The United States Women’s National Team leads Brazil 1-0 at halftime. It was a dream start for the Americans, who thanks to Daiane’s own goal led after 74 seconds. Here are some key points after 45 minutes:
- Christie Rampone is the woman of the match so far. The 36-year-old stayed step-for-step with Marta on a dead sprint from midfield in the 23rd minute and she has played to her strengths: Finding Abby Wambach’s head on long-balls.
- The U.S. started off with a perfect game plan that exploited Brazil’s narrow shape. Lauren Cheney was a big piece of that, but the last 15+ minutes of the half were rough for the U.S. The Americans got away from playing wide and the attack lost all consistency. They have to use the flanks more in the second half.
- Brazil is frustrated. Marta’s yellow card for dissent just before halftime sums that up, but the scary part for the U.S. is that Brazil is very much in this game. Fabiana’s 38th minute crossbar strike reminded the United States of that.
- Marta is still dangerous. Obviously, but more specifically, she is sitting in the gap between the midfield and the defense and is being given time to turn and face up on the U.S. back line, which the Americans cannot afford. The defensive and midfield lines are far too flat.
If the United States can use its width, it should pick apart Brazil. If not, Marta or Cristiane could change this match. Kleiton Lima would be smart to make some defensive changes.
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