Pugh understand the game better than Lloyd, Morgan, Williams, Leroux among others but that’s mostly because I’m not so sure those players understand the game that well at all. Credit to Morgan again for going to Lyon to try and learn. I think they have a ways to go to reach players Heath, Brian, Long and Horan but I do have faith that they can get there.

            This is the lineup I’d like to see tried for a half in a few games or so. We will never see it. There can be quite a few variations to get some more players into a lineup like this as well.

            ————————Horan/Press———————-
            Heath/Pugh————-Brian/RL————–RL/Dunn
            ——————–Long———-Mewis—————–
            KO/Kling———Brunn——-JJ/Sonnett——KO/Dunn

          • ARED

            I agree, she played a simple game b/c she was nervous and/or deferred to the other players. But my point is that after some time trying to play for the team if you realize there is no team really for many/most of the players, then you may start to take more chances yourself both out of frustration but also a belief that you can do better for the team. How many times do you have to see Lloyd lose possession or Dunn fail to hold an easy run against a bad and slow backline before you start to ignore that pass and see if you can find one of the players you can combine with, or find your own shot.

            I think Pugh is an amazing dribbler, but can tend to overdo it…..when the team has had good build up play (rare, but it is ok with Heath/Long/Brian/etc sometimes) it seems Pugh follows and plays as the game demands, but if the build up play is poor she decides that the game is demanding her to take the ball herself, which does not work even in the youth tournaments.

            I like your base lineup, I have said they’d be better off just settling on a 4-2-3-1 to clarify the roles of the midfield and attack. I don’t rate Horan like many do, but she obviously does see and play the game well and for the team. And don’t forget that in a friendly sometimes even a full 90 isn’t really enough time to take conclusions b/c of all the changes.

          • Steglitz49

            2019 will be the next test. 2 years+.

          • ARED

            Yep. We’ll see how the world looks then, both for WoSo in general and the US team’s development. Plenty of time for players to grow and change. Too bad for the US fans that I think this benefits others more, b/c Ellis doesn’t seem to take advantage of her options.

            May be time for some new blood in 2019…..but too early to say for sure.

          • DNG

            Maybe but I’m not sure that I buy that rational for Pugh. I don’t really think the team has changed her much based on some reports from posters here that say they have seen her play at ECNL level. I’m sure Ellis’ continued loyalty to Lloyd is annoying to a lot of players.

            Eh, you rate Pugh’s dribbling way better than I do. I don’t think she’s good in confined spaces. Better than many on the current team? Okay, but I think that speaks more to the dribbling quality on the team and WoSo in general. I don’t think she’s really close to a healthy Rapinoe, Heath or even Dunn. She’s very good at dribbling past defenders when she has space because she’s very fast and her touches are usually clean.

            My opinion on Horan is mostly based on her play with the Thorns as the 10(Sinclair is the 9). It’s true that she might not be the answer up top but that is her position and that’s where I want to see her tried. She’s a fairly classic well rounded striker that is a good combination player that can play make in the hole. She’s also a better aerial threat than what we are currently putting out there. I probably still have Press ahead of her at this point but Horan can provide a different element to the team which is sometimes sorely needed, physicality leading the line. Does it not bother you that all of the new strikers Ellis seems to be picking are the classic run in behind type players?

          • ARED

            I think from our conversations you value highly the abilities in tight spaces, possession and hold up play in or near the attacking area. All important I agree, but I actually see WoSo as still a bit more unrefined, where pure speed, strength, and simple but effective skills usually are more effective when it comes to scoring goals, stopping goals, and winning matches. I see Pugh as amazing in space and beating one player, but then if she pushes her run too far she can dribble into a crowd and lose the ball. In a controlled attack against a deep defense, yes Heath/Dunn are better, and Rapinoe good enough to at least find a shot. Pugh has struggled getting good shots at the end of her runs, although several good crosses/passes I believe. And she covers a lot of ground and presses well, both of which I value.

