The US continued its utter dominance of Concacaf qualifying with a 5-0 win over Panama. Jill Ellis made wholesale changes to the starting XI, leaving only Julie Ertz and Abby Dahlkemper from Thursday’s game, but despite the scoreline, did anyone really make a case for a first-choice starting spot? Also, we know the attack works, but it’s time for the defense to get a test. All that and more in my three points from the match.
The rotation is real
Ellis has made it perfectly clear who her preferred starters are, and she rolled out as expected in the opening match against Mexico. While I didn’t expect a carbon copy in this match, nor would I ever have predicted nine changes, including the goalkeeper. Ashlyn Harris actually had more to do than Alyssa Naeher, forced into an excellent save off an Aldrith Quintero rocket from the top of the box in the 69th minute. Like her predecessors, Ellis is not known for heavy keeper rotation, although there’s a history of giving her backup a game in qualifying, but while I expect Naeher to finish out the tournament, it was good to see Harris earn minutes, as she’s the clear number two at this point.
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