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Watkins: Three things from the USWNT’s Tournament of Nations victory over Japan

(Photo Copyright Joerdeli Photography | Daniela Porcelli)

The U.S. women’s national team kicked off the second annual Tournament of Nations on Thursday evening with a 4-2 a win over Japan, a decisive victory that nonetheless showed some issues that the U.S. would do well to work through. Here are three things I saw from the match.

Crystal Dunn is Jill Ellis’s first choice at left back

Going into this U.S. camp, the conjecture as to head coach Jill Ellis’s plans for her defense, particularly in the outside back roles, was overwhelming. The controversial call-up (and subsequent dumping) of Jaelene Hinkle, along with the inclusion of Casey Short and Merritt Mathias to the roster opened up the possibility that Ellis was still searching for the right player to fill the space on the U.S.’ left side.

However, when the starting lineup dropped on Thursday, it was clear that Ellis was probably simply looking for a player to back up her first choice: Crystal Dunn…

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