            We agree on Horan then, and I think also that many other options should have been tried long ago. For me one would be Horan as #9 or #10 in a 4-2-3-1. I would suggest this would be best as an occasional change of plan, maybe a substitution if you need a goal and want to change the game using. As for the others, I don’t know, I think Ellis is happy to keep the picture small, and within her view of the game (which I believe to be quite narrow and at times naive). This leads to so many discussions which presuppose that every player change is a like-for-like comparison, and there tends to be very little view or understanding that each player is only one of a unit of eleven. If you only compare Dunn to Morgan to Press, all playing next to Lloyd, then it really limits the view. Maybe one fits better there, but another would fit better if Lloyd were gone, or maybe Horan would fit better. Same for CMs. It really depends on who is surrounding them, and how you hope to play, before you can say who is best.

          • DNG

            “I actually see WoSo as still a bit more unrefined, where pure speed, strength, and simple but effective skills usually are more effective when it comes to scoring goals, stopping goals, and winning matches.”

            So do I but against a team like France I’m not sure this is enough anymore. Even England has been successful at suffocating the US offense recently. Sweden showed that with the right game plan and players at the back you can reduce the US to a basic crossing team that can’t break down an organized defense. That is where my concerns lie going forward. There is also the fact that I fully believe that the US is capable of playing a more attractive and yet still effective brand of soccer. They need to chose the right players though.

          • ARED

            I agree, the USA should have taken the game to another level these past 7 years I believe. From 2011/12, and 2015/16 I think they could have won 3 or even all 4 titles, and certainly should have been able to lift their game -and therefore the whole WoSo game -to at least one level above where they are now, to be playing some beautiful soccer. They show it in glimpses, but I think they always hold themselves back usually from management and selection issues, which is sad. In 2016 they made many steps forward I thought, but they quickly reversed back against Sweden when they conceded and abandoned their newer, more fluid style for a rudimentary approach.

            I don’t mean to say that from a USA perspective they should rely on athleticism, just that you have to balance these things, and I’m not sure where someone like Horan fits and whether that would change the team for the better or not. From a French perspective, I suppose defending Horan and a slower USA attack would be ok I think. Same for England and Germany actually. I have said to you before, I still think Morgan is the striker defenders like the least to see in a big game, although this cannot last forever -and Lloyd as the second forward makes it much easier to defend Morgan.

            Both teams are exciting with potential, and both need to do a better job of picking the right players (and styles) I think.

          • DNG

            Defending Horan in isolation? Yes England, Germany and France can deal with her. However, she brings others into the play though in a way that I’m not sure Morgan can or ever will. Does that mean that I know for sure that she will solve the Sweden woes? Of course not, but I think it’s foolish to dismiss it as an option outright like Ellis and company seem to have. And just because we have a slower striker up front that can hold up and combine does not mean that we can’t still use speed on the wings i.e. Thomis. Not every player in your front line needs to be a burner.

          • ARED

            I agree. I don’t know that Horan can do it against good defenders, but as you say we’d have to see to find out (and we probably never will). I would like her against Sweden more than against France, because I think those brief seconds you get on the ball are a bit longer against Sweden than France. Again, my bet is it’d be a good option but not the best. For most countries this would be a great options.

          • DNG

            France is a little different than the other for me because I think they are player for player better than the USWNT at the moment and they have a skilled CB pairing one of which is a great athlete too(Mbock). They are going to be a very difficult team to beat when they finish their chances and I’d probably opt for a safer defense first approach against them looking for chances to counter. So yeah I might break a little bit away from what I would want the team to ideally look like if it was a WC KO match against France. France’s achilles heal has of course been their own finishing woes.

          • ARED

            I agree. And it all relates, b/c my point about Horan and speed is more in relation to what you give up than about her. At times France has played more talent and technical players, but we see there is still great value in simply playing direct balls for someone like Thomis or Le Sommer behind. Players like Leroux or even Morgan take some criticism, but I think there value will be there for sometime still for that type of player.

            I would say France is better player by player based on recent USA teams, but not based on all of the players available, although I do enjoy that it is close. Do you agree? At SBC France’s team unity and play were 10x better than the USA I felt.

          • DNG

            I agree on France at SBC. They were excellent. They also have my envy in having a center half proficient in playing accurate long balls in Renard. I can definitely see a need for an over the top get in behind forward. I’ll even hear arguments for 2 of them. I see absolutely no need to carry all three of Leroux, Morgan, and Lynn Williams. I would even lump ARod into that mix as well. Dunn and Pugh are really get in behind players as well although they can both dribble more than the CFs I mentioned.

          • ARED

            Yes, but the USA doesn’t necessarily need the kind of players who would beat the USA, they need the players who would beat everyone else -specifically France, Germany, Japan, etc.

            The USA has many fast, strong, and direct players. Just becuase Lavelle might get pushed around in training sessions does not mean she still isn’t the best player to catalyze the team (as I would argue she has done for most of the last 3 matches, despite not being put in a big role until this last match).

          • mockmook

            A “big role” from the flank

            ARGHHHH!!!!!!

          • ARED

            Haha, I agree. At least with O’Hara she could play a lot and even could connect with Pugh from the far side. As always, if Lloyd were not there I think these younger/other players would be impressing everyone (even) more.

          • DNG

            I agree with your first paragraph which is why I think the performance in training is mostly nonsense.

            Regarding Lavelle, maybe the England match. Not sure what you saw from her in the France match but I thought she was just as ineffective. Granted everyone was ineffective largely due to tactics and shape but I think declaring her as the teams current best catalyst is a huge stretch. I still think Morgan Brian is the best attacking mid distributer. Lavelle is more of a dribbler.

          • mockmook

            “Morgan Brian is the best attacking mid distributer.”

            MB can’t remain standing — how can the best be someone who can’t stay on the field?

          • DNG

            Assuming she is healthy of course. ARED was also talking about the games against England and France where Morgan Brian did play.

          • ARED

            Well, I only said “it’s possible she could be best player to catalyze the team, regardless of training”, not that she is. It was a point of logic/reasoning. Separately, I do believe she did that more than any other player for the team’s sake when you take those 3 (now 4) matches in total, and connected many/most of the key moments in possession and chance creation. Far from perfect, and I do not mean to crown her as anything other than “really good so far”, and maybe “good enough it makes one wonder why we haven’t seen her in the USA shirt before”.

            Against France she suffered well I believe, unlike most of her team which suffered poorly -but maybe I was distracted by France…. ; p. Also, it was difficult for me to take any serious analysis from any match they USA played 3-5-2, but even then Lavelle did well I thought.

          • DNG

            She played alright in her matches. Not really enough of a sample for me to conclude much more than that. I think there’s something there but I think she has a good deal of developing still to do. I think I’d try keeping her as a flank at the moment with the NT. I thought everyone was poor against France and that she was no better or worse than the group. It didn’t help that Ellis got her tactics and shape horribly wrong. We couldn’t pressure effectively in the shape and ended up getting completely exposed by a very good team.

          • ARED

            I of course agree there is a good deal of developing still to do -for Lavelle, Pugh, and unfortunately many of the older ones too. And worst of all, the manager.

            I think “alright” is a bit harsh to her, but fair enough, we’ll see how it goes from here anyway…. ; )

          • DNG

            I’m sure they’ll both be great in a couple of years. But for a player that has ‘arrived’ I would expect more against a team as poor as Russia. If the team had been playing well I think the team could have scored another 4 goals in each match against Russia.

            Lavelle’s best match to date was the England match where she was solid in spite of being played in a terrible position for her. I thought that was the match where she was best at keeping things simple and letting the game come to her.

          • ARED

            Fair enough. I think I give her some credit -or even a lot -for why the team played as well as it did (as opposed to struggling to beat Russia only 2-0 or so, as often has happened in USWNT matches against average opponents).

        • ARED

          Yes, as usual Ellis’ comments really seem to be stretching the realms of fact/fiction -or perhaps excusing her pre-determined player preferences, if I may be so cynical…. ; )

          So there is some talk of criticizing Lavelle for needing better nutrition until Ellis addressed it. Ok. I was laughing, thinking “well at least this time she is letting her play, and only complaining about her nutrition instead of making up faults in her game.”…..lol. It is the Ellis/USA way to find reasons to criticize players in the media in order to keep the heirarchy in place (or so a cynical individual might say….).

    • Guest

      Mewis has been the best player on the pitch for awhile now. Never thought I’d say that. She has everything going for her in terms of height/pace/heading ability/defensive ability/good soccer IQ. Curious to see how things shake out in the central midfield between Lloyd/Long/Brian/Horan and now Lavelle who should be playing there as well.

      • ARED

        This is why (some believe) Lloyd should have been never starting instead of always starting, so already there would have been many more chances to see Brian/Long/Mewis/Lavelle, and for those players to grow. Instead, it is a pretty cloudy picture I think.

        (I know who I like and how I think they each can play, and you’d assume Ellis also has her beliefs, but it is pretty difficult to feel much confidence in her managing the midfield for me….).

    • kernel_thai

      6. Dunn didn’t go offside once that I can remember. What u usually see on this level is the attacker mistiming her run and be off side when the pass was made. In most of the cases I remember with Dunn, she was hanging out well in an off side position when the pass was made. To me this either means she doesn’t understand the rule which is unlikely, or she is having trouble figuring when the pass is going to be made, is making a run and is on her way back on side when the pass is actually made. This is at least partially because the US attackers were taking that extra dribble before making the pass.

      • ARED

        You are very right that the pass -or, the connection of the players -matters also, not just blaming the runner always for offside. But, Dunn had multiple times where she was going for no reason early.

        I thought Morgan especially and Press showed a few examples in their brief appearances of how to hold/find/time a good run. It usually is a thankless skill, just as a midfielder skill to see/time/weight a pass, but both are invaluable.

  • GUEST

    WHY JILL ABANDONING 4-3-3………….

    1.The objective of the 4-3-3 is scoring more goals than your opponent.Consequently, more players are committed to the attack.The drawback could be lethal especially when the opponents intercept misplaced passes as was the case in the game against France.Long balls to French forwards waiting just inside US half of the field caught advancing US defenders unprepared.
    2.Centerback play is crucial in this formation. As much as Long tried, she is not a natural fit for that position. I will argue that Julie Johnston is a better defender at that position.
    3.Press, Morgan and Williams could only score a lone goal the whole tournament.
    4. US won ball possession in every game but finished last : more burlesque than real theater.
    5.If anything the 4-4-2 allows the team to have four base defenders to account for misplaced passes and other foibles especially when the opponent foils US offensive attacks.

    • DNG

      They played with a 4 back in the last match. Looked like a 442 but I’m sure that they will use the 433 and 4231 as well.

      • mockmook

        GUEST’s comment was a string of absurdities — poor play is poor play regardless of formation.

        • DNG

          I definitely didn’t agree with most of the stuff related to the formations. For example the 4 at the back in a 442/433/4231 doesn’t need to be more defensively solid than a 3 back formation. I’d argue that in the men’s game it usually isn’t because full backs are almost always used as extra attackers on the ball side. Ellis’ instructions int the last game of always sending those players high is still a bit worrying. I’d prefer them to be making overlapping runs from deeper positions.

          It looked to me like Ellis’ instructions for the wing backs were a little questionable at SBC and AL at center back against England, France, and Germany was definitely questionable. Coaching decisions contributed to the poor play as much the players did. Ellis did seem to actually go back to a back 4 in the last match where I would have thought she would have continues with the 3 back considering the opponent. That’s all I was pointing out.

          GUEST did bring up the issue of the forwards which I think is important to look at. I don’t think any of them have been so good that Ellis should be ignoring players like Jordan. That just makes no sense to me.

          • Steglitz49

            4 at the back is a wise choice for the ladies. You can’t compare with the men because the men hit the ball harder and run faster than the lasses.

            The Golden Generation played with a 4 back-line but the OBs came up in attack. Like the Germans do, two MFs would drop back to keep a back 4.

            3-5-2 was Even Pellerud’s preferred starting position. The reason he gave was that it naturally became 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 if the opposition was weaker than expected or 4-4-2 or even 4-5-1 when the opposition was stronger than expected.

      • kernel_thai

        This was a return to the 4-2-2-2 that she used in the buildup to WC. I think her thought was to exploit that empty center space with Pugh and Lavelle’s speed. It worked because Russia couldn’t take advantage of them on the flanks.

        • Steglitz49

          The real answers will come from the games against Norway and Sweden and any other better team they play. I expect them to beat both Norway and Sweden, and easily too.

  • HOFCToDi